Wishing everyone all the very best for 2014. Thank you for taking the time to come read this blog, give feedback and comments, and for all your retweets, replurks, loves and support throughout 2013. It has been and is, deeply appreciated.
It’s once again that annual time of reflection. The winter is with us, the old year is slowing dying, the new year awaits, and it is time to look back across the highs and lows of the virtual year as seen through the pages of this blog. This year has been even busier for me than previous years, so rather than give you a sea of text to wade through, I’ve opted to break things down into three more manageable offerings, starting with January through to April, and have tried to limit myself to bullet-points to the various links. I’ve not attempted to dot every “I” and cross every “T”; rather my aim is to highlight the main items of news for each month (or those which raised a smile), and those aspects of other VWs I had time to cover and well as a look back on some personal elements of my SL times over the year. For those into art and SL exploration, I’ve also summarised installations and regions visited by month in the hope that doing so will stir your own memories of those events / places.
Second Life and the Lab
- The SL viewer gets a “request teleport” feature & a group ejection notification
- Yurzuru Jewell launches Idobata, a handy text-to-speech tool for Second Life. Later in the month he launches Keshiki, a screen capture tool for tutorial makers
- LL’s tie-in with Amazon sees SL appear on the UK and German Amazon sites
- The Lab starts opening advertising on its web properties to SL businesses and merchants
- Concern over the extent of changes to creators’ rights as made in August to LL’s ToS start to grow. I contact the Lab directly on the matter and receive a statement from them on the matter. As upset grows about the changes, some start quietly to try to get things suitably resolved, while I follow-up on ideas that the changes were due to the Desura acquisition. Towards the end of the month an in-world meeting is announced, and I offer a post-meeting personal perspective
- LL issue viewer-side support for their new particle capabilities
- The Lab announces SLShare, an opt-in means people to link their SL and Facebook accounts. The capability appears in the viewer near the end of the month, and appears reasonable enough
- Singularity adds the ability to export your own textures when exporting your own content to Collada files
- Lette Ponnier offers some sage advance to those wishing to improve their SL user experience
- Exodus releases a materials-ready version
- The San Diego Union-Tribune publishes a detailed story on Fran Serenade, first broken in the SL blog circuit by Hamlet Au in February). I cover the story and poke LL about it as a result, the story become the most-read article on this blog for 2013, with just under 4,000 readers within the first 24 hours of the Lab promoting it alone – thank you, Peter & LL & all who visited!
- Chris Stokel-Walker, a UK journalist provides an astute look at Second Life
- On top of new platform improvements, the Lab launches a new promo video
- My interview with Rod Humble makes it to issue #49 of Prim Perfect magazine
- Cocoa updates adversely impact Mac users
- Week 36: Monty’s server-side HTTP updates start deployment, but require a viewer-side update. These updates include the new GetMesh2 capability and its associated debug, Mesh2MaxCocurrentRequests, both of which are designed to stop people exceeding the server-side capabilities with unreasonably concurrent mesh download requests
- Week 37: JSON gets some updates; recursive rezzing as a means of griefing gets nerfed, although later updates are required
- Nyx essentially nixes any idea of extensive, in-depth changes to the current SL avatar
- A fix arrives for an issues whereby some avatars were unable to access parcels running on regions on the Magnum RC
- Week 39 sees increasing reports or region restart issues, while there is further informal discussion on the idea of an SL avatar 2.0″; region crossing issue return with a bite
- The Lab issues some stats on materials, Monty Linden dives into issues with tethered cellular connections
- UWA, the Centre for ME/CFS & other invisible illnesses and Virtual Ability launch the Freedom Project
- The Portuguese Way – LEA
- Firestorm celebrates its third anniversary
- BURN2 announces selected artists for 2013
- Virtual ability announce the 3rd annual international disability rights affirmation conference and panelists from around the world
- Grendel’s 7th Element Hunt
- The Michael J. Fox Premiere Party for Parkinson’s Disease set to be held in SL the event raises L$425,000 ($1700) in just three hours
- Honah Lee Islands
- Artists Garden
- Collins Land (2)
- Savoir Faire / Serenity Gardens
- The Looking Glass
- Cyprian Garden
- Moonlight Teahouse
- Blake Sea became my playground (again) while flying my lovely Spitfire
- I move to Blake Sea and take-up residence in a themed estate there
- It is confirmed that Voyager has left the Solar System and that, surprisingly, Mars may have far less methane than might have been thought
Second Life and the Lab
- Patterns gets a website overhaul and the dev team hold live streams with users
- Western Digital (Asia) launch a short film competition with a special machinima section suitable for SL film makers
- LL announces it’ll be offering all IndieCade nominees & official selections a Desura distribution deal
- World’s End Garden announces closure
- LL seek to re-vamp Desura client open-source project after the SL viewer open-source model
- The LL ToS changes continue to rumble on:
- Machinimatix refocus terminology in their products & Bryn Oh resigns from the LEA
- I point out that (unfortunately) the wording in the ToS is very common
- An in-world legal panel is announced to address concerns and answer questions
- Qarl Fizz quits SL
- I provide audio recordings and also transcripts from the in-world legal discussion
- Designing Worlds plans a special programme on the subject
- Lab runs a Halloween photo contest with L16K in prizes
- CastAR gets immersive capability to place it on a par with Oculus Rift and $500,000 in first 3 days of modest kickstarter
- The Lab announces a “mobile beta” programme for accessing SL using OnLive streaming
- The CtrlAltStudio viewer has an unofficial first pass at including SL viewer UI elements when using Oculus Rift
- Firestorm discuss their upcoming 64-bit Windows release with me prior to launching their 4.5.1 beta update and Windows Alpha 64-bit versions
- Week 40: Andrew and Maestro Linden continue to try to pin-down the cause of recent region crossing issues; Baker starts working through the viewer-side code for his group ban list work; render weights and their associated calculations are tweaked. Additional bug-fixes are announced
- AIS v3 officially pointed-to as coming soon
- Week 42: upcoming viewer-side interest list changes are previewed, and viewer-side code is made available to TPVs for testing purposes; Monty Linden starts into HTTP work directly related to HTTP pipelining
- Unfortunately, the interest list viewer proves itself determined not to make in through LL’s QA, delaying the release
- Overto Omonto – Per4mance MetaLES
- Colour Key – LEA
- Moving Rafts and Gaia Theory Project – LEA
- Mixed Pixels – Art India
- World’s End Garden
- Avedon Park
- Calas Halloween special at SilverMyst
- Tudor Rose
- InWorldz launches a unique means of RL exercise while spending time in-world
- Cloud Party jumps on the Oculus Rift bandwagon
Saffia Widdershins has blogged over at Prim Perfect about a somewhat annoying situation that has arisen for Second Life users who have Gmail as their e-mail provider. I’ll let Saffia explain:
It seems that a few weeks ago, Linden Labs was put on the SPAM list for gmail. Because of this, many of your offlines from Second Life may have been going to your spam folder (a peek into the dark recesses of your spam folder will confirm this.
She goes on to provide a set of instructions for those so afflicted on how to set a filter to overcome the problem.
Setting filters is good advice for any e-mail service, Gmail or otherwise. I actually switched away from Gmail a few years ago and now use GMX.com. By default, I use a filter to direct offlines to a given folder in order to keep them separate from other e-mails flowing into my inbox (or, indeed, ending-up in my junk mail folder). Helps keep things tidy 🙂 .
When I was reworking my little corner of Second life recently (and driving people up-the-wall with blog posts on it), I wanted to add a little more life to the place.
I’ve always used sounds a lot in my private region homes; usually in the form of scripted recordings of birdsong, night-time owls and crickets etc., and have also tended to use the sound of splashing / running water if I’ve had a stream or waterfall in the build (although confess I have yet to do that with the “new” garden design).
However, with the “new” house, I wanted something more; I just wasn’t sure what that “more” should be. While I love having Kayle Matzerath’s butterflies flittering and circling the flower beds and adding more colour as well as movement to the place, butterflies aren’t exactly known for being songful or chatty. And while I have things like ducks and squirrels and rabbits sitting in inventory, they also weren’t entirely what I was looking for.
Thus I set off to trawl the SL Marketplace for suitable ideas – and in doing so, I discovered Morgan Garret’s stunning range of garden birds. Or perhaps I should say “rediscovered”, as I first came across them in-world around mid-year, then lost track of them after his in-world store seemed to vanish shortly afterwards.
If you’ve not seen Morgan’s birds, then you’ve missed out. Seriously. They are the most amazing creations you could have to bring added depth to your garden or region; hence why I’m yakking about them now -I’ve hard-pushed not to since adding them to my garden earlier in the month!
There are around 24 varieties of bird in the range at the time of writing, most on sale in COPY packs at around L$350 a go. The birds cover a spread from North America through Europe into Asia and northern Africa, so offering a good range from which to choose. Each pack offers a given bird in a number of variants – standing, perching, “24 hour” and even wearable; and most include a high-res version for photography.
All are beautifully scripted, so once positioned, they bob, look around, cock their heads as if listening, and seem to react to noise and movement in an incredibly real way. And of course, they sing – but not just any song. Each sings in a voice that has been recorded from its real-life counterparts, and like real birds they’ll happily sing from dawn until dusk, before keeping quiet through the night – unless you want them to keep right on singing, which is why there is a “24 hour” variant or two in each pack.
The detail in terms of textures and the sheer natural movement Morgan’s birds possess has to be seen to be believed; I was totally blown away when I first encountered them, and even now I’m hard pushed not to splurge on adding more to my land. And with a LI of just three apiece, it’s possible to get a fair few into even a relatively small space, perched here and there or gathered at a feeding table, and so on without over-burdening a parcel. Each pack even includes a “perching branch” you can plant in or beside trees to sit your birds.
At the moment I have three varieties of Morgan’s little birds scattered around the garden and I’m sorely tempted by at least two more. Those already in the garden have a distinctly North American bias, so being from the other side of the Atlantic, so I feel a pressing need to balance things up a little 🙂 .
If you’re interested in getting Morgan’s birds for your own place, you can find them on SLM under the Grizzly Creek brand, which is managed by Dryfly (Julia Garret – Morgan’s real-life sister), along with the rest of their unique range of goods.
Group Tools, the Windows-based third-party client aimed at users who need to manage large groups in terms of regular notices, group-wide IMs, or operate a region greeter bot, etc., updated on December 28th to version 2.2.26.
With it – or quite possibly before the update, as I’ve not visited the Group Tools website since my week 51 viewer release summary – came a revamp to the Group Tools website itself, which very much helps to put information clearly and cleanly before people unfamiliar with the client.
I last looked at Group Tools itself in September 2012. The client has been through several iterations since then, so I’ve no idea how relevant that review is compared to the current version. Because Group Tools requires the purchase of a licence, and I don’t actually have any specific need for the client, I’ve not actually subscribed to the services in order to keep up-to-date. As a result, and given there are no publicly available release notes for updates, it’s a little hard for the likes of me to keep track of changes to the client as they are released.
I have tended to poke my nose into the website on a weekly basis, however, if only to check for application updates for my weekly viewer release summaries, which is why I copped the changes to the site this week.
The amount of information – with a couple of possible exceptions – in the site hasn’t overly changed; however, the layout has, and the result is a series of web pages which are easier to read, have improved navigation (the left-side menus would appear easier to read than the old white-on-blue menus), and the site appears to benefit somewhat from smoother loading – although that could be purely a placebo effect on my part. Some of the individual pages lack clear subject headings, it’s true, and the text could perhaps benefit from a little more white spacing between lines, but these really are minor niggles on my part; overall the look is very sharp and pleasing to the eye.
The two possible exceptions to the information presented appear to be the Support Ticket area and the updated FAQ area. I’m a little cautious as to calling these part of the revamp, as it is entirely possible they’ve been part of the website for at least a couple of months, and I’ve simply messed them when visiting it – although neither appear to have been there prior to late October. So if they are new, they’re likely to be very welcome for established users and those coming to Group Tools for the first time.
One thing I would personally like to see added to the site are details of updates to the client alongside of the downloads. While it may well be that such details are sent to registered users of Group Tools when an update is available, having them also recorded on the website, either as formal release notes or simply as a bullet-list of key changes, would also be of benefit both to registered users and to parties potentially interested in the client.
If you are a Group Tools users and haven’t seen the updated website, it might be worth hopping over and taking a quick look. In the meantime, for those unfamiliar with the application, here’s an introductory video.
This summary is 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 Viewer Round-up 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
- By its nature, this summary will always be in arrears
- The Viewer Round-up Page is updated as soon as I’m aware of any releases / changes to viewers & clients, and should be referred to for more up-to-date information
- The Viewer Round-up Page also 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.
Updates for the week ending: December 22nd, 2013
Official LL Viewers
- Current Release version: No updates
- Release channel cohorts (See my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
- No updates
- Project viewers:
- No updates.
LL Viewer Resources
- Alternate Viewers wiki page – LL
- Viewer Source Repositories wiki page – LL
- Test Builds wiki page – LL
- Supported Viewers wiki page – LL
- Viewer release process overview – this blog
- SL Viewer updates and reviews on this blog
- No updates
- Cool VL updated on December 28th to:
Mobile / Other Clients
- Group Tools updated to 2.2.26 on December 29th – core updates: unknown; no release notes