SL projects update 2014 week 1 (1): HTTP project viewer arrives

It’s the first week of the year and the Lab is already busy on the viewer front.

New Release Candidate: PackageFix Viewer

Thursday January 2nd saw a new release candidate viewer enter the release channel. Version 3.6.13.284995 is described as Second Life PackageFix Viewer. This update fixes an issue introduced with the 3.6.12 code base whereby the Windows executable name was changed from “SecondLife” to “SecondLifeViewer”.

As any executable using the old name (“SecondLife”) was not removed as part of the 3.6.12 installation process, problems could result when using old shortcuts pointing to the old executable, rather that the new version, which would then run and could then trigger a further auto-update, again without removing older executables or shortcuts.

With this fix, any executables using the old name (“SecondLife”) will be removed from the installation folder, so any shortcuts created to it will cause Windows to display an error message, and the user can then remove them or modify them to point to the correct executable.

HTTP Project Viewer

Monty Linden's HTTP project viewer arrives
Monty Linden’s HTTP project viewer arrives

Monty Linden’s long-awaited HTTP project viewer surfaced from QA on Friday January 3rd. Part of the ongoing HTTP project work, version 3.6.13.284698 contains three headline updates:

  • Experimental Fix for Long-Standing DNS Problems: the mechanism used to perform DNS look ups has been changed from an application-hosted DNS resolver to a combination of threads and the host operating system’s resolver.
  • Mesh Download with Better TCP Connection Behaviour: this release of the viewer reduces by 75% the number of connections used for downloading meshes. It also reuses these connections more effectively further reducing network demands. Those who have experienced connectivity problems from router instability or other networking problems may see a significant improvement.
  • General Reliability Improvements in Mesh Upload and Download: a great deal of work has been put into the mesh upload and download code. Better error handling, less frequent request retries, removal of many thread issues and fixes for numerous smaller bugs are a part of this release.

Among the changes, this viewer sees the introduction of the new GetMesh2 capability, together with its associated debug, mesh2MaxConcurrentRequests, which are designed to reduce the number of concurrent number of mesh connections from 32 to 8, but which adds keepalive functionality and improved retry logic, and which see the number of viewer / server connections which can be requested by the viewer clamped to prevent individual users overloading the server-side capabilities, as explained back in my 2013 week 36 and week 34 reports.The new capability will run alongside the existing capability as things are transitioned-in to SL.

More news on this project viewer to follow.

New Merchant Outbox Project Viewer

Arriving on Thursday, January 2nd, the Merchant Outbox project viewer, version 3.6.13.284731, is described as including fixes for accurately detecting Merchant status and improves recovery for Merchant Outbox errors. As such, it addresses the following problems:

  • Merchant Outbox viewer crashes on Exit on Windows 7 (ACME-1219)
  • User needs to click OK twice to dismiss Merchant Outbox notification (ACME-1220)
  • Merchant Outbox Initialization fails with 404 error with new account in Merchant Outbox viewer (ACME-1221)
  • Merchant Outbox panel unusable and unrecoverable if outbox folder disappears (MAINT-2287)
  • Send to Marketplace from Merchant Outbox says it fails when it doesn’t (MAINT-2301)
  • Merchant outbox with genuine failure “409 conflict” causes all further imports to fail (MAINT-2452)
  • Merchant outbox: Second Life 3.6.8 (282375) build – results when user has a merchant outbox misplaced in inventory (MAINT-3319)
  • Viewer crash when deleting trash which contains Merchant Outbox (MAINT-3320).

Those who have experienced any of the above issues when using the Merchant Outbox might want to try-out this project viewer – but do keep in mind it is a project viewer.

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Consider a whale’s belly, flash mob the LEA and more: offer ends, January 31st!

Quan Lavender dropped me a line about some short-term projects which are taking place at the Linden Endowment for the Arts regions through until the end of January.

In the Belly of the Whale

whalebellyposterThis is a challenge which has been set-up collaboratively by Eupalinos Ugajin and Ole Etzel, and which focuses on Eupalinos’ collaborative installation Moving Islands [Rafts] at LEA20.

I reviewed Moving Islands [Rafts], which features pieces by many of SL’s artists and curated by Eupalinos, back in October 2013. Since then, there have been some changes to the build, as has always been the intention with the installation, and more are to be added through the course January. This alone makes Moving Islands [Rafts] worthy of a further visit, even without the new “whale” project!

With In the Belly of the Whale, Eupalinos and Ole invite people to visit Moving Island [Rafts] and create a story either in photographs or machinima on the topic “in the belly of the whale”.  They describe the challenge thus:

Explore “Moving islands” at LEA20. Reflect on the topic “In the belly of the Whale”. Reflect harder! Now do us a film, a picture or a photo story at LEA20. Wear [your] own builds or use existing ones from the sim, create a short photo story or a 120 minute epic film, sing, shout or shoot a harpoon into the last whale! Perhaps you may decide to feel like being in any special kind of belly or to produce your work in that special Cadavre Exquis look? Special Russian dictator bellies floating through your mind? NOW you are ready to go! Give us the honour and donate a work to our interactive extravaganza!

Those entering the challenge should contact either Eupalinos or Ole directly regarding how to submit their piece once it is ready. All entries will be displayed at https://whale.boxfolio.com/.

"This challenge ain't over 'til the fat whale sings!" - Madcow Cosmos' interactive whale song piece at Moving Islands [Rafts]
Madcow Cosmos’ interactive whale song piece at Moving Islands [Rafts]
As well as co-organising In the Belly of the Whale, Ole will be presenting a workshop on machinima at LEA20 on Saturday January 11th, complete with Mr. Bones :).  The event will also wrap with a party at the end of January.

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Flash Mob at LEA26 and LEA27

The second short-term event I’m focusing on here is being organised by Secret Rage on LEA26 and LEA27 and is called Flash Mob. In it, For it, Secret is inviting people to submit their artwork to be shown across the two regions through until the end of January.

Flash Mob
Flash Mob

Part of a series of short-term projects which see the LEA open a total of 17 regions to invited artists through until the end of the month, Flash Mob is open to anyone wishing to submit their work and a part of an open gallery / exhibit, as Secret explains:

It is a sort of spur of the moment, immediate, art show. This is my request for artworks from those of you who would like to participate in it.

To do so you may choose either 1 or 2 or your artworks (or a collection) that has a total prim count of no more than 200 prims. Then, as soon as you send it to me (providing I am on-line at that moment), your pieces will be added to the collection immediately. It will continue to grow for as long as the 30000 prim limit holds out. So please, start sending me pieces! Size does not matter for the most part, so larger pieces are OK; but please no full sim sized pieces! :).

Photos, paintings, 3D art are all acceptable as entries, and 2D art can be passed as either textures or as prim-mounted prints – Secret just requests that they are submitted MODIFY in case the size needs to be adjusted for better viewing. She also notes that if she is offline when trying to send her submissions, it might be best to box them & include a notecard with your name and details – particularly if submitting more than one item.

Also note that the two regions include underwater sections as well – something artists might want to consider in putting forward pieces, and visitors should keep in mind when visiting the installation (don’t forget to look under the waves for more!).

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And There’s More!

As noted above, Flash Mob is one of sixteen short-term projects / installations occurring across various LEA regions through until the end of January 2014. The remaining 15 projects will feature works by:  Finn Lanzius (LEA12); Mary Wickentower (LEA13); Ferd Frederix (LEA14); Natascha Randt (LEA15); Rysan Fall (LEA16); Corcosman Voom (LEA17); Thea Dee (LEA18); FrankX Lefavre (LEA19); Haveit Neox (LEA21); Fuschia Nightfire (LEA22); Petlove Petshop (LEA23); Emmo Wei (LEA24); Asmita  Duranjaya (LEA25); Martini Discovolante (LEA28) and  FreeWee Ling (LEA29).

The installations willl cover a variety of subjects, and include displays, interactive elements and more. Not all of them have opened to the public as yet – so keep your eye on them, and be sure to hop on over through the month to see what is on offer :). I’ll be making an effort to drop-in to at least some of them through until the end of the month, and reporting on them in these pages.