Tag Archives: support

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.


Filed under Linden Lab, Second Life Community

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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Filed under Linden Lab, Second Life Community, the Internet, Veiwers and tech stuff

Phoenix/Firestorm Expands Support

I visited the new Phoenix Firestorm Support island yesterday. I am impressed! I am reminded of the old Welcome Island from 2006; there is a path from the landing point with signs and a few playful challenges. There’s no beach ball but there is a fence to jump over and a kind of a tunnel to fly through.

The central island has a live helper. Several existing help groups will be assisting Phoenix/Firestorm support personnel.

They are still finishing things up and are open to suggestions so of course I had a couple of minor nits to pick 🙂 – – Say “region” or  “region (sim)” not just “sim”. Just because we get lazy and use the wrong word is no excuse for not teaching newbies the right way. – – We can no longer say “everything is built in world” mesh and most sculpties are made outside SL.

It looked to me like it would work for someone on the LL default viewer and if it serves as a gentle promotion for Firestorm so much the better.

This is a big step in the right direction. I will be sending newbies there. You should visit, add your 2 cents worth before they finish. Take a moment and talk to the Phoenix then stop at the center island with some encouraging words.

I hope they soon have a standard notecard and LM giver that we can put out pointing newbies there when we are off line.

May you live in interesting times.

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Filed under Newbies, Second Life Community, Veiwers and tech stuff

“Houston, we’ve had a problem” – – – –

They’ve all gone home for the weekend” responds the janitor.

It can feel like that in Second Life. There is no telling when the problem of people not being able to log in due to “stuck presence” actually started (best guess is inventory maintenance on Thursday). It was posted to Grid Status at 10:15 am on Saturday. I am writing this over 24 hours later.

The number of people in second life has understandably always been highest on the weekends. At Linden Lab that appears to be when support of all types is weakest, especially the kind of technical support needed to fix things that are broken in the code that makes SL work.

In the beginning (Linden World beta) that was an advantage. Stellar Sunshine built the beanstalk when LL went home for the weekend and left the servers on. We have all come a long way since those days. Second Life is 60 to 70 thousand or more residents on the weekends these days. Service should be at it’s best on the weekends and if there is an issue, all staff should be on 24 hour recall if they are needed. The Scouts in customer support (some of my favorite people) need to be especially well manned when the Lindens are away.

The thing Linden Lab finds hardest to change is transitioning from their comfortable geekiness of software development to the reality of customer service. It is NOT OKAY to let a problem that is preventing residents from logging in languish until Monday when everyone comes back to work!

Note: for now, if you see someone, or know of someone stuck in “presence limbo” pay them L$1, that usually will kick them to logoff.

Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.
Donald Porter, V.P. British Airways

UPDATE 1/31/2012: Timeline:

  1. Oskar Linden acknowledges the issue; 26/Jan/2012 3:27 PM
  2. Problem initially posted to SL jira; 27/Jan/2012 6:40 AM
  3. Posted by Status Desk; 28/Jan/2012 10:15 AM
  4. Rolling restarts begun on main channel; 31/Jan/2012 5:04 AM (completed 31/Jan/2012 10:24 AM)
  5. Hopefully the issue is resolved.

To me, taking 5+ days to resolve an issue that is preventing your customers from accessing your product is unacceptable! Not to mention the consequences of pissing off many more people who’s friends are unable to get into SL on the weekend. A better short term fix would have been a rollback as soon as the issue was understood.

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Filed under Linden Lab, Second Life Community

Recycling @ Linden Lab

I have said only half jokingly that Linden Lab recycles bugs. It has been going on for so long it is impossible to believe it is not, at least in part, deliberate.

Tateru recently posted about this and started me scratching the itch.

I recently had a billing issue, even though I has successfully bought linden$ with my new credit card, it suddenly stopped working when they went to bill my tier. To summarize a long story; 4 calls to LL billing support (including being hung up on once); 2 calls to my bank. Literally hours on the phone for them to reset my cc data and me reenter it. An interesting side observation, what you see at your account screen may disagree with what billing sees on their servers.

During this billing adventure I tried, at LL’s request, to submit a ticket. I could not even access the ticket system (I have a premium account w/ ¼ sim of tier). An alt was able to access the system but the second drop menu was blank so she could go no farther. Another vital support system that is frequently broken.

Region crossings are and have always been problematic. It has been much worse in the past, but it has never really been FIXED! I know, there is a very complicated set of server interactions involved. When something just will not stay fixed with band-aids and patches it is time to look deep under the hood and find a new way of doing it (throw out the carburetor and go with fuel injection).

Inventory loss is just database stuff, it should not be as difficult as they make it seem. The technology is proven. We should never have items missing from inventory and if for some reason we do (maybe a viewer issue) it should be easy to recover.

Chat lag is much improved but still with us, just enough to be annoying.

Mainland support — forget-about-it — the usual response is “we don’t do that” followed closely by “put in a ticket” which is responded to by “we don’t do that”. I have experienced some truly wonderful exceptions to this but it would not hurt them to (re)move linden plants along the road when they conflict with your build; or to smooth the roadside land to your build. My impression is that unless you get the right person in the right mood, support is minimal, service is nonexistent.

Second Life has, on the whole, improved over the years. There are deep seated issues both in code and with personnel that need to be addressed in a more fundamental way. Hopefully someone is looking at them instead of the latest game or outside project.


Filed under Linden Lab