2020 viewer release summaries week #43

Logos representative only and should not be seen as an endorsement / preference / recommendation

Updates for the week ending Sunday, October 25th

This summary is generally published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.
  • Note that for purposes of length, TPV test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are generally not recorded in these summaries.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current release viewer version 6.4.10.549686, formerly the Mesh Uploader RC, promoted on October 14 – No change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • No updates.
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V6-style

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

A foreign reality in Second Life

Itakos Project: Memories Of A Forgotten Reality

Memories Of A Foreign Reality is a new exhibition by Etamae and Imaginary Footprints (01Matthew10) that opened recently in the White Hall of Akim Alzono’s Itakos Project gallery. It’s a fascinating and complex exhibition in terms of concept and execution, although I admit to finding myself slightly at odds with its central tenet as defined by the artists.

Back in the 60`s and 70`s there was a need to raise this individualism as the holy grail. We evolved the individual to the highest goal, and now we see the result.
Millions of confused minds are searching for a hold. Entangled in political and economical strategies. The American dream, or the possibility of being a important person on the world wide web has given us a tenuous hold, a fragile rope that can easily be severed…
…The soul… a character in a context… equal to others… seem to be forgotten. but it is there… it suffers… and it tries to be seen.

– Artist’s statement, Memories Of A Foreign Reality

This description leads into a set of 13 monochrome pieces which I understand have been produced through a collaborative effort between the artists, passing images back and forth , allowing it to evolve in accordance with their individual perceptions. This in itself gives the pieces a unique reflection of the concept of individualism and the merging of ideas and thoughts can be positivity received.

Itakos Project: Memories of a Forgotten Reality

These are pieces that offer multiple aspects. Some are almost abstracted in form and despite being monochrome, bring to mind ideas of the 60’s counter-culture and flower power, and carry suggestions of psychedelics and dream states, the rainbow swirls and bright colours represented by the use of grey and white (vis: Reflected Into The Ether, Hypnotic, 3 Faces of Eve).  Others are a lot darker in imagery and tone, that are both chaotic and oft depicting scenes edged with violence.

However, taken as a whole, all 13 images convey the element of soul (inner self), struggling to be seen / heard. The monochrome nature of the pieces helps to further emphasise this idea of of an inner voice struggling to be heard, as it gives the images the look and feel of photographic negatives, yet to be developed (as in seen and heard).

Itakos Project: Memories Of A Forgotten Reality

As such, these are provocative, compelling images, make no mistake; and they do marry to the final part of the artists’ statement as quoted above. So why then my sense of being at odds with that central tenet?

It’s a minor point, but for me (admittedly through the lens of history books rather than personal recollection) while the 1960’s and 1970’s did see a dramatic shift in emphasis in our understanding of “individualism”, given it encompassed the likes of changing in ideas of equality and our understanding of the environment,  together with a broadening of our technical and scientific understandings, this shift was of a broadly positive impact, collectively and individually. Thus, for me, it appears that the disconnect of “self” (/ soul) to which the artists’ refer, didn’t really commence with the rise of the Me Generation, and the coming of utterly partisan socio-political (/religious) drives that occurred at the same time.

Itakos Project: Memories Of A Forgotten Reality

But this is is subjective differing of viewpoints, one that might well encourage discussion and debate – but which ultimately doesn’t impact on one’s ability to appreciate Memories Of A Forgotten Reality, or from exploring its concepts and message.

SLurl Details

Returning to Nostalgia Falls in Second Life

Nostalgia Falls, October 2020 – click any image for full size

Exactly a year ago, we first visited Nostalgia Falls, a Homestead region designed by Noisette Haller. At the time I noted the region was both photogenic and also the kind of place those who prefer Halloween themes that have a lighter touch might also enjoy.

Given it is the first anniversary of that visit (and given the region has a new home), I decided to hop back and have a look around, and was both surprised and please to see that the region offers both a familiar look coupled with more than enough changes to give me a comfortable sense of recognition  whilst also presenting a lot that is new and ready to be discovered.

Nostalgia Falls, October 2020

The sense of familiarity is born from a number of aspects: the region retains a similar L-shape to the one it sported in our first visit, with the north-south arm the home to a railway line hosting the Polar Express steam train by DRD as it sits at a station, a single railcar in tow. However, the landing point is now in the station building rather than on the train.

Across the tracks is a waterfront area complete with a trawler moored on one side – although the growth of reeds around it suggests it may not have seen open waters in some time, given rotating propeller blades would likely cut them down to size – and a carousel sitting on a broad terrace, a wall separating it from the buildings beyond.

Nostalgia Falls, October 2020

One of these houses sits ablaze. Quite why is unclear, but perhaps it is the result of a gas explosion, as appeared to be the case at our last visit. However, this time around, the blaze is given a new twist: the wreck of a 1930’s ear car and the threat of an unexploded bomb amongst the fallen brickwork suggest the house has fallen through time from the period of the Blitz.

Beyond the burning house lies a relatively open space – albeit marked by trees to one side. It is the home of an aged and broken plaza topped by a broken rotunda.Home to a winged angel, the rotunda is being circled by a murder of crows that, together with the aged dead tree next to it, set a darker tone than the angel’s presence would otherwise offer.

Nostalgia Falls, October 2020

An avenue of trees to one side of the rotunda shelters a horse-drawn hearse heading towards the tall, slim form of a 3-storey mortuary that has some strangeness to be found within it, a ghostly figure awaiting the hearse outside. Opposite the tree avenue, steps climb up a short slope to the imposing form of a grand house complete with cemetery behind, suggesting it is a family home of some age – although it and its grounds have clearly seen better days, with the interior of the house in particular a statement in mouldering age  – and more than a little taste of creepiness.

Beyond this ageing house, and also reached via the carousel-bearing waterfront, the land opens out into a brighter, happier setting rich in the colours of autumn. Horses graze here, having doubtless been brought down from the barn that sits up on the flat head of a promontory that – again, like the time we last visited – extends southwards out into the waters surrounding the island.

Nostalgia Falls, October 2020

A sandy track winds out from the barn to drop down to the western finger of the land, where sit three little houses, all cosily furnished and set out with lamps, jack-o’ lanterns, pumpkins and more in readiness for Halloween. Even the crows sitting along the telegraph lines overhead have entered into the spirit of things – although eyes might inevitably be drawn to the the fact that a witch has apparently come to a sudden telegraphic halt whilst testing her broom.

With mist hovering out on the waters between the island and the region surround, and the lightning flickering around the old house accompanied by the rumble of thunder, this iteration of Nostalgia Falls carries a rich sense of atmosphere. However, the open spaces, with their horses, deer and places to dance, together with fine dining on the train (albeit serenaded by a sax playing skeleton!) together with places to sit, Give this iteration of Nostalgia Falls a further touch of romance. And of course, it remains a richly detailed, photogenic region in which to spend time.

Nostalgia Falls, October 2020

SLurl Details

Space Sunday: asteroid sampling & starship building

Kissing an asteroid: the sample head of TAGSAM, the sample gathering mechanism on NASA’s OSIRIS-REx makes contact with asteroid Bennu on October 20th, 2020. Credit: NASA

In my previous Space Sunday update, I covered the (then) upcoming attempt by NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) to snag samples of material from the surface of asteroid 101955 Bennu, a carbonaceous near-Earth asteroid.

The attempt was successfully made on Tuesday, October 20th – although just how successful it was did not become apparent until a few days later, when mission engineers realised they now had a slight problem.

The mission required OSIRIS-REx slowly descended from its close-in altitude of 770m, a sample gathering called TAGSAM (Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism) extended beneath it. This was intended to make very brief contact with the surface of Bennu, absorbing the spacecraft’s momentum in springs, and allowing it to fire a nitrogen jet to blast material up from the asteroid some of which would hopefully be caught in the arm’s sampler head, prior to the arm “pushing off” from Bennu once more, allowing OSIRIS-REx to gently back away to a point where it could examine what it has gathered.

OSIRIS-REx: the sample-gathering operation. Credit: NASA

The entire operation was scheduled to take some 4.5 hours from start to back-away and parking. The event was live-streamed, but due to the current distance between Earth and Bennu, those on Earth were witnessing events 18.5 minutes after they had actually occurred. This also meant the entire operation was carried out autonomously, the software controlling it having been previously uploaded to the satellite.

OSIRIS-REx, following Bennu’s rotation about its axis, struck the asteroid a metre one metre away from its intended contact point, which lay within a shallow crater on Bennu that has been christened “Nightingale”. It remained in contact with the surface for 6 seconds – very slightly longer than had been anticipated.

The moment of contact for TAGSAM – and of actually smashing through the surface material on Bennu (film speeded up). Credit: NASA

Whilst there was a camera on the robot arm recording the operation, the footage could not immediately be sent back to Earth. Instead, mission controllers relied on the telemetry OSIRIS-REx did immediately transmit back to Earth. This revealed that everything had apparently gone as planned: TAGSAM made contact, the gas was fired and regolith (surface material blasted upwards. The telemetry then confirmed OSIRSIS-REx was backing away from the asteroid towards the point where analysis of the amount of captured material could be carried out.

This was transcendental. I can’t believe we actually pulled this off. The spacecraft did everything it was supposed to do. Even though we have some work ahead of us to determine the outcome of the event, this was a major accomplishment for the team. I look forward to analysing the data to determine the mass of sample collected.

– OSIRIS-REx Principal Investigator Dante Lauretta

Then came the first of the surprises.  When the video footage captured by the TAGSAM arm camera was received and processed (above right) on October 21st, it revealed that the sample head hadn’t so much touched the surface of Bennu as smashed straight through it to an estimated depth of almost 50 centimetres – and in doing so, had pulverized a rock roughly 20 cm across which, when first viewed in the footage, caused the mission team to worry it might prevent sample gathering and damage the sample head.

The next step in the operation was to analyse the state of the sample head once TAGSAM had been returned to its stowed position against the spacecraft. To do this, one of the star tracker cameras used for navigation was tasked to capture an image of the sample head. When this was returned to Earth, mission staff had a second surprise: the sample head was “leaking” material.

Following the sample gathering operation, a Mylar diaphragm should have rotated over the opening of the sample head to seal any material gathered inside it – but the star tracker camera revealed this had failed to sit correctly, and a small cloud of material was forming around the sample head as it persistently “leaked” out. Given the force of the contact with Bennu, the mission team realised that, rather than just collecting 60 grams of material, the sample head had likely been filled to capacity, preventing the Mylar cover from correctly sealing it.

A small but growing cloud of material gathers around the TAGSAM sample head on OSIRIS-REx following a sample gathering operation that likely overfilled the sample containment area, preventing a Mylar diaphragm (the white semi-circle, visible in the middle of the circular sample head) from sealing the cavity. Credit: NASA

With material slowly but steadily escaping, the decision was been taken to cancel the attempt to estimate the amount of material gathered, and instead move to transferring the sample head to the Sample-Return Capsule (SAC). This is the unit that will return the sample to Earth when OSIRIS-REx return here in 2023. As the SAC is sealable, moving the sample head there as soon as possible – in this case, October 27th – will ensure the remaining material from Bennu is preserved.

In the meantime, and while OSIRIS-REx cannot start on its return to Earth until March 2021, the decision has been made not to return the vehicle to a low-level “hover” orbiting Bennu, but to instead allowing it to continue away from the asteroid at around 44 metres per hour until it reaches a more extended orbital position.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: asteroid sampling & starship building”

Tales of ghosts, other worlds, families, and entities

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home in Nowhereville, unless otherwise indicated. Note that the schedule below may be subject to change during the week, please refer to the Seanchai Library website for the latest information through the week.

Sunday, October 25th: Haunted Hollow: Tales by Washington Irving

Two stories from the author’s canon: The Spectre Bridegroom, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

When Irving published The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent, a collection of strange tales allegedly gathered by one “Geoffrey Crayon” (the nom de plume Irving used for the collection) whilst travelling through England, two of the tales quickly became favourites among readers – Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Given this, and the fact that the Headless Horseman is already abroad within the Haunted Hollow, the second of these two stories is a fitting choice for this session.

However, possibly the third most popular tale in the tome is The Spectre of the Bridegroom, given that – and like Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – it has been published as a story in its own right numerous times down the years. The source for Irving’s story lies in a 1774 German ballad called Lenore, by Gottfried Bürger (which actually gets a mention in Irving’s own tale. However, whilst Bürger’s ballad depicts a young woman whisked away from her home on horseback by an apparition that resembles her fiancé, believed lost in battle, Irving turns the story on its head to present something a little different…

Seachai library present Washington Irving at Haunted Hollow

Both tales presented live at Haunted Hollow, and broadcast on Radio Riel Main.  An hour of music and dancing will follow. There will be a teleport from the main landing point

Monday, October 26th: Running from the Deity

Gyro Muggins reads the 10th (chronologically speaking) story of Alan Dean Foster’s Pip and Flinx series.

Continuing his pursuit of an alien weapons platform, the Krang, Flinx finds himself heading into the Blight. However, his ship, Teacher, announces it is in need of repairs and that while its autonomic systems can handle them, it will nevertheless need raw materials from a planet. Flinx therefore opts to land on the nearest world – the planet the “Arrawd”, place roughly equivalent in technology to Earth in 19th century – and therefore normally forbidden as a destination within the Humanx Commonwealth.

The planet has a lower gravity than more Humanx worlds, something that benefits Flinx physically – but things go awry when he injures himself and is forced into the care of a local couple, who find his abilities and technology  – if the expression might be used – out of their world.

Despite his protestations, Flinx finds himself increasingly the centre of attention and the idea that he is some kind of deity – and while he finds himself drawn to the less complicated life on Arrawd and the fact it separates him from all the cares and worries he faces in the Commonwealth, he realises he must leave.

Unfortunately, by the time he arrives it this conclusion, three of the governments on the planet have decided to wage war in order to “earn” his blessings and claim him as their deity. And so, reluctantly, he has no other option but to both get involved in matters whilst simultaneously trying to escape the world view that he is some kind of god.

Tuesday, October 27th:

12:00 Noon: Russell Eponym, Live in the Glen

Music, poetry, and stories in a popular weekly session at Ceiluradh Glen.

19:00: The Princess Bride: Storming the Castle

With Caledonia Skytower at Ceiluradh Glen.

Wednesday, October 28th, 19:00: From The Dust Returned at the Haunted Hollow

They have lived for centuries in a house of legend and mystery in upper Illinois — and they are not like other midwesterners. Rarely encountered in daylight hours, their children are curious and wild; their old ones have survived since before the Sphinx first sank its paws deep in Egyptian sands -and some of them sleep in beds with lids.

Now the house is being readied in anticipation of the gala homecoming that will bring the entire family, spread across the globe, back to their place of origin. But in the midst of eager anticipation, a sense of doom pervades. For the world is changing. And death, no stranger, will always shadow this most singular family: Father, arisen from the Earth; Mother, who never sleeps but dreams; A Thousand Times Great Grandmére; Grandfather, who keeps the wildness of youth between his ears.

And the boy who, more than anyone, carries the burden of time on his shoulders: Timothy, the sad and different foundling son who must share it all, remember, and tell – and who, alone out of all of them, must one day age and wither and die.

Thursday, October 29th, 19:00 The Walker in the Cemetery

Shandon Loring reader British author Ian Watson’s short story The Walker in the Cemetery, a H.P. Lovecraft inspired tale in which Cthulhu self-divides out into human-size fractals and traps survivors in an Italian cemetery. Also in Kitely – take the teleport from the main Seanchai World grid.kitely.com:8002:SEANCHAI.

Unveiled: a new art experience in Second Life

Sinful Retreat

Unveiled is the title that has been given to the opening of a new art experience in Second Life that has been developed by Chuck Clip with the support of several notable artists and curators of art.

Located on Chuck’s Full region of Sinful Retreat, the experience is intended to be a rolling series of exhibitions and installations that represent Chuck’s desire to turn the region into a centre for art.

This is it! This is the day I’ve been planning since I decided a few months ago to turn Sinful Retreat into an art region. Back at the end of July/the beginning of August, I started contacting artists offering up sections of my region to do with as they would, to create a cohesive environment out of incongruent styles of art. What we celebrate now is the first iteration of that vision. Currently represented are 10 different artists including myself. More are waiting in the wings to take sections over in the coming months to begin the process of evolution. From here on out, the region will continue to slowly change and develop in new directions.

– Chuck Clip

Unveiled: Cica Ghost

For the opening, the region features pieces and installations by Aequitas Nirvana, Chica Ghost, Ciottolina Xue, Eupalinos Ugajin, Livio Korobase, London Junkers, Pixels Sideways, Thoth Jantzen, Toysoldier Thor and Chuck himself. Presented as individual pieces or grouped installations throughout the region. This is an eclectic and electric group of artists who between them present a fascinating series of installations and pieces that offer reflections on human emotions, life and death, ecology, politics, the environment, and more.

In addition to these, Mariposa Upshaw and Tayzia Abattoir, two veteran curators  of art in Second Life will be managing a rotating exhibition of the art they’ve been collecting since 2004 in a dedicated part of the region.

Unveiled: Livio Korobase

For the opening, the title of Unveiled serves a dual purpose. Not only does it reflect the opening of the region’s full artistic breadth, but it also refers to the physical unveiling of the centrepiece for the region. Entitled The Exquisite Corpse, it is a new work of art by Bryn Oh, Cica Ghost and Walton F. Wainwright, and it will be revealed over the course of the 6-hour opening event.

The latter kicks-off at 12:00 noon SLT on Saturday, October 24th, and runs through until 18:00 SLT. It will feature music by Semina, Jovan Buchsbaum, Oblee, and Skye Galaxy from 12:00 noon through until 16:00, with DJ IllSkillz taking over from 16:00 for a two-hour set.

Unveiled: London Junkers

The opening will take place on the region’s elevated main street, where Bryn Oh’s Lady Carmagnolle Theatre has been set-up to host the performers.  bookended by the Janus I and Janus II galleries, the main street location also presents visitors with the opportunity to visit both galleries and view Judilynn India’s Mindscapes exhibition (which I reviewed in JudiLynn’s Mindscapes in Second Life) and Jennifer Steele’s Something for Everyone, which officially opens on Sunday, October 25th.

The rest of the installation / exhibit spaces are one the ground level of the region, which can be reached via a path winding down to it from the south side of the Janus Gallery, for those who fancy the walk. Also on the ground level is the Janus III Gallery, currently hosting an exhibition of art by John Huntsman – I’ll be covering both this and Jennifer’s exhibit in an upcoming review.

Unveiled: Ciottolina Xue

With the focus on changing and evolving exhibits (both outdoors and within the gallery spaces), Sinful Retreat promises to be an outstanding art experience that will offer something to everyone in SL whenever they visit. I admit to being stunned by the way Chuck and his team have already brought together a group who represent some of the artists in Second Life I most admire – including a couple (London and Pixel), whose work I haven’t seen in a while.

This is very much a labour of love for Chuck, and as such, I’ll leave the final comments for this piece to him:

I’d just like to thank my wife and our polypartner, all of the artists, patrons, bloggers, musicians, etc. for their support in this mad idea of mine. The response from the outset has been far better than I ever expected. People keep thanking me for doing this, but I should be the one thanking all of them. I just had an idea. None of it would have happened with out all of them.

– Chuck Clip

Unveiled: Pixels Sideways

Catch the opening of Unveiled from 12:00 noon onwards on Saturday, October 24th, and be sure to give yourself time to explore the region – several visits over the course of several days are recommended to fully appreciate everything.

SLurl Details

  • Unveiled (Sinful Retreat, rated Adult)