Thursday, February 23, 2012

Second Life Inventory Management: Archiving Your Items


Okay time to roll up those sleeves and get to the one topic I keep mentioning in all my blog posts -- archiving your items in your inventory. I myself have been practicing inventory archiving for a year now and do find it useful, but many argue that you forget what you have archived, so why not just delete it? And their arguments have validity. A good archiving system depends on how you use it, how it is structured and how much work you put into it to keep it that way.


The simplified explanation of archiving is rezzing a box and stuffing all the stuff you don't want to get rid of into it. Renaming the box something like "Inventory Archive" and stuffing it back in your inventory to pull out when ever you need to dig through it. But I have found this simplified version does not work very well at all.

A archive system has to be kept neat just like your inventory or you will never find anything in it again. There are several tools I have used to archive/store and I will share each of them with you over the next few Inventory Management Posts. Hopefully one of them will meet your needs and budget.

The first thing I ever used for storage of my items were simple prim boxes that I made with pretty hover text over them. So that I could see visually what is in them

In fact I had only one prim box I tossed it all into, but then discovered that once you got to about 1000 items in the prim you can't find anything really fast cause it takes forever to load. So I nixed that idea. Then I got the great idea that I could create a list of categories just like in my inventory and have a box for each of them to sort my archived stuff into. This worked wonderfully for me, till I discovered that if the prim box contained all "copy only" items it created a new copy of the whole archive box which I would pick back up after adding a new item to it.

This created the problem of duplicate archives with the same name and the issue that I had no clue which was the newest box with all my stuff in it. By duplicating I mean it leaves a copy in your inventory when ever you rezz one out. About this time I was ready to give up till I came up with the idea of a "lock prim". A lock prim is a prim that is set to no copy so that it stops the archive box from duplicating. You drop one of these down in your archive box and it stops duplicate archive folders being made. The only problem with this idea I found is the "lock prims" that I made for myself, would still copy, since I was the creator. This discovery ramped up my frustration on the whole archive process and I ranted for days to anyone that would listen till Mel one day said why don't I create them for you? And I was back to archiving my inventory.

Okay now that we discussed my theory and how it evolved, lets put it to work. You will need to make sure you are on land that you can build on. If you do not own land or have a friend who does you can go to a public sand box. Now don't groan, I know there is no privacy at a sand box and working on the ground sucks cause you get hit on by all the perverts who seem to lurk at sandboxes. So for this problem I recommend building a Privacy Box aka Sky box. If you have never built anything in Second Life before and would like to read a short manual on it, I would recommend reading the SL Knowledge base on Building Tools first. But if you are the adventurous type, skip the Building Tool Intro and go right to reading my tutorial on how to build your own Privacy Box.

Now that we have a place to work, let's get to work!

If you have not yet organized your inventory into category folders, I highly recommend you read my post on folder organization on how to do that before taking this project on, as you could do your sorting into inventory folders and archiving at the same time.

1. CREATE & NAME YOUR ARCHIVE BOXES
First thing you need to do is create a box for each category you  will be archiving. If your using my kit all you need to do is rez out one of the Archive Containers in the kit and type the name of the category in the General Tab. If you want to build your own follow the steps below:
  1. Click Ctrl+B to open your Build Interface.
  2. Click the Wand at the top of the Build Interface.
  3. Select the Square Prim.
  4. Click the Ground.
  5. Right click the prim you just created then edit.
  6. Name it in the General Tab.
The naming of your archives boxes is up to what is easiest for you. I use the following names on my boxes. I recommend you play with them and come up with what is easiest for you to remember.

[ARCH] Appearance: Hairs: Fat Packs
[ARCH] Appearance: Hairs: Brown
[ARCH] Appearance: Hairs: Black
[ARCH] Appearance: Hairs: Blonde
[ARCH] Appearance: Hairs: Red
[ARCH] Appearance: Hairs: White
[ARCH] Appearance: Hairs: Bizarre Colors
[ARCH] Appearance: Eyes
[ARCH] Appearance: Shapes & Skins
[ARCH] Appearance: Wings, Tails, Horns
[ARCH] Appearance: Ears
[ARCH] Appearance: Tattoos
[ARCH] Appearance: Random Body Parts
[ARCH] Appearance: Full Avatars
-----------------
[ARCH] Clothing: Full Outfits
[ARCH] Clothing: Shirts
[ARCH] Clothing: Dresses
[ARCH] Clothing: Pants
[ARCH] Clothing: Skirts
[ARCH] Clothing: Lingerie
[ARCH] Clothing: Socks/Stockings
[ARCH] Clothing: Costumes
[ARCH] Clothing: Jackets
-----------------
[ARCH] Shoes: Heels
[ARCH] Shoes: Boots
[ARCH] Shoes: Flats
[ARCH] Shoes: Sneakers
-----------------
[ARCH] Building: Tools
[ARCH] Building: Mega Prims
[ARCH] Building: Full Perm Kits
[ARCH] Building: Landscaping
[ARCH] Building: My Builds
[ARCH] Building: Scripts (be sure to box each script individually or on a note card, do not drop directly into your archive prim)
---------------
[ARCH] Animations: Pose Balls Couple
[ARCH] Animations: Pose Balls  Single
[ARCH] Animations: Loose Animations (these are the animations not in a pose ball already)
-----------------
[ARCH] Home: Pictures
[ARCH] Home: Living room
[ARCH] Home: Kitchen
[ARCH] Home: Bedroom
[ARCH] Home: Hot tubs/Pools
[ARCH] Home: Decorations
[ARCH] Home: Plants
[ARCH] Home: Game Room
[ARCH] Home:  Patio/Outdoor
[ARCH] Home:  Skyboxes/Houses

Okay I think that is enough to get you started on your way on naming your boxes, I could sit here all day writing out all the names for the ones in my box. I am very detailed orientated and have mine broken way down to small categories, for easy finding.



2. SORT AND FILE YOUR INVENTORY
 Now you should have category folders in your inventory and several category named archive boxes sitting out on the ground. Begin small, choose the category you think is the smallest and start going through the items in the folder, slide over the things you do not want to toss but do not use often into the archive box content tab. I have a folder in my Object folder I use to hold my archive boxes, easier to slide them up into it when you pick them up as they will most likely show up in the Object folder first.

 Take frequent breaks, and just work through it one folder at a time. You will see a dramatic decrease in your inventory.

3. OTHER TOOLS FOR THOSE GADGET MINDED PEOPLE
There are two tools I picked up on Marketplace that I used for a bit before reverting back to my basic prim container because I found it just as easy to search a prim box as these items. I do recommend if you are not satisfied with the basic prim container you check these items out. Several of my friends use them and swear I am crazy for not using them anymore.

Inventory Box Organizer (215L)
This is a handy device which is a normal box but with scrolls on it so that you can scroll through your items stored inside. It has hover text over it that tells you the name of the item, what type of item it is and how many your box contains. It has a menu in it, when you find the item you are wanting through scrolling the times, you click the box and select retrieve and it is once more in your inventory in the Object Folder. It also goes to sleep after a while so that the script does not keep running when not needed. The creator claims you can put as many items in it as you like, that there is no limit, but I found scrolling through a couple hundred items just a tedious as waiting for my single prim archive contents to load.  I do still use them for certain things like my meeroo nests.

SORTaMATIC (1,499L)
This device is much, much more advance than the one above, as can be expected by the price, but I am pretty happy with it. This one has a search feature and sorts by permissions. I really like the "Folder" option, it rezzes a box for you to use as a folder so it does the work of creating the boxes for you. (Such a lazy girl I am). Using the menu you can ask for a list of all the items in the SortaMatic. It is also very easy to use. It also changes the names of the folders to show which were altered when. 

Over all I think these are some of the best tools developed for Inventory archiving. I am just a really...really impatient person :)

Till the next post, take care my fellow organizers!
~Taliferrue

Picture Details:
Hair -Amacci Hair -Mindy (275L)
Wings - ::{Favole}:: *Entangle*.(60L)
Skin - [PF] Alyx by Pink Fuel - Hunt Gift (10L)
Eyes - Realistic Honey - AZ Eyes Marketplace (5L)
Ears - Elven / Elf / Fairy Ears gen 02 Windlow (375L)
Earrings - !!NK TALYA Earrings (part of a full outfit 250L)
Ring - Claddagh Woven Ring - Silver (795L)
Glasses - ROLE OPTIC GLASSES SG 82 - Ares I (469L)
Outfit: - [: B!ASTA :] - Dress Up, Little ChikiTa! (185L)
Shoes: - [: B!ASTA :] -Summer Fun - TC Leather Flats(150L)


Poses:

  • Poses were created using my (CTS) wardrobe hud, unsure of who created the animations in it.