Second Life project updates 40/1: server, viewer

Discover science and oceanography at The Abyss Observatory  - blog post
Discover science and oceanography at The Abyss Observatoryblog post

Server Deployments week 40

As always, please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest news and information.

  • On Tuesday, September 29th, the Main (SLS) channel was updated with the server maintenance package previously deployed in week #39 to all three RC channels, comprising internal fixes to improve inventory performance.
  • On Wednesday, September 30th, the three RC channels all received the same server maintenance package, comprising:
    • A fix for Region Debug Console help text
    • A fix for a server crash issue.

Following the Tuesday restarts there were assorted reports of issues being encountered on various regions – teleport failures, external communications issues (e.g. IMs to e-mail forwards, scripted object e-mail failures, etc). These appeared to be related to possible capabilities (caps) failures on restarts. Further restarts appear to have cleared some – but not all – of the issues encountered.

SL Viewer

On Tuesday, September 29th, the mesh uploader RC viewer, version, was promoted to be the de facto release viewer. This viewer comprises a modified mesh uploader to (optionally) improve debug output, perform name-based LOD association, and handle models with many materials. It allows models with more than 8 unique faces to be uploaded. At import, these models are automatically split into pieces so that each satisfy the current face limits for a volume.

Also on Tuesday, September 29th, the Quick Graphics project viewer updates to version, with further fixes for issues occurring with the Avatar Complexity options (such as avatars failing to render correctly after having been previously “Jelly Babied”). However, there still appears to be some issues which may require further updates (e.g. BUG-9962) before this viewer progresses to RC status.

Other Items

FmodEx Update

The Lab has received a contribution for FmodEx which should fix the “chirp” windows 10 users hear when launching the viewer.  This requires testing and a license update for the Lab to use, but should hopefully be making its way into a viewer update at some point.


Cinder Roxley identified an odd little bug recently: if an object is set for sale at L$0 from the Object Profile floater, it will revert to a minimum price of L$1.00, rather than leaving it at L$0, as is the case when setting the price via the Build floater.

Pricing an object for sale at L$0 through the Object Profile floater will force the price to L$1.00, rather than leaving it at L$0.
Pricing an object for sale at L$0 through the Object Profile floater will force the price to L$1.00, rather than leaving it at L$0.

It’s not clear how long the bug has been around, but if it has been for a while, it hasn’t caused that much of an inconvenience – possibly because price may well price via the Build floater. Cinder has already contributed a fix for the issue – see STORM-2121 – and it is unlikely to encounter issues in being incorporated in a future Snowstorm viewer.


Kokua 3.8.4: mesh uploader and RLV updates

kokua-logoOn Tuesday, September 29th, Nicky Perian announced the release of Kokua,  which brings the popular SL and OpenSim viewer to parity with both recent Linden Lab code releases and with Marine Kelley’s RLV, and includes additional tweaks and fixes from the Kokua team.

This release comprises a considerable amount of work by the Kokua team, although the visible functional changes may not seem that great to some users. In particular, RLV has undergone extensive updates and testing over the last few months, as the team have worked to bring Kokua up to parity with the most recent RLV releases and ensure there are no issues or breakages elsewhere in the process.

The Lab code releases in the viewer comprise:

The Maintenance release comprises over 50 fixes and updates covering a range of topics and issues, including: crashes, snapshot bugs and issues, group ban bugs, avatar mute & block bugs, texture editing issues, rendering issues, UI bugs and simplification, performance improvements and localisation updates.

The mesh uploader updates, which became the de facto SL viewer release also on Tuesday, September 28th, comprise a modified mesh uploader to (optionally) improve debug output, perform name-based LOD association, and handle models with many materials. It allows models with more than 8 unique faces to be uploaded. At import, these models are automatically split into pieces so that each satisfy the current face limits for a volume.

Please refer to the Lab’s release notes for both of these releases (provided via the links above) for full details on the updates they contain.

The RLV updates bring Kokua fully up to par with RLV 2.9.14, released on September 17th, and includes merges with RLV releases 2.9.7 through 2.9.13.

The Kokua team updates comprise:

  • A fix for inability to disable HUDs in snapshots Ticket #345
  • A fix for custom snapshot sizes not working when saving to inventory Ticket #350
  • Inclusion of hover height adjustment for OpenSim use Ticket #352  – note this is currently inactive, as it is pending server-side support in OpenSim.
  • A fix for high memory usage and crashes when connected to Avination Ticket #349.

I confess to not having have that much time to drive this release due to my schedule being a mess. My apologies to Nicky on this, who provided me with advance notice on the release at the weekend, but I was unable to act on it.

Related Links


Autumn at The Trace Too in Second Life

The Trace too; Inara Pey, September 2015, on Flickr The Trace Too (Flickr) – click any image for full size

Having allayed recent concerns over her health, Kylie Jaxxon has competed a new make-over for her region, The Trace Too, and has been inviting people to pop over and take a look – something I was only too happy to do as the week started!

The new design sees The Trace Too leave the summery beaches and sandy low hills behind, as it becomes a beautiful autumnal wonderland. Rich in greens, reds and golds, the sandy landscape now covered in grass and falling leaves, with trees, shaded walks and scattered houses, barns and pavilions presenting  visitors with an altogether captivating look and feel.

The Trace too; Inara Pey, September 2015, on Flickr The Trace Too (Flickr)

From the landing point on the wet side of the region, a long avenue of trees leads the way to the east, and a large house which appears to be undergoing preparations for decorating upstairs. A signposted crossroads along the avenue points the way to a barn and horses to the south, and a path through the tree leading north, which will eventually bring you to the water’s edge. Here lies a board walk providing access to an ornate pavilion sitting just across the water on a small island.

And that’s just for starters; there is plenty more to see and discover. It actually doesn’t matter which way you go from the landing point, as you’re sure to come across something that will have you smiling and feeling at home before you’re walked too far.

The Trace too; Inara Pey, September 2015, on Flickr The Trace Too (Flickr)

You can, for example, travel south and west and climb a hill topped with wheat to come to a little wooden hut sitting atop a rocky outcrop where you can watch the geese, perhaps startled by the dog at the side of the track, take flight. Or you can travel north and west, over (or around) another small hill, and pay a visit to another of the region’s houses, where interior decoration also seems to be the order of the day.

Stroll along the hills on the north side of the island and you’ll come to a narrow neck of water over which can be reached a rocky island with wooden look-out of its own. The offers an ideal spot for looking out over the water and admire the nearby pavilion. Or you can simply roam inland, taking advantage of any of the numerous places to sit and relax, indoors or out.

The Trace too; Inara Pey, September 2015, on Flickr The Trace Too (Flickr)

It is also inland that you’ll find a little nod to the approach of Halloween, with pumpkins on sale alongside a little greenhouse. Back at the landing point, and if you missed it on arrival, is an opportunity to assist the World Food Programme in efforts to bring humanitarian relief to some 6 million displaced Syrians.

Kylie’s region designs never fail to delight me, and I’ve loved watching how things have evolved at both The Trace and The Trace Too. However, with this particular design,  I cannot help but feel Kylie has excelled. It is simply gorgeous. I have little doubt that photographers are going to be hard-pressed to tear themselves away from it; I know I did!

The Trace too; Inara Pey, September 2015, on Flickr The Trace Too (Flickr)

SLurl Details

MadPea auction raises L$1.6+ million for LLK and Kenya school

A purpose-built entertainments area has been built for the MadPea event, with auction boards placed around the dance floor and stage
The purpose-built entertainments area built for the MadPea Charity Auction in aid of LLK and the Nakuru School construction project

The weekend of the 25th through 27th September marked the 2015 MadPea Charity Auction to help further the work of Live and Learn Kenya (LLK) in building a school in Nakuru, Kenya, where young children will be able to receive an education (you can read my background article on the event here).

The weekend featured live entertainment throughout, provided by 22 entertainers and live performers, at a specially constructed stage and location over Stargazer Bay, and gave people the opportunity to bid to spend time with a host of well-known Second Life residents and  Linden Lab staff, and to gain special goodies in the process.

Over 60 people had signed-up to participate in the auction, with boards placed around the stage area, which included a beautifully crafted model of the school in Nakuru, Kenya, which has been under construction since 2014, with the first phase having opened in January 2015.

RAG Randt's scale model of the Nakuru school construction project, which featured at the MadPea auction event
RAG Randt’s scale model of the Nakuru school construction project, which featured at the MadPea auction event

Some amazing opportunities were on offer to winning bids – shopping and spending time with Xiola Linden, gong to an event with Simon or Rider Linden or getting one-to-one LSL tutoring from them; time with some of SL’s top creators and special gifts from them, and more.

In all, the event raised a stunning L$1,667,762 (approx. US $6671) through bids and donations by the time the final hammer fell.

The highlight of the weekend was the live auction, where many of those offering their services / time / selves were up on the stage and able to talk about what they’ve been offering, help encourage the bidding and even adding to their lot.

Kess Crystal was kind enough to pass me details of the bid amounts, which were topped-out by an incredible L$150,000 offered for 2 hours with Queen Pea Kiana Writer and input on a MadPea upcoming game!

Amount Raised
Amount Raised
Kiana Writer 150,000 Callie Cline 87,000
Alexa Linden 50,001 Bryn Oh 45,000
Kess Crystal 41,000 Xiola Linden 41,000
Arduenn Swartzmann 40,3000 Isla Gealach 35,000
Draxtor Despres 31,500 Tab Tatham & EvanKeel Resident 30,000
Jessica Lyon 30,000 The Arcade Team 30,000
Inara Pey 30,000 Simon Linden 28,000
Levio Serenity 27,000 Saffia Widdershins 26,666
MadPea Resident 26,000 Ren Enberg & Quai Franklin 25,000
Roman Goode 19,000 Jo Yardley 18,000
Kush Zepp 16,000 Bcreative Wilde 15,000
Chloe Seljan 15,000 Eku Zong 15,000
Sina Souza 15,000 Canary Beck 15,000
Aeonix Aeon 14,000 Josie Anderton 14,000
Dusty Wasp 13,500 Brique Topaz 12,000
Sabbian Paine 11,000 Poulet Koenkamp 11,000
Cacilia McMasters & Ava Jhamin 11,000 Mericat Ireland 10,700
The constructions set and the stage beyond, just before the MadPea auction opened on Friday, September 25th
The construction set and the stage beyond, just before the MadPea auction opened on Friday, September 25th
Amount Raised
Amount Raised
Johannes1977 Resident 10,000 Kara Trapdoor 10,000
Lisa Brune 10,000 Rider Linden 10,000
Dita Lamour 9,000 Harpet Beresford 9,000
Caitlin Tobias 8,000 Tracy Redangel 7,750
Sufferingfrom Lockjaw 7,000 Toxic Darkmatter 7,000
Imre Bellic 5150 Anderian Sugarplum 5,000
Angela McKeenan 5,000 Ayla Barzane 5,000
Esme Capelo 5,000 Gabrielle Riel 5,000
Harter Fall 5,000 Panda 5,000
PinkRyne 5,000 RacerX Gullwing 5,000
Yelena Istmal 5,000 Jake Vordun 4,050
Jenica Penucca 4,000 TerryLynn Melody 4,000
Seductive Dreamscape 4,000 Irrie Ember 3,000
Trinity Yazimoto 3,000 Twostep Spiritweaver 3,000
Leetx Resident 2,000 Winteru Resident 2,000
Synitry Resident 1,500 Maggie Mae Bhaktiguru 1,369
Chris Blackheart 1,200

In addition, there were some lots of goodies, which collectively raised L$25,400, with donation boards also available throughout the weekend.

Commenting on the event, Kess Crystal from the MadPea team said, ” I cannot help but feel immense happiness and pride at this outcome. I’m so proud of everyone was has been involved, and in the Second Life community, all of whom have proved yet again that when we come together with a common goal, we can achieve such great things.

“When I actually sit back and let it sink in that generations of children will have an education because of what we achieved at the weekend, I am humbled beyond words.”

Bique Topaz (r) - Brique
Brique Topaz (r) – Brique Zeiner in the physical world – of LLK / Feed  A Smile, with young students at the opening of the first phase of the LLK Nakuru school in January 2015. The MadPea auction will now help further the work in building and equipping the school

I was only able to spend brief periods at the event on Saturday and Sunday, but the atmosphere while there was tremendous, and it was great making new friends (/me waves to Levio 🙂 ). Special thanks to everyone who took part as auction lots or bidders, etc.  Very special thanks to Jo Yardley for her incredibly generous bid for my time  – I’m looking forward to the film project!

Most of all: congratulations to the MadPea team, to Brique, LLK and the children of Nakuru school – current and future!

2015 viewer release summaries: week 39

Updates for the week ending: Sunday, September 27th

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

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers


  • No updates.


  • Coll VL Viewer updated as follows: stable branch to version, experimental to version, both on September 26th – release notes

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No Updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Space Sunday: of blood moons, Mars, Pluto and Ceres

A lunar eclipse "blood moon" seen Idaho, December 2011 (image: Matt Mills / Reuters)
A lunar eclipse “blood moon” seen Idaho, December 2011 (image: Matt Mills / Reuters)

The night of Sunday 27th / Monday 28th September  promises a very special astronomical event for those fortunate enough to have clear skies overhead and are willing to stay up late (in the UK and Europe). It will see a total lunar eclipse take place at the time when the Moon reaches perigee, its closest approach to Earth in its orbit and giving rise to both a so-called “supermoon” and a “Blood Moon”.

A “supermoon” occurs when a full moon coincides with the time when the Moon is nearing its minimum distance to Earth, a distance of roughly 363,000 kilometres (226,875 miles), leading to it appearing 7-8% larger than when seen as a full Moon at other points in its orbit. A “blood moon” is the result of the Earth’s atmosphere, lying between the Sun and Moon, scatter blue light more strongly than red, so the latter reaches the Moon more strongly, giving it a reddish-brown colour when seen from Earth.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth and Moon are lined up so that th Earth is between the Sun and Moon, and the later sits within the Earth's shadow
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth and Moon are lined up so that the Earth is between the Sun and Moon, and the latter sits within the Earth’s shadow (image: NASA)

Lunar eclipses are not that rare – this one will be the second of 2015, for example. However, “supermoons” are somewhat rarer. The last was in 1982, and the next will not be until 2033. So, if you want to see a really big blood moon, and you live in Western Europe, West Africa, the Eastern side of the USA and Canada or south America, then the 27th / 28th September is the night to do so. People further afield – eastern Asia, the middle east, eastern Europe and the western sides of Canada, the USA and South America will see a partial eclipse.

In the UK, the period of eclipse will start at around 01:00 BST (00:00 GMT) on the morning of Monday, 28th September, and run through until around 05:00 BST (04:00 GMT). That’s from 20:00 through to around 01:00 EDT in the USA / Canada, and 02:00 through 06:00 CET in Europe).

A total lunar eclipse and the gradual change in the Moon’s colour as seen from Earth which sees total lunar eclipses sometimes referred to as “blood moons” – the result of sunlight passing through the Earth’s atmosphere and striking the Moon’s surface (animation: Wikipedia)

The eclipse brings to a close what is referred to as a “tetrad” of total lunar eclipses – that is, four occurring “back-to-back”, with no partial eclipses between them, the first of which occurred in April 2014 and the “middle two” in October 2014 and April 2015. Some have a misguided view that this “tetrad” as being of particular significance because such events are “rare”, and this particular one started on the Passover.

However, while there can be long periods of time between occurrences of tetrads, they can also pop-up relatively frequently. For example, this century will see a total of nine tetrads occur, the first having taken place in 2003/4. Nor is the fact that this particular series started on the Passover particularly unusual; there have been eight tetrads so far coinciding with Passover since the first century AD.

So, if you are in a position to see the eclipse, you can leave the tinfoil hat on the table and step outside quite safely. Totality should occur around two hours after the eclipse starts (e.g. 03:00 BST in the UK / 04:00 CET, 22:00 EDT on the 27th September), and that’s the best time to enjoy the blood moon in all its glory.

The eclipse will also give NASA the chance to measure the full range of temperature variations during  such an event. This will be done by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a solar-power vehicle which has been observing the Moon since 2009.

Normally during an eclipse, the LRO has most of its systems powered down to reduce the load placed on the battery systems. However, mission controllers are confident they will be able to run an instrument which will allow it to accurately measure the amount of heat loss the surface of the Moon experiences when inside the Earth’s shadow, further helping them to understand the composition of the Moon’s regolith and its function as an insulator.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: of blood moons, Mars, Pluto and Ceres”