2015 viewer release summaries: week 27

Updates for the week ending: Sunday, July 5th, 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: 3.8.0.302622, June 30 – formerly the Experience RC viewer providing support for viewing and managing Experiences and for contributing content for Experiences download page, release notes
  • Release channel cohorts (See my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Attachment fixes RC viewer (Project Big Bird) updated to version 3.8.1.303130 on July 2nd – core updates: a number of fixes for various attachment issues (download and release notes)
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V3-style

V1-style

  • Cool VL Viewer Stable branch updated to version 1.26.12.49, and the Experimental branch to version 1.26.13.18, both on July 4th (release notes).

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

 

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UKanDo and Black Dragon get Experience Tools

Both UKanDo and Black Dragon have recently incorporated the Lab’s Experience tools, following their were promotion to release status in the official viewer on June 30th, 2015.

UKanDo arrived with Experience Tools on Thursday, July 2nd, with the release of version 3.8.0.28122. As with the official viewer, this adds the Experiences floater access to the ME menu, and also has the Region / Estate and About Land panel also updated with their respective Experiences tabs.

The Experiences floater and an Experience Profile as they appear in UKanDo with the default skin. The viewer also includes the Region / Estate and the About Land Experience Tools updates as well
The Experiences floater and an Experience Profile as they appear in UKanDo with the default skin. The viewer also includes the Region / Estate and the About Land Experience Tools updates as well

In addition, as a part of this release, UKanDo updates to RLV 2.9.12, with the NaCl / Marine Kelley avatar shadow rendering updates for rigged mesh – see my article of RLV 2.9.12, available here.

UKanDo 3.8.0 also includes Marine Kelley's RLV 2.9.12 update, with the avatar shadow rendering debug setting to help with rendering performance when running with shadows enabled and surrounded by avatars using mesh bodies & other rigged mesh attachments
UKanDo 3.8.0 also includes Marine Kelley’s RLV 2.9.12 update, with the avatar shadow rendering debug setting to help with rendering performance when running with shadows enabled and surrounded by avatars using mesh bodies & other rigged mesh attachments

Black Dragon release 2.4.3.5 sees the Experiences floater added to Dragon > Edit menu. As with UKanDo, it also adds the Experiences tabs to the Region / Estate and About Land Floaters.

This release, which arrived on July 4th after a couple of hiccups with versions 2.4.3.3 and 2.4.3.4, also includes Niran’s July 3rd update, which focused on a complete RLVa update, as per the release notes for that version.

I’ve not had an opportunity to extensively drive either of these viewers; my time is a little squeezed at the moment, and I’m struggling to clear a backlog of work and bits. So, consider this more a heads-up than any attempt at a review.

Related Links

Space Sunday: Mars rocks, Ceres glitters, Pluto beckons

CuriosityOperations on and around Mars are resuming following the June 2015 conjunction, which saw Mars and Earth on opposite sides of the Sun, a time which makes reliable two-way communications hard-to-impossible due to the Sun’s interference, so vehicles operating on and around the Red Planet are placed in autonomous modes of relatively safe operations.

For the NASA rovers, Opportunity and Curiosity, this meant parking and waiting for reliable communications to be restored. However, now that Mars has once again emerged from “behind” the Sun, Curiosity is preparing to study the confluence of at least two different types of rock formation on the slopes of “Mount Sharp”.

As noted in my recent Curiosity updates, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) had been attempting to reach such a confluence, dubbed “Logan Pass”, but the terrain leading to that location proved more difficult from had been hoped. As a result, the rover was redirected towards another point leading up to higher elevations dubbed “Marias Pass”, and a small valley where the rock formations meet.

A mosaic showing the contact layers near the location dubbed “Marias Pass” on “Mount Sharp”. In the foreground is pale mudstome, similar to that studied by Curiosity at “Pahrump Hills” in 2014. Overlaying this stratigraphically is sandstone that the rover team calls the “Stimson unit.” The images used in this mosaic were captured by Curiosity’s left Mastcam on May 25th, 2015 (Sol 995 of the rover’s surface mission). The colour has been approximately white-balanced to resemble how the scene would appear under daytime lighting conditions on Earth.

The two types of rock are a pale mudstone, similar in appearance to the bedrock studied at “Pahump Hills”; the other is a darker, finely bedded sandstone sitting above the Pahrump-like mudstone, which has been dubbed the “Stimson unit”. In addition, the valley also has a sandstone with grains of differing shapes and colour which the science team wish to examine in more detail as well, having already identified a potential target within it they’ve named “Big Arm”.

“On Mars as on Earth, each layer of a sedimentary rock tells a story about the environment in which it was formed and modified,” NASA spokesman Guy Webster said during a status update on the mission which explained the science team’s interest in the area. “Contacts between adjacent layers hold particular interest as sites where changes in environmental conditions may be studied. Some contacts show smooth transitions; others are abrupt.”

Curiosity is expected to spend the next few weeks examining the rock formations before resuming its trek up the side of “Mount Sharp”.

Dawn Over Ceres

Dawn mission patch (NASA / JPL)
Dawn mission patch (NASA / JPL)

On Monday, June 30th, The joint ESA / NASA Dawn deep space mission completed the second of its orbital mapping phases of Ceres, which it has been carrying out since May at a distance of some 4,400 kilometres (2,700 miles).

During July, the spacecraft will engage in a series of gentle manoeuvres that will allow it to reduce its orbit to 1,450 kilometres (900 miles), ready to start a further surface mapping and investigation mission in early August.

Ceres has revealed it has a much more varied landscape that Vesta, its slightly smaller “sister” protoplanet, which the Dawn spacecraft studied over a prior if 14 months in 2011/12, prior to reaching Ceres in March 2015. One particular point of interest on the latter is a grouping of bright surface features located within a crater some 90 kilometres (55 miles) across.

The most recent images returned be Dawn of these spots reveals they are more numerous than had first been thought, with the largest approximately 9 km (6 miles) across.  It is believed these bright spots are the result of ice or salt, although other causes may be possible; spectra of the region should reveal far more as the spacecraft reduces its orbit.

A closer view of the bright areas inside a crater on Ceres, captured by the European imaging systems aboard the Dawn mission on June 9th, 2015 (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)
A closer view of the bright areas inside a crater on Ceres, captured by the European imaging systems aboard the Dawn mission on June 9th, 2015 (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

In addition to the bright spots, the latest images also show a pyramid-like mountain with steep slopes rising to a height of about 5 km (3 miles) from a relatively flat area on Ceres, which has also provoked scientific interest. Ceres is also richly cratered, like Vesta; however, unlike Vesta, many more of the craters on Ceres have central peaks associated with them, evidence of their formation being the result of surface impacts. Images have also revealed evidence of other activities on the rocky, barren surface: slumps, landslides and lava-like flows, all indicative of Ceres perhaps having been somewhat more active in its formative years than Vesta.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: Mars rocks, Ceres glitters, Pluto beckons”