I got some complaints from tenants about Voice not working in SL.
I don't like Voice. And it's not because I somehow "fear" that my RL female voice will come out of my SL male body. That has never bothered me in the slightest. I'm not going to fiddle with some kind of "voice font" to change it, that's retarded.
No, I just don't like it because it's a chore. It always requires fiddling with dials -- it isn't "just is" -- like a telephone. I always have to change from "default" to whatever my system's speakers or microphone is, and it never seems to remember that I've done that. I always have to try to adjust the loudness and it going into the read -- it's just frigging annoying. It has gotten better as a system over the years -- it's not like it crashes or anything like that. I just don't find it smooth.
Basically, I only turn it on when I have to hear an event, or when some tenant has something that is broken. I find my tenants don't even seem to be big users of it, I've never even once had someone demand I go into voice so they didn't have to bother typing.
So I figure the mainland has glitches with Voice again, and this is something unrelated to Voice run by Vivox as far as I know, but some sim thing. There are old mainland sims that have problems. Anyway, it turned out, when I went to the sim, I could see the little green waves over my head. And then this Linden -- oops, I mean one of those new people, not Lindens, but with the name "Scout" came teleporting in to talk to me. And we could hear each other on the parcel, where voice was checked off, so it was some other problem. And the tenant kept saying that it was just working yesterday for him, and as usual this trouble ticket was one of those things where the tenant feels "the problem is YOUR LAND" -- as if land has these sort of magical properties that I can turn on and off.
So, fiddling with the dials, putting the checks on and off, etc. etc. finally we conclude -- oh, he's on a third-party viewer, Phoenix, where it must be simply that either Voice isn't supported or maybe some new patch did something, who the hell knows. The "Scout" had told me blandly, "We don't support third-party viewers". End/story.
Good! sez I. I don't either!
So while noodling with this, I tried once again -- I always do! -- to figure out -- why doesn't Voice work? Why don't I like it? There, I got the default thing changed, I got the red out, I got the green waves, what's not to like?
What's not to like? Here I've got a Russian customer, she can easily type Cyrrilic because she's on the Cyrillic browser, but I can't -- I don't put in the Cyrillic browser because I don't want the struggles of typing to that non-QWERTY keyboard which is something you just never get over -- so I have to type angrusskiy to her in Latin letters, which not every Russian can read (although increasingly Internet words are transliterated English so Russians get them). Here's a situation where Voice would make it easier because she's a noob to explain all the stuff.
Yet -- it just never feels right. Why, why, why?
I stood on my sim and felt that feeling that I always feel on Voice that always nags me as being "off". Again, repeat: the problem isn't my voice coming out of a male avatar. Not at all. I could log on with the female alt and it would stilll have that "funny" feeling.
The feeling is always one that my head has been cut off, and my head is floating above my avatar, and my head is no longer connected to my avatar.
Now, to be sure, there is a kind of duality that goes on here -- stay with me on this. Yes, my avatar is "not me". It's that figure in Second Life. However, he's not like a puppet or a doll -- as Will Wright so wonderfully explained it to me once in the Sims Online, you *invest* the avatar with consciousness.
So as you wander in SL -- and it doesn't take any "immersion" really because you could still be doing things like chatting to your RL kids or reading email in the other window, etc. -- you feel like your consciousness is at least in part "in" that avatar. That is, you say "I walked into the room" or "I'm going to teleport over there" or "oops, that chicken is bumping into me". It's not like you "forget" that you are a human typing in a real world, because that's the underpinnings, but you feel like "you are" doing XYZ in SL as a divided little consciousness. Indeed, if you step on a chicken egg by accident, you will feel "Oh, damn!" and if someone suddenly arrives and scares you, you might startle. That kind of thing.
So, what does Voice always feel as if it is coming from left field????
This sort of problem always nags me, and sometimes, I might puzzle over it at odd hours, like now. And I finally figured it out.
My voice in Second Life is not coming from inside my chest. Like it does in real life. It's coming from inside my ears -- my head.
And that's just it. That's what makes it not work. It's a locational thing.
My real voice starts in my chest as air and vibrations and is shaped by tongue and teeth -- so the whole effect is of lungs/chest/throat/lungs being a kind of cavern from which the voice emerges and is heard by the ears secondarily, as it were.
But in SL, my chest is hollow, uninvolved, and I'm hearing myself in my ears -- so it adds to the effect that "my head is cut off" from my avatar. I can't get inside my avatar the normal way, which typing doesn't interfere with for some reason.
Now to be sure, you can switch the Voice to come from other avatars or just the room, but what you can't seem to do is somehow "make sound come out of your chest" -- the representation of your chest inworld -- it comes out of your head/ears -- you feel as if you are "inworld, listening on your headset to your voice" so that from the inworld perspective, your voice comes in through your headphones, not your chest. That's a little illusion/strangeness all to itself, because your voice is still in your RL chest. I'm just saying how it feels when you're inworld.
These aren't like metaphors or fancies, they are like structural problems. So I'm going to conclude this is some kind of "wired" problem where, when you are invested in your consciousness into the little figure of your avatar, when your voice suddenly pipes in via your headset -- wearing the headset of course makes you more conscious of your ears as a source, even when technically they are not --
You know, there are certain tricks in life that can make those kind of neurological things go away.
Example: the Russians have a trick how to make it so that you won't cry while peeling onions. They obviously developed this over the years because they have so many damn onions in their national cuisine, and onions are easy to grow there in people's truck gardens. So what they do is take a little piece of bread and put it under their tongues, then cut the onion. And it is amazing how that works -- you absolutely do not cry and can go on cutting onions for a long time without the slightest tear, as long as you keep that piece of bread under your tongue.
I don't know why this works -- perhaps the onion molecules are an assault on your olfactory system, and the bread makes a kind of buffer against it by putting your tongue to work tasting something else (you have to put it under not over your tongue, though).
So I wonder if there isn't something to make that feeling that the avatar's head is cut off, or floating above his body, when he has voice, and whether that "something" is somehow to have something vibrating on your chest, something about your headphone set-up that would have some piece attached to and vibrated on your chest. I wonder if even putting your hand over your heart might help reattach your head.
Of course, other people may not experience this head problem. I do have synthesthesia, so perhaps this is related, but I don't think so.
The Voice thing is pretty good and giving you a sense of direction.
You may have heard the Virtual Haircut and how that works. I remember discussing this with Philip when they were putting in Voice and he said they were trying to do the same thing.
SL Voice almost gets to that Virtual Haircut level of fidelity but...there's that chest problem.
How to fix?