“Our dreams are a second life.” ~Gerard de Nerval
It’s probably not entirely healthy to fall in love with your mobile device. But from the moment I unwrapped my iPad on that fateful Christmas morning, there has been an epic love affair raging between me and that sexy, take-me-anywhere, do-anything-with me touch screen. Together, my iPad and I can read, write, draw, paint, organize, research, compose, tweet, surf, play, email and Skype.
But, we can’t log into my addiction, Second Life. Until SL is web-based (like the increasingly popular Cloud Party) or there is a usable mobile app for it (unlikely), I am cut off from my virtual friends and activities unless I am sitting dutifully at my desktop. iPad wants to play too… it’s just not fair.
Then we found Pocket Metaverse Pro in the App store, which promises to be “the best and most complete mobile client for accessing Second Life, providing easy access to all major functions.”
Compatible with iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, Pocket MV has an easy setup and a simple, intuitive interface. You can log into home or last location, and have immediate access to your friends’ list, groups, and can chat and send IMs.
No, there is no 3D world experience with Pocket Metaverse Pro (or any other device or app outside of Second Life*). You can’t see, except for your position on the map, you can’t change your appearance and you can’t fully “engage” as you can when you are logged in from your computer.
But you can view profiles exactly as you would inworld with “who’s online”, info, profile pic, groups and picks. So it is possible to pay other residents, add friends and offer teleports. You can search for people or business associates not on your friends’ list and have the same options.
The Map window shows your current location and the lovely green dots of people nearby. From there you can teleport to somewhere else in the window, enter a search location, or TP to one of your landmarks.
One of the most promising features of Pocket MV Chat screen is the Minimap in the top right corner. It’s a small, round, zoomable window with a limited move feature, which I would love to see expanded. Currently it shows nearby avs (with names) and allows your own avatar to walk and turn around.
You also have the option of listening to the parcel media, which means me and my iPad can “attend” live concerts, or simply share a music stream with friends.
Importantly, in addition to the chat, IM, search and map functions, Pocket MV Pro lets you access your inventory, allowing you, for example, to read notecards and view snapshots and textures. You can even download images from your inventory to your mobile device. My iPad, which has very tasty image processing software, loves this feature! Pocket MV says you can “give, receive and manage inventory”, but alas, you cannot delete anything in your inventory, which is a shame (especially if your inventory is as bloated as mine is, and needs constant maintenance).
Another plus for Pocket MV Pro is that you can now also connect to OpenSim grids.
But there are some problems which are distressingly similar to those you find in Second Life itself. Like infuriating sluggishness (aka lag) and not infrequent freeze-ups. These uncooperative nuisances give the app a sense of crankiness: it can do all the things it promises, but it just won’t.
So my wish list for Pocket MV Pro, in addition to an improvement in performance, would include a more robust inventory management system, with a delete function. The ability to move and rename (i.e., actually organize) the items in inventory would be helpful too. I’m not sure how or if it is possible, but I would love access to chat and IM logs.
Meanwhile the capacity to easily connect with people in Second Life and to view and download images to my photo album, are two features (when they work smoothly) worth the price of admission for me and my iPad.
You can try a free ad-supported version with limited features to see if it suits. As a simple inworld chat and IM client, the free version works just fine.
For slum magazine.