Firestorm issue blocking warning for version 4.5.1

firestorm-logoFollowing the recent release of Firestorm 4.6.7 (see my overview for details), the Firestorm team has announced that Firestorm 4.5.1 will be blocked as from Friday September 12th, 2014.

The blocking of version 4.5.1  – which does not affect any of the more recent releases of Firestorm, is in keeping with the Firestorm team’s agreement with Linden Lab to only allow – as far as possible – only the most recent three releases of Firestorm to connect to Second Life.

Also unaffected by the block, and for the benefit of Mac users, is version 4.4.2 – in keeping with their promise to Mac users, Firestorm will not be blocking version 4.4.2 until such time as more of the Mac-specific bugs which have occurred in more recent SL viewer releases (and inherited by Firestorm and other TPVs) have been dealt with.

However, although the blocking is related to Second Life, please note that this announcement does mean that as from September 12th, Firestorm version 4.5.1 will no longer be able to connect to OpenSim grids as well.

If you want to know why Firestorm block versions, you can find an explanation on their blog. Similarly, if you wish yo know how Firestorm implement a block, you can do so via the Firestorm wiki.

In terms of the upcoming block, those users who are still running 4.5.1 are asked to update to a more recent very of Firestorm sooner rather than later. As the official blog post from the team notes:

If you wait until the last minute to update you will have a harder time reaching support since most people seem to wait until the last minute and then contact support for help.

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The fractal geometry of genesis

Geometries- Genesis
Geometries – Genesis

Opening in September at the Galeria Mexico is a new exhibition by Gem Preiz, featuring more of his remarkable fractal art. Gem kindly sent me a personal invitation to preview the new exhibition ahead of the opening, and I was only too happy to pop along and take a look.

Geometries – Genesis presents a display of two distinct halves bound together by a common theme: humanity’s quests for knowledge and understanding, and where it might eventually lead us.

The first part of the display – Geometries – presents seven pieces of Gem’s art which all of a distinctly linear composition, and which are presented in a white room. Each piece of art is governed by Euclidian rules, such that, as Gem describes them, “the parallel lines join only in the infinity and where the shortest way between two points is the straight line.”

Geometries- Genesis
Geometries – Genesis

Even without this description, the depth of perspective within each of the pieces on display is clear; one is not so much looking at them as looking into them. It is as if each one is a window looking out over a vista of light and colour; a feeling heightened by some of the pieces having echoes of architecture about them, as if one is looking down upon futuristic high-rise buildings while passing overhead.

Not that the pieces are intended to represent buildings; rather they offer the infinite to us, and as such translate themselves into brightly lit highways stretching off into the future, a window of colour with the promise of knowledge and understanding yet to be found, opening off of the whiteness of all that we have learnt and absorbed to date.

Geometries- Genesis
Geometries – Genesis

Upstairs, in the second part of the exhibit, we find Genesis, and the differences couldn’t be more apparent. Here, in a blackened room, sit seven more pieces of Gem’s fractal art; these all depicting planets forming against a stellar blanket of stars, sitting under a slowly rotating galaxy, small worlds and Moons painted with images from Google Earth suspended in the spaces between them.

“These pieces,” Gem told me, “evoke the creation mysteries which remain beyond human knowledge, way more complex than our usual geometrical rules.” And they do; each image in this section is deeply evocative. Mathematics and digital processing may have created each of the worlds being formed in the seven paintings, but looking at them, it is hard not to imagine each world cradled in that hands of a Creator, its form being gently shaped and rolled, order emerging from chaos.

Geometries- Genesis
Geometries – Genesis

The idea of creator runs deeper still. As digital creations, each of these seven worlds has been authored, their creator being the artist himself. Thus the pieces resonate further, the comparisons between the work of the artist and the idea of a creative force behind the very universe itself become interwoven; there is majesty here.

Taken individually, Geometries – Genesis present two remarkable exhibitions of fractal art on their own; together they present a single whole which, while comprising two unique perspectives and styles of painting, are unified in both their form and in their representation of our civilisation-spanning quest to know and to understand, and – as Gem reminds us, the fact that Nature is not so simple to decipher as we may have once thought.

Geometries – Genesis opens on Monday September 1st, and will remain at the Galeria Mexico through until the end of September, alongside a number of other exhibitions hosted at the region-wide gallery as a part of FIAT – the Fine Arts Tour of 2014.

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SL project udates week 35/2: server; CDN; TPV meeting

NorderNey, Heaven Scent; Inara Pey, July 2014, on FlickrNorderNey, Heaven Scent (Flickr) – blog post

Server Deployments, Week 35 Recap

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread on the forums for the latest updates and information.

  • On Tuesday August 26th, the Main channel was updated with the server maintenance release previously deployed to all three RC channels in week 34, which contains a single crash fix.
  • On Thursday August 28th, after a delay from the planned deployment, the three RC channels were all updated with the same server maintenance package, which contains further crash mode fixes and, fixes for SVC-2262 – “Incorrect height value in postcard which sent from above 256m” (a postcard being a snapshot sent to e-mail) and BUG-6466 – “Numbers expressed in scientific notation and include a plus sign in the exponent are not parsed as JSON numbers by LSL”, which was thought to have been fixed a while ago, but which in fact resulted in BUG-6657 – “Valid JSON numbers like 0e0 no longer valid after″, prompting the original fix to be rolled back.

The crash mode fix deployed on the RC channels in week 34 and the Main channel in week 35 is apparently related to Skill Gaming regions (SEC-1458).  Essentially, if you sent somebody a teleport offer from a Skill Gaming region, you could, depending on the circumstances, crash the region. Which sort-of sounds like a skill game in its own right …

The RC rolls were postponed 24 hours as a result of problems with the simulator deployment tool, rather than with the RC code itself. The postponement allowed the deployment team locate and fix the problem.

CDN and Map Tile Images

During the Server Beta meeting on Thursday August 28th, Maestro revealed that as well as looking to move mesh and texture fetching to a CDN, the Lab is considering using the same service to deliver map tile images for the world map. To test the idea, and while acknowledging it doesn’t have much of a load test, as the beta grid is much smaller than the main grid, map tiles are now being delivered to any viewers connected using Aditi via the CDN.

Hopefully, this should result in faster and more reliable map tile loading than when relying on the Amazon S3 servers.

Moving the delivery of world map tiles to the CDN should hopefully improve the loading time for the world map
Moving the delivery of world map tiles to the CDN should hopefully improve the loading time for the world map

Commenting on the current state of play with Aditi, Maestro said, “Aditi doesn’t have too many regions up, so there’s no exciting load test to do with a regular viewer, but for what it’s worth, I do see much lower latency when fetching map tiles from the CDN than from Amazon S3 (from my home, about 15ms vs 30-42ms, round trip).”

It’s not clear when this might be available on Agni, “I think it’s a matter of the ops team setting up an Agni-pointing CDN,” Maestro said.

The following notes are drawn from the TPV Developer meeting held on Friday August 28th, and shown in the video above. Time stamps, where relevant, have been included for ease of reference to the video. Note that items are listed according to subject matter, rather than chronologically, so time stamps may appear out-of-sequence. My thanks as always to North for the recording.

 SL Viewer

There are no major changes to the various LL viewers; the Experience Keys project viewer has yet to be updated, and the Oculus Rift viewer will be getting updated as the Lab continue to work with their Oculus DK2 sets.

The Snowstorm RC is  liable to remain in RC for a while yet, although it appears to be doing well in terms of crash rates. The Experimental log-in viewer is still available and being tested.

Autobuild work

[01:48] As reported following the last TPV Developer’s meeting, the Lab is updating the tool chain used to compile the Windows and Mac versions of the viewer, together with implementing a new viewer autobuild process. Referring to the latter at the TPV Developer meeting on Friday August 28th, Oz described the work as going “really well” and pointed to the fact that there are now two versions of the autobuild process that re “in theory” available for testing, “one that builds 64-bit, and one that does not.” These are liable to be merged in the near future.

Some TPV Devs have reported a few problems reported with the process, which may be library or environment related, but these still need to be looked into further to determine what the problems being experienced are and where they actually reside.

[03:50] There is some further work to be done on the new process, notably in making the handling of licenses and copyrights a lot stricter, but otherwise it is viewed as being very close to being ready to go. Oz hopes to have the latest bug fixes and updates merged into the process in week 36, and once that is done, the new autobuild process will be used in compiling the Lab’s viewers going forward as a part of the overall tool chain update.

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