2021 SUG meeting week #48 summary

The Rock, September 2021 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, November 30th, 2021 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting. The meeting was recorded by Pantera Północy, and the video is embedded at the end of this summary.Note this summary focuses on the key points of the meeting; where there is something to report, the video should be referred to should full details of the meeting wish to be reviewed.

Server Deployments

See the server deployment thread for further updates.

  • On Monday, November 29th / Tuesday, November 30th, all simulators on the SLS Main channel were restarted to allow for a hardware upgrade.
  • On Wednesday, December 1st:
    • The Le Tigre RC channel will be updated to the simulator version using the new toolset.
    • Pending a final QA decision, the remain RC channels may also receive a new simulator version.

Simhost Configuration

While the Lab is not prepared – yet – to discuss the simulator host configuration changes that are being made, we have been promised a blog post on the subject in the near future. However, in commenting on the work, Rider Linden stated:

Amazon offers a variety of hardware configurations. We’ve been switching from one that closely mirrored what we had in the colo[cation facilities, the Lab’s former dedicated server facilities] to a new one that fits our usage pattern better.

End-of-Year Deployments

  • There are potentially two more simulator deployment periods left for the year: December 7th / 8th, and potentially the 14th/15th, if anything has to be pushed back – although LL would prefer not to have that happen.
  • There should be restarts on the 21st / 22nd December for the holiday period, but no deployments.
  • The next scheduled restart / deployment period will then come on January 4th / 5th 2021.

Available Viewers

This list reflects those viewers available via Linden Lab.

  • Release viewer: version version, formerly the Maintenance RC and dated November 10, promoted November 15 – this viewer now contains a fix for the media issues caused by the Apple Notarisation viewer.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • The Tracy Integration RC viewer version (dated Friday, November 5) issued Tuesday, November 9.
    • 360 Snapshot RC viewer, version, issued October 21.
    • Simplified Cache RC viewer, version, dated September 17, issued September 20.
  • Project viewers:
    • Performance Improvements project viewer updated to version (dated November 17) November 22.
    • Performance Floater project viewer, version, issued September 2.
    • Mesh Optimizer project viewer, version, issued September 1.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version, dated October 26, 2020.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version, dated December 9, 2019.

In Brief

  • As many have noticed, avatar bakes have been taking noticeably longer when logging-in, with some also reporting changes of outfit. This looks to be a systemic issue.
  • Some have been reporting a log-in issue that manifests as a warning that the computer running the viewer may have an incorrectly set clock, exacerbated by the fact the suggested resolutions to the issue do not appear to correct it. However, LL believe the underpinning cause has been identified, and a fix should be deployed “soon”.

Art and Virtual Identity in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Margherita Hax, Virtual Identity

To round out what has been another year of totally flawless exhibitions at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, Dido Haas has invited Margherita Hax to present the first ever gallery exhibition of her SL photography, which will be up through the month of December.

Entitled Virtual Identity, this is a fascinating series of black-and-white avatar studies that are in and of themselves, a demonstration of the art of photography in its truest. From framing through the use of focus, depth of field, filters, cropping, to post-processing, these are images that are visually engaging. Within them, can be found both single-frame narratives and threads of broader stories and themes.

While the title of this exhibition suggests a focus purely on a matter of the “real” and “virtual” identity dichotomy, it does so from a broader perspective than we might normally view it:  purely from how an individual presents themselves through their avatar, actions and words to create a character. While this is part of Virtual Identity, so to is the other – oft overlooked  – aspect of identity: how we overlay what we see through projection, being overly focused on our own emotions and even idolatry. In doing so, it also touches on subjects such as honesty and filtering.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Margherita Hax, Virtual Identity

Within Second Life, much has been made about the freedom of expression we have: one to another, the majority of us are very much anonymous, with complete agency over how we choose to present ourselves via our avatar’s appearance and – more intrinsically –  what we chose to reveal of our actual natures and selves. Many commentators have seen this as something that leans very much towards the beneficial, with a  quote by Oscar Wilde often being used to underline this point:

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

– Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist (1891)

However, as a truism, this quote is actually a double-edged sword; whilst broadly taken as a being a “good” thing for our freedom of expression in Second Life; Wilde’s words also underline the fact that that very anonymity can be used to detriment; not only in the more obvious ways we all think of, but also in one-to-one interactions and relationships, in that the likes of avatar appearance and the use of text make it both next to impossible to judge intent. Thus, within it lies a paradox, as Margherita notes:

I have always felt the fascination of this paradoxical combination of emotions which, although limited and contained by an important filter in one sense, flow even stronger into the other. Thus, suspended from judging what is true or fake, in my photos, through portraits, gazes, stories and attitudes, I try to show and narrate emotions, lifestyle, relationships and (why not) love in 3D.

Through a central story – told down one arm of the gallery, and more individual pieces down the other, Margherita tells both the story of a Second Life relationship from beginning to end, whilst also opening up questions of what level of reality that can be found purely through a screen / text relationship. Both are somewhat linked through the use of mythological figures: Narcissus, Eros and Athena.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Margherita Hax, Virtual Identity

In particular, the former is used in an emphasis of what the artist calls “fake love”. It actually sits well with Projections, the two underlining how projecting our own needs / wants / desires into a relationship as a result of what we see is something that can result in heartache and hurt, regardless of any intent on the part of the other within the relationship. Eros, meanwhile, is used as a symbol of true love, and in the process perhaps offers a pairing with Athena and PinkPower in expressing the natural outflow of emotion and contentment that can be brought to the fore when our real personalities and heartfelt feelings are brought to the fore, and honesty forms the basis of our interactions with one another.

By using different avatars throughout, Margherita offers a reminder of how the two sides of identity and its role in a relationship and who we are. That something as simple as a change in appearance  – from skin tone through to gender – can completely alter perceptions, responses and personal outlook. This further underlines her central tenet of Margherita’s description of the exhibition: that when we are reliant purely on a single filter, emotions and projection also become singular; something that can be, depending on the intent of both parties, potentially harmful  – or actually unifying.

Remarkable in its power, this is an exhibition that offers multiple opportunities for discussion, there is simply so much wrapped within the images and the themes. As individual pieces, the images at Nitroglobus are all inspiring in their presentation and depth; by using the west-east arm of the gallery to focus on a core story of love (and regret), and the north-south arm for more “individual” pieces that can also help to underline the motifs and emotions of the other arm, Margherita offers an exhibition of two intertwined halves that might be said to present a metaphor that again underlines her idea of paradox.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Margherita Hax, Virtual Identity

As this is the end of the year, and  – as I’ve noted – another superb series of exhibitions at Nitroglobus, I’d like to close with a personal note with regards to Dido herself. Her approach to the exhibitions she hosts – invitation, collaboration, encouragement, the use of additional 3D to offer contrast or emphasis, her sheer enthusiasm for art, makes any visit to Nitroglobus a consistent delight and an absolute pleasure to write about in these pages.


2021 viewer release summaries week #47

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

Updates from the week ending Sunday, November 28th

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: version version, formerly the Maintenance RC and dated November 10, promoted November 15 – this viewer now contains a fix for the media issues caused by the Apple Notarisation viewer.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    •  No updates.
  • Project viewers:
    • Performance Improvements project viewer updated to version (dated November 17) November 22.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers


  • No updates.


Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Hera’s Neverever Land in Second Life

Neverever Land, November 2021

I’ve already said I’m a Hera (zee9) fangirl. So when an IM from her drops into my chat window, it immediately grabbed my attention:

Hi there, you may remember me saying in a notecard a couple of build back that I most likely would never do Neverland, well just to prove myself wrong I just did, thought you might like to visit.

– Hera (Zee9) in telling me about her latest build

Neverever Land, November 2021

And with that, I was reorganising my list of places to visit and then on my way to visit another chapter in Hera’s evolving story of Neverworld settings, places born of the imaginations of children; places of escape and fantasy that, as we grow up, become increasingly hard to find as the paths become overgrown and eventually lost to the demands of work and life.

Neverever Land is a place that holds within it touches of J.M. Barrie’s tale of Peter Pan, Wendy, the Lost Boys and Captain Hook whilst offering a setting that is undeniably born of Hera’s creativity. It also starts with a story – a further chapter concerning Jane (Wendy’s daughter from the epilogue F.M. Barrie added to his original story of Peter and Wendy four years after its publication) – and introductory  notes. Both should be read in full before proceeding further.

Neverever Land, November 2021

With the story and notes read, it’s time to enter the house and – as with some of the recent builds that have carried us into Herea’s Neverworld – is to find the story book the will carry you to Neverever Land, and I’ll use her worlds to introduce it:

The Neverever land exists at the edge of dreams just before the wall of sleep.
It is not like the real world,
even though it may at times seem very familiar.
Yet Neither is it the land of sleep and dreams,
Because the people there are all awake.
It is created from what is left in memory of the real once the mundane has faded.
A place of wake dreams or daydreams.
What happens there is not real,
But might change forever that which is.
It is the neither neither land.
The funambulatory path between the worlds.

Hera (Zee9) describing Neverever Land

Neverever Land, November 2021

And so we find ourselves in an] circular archipelago of islands rising from a glass-like sea that captures their reflections through a mist of surf. Only it’s not a sea nor surf; we are in fact among the clouds, the islands floating in a world of their own, surrounded by more distant peaks. The central island has a peak of its own that rises from a sandy beach landing point, a path spiralling upwards to where the first of several stone bridges connect most of the islands one to the next, while two rope bridges complete the possible connections from landing point to islands, so providing multiples roots by which to explore.

In taking a leaf from J.M. Barrie’s book, the setting is rich in motifs. There’s the Lost Boy’s camp, a garden suitable for Tinkerbell, a cavern that perhaps forms Peter Pan’s hideaway, a further camp that might be seen as the home of some of Tiger Lily’s tribe, and out on the water, a pirate ship that might be that of Captain Hook. Perhaps the clearest motif of all, however, is the crocodile; even if he does seem a little… tied up … in things in one location!

Neverever Land, November 2021

This is a place very much where visitors have space to find places to sit and relax without being overcrowded in any way. There are also – as always – plenty of opportunities for photography.

After the intensity of recent builds such as Whitechapel (see here for more) and Whitby (see here), Neverever Land presents a distinct and relaxing change of pace within Hera’s recent designs; as such it makes for a very different – but nevertheless equally imaginative – visit.

Neverever Land, November 2021

Slurl Details

Space Sunday: a DART plus JWST and TRAPPIST-1 updates

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) vehicle under thrust as it closes on the asteroid Dimorphos as it orbits Didymos. Credit: NASA

On November 24th, 2021, NASA launched the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, a vehicle aimed at testing a method of planetary defence against near-Earth objects (NEOs) the pose a real risk of impact.

I’ve covered the risk we face from Earth-crossing NEOs – asteroids and cometary’s fragments that routinely zoom across or graze the Earth’s orbit as they follow their own paths around the Sun. We are currently tracking some 8,000 of these objects to assess the risk of one of them colliding with Earth at some point in the future. This is important, because it is estimated a significant impact can occur roughly every 2,000 years, and we currently don’t have any proven methods of mitigating the threat should it be realised. And that is what DART is all about: demonstrating a potential means of diverting an incoming asteroid threat.

Developed as a joint project between NASA and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), DART is specifically designed to deflect an asteroid purely through its kinetic energy; or to put it another way, by slamming into it, and without breaking it up. Both are important, because by simply slowing an Earth-crossing NEO along its orbit, we give time for Earth to get out of its way; then, by not causing it to break, then we avoid the risk of it becoming a hail of shotgun pellets striking Earth at some point further into the future.

The DART mission. Credit: NASA

The target for the mission is a binary asteroid 65803 Didymos (Greek for “twin”), comprising a primary asteroid approximately 780 metres across, and a smaller companion called Dimorphos (Greek: “two forms”) caught in a retrograde orbit around it, with both orbiting the Sun every 2 years 1 month, periodically passing relatively close to Earths, as well as periodically grazing that of Mars.

Discovered in 1996 by the Spacewatch sky survey the pair has been categorised as being potentially hazardous at some point in the future. At some 160m across, Dimorphos is in the broad category of size for many of the Earth-crossing objects we have so far located and are tracking, making it an ideal target.

DART actually started as a dual mission in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA) called AIDA – Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment. This would have seen ESA launch a mission called AIM in December 2020 to rendezvous with Didymos and enter orbit around it in order to study its composition and that of Dimorphos, and to also be in  position to observe DART’s arrival in September 2022 and its impact with the smaller asteroid.

However, AIM was ultimately cancelled, leaving NASA to go ahead with DART. To reduce costs, NASA initially looked to make it a secondary payload launch on a commercial rocket. But it was ultimately decided to use a dedicated Falcon 9 launch vehicle for the mission, allowing it to make its September 2022 rendezvous with Dimorphos.

An artist’s impression of DART and the LICIACube cubesat, with Dimorphos and Didymos in the background. Credit: NASA

In order to impact the asteroid at a speed sufficient to affect its velocity, DART needs to be under propulsive power. It therefore uses the NEXT ion thruster, a type of solar electric propulsion that will propel it into Dimorphos at a speed of 6.6 km/s – which it is hoped will change the velocity of the asteroid by 0.4 millimetres a second. This may not sound a lot, but in the case of hitting an actual threat whilst it is far enough away from Earth, it is enough to ensure it misses the planet when it crosses our orbit.

This motor is powered by a deployable solar array system first deployed to the International Space Station (ISS). However, what is most interesting about these solar panels is that a portion of them is configured to demonstrate Transformational Solar Array technology that can produce as much as three times more power than current solar array technology and so could be revolutionary should it reach commercial production.

Accompanying DART is Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging of Asteroids (LICIACube), a cubesat developed by the Italian Space Agency, and which  will separate from DART 10 days before impact to acquire images of the impact and ejecta as it drifts past the asteroid. To do this, LICIA Cube will use a pair of cameras dubbed LUKE and LEIA.

As the cubesat is unable to orbit Didymos to continue observations, ESA is developing a follow-up mission called Hera, Comprising a primary vehicle bearing the mission’s name, and two cubesats, Milani and Juventas, this mission will launch in 2024, and arrive at the asteroids in 2027, 5 years after DART’s impact, to complete a detailed assessment of the outcome of that mission.

 ISS Gets a New Module

On November 26th, 2021, a new Russian module arrived at the International Space Station (ISS).

The Prichal, or “Pier,” module had been launched by a Soyuz 2.1b rocket out of the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan two days earlier. Mounted on a modified Progress cargo vehicle, the module was successfully mated with the Nauka module which itself only arrived at the station in July, at 15:19 UTC.

Carried by a Progress vehicle, the Prichal module approaches the ISS. Credit: NASA TV

The four-tonne spherical module has a total of six docking ports, one of which is used to connect it with Nauka, leaving five for other vehicles. However, when first conceived, the module was also intended to be a node for connecting future Russian modules.

But since that time, the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, has abandoned plans to support the ISS with additional modules. Instead, with relations with the west continuing to cool and the ongoing rise in nationalism in Russia, the agency has indicated it plans to orbit its own space station. This being the case, Prichal is viewed as the final element in the Russian segment of ISS, and potentially the first of the new station.

Unlike the arrival of Nauka in July, Prichal managed to dock with the ISS without the additional “excitement” of any thruster mis-firings. Now, the Progress carrier vehicle will remain attached to the module through until December 21st, allowing time for the Russian cosmonauts on the station to carry out a spacewalk to attach Prichal to the station’s power systems. Once it has been detached, the Progress vehicle will be set on a path to burn-up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Visible over the top of a Progress resupply vehicle, the Prichal module and its Progress carrier can be seen docked with the nadir port of the Nauka module. Credit: NASA TV

As well as expending the docking facilities at the ISS, Prichal delivered some 2.2 tonnes of cargo and supplies to the station. The module will formally commence operations in its primary role in March 2022 with the arrival Soyuz MS-21.

Continue reading “Space Sunday: a DART plus JWST and TRAPPIST-1 updates”

Tea-time radio and seasonal stories in Second Life

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home in Nowhereville, unless otherwise indicated. Note that the schedule below may be subject to change during the week, please refer to the Seanchai Library website for the latest information through the week.

Sunday, November 28th, 13:30: Teatime: Holiday Radio Classics

Nero Wolfe, the brilliant, oversized, eccentric armchair detective created by mystery writer Rex Stout in the 1934, was more renowned for his preference from remaining ensconced in his New York City brownstone house than walking the streets to solve the mysteries that find their way to his door. At home, he could read his books, tend his orchids and await his next gourmet meal prepared by his personal chef. The legwork could always take care of itself – or more accurately, be taken care of by his sharp-witted, dapper young confidential assistant, Archie Goodwin who also got to take care of narrating the story of any mystery Wolfe chose to poke his nose into.

Since his origins, Wolfe has proven popular for radio, film and television dramas – and even on stage in three productions. Here, the Seanchai team of Corwyn Allen, David Abbot, Gloriana Maertens, Elrik Merlin, Kayden Oconnell, and Caledonia Skytower present one of Wolfe’s more unusual mysteries to solve when he is hired by a Santa to investigate the mystery deaths of a number of his sidewalk peers across New York City, and who fears he’ll be next.

So why not join the team for Nero Wolfe and the Case of the Slaughtered Santas.

Monday, November 29th, 19:00: The Stone God Awakens

A 20th century scientist is rendered frozen at the molecular level, and then reanimated millennia later by a freak accident. He finds himself in a strange world populated by sentient, anthropomorphic animals, who take his awakening to be the fulfilment of prophecy.

He accepts the mantle of godhood and sets about discovering this brave new world, hoping to find clues to the past while finding his place as the last human. But his quest leads to to question the reality of his status – might other humans also have survived? To find the answers he must lead his tribe of feline worshippers to the heart of a rival god: a great tree spanning half a continent.

Join Gyro Muggins as he reads a novella by the fantasy and sci-fi author Philip José Farmer.

Tuesday, November 30th

12:00 Noon: Russell Eponym

With music, and poetry in Ceiluradh Glen.

19:00: The Wild Wood

A young artist returns to her cabin in the deep woods of Canada to concentrate on her illustrations. But somehow, strange and beautiful creatures are slipping into her drawings and sketches. The world of Faerie is reaching out to her for help – and she may be its last chance for survival.

With Willow Moonfire.

Wednesday, December 1st, 19:00 Adventures from Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather

Susan had never hung up a stocking . She’d never put a tooth under her pillow in the serious expectation that a dentally inclined fairy would turn up. It wasn’t that her parents didn’t believe in such things. They didn’t need to believe in them. They know they existed. They just wished they didn’t.

There are those who believe and those who don’t. Through the ages, superstition has had its uses; nowhere more so than in the Discworld where it’s helped to maintain the status quo. Anything that undermines superstition has to be viewed with some caution.

There may be consequences, particularly on the last night of the year when the time is turning. When those consequences turn out to be the end of the world, you need to be prepared. You might even want more standing between you and oblivion than a mere slip of a girl – even if she has looked Death in the face on numerous occasions.

Caledonia Skytower read selection from the 20th book in Pratchett’s Discworld series.

Thursday, December 2nd

19:00: The Further Adventure of Ebenezer Scrooge Pt 1

On a hot summer day some twenty years after he was famously converted to kindness, Ebenezer Scrooge still roams the streets of London, spreading Christmas cheer, much to the annoyance of his creditors, nephew, and his employee Bob Cratchit.

But in order to help his former partner, poor chain-wrapped Jacob Marley, Scrooge will need the assistance of all those he has annoyed; he’ll also have to call on the three ghosts that visited him two decades earlier.

Written in uncannily Dickensian prose, Charlie Lovett’s The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge is both a loving and winking tribute to the Victorian classic, perfect for readers of A Christmas Carol and other timeless holiday tales.

Join Shandon Loring to enjoy the story.

21:00: Seanchai Late Night

Contemporary sci-fi / fantasy with Finn Zeddmore.