April 2021 SL Web User Group summary

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, April 7th, 2021. These meetings are generally held on the first Wednesday of the month, with dates and venue details available via the SL public calendar.

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).

Web Properties Updates

  • General post-Uplift internal work is continuing, particularly the fine-tuning of various web services.
  • The secondlife.com home pages have received a “spring refresh” with new images. etc..
  • A general clean-up of web pages is in progress. This includes things like:
    • Enabling unicode support in the DMCA complaint form (important for those with accented letters in their names).
    • Web profile fixes: removing a bug that prevented interests from being deleted on web profiles;  correcting an issue that caused an error to appear at the top of the About section of a web profile; (finally) removing the link to “Open Groups in the sidebar” that hasn’t existed in the viewer for almost a decade…
  • A  number of the Lab’s own tools for managing / maintaining the Marketplace were also worked on, but no details supplied.
  • Resident search has been updated to ensure all those who should be showing in searches are showing in searches.
  • Additional work on Search in general is still on-going.
  • The problem people are having in being suddenly logged-out of Marketplace for no accountable reason (such as going from browsing to the check-out page or when editing a listing) is still being looked into.

Marketplace – The “Catwa Incident”

At the end of March, Catwa ran a Marketplace-only promotion for a fully feature Bento Head priced at L$1. The resultant demand overloaded the Marketplace system. The outage lasted several hours, causing considerable upset, some of which was exacerbated by the poor quality error message that was given to those trying to reach the MP, and which included commentary on the state of the infrastructure in being unable to scale with the load placed on it.

  • In terms of the error message, this has apparently been updated to give more meaningful information should a repeat situation occur in the future.
  • As a result of that situation, the Lab has now implemented changes that should allow the MP to better leverage the AWS environment and correctly scale to meet similar massive increases in demand, should they occur in the future.
  • The was the first time the MP had faced such a massive demand, one which far exceeded anything previously seen the the MP’s history.

Mobile Client

  • iOS Version:
    • The app didn’t make it back to Apple for further evaluation before the end of March, but is now “very close” to being ready to go.
    • The Lab will be running an internal test with the updated app during the upcoming week or so.
    • Assuming no issues are found as a result of this testing, the app will be passed to Apple once more for their evaluation.
  • Android: nothing to report.

In Brief

  • Linden Homes: the Chalet theme (see: Lab announces Linden Homes Chalet Theme released) is now regarded as “mostly released”. The total volume of available Linden Homes means that the Lab is no longing “selling out” of new homes immediately on a release or batch release.
  • Last Names: at the start of April, the Lab introduced a couple of “limited time” last names to the Premium Name Changes capability. The two names, UwU and OwO, were introduced specifically for the furry community, among whom they have apparently proven popular.
    • According to a tweet from Soft Linden on April 8th, the two names will be removed from the active list “shortly”. So, if you want either one – now’s the time to grab it.
Twitter comment from Soft Linden on the two “limited time” last names for Premium members.
    • At the WUG meeting, Keira Linden indicated that the Lab is considering doing more such “limited edition” last name options from time-to-time and that may be geared towards particular events or holidays, or towards a particular community. The next example of these “limited offers” is liable to come around the time of the Second Life Birthday celebration in June 2021.

Next Meeting

  • Wednesday, May 5th, 14:00 SLT.

2 thoughts on “April 2021 SL Web User Group summary

  1. I think LL is drawing a wrong conclusion from the Chalet release.

    The Chalets are nice – the two different floor plans for each external design are a really good addition, and the neighborhoods are less cookie-cutter in their layouts – but they lack the “Wow” factor difference of some of the prior models from what already is available. Also, they don’t feel as much a part of Belli as some of the older releases in areas closer to the fairgrounds, airport, open seas and the like that one gets with some of the prior releases. Some of these may even exist, but without the maps working, I can be in my Moritzburg and have no knowledge of anything being there.

    Add to that a question of timing – it’s Spring, so people want to get out of the house and increased vaccinations, at least in the US and some other countries, mean people are less focused on in-world housing right now – and I think the Chalets don’t sell as well because they just are not the homerun that some of the others were.

    I think the Moles did a good job with what they had, but what they had is a single at best to try to score runs with.

    Patch Linden says the next release wil knock our socks off or something like that. That will provide a better test of the status of the housing market.

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    1. I don’t necessarily disagree re: Chalets. But generally, the overall churn of Linden Homes seems to have settled down a lot the last couple of months or so. Not just the chalet, but with the Stilts and Houseboats – both of which have been like gold dust.

      “They don’t feel as much a part of Belli as some of the older releases in areas closer to the fairgrounds, airport, open seas”. This is true – and I would say also applies to the Stilt Homes, which as popular as they have been, actually lack a sense of continuity between islands. It’s a shame there are not larger ribbons of land running through them (that don’t have to be massively wide) that include room for roads and / or rail lines, as well as offering a more integrated mix of houses on land and other either partially or fully over the water. This, together with land connectivity with the rest of Belli could have, I believe, contributed to them looking and feeling like they belong to something larger, rather than a scattering of islands that feels no different to many of the private estates scattered around Blake Sea.

      “Spring, so people want to get out of the house and increased vaccinations, at least in the US and some other countries” – this is something often cited each year WRT to SL, but the Lab have themselves said that user stats don’t actually back it up. Thing tend to fluctuate throughout the year, rather than being season specific (and remember,one person’s spring is another’s autumn, depending on in which hemisphere they reside!).

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