An Out of Time experience in Second Life

Hors du Temps; Inara Pey, May 2019, on FlickrHors du Temps – click any image for full size

Hors du Temps (“Out of Time”) is the latest region design by Rose Ulrik (Rose Siabonne), who has previously designed La Clef des Champs (see here and here), and like that design, it makes for an absorbing visit with a lot awaiting discovery.

The region is divided into a group of islands: a large primary island with a mix of low-lying land and rugged tables of rock.  Containing the (unenforced) landing point on its west side, it is surrounded by three smaller islands, one of which has two private residences atop it, and another that may potentially be up for renting.

Hors du Temps; Inara Pey, May 2019, on FlickrHors du Temps

The landing point sits on the sands of the low-lying part of the main island, sharing the location with a sheltered open market complete with a game of boules, while a little shack and an old children’s playground sit close by. Beyond the market, the land rises to a grassy plateau, a path winding up its side. A large wooden house sits on the plateau, inviting exploration – but do take note there are a couple of rental posts sitting behind it, so it might be available for rent as a private residence, so caution should perhaps be exercised when approaching it.

To the south, the land also becomes more rugged with fingers and tables of granite-like rock rising above the sands. Paths offer a way through and up this part of the island, giving multiple opportunities for exploration and photography – and there is a lot to see. Away to the north-east is a headland looking towards the island with private homes. It also offers a house: Marcthur Goosson’s always attractive Ma Maison cottage, a build I’ve often been tempted by whenever I’ve seen it. This blends nicely into the surrounding rocks, and sits above a small beach. Whether this might also be available for rent is hard to say, but with the outdoor bric-a-brac in the courtyard, it makes an ideal subject for photography.

Hors du Temps; Inara Pey, May 2019, on FlickrHors du Temps

When making your way to the cottage, keep your eyes open for the paths awaiting your feet. One climbs the south-west plateau to where an artist’s studio sits tucked away, a further beach sitting below it. This is reached by a separate path, one that runs past a stone bridge providing access to the second of the outlying islands. With its glass conservatories, winding paths and climbs, and places to sit and spend time, this is perhaps my favourite part of the region – although we had to admit defeat in trying to find a way down to the beach, short of jumping off the arch of rock above it!

The final island – excluding the small islet topped by a lighthouse that lies off the west coast – sits to the south-west and is reached via a wooden footbridge crossing the shallows between it and the main island. Once again, it is a rocky uprising with a small beach. It is also home to another house that may or may not be available for rent – so again, do take care whilst exploring.

Hors du Temps; Inara Pey, May 2019, on FlickrHors du Temps

This is also a place with one or two little surprises. Alongside the landing point, for example, sits a teleport disk. Touching this will present you with two destinations: BDSM and Fairy Garden. The former is pretty much as the name implies – a place for BDSM activities presented as a tasteful, low-key club occupying a penthouse-like setting overlooking the Manhattan skyline.

The second destination – Fairy Garden – is a skybound garden that, while smaller in size, offers a similar charm to Lauren Bentham’s Storybrooke Gardens (itself the subject of three past articles in the blog dating from 2014, 2015 and 2017). It’s another place to escape to and which cannot fail to bring a smile to a visitor’s face with its whimsy.

Hors du Temps; Inara Pey, May 2019, on FlickrHors du Temps

Nor is the disk the only teleport point. Tucked away in the region is a Stargate and DHD from Stargate SG-1 and its offshoots. However, I’ll leave this to you to find when visiting – it shouldn’t be too hard!

Like Clef des Champs before it, Hors du Temps makes for an enticing visit. With rowing boats moored just off-shore, numerous places to sit both on the beach and inland, a rich sound scape and lots of detail with plants, statues and wildlife (and cats!) scattered throughout, there is more than enough to keep those dropping in engaged in their explorations.

Hors du Temps; Inara Pey, May 2019, on FlickrHors du Temps

Our thanks – once again – to Shawn Shakespeare for the tip-off.

SLurl Details

2019 viewer release summaries week #19

Logos representative only and should not be seen as an endorsement / preference / recommendation

Updates for the week ending Sunday, May 12th

This summary is generally 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.
  • Note that for purposes of length, TPV test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are generally not recorded in these summaries.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current Release version 6.2.0.526190, formerly the Estate Access Management RC viewer, dated April 12, promoted April 17 – see my EAM overview for more information (the Teranino Maintenance RC viewer (version 6.2.1.526845) promoted May 7th, has been pulled).
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • No updates.
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V5/V6-style

  • No updates.

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

  • Lumiya is currently unavailable through Google Play – see my article and update here. However, it remains available to new users (or can be re-purchased if urgent) via SlideMe.
  • MetaChat lists version 1.2.9104 (April 18th) as released; currently only version1.2.9103 is available via iTunes.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Space Sunday: a Blue Moon, water worlds and moving house

Jeff Bezos, the Blue Origin founder, unveils a full-scale model of the company’s Blue Moon lunar lander. Credit: Jeff Foust

On May 9th 2019, and after a lot of speculation following an April tweet (see Space Sunday: asteroid impacts and private space flights), Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos unveiled the next step in the company’s space aspirations: their Blue Moon lunar lander.

The vehicle has been in development for some three years, with precious few details being given until now, other than it was initially indicated it would be capable of delivering up to 4.5 tonnes of equipment and material to the Moon’s surface in support of human missions. However, the vehicle has apparently been through a number of design cycles, and the unveiling presented a massively capable machine which  – while it wasn’t openly stated at the May 9th event (but is indicated on the Blue Origin website) – could be used in support of NASA’s drive to return humans to the surface of the Moon by 2024.

Somewhat resembling the descent stage of the Apollo Lunar Excursion Module (LEM), Blue Moon has the capability to complete variable missions up to and including landing crews on the Moon’s surface and lifting them off again. In its “basic” form, the lander will be able to land 3.6 tonnes of cargo on the Moon, while a “stretch tank” version will be able to increase that deliverable payload to 6.5 tonnes.

The Blue Moon Lander with a set of four remote landers on its deck, and showing the “bonus payload” bay above the smaller of the distinctive spherical fuel tanks, which will contain liquid oxygen (LOX). Credit: Blue Origin

This payload will be carried on the flat upper deck of the lander, which will also include a robot crane (or cranes) capable of lifting it down to the Moon’s surface. In addition, the lander has an internal payload bay designed to deliver small satellites into lunar orbit as a “bonus mission”.

The most interesting element of the vehicle is perhaps its propulsion / power system. Blue Moon will be powered by the company’s new BE-7 motor, which uses liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants rather than storable hypergolic fuels. This allows the motor to generate up to 10,000 lbs of thrust, whilst also being “deeply throttlable”. The initial version of the motor will undergo its first “hot fire” test in the summer of 2019.

While the offer better performance capabilities than hypergolic fuels, liquid propellants need to be held at low temperatures, otherwise they can start to “boil off” to a gaseous state if they start to get “warm” (this is why liquid fuelled rockets appear to “steam” on the launch pad: they are venting fuel that has turned to gas that needs to be released to avoid over-pressurising and rupturing tanks).

While Blue Origin believe the exceptional low temperatures of the 2-week lunar night will help keep the lander’s fuel stocks cold and liquid, Blue Moon will still need refrigeration / insulation to prevent undue boil-off of the propellant stocks, which will add some weight to the vehicle. However, Blue Origin sees some boil-off of the liquid hydrogen ad advantageous: they plan to use boiled-off gaseous liquid hydrogen to help keep the liquid oxygen cold in its tanks and also as feedstock for the power cells that will be used to provide electrical power to the vehicle.

Bezos demonstrates Blue Moon’s ability to deliver a rover vehicle (mock-up) to the lunar surface during the May 9th event. Credit: Blue Origin

The latter are important again because of that 2-week lunar night. when there will be no sunlight to provide energy to any solar cells the vehicle might otherwise be equipped with to provide electrical power.

While initially intended to deliver science missions and payloads to the surface of the Moon in readiness for human landings. However, a future development with the vehicle could see it fitted with an upper stage crew / ascent module. Whether or not this might be used as part of NASA’s ambitions to met the goal of returning humans to the Moon by 2024 remains to be seen. However, Bezos has indicated Blur Origin is willing to help NASA to achieve this goal, and pointedly notes that that the company has a three-year headset in developing their lander when compared to others.

An artist’s impression of the Blue Moon crewed lander with the crew / ascent module on top. Credit: Blue Moon

However, even outside of NASA’s plans, Blue Origin has its own hopes to send humans to the Moon. As I noted in my last Space Sunday report, the company’s April tweet about this announcement made an indirect reference to Shackleton Crater close to the Moon’s south pole. This is one of a number of craters believed to have water ice deposits within it, making it an ideal location for establishing a lunar base – and Blue Origin and Bezos have previously indicated it is their target for establishing a lunar base.

Lunar water ice is also another reason for the company opting to use liquid propellants with Blue Moon. Should their aspirations with Shackleton come to pass, then water ice – hydrogen and oxygen  – becomes a feedstock for refuelling Blue Moon landers once they are on the Moon, making them more efficiently reusable.

Blue Moon will be 7 metres (23 ft) across its payload platform, which will stand some 4m (14 ft) above the lunar surface on the basic lander. Fully loaded and fuelled, Blue Moon will weigh 15 tonnes at launch, but having burned the majority of its fuel during its flight and landing, will weigh only 3 tonnes after landing. By comparison, the Apollo LEM weighed 16.4 tonnes fully fuelled and stood 7.07 m tall, including the crewed ascent stage. Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin’s proposed lunar lander could be as much as 62 tonnes fully fuelled and stand 14 m (46 ft) tall.

Bezos declined to answer specifics on the vehicle such as when test flights are likely to commence, what will be the launch vehicle (although Blue Origin’s New Glenn would appear to be the most obvious choice), or how much overall development of the lander and its variants will cost. Doubtless, some of these details will become public in time.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: a Blue Moon, water worlds and moving house”

SL Maintenance reminder: May 13-16th 2019

Just a reminder (or advanced warning for those who may not have seen it): Second Life will be subject to up to 4 days of network maintenance, commencing on Monday, May 13th. This work may possibly run through until Thursday, May 16th.

The details are available on the Second Life Grid Status pages, but are reproduced in full below:

Our engineers will be performing maintenance on the Second Life network May 13 – 16. We hope to perform most of the maintenance early in this window, but it may extend several days if needed.

Residents may experience problems connecting to, being disconnected from, or an inability to log in during this time, as well as possible issues rezzing objects, teleporting, or crossing regions. We hope to keep these disruptions to a minimum and greatly appreciate your patience during this time as we work to make Second Life more robust.

We will resolve this status once the maintenance has been fully completed.

So, if you do experience issues at the start of, or during the week, be sure to keep an eye on the Grid Status pages for updates to this announcement.