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
Release viewer: version 18.104.22.1681414, formerly the Fernet Maintenance RC, dated July 14th, promoted July 19th – No change.
Release channel cohorts:
Grappa Maintenance RC viewer, version 22.214.171.1241850, issued July 29th.
In my last Space Sunday update, I wrote about the comings and goings at the International Space Station (ISS), including the launch of the long-overdue Russian Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM), which at the time of that article was on its way to rendezvous and docking with the station having been lifted into orbit by a Proton M launcher on July 21st.
Designed to provide further dedicated space for Russian activates on the ISS, the 20-tonne module combines additional living space with working space, cargo storage, a dedicated external robotic arm that is capable of “walking” around the module using its two manipulator / mounts, courtesy of the European Space Agency), and an attitude control system to supplement those already on the station. It is the largest component Russia has provided for the ISS, and its launch – whilst 14 years overdue – is part of an effort by Russia to boost its space programme.
However, not long after the module reached orbit there were reports it was encountering some issues with a number of systems – including the thrusters. Neither Roscosmos nor NASA commented on these reports, and they apparently did not delay the planned rendezvous and docking at the station.
This took place at 13:29 UTC on Thursday, July 29th, when Nauka made an initial “soft dock” with the station following a fully automated approach to the ISS, monitored by cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky aboard the station, who sat at a control station that would enable him to take over manual control of the module should it become necessary. Nauka docked at a port on the Zvezda module that had been vacated earlier in the week by the 20-year-old Pirs docking / mini- science module. This had been towed away from the station by a departing Progress automated resupply vehicle, with both Pirs and the Progress vehicle burning up on re-entering the Earth’s denser atmosphere. The soft dock was followed by a confirmed “hard” dock, and things then appeared to be set.
However, at 16:34 UTC, the module’s thrusters started firing of their own accord. No warning was given, and the firings were enough to cause the station to lose attitude control eight minutes later, rolling as much as 45 out of orientation. The cause of the problem was not initially known; however in subsequent updates, Roscomos blamed the issue on a software glitch and / or human error.
There was such euphoria after docking, people relaxed to some extent. Perhaps one of the operators didn’t take into account that the control system of the block [Nauka] will continue to adjust itself in space. And it determined a moment three hours after docking and turned on the engines.
– Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin, speaking on Russian radio
Rogozin also suggested the problem didn’t last that long, stating it was “quickly countered by the propulsion system” on the Zvevzda module. However, NASA reports that overall, the station remained out of orientation for some 47 minutes before returning to its proper attitude.
That was a pretty exciting hour!
– NASA’s human spaceflight chief Kathy Lueders
During this time there were two drops in communications between the station and the ground, and the period of control loss was enough for NASA mission managers to advise the US / international crew on the station to ready the Crew Dragon capsule Endeavour for possible departure as a precautionary measure, the order remaining in place until it had been confirmed Russian ground controllers had inhibited Nauka’s thrusters to prevent any recurrence. However, whilst the order was given US ISS program manager Joel Montalbano emphasised there was never any significant danger for personnel on the station, and the ISS did not appear to suffer any damage.
With the ISS back under control, the crew and mission controllers Earthside commenced a period of careful check-out of the station and all of its systems, with the Russian crew members working to open the airlock doors to Nauka and check the module’s interior. While this work has continued through the weekend, both Russia and the US have been keen to emphasise that things aboard the ISS are pretty much business as usual once more.
There was, however, one casualty following the situation: the planned launch of the CST-100 Starliner, due to make its second attempt of its uncrewed Orbital Flight Test to the station ahead of being certified for crew operations. Starliner’s launch had been set for Friday, July 30th, the day after the Nauka docking. However, the decision was taken to delay the launch, and the vehicle and its Atlas V launcher were rolled back from the pad on July 30th.
Scheduling conflicts with other launches from Cape Canaveral mean that Starliner’s launch will now not take place until Tuesday, August 3rd at the earliest – and that is subject to how the weather behaves.
Currently, the launch is set for 17:20 UTC on the 3rd, but there is around a 40% chance things could get derailed by thunderstorms. However, once fuelled and ready, the Atlas V is capable of an “instantaneous” launch should a break occur in the weather, and launch managers are hoping the worst of the weather will hold off until after the launch window. Should a scrub be called for the 5rd, a further window will open on Wednesday, August 4th.
I have long been an admirer of the work of Giovanna Cerise, a 3D artist with a remarkable talent for creating both individual pieces and entire installations that are evocative, rich in narrative and which are often founded upon or intertwine (or both) themes, narratives and ideas from the physical world to present them through the lens of her imagination.
Absent for a time from Second Life, Giovanna made her return in 2020, and since then has been working on a number of projects – both new and retrospective. Two of these projects opened on July 31st, 2021, and this being the case I make no apologies for this being the first of two articles covering her work that will be appearing in these pages over the next two days.
Sybil, presented at Museum Island, offers Giovanna’s interpretation of the Cumaean Sibyl (“prophetess”), who was said to reside near Cumae, the first Greek colony to be founded on the Italian mainland (and now found within the city of Naples). Her legend became a focus of early Roman history thanks to the writings of Virgil (via his Aeneid VI), Ovid (in his Metamorphoses) and others.
In particular, Virgil’s tales of the Sybil (together with an anonymous author) refer to her living within an unusual cave, a trapezoidal passage over 130 metres in length cut into a hill, ending in a chamber. Here, according to Virgil, she would prophesise by “singing the fates”, then write the results on oak leaves, which she would leave at the entrance to the cave. It is this cave – or passage – which forms the core of Giovanna’s Sybil, its entrance forming the landing point, where can be found a brief introduction.
Red figures line the tunnel, mostly likely those seeking insight into their lives and future through the words of the Sybil, whilst at its centre, she awaits in her chamber, ready to offer you her cryptic advice – but be warned: the Sybil of Cumae was famous for her prophesies often having two meanings, depending on how one chose to read them…
Across the aisle from the crypt, is a statue of the Sybil, a somewhat ghostly form – reflective, perhaps on Ovid’s tale of her fate following her trickery with Apollo (and his with her). In return for allowing him to take her virginity, she asked him to grant her as long a life as the number of sand grains she could hold in one hand – only to then deny him once the wish was granted. Apollo, on the other hand, whilst granting her extraordinary longevity, did not also give her matching youth and health – because she did not ask for either. Thus, over time she aged, withered and faded, becoming a shadow, a voice in the darkness.
Along the hall containing the shadow sculpture of the Sybil are further pieces that both directly reference the Cumaean Sibyl – Enigma, referencing the duality of her words – and indirectly – Consumption, perhaps referencing the fact that we are all eventually consumed by the passage of time, just as the Sybil was in Ovid’s tale, and Illusion, which appears to reference the illusion of time’s own permanence. Then there is Lovers, perhaps representing the preciousness of life itself, and in taking what we are offered rather than losing it or wanting something more.
Fascinating, rich in meaning and visual, Sybil is another engaging trip into legends and tales by an artist who is superb in her ability to interpret and present.
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, August 1st, 13:00: Tea-Time At the Movies: The Maltese Falcon
Corwyn Allen, Gloriana Maertens, Caledonia Skytower, Kayden Oconnell, Da5id Abbot, & Elrik Merlin turn to the writings of Dashiell Hammett. Or rather, John Huston’s take of Dashiell Hammett’s classic The Maltese Falcon.
Written in 1941, a decade after the book was published, the screenplay marked Houston’s directorial debut, and drew a stellar cast: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Loire and Gladys George, rounded out by Sidney Greenstreet making a most memorable of screen debuts.
Regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, Houston’s The Maltese Falcon was one of the first 25 films selected by the US Library of Congress to be included in the American National Film Registry. It is also a film title many people have doubtless heard of and are familiar with due to Bogart, Loire and Greenstreet (the latter unquestionably a breakout performance), even if they haven’t watched the film all the way through.
What may be less well-known about the film, however, is that it was not the first to be based on Hammett’s novel. That honour goes to Roy Del Ruth’s 1931 version, which arguably keeps closer to the novel’s characters and plot, and which actually formed the basis for Houston’s own screenplay. It is also, by way of an aside, immortalised by Jon Anderson and Vangelis in their brilliant song, The Friends of Mr. Cairo (even if the song does reference Mickey Spillane over Hammett), a celebration of the golden age of US mid-20th century cinema with a focus on the tale of the Maltese Falcon.
The film is the story of a P.I. (Bogart as the hard-boiled Sam Spade), a femme fatale Ruth Wonderly/Brigid O’Shaughnessy (Astor) and two unscrupulous “business men”, Joel Ciaro and Kasper Gutman in a tale of double-cross, intrigue, murder and the hunt for “black figure of a bird”, the fabled Maltese Falcon, described thus in the film’s opening:
In 1539 the Knight Templars [sic] of Malta, paid tribute to Charles V of Spain, by sending him a Golden Falcon encrusted from beak to claw with rarest jewels – but pirates seized the galley carrying this priceless token and the fate of the Maltese Falcon remains a mystery to this day.
To find out more, join the tea-time team!
Monday, August 2nd 19:00: Goliath
The third and final instalment in Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series, Goliath takes us once more to the alternative past history of Earth at the time of the First World War. It’s a world divided between the Darwinists- those who have evolved genetics to make animals more useful to humans and the Clankers, who have built their society on machinery technology.
Once again we join Alek and Deryn in their adventures, this time with both of them aboard the living airship Leviathan. Unexpectedly, the ship is diverted mid-flight over Russia with orders to pick up a single large create being transported overland by a fighting bear. Once aboard the whale-ship the crew set about constructing the machine with the create as the ship makes its way over Siberia.
Continuing their flight through Siberia, the Leviathan comes across an area of great mystery: a devastated region where the trees have been flatted to form a great series of rings, the corpse of another whale-ship lying near its centre, the beleaguered survivors needing rescue even as they are protected from out-of-control and starving fighting bear by a strange machine.
Bringing them aboard the Leviathan, the crew discover the survivors have been protected by the work of one Nikola Tesla, a scientist and inventor who may have the weapon that can bring an end to the Great War.
As the adventure continues, Deryn, still disguising herself as a boy in order to be a part of Leviathan’s crew, struggles with her feelings for Alek and whether she should reveal the truth about herself to him…
Willow Moonfire reads a short story from Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea sagas.
Wednesday, August 4th, 19:00 Creatures of Light and Darkness
Two gods, two houses, one quest and the eternal war between life and death. To save his kingdom, Anubis, Lord of the Dead, sends forth his servant on a mission of vengeance. At the same time, from The House of Life, Osiris sends forth his son, Horus, on the same mission to destroy utterly & forever The Prince Who Was a Thousand.
But neither of these superhuman warriors is prepared for the strange & harrowing world of mortal life. The Thing That Cries in the Night may well destroy not only their worlds, but all humankind.
With Caledonia Skytower.
Thursday, August 5th, 19:00 Galaxy Quest PART 1
Join Shandon Loring for a trip aboard the NSEA Protector, together with her crew (or cast, if you prefer!).
Friday, August 6th, 14:30: Terry Pratchett’s Unseen Academicals
Football in Ankh-Morpork is not as we might know it. Rather than being comprised of rules and played within a recognisable ground, it is far more akin to the somewhat violent mob football of medieval Europe.
Not that this is a concern for the elderly, mostly indolent and (some might be tempted to think) somewhat inept old wizards making up the faculty staff at the city’s school of wizardry, the Unseen University. Until, that is, their very handsome annual endowment becomes subject to their playing the game themselves.
Thus, Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully sets out a two-pronged strategy: to ensure the city’s version of football is restructured with proper (and favourable?) rules, and to put team preparations at the university in the hands of the talented candle dribbler, Mr. Nutt and his assistant, Trevor Likely, the son of the city’s most famous (if deceased – did I mention the game can be violent?) player, who are in turn supported by Glenda Sugarbean, who runs the university’s night kitchen and her assistant Juliet Stollop.
Except Mr. Nutt soon discovers he has problems of his own to deal with, and Trevor has promised his Mum he’ll never get involved in the game. Meanwhile, Glenda has the daily responsibility of baking the Discworld’s best pies, and Juliet is about to find herself whisked towards the heights of fame as a fashion model, thus potentially leaving the team a little short on practical advice…
Join Caledonia Skytower as she presents the 37th novel in the Discworld series, and possibly one of its greatest satirical undertakings encompassing football, academia, traditions, the fashion industry, politics, love, fandom, and which mixes in more serious themes of identity, crab mentality and self-worth.
This article comes with an apology. A couple of months ago, Selen Minotaur invited me to pay a visit to to her latest endeavour, located in a small (4080 sq metre) parcel tucked into the corner of a Full region. Entitled SenKonscia, the parcel was introduced to me by Selen as “a place for photographers, dreamers, lovers of 3D art and surreal environments. It is unfinished – and will always remain unfinished, because I intend to add and change things regularly”.
Senkonscia is the Esperanto for “unconscious”, and is here used in the psychological definition of the word, rather than the medical, referencing that part of the mind said to lie beneath the subconscious; the home to the darker aspects of our personalities and the place where fears, feelings, and so on are repressed in an attempt to contain them, as well being as the repository of subliminal perceptions and automatic reactions. It’s the part of the mind we’re never directly aware of, but which (it is believe) manifests itself through our dreams, which can be a mix of the attractive, the surreal and the frightening.
Thus the parcel presents a multi-level setting, from the ground through a set of three sky platforms – Water, Sky and Desert – Selen presents a series of minimalist settings in which 3D art from her personal collection is set out. Multiple artists are presented, including Cherry Manga (whose work can be seen throughout, but receives special attention in the Water platform), x1XDanteX4x, Eupalinos Ugajin, Eric Bloodrose, Harry Cover (impossibleisnotfrench), Willem Koba (willem Koba), Noke Yuitza, Bryn Oh, Stabitha (What88 Zond), Haveit Neox, and Keira Blackthorne.
Movement between the ground and the sky platforms is achieved via a “trapdoor” teleport network: left-click on a trapdoor to display a dialogue box of destination options. Click the name of the desired destination and then wait for the the hover text above the trapdoor to update, then click it again to display the World Map, and use that to teleport.
Each of the levels from the ground up offers a minimalist setting that uses its own environment settings and lighting, so it is important you have your viewer set to Use Shared Environment (World → Environment and check Use Shared Environment) and that Advanced Lighting Model is active (Preferences → Graphics and make sure Advanced Lighting Model is checked).
All of the levels present surreal settings in which the art has been laid out in a seemingly random manner, and where visitors can wander as they chose to witness it. In this, the settings add to the idea that SenKonscia is a trip through a state of dream, individual pieces of art a flash of an image conjured by the the unconscious and pushed into the conscious mind unbidden.
Intriguing, surreal, perhaps in places a little disturbing – again like the very nature of our unconscious rearing up through our dreams or in times when primal instincts (“fight or flight”, etc.), take a hold – and sent to constantly evolve through changes to the art on display, SenKonscia is a fascinating trip through art into the landscape of the mind.
Update: As I posted this, L̶i̶n̶L̶i̶n̶ was preparing to open a new sky level – Western World -, so this article has been updated to reflect this.
It was off on a visit to a far East themed region for me this week, as I finally got around to dropping into the Full region that is called Exhalt, designed and held by L̶i̶n̶L̶i̶n̶ (Lyndy Lockwood).
In its current iteration, the ground level of the region offers a taste of the Far East, ancient and modern, but with a few twists – as seen by the African elephants, the giraffes the lions and the Indian tigers that can be found at various points throughout – and it does so with a certain flare that makes it both a destination that offers a fair amount to do and see, and which also offers a range of opportunities for photography, be it landscape or avatar focused.
The first thing to note about the region is that while the majority of it is open to the public, there are rental properties within it, so some caution is required to avoid trespass on people’s homes – although most of these have been kept to the north side of the region (with the exception of one), so can be avoided by not straying off the paths that wind their way through the region. A further point to note is that the region utilises a local Experience; this is not vital for ground-level explorations, but as there are additional settings in the sky over it, visitors will need to accept the Experience to reach them.
The landing point lies to the south of the region, a waterside wharf watched over by an octopus and bounded on one side by a little marketplace and the rentals office and on the other by the local stables, where a horse can be obtained for those who would like to ride around the region and make use of the small riding track off to the west.
The majority of the region presents something of an ancient Japan vibe, the land they stand upon cut by a series of waterways that effectively break it up into a series of islands, both high and low. These channels, spanned by stone bridges, mean the the best way of exploring really is to follow the earthen paths as they meander their way around the landing, linking the bridges and running past the major points of interest, with one in particular leading to one of the more hidden places within the region, a water garden tucked away out-of-sight.
While the majority of the region takes its led from Japan in terms of architecture, there are two exceptions. The first sits atop the highest point of the setting- and is called, appropriately enough Tibet. The other lies to the west of the region, but it isn’t accessed directly by any of the paths. To find your way into it without scrambling up a steep slope, you’ll need to locate the stairs and arch that lead to it – just be prepared to get a little wet (hint). When you have reached it, you’ll find you’ll pass from a sense of ancient Japan and into modern southern Asia, a setting dominated by elements of Eliza Wierwight’s superb PATRON builds that form a suite of exotic bath houses, with a small beach facing the sheltered southern waters.
Following the paths around the region will also reveal the smaller touches that add a living depth to it, such as a further water garden in the middle of the riding trail and the pavilion where you can play the harp to an audience of one – panthera tigris (although the giraffe standing in the shade of a large cherry blossom might eavesdrop)also be listening.
More animals can be found during explorations, ranging from swans and horses to bears, foxes, pandas, stags, deer, lions, and more. A whale circling in the air over the central buildings adds a touch of fantasy to the setting, as does the presence of giant (but friendly) trolls. For those perhaps not so taken by animals, there are table games available in the building up on the central ridge (with backgammon available just outside), while a high hive platform offers a sporting element. Art also waits discovery, with pieces by Cica Ghost, Mistero Hifeng, Qutsal Alex, x1XDanteX4x, L̶i̶n̶L̶i̶n̶ herself, and more.
As noted above, Exhalt includes several skyborne settings. At the time of my visit, three of these were accessible via Experience-based teleports, and a fourth – The Roxy Club – reached via a teleport board mounted on a wall above the landing point, although I didn’t spot an obvious TP back to the ground.
The other areas are reached by walking through Torii gates, one of which is alongside the landing point, with the other two a short walk from it through the main entrance into the ground level of the region. If you’ve not previously joined the region’s Experience, you’ll be prompted to do so when attempting to pass through one of the gates, which will take you, respectively, to the Old West (pretty self-explanatory), to Dark Tokyo (a modern urban setting with an adult lean), and to the Field of Dreams.
The last of these is close enough to be seen from the ground by those with a Draw Distance greater than around 150 metres. It presents a gorgeous walled garden with its own hints of fantasy and storybook elements that are enchanting to wander through – although the ghostly sasquatch wandering through it can be a little disconcerting! Both of these settings – Dark Tokyo and Field of Dreams – offer teleport loops back to the ground.
With all this said, there is still more to be discovered in Exhalt – details that help to bring it to life and which might also be used in exploring; but rather than give away everything here, I strong encourage you to go see for yourself. And if you enjoy SL photography, trying playing with different EEP settings.