Rental Beam – Updates and New Features

September 9, 2015 by
Filed under: DGP4SL Info, Technical Info 

When it comes to managing your Land Rentals, it’s the tiny details that tend to give you the most trouble. Simple things that get overlooked, or tiny issues that go unnoticed can drive you totally crazy. And that’s why we’ve been busy improving Rental Beam. At DG Products for Second Life, we believe that computers should handle the boring detail work, leaving us Avatars to frolic and play our day away … errr, something like that.

Rental Beam and Error Checking

It happens very seldom, but every now and then a rental device will go offline. It could be a bad Sim restart or just stray ions from space, but no matter what caused it, it needs to be fixed. But if you don’t know the device is offline, how do you know to fix it? That’s where Rental Beam steps up.

From the main menu, choose “Exceptions/Errors” under the Rentals category. Rental Beam will run a quick check of your current rentals then display a report of all devices that need attention.

Rental Beam Exceptions and Errors

Rental Beam, Rental Beam … Rental Beam

One of the other common issues that people run into is accidentally adding either the wrong version or extra copies of the correct Rental Beam Plugin to the rental device. It usually happens when there is a lot of lag and when you are updating a lot of rental devices all at once. Rental Beam automatically detects the addition of the wrong version (hippoRENT in a CasperLet box for example) and/or extra Plugin copies and reports this to Nearby Chat instantly. In addition, you will receive an email with information about the incorrect or extra Plugin. If you’ve enabled System Notice by IM then you will also receive an Instant Message.

Did I Forget To …?

It’s an annoying but very necessary step. When you add the Rental Beam Plugin to one of your rental devices, you must also initialize the device in some fashion. For hippoRENT Boxes, you must perform a full Reset. Fortunately you can do it from their web site. CasperLet devices (meters and boxes) need only have their Menu displayed; anyone touching the device will properly initialize it. But still, if you forget this step, how do you know for sure? Because Rental Beam will tell you.

As soon as you add the correct Rental Beam Plugin to the rental device, it starts waiting for the device to initialize. But if the device doesn’t initialize within a reasonable period of time, Rental Beam will send you a “Stalled Box” notice. The notice is sent via Email, but if you have enabled System Notice by IM then you will also receive an Instant Message.

System Notices

We can all lose track of Instant Messages. You’ve got a ton flying at you, and one slips past that you probably should have read a bit closer. With Rental Beam, that’s not a problem. Every System Notice sent to you by Instant Message is also saved. Simply open the “System Notices” Report to see all of the notices sent to you over the past year.

Rental Beam and Land Groups

Because Rental Beam can be used with both CasperLet and hippoRENT systems, there needed to be a way to group rentals together that worked for both. We called the feature “Land Groups“. You simply create a number of Land Groups, each with its own unique name. Then using the “Manage Rentals” page, assign each rental to the desired Land Group.

Each of the Listing Styles provided by Rental Beam also offers a way to limit the listing to rentals belonging to a specific Land Group. If you do not specify a Land Group for a listing then all Available rentals will be shown. But if you assign a Land Group, only those rentals that are also in that group will be shown. How you use Land Groups is up to you, but common uses are to divide rentals into Commercial and Residential use, Beach versus Grass, or any other classification you can imagine. Just remember that each rental may belong to one and only one Land Group at a time.

Coming Soon … More Statistics

We believe that knowing is just as important as doing. When it comes to your Land Rental business, knowing what is going on can be even more important to you. So we’re working on ways to improve the information you have at your fingertips. Rental Beam already provides statistics on the Rental Listings it provides. Coming soon we will also be providing historical data on your rentals. Very soon you’ll be able to open a graph showing the total number of rentals, available properties, locked and reserved parcels … all displayed over a selected period of time.

More Coming Soon … Custom Rental Images

While Rental Beam specializes in showing Region Maps with the exact location of each rental spotted by a beacon, you don’t always want a Region Map displayed. At present you can only turn off the display of Region Maps across all of your rentals. But coming soon we are going to expand that by adding the ability to attach a custom image to a rental. The image must be an In-World Texture, and you will assign it by copying the UUID into Rental Beam. Once assigned, the custom image will be displayed instead of a Region Map every place that a map is displayed now. You will also be able to assign a “No Image” value to prevent display of any image at all just for that rental.

Rental Beam is Growing!

We’ve been absolutely overjoyed with the response to Rental Beam’s recent upgrades. We’ve received a lot of good ideas and we’re sure there’s more to come. If you’ve ever had an idea you thought might help, please know that we want to hear it too.

Rental Beam on the SLM

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