2016 viewer release summaries: week 26

Updates for the week ending Sunday, July 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

  • Current Release version: 4.0.5.315117 (dated May 11), May 18th – no change: formerly the Quick Graphics RC viewer download page, release notes
  • Release channel cohorts (See my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • No updates
  • Project viewers:
    • Oculus Rift project viewer updated to version 4.1.0.317313 on July 1 – Oculus Rift DK2 + CV-1 support (download and release notes) – warning: this update appears to have significant issues: see this comment and those which follow
    • Visual Outfit Browser viewer updated to version 4.0.6.316422, on July 1 – ability to preview images of outfits in the Appearance floater (download and release notes)
    • Project Bento (avatar skeleton extensions) updated to version 5.0.0.317134 on June 30 – bug fixes  (download and release notes)

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V4-style

  • Restrained Life Viewer updated to version 2.9.18 on July first, followed rapidly by version 2.9.18.1 (July 3rd) and 2.9.18.2 (July 4th), both containing bug fixes. For the full set of release notes, please refer to the links above

V1-style

  • Cool VL viewer Stable branch updated to version 1.26.18.13 and the Experimental branch updated to version 1.26.19.15, both on July 3rd (release notes)

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Advertisements

Project Sansar’s video spot with USA Today

Project Sansar promotional image via linden Lab
Project Sansar promotional image via Linden Lab

Update July 6th: Ed Baig  published a follow-up article today on Sansar, the Lab and Social VR. You can read my thoughts on it here.

Wurfi directed me to this short video from USA Today which features Project Sansar and Second Life (perhaps helping to answer the question put to Pete Linden during the SL13B Meet the Lindens series about the risk of promoting Sansar being to the possible detriment of SL).

The video, just under a minute-and-a-half long, doesn’t reveal anything new about Project Sansar, but it does offer a little bit of a tease.

Ed Baig: looking inside Sansar for USA Today
Ed Baig: looking inside Sansar for USA Today

At the 0:30 mark in the video, journalist Ed Baig states, “Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg won’t show much, but he did treat me to an early demo…”

His comments are followed by tantalising footage of Ed with Oculus Rift headset and controllers, stating he got to visit Mars and an ancient Egyptian tomb (both of which have been revealed in video from the Lab, as I reported by in May) “among other places” – but the camera remained focused on Ed as he waved the Oculus Touch controllers around, rather than showing anything of Sansar itself.

Second Life is represented in the video. At the start, we’re treated with a short burst from one of the Lab’s own promotional videos of Second Life, while at the end, Ed notes that while Sansar is just starting the process of opening up through the Creator Preview, “Second Life will remain”.

Along with familiar images of Sansar, there’s a soundbite from Ebbe Altberg which encapsulates the core thrust for the platform.

Sadly, there’s no follow-up article within USA Today online, just the video itself; but then at this point, there’s not actually a lot to write about that perhaps hasn’t already be seen vis Sansar. However, that will change in the near future. Alongside of opening Sansar to more creators between now and the end of the year, Linden Lab has also indicated that they’ll gradually start revealing more about the platform as the rest of the year passes and as they move towards “V1” access, probably in early 2017.

In the meantime, here’s Ed’s video.

Inked art and bodies in Second Life

Inked – Dathúil Gallery
Inked – Dathúil Gallery

Tattoos. To some they are an expression of individuality while to others they are symbol of affection or love, while still others regard them as little more than a foolish desire to mark one’s body through a painful process. In some circles they are a social statement against the “norm”; in others their meaning can go a lot deeper, mirroring tribal markings of old. When opposing views on their merit meet, the discussion can be heated.

But there is something that’s undeniable about tattoos: they can be quite exquisite works of art, a living, if you will, expression of creativity, both on the part of the artist responsible for the inking, and the person desiring their body to be so marked and coloured.

Inked – Dathúil Gallery
Inked – Dathúil Gallery

And through virtual environments such as Second Life, the opportunity to express this joint creative desire is perfectly framed. Not only do the tattoos here remain as fresh and bright as they day they were first inked, so do the bodies on which they appear tend to stay untouched by the passing years. Thus both art and “canvas” remain as fresh an expression of creativity as the day the artist first inked them, or the day we first wore them. And of course, within the virtual, tattoos can be worn painlessly, offering each of us a means of self expression we might otherwise baulk it in the physical world (and I speak as one very much in this category!).

All of these aspects of tattoos in Second Life are wonderfully brought together by Elizabeth (ElizabethNantes) in Inked, the latest exhibition to grace the walls of Dathúil Gallery operated by Max Butoh and Lυcy (LucyDiam0nd). The 23 pieces on display are extraordinary studies which work on a number of levels.

First, and given tattoos are the focus, most are nude studies, many of which are sensual or erotic in their expression. Second, there is a wonderful balance between colour and black-and-white images which both compliment and contrast with one another, drawing the visitor deeper into the exhibit, encouraging repeated study of each image both on its own and alongside of its companions.

Inked – Dathúil Gallery
Inked – Dathúil Gallery

And then there are the tattoos themselves, created by 7Prodigy, Aitui, Bolson, Cureless, SpeakEasy and WhiteWidow. Some are full body, others covering just a specific limb or body part, all reflecting the vision and talent behind their creation. Some of the featured tattoos may well invoke the kind of mixed responses I hinted towards at the top of this article, but the entrancing beauty of all of the pieces cannot be denied.

Which brings me, finally, to the framing of the images. In each and every piece, this is quite simply perfect. Sensual and / or erotic some may be, nude they undoubtedly are, and rich is the contrast between black-and-white and colour studies; but there is also something more here. An elegance in both the framing of each image and the pose (either by Elizabeth herself or DelMay) used. Through them, the tattoos worn by Elizabeth’s models, and the models themselves  – Joslyn Benson, Daze(DaisyDaze), EllaSparkss, Jammie Hill, Kazu Koray, Hillany Scofield and Brandon Taselian – become a unified statement of art and natural beauty.

Inked – Dathúil Gallery
Inked – Dathúil Gallery

This is another outstanding exhibition hosted at Dathúil, where it will remain open through until the end of July. And it is one that should not be missed by any patron of the arts in Second Life.

SLurl Details

Space Sunday: Jupiter and Juno

 Update, July 5th: The insertion burn on July 4th/5th was successful, and Juno is safely in its initial orbit around Jupiter. I’ll have an update on the mission in the next Space Sunday.

rAt 20:18 PDT on Monday, July 4th (03:18 UT, Tuesday, July 5th) a spacecraft called Juno will fire its UK-built Leros-1b engine to commence a 35-minute burn designed to allow the spacecraft  enter an initial orbit around the largest planet in the solar system, ready to begin a comprehensive science campaign.

As I write this, the craft is already inside the orbit of Callisto, the furthest of Jupiter’s four massive Galilean satellites,  which orbits the planet at a distance of roughly 1.88 million kilometres. During the early hours of July 4th, (PDT), the vehicle will cross the orbits of the remaining three Galilean satellites, Ganyemede, Europa and Io, prior to commencing its orbital insertion burn.

In the run-up to the burn, Juno will complete a series of manoeuvres designed to correctly orient itself to fire the Leros-1b, which will be the third of four planned uses of the engine in order to get the craft into its final science orbit. Two previous burns of the engine – which NASA regards as one of the most reliable deep space probe motors they can obtain – in 2012 ensured the craft was on the correct trajectory from this phase of the mission.

Getting into orbit around Jupiter isn’t particularly easy. The planet has a huge gravity well – 2.5 times greater than Earth’s. This means that an approaching spacecraft is effectively running “downhill” as it approaches the planet, accelerating all the way. In Juno’s case, this means that as the vehicle passes north-to-south around Jupiter for the first time, it will reach a velocity of nigh-on 250,000 kph (156,000 mph), making it one of the fastest human-made objects ever.

An Artist's impression of Juno approaching the Jovian system. Credit: NASA
An Artist’s impression of Juno approaching the Jovian system. Credit: NASA

Slowing the vehicle directly into a science orbit from these kinds of velocities would take an inordinate amount of fuel, so the July 4th manoeuvre isn’t intended to do this. Instead, it is designed to hold the vehicle’s peak accelerate at a point where although it will be thrown around Jupiter and back into space, it will be going “uphill” against Jupiter’s gravity well, decelerating all the time. So much so, that at around 8 million kilometres (5 million miles) away from Jupiter, and travelling at just 1,933 kph (1,208 mph), Juno will start to “fall back” towards Jupiter, once more accelerating under gravity, to loop around the planet a second time on August 27th, coming to within (4,200 km (2,600 mi) of Jupiter’s cloud tops, before looping back out into space.

On October 19th, Juno will complete the second of these highly elliptical orbits, coming to within 4,185 km (2,620 mi) of the Jovian cloud tops as it completes a final 22-minute burn of the Leros-1b motor. This will be sufficient for Jupiter’s gravity to swing  Juno into an elliptical 14-orbit around the planet, passing just 4,185 km from Jupiter at its closest approach before flying out to 3.2 million kilometres (2 million miles) at it’s furthest from the planet.

Juno's journey to Jupiter, with a flyby-of Earth in 2013
Juno’s journey to Jupiter, with a flyby-of Earth in 2013

The July 4th insertion burn is also significant in that it marks the end of a 5-year interplanetary journey for Juno, which has seen the vehicle cover a distance of 2.8 billion km (1.74 billion miles).

It’s a voyage which began on August 5th, 2011, atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V, launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

As powerful as it is, the Atlas isn’t powerful enough to send a payload like Juno directly to Jupiter. Instead, the craft flew out beyond the orbit of Mars before dropping back to Earth, passing us again in October 2013 and using Earth’s gravity to both accelerate and to slingshot itself into a Jupiter transfer orbit.

While, at 35 minutes, the engine burn for orbital insertion is a long time, the distance from Juno to Earth means that confirmation that the burn has started will not be received until 13 minutes after the manoeuvre has actually completed. That’s how long is takes for a radio signal to travel from the vehicle back to Earth (and obviously, for instructions to be passed from Earth to Juno.  Thus, the manoeuvre is carried out entirely automatically by the vehicle

Juno is not the first mission to Jupiter, but it is only the second orbital mission to the giant of the solar system.

The Jovian system was first briefly visited by Pioneer 10 in 1973, followed by Pioneer 11 a year later. Both of these were deep space missions (which are still continuing today), destined to continue outward through the solar system and into interstellar space beyond. They were followed by the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 missions in January and July 1979 respectively, again en route for interstellar space by way of the outer solar system.

In 1992 the Ulysses solar mission used Jupiter as a “slingshot” to curve itself up into a polar orbit around the Sun. Then in 2000, the Cassini mission used Jupiter’s immense gravity to accelerate and “bend” itself towards Saturn, its intended destination. New Horizons similarly used Jupiter for a “gravity assist” push in 2007, while en route to Pluto / Charon and the Kuiper Belt beyond.

It was in 1995 that the first orbital mission reached Jupiter and its moons. The nuclear RTG-powered Galileo was intended to study Jupiter for just 24 months. However, it remained largely operational until late 2002 before the intense radiation fields around the planet took their final toll on the vehicle’s systems. Already blind, and with fuel supplies dwindling, Galileo was ordered to crash into the upper limits of Jupiter’s atmosphere in 2003, where it burned up.

In the eight years it operated around Jupiter, Galileo complete changed our perspective on the planet. Juno has a 20-month primary mission, and it is hoped its impact on our understanding of Jupiter will be greater than Galileo’s. However, it is unlikely the mission will be extended.

Unlike all of NASA’s previous missions beyond the orbit of Mars, which have used RTG power units, Juno is entirely solar-powered, making it the farthest solar-powered trip in the history of space exploration. However, the three 8.9 metre (29 ft) long, 2.7 metre (8.9 ft) wide solar panels are particularly vulnerable to the ravages of radiation around Jupiter, and it is anticipated that by February 2018, their performance will have degraded to a point where they can no longer generate the levels of electrical energy required to keep the craft functioning – if indeed, its science instruments and electronics haven’t also been damaged beyond use by radiation. This being the case, Juno will be commanded to fly into Jupiter’s upper atmosphere and burn up.

Juno's science instruments - click for full size. Credit: NASA / JPL
Juno’s science instruments – click for full size. Credit: NASA / JPL

Continue reading “Space Sunday: Jupiter and Juno”