Saturday, September 27, 2008

First Post - I joined the Hipihi virtual world today.

I just joined the Hipihi virtual world.

I used the English registration page. Registration was simple and went smoothly.

I used my real name for the username. I thought the username was a secret name, and the nickname would be displayed throughout the Hipihi site, but I was wrong. The username appears on the forums, at least when I am logged in, and it appears in Hipihi in the copyright part of the inventory system.

I'm not trying to hide my real name, so it's not a problem in my case, but it should be made clear exactly what information you provide will show where and to who. For example, the registration process asked for my birthday. I provided my birthday. I hope this is not displayed anywhere. It's a security breach, a serious security breach, as bad as making your password or security question publicly visible. Hipihi says it will use the birth date as part of the process of correcting forgotten passwords - why would they then make that public?

There is a field in the avatar profile that shows a birth date, but it didn't show the correct one. There's a separate place to fill in some profile information that I haven't gotten to yet.

I think there's a cultural difference between internet users in China and my home country the U.S.A. on the subject of providing your real identity. I at least am used to using aliases on the net, sometimes providing real information to the company that runs the site, and alias information for public display.

So I warn users who don't want their real id disclosed in the Hipihi system to be careful to not provide their real info to the Hipihi company.

My real name is Chuck Baggett, and my Hipihi nickname is Sharcel, the same as the first name of my recently created Second Life account, which has the name Sharcel Bellic. "Sharcel" is an anagram of the letters in Charles, my really real first name.

While in Hipihi on my first visit I was shown how to get an object that's been put out to share. The object I got was a hat with some hair. I have read enough about Hiphi to know that the object editing system is very much like Second Life, and I have also read how to make some of the interface be in English, which I had done before running it the first time, so reducing the size of the gigantic hat, rotating it so it was on frontwards, and getting it roughly positioned in the proper place was not a problem.

I liked the choice of avatars offered during the registration process; there were four male and four female avatars. The male avatars were nice looking, not exaggeratedly muscular and overdeveloped looking, and they didn't have as much facial hair as the Second Life avatars tend to have. There was a choice of business type suits and some more casual slacks and a T-shirt. I chose the khakis and T-shirt. I'm not a suit wearing sort of person.

There was a bunch of lag, but I don't know if that was Hipihi lag or caused by Second Life running in the background. SL has a bug that causes a memory problem if it is left minimized, I think, and that might have been messing things up. I had to reboot the computer, after attempting and failing to get Second Life to close.

A person, female avatar, approached me and offered help with using the interface, speaking good English. I had gone to their land, which is easy in Hipihi; when you find someone's profile you can go to their side, or to their land. You also get a real-time view of what their avatar is wearing, which I think might be a problem for folks that want to engage in avatar sex or work in a virtual strip joint or just even trying on clothes.

I can't type the name of the of the person that helped me, and I couldn't type their name in chat. This is because their name is in Chinese, which I don't speak at all. This is a problem that a multicultural virtual world needs to solve. It should be possible to in some easy fashion to select an avatar and have their name copied to the text buffer for easy retrieval, and to click on lines of chat in the chat window and select "reply to" in some manner.

I was aided in the process of getting Hipihi to run by the detailed instructions you can find just by typing "Hipihi English" into Google. I already had the Asian language pack installed, and the instructions for the rest of the process of setting up the Region and Locale, modifying the Hipihi shortcut, and editing the file in the Hipihi program folder that makes it use the English version of the interface where all perfectly clear and easy to follow. The interface is not completely translated. It will be interesting to see how many more non-Chinese speaking people try Hipihi as the English version is improved and presumably other non-Chinese language versions are created.

Here's the avatar selection during the registration process:


















Below is me as Sharcel a few minutes after entering Hipihi for the first time:




















Below I am getting instructions in how to get a copy of some creations left out for others to have:














I hope the Hipihi company comes up with some way to make the objects do things with scripts that I can figure out.

Hipihi allows use of Flash, shockwave files I guess they are, but I am not familiar with how to make them or even how to pick out free ones that would make sense to put in Hipihi.

There's a way to get land for free during the beta testing period but I haven't got that figured out yet.

I am registered at LiveMocha, the language learning site, but haven't gone back since the initial signup. I guess at my age the though of learning even a bit of a foreign language is pretty scary, pretty challenging. I will try to get back, I've received a number of friendship requests there, and I suspect that even if I don't make much headway learning Chinese, I might be able to help some folks just by chatting with them in English.

That's enough for this post.

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I feel like I need to exercise extreme care in what I write about in order to avoid trouble, and that sounds like what the phrase "walking on eggshells" means, hence the title "Writing On Eggshells".

I think "Writing On Eggshells" offers the chance for some nice graphics for the blog title banner. Another thing to add to the list of things to do.

I'm the Chuck Baggett in facebook at http://www.new.facebook.com/profile.php?id=560072876&ref=profile
I'm Sharcel Bellic in Second Life, and Sharcel in Hipihi.