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How to limit time spend in Second Life? | VintFalken.com
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VintFalken.com

How to limit time spend in Second Life?

February 19, 2009 6:35 pm

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So now I’m watching Desperate Housewives
and reading People magazine.
I never get on the computer
I’ve been banned from the machine.
But late at night I sometimes wonder
about the one I was to meet
if she’s still waiting in the Elbow Room
sitting by and empty seat

Niko Donburi
from ‘Escape - The Second Life Song

So, your partner, your children, your mom, your dad, your roommate or your cat spends just to much time in Second Life according to you? Sure, we can solve this. There are a few options, of which all require messing with their computer, content on it, or the house’s internet connection. Be aware that changing settings on a computer not owned by you is probably a crime. Trashing it most definitely is. On top of that, it will probably not help your relationship when they find out, that is… if they find out. I’m going to give you three options, which range from ‘obvious’ to ’subtle’ to limit their Second Life usage - ‘SLugage’ in further references - but first, do ask that person: “Are you making any money in Second Life, I mean ‘real’ money?” If the answer is “Yes!” and the number is high enough to justify the time spend, please, let them be, and ask for a stake in their virtual business.

Cancel your Internet Contract

Cats caught playing Second LifeGet your ISP on the line, and ask them to cancel your internet subscription. Wrap up the modems and router delivered to you, and mail them back to the ISP.

Effectiveness? High
Long term solution? It will probably take over a week to get new gear and ISP to handle reactivation. A few months if you’re lucky and their client support sucks.
Chance at discovery? Extremely high. Unless you’re a damn good liar and can bring “but bills weren’t paid, so they cancelled our contract and came to confiscate our modem” in a convincing way, you’re not getting away with this.

Sabotage

There are a trillion of ways to bring a computer - or only it’s Operating System - to an untimely death. Google is your friend.

Effectiveness? High, unless you have a second computer. Which is probably less powerful, so this might even then still lower the SLusage. Physical destruction works best.
Long term solution? This depends on how well you play this. Try to send in your computer to the manufacturer, or at least a PC shop you know doesn’t work very quickly. If the person you want to help or any family members or aquintances are ‘computer savvy’, this will only buy you a few days.
Chance at discovery? That’s all up to you. Choose your method well, and think of a valid reason. “Windows asked for updates to be installed and I clicked “yes” will work well with any Windows operating system, especially Vista. Else use “something asked if it could update itself”.

Second Life Client Parameters

My personal favourite! It’s subtle, and will take them ages to figure out. You will change a parameter (a kind of command) that the Second Life viewer reads on start-up and obeys to. We’re not going to ruin his/her Second Life experience completely, but we are going to limit the time they can spend in-world before they crash.

Instructions for Windows:

  1. Obtain access to the computer. (You’re on your own here! ;))

  2. Locate the Second Life Shortcut - it’s a little blueish hand - and then right click. Choose ‘properties’. (You shall likely find Second Life shortcut icons on both the desktop and in the start menu. You need to do this for each shortcut you think they use for starting the program.)
  3. There’s a field that says “Target:”. At the end of that one add “–quitafter <secs>” (without the quotes) where you replace <secs> with the amount of time you want the program to be open before it crashes, in seconds. Some options:
    1. “–quitafter 30″ => “OMG?! Each time I start Second Life, it almost directly crashes! WTF?!”
    2. “–quitafter 600″ => 10 minutes is a reasonable time, and one could expect the viewer to crash. By then they probably already engaged in some activity that could explain the crash.
    3. “–quitafter 3600″ => You give them an hour to spend inworld. After the crash, they are likely to go fetch a drink, and let the computer recover. Find something to distract them from the virtual world by then, so they won’t start the client again. Food, sex, TV, … I’m sure you can think of some possible distractions.
  4. Press “OK” to confirm your changes.
  5. Repeat this step for any Second Life shortcuts you find.
  6. Find a mirror and practise your “serious and concerned face”, so you won’t betray yourself when you hear sudden swearing coming from the computer area later today.

This is ” - - quitafter <secs>” with two ‘dashes’, but without the spaces, WP seems to render this weirdly!

Some extra good advice: Implement this ‘fix’ right after you’ve heard them mentioning a ‘client update’. They will most likely blame the client in stead of you.

Effectiveness? High to Medium, depending on the time settings. It is possible your target will dodge your changes by using an alternative client. Of course, you can try to feed that client’s shortcut the same parameter using the above procedure, only replacing “Second Life shortcut” by “Hippo Viewer shortcut”, … .
Long term solution? It might be you need to repeat this after a client update, or the installation of a client which does not accept this parameter solves things. But still, I’m pretty confident about this one.
Chance at discovery? Low, definitely pretty low. Unless your target’s intelligence is way above (the) average (SLuser). If you try this “fix”, let me know how long it takes them to find out. If ever. ;)

Personal use of the “–quitafter <secs>” client parameter

Of course, the “–quitafter <secs>” parameter does not only limits other people’s SLugage - but can also be an aid to managing your own virtual life. A few use cases:

  1. You tell yourself ‘only an hour’ but end up in-world the entire night. Quick solve: “–quitafter 3600″. (Of course, you need the strength to not re-start your client.)
  2. There’s pizza in the oven. Quick solve: “–quitafter 720″.
  3. You promise yourself to only quickly login to answer IM’s and notecards, but need some help keeping that promise: “–quitafter 600″.

Now, if only there was a “-quiton buyoutfit”, no? ;) Think you can do more with client parameters? He’s the overview list on the Second Life wiki.

12 Responses to “How to limit time spend in Second Life?”

Ganymedes Costagravas wrote a comment on February 19, 2009
MyAvatars 0.2

Gold! :D

DagnyT Dagger wrote a comment on February 19, 2009
MyAvatars 0.2

What?! -quiton buyoutfit!? NEVER! Sheesh, if only shopping in RL was so fun, and everything ‘just fit’.

chaddington boomhauer wrote a comment on February 19, 2009
MyAvatars 0.2

That was helpful :) What if you’re interested in reducing login time on RL?

Vint Falken wrote a comment on February 19, 2009
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One could try any combination of these:

–ignoreboss
–quiftafer
–drop friends
–noaudio
–nosound

But did you try –multiple already?

Archie Lukas wrote a comment on February 20, 2009
MyAvatars 0.2

Luckily only the SL types will read this blog
and we can block it from the less IT savvy spouses and moaning teenagers.

Its my getaway from being “The FixIT dad” for my daughters social group.

Shhhhhhh!!!!!
/me rezzes out the 9 tailed punishment whip for Vint

Crap Mariner wrote a comment on February 20, 2009
MyAvatars 0.2

I take my laptop to work with me so the cat won’t be on SL all day.

Uccello Poultry wrote a comment on February 20, 2009
MyAvatars 0.2

if only I could get my cats to use SL. Then they could log in and use any sandbox in-world, saving me time and smell scooping the sandbox here.

Two Worlds wrote a comment on February 23, 2009
MyAvatars 0.2

This was a really rediculously over-complex way to address Second Life/online addiction. Yes, it happens, and no, it doesn’t need retarded cat pictures to go along with it. Yes, the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have a problem, and yes, the first step is often the hardest one.

Vint Falken wrote a comment on February 23, 2009
MyAvatars 0.2

OMG, Miss or Mr. Two Worlds, don’t take this to serious, please. If you have an SLaddiction, the last thing you should be reading is SL oriented blogs. (Although it might help for the first withdrawal symptoms.)

It’s great for the pizza part though! :d

Caliburn Susanto wrote a comment on February 27, 2009
MyAvatars 0.2

I have only spent 40-50 hours a week in Second Life every single week since December 2006. Since there are 168 hours in a week that is less than 1/3 of the time. Therefore it should be blatantly obvious that I definitely don’t have a “problem.”

Also I can stop at any time. Really, I can. Go ahead. Make me. I DARE you. ;-D

(PS: Even after all these hours [what? around 5,000?] I still am fascinated by it, still continue to find interesting things to do, places to go, and people to meet. Except for trying to organize the Inventory, it’s never boring — and even that can sometimes be interesting, like shopping all over again!]

Arteer wrote a comment on March 1, 2009
MyAvatars 0.2

Love this crazy “advice” of yours, Ms. Falken! (Oh, and, congrats on the move to London, too. I have a feeling England will be a great fit for you!)

There are surely ups-and-downs to a second life, as there are in a first… as we have a tendency, many of us, to invest our real selves in it. Real people=real emotions, no matter which world you inhabit. Though now, I have found it’s a good thing to take decent-sized breaks from VR to get mentally revitalized and refreshed. Also “breaks” allow me the time to catch up on SL blog reading …;=)

I can’t imagine living without a second life now. It has enhanced my first life more than I ever imagined it would.

Gianna wrote a comment on May 21, 2009
MyAvatars 0.2

After a year and a half, I am bored of SL now, as after having losing several good friends (due to choosing a partner)and then losing that partner too, there is nothing appealing to me. Time is the medicine.. All you who claim to be addicts… wait and see..:P

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