‘Tis the time of quarter again – the summer Premium membership discount offer is up and running, and it is back to the “usual” 50% off of the first billing period when subscribing to the quarterly plan.
The announcement of the offer came via a blog post from the Lab, which also points to the (worthwhile) increased limit of 60 groups for Premium account holders, as well as the usual bits and pieces on offer to those upgrading: the L$1,000 bonus after 45 days, the weekly stipend of L$300, the opportunity to have your own Linden Home or piece of mainland, etc.
For those interested in the opportunity, the offer started at 08:00 PDT on Friday, June 12th, and concludes at 08:00 PDT on Monday, June 29th. As usual, if you are considering the move up from Basic, might I offer some thoughts (as long in the tooth as they might be) as someone who has bounced from Premium to Basic and back again?
This quarter’s offer of course wouldn’t be complete without the Premium gift box. This one has a decidedly summery feel to it, with a package of beach oriented items including wearables such as Elton John style sunglasses, a pic-er-nic basket, Boo-boo and sun hat; there’s also a picnic spread, beach towel and sun shade, sandcastle, beach ball, sun lotion and a colour-changing surfboard you can ride. As gifts go, they’re pretty much on a par with what we’ve seen in the past – which is to say a mixed bag. I can see the surf board getting use in those beach regions which allow rezzing; the picnic set could be good for romantics, again in places that allow rezzing. The rest? Well …
And as a final reminder (also in the official blog post), if you didn’t make the Premium meet-up with the Lindens on Thursday, June 11th but would like an advance copy of the SL12B avatar, don’t forget you have until midnight on the 12th June to snag one from the vendor.
The recent switch by Linden Lab to an updated set of tools for building the viewer (which are also being adopted by active TPVs) has meant that as viewers built using these new tools will no longer install on either Windows XP or versions of OS X below 10.7.
Given that neither Windows XP or version of OS X below 10.7 are regarded as supported products by either Microsoft or Apple, the most preferable thing for users on them to do is to upgrade. However, in some cases, this might be easier said than done. To help users who might, for whatever reason, be unable to upgrade to a later version of their OS in the short term, the Lab has issued an “obsolete platform viewer” into the viewer release channel, which will be provided for as long as is reasonable – but not indefinitely.
Version 126.96.36.1990847 of the viewer (dated May 8th although it only appeared in the release channel this past week), is a “static” viewer, meaning:
It will not receive new features or bug fixes
It will not be promoted to release status
It does not change the Lab’s support policy on Windows XP or versions of OS X below 10.7, and is purely – as noted – an interim offering to help people.
The viewer is based on the April 2015 maintenance viewer release (version 188.8.131.520636), and so includes things like the unified snapshot floater.
Given it is offered only for as long as is reasonable, it should not be relied upon for long-term use, but rather as a means for those who prefer the official viewer and who use Windows XP and older versions of OS X to continue to access SL until such time as they are in a position to update their systems (or the viewer has to be withdrawn from use).
As per all the alternate viewers offered by the Lab, the viewer is listed on the Alternate Viewers page of the SL wiki, or you can use the direct link given above to view the official release notes and download options.
Thursday, June 11th saw the latest get together between Linden Lab staff and residents. Perhaps learning from the lessons of the last event, this one was focused on a 2-region venue in order to help spread the load. Given that when I checked at one point, there were over 110 people in attendance with more arriving, then just as well.
Coming ahead of the 12 anniversary celebrations scheduled for June, the event was marked for Premium members only. On offer for those attending was a chance to pick-up the 12th anniversary avatar ahead of it being made more generally available (and for those who missed the event itself, the kiosk offering the avatar will be available at the meet-up island until midnight SLT on Friday, June 12th).
The idea of providing a celebratory avatar for SL’s anniversary is not new; in the past we’ve had the likes of bears and robots. This year the rumour mill was that a dinosaur would be on offer. And by “rumour mill”, I mean the original e-mail and blog post put out by the Lab which accidentally gave the game away. Oops 🙂 .
The choice of velociraptor is interesting. On the one hand, dino avatars have been popular in SL for a while now – I’ve visited a number of regions over the past few months only to find various dinos also taking in the view. On the other hand, the choice of velociraptor and the release of Jurassic World in cinemas around the world did have the words “oh, bandwagon!” echoing faintly.
The island for the get-together itself provided plenty of space, with a couple of bars, a dance floor and a crocodile wrestling ring, with a bridge crossing the water to a beach on one side, and a boat offering crossings to the jungle over the water on the other. As it was, most people gathered at the main bar and showed little willingness to risk moving around too far, although as things got ever more crowded, some opted to chillax on the beach.
Michael Linden was the first to arrive, in full mole guise, and served briefly as boat pilot and then as bartender. The Watermelon punch ensured Torley’s participation, and Xiola, Guy, Patch, Vitae, Alexa and Shaman were all noticeably on-hand, while Dee’s diminutive presence (she always has the most wonderful petite avatars) perhaps went unnoticed by many in the crowd.
Conversation was, as usual loud and hard to follow in open chat. An unintentional error at the bridge meant a few people needed rescuing after finding themselves stuck under rocks – I sent Xiola a teleport offer at one point after Kerena nudged me, but she managed to extricate herself without needing the help.
There was a good ebb and flow of visitors and a far few velociraptors within the crowd, with Vitae leading a small group to go sun themselves on the beach. Ziki and I opted for swimwear, but while there were a few bare-chested males on the islands, most people opted for lightweight summer wear. I managed to catch-up with a number of friends, mostly through IMs, although at one point I forgot to turn shout off. My apologies for anyone sitting / standing near me at the bar I may have deafened with my bellowing; which I think may have actually sent Michael scampering for cover, as he was absent the bar shortly afterwards.
It was particularly good to catch-up with Karsten Rutledge, although I failed miserably in capturing him on camera. Chantal Harvey and I made the most of the bar barrel seats… and he availability of the bar itself while chatting, but I think the crowd may have prevented Torley from actually getting to the watermelon punch as it sat between the Chantal and I.
Looking across to the beach, I had hoped to see the velociraptors there perhaps engaged in sunbathing on the hammocks or playing a game of beach volleyball. But sadly no; they seemed content to stand or lie on the sand chatting.
As I mentioned last time around, it’s easy to dismiss events like this on the basis of the numbers or question their value. However, to do so is to really miss the point.
Not everything that goes on in SL need serve a specific purpose beyond bringing people together and allowing them to share time in one another’s company. That they may be doing so in a crowd of 100+ doesn’t matter; the act of being there and just enjoying the moment brings its own satisfaction. It also lets Lab staff to mingle and relax among residents without worrying about being bonked with this or that question or one problem or another, allowing them to get to know people and make friends / acquaintances.
As noted earlier, the use of the two regions did help considerably in terms of people coping with issues such as rendering, “lag”, and so on. People were encouraged to spread between the two as some of the Lindens moved between them, encouraging the crowd to spread naturally and thin itself. Hopefully this approach will continue at future meet-ups.
The demands of the physical world (in particular those of the kitchen) meant I had to depart the party before things started winding down, but was very clear that folk were having a good time, and many were seeing the event as a early kick-off for the upcoming anniversary celebrations.
It’ll be interesting to see how many raptors are roaming the roads of SL12BCC in a little over a week’s time. Or, indeed, if we get any performing on stage during the SL12B music festival…