2016 viewer release summaries: week 14

Updates for the week ending Sunday, April 10th

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: 4.0.3.312816 (dated March 23) – no change
  • Release channel cohorts (See my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Maintenance RC viewer 4.0.4.313759 release on April 8th – fixes for iewer crashes, memory leaks, input/cursor issues, graphics bugs, invisiprims, formatting and notifications (download and release notes)
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V4-style

  • Kokua updated to version 4.0.2.38137 on April 7th – parity with Linden Lab’s 4.0.2 code base and RLV 2.9.16.1 (release notes).

V1-style

  • Cool VL viewer Stabl branch updated to 1.26.18.1 Experimental branch updated to version 1.26.19.2, both on April 9th (release notes).

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

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Spring into the arts with the Windlight Show

Windlight Spring Show 2016
Windlight Magazine Spring Arts Show 2016

Opening on Monday, April 11th, 2016 is the Windlight Magazine Spring Arts Show, one of the biggest arts events taking place in Second Life this year.

More than 50 2D and 3D artists are participating, with art displays taking place both within traditional galley-style units, and outdoors under the open skies or within individual gazebos scattered across the Windlight lawns.

Windlight Spring Arts Show 2016
Windlight Magazine Spring Arts Show 2016

Running through until Sunday, April 17th, the Spring Arts Show also includes daily entertainment with DJs, live performances and tribute acts, storytelling and poetry readings, a hunt and photo contest, and a fashion show as well.

Land alongside the Windlight Gallery and office grounds has been transformed for the event, with lots to see and do. Many of the participating artists are taking part in a juried art competition with a prize pool of L$20,000, with the rest participating as non-juried artists. The event has been generously sponsored by Azul, Chop Zuey Couture Jewellery, Dope Magazine, Ferosh, Ghee,  Lyrical Poetry Cafe, Magnum Opus, Meshopotamia, Pink Ice Boutique, PotPourri Markets, Prism Designs, SL Live Radio, Models Giving Back, The Edge Gallery, The Fantasy Angels, and Windlight Magazine.

Windlight Spring Arts Show 2016
Windlight Magazine Spring Arts Show 2016

To join in with the entertainment and events planned for the weekend, check the Spring Arts Show events calendar. However, some highlights for the week include:

  • Monday, April 11th
    • 04:00 SLT – informal opening
    • 16:00 SLT – formal opening
    • All day and every day: Paint Bucket Hunt
  • Tuesday, April 12th
    • 17:30 SLT – Lyrical Poetry Cafe
  • Wednesday, April 13th
    • 16:00 SLT – Spring Art Ball
  • Friday , April 15th
    • 17:00 SLT – Obero the Great
  • Saturday, April 16th
    • 13:00 SLT – Models giving Back fashion show
    • 16:00 SLT – Duran Duran tribute concert
    • 17:00 SLT – Juried Art Contest winners announced
  • Sunday, April 17th
    • 11:00 SLT – Seanchai Library storytelling
    • 13:00 SLT – Elysium Cabaret
    • 16:00 SLT – Marilyn Mansion tribute concert.
Windlight Spring Arts Show 2016
Windlight Magazine Spring Arts Show 2016

With its rich diversity of 2D and 3D art, full entertainments programme, the Windlight Magazine Spring Show is a superb means of seen the work of photographers and artists from across SL as well as an opportunity to discover the art of the spoken word through poetry readings and storytelling. So be sure to check it out through the week.

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Space Sunday: Of Odysseys, rockets, inflatables and exoplanets

Mars Odyssey: 15 years since launch and still going strong
Mars Odyssey: 15 years since launch and still going strong

Fifteen years ago, on April 7th, 2001, NASA launched their Odyssey mission to Mars. Since then, this orbital vehicle, whilst often overlooking in favour of its younger companions, Mars Express from Europe and NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, has done much to revolutionise our understanding of Mars.

Named for 2001: A Space Odyssey, the seminal science-fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke, Odyssey arrived in orbit around Mars in October 2001. In doing so, not only did it overcome the failures of the 1999 Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander missions, it almost immediately scored its own major success: one suite of instruments found evidence for water ice close to the surface in large areas of Mars – as significant finding which has since gone on to shape much of our thinking about what lies within the Martian crust.

In 2010, Odyssey provided the highest-resolution (at that time) global map of Mars, stitched together from 21,000 images returned by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS). Prior to that, in 2008 Odyssey spotted evidence of salt deposits across about 200 places in the south of Mars. NASA considers these areas to be signs of where abundant water used to sit. Scientists theorized the deposits could come from groundwater, which evaporated and left deposits of mineral behind. While in 2007, Odyssey imaged what appeared to be massive cave mouths on the surface of Mars.

THEMIS confirmed the openings – each between 100 to 250 meters (328 to 820 feet) across – were either vertical shafts running into the Martian crust or possibly openings leading to cavernous spaces beneath the surface. Dubbed the “seven Sisters” the openings were discovered on the flank of Arsia Mons, one of the gigantic Tharsis volcanoes, prompting speculation that they might be the collapsed roofs of lava tunnels within the volcano’s slopes.

A 2007 THEMIS image from Mars Odyssey showing entrances to possible Martian caves, dubbed the "seven sisters." Clockwise from upper-left: Dena, Chloe, Wendy, Annie, Abbey, Nikki and Jeanne. Arrows signify direction of solar illumination (I) and direction of North (N) - Credit: GE Cushing, TN Titus, JJ Wynne, USGS, USGS, Northern Arizona University, and PR Christensen of Arizona State University
A 2007 THEMIS image from Mars Odyssey showing entrances to possible Martian caves, dubbed the “seven sisters.” Clockwise from upper-left: Dena, Chloe, Wendy, Annie, Abbey, Nikki and Jeanne. Arrows signify direction of solar illumination (I) and direction of North (N) – Credit: GE Cushing, TN Titus, JJ Wynne, USGS, USGS, Northern Arizona University, and PR Christensen of Arizona State University

The vehicle has also operated in concert with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in support of surface missions, including both the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers. As well as acting as a communications relay for such missions, Odyssey has been able to add context to the rovers’ work by providing thermal and other images which have helped science teams better understand the environments in which the rovers are operating. Nor does it end there. Odyssey has also been a careful observer of the Martian weather.

As each year on Mars lasts around 26 months, Odyssey has observed the planet through more than six Martian years. These observations have revealed some seasonal patterns that repeat each year and other seasonal events, such as large dust storms, which differ significantly from year to year.

A 2001 false colour map of Mars made from data gathered by Odyssey's gamma ray spectrometer reveals the widespread distribution of hydrogen-enriched soil on Mars (in blue), the result of sub-surface ice deposits
A 2001 false colour map of Mars made from data gathered by Odyssey’s gamma ray spectrometer reveals the widespread distribution of hydrogen-enriched soil on Mars (in blue), the result of sub-surface ice deposits

In just this past year, Odyssey’s orbit has put the spacecraft in position to observe Mars in early morning light. Previously, the spacecraft flew over ground that was either in afternoon lighting or pre-dawn darkness. The new orbit enables studies of morning clouds and fogs and comparison of ground temperatures in the morning to temperatures of the same sites in the afternoon and pre-dawn, again helping to increase our understanding of the various atmospheric mechanisms operating on the planet.

With 15 years under its belt, Odyssey continued to work hard around Mars and shows no sign of stopping. So, happy anniversary, Odyssey!

On Land and Sea

Hard on the heels of Blue Origin’s third successful launch and recovery of their sub-orbital New Shephard capsule and propulsion module during a test flight, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has achieved what had been eluding them:  launching a Falcon 9 rocket with a payload bound for the International Space Station and then landing the first stage of the rocket on a platform at sea.

The success comes after four prior attempted to land the first stage of the booster at sea – part of SpaceX’s efforts to develop a semi-reusable system to reduce overall launch costs – all ended with the booster crashing into the floating landing platform, or toppling over post touch-down.

The Falcon 9 1.1 furst stage of CRS-8 stands tall on the the drone ship following its landing on April 8th, 2016
The Falcon 9 1.1 furst stage of CRS-8 stands tall on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You, following its landing on April 8th, 2016 (credit: SpaceX)

The April 8th launch, officially titled CRS-8, lifted-off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, at 8:53 GMT. After separating from the second stage of the rocket, which carrying the Dragon cargo craft up to orbit, the first stage of the booster performed a series of three burns  to slow it down and boost it back towards the landing platform – referred to as an autonomous drone ship – that was keeping station downrange of the launch site. Eight and a half minutes after the launch, the first stage made a vertical descent over the platform, re-firing its main engines to slow itself as the landing legs deployed from along the side of the rocket’s body, and it eased into a gentle touch-down.

After the landing, crew boarded the platform to weld the rocket’s landing pads to the deck as a precaution against it toppling over while the platform was being towed back to port. Current plans call for the platform to undergo examination and testing at Kennedy Space Centre to ensure no structural damage occurred during the landing, before it is refurbished for a further at-sea landing, possibly in June 2016. The Falcon booster stage will  also undergo post-flight examination prior to being refurbished for a future launch.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: Of Odysseys, rockets, inflatables and exoplanets”