Home and Garden Expo opens

home-expo-2013The 6th annual Second Life Home and Garden Expo opened on Friday May 24th 2013.

In support of Relay for Life, and covering a total of 11 regions adjoining the American Cancer Society, the Expo brings together over 100 exhibitors of the very best homes, gardens, landscaping and interior design products in Second Life. It will continue through until Sunday June 2nd, 2013.

Eight of the regions of the expo are devoted to homes and gardens, while two more are devoted to the Breedables Fair, which features 30 of creators of Second Life breedable creatures. The remaining region in the exposition is devoted to entertainment and activities.

The Expo is an annual highlight for those that love seeking out the latest home and garden products and combined with a full entertainment schedule, hunts, raffles and silent auctions plus items designed just for this event – you can be sure of finding stylish new products to give your home a fresh look.

Devonmoor Manor, a design by Kismet and one of the units available at the Home and Garden Expo
Devonmoor Manor, a design by Kismet and one of the units available at the Home and Garden Expo

Entertainment at the Expo will be ongoing through the week of the event, and the best place to find out information on what is going on is the Expo’s entertainment webpage. As with previous years, the Expo has a hunt running through the week, featuring some unique prizes. There’s a L$10 entry fee (proceeds to RFL), and the hunt is  “blind” hunt – meaning entrants  get the landmarks/locations of all the stores in the hunt and their hint, but do not know which store they’re going to. Hints for the hunt can be found at the landing points in each of the Expo regions.

A Silent Auction is also a feature of this year’s expo, with more unique items donated by creators and with all proceeds going to RFL.

The Palamino by Stonewood Homes, also on display at the home and Garden Expo
The Palamino by Stonewood Homes, also on display at the home and Garden Expo

Release a Lantern of Peace and Love

In 2012, Alchemy Immortalis created a lantern which formed the centrepiece of remembering all those who had survived cancer’s ravages and those who had succumbed in their battle against the disease through a special daily ceremony in which lanterns would be released and allowed to float up into the sky.

The ceremony became very special to the people who attended, and so the folks at PrimPerfect have decided to host it again in 2013.  So, they’ve extended an invitation for people to join them at the Prim Perfect platform on Home Expo 6 every day of the Expo at 16:00 for a communal release of lanterns both to celebrate the living and in memory of those we have loved and lost.

PrimPerfect are also hosting a series of talks with designers throughout the week of the Expo, starting at 15:00 SLT on Friday May 24th with Loz Hyde, Maxwell Graf and Kriss Lehmann, all of whom will be talking mesh.

Meet the Designers with PrimPerfect

The talks will all be taking place at the PrimPerfect Temple at the Expo.

Related Links

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She’s not me

Not long ago, Honour posted a piece on how, in order to get things done in-world, she sometimes resorts to using an alt. Doing so allows her to focus on what she’s doing without the distractions of IMs, people dropping in or whatever. Last on, she followed-up with a piece commenting that despite the fact she does use an alt – she doesn’t consider the alt to be “her”.

I know what Honour means.

I’ve had an alt since 2008. (Actually, I technically have 2 alts – but one is located on a Destination Island, where I use it to see if there have been any tweaks to the in-world side of the sign-up process, so I ignore it, as it’ll never see serious use anywhere else). She was created after my main account appeared broken, and i needed an account simply to be able to get in-world while my main account was “fixed”.

Wizardhat Studios
WizardHat Studios

Fortunately, the account issues were resolved after a few days, and so the alt disappeared into a box, making only occasional appearances in-world. More recently, she seen rather more use, as I tend to use her to fiddle with project and experimental viewers, a move which prompted me to dub her my “Crash Test Alt”.

Over the last few months, this use has grown to include me sometimes using her to attend in-world Lab meetings (generally as a result of me already being logged-in with her & being to bone-idle to swap accounts / viewers), and occasionally slipping in to scout-out regions I might blog about at some point. Even so, through all this time, I’ve never regarded her as “me”; in my mind she is always, “her”, “she” or “it”.

WizardHat Studios
WizardHat Studios

My reaction probably isn’t that unusual; many of us have a particular avatar in SL into which we pour not only a lot of creative effort, but also a lot of our own personality as well, so much so that there is an indelible line which connects us in a very personal and unique way to that avatar which goes beyond matters of money spent or inventory built up.

Even so, I find my lack of identification with my alt interesting. Other than tweaking her shape and getting her a decent skin, I’ve never seen the need to invest in any clothes or shoes for her. To this day, she’s still wears the outfit she was wearing when first rezzed. It’s not that I can’t define or afford a look for her; I simply don’t see the point of doing so. She doesn’t even have a profile picture of herself.

Humanoid
Humanoid

My inability to identify with her manifests in other ways as well. As I mentioned above, I sometimes use her to slip into SL to scout regions I might blog about. But then I do this, I find that I have considerable difficulty in taking snapshots using her; I can’t settle on camera angles or decide on appropriate windlight settings or the best time of day to frame a shot. Then, even when I do eventually land a series of snaps, I’m completely dissatisfied with them and end up deleting them and swapping back over to my main and starting again. I may be far from the top-flight photographers who inhabit Second Life, but it’s almost as if what abilities I do have when it coming to taking in-world photos is wholly invested in Inara Pey, and it is only with her that I have any confidence that what I’m trying to frame may be worth showing to others.

Winter Moon
Winter Moon

My alt isn’t hard to spot. Not only is she still in 2008 “female musician” threads and boots, her group tag tends to read “Inara Pey incognito”, which is a bit of a giveaway, I know. I created it to try and make me feel a little easier with using her; not that it seems to be working.

So if you come across her meandering around, and conversation seems odd or awkward when chatting, don’t worry. It’s not that I don’t want to be disturbed or that I’m trying to avoid contact.

It’s just that I’m borrowing someone else’s body for a while, and it doesn’t quite fit.

SL projects update week 21 (3) more server, viewer and interest list bits

Server Deployments

As noted in part 2 of this report, due to issues with the JSON deployment made to all three Release Candidate channels in week 20, there was no Main channel deployment in week 21.

Maestro Linden likes to keep fit while chairing the Server Beta meeting
Maestro Linden likes to keep fit while chairing the Server Beta meeting
  • On Wednesday May 22nd, the three Release Candidate (RC channels should each receive the following updates:
  • Magnum received an update to the server maintenance project deployed to all three RC channels in week 20 which includes fixes for bugs within the LSL support to create and parse JSON-formatted strings. Release notes.
  • BlueSteel received a further update to the experience tools project, and there should be no visible changes with this update. Release notes
  • LeTigre received an update related to the simulator’s interest list subsystem which reduces scene loading time when entering a new region. Release notes.

As mentioned above, the Magnum updates included a fix for an issue within the LSL JSON capabilities deployed to the three RC channels in week 20. Currently, the fix appears to have resolved the issues, so it is possible the JSON capabilities will reach more of the grid once more in week 22.

“json is a javascript way to describe data and pass data between scripts or services. In that regard one of the biggest benefits of json in LSL is for improving the ability of LSL to interact with 3rd party APIs,” Kelly Linden explained at the Server Beta meeting on Thursday May 23rd after questions were asked as to the purpose of the capabilities. “Because it is simple and relatively ‘complete’ even non-javascript services use it on the internet to exchange data …  I’ve been interested in services like parse.com for example which let you store and retrieve data very easily … in json …  https://parse.com/docs/rest this is what would work with LSL.”

Kelly also noted the new capability might be used within LSL, but with a small caveat, saying, “If you are only working within LSL there may be some specific cases where it is beneficial, but other string to list functionality will probably be fine.”

The package deployed to Magnum also included a fix for the bug introduced into the RC channels in week 20 which affects control event triggering in attachment’s child prims after changing regions. However, the fix as deployed is described as “interim”, and corrects the problem (which is described in full here) by reverting the fix for  SVC-8227 (ApplyImpulse now works only in the root prim). Referring to the situation at the Server Beta meeting on Thursday May 23rd, Maestro Linden said, “we hope to get a ‘real’ fix in for that sometime in the future.”

SL Viewer

Further to part one of this report, Oz Linden has clarified the function of the new “Willing to update to release candidate” option in project / beta viewers. As I’ve previously mentioned, when a viewer is believed to be of release quality, it will be put into a release candidate, which will be released to a chosen number of users (the number determined by Linden Lab). By leaving this new option checked, users are indicating that they are willing to receive any such release candidate updates if they are selected by LL to receive them. Unchecking the option means that a user will not be included in the count for any release candidate update, and so will not receive any updates until such time as the viewer reaches release status.

The new "Willing to Update" option
The new “Willing to Update” option

Even so, leaving the box checked does not mean a user will automatically receive release candidate updates – as noted above, LL will determine the total number of users who will receive any given release candidate updates. These will be chosen at random from those who are using the project / beta viewer, and once this number has been reached, no further users will receive the update regardless as to whether the option is enabled or not. If necessary, the selection process can be additionally targeted at specific operating systems, but the Lab currently don’t have plans to use this capability.

While the new release process is not dependent upon Materials Processing project viewer reaching a beta release status, it still appears unlikely that the new processed will be deployed until after Materials has done so.  Once the new release process has been deployed, Oz indicates that it is likely that a number of viewer candidates will appear – such as a bug fix candidate a Snowstorm candidate and possibly others as well, although the exact timing and spacing of the releases is unclear.

Interest List News

Andrew Linden
Andrew Linden

Also attending the Server Beta meeting, Andrew Linden provided a further update on the interest list updates deployed to LeTigre. These amount to a number of fixes and updates to the code.

The main thing in that RC is some minor tweaks to help the scene load a little faster on login and teleport. The effects are small, especially in the case where you have a full cache for that region so I’m guessing that no one has really noticed the scene loading any faster.” Andrew explained, “There was [also] one minor bug I fixed for people with really low-bandwidth settings… the updates were not properly getting re-sorted when the camera moved around, so the scene would continue to stream in based on where you were standing when you arrived but most people with >500kbps bandwidth shouldn’t notice that problem — the scene usually loads fast enough now. ”

He went on to reiterate that the LeTigre deployment also includes a partial fix for the “Meeroo update” problem of objects not updating correctly after being outside of the camera’s field-of-view. Again, as mentioned in part 2 of this report, the fix works with affected objects which are up to 10 metres away.  However, he believes he now has a more complete fix for the problem, but has yet to test it. He also believes that the issue causing the “Meeroo update” problem may also be responsible for BUG-2644 (pathfinding characters not updating behind the camera) is the same problem as the Meeroo animation, and is hopeful his intended fix will correct that as well.

Finally, the update fixes a minor bug where the green avatar dots on the mini map would not update correctly for avatars behind the camera.

The downside to the LeTigre update is that it did introduce a crash mode, which Andrew described as “rare… only about 6 per day,” and which is currently being investigated.

Server-side Baking / Appearance

As noted in week 20, it has been hoped that the server-side of the SSB/A code would be enabled on two test regions on the Main grid.  These regions are Intended specifically for TPVs to carry out functional tests on the viewer code away from the distractions of broader issues which interfered with testing on Aditi. As such, they should not be considered a sign that deployment of the server-side code had commenced. It had been hoped that the two regions would be enabled this week, but at the time of writing, this is not yet the case. This doesn’t necessarily mean the project is delayed, however.

In terms of overall deployment, matters are unlikely to have changed since week 20, and the Lab will still in part be looking at this initial “TPV test” period as an opportunity to gain further additional metrics on the system and to look for anything untoward occurring prior to committing to possible dates.