At The Bridge with Terrygold in Second Life

The Bridge
The Bridge

Running from 13:00 SLT on Wednesday, December 21st through until January 6th at Art on Roofs, is The Bridge by Terrygold, an exhibition of over 40 of her images and studies in what I think is the largest display of her work to date.

Anyone familiar with Terrygold’s work, cannot help but be struck by her expressive use of monochrome, her minimal and striking use of colour and the manner in which props form an integral part of her images and the narratives they project. Seeing so many pieces on display here, complete with thematic groupings, really brings the extraordinary power and beauty of her work home.

The Bridge
The Bridge

As with her previous exhibits, The Bridge is reached via teleport from the main Art on Roofs landing point. On arrival, some viewer set-up may be required prior to entering the exhibition areas. Specifically, the time of day should be set to ambient dark / midnight, and the graphics Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) should be turned on to appreciate the projected lights (there is no need to enabled shadows Sun/Moon + Projected Lights if this hits your performance too hard – the light projectors will still work, you’ll just use the use of shadows to further enhance the pieces).

Once your viewer is set, step out in the white area and onto the bridge. This leads the way between six tall alcoves in which are displayed the first of Terrygold’s pieces – including one of the props used in a study. This bridge is the first indication that as with previous exhibitions, the setting in which Terrygold displays her work is not just a backdrop to her work, it is very much part of the exhibition itself – as there the props she’s used, which is why they can be found within The Bridge.

The Bridge
The Bridge

On reaching the far end of the bridge, visitors are invited to pass between blood-red curtains (red being one of the colours Terrygold frequently uses to present strong contrasts in her work) to the second element of the exhibition. Here amidst echoes of her earlier installation, Windows (which you can read about here), are four pieces with a distinctly musical theme. Beyond this, reached by following a jigsaw on the floor, lay the main two exhibit areas.

The first of these offers another three-dimensional experience to visitors – a theme continued from the settings for earlier displays – with the art extending below “floor” level. A white path winds through this chamber, passing an ivory piano while offering a vantage point for camming around the art and the hall, before leading the visitor through a gap in the walls to the final, midnight black chamber. Here are themed sets of beautiful monochrome nude studies. With titles such as Gabbia, (“Cage”), Prigioniera (“Prisoner”),  Freni (“Brakes”), and Muri Stella (“Wall Star”), they are stunningly evocative and powerful pieces which hold sway over one’s attention.

The Bridge
The Bridge

Terrygold modestly claims she is not an artist, just a photographer. I have, and continue to, disagree with her on this. Not only do her images demonstrate a clear eye for framing, composition and narrative, the environments in which she presents them more than demonstrate her considerable skill as an artist and designer.

The Bridge, as noted, will remain open through until January 6th, 2017. Should you visit, please do consider a donation towards Terrygold’s work and the upkeep of the Art on Roofs gallery spaces, of which she is also the curator.

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SL project updates 2016 51: server, simulator OS update

DRD Arctic Express
DRD Arctic Expressblog post

Server Deployment

While the No Change window was supposed to have come into operation on Friday, December 16th, there was indeed a deployment to the Main (SLS) channel on Tuesday, December 20th. It comprised the same server maintenance package as deployed to the RC channel in week #50, comprising internal logging changes.

The deployment means that all of the server channels on the main grid (Agni) are now running the same simulator version. As there are no planned deployments to the RC channels, all four channels should remain on this release until deployments resume after the holiday period.

SL Viewer

We might see a 64-bit project viewer appear during the week. However, at the time of writing,  the list of viewers in the various pipelines remains as:

  • Current Release version: 5.0.0.321958, dated December 1st, promoted December 5th – formerly the Project Bento RC viewer.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Maintenance RC viewer, version 5.0.1.322219, dated December 9th – some 42 fixes and improvements + Bento support
  • Project viewers:
    • 360-degree snapshot viewer, version 4.1.3.321712 dated November 23rd – ability to take 360-degree panoramic images – hands-on review
  • Obsolete platform viewer version 3.7.28.300847 dated May 8, 2015 – provided for users on Windows XP and OS X versions below 10.7.

Bento Support

With the release of Kokua for Second Life 5.0.0 and RLV 2.9.21 (see my article here), the following currently maintained viewers all have Bento support: Black Dragon, Catznip, Cool VL, Firestorm, Kokua for Second Life, Restrained Love. Alchemy is expected to update to include Bento “soon” and UKanDo is still awaiting a complete overhaul.

In terms of clients with 3D viewing capabilities, Radegast has been updated to support Bento, but the update is pending release. Lumiya for Android will have Bento support added “soon” (Lumiya 3.3 with Voice support released on Sunday, December 18th, and my review is available here).

Simulator OS Update

The Lab is in the process of updating the operating system on the simulator servers. At the moment the new OS version is installed on a number of regions on Aditi (the beta grid), including: Fire Ants 1, Fire Ants 2, Grasmere, Oak Forest, and Twilight Shores, not all of which are open to the public.

“This is one of those ‘features’ that might perform a bit better, but otherwise is a success if it behaves exactly like our current servers,” Simon Linden said at the Simulator User Group meeting on Tuesday, December 20th.

“We’re in the starting process of testing things. We have a lot of testing to do. [We’re] updating from an old version of Linux to a not-so-old version of Linux,” April Linden added. “Just to keep things moving. All the usual reasons. Performance updates, security, etc.”

Second Life hits a lot of low-level server code hard, including networking, memory and multi-processing. The overall hope is to have the newer revisions of the operating system will improve these. Expect this work to reach Agni in early 2017.

Group Chat

Group chat was long a bane of Second Life. In 2014/15 however, the Lab put a considerable amount of work into improving things, although some issues remain. One of these is that if an individual role outside of the default “Everyone” has a very high number of group members assigned to it (e.g. several thousand), it can dramatically impact things like group chat performance and can prevent the members’ list loading. One solution might be to delete the role (converting those in it to Everyone).

Magic Leap: DOA, over-hyped or still possible?

Well, maybe it IS only a lens. Not too long ago, Magic Leap were proclaiming they had more than just a lens, but a Photonic Chip. The Infromation thinks it was just more hype
Well, maybe it IS only a lens. Not too long ago, Magic Leap were proclaiming they had more than just a lens, but a Photonic Chip. The Infromation thinks it was just more hype. Credit: Wired.

Magic Leap has been the most controversial company in the emerging market of new VR, AR and MR technologies. Super-secretive but boasting an influx of US $1.4 billion in capital from leading technical and entertainments companies  – including Google – it has drawn a lot of attention, despite almost nothing of its technology being generally revealed.

Magic Leap promises a headset system which will be as easy to wear and remove as a pair of glass – but crucially, and despite several years of development work , has not revealed anything of what this headset might look like beyond various patent filings. In the meantime, the company has continued to release astonishing videos of their product’s apparent capabilities. Some of these were undeniably special effects enhanced pieces – but it now appears that this might be the case with more of the videos than the company were actually willing to let on.

In particular, on December 8th, the paywalled site The Information published a report on Magic Leap indicating that at least one of the more recent videos – that of office workers playing a shoot-’em-up game which was stated as being filmed using Magic Leap’s own technology was actually enhanced by Magic Leap partner, Weta Workshop (Weta’s head, Sir Richard Taylor, was an early investor in the company, and his business partner, director Peter Jackson, is an advisor). This has led to questions being raised over just how genuine Magic Leap is, and how real their product might in fact be.

The Verge summarises the report from The Information, pointing to the less-than-honest video and making mention of Magic Leap’s massive test rig, called The Beast, and the fact that as yet, the company hasn’t moved beyond a tethered headset style device which is claimed to give an inferior result when compared to Microsoft’s HoloLens. This has prompted others to question whether Magic Leap is dead – or potentially could be DOA, given it appears to lag behind what might be somewhat comparable products such as the HoloLens.

Magic Leap haven't been entirely secretive about the size of some of their test rigs. Credit: Peter Yang / Wired
Magic Leap haven’t been entirely secretive about the size of some of their test rigs. Credit: Peter Yang / Wired

As it is, the report from The Information stands sharply at odds with those from the likes of Wired, where Peter Yang from Wired spent time with Magic Leap back in April 2016, using that experience to tell The Untold Story of Magic Leap. Then, shortly ahead of The Information’s piece, and at the end of November, Forbes’ David Ewalt sat down with Magic Leap’s founder, Romy Abovitz. Like The Information’s Reed Albergotti, both Yang and Ewalt reference the fact that Magic leap utilises a headset rather than “glasses”, but that’s about all their articles have in common with Albergotti’s view. So where does that leave us?

First off, scepticism is healthy. There are many promises being made around VR / AR and MR, many of which could well be a mix of hype, hope and wishful endeavour. WE also have little ide just what reporters are being shown – and there is no denying Abovitz enjoys his role as unconventional showman.

Even so, it’s hard to see Magic Leap as purely being smoke and mirrors and flimflam; Abovitz has a track record of innovation and product delivery – he sold his medical robotic company for US $1.7 billion in 2009. Magic Leap has also made no secret of being in things for a long haul, developing a new paradigm in computing, while Albergotti acknowledges the company is now working towards a pair of glasses type of headset, albeit with different technology for their earlier work. Thus, writing them off entirely could be a premature.

A final point is that the company has never gone beyond saying a consumer product will be appearing “soonish”. Ewalt, writing for Forbes, estimates Magic Leap has perhaps another 18 months to go before a consumer launch. That’s a long time, given the HoloLens and Meta’s offerings will be out will before then. but the latter two are liable to have price tags of US $1,000 or more. If this is the case, are they really liable to corner the market, particularly if Magic Leap comes up with a product as user-friendly (and potentially superior) as Peter Yang at Wired feels will be the case – and at a lower price point, even if it is based on technology other than the hyped “Digital Lightfield™”?

The only thing we perhaps can say as a result of this is the hype trains – positive and negative – on what VR / AR / MR might or might not deliver will likely continue to rumble forward for a while yet.

With thanks to Roblem VR