Second Life project updates 29/2: miscellaneous news

Matoluta Sanctuary, Sartre; Inara Pey, March 2015, on Flickr Matoluta Sanctuary (Flickr), March 2015 – blog post

Server Deployments Week #29 – Recap

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest updates / news.

  • There was no Main (SLS) channel deployment on Tuesday, July 14th.
  • On Wednesday, July 15th all three RC channels received the same server maintenance package, comprising internal simulator fixes.

SL Viewer

Following the promotion of the attachment fixes viewer to release status, all three remain active release candidate viewer in the release channel were updated as follows:

  • The Viewer-Managed Marketplace RC viewer updated to version on Thursday, July 16th
  • The Maintenance RC viewer updated to version on Friday, July 17th
  • The Mesh importer RC viewer updates to version, also on Friday, July 17th.

Viewer-Managed Marketplace

On Thursday, July 16th, the Lab announced that VMM is now “released” (even through the viewer is currently still at RC status), and that automated migration of those Marketplace stores which have not already converted to VMM will commence at 21:00 SLT on Thursday, July 23rd, and will continue at the same time on weekdays for a 12-hour period (21:00 – 09:00) until complete.

That the announcement has been made prior to the viewer being promoted, and that it was made apparently without any notification to TPVs (who had been trying to work closely with the Lab in getting people ready for VMM) has caused no small amount of upset on the Commerce forum thread opened when the announcement was made, some of which is understandable, particularly given the way TPVs have tried to work with the Lab in support of VMM, and this announcement have left those still in the process of trying integrate the code into their viewers with little time to actually do so and support their users with a VMM-enabled version of their viewer.

Experience Tools

In my week #28 report, I referred to a comment made by Simon Linden relating to Experience Keys / Tools concerning some work he’s been carrying out on the KVP database:

I’ve been working on updating the KVP code that runs on our server and had the most frustrating time integrating the newest version into our code … The code we have is dated and we should have better performance and stability with their latest.

The use of “their” and “our” code led to some questions at the meeting (unanswered at the time) as to what it might indicate. During the Server Beta User Group (SBUG) meeting on Thursday, July 16th, some clarification was given.

The “their” referred to by Simon is MongoDB, which is the database being used to manage the KVP store and key value pairs. The version the Lab had been / is using can only apparently search around 1,000 values per minute. The new version that Simon has been working on should apparently improve on this, hence his reference to performance and stability improvements (not to mention scalability).

Me and my pianos in Second Life

Over the years: my three pianos: rear right - the all prim Musical Alchemy; left: the sculpted PrimPossible concert grand; right foreground: the LISP Bazaar mesh concert grand
My three pianos over the years: rear right – the all prim Musical Alchemy; left – the sculpted PrimPossible concert grand; right foreground – the LISP Bazaar mesh concert grand

I love to play the piano, something I’ve mentioned in these pages before. In the physical world, I’m fortunate enough to have a hybrid piano – but Second Life allows me to indulge my little fantasy of having a full concert grand, and I’ve had one in almost every home I’ve had. It’s fair to say I don’t feel at home in SL without one.

Over the years, I’ve upgraded a couple of times – the most recent being to a marvellous mesh creation by Pandora Popstar (aka Lainy Voom) owner of LISP Bazaar I learned about via a Tweet from Skate Foss, and which prompted this article.

Musical Alchemy concert grand by Persephone Milk: still a stunning piano
Musical Alchemy concert grand by Persephone Milk: still a stunning piano some 8 years since it first appeared. Offering a rezzable set of ivory keys plus separate harp and strings inside the cabinet, relegating the texture version of both to the role of soundboard, it is still capable of presenting eye-popping detail

My first SL concert grand was the all-prim Musical Alchemy grand by Persephone Milk (L$999). At the time I first brought it, this was the Rolls-Royce of pianos (and in many respects, it still is). It is beautifully crafted and comes with a host of rezzable extras as well as multiple playing and sitting poses, depending on whether the top is up or down.

What made this piano particularly attractive to me was (and is) the selection of music, which includes a piece composed by Persephone herself, together with the option of rezzing a set of ivory keys and the also the harp and strings, both of which fit the cabinet perfectly. These all enhance the piano beautifully, the only downside being that as the piano has a base LI of 85, rezzing these parts balloons that to 163 LI.  As I gradually downsized my landholdings over the years, this eventually became too big an overhead, driving me into finding a replacement.

The PrimPossible Concert grand (now available in a new model) is a 1-prim wonder
The PrimPossible Concert grand (now available in a newer model) is a 1-prim wonder

In 2011 I purchased the PrimPossible concert grand from Ample Clarity (which has since been replaced by a newer model priced from L$950). A sculpted build, it appeared just as the mesh revolution was about to hit the grid, and offered a very nicely styled concert grand with a good selection of music at just 1 LI.  A further advantage with it lay in the fact that because the design was unconstrained by prim cutting, it could be better scaled for the “average” avatar than could be easily achieved with the prim build, meaning I no longer felt I needed the arms of an orang-utan to reach the full stretch of the keyboard 🙂 .

My only niggle with this piano has always been that as a sculpt, it stresses the rendering system with the attendant wait for it to “pop-out” from the initial spheroid shape. Hence, as the mesh market has steadily expanded, I’ve been seeking a replacement.

My new LISP grand piano - with thanks to Skate Foss!
My new LISP grand piano – with thanks to Skate Foss!

As mentioned towards the top of this piece, I finally found a suitable replacement in the form of the new LISP Bazaar concert grand thanks to Skate Foss. Currently only available through the Collabor88 event, Pandora’s piano is, in a word, beautiful. It weighs-in at just 6 LI, with and additional 2 for the padded bench, it is being offered in a choice of two finishes: traditional black lacquer and teak, all for an amazing L$288.

More to the point, it is exquisitely modelled along ornate grand piano lines, has an interesting selection of music and includes all the little details that attract me: adjustment wheels on the bench, top board prop cups, the soft and sustaining pedals offering a nice outward presentation and so on. In particular, Pandora has foregone the textured harp / strings / soundboard found in so many mesh offerings costing far more, in favour of a mesh harp and strings.

A closer look at the keyboard and sheet music...
A closer look at the keyboard and sheet music…

To be honest, there are a couple of little niggles around these from a purist point-of-view (I modified my piano to double the number of visible strings, for example, as I’m fussy that way), but these are certainly not enough to negate what is a super piano currently available through Collabor88 at a superb price. As it is, I have copies of the black lacquer sitting on the garden terrace of my “main” home, and in the lounge of my Linden Home (for those rare occasions I feel the need to go hide there).

I’m still partial to my Musical Alchemy piano, simply because it was the first piano I purchased in SL; it has stood the test of time exceptionally well, and is still worth considering if you have the land capacity to see it at its fullest advantage. But that said, if you are looking to replace your existing piano because it is a prim or sculpt build, or simply because you fancy a change, you really cannot go wrong with the new LISP Bazaar concert grand, and I have no hesitation in recommending it.

The LISP grand piano's plate and strings (both slightly adjusted by me for a better fit within the cabinet)
The LISP grand piano’s mesh plate and strings add a nice level of detail to the instrument – I later modified this piano to double the number of visible strings (mainly because I’m a fuss pot)

Thank you, Skate, for sharing your discovery!

RFL: it’s the weekend!

RFL of SL Relay weekend 2015: looking across the Activities Regions
RFL of SL Relay Weekend 2015: looking across the Activities Regions

The RFL of Second Life Relay Weekend for 2015 is upon us, and will feature everything one would expect from the event – walks, celebrations, remembrances, the luminaria ceremony, interviews, music, dance, and more. Over the years, RFL events in Second Life have raised over US $2 million to assist the American Cancer Society in its efforts to eradicate cancer, and the hope is that this year will push the total past the US $2.5 million mark.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a couple of sneak peeks around the regions that make up this year’s walk, together with the activities regions, and they really are quite extraordinary this year, featuring some stunning builds and themes which are truly eye-catching.

RFL of SL Relay weekend 2015: this year's event features some truly stunning builds
RFL of SL Relay Weekend 2015: this year’s event features some truly stunning builds

Event Highlights

Listed below are some of the main events scheduled for the weekend – but remember that there are relay laps, entertainment and more going on across the entire weekend. All times are, as usual, SLT.

Saturday, July 18th

10:00-13:00 The Final Push with DJ Black Velvet
Celebrate! – The traditional A Survivor/Caregiver honour walk
Team Spirit – the Relay Teams lap
14:00 Crazy hats and hat
15:00 Movies and musicals
Holiday Road
17:00 Hawaiian Beach Party
18:00 Space Cadets Fight Cancer
Health Matters
Purple Power
21:00 The Luminaria Ceremony – REMEMBER
22:00 CCR Tribute Concert
Your Relay Heritage
RFL of SL 2015
RFL of SL Relay Weekend 2015

Sunday, July 19th

Midnight The Random Outfit Hour
Get Active! – Sports
The 60s
03:00 Hoppy Ball Bounce
04:00 Relay Around The World
Heroes and Superheroes
06:00 The Fight Back Ceremony
07:00 Space Cadets Fight Cancer
Coffee, Tea or Relay
The Formal Hour
10:00 Closing Ceremony
11:00 Victory Lap
Drive-in Movie Night
RFL of SL Relay Weekend 2015
RFL of SL Relay Weekend 2015

The Luminaria Ceremony and Fight Back

At 21:00 SLT on Saturday July 18th, the Luminaria Ceremony will talk place. The track regions will all be set to midnight and thousands of luminaria will be lit, each one representing a survivor or someone who has passed away from cancer. People are invited to walk the track in silence for one hour as dedications are read over the broadcasting stream.

06;00 SLT on Sunday July 19th will mark Fight Back. Join your fellow residents in making fight back pledges to save a life this year; your own, a friends, a family member, or someone you don’t even know yet.

RFlL of SL 2015
RFL of SL 2015: a part of Julia Zhangsun’s beautiful Survivor region

Where to Start

There is no central welcome area this year, so probably the best place to start is at the American Cancer Society region. Here you can find out about the Luminaria lanterns, details of this year’s theme hours and grab a box of freebies. Information Stations are located in each of the relay regions, where you can grab your track tools to record the distance you walk around the track and allow you to chat with friends and those around you and walk at the same time.

So – are you ready to Relay?