Lab: get grandfathered tier in 6-month buy-down offer

secondlifeOn Monday, April 4th, the Lab took a step to help those who are leasing a region (full or homestead) directly from the Lab with the opportunity to reduce their tier payments, by paying a one-off fee.

The blog post announcing the offer – which runs for a six-month period from April 4th through October 4th, 2016 – reads in part:

From today until October 4th, 2016, you can “buy-down” your Full Islands and/or Homesteads to the grandfathered maintenance rates. By paying a one-time fee up front, you’ll be entitled to lower tier rates on your land for as long as you hold it (and remember, we now also allow transferring grandfathered land).

The pricing for this offer is as follows:

  • Full Island:
    • One-time buy-down fee: $600
    • Grandfathered maintenance fee: $195/month (regularly $295/month)
  • Homestead:
    • One-time buy-down fee: $180
    • Grandfathered maintenance fee: $95/month (regularly $125/month)

If you plan to hold onto your land for longer than 6 months, this is a great deal for you!

To take advantage of this offer, you’ll need to submit a Support Case using the Land & Region -> Region Buy Down case type. In that case you can provide us with the names of the regions you would like to buy down, and we will assess the appropriate buy-down fee per region.

There are some caveats to the offer: it cannot be combined with Education and Non-Profit discounts, nor can it be applied to Skill Gaming Regions. The quoted prices are also exclusive of VAT, if applicable.

Coming on top of the recent changes to region set-up fees, which is also referred to in the blog post, this is an interesting move by the Lab, indicating that they are trying to mix things up a little in an attempt to try to help with the issue of tier.

The 6-month period of the offer means those who take immediate advantage of it will effectively break even on the one-time fee cost, and will continue to enjoy the grandfathered tier status for as long as they hold the land. And, of course, grandfathered regions can now be transferred – although this does incur a further up-front fee (US $600 for a full region, $225 for a Homestead, for example).  At the same time, it potentially offers the Lab something of a cash injection, making it almost a best of both worlds offer.

Tier will remain a contentious issue within Second Life, but the Lab is hoist by its own petard  when it comes to taking broader steps with tier and possible tier reduction; there is only so much the company can do without risking hurting itself. As such, this is something of a welcome move, although it will be interesting to see how far down it reaches.

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April at The Living Room

Eleseren Briana at The Living Room
Eleseren Briana at The Living Room

Tuesday, April 5th sees the opening of the latest exhibition at The Living Room, the art and music venue operated by Owl, Daallee and Nora. This month sees a further double-header, featuring the images of Bluesrocker and Eleseren Briana.

Eleseren is just ramping-up her focus as a photographer in Second Life, although she has previously exhibited her work at Dreanz and Visionz in Inworldz, with The Living Room marking her fifth exhibition in Second Life.

Trained as an illustrator in the physical world, Eles is perhaps best known as a fashion and couture model in Second Life, so her photographic work is understandably focused in that direction, but certainly not limited to fashion shots. Rather, she demonstrates a measured eye for composition and colour which brings depth and beauty to her landscape work as well, as demonstrated in several of the pieces displayed at The Living Room.

Bluesrocker at The Living Room
Bluesrocker at The Living Room

“I’ve been involved in the arts most of my life. Coming from a musical background, I have had a very keen appreciation of the creative process, whether it be in music,  the performing arts,painting, writing or photography,” Bluesrocker says of his photography. “I much prefer shooting out on location in the multitude of amazing sims which populate SL than in a studio, as I feel I get much better results that way.”

The majority of pieces Bluerocker presents at The Living Room are avatar studies which marvellously demonstrate his ability to create a  rich narrative with a single image, making this a captivating display of his work.

Bluesrocker at The Living Room
Bluesrocker at The Living Room

The April exhibition will officially open at 12:00 noon SLT at The Living Room on Tuesday, April 5th, with music from Camme {CC} Carver. It will remain open through until Tuesday, April 26th, when there will be a closing party again at 12:00 noon SLT, featuring Mimi Carpenter. In addition, there will be a special celebration featuring Eleseren’s work taking place at Holly Kai Pavillion, Holly Kai Park on Saturday, April 9th at 12:00 noon SLT, featuring the music of Christopher Quan (formal attire requested).

Don’t forget the monthly music sessions at The Living Room, either! On Thursday, April 14th the The Living Room will host Tone Uriza from 17:00 SLT, followed by Key Drammondof from 18:00 SLT. Then, on Thursday, April 21st, there will be three hours of music, starting at 16:00 SLT with Engramma, then Oblee at 17:00 SLT, before finishing with The Vinnie Show at 18:00 SLT.

Eleseren Briana at The Living Room
Eleseren Briana at The Living Room

SLurl Details

 

2016 viewer release summaries: week 13

Updates for the week ending Sunday, April 3rd

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

V4-style

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Space Sunday: of rockets, rovers and impacts

Blue Origin's New Shephard lifts-off on Saturday, April 2nd on a successful sub-orbital test flight which saw both capsule and propulsion module successfully recovered
Blue Origin’s New Shephard lifts-off on Saturday, April 2nd on a successful sub-orbital test flight which saw both capsule and propulsion module successfully recovered

Blue Origin, established by  Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, scored a three-for-three with launches and landings of their sub-orbital New Shephard launch vehicle.

Intended to offer passengers the opportunity to experience the microgravity of space, New Shephard is a two stage vehicle comprising the capsule unit which will eventually carry  6 people to the each of space, and a rocket stage simply called the “propulsion module”. Both are designed to be fully re-usable in order to reduce the overall cost of launch operations.

The Blue Origin propulsion module just a couple of seconds from touch down on April 2nd, 2016 (image: Blue Origins)
The Blue Origin propulsion module just a couple of seconds from touch down on April 2nd, 2016 (image: Blue Origins)

Having first flown on November 23rd, 2015, when the capsule unit reached an altitude of 100.5 km (63 mi) before parachuting back to a soft landing and the propulsion module made a powered descent and landing, the April 2nd, 2016, marked the third successful flight for both capsule and propulsion module, the latter now having been used for all three successful flights in November 2015, January 2016 and April 2016.

During the flight, the capsule – which was carrying a small science payload – reached a maximum altitude of 103.4 km (64.4 mi) before making a return to Earth under its parachutes, while the propulsion module steered its way back to the launch site to make a powered landing.

Nor was this a run-of-the-mill return for the propulsion module, as a the ascent / descent engine was re-lit at a much higher altitude that is expected during operational flights, at around 1,107 metres (3,600 ft), in a manoeuvre designed to further test the engine’s reliability and the wear and tear it might suffer during a flight. Understanding both of these factors will help Blue Origin better identify the overall costs involved in refurbishing rocket and engines between flights.

The New Shephard capsule, whilst primarily intended to fly people on sub-orbital flights, can also be used for science research, as demonstrated in this flight, which saw the capsule carry the Box of Rocks experiment from the Southwest Research Institute, designed to explore how rocky debris settles in microgravity, and the University of Central Florida’s Collisions into Dust experiment, which aims to better understand how large bodies interacted with dust in the early Solar System.

The New Shephard capsule being recovered following its parachute landing (image: Blue Origin)
The New Shephard capsule being recovered following its parachute landing (image: Blue Origin)

While Blue Origin appear to be slightly ahead of SpaceX in terms of launching and recovering their rockets, it’s important to remember that the current New Shephard vehicle and the SpaceX Falcon 1.1 are very different beasts. Not only is the latter some 3 times bigger than New Shepard, the first stage of the vehicle flies much higher and faster than the Blue Origin vehicle, both of which make returning the first stage of the booster to a landing site to make a safe touchdown far more of a technical challenge.

That said, the sub-orbital capabilities of New Shephard are only one phase of Blue Origin’s plans. With the vehicle expected to commence crewed test flights in 2017 and offer sub-orbital tourist flights from 2018, the company plan to gradually uprate the vehicle to a point were it will also be able to undertake orbital launches and still be recovered.

Walking with Rovers

NASA is continuing to ramp public interest in Mars, with a new public outreach programme set to begin in summer 2016.

Destination: Mars builds on the ongoing cooperative work between the space agency and Microsoft in developing applications and opportunities for the Miscrosoft HoloLens system. As I’ve previously reported, NASA is already using the HoloLen aboard the International Space Station, and have also developed a means for members of the Curiosity science team put themselves “on” Mars using the HoloLens and data / images returned by the rover.

It is in the latter capacity that Destination: Mars is designed to work, offering the public, using the mixed reality capabilities of the HoloLens to “visit” Mars.

Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot and second man on the Moon, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, acts as a virtual host for Destination: Mars
Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot and second man on the Moon, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, acts as a virtual host for Destination: Mars

Continue reading “Space Sunday: of rockets, rovers and impacts”