Lab blogs on recent billing / transaction failures

On Monday, June 26th, 2017 many Second Life users encountered issues  when trying to purchase Linden Dollars or purchase goods via the SL Marketplace following a period of scheduled maintenance and updates to the billing system. These incidents were escalated to the Lab, resulting in a further period of unscheduled maintenance, during which time payment processing was suspended, which itself had some knock-on impact.

Some of these issues were still being felt on Wednesday, June 28th, 2017. However, Xiola Linden took time out to blog about what has been happening, in which she provides the following update on the situation:

After some intensive troubleshooting that – despite our best efforts – took longer than we’d have liked, the base cause of these failed transactions was resolved as of 3:51PM PDT on the same day. However, we still have the task of refunding the thousands of failed transactions to the impacted users ahead of us. A large number of Lindens across several departments have been coming in early and staying late between Monday and today to fulfil that responsibility to our users. Your patience is greatly appreciated, and we hope to complete the work as quickly as possible.

We’ll post an update to this blog as soon as we have more information to pass along. Our support agents on the phone lines and live chat do not have any additional information to provide at this time. Support cases which have already been submitted will be answered once this situation has been resolved.

Xiola goes on to note that as a result of the issues “Shrek ears” are being worn by Lab staff  – a reference to April Linden’s May 10th blog post about a bit of a SNAFU with Place Pages, in which April explains:

We encourage people to take risks and push the limits of what we think is possible with technology and virtual worlds. It helps keep us flexible and innovative. However… sometimes things don’t work out the way they were planned, and things break. What we do for penance is what makes us unique.

Around the offices (and in-world!) we have sets of overly sized green ears. If a Linden breaks the grid, they may optionally, if they choose to, wear the Shrek Ears as a way of owning their mistake.

If we see a fellow Linden wearing the Shrek Ears, we all know they’ve fessed up, and they’re owning their mistake. Rather than tease them, we try to be supportive. They’re having a bad day as it is, and it’s a sign that someone could use a little bit of niceness in their life.

At the end of the day, the Linden takes off the Shrek Ears, and we move on. It’s now in the past, and it’s time to learn from our mistakes and focus on the future … If you see a Linden wearing them, please know that’s their way of saying sorry, and they’re really having a bad day.

Posts of this nature, explaining what went wrong and why (and, where possible steps being taken to try to ensure there are no  – or at least few – repeats) are an important part of reassuring users and shining a light on just how complex a beast SL can be when things do go wrong.

In that vein, I’m still hoping we’ll get one of April’s informative blog posts on concerning the June 14th log-in issues (although I appreciate she and the Ops team likely have their hands full right now!).  but in the meantime, the “Shrek ears” notes remind us that those who work at the Lab are no different from the rest of us – something we can at times lose sight of in our own frustrations when things go wrong.

Second Pride: celebrating diversity in Second Life

Second Pride

Currently taking place through until Sunday, July 2nd, 2017 is the 12th edition of Second Pride, celebrating diversity in Second Life, and the LGBTQ, gay and straight communities – and “In Between or anything you want to be”, in the words of the organisers. This year’s event has the theme Resist, Rise Up, Be Proud.

Taking place on the Second Pride region, the event has plenty to offer: shopping, music, dancing, amusement rides, lounges and cafés, an oriental themed garden, and more, all in support of a number of charities and non-profits (donation kiosks can be found through the region, and there are two special non-profits donations stores in the south-west corner of the shopping area).

The shopping event includes home and garden decor designers Apple Fall, N4RS,  T L C Home Decor, Sources, RJD, Consignment, The Artist Shed, DJ/SF ( Shutterfield), InZane Design and Unkindness; fashion designers S’wear by Lapointe & Bastchild, GABRIEL, MIND, PowerDesign, RNR, RGDW, Jackhammer Gear for Men, DMG, [SM], RedAngel, and DnL. Many of the designers are offering discounted items to attendees, and there are also opportunities to pick-up various free items during the event.

Second Pride Gardens

You can catch-up with the schedule of entertainment any time of day, and find out more about the event through the following links:

With apologies for Kahvy Smith for my tardiness in getting this out.

Au Petit Jour in Second Life

Au Petit Jour, Hrodas Fen; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Au Petit Jour – click any image for full size

Au Petit Jour is the latest Homestead region design by Elyjia (Elyjia Baxton) and Brayan Friller (Brayan26 Friller) – who you may remember as being the couple behind The Heart of the Sea, which Caitlyn and I visited back in March 2017, and found to be a beautiful, tranquil location.

Those who remember The Heart of the Sea may notices that Au Petit Jour (“At Daybreak”) has much in common with that former build, whilst also being an entirely unique design.   There are two primary islands, for example, one of which includes the landing point, and a number of smaller offshore islets. As with Heart of the Sea, and as its name would suggest, Au Petit Jour is caught in the rays of an early morning sun, whilst the land presents a similar mix of lowlands and rocky, grass-covered bluffs and mesas.

Au Petit Jour, Hrodas Fen; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Au Petit Jour

But where Heart of the Sea rose from open waters, Au Petit Jour sits surrounded by other islands with tall green slopes and grassy shores which, to the east almost stretch out far enough to make part of this landscape a headland, rather than an island. To the north, between the rounded shoulders of these mighty hills, lies the open sea, a silver-grey Moon dipping slowly towards it, facing another open channel and the sea beyond, to the south.

The landing point is located on the north side of the largest island, under the shade of two tall trees with trunks gently bowed from age, bluebells blossoming around the feet. Birds perch on fences greeting the morning in song, and a cinder track cuts across the grass east-to-west, separating a shaded arbor from a nearby Romany camp, beyond which a light house is perched upon a rocky outcrop rising from reeded waters.  Follow the track eastwards, over an old stone bridge, and you’ll reach the second of the two large islands.

Au Petit Jour, Hrodas Fen; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Au Petit Jour

This throws a rugged face towards the tall hills to the east, crowned by an old folly (where dances can be enjoyed). The cinder path splits before reaching this flat-topped cast of rock, one arm leading to the steps that offer a way up to the folly, the other cutting between rocky faces to arrive at a low-lying area, shaded by trees and looking south over a cinder beach and across the inlet to the other islets in the group.

Go west along the track from the landing point, up a small flight of tone steps, and you have a choice of going south (left) or north (right). The southern path leads past more steps offering access up to a windmill seated on the island’s highest point, to a cove-like sandy beach presenting another vantage point looking towards the largest of the remaining islands. This is home to stilted beach houses built out over the water, with  cabins for rent on the low hill above them.

Au Petit Jour, Hrodas Fen; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Au Petit Jour

Northwards, the land remains flat and low, forming a hook to enclose a small bay into which waters tumble in falls down the side of the windmill’s table of rock. The hook offers a small place for music and dancing, while a raft anchored in the little bay presents another place for sitting and cuddling.

Beautifully laid out, with places to sit, places to cuddle and places to dance – as well as plenty to see, Au Petit Jour  offers much for the Second Life traveller to enjoy. When visiting, do keep in mind that the small island to the south-east, with the little cabins on the rocks and the little white boat dock, is a private area and not open to the public. Should you enjoy your visit, please do consider a donation towards the upkeep of the region.

SLurl Details

With thanks to Shakespeare (Skinnynilla) for the LM.

Be a part of Spoonful of Sugar in Second Life and Help MSF

The 2016 Spoonful of Sugar event hub

The third Spoonful of Sugar festival, aimed at raising money for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), will in 2017 take place between Saturday, September 16th and Sunday October 1st. right now, the organisers are seeking applications from fashion, home and garden and breedable designers and creators who would be interested in sponsoring and participating in the event.

Also known as Doctors Without Borders, MSF is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation delivering emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare, providing assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

MSF was founded in Paris, France in 1971. Its principles are described in the organisation’s founding charter. It is a non-profit, self-governed organization. Today, MSF is a worldwide movement of 24 associations, bound together as MSF International, based in Switzerland. Thousands of health professionals, logistical and administrative staff – most of whom are hired locally – work on programmes in some 70 countries worldwide

Established by Ever Courtois and Angelique Wickentower, Spoonful of Sugar (SOS) aims to raise money for MSF as a part of the organisation’s Vital Pact Campaign.

Those wishing so sponsor the event are invited to visit the Spoonful of Sugar Fall Event sponsorship page, and then sign-up via either the fashion registration or the home and garden / breedables registration.

Additional Links