2019 SL User Groups 4/1: Simulator User Group

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, December 2018, on Flickr
Bay of Dreamsblog post

Server Deployments

As always, please refer to the server release thread for the latest news and updates.

  • On Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019 the SLS (Main) channel was updated with server maintenance package 19#19.01.09.523003, comprising logging to gather baseline information on simulator performance in various areas of interest together with additional logging.
  • On Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019 the RCs will be updated as follows:
    • BlueSteel will receive server maintenance package 19#19.01.18.523336, comprising the simulator support for the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP), and which will see the Snack channel currently used for EEP rolled into the BlueSteel RC.
    • Magnum and LeTigre were still TBD at the time of writing. I’ll update this article when more is known.

Region holders who wish to test EEP can contact support and ask for their region to be moved to an RC channel once the deployment has been made. Rider Linden currently has a request to have the SL wiki updated with the LSL functions for EEP, and has offered to provide a forum post on them, if required.

Remember, to work with EEP, you need the EEP project viewer, available from the Alternate Viewers wiki page.

SL Viewer

There have been no SL viewer updates to start the week, leaving the pipelines, at the time of writing, as follows:

  • Current Release version 6.0.1.522263, dated December 5th, promoted December 13th. Formerly the Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer – No Change.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Love Me Render RC viewer, version 6.0.2.523177, January 16th.
    • Estate Access Management (EAM) RC viewer, version 6.1.0.522564, December 19th.
    • BugSplat RC viewer, version 6.1.0.522614, December 18th. This viewer is functionally identical to the current release viewer, but uses BugSplat for crash reporting, rather than the Lab’s own Breakpad based crash reporting tools.
  • Project viewers:
  • Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906, dated November 17th, 2017 and promoted to release status 29th November – offered pending a Linux version of the Alex Ivy viewer code.
  • Obsolete platform viewer, version 3.7.28.300847, May 8th, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

General

The SUG meeting was dominated with questions when upcoming features – grid-wide experiences,  new premium benefits, etc – may appear, and when the Lab anticipates completing the migration to the cloud. As always, and given the fact that SL is a dynamic environment with a lot going on, the replies were more-or-less “when they are ready”.

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Bank of America user? Second Life might get you a cash back reward

R. Crap Mariner tapped me concerning a piece of information that might be of interest to those who use Bank of America credit Cards. I’ll let Crap explain:

Bank of America changed their rewards card 3% cashback category from gas to a user choice from a list. since I recently bought a plug in hybrid car and barely use any gas, I changed it from gas to on-line shopping. thought it would just hit Amazon purchases, but turns out that LL/SL counts too? hope it’s real and not just a glitch.

To demonstrate, Crap sent me a copy of part of his most recent credit card build, showing the 3% cash back against a Second Life payment to Linden Lab.

A Bank of America credit card payment and the 3% cashback earned on it. Courtesy of R. Crap Mariner

Crap continues:

It’s the first month of them doing the flexible categories at 3%. Most credit card bonus offers don’t treat it as on-line shopping, but BOA appears to, but they might close this loophole. We’ll see.

So, if you do have a Bank of America credit card you use for Second Life purchases such as payment of tier, you might want to check your statements or arrange to have any cash back option to on-line shopping / purchases.

The Edge re-opens in Second Life

The Edge: JudiLynn (JudiLynn India) and Anouk Lefavre

The Edge, Kultivate’s black-and-white gallery, re-opened on January 20th, 2019, with a new ensemble exhibition.

Also now housed in a new building – the rest of the Fanatik unit utilised by the Windlight Gallery which re-opened earlier in January – the exhibition is unthemed for the re-opening and presents the work of Roxaane Daniels (Roxaane Fyanucci), Vee Tammas Shocker (Veruca Tammas), Kody Meyers (KodyMeyers), Sabine Mortenwold, Maaddi Benazzi (maaddi), JudiLynn (JudiLynn India), Anouk Lefavre, Reycharles Resident, and John Brianna (johannes1977).

The range of images is broad: avatar self-studies, drawings, original paintings rendered as monochrome images, Second Life landscapes and photographs from the physical world. As such, this makes for an engaging exhibition.

The Edge: Reycharles Resident

Of the artists and images on display, I admit to being drawn to the work of Reycharles Resident on the upper level of the building. These are richly evocative studies, vital in their execution; there is a depth of life about them that is intense and captivating.

Similarly, Kody Meyers  – as usual – offers a series of studies that are rich in narrative and beautifully posed and created. Kody’s colour work is always extraordinary, but here in black and white, there is something very special about them that kept drawing my attention back to his work.

Alongside of Kody’s pieces are five pen / pencil drawings by Sabine Mortenwold. Like Reycharles’ pictures, there is a strength of raw beauty about them that capture one’s attention – particularly the two landscapes.

The Edge: Roxaane Daniels (Roxaane Fyanucci), Vee Tammas Shocker (Veruca Tammas)

But the truth is, the entire mix of art in this exhibition makes for worthwhile viewing, and it will be available for at least the next month.

SLurl Details

2019 viewer release summaries week #4

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

Updates for the week ending Sunday, January 20th

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 test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are not recorded in these summaries.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current Release version 6.0.1.522263, dated December 5th, promoted December 13th. Formerly the Spotykach Maintenance RC viewer – No change.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • The Love Me Render RC viewer updated to version 6.0.2.523177 on January 16th.
  • Project viewers:
    • The Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP) viewer updated to version 6.0.2.523088 on January 16th.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V5/V6-style

  • No updates.

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

A Way of Life in Second Life

A Way of Life; Inara Pey, January 2019, on FlickrA Way of Life – click any image for full size

A Way of Life is the name given to the latest region design by Elyjia (Elyjia Baxton), and which replaces winter’s Snow Falls (read here for more).

This is another delightful setting, carrying with it echoes of Elyjia’s previous designs, developed in co-operation with Brayan Friller (Brayan26 Friller), such as Tavana Island (read more here), the gorgeous Au Petit Jour (see here for more), the Heart of the Sea (see here for more); all of which have been wonderfully exquisite island / pastoral / coastal designs we’ve always thoroughly enjoyed visiting. But while it does carry those echoes, A Way of Life offers its own unique setting and sense of place and freedom.

A Way of Life; Inara Pey, January 2019, on FlickrA Way of Life

Surrounded by open sea and with two of its buildings clearly of Tuscan design / heritage, A Way of Life seems to suggest a Mediterranean setting. Perhaps it might be a part of the Tuscan Archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea. But a further look across the undulating island reveals structures that are perhaps more American in nature: a water tower sitting atop a great steel pylon structure, a classic wood framed and clad barn, a broken wooden windmill. Together these push the mind perhaps to an island of mixed history and settlement sitting within a more temperature region of America’s vast coastlines.

When I say “island”, I should perhaps clarify: the setting is almost a mini archipelago in its own right. While dominated by two large landmasses to the east and west, separated by a narrow channel that’s spanned by a single bridge, the region presents a number of islands of varying sizes, some occupied by structures, others the home of grass and trees or rocks and sand.

A Way of Life; Inara Pey, January 2019, on FlickrA Way of Life

Wherever it may reside, A Way of Life is clearly popular: sailing boats sit moored in the mouths of bay and channels while a large schooner appears to be passing close by to the east, sails fully unfurled in the light wind that ruffles the wave tops. The large villa to the east, with its paved terrace, folly and track winding west and south to a pavilion hiding behind the hunched shoulder of a low hill, suggests this is perhaps a holiday getaway point, or a stop-off on a coastal route followed by weekend sailors. The beach just below the villa, pointing a tongue of sand out at the sea certainly adds to this.

But then, close to the channel separating to two large islets, and on the land to the west, the presence of a workshop-like barn, together with the larger barn and water tower, suggests this might be a working island with the villa and nearby house sitting on its own small island perhaps the home to those who husband the sheep and horses under the squeak and clank of the sails belonging to a traditional European-style of windmill.

A Way of Life; Inara Pey, January 2019, on FlickrA Way of Life

It is perhaps the nature of these contrasts that make A Way of Life appealing. The aforementioned juxtaposition of European and American influences, for example. Or the contrast of Mediterranean skies with the trees and foliage suggestive of more northerly European or American climates; or the wagons and old truck (and perhaps event the schooner) hinting at a bygone era contrasting with the modern lines of the sail boats nestled around the coast. These all draw the visitor into the setting.

Throughout the landscape are numerous places to sits and rest and appreciate your surroundings. In this, I particularly like the little cove between villa and island house, where a small deck and a stranded old rowing boat (now converted to a little snuggle point festooned with flags and lights) can be found.

A Way of Life; Inara Pey, January 2019, on FlickrA Way of Life

Finished with a natural ambient sound scape, A Way of Life makes for an idyllic visit well suited to its name. Photographs taken within the region are welcome at the Hrodas Fen Flickr group, and  should you enjoy your visit, do please consider making a donation at one of the tip jars to help towards the region’s upkeep and future design iterations.

With thanks to Shakespeare for the nudge to re-visit Hrodas Fen.

SLurl Details

Space Sunday: of the Moon and exoplanets

The 2019 “Super Blood Wolf Moon” – where to see it. Credit: timeanddate.com

The night of January 20th/21st, 2019 marks the only total lunar eclipse visible from the Americas this year – one which also includes Europe and parts of Africa (for those willing to either stay up or get up very early).

Dubbed by some a “Super Blood Wolf Moon”, the eclipse is somewhat unique in that it brings together three lunar events. “Super” refers to the fact that the Moon’s orbit around Earth is not circular but an ellipse. It varies from 362,600 km (225,300 mi) to 405,400 km (251,900 mi) on average. This means that at perigee, the Moon can look up to 30% “brighter” than it does at apogee, and is thus a “supermoon”.

“Blood” is derived from the fact that during an eclipse, the Earth lies between the Sun and the Moon, and the Earth’s atmosphere naturally absorbs more of the blue and green wavelengths, thus leaving more of the red wavelength to strike the surface of the Moon, giving it a bloody hue. A “wolf moon” refers to the first full Moon of January – which is winter in the northern hemisphere and the time when wolf howls were most often heard in the wild.

The entire January 20th/21st eclipse will be visible from start to end from all of both North and South America, and from the UK, Ireland, Portugal, Norway and parts of Sweden and northern Russia. Elsewhere in Europe, the eclipse, including totality – when the Earth’s shadow fully covers the Moon – will be visible across Western Europe, but elements of the entire event – such as of the part of penumbral phase or parts of the partial and total phases.

Eclipse visibility. via timeanddate.com

A timetable of the principal points in the eclipse is provided below.

Event UTC / GMT EST PST
Penumbral Eclipse begins 21 Jan, 02:36:29 20 Jan, 21:36:29 20 Jan, 18:36:29
Partial Eclipse begins 21 Jan, 03:33:54 20 Jan, 22:33:54 20 Jan, 19:33:54
Full Eclipse begins 21 Jan, 04:41:17 20 Jan, 23:41:17 20 Jan, 20:41:17
Maximum Eclipse 21 Jan, 05:12:14 21 Jan, 00:12:14 20 Jan, 21:12:14
Full Eclipse ends 21 Jan, 05:43:15 21 Jan, 00:43:15 20 Jan, 21:43:15
Partial Eclipse ends 21 Jan, 06:50:39 21 Jan, 01:50:39 20 Jan, 22:50:39
Penumbral Eclipse ends 21 Jan, 07:48:02 21 Jan, 02:48:02 20 Jan, 23:48:02

If you cannot view the eclipse directly, there are a number of other ways it can be seen and tracked:

For a Brief Time, There Was Life on the Moon

The LME container seen on Earth, prior to installation in the Chang’e 4 lander. Credit: Chongqing University

On January 14th, 2019, the China National Space Administration confirmed that, albeit briefly, there was life on the Moon.

Admittedly, the life in question was not alien or natural to the Moon, and had been placed there by the Chinese themselves, but it was still a major milestone in the Chang’e 4 mission and China’s lunar aspirations. At its heart is an experiment referred to at the Lunar Micro Ecosystem (LME).

A 2.6 kg (5.7 lb) sealed stainless-steel cylinder containing bioscience test loads, LME designed to test whether Earth plants and organisms can grow in the harsh conditions and reduced gravity on the lunar surface. It includes six types of organisms: cotton seed, potato, rapeseed, Arabidopsis thaliana (a flowering plant), as well as yeast and fruit fly eggs.

The unit has environmental systems keep the container hospitable and Earth-like, except for the low Lunar gravity, low temperatures and radiation. It had been hoped that together, the mix of fly eggs and plants would form a simple synergy: the eggs would hatch with the larvae producing carbon dioxide to assist with plant growth, with the plants producing oxygen (and food) for the fly larvae to progress to flies; the yeast would then help with regulating the carbon dioxide and oxygen. This type of research into developing closed ecological systems is seen as a means of helping to develop biological life support systems for long duration space missions in orbit, on the Moon and to other planets.

Within a few hours after landing on January 3rd, 2019, the biosphere’s temperature was adjusted to 24°C and the seeds were watered. The cotton seed was the first to sprout, as seen in images recorded on January 7th, 2019, that were included in the report issued by CNSA. It was also indicated that the rapeseed and potato seeds had also sprouted and were growing well as of Saturday, January 12th, although no photos were included in the report. It’s not clear what happened with the other seed or the fruit fly eggs.

Image taken from inside the LME on January 7th, 2019 showing the first cotton seed sprouting. Credit: CNSA/Chongqing University

The celebrations on the success of the project were short-lived however, with the onset of the lunar night. In the region Chang’e 4 occupies on the far side of the Moon, temperatures started to fall rapidly at the end of the two-week lunar day, and as the LME chamber does not have any heating systems, it was reported on January 16th that the sprouts had died due to the cold, and the experiment is now regarded as being “over”.

Despite this, the Chinese believe they learned enough from LME to be of use in designing future tests to determine how terrestrial organisms fair in a sealed and pressurized lunar environment.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: of the Moon and exoplanets”