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
Release viewer: Custom Key Mappings RC viewer, version 188.8.131.527391, dated March 24th, promoted March 27th – No change.
Release channel cohorts:
Eau de Vie Maintenance RC updated to version 184.108.40.2067782, dated April 12th.
Love Me Render (LMR) 5 project viewer updated to version 220.127.116.117797, dated April 7th.
Hi Inara! I hope you’re well. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie Summer of 42, but I’ve created a new region based on the story. I hope you can make it by one day.
– Justice Vought
So came the invitation from Justice Vought, owner of Oxygen (see: Getting some :oxygen: in Second Life) and also the engaging Once Upon A Time, celebrating Second Life’s most famous residents, the Greenies, and Chocolate Factory, a homage to both Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder (1971), and 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, starring Johnny Depp. Given this heritage, I hopped over to take a look as soon as time allowed.
For those unfamiliar with the 1971 film, it is a coming of age story written by screenwriter Herman Raucher, recalling the time when, as a teenager, he spent a summer vacation on Nantucket Island in 1942 and falls for a newly-married woman, Dorothy, whose husband has gone to England to fight in the war.
The film is noted for its haunting soundtrack by Michel Legrand and bitter-sweet story. It started as a means for Raucher to honour his childhood friend, Oscar Seltzer (“Oscy” in the film), who had been killed whilst serving as a medic during the Korean War. However, circumstance turned the story into a tale of the first adult experience of Raucher’s life.
The story uses a number of Nantucket locations – the town, the beach, the house where Dorothy shares for a short time with her husband before he departs for the war – and where Raucher most frequently sees her and has his final encounter with her (they would not have any contact for some thirty years after the – for Raucher – life-changing summer).
These aspects of the film are all engagingly interpreted by Justice within :Oxgyen: Summer of ’42, a homestead region directly adjoining :Oxygen: (you can cross between them via a wooden bridge, with the north side of :Oxygen: forming a backdrop to the landing point). Here, on the waterfront, stand the figures of two young boys – perhaps Hermie and Oscy from the film, possibly awaiting the arrival of their mutual friend Benjie.
From here, it is a short walk around to main street, with its post office, garage and movie theatre – which is showing Summer of ’42 alongside a film from the period of the film’s setting: Casablanca, and several other movies besides; some of which were actually made after 1942, such as It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), whilst others serve as neat little Easter eggs for Juctice’s work.
The street looks out over a wind-blown landscape with a smattering of trees, their backs bent against the wind that clearly passes over the setting. It’s a largely barren but photogenic view, dominated by a low hill on which a single wooden house stands, representing the house in which Dorothy lived and in and around which Hermie has his encounters with her. The house in turn looks down over a sweep of beach – perhaps the beach on which Oscy, Benjie and Hermie first saw Dorothy and her husband before the latter’s departure. The beach is again a photogenic setting.
However, it is inside the house that treasure is to be found, containing as it does touches that most directly draw on the the film’s poignant final scenes between Hermie and Dorothy.
These occur shortly after Dorothy has learned her husband has been killed in action and is dealing with her grief as Hermie arrives. These scenes are represented through the perfect use of props within the house – the record player, the table with ashtray and curling smoke, the mantelshelf photograph of a young US Army Air Corps pilot and another of his wife, sharing the space with a box brownie camera that may have been used to take one of them.
Most of all, there is the envelope, doubtless containing the telegram informing Dorothy of her husband’s death, complete with his service dog tags. Here, as can be found elsewhere on the island, are pointers to the film – a poster on the wall, and the soundtrack lying among a pile of records. A further nice touch is the book on the table with the letter, offering a reminder that as well as producing the film’s screenplay, Raucher also turned the story into a novel.
There are a few anachronisms to be found in the region – vehicles manufactured after 1942, references to films films of the 70s, etc. However, these do not ruin the atmosphere of the setting; some of them can be put down to the availability of period props, whilst others – as noted – offer nice little Easters eggs for the things that have influenced Justice in his region builds, and the builds themselves.
And of course, the bridge to :Oxygen: means that the keen explorer can extend their visit by touring there as well. However, I’ll save that for another time.
NASA has delayed the first flight of the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars after the vehicle detected an issue during one of its pre-flight tests.
For the past week, the agency has been preparing the little helicopter drone, part of the Mars 2020 mission, for the first of a series of 5 pre-planned test flights within Jezero Crater. It had been hoped the flight could take place on Sunday April 11th / Monday April 12th, 2021 (depending on where you are in the world); however it will now not take place until Wednesday, April 14th at the earliest.
After being dropped on the surface of Jezero Crater by the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover (see my previous space Sunday report), Ingenuity successfully recharged its batteries using solar energy and survived its first night alone on Mars without incident. This was a major milestone for the project, as there were fears that if the batteries couldn’t be fully charged and generate sufficient heat, the extreme cold of the Martian night could freeze the vehicle’s electronics, and even crack the batteries themselves.
Since that first night, the helicopter has shown it can keep itself warm and the flight team has spent the week conducting a range of pre-flight checks, including unlocking Ingenuity’s pair of contra-rotating propellers and then testing them under power and at low speeds, then speeding up to higher speeds, including an attempt to reach the 2400 rpm required for take-off.
All of these tests were completed successfully, with the exception of the final full-speed test attempted on Friday, April 9th. This aborted during the phase when the command programme on Ingenuity was supposed to switch from “pre-flight” to “flight” mode, as will be required ahead of the actual flights. However, a guardian “watchdog” timer designed to oversee the correct execution of command sequences expired before the switch-over occurred, prompting Ingenuity to safely shut-down its motor and await further instructions from Earth.
Following a full evaluation of telemetry received following the curtailed test, the flight team were confident that no actual damage had occurred to the helicopter, stating the full spin-up test of the rotors would be postponed and the flight itself delayed until April 14th. They also indicated that assuming the first flight was completed without incident, the second flight will take place on Sunday, April 18th.
The rotor tests took place once Perseverance was well clear of the helicopter – the rover is gradually making its way to the look-out point where it will record Ingenuity’s flights. However, before it did so, engineers took the opportunity to use the WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering) camera on the rover’s robot arm to capture a series of 62 images that were stitched together to produce a picture of Perseverance apparently “looking” back at the helicopter using its mast cam imaging systems, and which can be seen at the top of this article.
Another image Perseverance took that recently caused excitement was one that appeared to show a “rainbow” arcing across the dusty Martian sky. Captured on April 4th (Sol 43), the image spread quickly across social media, as did the “rainbow” explanation.
The only problem being, rainbows are impossible on Mars, as NASA quickly stepped in to note through social media:
Many have asked: Is that a rainbow on Mars? No. Rainbows aren’t possible here. Rainbows are created by light reflected off of round water droplets, but there isn’t enough water here to condense, and it’s too cold for liquid water in the atmosphere.
Rather, the “rainbow” was the result of lens flare – light being scattered by the lens of the Hazcam (HAZard avoidance CAMera) that captured the image, to strike the imaging sensor in multiple places like an arc of machine-gun bullets. Such effects are prevented on the front-facing Hazcams (the ones most frequently used by the rover, as they are equipped with sunshades; however, similar shades were deemed superfluous on the rear-facing Hazcams, and so lens flares like this are actually quite common should the system be in use and the Sun happens to be in the right position.