2018 viewer release summaries, week #45

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

Updates for the week ending Sunday, November 11th

This summary is generally published on 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 5.1.9.519298, dated September 5th, promoted September 26th. Formerly the Rakomelo 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):
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V5-style

  • No updates.

V1-style

  • No updates.

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

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Space Sunday: ‘Oumuamua, BFS and Tianhe-1

An artist’s impression of 1I/2017 U1 (or `Oumuamua), which was first seen by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii on October 19th, 2017, and subsequently studied by a number of telescopes around the wrold, including the VLT of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Credit: ESO / M. Kornmesser

On October 19th, 2017, the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System-1 (Pan-STARRS-1) in Hawaii announced the first-ever detection of an interstellar asteroid, named 1I/2017 U1 (aka. ‘Oumuamua).

In the months that followed, multiple additional observations were conducted that allowed astronomers to get a better idea of its size and shape, revealing it to be strangely cigar-shaped, roughly 400 metres (1312 ft) in length and approximately 40-50 metres (130-162.5 ft) in height and width, tumbling through space. These observations also showed it may be composed of dense metal-rich rock, and that it had the characteristics of both a comet and an asteroid.

However, the report on ‘Oumuamua (roughly translated as “scout”, ou being Hawaiian for “reach out for” and mua meaning “first, in advance of” – which is repeated for emphasis) that captured public imagination is the idea that the object may have been an interstellar probe.

At the heart of this idea is the fact that ‘Oumuamua accelerated away from the Sun faster than would have been the case of it receiving a “gravity assist” in swinging around our star. Initially, it was suggested that the additional acceleration was the result of the off-gassing of volatiles  – frozen water, etc., that had been heated during ‘Oumuamua’s close swing around the Sun. However, no such off-gassing had been observed when the object was closer to the Sun, which would have been expected.

‘Oumuamua’s passage around the Sun in 2017. Credit: Tom Ruen, via wikipedia

In June 2018, an alternative explanation for the acceleration was posited: that it was the result of solar pressure being exerted on the object.

However, at the end of October 2018, Shmuel Bialy, a post-doctoral researcher at the CfA’s Institute for Theory and Computation (ITC) and Prof. Abraham Loeb, the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University, went one stage further. They proposed that while ‘Oumuamua might well be natural in origin – it could also be the object is in fact an alien probe, intentionally sent to our solar system and which uses a light sail (or what we’d call a solar sail were it to be used with a probe sent from Earth to explore out solar system) for propulsion.

Currently there is an unexplained phenomena, namely, the excess acceleration of ‘Oumuamua, which we show may be explained by the force of radiation pressure from the Sun. We explain the excess acceleration of `Oumuamua away from the Sun as the result of the force that the Sunlight exerts on its surface. For this force to explain measured excess acceleration, the object needs to be extremely thin, of order a fraction of a millimetre in thickness but tens of meters in size. This makes the object lightweight for its surface area and allows it to act as a light-sail. Its origin could be either natural (in the interstellar medium or proto-planetary disks) or artificial (as a probe sent for a reconnaissance mission into the inner region of the Solar System).

– E-mail from Baily and Loeb on their paper concerning ‘Oumuamua

Their views were circulated to various news outlets via e-mail and cause something of a stir in the first week or so of November.

Loeb has actually been an advocate of ‘Oumuamua being of intelligent origin since it was first discovered. He was one of the first to call for radio telescopes to listen to it across a range of frequencies for any signs of transmissions from it. When the SETI Institute‘s Allen Telescope Array did so without success, he pushed for the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia to listen for radio emissions – which it did for a 6-day period December 2017, again without success

As no signals were found to be emanating from the object, rather than drop the idea of it being artificial, Loeb has put forward the ideas that it has either malfunctioned, or it is active, and we simply can’t detect the fact that it is. He’s even suggested that given Pan-STARS only managed to spot the object after it has passed perihelion, could mean that it is only “one of many” such probes sent our way, and we’ve missed the others.

Bialy has been a little more cautious with things, pointing out the paper is “high speculative”. But the fact is, the paper does come across more of an attempt to substantiate a belief (that ‘Oumuamua is of artificial origin) than anything else, and in doing so, it does ignore certain data and makes some sweeping assumptions.

For example, the paper tends to dismiss the idea that ‘Oumuamua’s unexpected acceleration was consistent with a push from solar radiation pressure. However, Michele Bannister, a planetary astronomer from New Zealand and one of many to push back against the “ET probe” idea via Twitter, used a graphic that shows the acceleration exhibited by ‘Oumuamua’s is entirely in keeping with similar non-gravitational accelerations seen with comets within the solar system.

via Michele Bannister

Continue reading “Space Sunday: ‘Oumuamua, BFS and Tianhe-1”

Dropping into Sisi’s gallery in Second Life

Sisi Biedermann

Sisi Biedermann is a prolific and exceptionally talented artist. Her work is quite unlike art produced within Second Life or uploaded and exhibited in-world. In a sense, thanks to Sisi’s imagination, style, and rich use of colour and ideas, to me it straddles the two. So many of her pieces could depict settings and situations waiting to be created in-world, whilst all offer doorways into fantastical worlds that come to life as virtual places within our imaginations.

As I’ve noted before, Sisi’s work is broad-ranging and so skilfully executed, it is possible to become lost in her techniques (which, I’d hazard a guess mix both traditional and digital approaches), so I was delighted when Caitlyn and I had the opportunity to visit Sisi’s gallery in-world to view some of her most recent work, which went on display at the start of November 2018.

Sisi Biedermann

Sisi notes her art and her time in Second Life are closely intertwined, and not just because of the numerous exhibitions in which she participates:

I joined Second Life in 2007, and back then I never realized how much this would mean to me. I started taking photos in Second Life in 2008, and have developed my style ever since.

Back then I had just started painting with acrylics after a very long break where I raised my children and looked after my family and my work. Today, I have painted several hundred paintings, and I still get a lot of inspiration from nature, second Life and northern islands such as Faroe Islands and Iceland.

All this brings me to where I am today and I hope you will enjoy my pictures.

– Sisi Biedermann on her art.

Sisi Biedermann

On offer at the gallery are around 50 of Sisi’s paintings, each one of them stunning in their colours, composition and presentation. Where a number of her recent exhibition have perhaps leaned towards her animal and wildlife images, this collection focuses more on her fantasy work and human studies, touched with elements of the mystic and science fiction in places.

Every single piece on offer is testament to Sisi’s skill; each one unique and captivating. So much so, that picking out a single piece from this collection is unfair; but I admit there is one piece in particular that completely took away my breath.

Perfectly placed on the upper floor stairwell, and passing unseen until visitors make their return journey to the lower levels, is The Evil Wizard, and it is quite the most stunning painting of the late Heath Ledger in what was perhaps his most remembered role: that of The Joker in The Dark Knight. The positioning of this piece means that you cannot fail to immediately be mesmerised by such a captivating image of Ledger as The Joker.

Sisi Biedermann

A truly striking gallery, and not one to be missed.

SLurl Details

Invasions, waffles, secret agents and pirates

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 at Holly Kai Park, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, November 11th, 18:00 Magicland Storytime

Caledonia Skytower celebrates 10 years of Magicland Storytime with a selection of favourites at the Golden Horseshoe.

Monday, November 12th 19:00: Tumithak Of The Corridors

Far and away the best and most exciting story I had ever read up to that time. I found the characters human and the hero all the more admirable because he could feel fear. I found the plot exciting and a deep humanity in the sentence ‘Tumithak had to learn that in no matter what nation or age one finds oneself, he will find gentleness, if he looks, as well as savagery.’

– Isaac Asimov

Such are the words of praise from one of the giants of science fiction for Charles R Tanner’s Tumithak series, first published in the 1930s (the fourth book in the series, Tumithak and the Ancient Word was not published until 2005, 31 years after the author’s death).

The series follows the  titular hero, Tumithak, a young boy who rebels against the tyranny of the oppressive Shelks, invaders from Venus who have over-run Earth and force humanity to live underground in tunnels and caverns created at the time of the invasion. With no access to technology or knowledge of science, humankind lives in fear of the Shelks, who periodically descend into the tunnels of Man to hunt humans for sport – and worse.

Tuesday, November 13th 19:00: Everything on a Waffle

In the small Canadian town of Coal Harbour, in a quaint restaurant called The Girl on the Red Swing, everything comes on a waffle–lasagna, fish, you name it. Even waffles!

Eleven-year-old Primrose Squarp loves this homey place.She a young girl who could use a little extra attention; her parents were lost at sea and believed to be dead, and while her Uncle Jack tries his best to care for her, doesn’t have a lot of free time, and the guardian he hires to look out for Primose is so old, child welfare isn’t foremost on her mind. Similarly, the school councillor is far more interested in listing her own concerns and telling her own tales to actually listen. All-in-all Nobody knows what exactly to think of young Primrose, and Primrose doesn’t quite know what to make of her small community, either.

So Kate Bowzer, the owner of The Girl on the Red Swing takes Primrose under her wing. She teaches  her how to cook, doesn’t patronise or chastise her, even when she puts her guinea pig too close to the oven and it catches fire. And so Primrose, in her own perceptive way, develops wisdom beyond her years and a belief system we could all do well to adopt – including the idea that hope is not crazy.

Join Faerie Maven-Pralou as she reads Polly Horvath’s 2002 Newbery Honor winner.

Wednesday, November 14th: 19:00: The Jennifer Morgue

Corwyn Allen reads the second volume in the Laundry Files by Charles Stross.

Bob Howard is an IT expert and occasional field agent for the Laundry, the branch of Her Majesty’s Secret Service that deals with occult threats. In this second outing, Bob Howard finds himself dragged into the machinations and conspiracies of megalomaniac multi-billionaire Ellis Billington, The Black Chamber and The Laundry…

Dressed in a tuxedo (what else for a globe-trotting British Secret Agent?) and sent to the Caribbean, Bob must infiltrate Billington’s inner circle via his luxurious yacht. His mission? Prevent the Billington from violating a treaty that will bring down the wrath of an ancient underwater race upon humanity’s head.

Offering a wonderful pastiche on both the world of James Bond and a wonderful mimicking of Ian Fleming’s style of writing, Stross produces a novel that also evokes Lovecraftian overtones that is delightfully entertaining to read. In true Bond style, Bob is (reluctantly) partnered with an American agent – in this case a stunningly beautiful woman who also just happens to be a soul-sucking succubus from another dimension. Which, being the case, marks Bob’s mission somewhat differently to those of Bond: not only must he stop the bad guys and come through this at best shaken, he must totally avoid being stirred towards getting the girl…

Thursday, November 15th

19:00: Young Jack Sparrow – The Coming Storm Pt 2

With Shandon Loring. Also presented in Kitely (hop://grid.kitely.com:8002/Seanchai/144/129/29).

21:00: Seanchai Late Night

Contemporary science fiction and fantasy with Finn Zeddmore.

 


Please check with the Seanchai Library’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule.

A trip to 18th Century France in Second Life

Magritte; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrMagritte – click any image for full size

Magritte is a two-region estate – Full (using the full 30K allowance) and Homestead – offering Second Life residents the opportunity to travel back in time and participate in the life of the people of southern France in the 1750s, just over half-way through the reign of Louis XV.

Designed by Benoit de Montgelas (ZeustheImmortal) and Florens de Montgelas (EganObelius), the town and noble houses here are said to be located close to the town of Bergerac, a sub-prefecture of the Dordogne. The introductory notes for the estate point out that the south-west of France was somewhat independent of the king’s rule (in the time of Louis XIII, some of the nobility here had even tried to separate from the rest of France), and there was also much rivalry between families and houses, all of which makes for a rich backdrop for potential role-play.

Magritte; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrMagritte

In terms of the layout, most of the estate reflects the wealth of the region: the houses of the wealthy and landed are proud and expansive, encompassing formal gardens, high walls presenting an air of aloft privacy as they face one another across wide, cobbled boulevards.

The largest of these fine houses sits to the south, forming a grand estate, Maison du Printemps. Modelled in the style of Robert de Cotte, this is a private setting  – one of several in the estate, so do be careful to avoid trespass. However, it sits on land open to visitors, where horse riding and archery are both available. The horse riding is available to most types of horses available in Second Life, and championship races and fox hunts are announced through the estate’s role-play group. The archery system can be used with all types of range weapons – although obviously, it is preferred that weapons are kept to the period, there is also a request that the weapons available from the estate’s blacksmith, operating out of dock-side marketplace, are used.

Magritte; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrMagritte

Role-play in the region is open to anyone wishing to join, and roles can be among the aristocracy, the bourgeois or the peasantry. Details of RP are available from the information centre at the landing point. So too are period outfits for those who don’t have them – simply join the estate’s group and take either the male or female outfit and collect the Out Of Character (OOC) tag also available to make it clear you are just visiting.

The town and docks, located to the west of the estate, stands in strong contrast of the grand houses of the nobles. Here the building are huddled together, clustered around the docks, almost medieval in style. This helps to give the town a busy feel, and is entirely in keeping with the period, where many towns hadn’t really changed too much over the years when compared to the fineries of architecture afford by the wealthy.

Magritte; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrMagritte

As well as the horse riding and archery, fishing can be had within the estate and – for the nobles, perhaps – there are also formal dances and, the estate’s notes offering the following:

The “Salon blanc” is a ballroom for concerts, banquets and dancing. Festivities will be announced in our groups.
If you wish to host your own event, like a ball or concert, please contact the Barons for further information and planning.

In addition, a pavilion on the southern estate offers a place where a pleasing rest can be had following a walk under the trees, complete with a view across the river to Margitte.

Magritte; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrMagritte

There are perhaps a couple of small incongruities in the estate; for example, the docks are home to a sailing vessel that might actually have found it a little difficult navigating this far up the Dordogne (there’s also a second lying a little off-shore as well). But this is Second Life, and a little license is allowed in how ideas are presented, and the docks do help add character to the town.

Overall, the estate is genuinely photogenic, and during my visit there were resident players to be found (OOC visitors are encouraged not to interact in open chat but keep questions, etc., to IM). I’d certainly like to thank Le Baron de Magritte for his gracious hospitality during my time at the estate, and for asking after my well-being.

Magritte; Inara Pey, November 2018, on FlickrMagritte

SLurl Details

2018 OSCC: registrations open, and a call to artists

Via OSCC

On Saturday, November 29th, I received an e-mail announcing that registrations for the 2018 OpenSimulator Community Conference are open.

The 2018 conference will take place on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th December 2018, celebrating 11 years of community and development of OpenSimulator and focusing on the evolution and future of this open-source virtual world platform.

Attendance is free, but numbers are limited. Those wishing to donate to the supporting this and future conferences, can do so through a number of donation options, ranging from $10.00 USD through to $200.00 USD, or donate an amount of their own choosing, all of which offer various benefits to purchasers, such as reserved seating areas expo booths at the event, physical t-shirts and other OSCC18 promo items.

The expo area associated with the conference will not be ticketed and so can be accessed by any avatar, subject to constraints on the number of avatars that the exhibition regions can hold at any particular time.

To book your tickets to attend the conference through your avatar, and to see the full range of ticket options and their respective benefits, please visit the conference ticket page.

Note that registration is open on a first-come-first-served basis until the maximum number of virtual conference centre tickets is reached. At that point, community members will still be able to register for the live streamed version of the conference that will be available.

The OSCC conference centre, 2013

Volunteer and Social Events Registrations Still Open

OSCC 2018 is still accepting registrations from volunteers to help run the event, and from those interested in hosting a social event associated with the conference.

The conference needs volunteers to help in a range of activities: greeters / audience assistants ; moderators; builders; scripters; social media / communications; streaming and technical support. Those interested in volunteering can do so via the Volunteer Sign-up form,  Depending upon interests, volunteers can select more than one role if they wish.

Social events can be held on other grids, and can be scheduled on dates leading up to the conference on Saturday, December 8th, 2018, or for after 17:00 PDT on either Saturday, December 8th or Sunday December 9th, 2018. Those wishing to host an event are asked to complete the Social Event Sign-up form.

There will also be limited available space on the OSCC conference grid for those who would like to host an OSCC meet-up or after conference event on Sunday, December 9th, 2018. Please contact the organisers with questions.

OSCC 2014 conference arena. Credit: OpenSimulator Community Conference

A Call To Artists

Also on November 10th, the conference organisers issued a call to artists, which reads in part:

We are looking for artists to Contribute art with us to showcase and to freely share with the community. These artworks will be placed on our Landing Regions and Expo Regions and possibly in the Keynote Regions. We will encourage participants to tour the artworks and make those that are either Public Domain Dedication or Creative Commons Attribution available for OSCC attendees to pick up a copy for their own regions.

Art can be static or kinetic in nature, and multiple submissions from individual artists are welcome, but there are certain criteria that should be noted by applicants:

  • All art must fit a 5m x 5m x 7.5m (height) area.
  • Mesh must not exceed 25K polygon counts.
  • Art must be distributable by Copy or by box, and must be resource considerate.
  • No timers, scanning or logos permitted.

Artists wishing to participate are asked to e-mail opensim@avacon.org, and include a photo or sketch, description, and any other details about the work they would like to submit.

About the Conference

The OpenSimulator Community Conference is an annual conference that focuses on the developer and user community creating the OpenSimulator software. The conference is a joint production by Core Developers of OpenSimulator and AvaCon, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the growth, enhancement, and development of the metaverse, virtual worlds, augmented reality, and 3D immersive and virtual spaces.  The conference features a day of presentations, panels, keynote sessions, and social events across diverse sectors of the OpenSimulator user base.