Tag Archives: Bugs

Bandwidth and Notices. A Tale of Communication.

The bandwidth issues of the last few weeks continue.

As seen from my home region of Brocade:

In the South West corner, where the diagonal region, Taeniatum is running LeTigre, last week’s Release Channel rollout partly fixed the problem, this weeks rollout returned it. This is a complicated problem to understand. With a very short draw distance it seems to be confined to just the immediate (50M) area of the 0,0 corner (that is the part that was fixed). With longer draw distances it effects much of the region (that was never fixed).

In the South East corner, the diagonal region is Epirrita, running Magnum RC. There I see a different problem. Epirrita often does not rez at all from Brocade until I fly into an adjacent region. While the region is not there my bandwidth is high if I am within draw distance of it. This is probably a different issue from what I see in the SW corner, although it still effects bandwidth.

The problem with bandwidth issues is that they can have disastrous implications for anyone whose isp limits their monthly bandwidth! There are reports of people using up their entire allowance in a day or 2!

What you can do:

  1. Open the Statistics floater (ctrl+shift+1) and leave it open! Travel around SL a bit to get an idea what your normal bandwidth is (around 100kbps or less for me).
  2. Whenever you find your bandwidth is high, reduce your draw distance. And/or-
  3. Move to a different place within the region, toward the center of the region or north, whichever works best for you, all the time keeping your eye on the statistics floater.
  4. Install a bandwidth monitor like BitMeter OS (a word of caution, SL measures in kbps – kilo-bits/sec; most monitors use kBps – kilo-Bytes/sec. Basicly 1 Byte = 8 bits).

What Linden Lab Should Do:

Communicate! Back in the olden days of SL we got pop up notices in world. That system became unreliable and unwieldy as the number of residents grew. It is imperative that LL develop a way to inform it’s customers when there is an issue that is going to effect them RL like this does for many people. The old system will probably never come back, but email still works, they can sure find me that way whenever they want to promote something! A word of apology, some helpful advice like I give above, and a link to a web page where residents can keep updated would go a long way. The way it is now, the Lindens seem to rely on the bloggers to get the word out. The simple fact is the majority of SL residents just want to enjoy their second life, they do not want to read about SL on a blog or in forums. When there is an important reason for them to be informed about something they need a heads-up.

Kudos to the Phoenix/Firestorm Team. They discovered a problem in the 4.2.1 release on Monday; pulled the download later in the day even though the problem was purely esthetic; released a corrected 4.2.2 on Tuesday along with a post taking ownership of the error. Are you listening LL? Regardless of the scale or complexity of the problem, this is an example of how to handle it!

May you live in interesting times.

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Announcements and Predicaments

It has been a very interesting week!

On Thursday the Lindens made 2 announcements:

NewOpen Source Project to Improve Graphics Rendering Performance is a project initiated by the Exodus Viewer team for which the lab will be developing the server-side code. This will use features inherent to most graphics cards to greatly improve the appearance of mesh builds. If I understand it correctly there will be very little lag or impact on your computer performance. It basically loads another texture in a similar way to what sculpties do, except this texture defines such things as reflectivity of individual surfaces and even pixels in the mesh. (The sculpty map texture tells the viewer how to distort a prim).

Second Life is Expanding to Steam pretty much says it all, although exactly how it will be implemented is as yet unclear.

One thing is for sure, these 2 announcements taken together with implementation of pathfinding and gaming tools mark a clear bid for hard-core gamers to at least give Second Life a look.

I hope the next group the Lab looks to is the tired, poor, huddled masses who frequently find solice in Second Life using computers and connections that are near the low end of what LL defines optimistic as minimum. I know the Lindens wish it was otherwise, but these people are the core of Second Life; it is time for a viewer and/or service that will allow them to enjoy SL with modestly priced equipment and connections.

Recent bugs have also been interesting:

Account recovery questions are now useless is a gem! You will have to read it. No way you would believe me if I just told you!

I recently discovered why my framerate was lagging so badly at the Cafe`. I had put a “dark prim” (a complex sculpty) under the water layer of the pool to simulate water. Once I picked it up my framerate went back to normal. SL Water prim and Anti-water prim is a jira post requesting a water prim, probably one of the oldest feature requests in SL. It is a technological challenge but I have no doubt the guys in the back room could come up with a fix if they were properly motivated. (Just say “yes Ma’am” and get to work boys).

Excessive “ParcelOverlay reliable” messages sent by regions since last rolling restart and kittycorner region is not visible both have to do with problems involving diagonally opposed regions. The first of the two is the more serious since it can drive usage rates way up for people who’s internet access is metered or capped. It is a wide spread problem that many people are not aware of. I would beware of the SW and SE corners of regions. The Lindens are WorkingOnIt. I have seen the second issue myself, with the region in question not rezing until I actually flew into it! Again the region is SE of my home region.

May you live in interesting times.

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