Thursday, 11 October 2012

Review: The CTS Wardrobe

BLAISE FINALLY COMES OUT ABOUT HIS CLOSET

"Blaise regards his open closet with a steely but heartfelt affection."
Were I to click on that screen, I would have full access to the contents of my closet (dear God)
When I arrived in SL just over a year ago, a friend and mentor sat me down and said:

"Blaise, if you listen to just two pieces of advice about life here, listen to these: Firstly, beware of predatory, soul-sucking, honey-lipped harpies that will tear out your heart and devour it in front of you. And secondly, get an early grip on your inventory."

On reflection, it was never clear which of these pieces of advice was the more important. Hmm.

Anyway, the fact is that irksome, swollen inventories are a fact of SL, a little like lag and crashes. We spend an inordinate amount of time sorting the inventory, searching for something we’ve lost in the inventory, or not realising until we’ve put something on and waited for it to rez that it’s actually crap and it’s been crap ever since we first got it from the ‘Freebie Crypt’ in July 2009.

Now, being something of a nerdy geek with touches of OCD, I’m proud to say that I took my mentor’s advice to heart (well ... at least the advice about the inventory). Therefore, I kept mine very organised and regulated from the very beginning, separated into different folders for the type of clothes, the maker and colour and then a handy star system depending on how much I liked it. I even had a system of marking the folders £, ££ or £££ depending on how expensive it was! However, this system, as any folder system using the SL inventory (yes, even yours!), was still very sub-satisfaction. For example, as happened recently when doing a shoot, I wanted to know what pink items I had. And then I wanted to narrow it down to pink trousers (of which I had none, I will point out). My folder system just doesn’t allow this kind of flexibility. However, there is a system out there that does! Yes, of course there is, and you’re reading the review of that very product. So please, let me introduce you to Carlyle Theas Solution’s rather unimaginatively (but very pithily) named product: their Wardrobe.

So, what is it and what does it do? Basically, Wardrobe is an inventory management system, but that doesn’t even begin to describe what this baby can do. It’s a logging and cataloguing system, so that when you buy an item, you take a picture of it (or use the creator’s picture), and then email it to your wardrobe along with appropriate tags. So, for example, in the picture where I’m standing by the Wardrobe, my suit might be tagged as suit, brown, pinstripe, formal. Then, on receipt of the email, the Wardrobe catalogues the item, and it’s always there, ready for me to find. When I log in to the Wardrobe (which can either be done inworld through the actual Wardrobe, or by logging on to its webpage), I can now search for it. The tag brown will show me all of my brown items, add suit and I now see all of my brown suits, add pinstripe and ... well ... you get the picture. The process of cataloguing an item is exceptionally easy and can all be done through SL’s snapshot function, as there is an option to email a picture directly from snapshot. This is my preferred method, although you can also upload photos from your hard drive or use a vendor’s picture.

Looking at the Wardrobe online (my preferred method)
This is showing the results after I have searched the tags 'Tees' and 'BC' (BC being the now defunct maker of this t-shirt)

There are a number of advantages to using this system. Firstly, the flexibility in finding items is just incredible. Now I know that there are a lot of people out there who are very defensive about their particular filing system! However, I would challenge anyone to show me a filing system that offers the same functionality as the Wardrobe. For example, with a couple of clicks I can search for all of my red and blue boots, or items that are camouflage, or short-sleeved orange shirts with an owl crest on the left breast pocket. What’s more, when I get a list of potential items (say I’ve searched for all of my blond hairs), I can see a picture of them on the site and do not have to rez them individually inworld, which is an extraordinarily frustrating thing to have to do when you’re searching for a very particular look. What’s more, I can then click on that item and dress myself (by use of SL’s ‘RLV’ function) from the website! What’s more again, I can even give someone else temporary access to my Wardrobe so that they can dress and undress me! (apparently some people like doing that kind of thing in RP and stuff ... *coughs* ... I wouldn’t know).

This is just me buggering about behind my closet

So, what are its problems?

By far the biggest problem is the initial set up. If you have thousands of items in your inventory, you’re not going to want to sit and catalogue them, right? Well, yes, this is a challenge. However, there are some mitigating factors. Firstly, people spend such a ridiculous amount of time sorting their inventories anyway, that it doesn’t seem too much of a stretch to suggest that, when they do, they just catalogue their items into the Wardrobe. Secondly, I haven’t catalogued all of mine, not by a long shot, and I’ve had the Wardrobe some time now. However, it’s been useful to me to catalogue categories of items, rather than attempting to do everything at once. So I’ve logged my hats, accessories, t-shirts, shirts and hair into the Wardrobe, as well as any new items I get from any category. For a model in SL, even having the Wardrobe to manage one type of item would be very beneficial, hair being a particular example.

The other problem is the learning curve involved in getting to grips with the product, which is comparatively complex by SL standards. However, that does depend on how deeply you want to go with it. I was logging items within 10 minutes of buying it, so for basic use it’s really not that hard. Also, there is an absolutely brilliant ‘Wardrobe Support’ group that you can join. Every time I have been on that group to ask a question, I got a response and was able to resolve any particular issue I had. That facility is a great boon to the product as a whole. There is also the occasional inworld class on using the Wardrobe and getting the most out of it. I’ve attended one, and I attended it quite some time after getting the Wardrobe, so I really didn’t learn that much, but I think these could be very useful to an absolute newcomer and possibly something that could be more developed by the creator (it had a feeling of being a little ad lib and perhaps not as well put together as it might have been).

What I think would be an amazing feature would be a demo version of this, perhaps one that you can use for 15 days before it deactivates. I know that there’s a lot of reluctance for people to put the time in, the learning in, or to even question the integrity of their hallowed inventory filing system! A demo version like that would open the Wardrobe up to a lot of people, I think.

It’s available on Marketplace (click here), and its creator, the most lovely and spectacularly clever Carlyle Theas, even invites IMs if you have any questions.

Oh ... and ... ladies and gents! Look out for an exclusive interview with Carlyle Theas coming up in ESM very shortly. What’s more, there will be a competition for one lucky group member to win ONE CTS WARDROBE, currently on Marketplace for $699L! If you’re not already an ESM group member, IM me inworld (BlaiseJoshua) and I'll invite you to join.

Happy inventorizing people!

Blaise




8 comments:

  1. Great review, I think a lot more people should invest in it! No matter how hard I try to organize my insane amount of clothes (hair, boots, jewelry, sandals, etc, etc) nothing has come close to the Wardrobe.

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  2. I love mine! There is a huge fan and member to the group that teaches a class on occasion too. IM Ѵictoria ℱairlady (victoriaa.fairlady) for her schedule. Enjoy!

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  3. Can you put skin in and on with this wardrobe?

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    Replies
    1. You most certainly can : o ) Anything that can be attached, put on or otherwise connected to your virtual self can be used from within the wardrobe.

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    2. Ok tyvm.. just one more question..if you are putting these in a wardrobe, what happens to them in your inventory? Do they just stay there and you don't have to organise them?

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    3. They're in your inventory as normal, and you can still access items via the usual SL inventory system, as I often still do. If you want to be able to put items on via the Wardrobe website (as I do), you will need to put them in a special folder in your inventory, but other than that it's all business as usual : o )

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  4. Also ... Strawberry Singh has just done a rather spiffing review of the Wardrobe, which you can see here:http://strawberrysingh.com/2012/12/12/the-cts-wardrobe/

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