I finally wandered inworld into Second Life. I had to use Selene's laptop which still runs XP, and it works very well. I tried loading a different video driver into my Vista laptop but the SecondLife app just does not work in that OS.
It is a nice environment, well rendered and textured 3D, and reasonable speed of movement, though I noticed a few times when everything woould slow down - perhaps the server overloaded.
Unfortunately, I simply could not edit the appearance of my avatar which remains, sadly, as a shadow of myself. Perhaps Rosmairta can help out soon.