Archive for November, 2010

Working at my laptop

Today’s announcement that viewer 2.3 has launched with display names includes a link a knowledgebase article titled How do I log in with my username if I’m using Viewer 1.23 or a third-party viewer?

Don’t get me wrong. I have a soft spot for the Lindens on the doc team, and I think that it’s a good knowledgebase article. It is just unfortunate it has to exist. Why can’t backward compatibility be built into the log in process?

When usernames go live, if I want to log in to viewer 1.23, I have to put my username in the First Name field, and I have to put “resident” in the Last Name field. Which would be fine if users RTFM. But they don’t. They don’t read knowledgebase articles, either. They get confused, get pissed off, and give up.

Why not just make the login process backward compatible? I won’t pretend I have looked at the login server code, but how hard would it be to implement the logic (pardon my pseudocode):

if LastName <> "resident"
create variable CombinedUserName;
CombinedUserName = concatenate (FirstName + "." +  LastName);
FirstName = CombinedUserName;
LastName = "resident";

I just wrote that in six lines of pseudocode, and I suck at programming. So someone who knows what they are doing can code it much more efficiently. My point? It’s not hard.

I know that the TPV developers will eventually put the same sort of logic into their viewers, so some people will argue that the Lab doesn’t need to bother. To be honest, I would rather use one of the Lab’s viewers, even without the handy bells and whistles, than a TPV. So someone ought to speak up for the hapless users of the Lab’s own 1.23 viewer who are going to end up alienated by the username log in process when it’s just not necessary.


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