Monthly Archives: October 2016

Lumiya: Google drive support for chat and IM logs

lumiya-logoLumiya, the go-to Second Life / Open Sim client for Android by Alina Lyvette, updated on Wednesday, October 19th, although it’s taken me a few days to get around to blogging about it.

Version 3.1.2 contains a single up-front change, but it’s one users are liable to appreciate: the ability to save chat and IM logs to their Google drive.

To do so, two things are required:

  • An active Google account with access to Google drive (no surprises there).
  • The Lumiya Cloud Plugin available via Google Play for free.

Setting  things up is a simple set of steps:

  • Download and install the Lumiya Cloud Plugin on the devices(s) you use with Lumiya.
  • Log-in to Lumiya and go to Settings via the menu (top left icon) and select Chat and Messages.
  • Tap Save chat history to Google Drive to enable it.
Setting Lumiya to save chat and IM logs to your Google Drive

Setting Lumiya to save chat and IM logs to your Google Drive

  • A pop-up is displayed for your Google account (not your Second Life account). If you have more than one Google account, you may be asked to enter the details of the account you wish to associate with Lumiya.
Selecting your Google account

Selecting your Google account

  • Providing you have selected the Google account you wish to use, tap Add Account.
  • A further pop-up is displayed asking you to allow the Lumiya Cloud Plugin service to access your Google drive in order to save and retrieve chat and IM log files.
  • Providing you’re happy, tap Allow.
Granting the cloud app permission to save and retrieve your chat and IM logs

Granting the cloud app permission to save and retrieve your chat and IM logs.

And that’s it. You only need to do this once per device, you don’t have to do it for each of your SL accounts if you have more than one. When you log in to Second Life, your chat and IM histories will be available, and saved automatically.

If you ever want to revert to saving your histories directly onto your device, simply go to Menu (top left) > Settings > Chat and Messages and uncheck  Save chat history to Google Drive.

Feedback

This is a handy update for Lumiya, offering a single location for chat and IM logs which could be especially useful for those who may use Lumiya on more than one device (e.g. a Tablet and a smartphone), as it removes discontinuities in saving logs locally – although obviously, you’ll have to use the Lumiya Cloud Plugin to associate each device with your Google account / drive.

And if Google Drive isn’t your thing? Then you can continue to save your logs directly to the storage on your device. Simples!

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2016 viewer release summaries: week 43

Updates for the week ending Sunday, October 30th

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: 4.1.1.320331 (dated October 4th), promoted October 10th – no change
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • Maintenance RC viewer updated to version 4.1.2.321183 on October 28th – expanded release notes
  • Project viewers:
    • 360-degree snapshot viewer, version 4.1.2.320965 released on October 26th – ability to take 360-degree panoramic images – hands-on review

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V4-style

V1-style

  • Cool VL viewer Stable branch updated to version 1.26.18.30 and the Experimental branch updated to version 1.26.19.32, both on October 29th (release notes).

Mobile / Other Clients

  • Littlesight updated to version 2.0.0 on October 29th – New user interface.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Space Update: Planet Nine, “signalling” stars and a quick round-up

Planet Nine, if it exists,could equal Neptune in size, and orbits the Sun 200 times further away than Earth. Credit: Caltech / R. Hurt

Planet Nine, if it exists,could equal Neptune in size, and orbit the Sun 200 times further away than Earth. Credit: Caltech / R. Hurt

In January and February 2016, I wrote about Planet Nine (or Planet X, George, Jehoshaphat, or Planet of the Apes, depending  your preference), the Neptune-sized world believed to be orbiting the sun on the very edge of the solar system in a highly eccentric orbit. Since then, the search for this mysterious world has continued, and while it has yet to be located, evidence that it exists has been mounting. Not only that, but astronomers now believe it might explain why the solar system is “tipped”.

The Hunt started after Mike Brown, a leading planetary astronomer at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and his colleague Konstantin Batygin developed a computer model which showed that the very eccentric orbits of six Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs) located in what is called the scattered disk,  a sparsely populated region of space between 30 100 AU from the sun, overlapping with the Kuiper belt, could have been due to the influence of a massive, distant planet. At the time, they noted that if the model was correct, other TNOs would likely  occupy equally distinct orbits.

A planet averaging about 10 times as massive as Earth, called Planet Nine could explain the paths of six distant objects in the solar system with mysterious orbits

A planet averaging about 10 times as massive as Earth, called Planet Nine could explain the paths of six distant objects in the solar system with mysterious orbits. Credit: Caltech / R Hurt

At the joint European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) and American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) in October, it was revealed more TNOs fitting the model have been discovered over the past several months. Two of them,  2013 FT28 and 2014 SR349, precisely fit the same type of orbit seen the original six objects used by Brown and Batygin model. Five more have been found in orbits which are effective perpendicular to Planet Nine’s believed orbit around the Sun, something predicted by the computer model.

All of this is helping to narrow down Planet Nine’s potential orbit around the Sun, and the arc of that orbit where it might be found. So much so that Batygin, Brown have teamed with original proponents for Planet Nine Chad Trujillo and Scott Sheppard to use the 8-metre Subaru Telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii to carry out a  search of the night sky. Sheppard and Trujillo are also using two telescopes in Chile to search the possible sweep of the planet through the southern hemisphere’s night sky. And they are not alone.

The Brown / Batygin model for Planet Nine indicated the planet would cause some TNOs to ine in orbits perpendicular to the planet's own eccentric orbit around the Sun - and five such object have now been discovered (shown in teal, with the original TNOs possibly influenced shown in magenta. Credit: Caltech

The Brown / Batygin model for Planet Nine indicated the planet would cause some TNOs to lie in orbits perpendicular to the planet’s own eccentric orbit around the Sun – and five such object have now been discovered (shown in teal, with the original TNOs possibly influenced shown in magenta. Credit: Caltech

Also at the planetary conference, graduate student Elizabeth Bailey, using Brown and Batygin’s data presented a paper proposing how the odd tilt to the solar system’s major planets relative to the Sun might be due to Planet Nine.

With the exceptional of Mercury, all the major planets in the solar system orbit along a plane tilted by about six degrees from the Sun’s equator. This suggests either the Sun was somehow tipped on its axis in the past, or the planets have been pulled from their original alignment along the Sun’s equatorial plane. Of these two ideas, the preferred option has been for exotic interactions between the early Sun’s magnetic field and the primordial disk of gas surrounding it, inclining the latter, which then formed the planets. However, Bailey’s simulations suggest that a large body occupying Planet Nine’s predicted orbit could have had sufficient influence on the Sun over some 4 billion years to have slowly tipped it over by six degrees. Bailey’s hypothesis was supported by a  Brazilian team of astronomers, who used a different analytical method while working independently from her, and reached the same conclusion.

As it might be: estimates concerning Planet Nine's possible size, mass, etc., should it exist. Credit: Space.com / Karl Tate

As it might be: estimates concerning Planet Nine’s possible size, mass, etc., should it exist. Credit: Space.com / Karl Tate

Even so, some remain sceptical that the mysterious world exists. “I give it about a 1% chance of turning out to be real,” says astronomer JJ Kavelaars, of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, Canada. Interestingly, his fellow researcher and collaborator Cory Shankman,  has created models with the exact orbits of the original six TNOs used by Brown and Batygin, and found that a massive planet would not maintain their tell-tale clustering for long periods.

Thus, the search for the solar system’s mysterious Planet Nine, continues.

ETs Phone Home?

Are aliens sending signals using their own stars? That’s what might be happening, according to astrophysicists Ermanno Borra and Eric Trottier, from Laval University in Quebec; although they admit it’s only one possible explanation for what they appear to have discovered.

It was in 2012 that Borra predicted intelligent aliens might use the light from their own stars to signal their existence to the cosmos. Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, Borra and Trottier analysed the spectra of 2.5 million stars to see if this might be the case – and found 234  which seem to be broadcasting a signal of the kind predicted by Borra.

The “signals” are pulses in the stars’ light, separated by a constant time interval. What’s more, all 234 stars are predominantly in the F2 to K1 spectral range, which is the small range of stars centred on the spectrum of our own life-supporting Sun, and thus the broad group of stars thought might support life on planets orbiting them.

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey telescope, New Mexico. Credit: SDSS / Fermilab Visual Media Services / NASA

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey telescope, New Mexico. Credit: SDSS / Fermilab Visual Media Services / NASA

However, as Borra and Trottier note in their paper – which has yet to be comprehensively peer-reviewed – the pulses could be the result of natural factors such as rotational transitions in molecules or the Fourier transform of spectral lines. It might even be due to rapid pulsations in the stars themselves. Nevertheless Borra and Trottier have tended to dismiss rotational transitions on the grounds that such behaviour isn’t common to these types of star. They also think it unlikely a Fourier transform is responsible.

Instead, they lead towards either the “signals”  being an artefact produced by data reduction on the part of the Sloan instrument, or the work of ET, with a slight emphasis towards the ET side of their thinking.  Others, having read their paper, are far more sceptical.

“It seems unlikely that 234 separate alien societies would be sending out such similar signals more or less simultaneously” Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, California said. “It would be like expecting us to send the same signals as the Abyssinians — it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.” Instead, Shostak leans towards the data reduction explanation; as does Occam’s Razor.

But a further possible explanation has been suggested: that the signals are due to highly peculiar chemical compositions in a small fraction of galactic halo stars which has  never been previously encountered. While not as exotic as aliens using their stars as signalling devices, should this prove to be the case, it would still be a remarkable new discovery.

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Celebrate Halloween at The Great Boo! in Second Life

Holly Kai Park - The Great Boo! Sunday, October 30th

Holly Kai Park – The Great Boo! Sunday, October 30th

It’s that time of year when ghosts and ghouls arise, when demons and vampires and more walk abroad; it’s a time for spooky stories and terrifying tales to be told by moonlight or in darkened rooms. And if you’re someone who enjoys spine-tingling yarns, we have just the thing for you at Holly Kai Park – The Great Boo!

Join us on Sunday, October 30th from 1:00pm SLT, as Seanchai Library presents an afternoon of Halloween stories live in voice to mark the opening of Holly Kai Park’s Storyteller’s Circle.

poster-2Our demonic deliverers of twisted tales and devilish dialogue will be:

  • 1:00pm – Dubhna Rhiadra
  • 1:20pm – VT Torvalar
  • 1:40pm – Boudicca Amat
  • 2:00pm – Bryn Taleweaver
  • 2:20pm – Hana Hoo
  • 2:40pm – Trolley Trollop
  • 3:00pm – Crap Mariner
  • 3:20pm – Kayden Oconnell
  • 3:40pm – Caledonia Skytower

The circle has been specially dressed for the occasion – the camp fire is lit, the torches blaze brightly to ward off the spirits. But the mist roils and rolls, the wolves howl and owls hoot, and great cobwebs fill the gaps between the trees as the spirits walk abroad! Just set your viewer to midnight (or let Firestorm set the atmosphere for you!), and step into our ghostly world!

The gates will be open throughout the afternoon – so feel free to join us as time permits – although we hope you’ll be with us throughout! after all, what could be a better complement to your Spooky Sunday plans?

And if you feel like coming in costume, there are spaces aplenty for ghouls, ghosts, monsters, demons and all, oh my!

SLurl Details