2018 in review – part 1: January to June

The end of another year is approaching, bringing with it a time of reflection as we look back over the old before pausing to await the arrival of the new. It’s become something of a tradition in these pages for me to offer a summary of the year as recorded in this blog, and offer a chance to revisit the ups and downs and the good and the bad the last twelve months have brought us. And so it is for 2018, starting with January through June.

July to December is available here.

Note that this summary isn’t supposed to document everything that happened through the year, but is intended to be a highlight some of the more notable events reported on through these pages. In addition, and for a more detailed look at the various technical and Lab-driven updates to Second Life, please refer to A look at Second Life updates in 2018.

January

Second Life

I started the year with a look at Tyche Shepherd’s end-of-year Grid Survey report for 2017, which saw the grid contract by 4.0%. R. Crap Mariner joined the blog as a guest writer, with a regular series through the first half of the year covering dance in Second Life.

Tech and Viewers

Catznip was the first major viewer release for 2018, with the arrival of the shopping-focused R12. Firestorm issued version 5.0.11.53634, with lots of content creation goodies. Linden Lab released the 64-bit version of the official viewer, together with an update on plans for Linux. As the Alex Ivy release saw Linux removed as a viewer download option, the Lab re-issued their last stable Linux viewer version

My Second Life

I took to the air in the CLSA Fairey Gannet, a bargain for military flyers at just L$10.  brightened the skies of my Second Life with Stevie Davros’ clouds and skies.

We don’t (yet) have EEP, but Stevie Davros’ Windlight clouds and skies provide a means of being funky in your viewer
Travel and Arts
January Travels January Art Reviews
Brand New Colony (closed) The Listening Room
La Vie (closed) Cica Ghost Bird People
R.A.H.M.E.N.L.O.S. Gem Preiz – Sapiens
Ivy Falls Gallery Cecile
Thor’s Land MetaLES closure
Oh Deer (closed) Dreamer’s Feelings
Neverfar (closed to public access) Bryn Oh: Lady Carmagnolle / 26 Tines
Flying Coyote River MOSP
Les Reves Perdus Nitroglobus: Cold Frog

Sansar

Linden Lab launched the Sansar Top 5, a video review of popular experiences on the platform, and took the platform to the 2018 CES alongside Intel.  With the announcement that 2018 work would start to focus on user acquisition, I had a few thoughts.

Sansar Travel

My visits for the month encompassed Whystler’s The Bridge Room and Whyst Garden; Aech’s Garage; C3rb3rus’s 2077; and Anu’s Copper Valley.

Linden Lab

In something of a shock announcement, the Lab’s Director of Global Communications, Peter Gray, announced he was leaving for pastures new.

Space and Astronomy

I marked the sad occasion of the passing of John Young; looked at the ups and downs of China’s space programme – together with the first of many pieces on exoplanets; examined lunar lava tubes and commercial gamesmanship; and looked towards the maiden flight of the Falcon Heavy while also returning to TRAPPIST-1.

February

Second Life

February marked the annual Mole Day event in Bay City, recognising the work of the LPDW – the Linden Department of Public Works, and the annual One Billion Rising event, which I previewed.

Tech and Viewers

Second Life had its first major DDoS attack for 2018 and I reviewed the latest iteration of the 360-snapshot viewer.

Travel and Arts
February Travels February Art Reviews
Cece’s Secret (closed) Club LA and Gallery
Meraki Islands DiXmiX: Titus, Gaus and Burk
Kisaragi Town Kimmy LittleBoots
Kamigami, Pandora Resort (closed) Cica’s 50 Cats
Realm Of Light DaphneArts: Je n’aime pas
Sanctuary Giovanna Cerise – From Worlds to the World
Soul2Soul River / Soul2Soul Bay The Art Garden Gallery
Chamonix City DiXmiX: Melusina Parkin
Cuivieenen
Bay of Dreams
Sansar

The Find and Connect release deployed, focusing on making it easier to find others in Sansar, together with assorted content creation and avatar updates and communication improvements were outlined.

Sansar Travel

I only visited a single experience during February: Eternity by C3rb3rus.

Linden Lab

Bjørn Laurin, formerly the Vice President of Product at Linden Lab, departed the company to join HTC Vive.

High Fidelity

I caught up with HiFi’s commerce plans, including the HFC and wallet,

Space and Astronomy

The hunt for exoplanets took a turn with the first discovery of planets in another galaxy, while it was suggested Russia might enter the space tourism market; the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launched while the USA indicated it wants to cease ISS operations at the end of 2025; I caught up with rover operations on Mars then reviewed NASA’s 2019 budget and SpaceX’s attempt to catch part of a Falcon 9 in a giant sea-going net.

Two from one: the moment at which two Falcon 9 cores are about to touch-down at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station following the February 6th, 2018 launch of Falcon Heavy. Credit: SpaceX

March

Second Life

The major news for the month was the Mainland price restructuring. The 2018 Really for Life season was announced, and Linden Realms was overhauled. Linden Lab also issued a blog post highlighting 15 initiatives for Second Life to mark the 15th anniversary.

In my ongoing series of SL related tutorials, I offered a guide to creating Place Pages following further updates to the service.

Tech and Viewers

Chorazin Allen announced he’d be taking the lead on Kokua development. I offered an update on SL’s move to the cloud, based on comments from Ebbe Altberg and Oz Linden, as well as providing a Place Pages tutorial.

Place Pages- a subject of a tutorial in this blog
My Second Life

We started March with a little golf at Angel Manor.

Travel and Arts
March Travels March Art Reviews
La Vie DaphneArts: Nativo
Gaia Calling (closed) Bryn Oh: Tilt-a-Whirl
Bailey’s Norge Club La and Gallery: La Baroque
Spirit of Sun La Maison d’Aneli: Nino Vichon, Tutsy Navarathna, JadeYu Fang
Isle of May Paris Metro Gallery: Winter of Enchantment
La Virevolte Storm Septimus
Sundarban Cica Ghost: Bees and Bears
Route 66 UWA Art of the Artists
Ruins of Deepmarsh LEA: Livio Korobase – Eidola
Sansar

March brought the Bust a Move release and a glimpse of the interactivity and access control roadmaps for the platform, while the middle of the month brought updates for Sansar events and new diagnostic tools for creators.

Sansar Travel

The Drew Struzan Gallery and Studio opened, as part of the Hollywood Art Museum, as did Aech’s Basement, a further Ready Player One experience.

The Art of Drew Struzan: The Studio Experience

Linden Lab

The 2018 VWBPE event took place, including an informal discussion with Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg on SL and Sansar, and I produced a transcript and summary with audio extracts.

Space and Astronomy

Curiosity’s drill, Proxima b and and Stratolaunch start the month’s look at space and astronomy, followed by reborn stars and air-breathing engines. There was the sad news of Stephen Hawking’s passing, while water appeared to be everywhere.

April

Second Life

2018 Fantasy Faire marks the start of a new chapter in the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) work, in which fund-raisers are allowed to earmark donations for a special project they have chosen to support. To mark this, Fantasy Faire elected to support the Kenyatta National Hospital Hope Hostel. I also previewed the Fantasy Faire LitFest.

Linden Lab announced that start of a new Second Life Town Hall series, and I produced a transcript of the event. Later in the month, Grumpity Linden provided more information on changes to Premium subscriptions.

A 15th anniversary infographic was released.

Tech and Viewers

Kokua issued their first major update since Chorazin Allen took the lead.

My Second Life

I took to the air with the ReneMarine Ask 13 sailplane, and a modified Fallingwater arrived at Isla Pey.

Topping a loop over Holly Kai Park in my RealMarine Ask 13
Travel and Arts
April Travels April Art Reviews
Green Story The Rose Gallery
The Hamptons InterstellART: Fuyuko Amano
Luane’s World Kultivate Art Gallery
Maison de L’amitie Serena Imagine: Storie’s  Helendale
The Apothecary Martin Luther King
Bay of Dreams Nitroglobus: Nevereux
DiXmiX Gallery: Oyo
LEA: Alo Congrejo and Lorys Lane
Sansar

April brought the Slip, Slide and Sit release, allowing avatars to sit on the ground. The first link-up with Ronddenberry Entertainment: The Bridge of the USS Enterprise.

Linden Lab

The Lab issued two updates on the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) see: Linden Lab highlights GDPR – coming into force on May 25th 2018 and Lab issues a further e-mail on EU GDPR and user privacy.

Space and Astronomy

China’s Tiangong-1 laboratory re-entered Earth’s atmosphere. I looked at space tourism and explanets and Charon. Kepler’s successor took to space.

May

Second Life

Ebbe Altberg gave an interview to Designing Worlds, discussing the future of Second Life, and I provided a transcript. I visited Ajuda SL Brasil, the Brazilian / Portuguese Community Gateway.

Ebbe Altberg took part in several public discussions about Second Life, the Lab and Sansar

Our Digital Selves premiered. Bay City turned 10 years old, and RFL saw the 2018 SciFi Expo and Home and Garden Expo take place.

Tech and Viewers

Kokua released an Alex Ivy based 64-bit viewer.

My Second Life

I wrote about my recent experience with breast cancer, in the hope of encouraging others not to hide from the risk of discovery.Given the arrival of GDPR, I updated this blog with a privacy statement outlining potential data collection related to visiting this blog, and the data holders.

On a brighter note, I picked up the Bandit SRV210 speedboat, the Honeybadger hovercraft and provided a tutorial on using projectors to create “mirrors”. May also saw me try a video capture update,

Travel and Arts
May Travels March Art Reviews
The Shire Paris Metro: Cica Ghost
La Clef des Champs UTSA ArtSpace: Marina Münter
Little Bit of Soul (closed) Kultivate May/June Art Show
Mediterranean Soul2Soul Club LA and Gallery: Sophie and Dorian Gray, and Cipher
Village of Ahiru Kultivate Sensuality Art Show
ONI Zen Raglan Shire Art Walk
Butterfly Beach LEA: Silas Merlin
Italian Village of Ciampi, Italy DiXmiX: Giovanna Cerise
MindPillars, a Scottish Themed Sim Nitroglobus: Natalia Serenade
LEA: Eupalinos Ugajin
Barry Richez
Sansar

May brought the VR Chat release, complete with Twitch integration.

Space and Astronomy

InSight launched to Mars – it would arrive in November while NASA contemplates sending a helicopter to Mars in 2020. Experts expressed doubt over turning space station operations to commercial use.

June

Second Life

Linden Lab announced private region holders could restart their regions via the web, before going on to announced a major restructuring of private region pricing.

The 15th anniversary celebrations for Second Life opened, and Linden Lab announced their own celebratory events while Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg offered a video greeting to mark the event. I took a look at some of the art of SL15B, wrote about some of the private exhibitions and also at a couple of the stages.

The SL15B Cake Stage
Tech and Viewers

An error in the viewer updater code meant that for a time the 32-bit version of the viewer would get caught in an update loop. To overcome this, the Lab temporarily issued the “unloop viewer”.  The news got more exciting with the announcement NASA had potentially found organic molecules on Mars; the Juno mission gained an extension.

On a brighter note, Animesh reached release candidate status on Agni on the main grid.

My Second Life

I offered a personal ad for my landscaping service.

Travel and Arts
June Travels June Art Reviews
Woods Club Gallery Mirror
Cape Florida (closed) Rose Gallery
Devin’s Eye Fractal Insanity
Oboeru Heights of Haven
Eclipse Tiny Place (closed) Cica Ghost: Sunny Day
Eri-Ador DiXmiX: A. DeLauren; Kimeu Korg; Kato Salyut
Zion National Park (closed) Classical and Surreal Sculpture
San Monique (closed) Salt
La Clef des Champs Serena Imagine: Barbara Borromeo
The Vault National Museum of Caledon: Darlingmonster Ember
Aphantasia (closed)
Chouchou
Sansar

June saw the release of the Know Thy Neighbour update.

High Fidelity

High Fidelity announces it had raised a further US $35 million in funding.

Space and Astronomy

NASA recovered drilling capabilities on Curiosity while Virgin completed the 2nd powered flight with VSS Unity while I examined neutrinos. June saw the start of a major dust storm on Mars and the discovery of possible organic molecules on the planet. News also came that Ceres may be home to the building block of life.

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