Linden Lab: L$ buy fee change + 2FA/TPV and Map tile updates – UPDATED

via Linden Lab

There have been a series of announcements from the the Lab – formal and informal – that I’m catching up on.

Linden Dollar “Buy” Fee Change

The biggest – and the one formal announcement – is the notice that Linden Dollar “buy” fees are changing as from Thursday, April 22nd, 2021.

Currently, a flat fee of US $.149 is applied to all Linden Dollar purchases. From April 22nd this will be changing. As of that date:

  • A new 7.5% buy fee will be applied, based on the total value of the transaction purchase amount, up to a maximum of US $9.99 per purchase transaction.
  • The US $1.49 will become the minimum fee charged per purchase transaction.

Examples:

  • You purchase US $15 of Linden Dollars – 7.5% of 15 is  $1.10 and less than US $1.49 – so the fee charged is US $1.49.
  • You purchase US $30 of Linden Dollars – 7.5% of 30 is $2.25 and greater than US $1.49, so the fee charged is US $2.25.
  • You purchase US $150 of Linden Dollars – 7.5 of 150 is US $11.25 and greater than US $9.99, so the fee charged is US $9.99.

Note that this new fee structure only applies to the purchase of Linden Dollars. Fees applied on the sale of L$ when cashing-out remain unchanged.

The reason for this changes has been given as helping to off-set costs involved in assorted service improvements. However, rather than repeat the entire official blog post here, please follow the link to read it in full, and should you be so minded, the lively forum discussion on the change can be found here.

Two-Factor Authentication and TPVs

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a  project the Lab is in the process of developing in order to improve access security across Second Life systems and services (and which gets a mention from Reed Linden in the above forum thread on increased Linden Dollar “buy” fees).

The future introduction of 2FA – and please note, there is currently no time frame for when this will happen – has prompted some to voice fears that it could “put an end” to third-party viewers.

However such fears / concerns are not justified.

Speaking at the Third-Party Viewer Development meeting on Friday, April 16th, both Vir Linden and Grumpity Linden, the Lab’s Vice President of Product commented on the matter:

  • Vir Linden:
We don’t know all the details about how 2FA is going to work, but we’re certainly not going to be disabling third-party viewers. That would be a large change.
  • Grumpity Linden:
That would be crazy and stupid. And while we may make mistakes here and there, on the whole they’re not crazy or stupid…
In general I would like to think that we have shown over many recent years that we’re committed to working closely with the TPV community to make sure that our changes are actually beneficial and incorporated and roll out in a predictable manner, and I intend for this to continue. 

World Map Update

Also at the TPV Developer meeting, Grumpity supplied an update on the world Map tile generation situation:

I’m also going to do a thing that is an absolute taboo and I totally shouldn’t be doing; but we’re in the process of putting out updates to Map generation. So fingers crossed, [things will] get back to normal. It has turned out to be a much bigger effort than anyone had wanted it to be … we wouldn’t have chosen for this to be so hard.

For those wishing to hear the comments via the video recording of the meeting, they can be found at 6:05 through 8:01 in the video, with Grumpity’s Map tile generation comments coming first.

UPDATE 17th April

Alexa and April linden both confirmed the deployment of the new map tile generation software has been successful and is now working better than ever.

A beautiful land in Second Life

Hermosa Tierra, April 2021 – click any image for full size

A few days ago I received an invitation from Vally Lavender to pay a visit to her latest ValiumSL region build ahead of its official opening to the public at large.

Hermosa Tierra (Spanish for beautiful land) takes as its focus the lands of west Texas, as was the case for Valley’s previous design of MARFA (see: Deep in the heart of (west) Texas via Second Life). However, where MARFA drew on a actual place, Hermosa Tierra is born entirely out of Valley’s imagination, as she notes the the setting’s story:

Hermosa Tierra … is a fictional land on the West Texas border of Mexico and Texas (only separated by the Rio Grand River). It is loosely inspired by my impressions of the Big Bend National Park area, over 800,000 acres of desert, mountains, caverns, a vast and diverse range of flora, fauna and terrains.  The area is also rich in Mexican and American, specifically Texan, cultures.

– Vally Lavender, the Hermosa Tierra story

Hermosa Tierra, April 2021

This is an atmospheric build, both in design and in the tragedy of the backstory of Veleta, an artist, and her rancher husband and soul mate, Jorge. On arrival, I’ll confess that I felt I’d landed a lot further west along the border between the United States and Mexico; the setting with its surround of high peaks and mesas immediately brought to mind thoughts of The High Chaparral television series and its iconic theme song; so much so that I half expected Manolito to gallop past me at the landing point as he rode towards the Hacienda-style ranch house.

Hermosa Tierra, April 2021

However, west Texas this is, and of a time a lot later than the 1870s, as evidenced by the presence of two old pick-up trucks – although given one of these looks like it might date from the 1920s/1930s and the other the 1940s/1950s, we’re not really tied to a particular period of time, but can instead allow the story of Veleta and Jorge, and that of their great-great granddaughter, Vally, whisper to us a time it feels is best.

As one would expect from a region design by Vally, there is a lot to be discovered here. While a drought may well have led to the passing of the ranch – and of Jorge and Veleta – water has now returned to the land in the form of a fast flowing stream that bursts forth from a subterranean aquifer to the west, cutting its way northwards to vanish among the blocky mesa with their crowns of abode houses that stand guard over the land – perhaps reminders of the Pueblo way of life here.

Hermosa Tierra, April 2021
This stream, narrow and fast, is a natural drawing point for wildlife and domesticated animals alike (or semi-domesticated, in the case of the longhorn cattle). Cattle and horses, deer and bear are all equally drawn to the water, whilst a hopeful heron awaits, statue-like, the fortuitous passing of a fish. Stepping stones span the water, pointing towards the hacienda by way of a trail bordered by lavender and wild grass.

That times have been hard here can be seen in the decrepit barn siding the track up to the ranch, while the walls of the latter, doubtless once pristine and white, are showing their age and have become the home to ivy and vines. However, the house, the courtyard before it and a second barn a short walk from the hacienda’s gates all show clear signs of renovation and re-purposing, whilst the coral has also been renewed and is once again in use.

Hermosa Tierra, April 2021

Those exploring the land will find a lot to appreciate, from the smaller hacienda in the north-west that offers itself as a bar and places to rest, to the aforementioned wildlife and the various places to sit and appreciate the view. Travel far enough, and visitors might find themselves in a sinuous canyon, watched over by wolves and goats, whilst within the sheer walls, the hard work of a palaeontologist can be admired – but remember, look, don’t touch! When exploring, those who enjoy horse riding in SL can also perhaps get more into the spirit of the region by pulling on a wearable horse and trotting around.

Hermosa Tierra, April 2021

Hermosa Tierra is ideal for photography, and I recommend using the local environment settings when doing to – they are the idea backdrop. in fact, art is very much a focus for this setting, again as Vally explains:

Art is all around at Hermosa Tierra in a small way.  At the Hacienda La Veleta there will be rotating artists from the covers in Flickr group pool.  Since that has not begun, we start with a ‘Memories of Marfa’ exhibit.
At the large barn we will rotate selected artists from my Empty Chair Gallery.

Thus, this is a setting that is to be very much savoured and appreciated – and it will be available for people to do so for a while; the demands of the physical world mean that Vally is taking a deserved break from the pressures of region design and building, and will instead (hopefully) be able to appreciate her work as much as those who visit it.

Hermosa Tierra, April 2021

SLurl Details

Virtual Ability: mental health awareness in Second Life 2021

Virtual Ability Island

The Virtual Ability community in Second Life is hosting its tenth annual Mental Health Symposium on Friday, April 16th, 2021. The theme for this years even is Mental Health in Trying Times, focusing on mental health in the age of the pandemic.

The symposium will once again feature an international group of presenters offering a wide interpretation of the theme, based on their interests and academic backgrounds.

Virtual Ability Inc  (VAI) and the Virtual Ability community hosts this annual Symposium to share information about mental health and mental disabilities with the general population. Within this cross-disability community are people who deal with a variety of mental health issues. So, not only is this an opportunity for community members to learn more about topics related to mental health from experts they probably would not have an opportunity to otherwise meet, it also  allows the general public to attend a professional conference for free.

Sojourner Auditorium

The schedule is as follows (all times SLT):

  • 07:00-08:00: Clara González Sanguino, Complutense University of Madrid (Spain) – the impact of Covid-19 on our mental health. A longitudinal study from the beginning of the pandemic to the return to the new normality in Spain.
  • 08:30-09:30: Laura Ritchie, University of Chichester Conservatoire, UK, and Daniel P Cervone, University of Illinois, will share their research Projects pursued and abandoned: Pandemic reactions of care & coping.
  • 10:00-11:00: Catherine Ettman, Boston University School of Medicine – the prevalence of depression symptoms in US adults before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 11:30-12:30:  Tom Boellstorff, University of California, Irvine, and students Evan Conaway and Sandy Wenger discuss their research on the impact of Second Life and Animal Crossing during the COVID pandemic.
  • 13:00-14:00: Ryan Schultz, Sciences and Technology Library, University of Manitoba, Canada – Acedia During the Coronavirus Pandemic: A 5th-Century Term for a 21st-Century Problem.
  • 14:30-14:30: Mark Czeisler, Monash University, Australia, Mental health, substance use, and suicidal ideation during the COVID-19 pandemic—disproportionately affected populations.

Sessions will also be available on the Virtual Ability You Tube channel.

The Symposium takes place in Virtual Ability’s Sojourner Auditorium, on Virtual Ability island and full information can be found here.

About Virtual Ability

Virtual Ability, Inc. is a non-profit corporation, chartered in the state of Colorado, USA.  We are a non-profit tax exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. This means that for US citizens, contributions made are deductible as a charitable donation for federal income tax purposes.

For further information on the board of directors, please visit the Virtual Ability About Us page. If you wish to keep up with Virtual Ability news and updates when on the move, you can follow them on Twitter.

With thanks to Gentle Heron for the information.

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