2015 viewer release summaries: week 15

Updates for the week ending: Sunday, April 12th, 2015

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 Current Viewer Releases 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. This page 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
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current Release version updated to version 3.7.26.299635 on March 24th (formerly the Avatar Hover Height viewer) download page, release notes, wiki page, AHH overview
  • Release channel cohorts (See my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Maintenance RC viewer updated to version .7.27.300636 on April 9th – multiple fixes and improvements (download and release notes)
    • Avatar Layer Limits RC viewer version 3.7.27.300567 released on April 9th– allows users to wear up to 60 wearable layers (jackets, shirts, tattoo, alpha, etc.) in any combination  (download and release notes)
  • Project viewers:
    • Viewer-managed Marketplace project viewer updated to version 3.7.27.300470 on April 7 – allows Merchants to manage inventory associated with Marketplace Listings from within the viewer + sale of items which Merchants do not have the right copy will now be supported with the Direct Delivery purchase mechanism (download and release notes)

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V3-style

  • Restrained Love Viewer updated to version 2.9.9  on April 8th – core updates: re-enabling HTTP Inventory as a default (previously disabled by default), linking the hover height slider at the top of the viewer to the Lab’s Avatar hover Height capability (release notes)

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

  • Group Tools updated to version 2.2.33.3 on April 9th – core updates: unknown, release notes  / change log not supplied
  • CasperTech announce their withdrawal from curating and maintaining Metabolt – see my post here.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

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CasperTech cease Metabolt client development

Metabolt, the 3rd-party text-based client appears to have ceased development, this time possibly permanently.

Rumours that development work on the client had ceased first arose in late 2013, after an extended period which had seen no updates or releases. However, in February 2014, news circulated that CasperTech were set to take over the curation of the project and continue it in the spirit in which it had been started.

The updated METAbolt log-in / splash screen from February 2014, the first indication that Metabolt would be continuing after several months of what appeared to be suspended development.
The updated METAbolt log-in / splash screen from February 2014 gave the first indication that Metabolt would be continuing after several months of what appeared to be suspended development.

The announcement was followed in June 2014 with an update to the client – version 0.9.71.0. However, since then, there haven’t been any further releases, which had again left some wondering if the client was still being actively developed.

It now appears the reason for the more recent lack of releases may in part be due to a dispute between CasperTech and the original developer of Metabolt over the use of the client’s name. A dispute which has resulted CasperTech withdrawing from active development of the client, as a recent terse announcement on the Metabolt web page makes clear:

The recent CasperTech announcement

Obviously, whatever arrangement (if any) had originally been reached between CasperTech and the original developer on how the client might be continued under its original branding is a matter for the two parties concerned, and not something for idle speculation. However, given a disagreement has now arisen on the matter, then as the CasperTech announcement states, this would appear to be the end of the line for the client in its current form at this point in time.

As can be seen from the notice, CasperTech are intending to issue an alternative client in the near future, although no time frames appear to be available at the time of writing this article. I’ll of course provide a review of any new client from them once it does appear.

Space Sunday: ice-cream sandwiches, sniffing the air and targets of Opportunity

CuriosityCuriosity is continuing its exploration and ascent of “Mount Sharp”, the huge mountain-like mound of deposited material occupying the centre of Gale Crater, which has been the rover’s home since it arrived on Mars in August 2012. And it is continuing to find curious and enigmatic hints about the past conditions in the crater, and about Mars as a whole.

The rover’s most recent discoveries come from an area of rock dubbed “Garden City”, which contains areas of two-tone mineral veins quite unlike anything so far encountered in the rover’s travels.

The veins appear as a network of ridges left standing above the now eroded-away bedrock in which they formed. Individual ridges range up to about  6 centimetres (2.5 inches) high and half that in width, and they bear both bright and dark material. They are strongly suggestive of multiple episodes of fluid movement which occurred much later than the wet environmental conditions that formed lake-bed deposits which gave rise to “Mount Sharp’s” formation.

“Some of [the veins] look like ice-cream sandwiches: dark on both edges and white in the middle,” said Linda Kah, a Curiosity science-team member at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. “These materials tell us about secondary fluids that were transported through the region after the host rock formed.”

This view from Curiosity’s Mast Camera (Mastcam) is a mosaic of 28 images showing a network of two-tone mineral veins standing up to a height of 6 centimetres (2.5 inches) from the surface of a rock dubbed “Garden City” – click for full size

On Earth, veins of this kind form as a result of fluids moving through move through cracked rock, depositing minerals in the fractures which often affect the chemistry of the surrounding rock. Curiosity has found bright veins composed of calcium sulfate visible on the surface of rocks at several other locations, which appears to be the same with the lighter material found as “Garden City”,   but the dark material suggest something else.

“At least two secondary fluids have left evidence here,” Kah said. “We want to understand the chemistry of the different fluids that were here and the sequence of events. How have later fluids affected the host rock?”

While there are no plans to gather any samples form “Garden City”, analysis of the three sets of samples gathered from within “Pahrump Hills” reveal that mineral deposits within the area vary according to elevation, revealing a complex process may have been responsible for the formation of the area. Samples taken from the lowest elevation of the area revealed themselves to be rich in clays and hematite, both of which commonly form under wet conditions.

However, at just a 5 metre higher elevation, jarosite, an oxidized mineral containing iron and sulfur that forms in acidic conditions, was the dominant mineral, while towards the top of the area, at an elevation of 10 metres, clay minerals and hematite were almost non-existent, and traces of jarosite were greatly reduced, while the samples – from “Telegraph Peak” – were rich in cristobalite and quartz, both of which are mineral forms of silica.

Quite what the process may have been that gave rise to this spread of deposits is unclear – the science team have several options to choose from, and are continuing their investigation.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: ice-cream sandwiches, sniffing the air and targets of Opportunity”