BOOFest! Come gather ’round the fire and hear tales both dark and haunting

Sunday October 21st marks BOOFest! a gathering for vocal artists from across the grid, meeting at  Bran. Here they invite all of us to come sit around a blazing fire and hear tales in keeping with this haunting time of All Hallows Eve, Hallowe’en…

There will be tales of dark deeds, ghostly goings-on and more throughout the day, with the event kicking-off with a short welcome and introduction by hosts Caledonia Hightower and Dubhna Rhiadra.

Stories will be presented in Voice, so be sure to have a place where you can sit and listen-in in peace. After the introduction, the first story kicks-off at 09:45 SLT.

Gather around the fire on Sunday 21st October to hear tales suitable for the month of Hallowe’en

Schedule of Events

All times SLT. Please refer to Storyfest SL’s blog for any updates / changes to the programme.

09:30 – Welcome and introduction from Caledonia and Dubhna.

Reaper Man (1991) by Terry Pratchett

09:45 – Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett: When Death develops signs of individuality, The Auditors appeal to Azrael to banish him and appoint a replacement. And so Death becomes subject to his own death and must, along with Binky, his ever-faithful horse, come and live as a mortal, a timer counting down his lifespan… A selected reading by  Caledonia Skytower and Dubhna Rhiadra.

11:00 – The Water Ghost of Harrowby Hall by John Kendrick Bang: Queen Bluestar presents a short story of one man’s attempts to relieve his family of the legacy of ghostly visitations with an aquatic edge, only to find the visitor from beyond is quite tenacious in her determination to make her presence felt.

11:30 – The Monkey’s Paw by William Wymark Jacobs: This classic tale from 1902 tells of a talisman in the form of a monkey’s paw which can grant the possessor three wishes – but at a price. For as a sergeant-major warns within the story, “It had a spell put on it by an old fakir, a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people’s lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow.” Presented by Kayden Oconnell.

12:00 midday – The Good, the Bad and the Freaky in 100 Words: The Prim Reaper takes up the story chair at the fire. Crap Mariner, who swore an oath to write a 100 word story every day until he died, brings his own irreverent style and wit, together with his eye and mind for a good, tight yarn, to bear on events.

12:30 – Nightmares: Hakeber Haber presents three of her own works, Night, Night, Yes, Master and Memory of the Sun as she reveals just what nightmares are made of …

13:30 – The Case of Lady Sannox by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: No, not a mystery for The Great Detective to solve, but a sinister short story from 1893 of how revenge is sought as a result of a notorious affair between a famed surgeon and the Lady of the story’s title. Present by Corwyn Allen.

14:00 – Tales with Lycanthia:  Lycanthia Wolfhunter sits down to tell four of her own short stories, each of which is gruesome, sensual, and possessed of a righteous sense of justice that is delightfully unique: Zombies Can Scream, You Always Kill the One You Love, Get A Head, and Trick or Treat.

15:00 – Microfiction with Brokali: “It is a chance to reach inside your day, their day, and everyone’s night. The coldest, warmest, darkest night without the over use of adjectives and never an adverb. The best part is when we paint with microfiction what we see is obvious and real. Let’s splatter it across our hearts and then share more. And more. More.”

15:30 – Monday Jinx: please refer to the StoryFest SL blog for updates

16:00 – Unwind by Neal Shusterman: BigRedCoyote tells the tale of a world where medical science can replace any part of the human body by transplanting the part from a donor, and a society wherein parents can “retroactively abort” any child between the ages of 13 and 18. Written in 2007, Shusterman’s novel has been critically acclaimed and a film based on it, with a screenplay by Schusterman, is in early pre-production. It has also been the subject of a critically acclaimed fan-made trailer:

16:30 – Ghosts of a Bumboat with Singh Albatross: Musician, poet and writer Singh Albatross  presents a selection from his Singapore novel. When Ralph Drummond steps on a curbside Hungry Ghost Month offering he collapses into a coma. Will he survive the psychic battle when the Gates of Hell open? Can his wife Winnie and their new Singapore friends Alvin and Fay save him? What is the Water Clan and who is the Geomancer?

This year’s BOOFest benefits War Child North America, and is produced in partnership between Stories Unlimited! and Branwen Arts.

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SL project news: week 42 / 3 – server news

There is a lot going-on server-wise at the moment, so best to break it down by heading.

Server Rebalancing

The Lab is currently engaged in a rebalancing exercise in an attempt to put neighbouring regions on the same server and generally do a logical organizing of the grid to help improve various aspects of performance. Speaking at the Server Beta User Group on Thursday 18th October, Oskar Linden explained that there has been a lot of moving around (in terms of regions) within and between the Lab’s co-location facilities, and so the re-balancing is warranted and needed.

This work takes time – a rebalancing operation earlier this year took around 6 weeks to complete. It requires that regions are organized into groups and then generally moved twice: the first time to a temporary sever, the second to the target machine, each move requiring a reboot, so people may notice additional and unexpected restarts to regions they are in as the work progresses. Two moves are required because the server topology is so tight, it often isn’t possible to move regions directly from one server to a target server, so an intermediary is required.

While this work will take time to complete, the result should be improvements in stability and performance with the likes of teleports, etc, and even improved region crossings.

More on the Server Deployments for Week 42

  • Main channel: Oskar provided some more information on the main channel update of Tuesday 16th October, saying, “The main channel got a tweak this week, but it was a really small change, and no sim code got changed. We recognised that we had some inefficient SQL queries where large groups were concerned, so we optimised them, and the effect was quite noticeable. The databases are more responsive [and] this helps at all levels.” He went on to clarify that these changes were not Baker Linden’s Group Services code changes, after some in the meeting appeared to think this might have been the case
  • BlueSteel received the updates which were tested in the network pile-on test in week 42. At the time, I commented that teleporting seemed a lot faster, but that might have been a placebo effect of being on Aditi. It was. Commenting on the test, Oskar said, “There were no simulator changes in that test code. We were just testing backend tweaks.”
  • Magnum received no update per se, as previously reported, but was merged with trunk and then redeployed
  • LeTigre received the biggest update, which included new LSL functions ad updates, and most importantly of all, a new version of Havok (see below). Of the LSL functions, Maestro had a warning about the new OBJECT_PATHFINDING_TYPE parameter in the pathfinding command llGetObjectDetails, “We misspelled a constant, OPT_UNKNOWN, so we plan to fix that.” The fix will probably be next week.

Havok

As mentioned above, Havok on LeTigre was updated to version 2012.1. The update enables Havok’s built-in terrain optimisation and should lead to improved performance as a result of the physics shape of the terrain being simplified. Prior to the deployment, there were concerns that it would lead to issues with mesh vehicles trying to cross between regions running different version fo Havok, as has previously been the case.

As reported in part one of this update, these concerns led to Andrew Linden contacting the deployment team in LL to check whether it would be possible to ensure none of the Blake Sea regions remained on LeTigre while two versions of Havok running on the grid to help alleviate at least some of the pain people would feel when using mesh vehicles there. This apparently happened, whether it was before or after the deployment is unclear, as some people did report issues following the roll-out. There was also a little confusion as to what had been swapped where.

At the Server Beta meeting, Oskar gave the impression that all Blake Sea regions were on LeTigre. However, at the Simulator User Group meeting on Friday 19th October, Andrew Linden indicated that records showed none of the Blake Sea regions are running on LeTigre, although they are spread across the other channels. Given that there were (according to Andrew) around six Blake Sea regions running on LeTigre to start with, it would appear to make sense that they have been rotated off to another channel, rather than attempting to rotate all of Blake Sea on to LeTigre.

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