Second Life: end of support for Windows 7 announced

On Tuesday, January 14th, 2020, Microsoft is ending support for Windows 7. This means that while the operating system will continue to function beyond that date, Microsoft will no longer provide:

  • Technical support for any issues.
  • Software updates.
  • Security updates or fixes.

As as result of this, and as initially announced at the 2019 TPVD meetings week #50 summary, Linden Lab plan to cease their own support for Windows 7 from that date. This has now bee confirmed in an official blog post, which reads in part:

Accordingly, Linden Lab is updating our system requirements to remove Windows 7 from the versions we support. This does not mean that Second Life will stop working on Windows 7 immediately; existing viewers, and possibly some new viewers, should run as well as they did before. However, we will not be testing any viewers on Windows 7, so it is likely that compatibility problems will develop and increase over time. In addition, we will not attempt to fix any problems which occur only on unsupported operating systems (if a bug is reported against an unsupported system, we usually try to reproduce it on one that is supported; if we can’t, we don’t investigate further or attempt to fix it).

Those will have not upgraded to Windows 10 but have a valid copy of Windows 7 may still be able to upgrade using the Microsoft Windows 10 update site (note that free updates to Windows 10 were supposed to have been discontinued be Microsoft at the end of December 2017, but some are reporting it is still working via the Create Windows 10 Installation Media option).

Again, note that that’s Lab’s decision does not mean users on Windows 7 will find themselves blocked from accessing Second Life on or after January 14th, 2020, but will continue to be able to use the platform as before. However, and as noted in the official blog post, such users:

  • Will not receive assistance from LL support should they encounter problems.
  • Will not have bugs they report investigated or fixed unless said bugs can be reproduced using Windows 8 or Windows 10.
  • May find that, over time, viewer updates may not function as expected on Windows 7, simply because updates and new features will no longer be tested against Windows 7.

Given the potential exposure to malicious activities, both Microsoft and Linden Lab point to the need for users to only utilise supported versions of Windows on their computers, and keep up-to-date will all official patches and releases.

The hills and waters of a Lost Lagoon in Second Life

Lost Lagoon, January 2020 – click any image for full size

We last visited Lost Lagoon in July 2019, drawn to it by a bewitching description of a lost south seas island, and held captive by its rich design and looks (see:  A Lost Lagoon in Second Life). We were drawn back to it after hearing whispers that it has been redesigned to offer a new outlook for visitors; and I’m pleased to say the new look to the region is every bit as a attractive as it had been in July 2019.

The work of knight676 and Jana Guyot, Lost Lagoon has moved on from the look and feel of a south sea island to present a “lonely swamp Island. Witnesses of bygone days and paradise for those who seek solitude and nature.” As such, it presents a haunting landscape, split between low wetlands and higher peaks; a place where time perhaps hasn’t been overly kind to the buildings scattered across it- but where warm and comfortable welcomes can still be found.

Lost Lagoon, January 2020

The landing point is located in the south-east corner of the region, sitting on a deck over the water that has all the looks of a ferry stop. It affords a fine look across the rest of the region, with its lowlands to the south and east, the land rising to the north and west.

The terminal-like building is connected to the rest of the region via a raised wooden walkway. From here, visitors are free to wander as they please. Directly north along the coast is a place where the first of those warm and comfortable greetings I mentioned can be found. It is here that a large deck space and summer house has been erected, offering plenty of space to sit and pass the time, enjoy a drink or fuss the cats and dogs.

Lost Lagoon, January 2020

West and south of this the lowlands are cut by a broad bay watched over by a tall windmill and two more wooden huts, each of which offer cosy cuddle points for visitors to enjoy, while a small sandy area on the inland side of the bay offers an alternative sitting / resting point, marked by the wreck of a crashed ‘plane. Beyond this, the land becomes more marshy, the water choked with reeds and grasses, wooden walkways crossing them to provide access to sandbars and running past old buildings that have fallen victim to the sinking land – or the rising water level.

The marshlands are fed by water falling from the region’s highlands. These are homes to points of interest At first, the way up to them would appear to the by following the gassy slopes as they rise on the east side of the region.

Lost Lagoon, January 2020

But while there is indeed a path up through the greener hills that leads to a small folly nestled on their shoulder, it is best reached by going inland from the landing point and picking up the broad track the winds into the hills from alongside the old shack at the back of the bay. The path up to the folly branches directly from this track, which continues onwards, passing via a rocky arch and board walk to reach a northern headland, home to an eye-catching setting of its own.

Further to the west, where a toe of the hills pokes out towards the bay, carrying the shallow cut of a stream on its back, steps and second path can be found, offering a route by wooden stairs and platforms to the upper reaches of the hills. Gated and going via a single finger of rock, this path eventually arrives at what might appear to be a disused observatory but which is in fact a bath house. This again offers a warm welcome to visitors, complete with an old piano and stuffed armchairs.

Lost Lagoon, January 2020

There are a few issues in the region – places where plant physics should perhaps be disabled or the plants made phantom, performance can be a little uneven if there are a lot of other avatars in the region and I personally the default windlight a little dour. But these don’t interfere with the fact that this iteration of Lost Lagoon is as eye-catching and highly photogenic as the build we visited in July 2019.

SLurl Details

January 2020 Web User Group: Events, Name Changes & Marketplace

The Web User Group meeting venue, Denby

The following notes are taken from my recording of the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, January 8th, 2020. These meetings are held monthly, with dates and details of the meetings available via the Web User Group wiki page.

When reading these notes, please keep in mind:

  • This is not intended as a chronological transcript of the meeting. Items are drawn together by topic, although they may have been discussed at different points in the meeting.
  • Similarly, and if included, any audio extracts appearing in these summaries are presented by topic heading, rather than any chronological order in which they may have been raised during the meeting (e.g. if “topic X” is mentioned early in a meeting and then again half-way through a meeting, any audio comments related to that topic that might be included in these reports will be concatenated into a single audio extract).

Recurring Events

Recurring Events launched on Monday, January 8th, allowing Premium members to set a recurring events in the Upcoming Events lists available via users dashboards at secondlife.com.

In brief:

  • Premium members will be charged L$10 for listing one-off events, or L$50 for filing an event that can recur up to 12 times (weekly or monthly).
    • Basic members are charged L$50 per event listing.
  • Recurring events are events that share the same location, time, duration, and description but occur on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Recurring events are largely set-up exactly the same was as individual events:
    • Go to your dashboard at secondlife.com and select Events from left side menu to open the Events listing page.
    • Click on Create A New Event directly below the top left calendar on the page, then read and accept the Event Posting Rules to display the new Event Creation page.
    • Complete all the fields on the page.
  • For Premium members only, the page now includes two new drop-down options:
    • Repeating – allows you to select whether the event is a one-off (No Repeat) or should repeat on a weekly or monthly basis.
    • Number of Repeats (only available when either Weekly or Monthly is set from the Repeating options) – allows you to select the number of times the event is to be repeated, to a maximum of 12 weeks or months (so for a single L$50 fee you can schedule a monthly event to recur on the events listing page for up to an entire year, or a weekly event for up to 3 months at a time).
The new Recurring Events drop downs (arrowed) for Premium Members only. Note that when either is set, the event fee (highlighted in red under the form) changes from L$10 (the cost for listing a non-recurring event filed by a Premium member) to L$50.
    • When selecting an event to repeat either weekly or monthly, the fee charged to your account (displayed at the bottom of the form) change from L$10 to L$50.

There are currently some minor adjustments required for monthly recurring events, as events recurring right at the end of a month may give some incorrect dates for months of different lengths. Such areas can be corrected manually, but updates to be deployed in the near future should correct the problem. In addition, LL will be monitoring the recurring events capability now it is live in order to identify and address any other issues that may arise now it is live.

Future Events Listings Work

Further improvements to events are planned (e.g. better searching for events), but these are dependent on other work being completed first.

This work may include things like being able to push events to your personal calendar (Google Calendar, Outlook, etc.).

Name Changes

  • No final confirmation on release date (although the hope has been for a mid-Q1 2020 release). The exact release time frame is dependent upon final checks on the capability being completed.
  • Even if delayed, Last Names will still be deployed before any release of the Premium Plus subscription package.
  • Over 2,000 entries have been received as a part of the (now closed) Last Names Contest, totalling some 6,000 last name suggestions in all, and LL have started going through them.
  • It is likely that when Name Changes is launched, users will be able to pick last names from a list of around 20-30.
  • One of the approaches being considered for changing the available last names is for:
    • Popular selections being removed from the list and replaced on reaching a certain number of people selecting them.
    • Having selections that appear “unpopular” (i.e. they are rarely / never selected) replaced if they fail to achieve a certain threshold of use over an (unspecified) period of time.

Marketplace

  • The new Marketplace limited quantities and demo items search filters options

    Marketplace search has been updated with options to exclude / include limited quantity items and / or demo items.

    • The check boxes for excluding (ticked) or including (unticked) such items can be found at the bottom of the Search Filters panel displayed on the left of Marketplace pages when either Search is used or See All Categories is clicked.
    • Both options can be found below the search by permissions options.
    • By default, both options are unchecked, so that searches will include either limited quantity or demo items in their results results.
  • Work is being put into performance improvements which, as Grumpity noted at the meeting, tend not to be noticed right up to the point where something goes wrong.
    • An example of this is the ability for merchants to search their invoices should be a lot faster following back-end updates.
  • There are still “quite a few” things the Lab have queued up to do in relation to Marketplace search, but no specific details are available as yet on what might surface when.

In Brief

  • This issue with Destination Guide submissions is believed to be resolved.