Tag Archives: Nalates

Marking the Passage of Time


The past week or so has seen an accumulation of milestones.

WordPress informs me I have now been blogging for 3 years. It hardly seems possible! I spent some time rereading my old posts (and adding tags). There are none I regret writing although I wish I had not titled one “Free Sex Bed”, it still gets a lot of hits, probably not by people interested in Second Life. “There is need for a “Lite” Second Life Viewer” gets the most hits. It is probably misinformed in it’s technical details, yet the number of people looking at it validates it’s basic intent.

Firestorm Viewer has also reached it’s 3rd anniversary! The journey from Emerald to Phoenix to Firestorm was not always smooth sailing, but the viewer has always been very popular and usually has been the most used viewer in SL. What we have today is an outstanding example of the high end of what is possible. The support offered by the team via their wiki, in group chat, and in in-world classes is an example of what the Lindens “should” be doing.

On a very sad note, Nalates posts that Nomine is closing. Many of you may not remember, but in the 2005-2006 time frame there was a lot of positive publicity in both the print and digital press featuring Munchflower Zaius (Nomine) as an example of someone making a RL living in SL (see here and here). This early publicity was instrumental in attracting my attention to Second Life. If you get a chance, visit Nomine while you still can, Munch’s work is still among the best around. We wish her the very best possible in her life’s journey.

In addition to all of that, both Sandy and I celebrate RL birthdays this week. No, I am not telling 🙂

We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing our own skin.” Andre Berthiaume

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SSA and The One-Legged Man Upstairs


I have been waiting since Tuesday for the other shoe to drop. Nothing! Or nearly nothing at least. Linden Lab and the Third Party Viewer developers are to be congratulated on a job well done. By any reasonable measure Server-side Appearance is a rousing success!

A relatively small number of people have had “issues”:

1- User hardware. Lets get this out of the way first. If your equipment and your connection to the internet do not meet minimum requirement for SL you will have problems! One ray of sunshine – it is back-to-school season and there are lots of sales on computers that will work. If you use a cell phone connection to log in, you should expect problems, especially during high traffic times.

2- Temporary textures and Z offset. These are both gone, at least as we knew them. LL replaced Temp Textures with Local Textures, this actually works better except only you can see them. Kind of suck for collaborative work. Z offset was replaced with Hover which was kind of clunky until Henri Beauchamp (Cool VL Viewer) got his hands on it. I anticipate his fix to work it’s way into Third Party viewers fairly quickly.

3- Sun-99 and the Current Outfit folder. This really is a bug. Some people have ended up with more than one current outfit folder, this messes with SSA since it bases your appearance on that folder. If you have this problem contact LL support, they have a fix.

4- Corrupt skin and/or outfit textures. SSB does not handle this well, any corrupt texture will cause the effected part of your body (head, body, legs) to stay gray. Best advice, try changing stuff on the effected area.

Additional reading:

Inara Pey’s excellent summary.

Nalates posts here and here.

Firestorm Blog.

 

Bugs will appear in one part of a working program when another ‘unrelated’ part is modified. Murphyism

 

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Some thoughts on Firestorm


There was a Questions & Answers meeting with the Firestorm team last week. Inara Pey has a transcript (edited for clarity) on her blog, along with the entire 2 hour 45 minute video.

Some highlights and news:

CHUI– It was last year when the Lab decided to revamp the Communication interface (why they chose to name it after a rather uncommunicative Star Wars character is speculation for another day). While I respect their choice to “do it the right way”, this resulted in complex and deeply embedded changes to the underlying viewer code Firestorm is built from. As of now those changes are not yet finalized. The challenge this set before the Firestorm developers has been huge! They anticipate it will be another 2 or 3 months before they have a new version that has this integration incorporated sufficiently to release a good-enough viewer update. It will not be perfect or even up to their usual quality standards, that will likely take a few months into next year.

Materials– This is the much anticipated feature that will give textures a 3D look. This is almost ready in the Official viewer pipeline but the Firestorm team can only integrate one thing at a time and retain their sanity. It should also be included in the next viewer update.

Version Control– This will probably upset some people, an explanation is in order. The Lindens report that of the 1,800 viewer versions logging in to Second Life, 1,600 are Phoenix/Firestorm! The grid-wide deployment of server-side appearance/baking will break a large number of them. Firestorm will take the opportunity to limit the number of allowed versions to 3 (the current version and the 2 most recent old ones). There will perhaps be a few days of a warning period when there will be 4. This is a huge problem for people limping along with old, outdated equipment! There is a harsh message for those people; Firestorm is a high-end, feature and option rich viewer! It was never intended for use on minimal system hardware! Perhaps the Official viewer, or Singularity will work.

The Firestorm Team deserves high praise for openly communicating with us,their users. They promise more meetings like this in the coming months.

 

 

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Arthur C. Clark

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Firestorm Release with Server Side Baking/Appearance


Today the Phoenix Firestorm Project released Firestorm 4.4.1.34164. For all intents and purposes this is a mandatory release since Linden Lab will be releasing SSB in about 2 weeks.

For those who do not know what Server-Side Baking is all about, Inara Pey has a good overview at her blog.

Some people with very low end computers and/or graphics cards will have hardware issues. Nalates Urriah has some good recommendations for upgrading inexpensively.

I for one look forward to the improvements both to our avatars and to simulator performance this will bring.

May you live in interesting times.

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Buckle-up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride


At the recent Firestorm Viewer question & answer meeting Jessica Lyon, Firestorm Project Manager, gave a forecast of what we can expect in Second Life over the next few months. You can watch the meeting here, or read summaries by Inara Pey or Nalates Urriah .

Simply stated Linden Lab will be introducing several new features that will effect both the sim servers and all viewers. They are not doing this to annoy us, these are important changes to the way things are done within the programs that are SL in addition to valuable new features. Because the viewers are changing too this requires significant coordination and cooperation between the third party viewer developers and the lab.

If experience is any teacher at all, each of these changes will present problems when deployed to the full grid. All viewers, including the official LL viewer will have bugs and problems. Everyone is doing the best they can to avoid problems and still deploy the new code expediently. We may as well get the pain of the transition over with so we can return to our normal lives in an improved world as soon as possible.

There WILL Be Drama! The wackadoodles will predict the end of Second Life. There will be back seat drivers with “a better way”. The conspiracy theorists will ascribe ulterior motives. Pay them no attention. We have survived bigger transitions in the past with much less to gain.

Hang in there!

Be kind to your third party viewer team, they are doing the best they can in a challenging situation; remember, they are volunteers!

Don’t be too hard on LL, in the long run we will be better off.

May you live in interesting times.

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Linden Lab Severs Major Communication Link with Residents


There have been major changes made to the Second Life jira bug reporting system, and not for the better!

Effective immediately the jira is a closed system. No one outside Linden Lab will be able to see what you report. There will be no opportunity for residents to comment on bugs that effect everyone, or even to know if what they observe is a known issue or unique to them. Once LL declares an issue you report “Accepted” or “Closed” it will not be farther updated, you will just have to hope you recognize something in the Release Notes as a response to your jira post.

There is considerable speculation about the Lab’s reasoning in taking this action (see Tonya Souther’s blog, or Nalates’ blog, or Inara Pey’s blog). To me the reason is immaterial, it is shutting down one of the best avenues for communication with the Lab.

One of the things Linden Lab, and Rod especially seems not to understand is that Second Life is not Linden Lab’s toy that they let us play in. Second Life is a joint effort of Linden Lab and the Residents of Second Life. That has been true since the day Stellar Sunshine build the beanstalk. When we work together Second Life shines as a community of innovative people on both sides of the viewer. When the Lab withdraws communication or when the wackadoodles among the residents stifle communication with their rants, we all are the poorer for it.

May you live in interesting times.

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Re-assessments at the Highest Level


As I sit here Monday afternoon waiting once again for Unscheduled Maintenance” to allow me access to Second Life I am looking through the blogs and seeing a pattern.

At this blog There is need for a “Lite” Second Life Viewer (posted January 8th) has come back to life in comments. Activity at this page has never died; people are really wishing for a more efficient / equipment tolerant way to enjoy SL.

Nalates most recent post speaks (near the end) of problems with the avatar mesh that no deformer will ever be able to overcome. The avatar mesh itself was pretty good for 2004 technology but the world of 3D graphics has come a long way baby. Unfortunately any attempt to “correct” the avatar we have now will break existing content.

Thinking back to past blog posts and MetaReality Podcasts there has been steady, if unfocused, chatter about LL complicating the server and viewer code in order to maintain backward compatibility. Obviously this can not keep up forever.

It is time for LL to split off a team to do a feasibility study looking forward toward a true Second Life II. Essential to this team’s job would be inclusion of carefully selected long time residents; there are many intelligent, insightful and discrete residents available to choose from. They should start by fearlessly looking at past decisions and how they have impacted SL (both the community and the business). Then look forward, how will people access SL 10 years from now? What new technologies are on the horizon that SL could be ready for? Lastly, how much of today’s SL can move forward to the new version and how much must be left behind in the dust of progress?

I would not advocate abandonment of what we have now. Done right people will want to move over to the new world. Perhaps it would even be possible to “jump” between them.

The only sure thing is that something like this will happen, if not by LL then eventually by some competitor. LL should make a move while they still have our attention, and our inventories 🙂 .

Like everyone else I have some ideas, but what do you think?

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Communication vs. Rumor from Linden Lab


SLUniverse has always been a valuable source of information about Second Life, mixed with roughly equal parts drama and rants. When Rodvik Linden, CEO of Linden Labs posts however it tends to be treated as an “announcement”. His discussion of PathFinding and the potential uses in SL is interesting follow up. His enthusiasm is a good thing!

Then he posts:“For the UI changes. First you will see a merge of the modes. (basically click to move + new camera coming into advanced which you can turn to old way if you like). That should be End of this month.

Next a large GUI change for all our users. Yup we are taking another crack at UI design again…(Moria drums)

So in fairly short order you will be enjoying a new Linden Lab UI AND new features to help things run amok inworld.

Good or bad it will be glorious (emphasis mine). Does he not understand that “new UI” sends shivers of dread up almost every virtual spine in SL?

Mind you I am not complaining about LL creating a whole new UI, it is badly needed. It is the flippant attitude that bothers me. We have seen a lot of what a bad UI can do and it is anything but “glorious”!

Rod needs to follow the same rules regarding announcements he expects the rest of the Lindens to follow. Posting important stuff to unofficial sites is just not done. Posting from the pub is never a good idea.

A correction and apology– – – kind of – – – I guess.

On 10/04/2011 Rod posted at the Linden blog “Soon you will see us merge the Basic and Advanced modes, which will eliminate the need to switch. All functionality will be in one mode with easier-to-use controls. After these modes are merged and deployed, you can expect us to release an improved UI into the viewer. This should be a lot more flexible for user flow for all users.” Sorry Rod, I read your post at SLUniverse as a whole new viewer. I guess you intend to modify the existing Viewer2/3 in stages much like the third parties viewers are doing. Blame it on my Linden Viewer paranoia.

Update and News!

Tateru Nino has posted an “official” communication with Rhett Linden regarding the nature of the changes. Good Bye Sidebar!!!!!

Nalates Urriah has screenshots  It is still a development viewer so there are bugs but this looks a lot cleaner. I actually like the buttons on the left side idea better than Phoenix/Firestorms buttons on the bottom. I have a wide screen monitor, I can spare space at the sides. The best solution would be a drag and anchor button bar, let everyone customize their own view.

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