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“Because it all started with a Mill and a sink. Welcome to our house, decorated by us. Hope you like it as much as we do!” So reads the description for The Mill, the homestead region designed by Maxie Daviau and Shakespeare (Skinnynilla). And to be sure, there is absolutely nothing not to like about this picturesque location, positively packed with sights and photo opportunities, as well as offering numerous places to simply sit and relax.
The landing point delivers visitors close to the centre of the region, on its eastern, lowland side. The fork in the dirt track where you arrive is an open invitation to start exploring, forward toward the rugged uplands of the west side of the region, eastwards and south towards a wooden windmill, or north towards the lighthouse sitting on a shoulder of the hills.
Caitlyn and I opted to follow the track north, towards the rocky hills, a set of stone steps leading us upwards. As we climbed, and amidst the singing of the birds and distant caw of gulls, came music of a different kind carried on the breeze. This comes from a little radio sitting within a little shack, slightly tired in appearance, wood bleached and weathered, tin roof rusting.
Tired it may look, but the shack is clearly home to someone. Flowers are tended in buckets outside, a hammock sways in the breeze and washing hangs on the lines to dry. A garden hose and sprinkler curled around an old tree stump raised on one side of the shack suggests whoever lives here enjoys a slightly bohemian touch to their life, and happily so, given the books and general bric-a-brac scattered around.
Behind the shack, a path leads on upwards to the tops of the rugged hills, the way marked by a rope path. Here sits old ruins, split by a deep box gorge. To one side sits the remnants of a small castle or fortified house, now occupied by trees, bent as with age by long exposure to the wind, their stooped forms suggesting they are ancient guardians of this place. Across the gorge, and reached by the stone span of a bridge, sits a ruined chapel and nearby tower, another path from them leading back down to the lowlands for those who wish to explore in that direction.
To the north of the homely little shack, the path will take visitors up over the rocky hills or down stone steps and past a walled garden and greenhouse and, via more steps, to the lone figure of the whitewashed lighthouse. With the warm and comfortable lounge and bedroom inside, this would seem to be the rest of the home started at the shack, the cosy little garden forming a homely link between the two.
A beach beckons from below the lighthouse, and can be most quickly be reached via a zip slide which passes over a small inlet. Stone and board paths then led you onward, over water or across sand, towards the old wooden mill, sails slowly turning as it faces the revolving eye of the lighthouse across the land.
Fabulously and naturally landscaped while avoiding a reliance on mesh to achieve its look, The Mill is an incredibly eye-catching environment. There is far more to see then I’ve described here, including lots of special little touches (such as the Triumph TR3 sitting nonchalantly at the entrance to the gorge, the tea and toast in the shack, the little union flags all pointing to a certain Englishness here…). And when you have finished exploring and photographing, there are plenty of opportunities to sit and relax and snuggle; something Caitlyn and I did after all our wanderings, passing the evening chatting together and simply enjoying the sights and sounds of the island.
The following notes are primarily taken from the TPV Developer (TPVD) meeting held on Friday, March 11th, 2016. A video of the meeting is embedded at the end of this report, my thanks as always to North for supplying it, and time stamps in the text relate to this recording.
[00:00] All three RC viewers currently in the release channel have been updated as follows:
The HTTP / Vivox RC updated on Wednesday, March 9th to version 126.96.36.1992094
The Maintenance RC viewer updated on Thursday, March 10th to version 188.8.131.522269
The quick Graphics RC viewer updated on Friday, March 11th to version 184.108.40.2062297
All three of these viewers are now showing lower crash rates than the current release viewer, so one is mostly to be promoted at the new de facto release viewer early in week #11 (week commencing Monday, March 14th). [00:50] However, this is unlikely to be the Quick Graphics RC viewer, as there is at least one remaining bug which is in line for fixing prior to the viewer being promoted.
[01:40] Work is progressing on updating the Oculus Rift project viewer, but problems have been encountered with the latest Oculus SDKs which are proving to be non-trivial to correct. The Lab hasn’t given up, but it does mean any update to this viewer is liable to be a little later rather than sooner.
[02:30] Working is also continuing with the final definition of the Bento skeleton, as well as investigations into hooking the skeleton into some of the shape sliders. This work is liable to see a further release of the viewer with the further skeleton updates before it hopefully moves fully into a bug fixes phase (which could be extensive).
64-bit Viewer Update
[13:21] The lab is making good progress on the Windows and Mac 64-bit versions of their viewer. This has been thanks in part to the work completed in updating the viewer build tool chain during 2014/5. As a result, it is possible that 64-bit project viewers might be appearing in the next few weeks, allowing for an update to the Havok libraries.
[02:58] Beehu Linden requested all TPVs ensure they are able to support TLS 1.2. The Lab is now actively engaged in removing support for all earlier version of TLS (which includes all versions of SSL).
As previously noted, this work is being carried out in respect of compliance requirements. It means that once complete, anyone who is using a viewer that does not have the requisite TLS 1.2 code updates (already in the 4.0+ versions of the official viewer and all viewers utilising the code base from the Lab’s 4.0 viewers) will notbe able to do any interactions with cashier or anything that involves money and Second Life.
The next release of Firestorm, tentatively scheduled for around the mid-week of week #11 will have TLS 1.2 support.
New Registration API
[06:10] As I’ve recently reported, and Ebbe Linden indicated in his VWBPE address, there has been a delay in the roll-out of the new trial community Gateway programme due to issues with the new user registration API (one of them being a user signing-up through it cannot pick their avatar, they are given either the default male or female Character Test avatar).
These issues are being addressed, and an updated registration API is due to be released later in March or early in April. However, this version will not have the new feature set indicated by Ebbe in the VWBPE address, but will work “better” than the current API.
The new features as indicated by Ebbe are still expected to be released, but will come after this initial update, and currently do not have a firm ETA, although it is not anticipated there will be an extended delay between the initial update and an update with the new feature set.
Grid Status RSS Feed
[07:13] The Lab is updating the Grid Status page RSS feed. This involves a new feed format, and a test URL has been available (http://beta.status.secondlifegrid.net/feed) has been available for those who may poll the RSS feed for updates (e.g. to display grid status updates on viewer log-in splash screens or on a web page, etc) to be able to test they can receive and display the new feed. This work as part of a switch the Lab is making to a new hosting provider for a number of their web services (e.g. the knowledge base).
There is no confirmed ETA as to when the cut-over will occur; the Lab is waiting on feedback from the hosting provider, but the hope is the switch will be made around mid-April, possibly earlier. When it does happen, there will be no need to change any URLs, because the Lab will point their DNS to the new location.
[19:30] The Lab has traditionally utilised FMOD (up until its demise) and more latterly FMOD Ex within the sound system for the viewer. However, as a part of the 64-bi viewer build, they may dip into using the full FMOD studio.