Lab Gab November 6th: Cloud Uplift update

via Linden Lab

On Friday November 6th, 2020 Lab Gab, the live streamed chat show hosted by Strawberry Linden on all things Second Life returned to the the subject of the work to transition all Second Life services to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and away from running on the Labs’ proprietary hardware and infrastructure.

The session came some 7 months after the last Lab Gab to focus on this work in April 2020 with Oz Linden and April Linden (see Lab Gab 20 summary: Second Life cloud uplift & more), and this time, Oz Linden sat in the hot seat alongside Mazidox Linden.

The official video of the segment is available via You Tube, and is embedded at the end of this article. The following is a summary of the key topics discussed and responses to questions asked.

Mazidox Linden is a relative newcomer to the Linden Lab team, having joined the company in 2017 – although like many Lab staff, he’s been a Second Life resident for considerably longer, having first signed-up in 2005.

Table of Contents

He is the lead QA engineer for everything simulator related, which means his work not only encompasses the simulator and simhost code itself, but also touches on almost all of the back-end services the simulator software communicates with. For the last year he has been specifically focused on QA work related to transitioning the simulator code to AWS services. He  took his name from the Mazidox pesticide and combined it with the idea of a bug spray to create is avatar, to visualise the idea of QA work being about finding and removing bugs.

Oz Linden joined the company in 2010 specifically to take on the role of managing the open-source aspects of the Second Life viewer and managing the relationship with third-party viewers, a role that fully engaged him during the first two years of his time at the Lab. His role then started expanding to encompass more and more of the engineering side of Second Life, leading to his currently senior position within the company.

“The Bugspray” Mazidox Linden (l) and Oz Linden joined Strawberry Linden for the Friday, November 6th segment of Lab Gab to discuss the cloud migration work

What is the “Cloud Uplift”?

[3:25-5:55]

  • Cloud Uplift is the term Linden Lab use for transitioning all of Second Life’s server-based operations and services from their own proprietary systems and services housed within a single co-location data centre to  commercial cloud services.
  • The work involves not only the visible aspects of SL – the simulators and web pages, etc., but also all the many back-end services operated as a part of the overall Second Life product,  not all of which may be known to users.
  • The process of moving individual services to the cloud is called “lift and shift” – take each element of software, making the required adjustments so it can run within a cloud computing environment, then relocate it to AWS infrastructure and hardware in a manner that allows it to keep running exactly as it did prior to the transfer, while avoiding disruptions that may impact users.
  • The current plan is to have all of the transitional work completed before the end of 2020.
  • However, this doe not mean all the the work related to operating SL in the cloud will have been completed: there will be further work on things like optimising how the various services run on AWS, etc.,

Why is it Important?

[5:56-12:12]

  • It allows Second Life to run on hardware that is a lot more recent than the servers the Lab operates, and allows the Lab to evolve SL to run on newer and newer hardware as it becomes available a lot faster than is currently the case.
    • In particular, up until now, the route to upgrading hardware has involved the Lab reviewing, testing and selecting hardware options, then making a large capital expenditure to procure  the hardware, implement it, test it, then port their services over to the hardware and test, then implement – all of which could take up to 18 months to achieve.
    • By leveraging AWS services, all of the initial heavy lifting of reviewing, testing, selecting and implementing new server types is managed entirely by Amazon, leaving the Lab with just the software testing / implementation work.
  • A further benefit is that when SL was built, the capabilities to manage large-scale distributed systems at scale didn’t exist, so LL had to create their own. Today, such tools and services are a core part of product offerings alike AWS, allowing the Lab to leverage them and move away from having to run (and manage / update) dedicated software.
  • Two practical benefits of the move are:
    • Regions running on AWS can run more scripts / script events in the same amount of time than can be achieved on non-AWS regions.
    • The way in which simulators are now managed mean that LL can more directly obtain logs for a specific region, filter logs by criteria to find information, etc., and the entire process is far less manually intensive.

How Secure is SL User Data on AWS?

[12:20-15:43]

  • It has always been LL’s policy when dealing with third-party vendors (which is what AWS is) not to expose SL user data to those vendors, beyond what is absolutely necessary for the Lab to make use of the vendor’s service(s).
  • This means that while SL user data is stored on AWS machines,it it not stored in a manner Amazon could read, and is further safeguarded by strict contractual requirements that deny a company like Amazon the right to use any of the information, even if they were to be able to read it.
  • In fact, in most cases, user-sensitive data is effectively “hidden” from Amazon.
  • LL  is, and always has been, very sensitive to the need to protect user data,even from internal prying.
  • In terms of the simulators, a core part of testing by Mazidox’s team is to ensure that where user data is being handled (e.g. account / payment information, etc.), it cannot even be reached internally by the lab, as certainly not through things like scripted enquiries, malicious intent or prying on the part of third-party vendors.
  • [54:30-55:18] Taken as a whole, SL on AWS will be more secure, as Amazon provide additional protection against hacking, and these have been combined with significant changes LL have made to their services in the interest of security.

Why is Uplift Taking So Long?

[15:48-19:20]

  • The biggest challenge has been continuing to offer SL as a 24/7 service to users without taking it down, or at least with minimal impact on users.
    • This generally requires a lot of internal testing beforehand to reach a point of confidence to transition a service, then make the transition and then step back and wait to see if anything goes dramatically wrong, or users perceive a degraded service, etc.
    • An example of this is extensive study, testing, etc., allowed LL to switch over inventory management from their own systems to being provisioned via AWS relatively early on in the process, and with no announcement it had been done – and users never noticed the difference.
  • Another major challenge has been to investigate the AWS service offerings and determine how they might best be leveraged by SL services.
  • As many of the SL services are overlapping one another (e.g. simulators utilise the inventory service, the group services, the IM services, etc.), a further element has been determining a methodical manner in which services can be transitioned without impacts users or interrupting dependencies on them that may exist elsewhere.
  • The technology underpinning Second Life is a lot more advanced and recent within the AWS environment, and this means LL have a had to change how they go about certain aspects of managing SL. This has in turn required experimentation, perhaps the deployment of new tools and / or the update / replacement of code, etc..

Will Running on AWS Lower Operating Costs?

[19:33-23:00]

  • During the transitional period it has been “significantly” more expensive to operate SL, inasmuch as LL is paying to continue to operate its proprietary systems and services within their co-lo facility and pay for running services via AWS.
  • Even after the need to continue paying for operating the co-lo facility has ended, it is unlikely that the shift to AWS will start to immediately reduce costs.
  • However, the belief is that moving to AWS will,  in the longer term, reduce operating costs.
  • Whether reduced operating costs lead to reduced costs to users, or whether the savings will be re-invested in making further improvements to the service lay outside of this discussion.
  • Right now the focus is not on driving down costs or making service significantly better, but is solely the work of getting everything transitioned. Lowering costs, making more efficient use of the underpinning capabilities provided by AWS will come after the migration work has been completed.

What Happens to the Old Hardware / Facility, Post-Uplift?

[23:09-25:15]

  • Several years ago, LL consolidated all of their hardware and infrastructure into a single co-location data centre in Arizona.
  • Most of the hardware in that facility is now so old it has depreciated in value to a point where it is pretty much worthless.
  • A specialist company has therefore been contracted to clear-out the Lab’s cage(s) at the co-lo facility and dispose of the hardware.
    • As a demonstration of LL’s drive to protect user data, all drives on the servers will be removed under inspection and physically destroyed via grinding them up on-site.

Continue reading “Lab Gab November 6th: Cloud Uplift update”

Don’t forget: Lab Gab, November 6th: cloud update

via Linden Lab

Lab Gab returns on Friday, November 6th, 2020, with a cloud migration update.

As most are aware, the work to transition Second Life to operating via Amazon Web Services (AWS) has now progressed to a point where regions on the main grid (called Agni) are starting to be transitioned. In fact, by the time the Lab Gab show live streams, approximately one-third of all Agni regions will be operating via AWS services.

At the same time, as as per my November 2020 Web User Group summary, the Web teams are hopeful that all web properties will be running via AWS by early December, placing the Lab on course to achieve its target of completing the migration (referred to as Project Uplift) by the end of 2020 (although there will likely be more work related to it to follow in early 2021).

This being the case, the Lab Gab segment will feature Oz Linden, the Lab’s Vice President of Engineering (and the man pretty much in overall charge of the engineering / technical aspect of the work) and Mazidox Linden, the Lab’s senior QA Engineer who has been particularly involved in the migration work, testing the simulator code in reference to the migration work, and who describes the project as “the largest change to the simulator [software] ever.”

“The Bugspray” Mazidox Linden (l) and Oz Linden will be joining Strawberry Linden on the Friday, November 6th segment of Lab Gab to discuss the cloud migration work

As usual, the programme will be streamed via YouTube, Facebook, or Periscope, at 10:00 SLT, and if all goes according to plan, I’ll have a summary of the video (and the video itself) available soon after the the broadcast, for those unable to watch live.

For those who may have questions on the migration work, there is still time to submit them via the Lab Gab Google form, in addition, and if there is time, questions may also be taken from the chat feeds associated with the live stream channels.

Lab Gab preview: Philip Rosedale

via Linden Lab

Lab Gab returns on Friday, August 7th, 2020, with a very special guest in the form of Philip Rosedale, the founder of Second Life and co-founder of Love Machine Inc., and Coffee and Power – which would become High Fidelity.

In 1995, Rosedale created FreeVue, an Internet video conferencing product, which was acquired by RealNetworks in 1996, with Rosedale joining that company as a Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. He later left RealNetworks to form Linden Lab, initially working in virtual reality before moving to focus on a virtual world platform with the goal of demonstrating a viable model for a virtual economy or virtual society.

Philip Rosedale

We don’t see this as a game. We see it as a platform that is, in many ways, better than the real world.

– Philip Rosedale, Google TechTalks, March 2006

As well as founding Linden Lab, Rosedale served as CEO and / or as a member of the Board until 2009, when – having already handed over the CEO reins of the company to Mark Kingdon – he announced he was stepping away from the board to focus on other projects (Love Machine Inc.). In 2010, he briefly returned as interim CEO through until Ebbe Altberg was appointed to the role.

Contrary to the rumour mill, Philip will not be discussing the recent announcement about Linden Lab putting itself up for acquisition (as this process is still on-going and cannot be publicly discussed beyond what has already been said by way of the announcement), but will be talking to Strawberry Linden about the history of Second Life, what he is up to now and his views on the future of virtual worlds.

The session will be livestreamed as follows:

Lab Gab 27 summary: Relay for Life

via Linden Lab

The 27th edition of Lab Gab live streamed on Friday, June 5th, and featured members of the Second Life Relay for Life team Stingray9798 Raymaker, Trager Alter, MamaP Beerbaum, and Nikki Mathieson, to mark the 2020 Relay weekend (which you can read about here). They were interviewed by co-hosts for the session, Strawberry Linden and Patch Linden.

The official video of the segment is available via You Tube, and is embedded at the end of this article. The following is a summary of the key topics discussed and responses to questions asked.

About the RFL Team

  • Trager Alter has been directly involved in Relay for Life of SL since 2017 after being introduce to Stingray by MammaP. He’s been directly involved in Relay Refresh – telling the stories of people who have faced and survived cancer.
  • MammaP became involved with Relay for Life of Second Life at a time when her father was suffering from cancer. It gave her the opportunity to do something practical to help raise money for cancer research whilst simultaneously caring doe her father in the physical world.
  • Nikki Mathieson joined SL alongside of MamaP, and became enamoured with the platform, the opportunities it offers, and realised that it offered huge potential for Relay for Life, and became involved in RFL of RL for that reason.
  • Stingray came to SL through the American Cancer Society, having been the manager for RFL’s on-line content. He was asked to look into RFL activities in SL as a result of RFL of SL volunteers working with ACS’s Innovations Team, and everything had reached a point where the Innovation Team were ready to hand it over to the ACS Relay Team, and he was asked to take the lead, so becoming the official liaison between RFL of SL and ACS.
Strawberry Linden (seated left) with (standing) Trager Alter (l), and Stingray9798 Raymaker (r), (seated)Nikki Mathieson (c) MamaP Beerbaum (r)

What is the Relay Weekend?

  • Every year, Relay for Life raises money for the work of the American Cancer Society via a season of events. Many of these are run by individual Relay Teams formed by Second Life residents, and some are “mega events” (such as the Home and Garden Expo, Fantasy Faire, the Sci-Fi Convention, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and Xmas Expo).
  • The Relay Weekend is the culmination of those events held during the core Relay season (February to June), where all the teams, large and small come together alongside the RFL track, each team with its own parcel to promote the work in providing care, support and treatment for sufferers of cancer in all its forms and their families and carers.
  • The event carries the ideal of Relay events in the physical world by having members of each team take turns to walk around an in-world track for the full 24 hours of the event. This is to symbolise two things:
    • When someone is dealing with cancer, they are no doing it alone, there are others who can support them and be with them.
    • The 24-hour aspect is recognition that cancer never sleeps, and the quest for cures to it cannot rest either.
  • The camp sites and themed regions all offer opportunities to socialise, to make friends and to learn more about cancer and how it can affect lives, be treated, etc., and the role of the ACS in all of this.

How does the Weekend Differ from Physical World RFL Events?

  • Abbreviated history of Relay:
    • In May 1985, Dr. Gordon Klatt, a colorectal surgeon from Tacoma, Washington, raised money for ACS by walking around the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound for 24 hours, covering approximately 83 miles around the track.
    • Throughout the night, friends paid $25 to run or walk 30 minutes with him.
    • After this event, Klatt thought about how other people could participate in a similar event in their own community. He recruited a small team of people to host the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer, and from this Relay for Life grew.
  • Relay for Life events now take place in some 30 countries around the world.
  • Events generally comprise:
    • A Survivor Lap, which starts the Relay event.
    • An Opening Lap, in which all the participants take a lap around the track
    • A Luminaria Ceremony, usually with a candlelight vigil
    • A “Fight Back” Ceremony, in which participants pledge to take specific actions against cancer.
  • The SL Relay Weekend comprises the same format and key activities. But differs in execution:
    • It does not require so much central logistical organisation and management.
    • It does however, require far more infrastructure coordination.
    • It is effectively a bigger event, both in terms of virtual vs. physical size (the 2020 track, for example, equates to some 6 miles), and in terms of the numbers of people participating.
    • Teams are able to do more than “just” camp and walk the track: they can directly support fund-raising by organising and running their own mini-events and activities.
    • It is a fully international event.

What is the Luminaria Ceremony?

  • It is the hour of the event (started at 21:00 on the Saturday of the Relay Weekend, roughly half-way through the weekend.
  • At that time, the track is darkened, and everyone in the Relay Regions are asked not to engage in open text or voice chat but to walk the track in silence or stand to one side.
  • During the hour, the names of those to be remembered, as submitted by the Luminaria Dedication Form that has been available for some time before each Relay Weekend, are read out over the event audio channel (which can be best listened through via the T1 Radio pop-up media player).
  • It is a time for people to reflect on how cancer has touched them personally, to recall those they’ve lost to the disease, or someone who is facing it as a part of their life, or someone who has seen it enter remission.
  • Also honoured throughout the weekend are the names hovering above the Luminaria lanterns that line either side of the track, and through which residents can make a donation to RFL of SL (minimum L$50) and add a name / dedication.

How Has the SARS-C0V-2 Pandemic Affected ACS?

  • Like most non-profit organisations world-wide, ACS relays on large-scale, multi-people fund-raising events, with Relay For Life being the largest annual event for ACS, with the primary RFL fund-raising period world-wide being April-May.
  • SARS-CoV-2 has therefore significantly impacted RFL both as the ACS’ main means of raising funds, and the amount of funds overall that are flowing into the organisation on a daily basis.
  • RFL of SL and Second Life users – and their families and friends – are therefore critical to the mission of ACS, by:
    • Engaging in events such as the Relay Weekend and donating money.
    • And / or by visiting RFL of SL page at the RFL website and making a donation.
  • ACS and Relay teams around the world have recognised that RFL of SL is now the spear of fund-raising efforts.
  • Second Life users have rallied to this call, at the time of writing, RFL of SL has raised around US $275,000.
    • Overall, RFL of SL has raised some US $4 million (around L$1 billion) during the years it has been operating.

RFL of SL Events

  • RFL of SL comprises a range of events, most of which take place during the core in-world fund-raising season between February and June each year.
    • This period includes the majority of the mega events (Home and Garden, Fantasy Faire, Sci-Fi Convention and the Relay Weekend.
    • There are also all the team events held across SL.
    • There is also the Xmas Expo and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in October, which is to be expanded to have its own Renaissance mega event.
  • In terms of fund raising, Fantasy Faire remains the biggest mega event for in Second Life, with Making Strides also a focused and effective fund-raiser.
  • Outside of these, mega and large events tend to evolve and change. There used to be a major RFL of SL clothing / fashion event, for example, and when breedables became very popular in SL, there was a dedicated Breedables Fair.
  • The days of relay has also proved popular among communities wishing to support RFL / ACS. This started as the 5 days of relay in 2019  and had to be expanded to the 10 days of relay in 2020 to accommodate everything.

Where Do All the Donations Go?

  • Kiosks for RFL of SL are set up to allow events and teams see how much they have raised and contributed.
  • When a donation is made, it briefly goes to the kiosk holder account, but then is immediately paid out of that account and into the ACS fund account.
  • RFL of SL merchant vendors work on the same principle of payment in, then immediate transfer of the amount to the ACS fund raising account.
  • Funds are cashed out from the ACS L$ account in s similar manner: they are converted to US dollars and then process credited to ACS, not to any intermediary account.
  • When the funds are received by ACS, there is a certain amount that has to cover expenses (e.g. the running costs associated with having a presence in SL), but all other funds beyond this go directly to supporting ACS in its various missions.
  • Some of the money raised may be directed at a specific programme, as is the case with Making Strides, Fantasy Faire and the Xmas Expo:
    • Money raised by Making Strides goes directly to the ACS breast cancer mission.
    • In 2018 / 2019 funds raised be Fantasy Faire went directly into the Kenyatta National Hospital Hope Hostel in Kenya (see here for an initial report on this project from 2018).
    • This year, the US $75,000 raised by Fantasy Faire is reserved for use in the ACS global mission.
    • Similarly, the funds raised by the Christmas Expo are earmarked for the ACS child cancer programme.
  • Funds not earmarked for specific missions / programmes is referred to as “purple money” and goes towards the ACS cancer research mission in the United States. ACS is believed to be the largest funder of cancer research in the world outside of the US government.
  • Within SL, the funds pay for ACS island and all the resources, facilities and support than can be offered through the island directly to cancer sufferers and cancer care workers in-world, the Cancer Survivors support group, etc.

How Can SL Communities Get Involved and Help?

  • Individuals can attend RFL of SL events and donate through kiosks, make purchases (where available), etc.
  • Out-world donations can be made through the RFL of SL web page.
  • Those wishing to form a Relay Team, run an event, etc., should go the American Cancer Society Island, or contact Stingray and the rest of the team participating in this Lab Gab session.
  • Those wishing to help can join the Relay for Life Volunteers in-world group.

Lab Gab 26 summary: Izzy and the Solution Provider Directory

via Linden Lab

The 26th edition of Lab Gab live streamed on Friday, May 22nd, featuring Izzy Linden, discussing, among other things, the re-launch of the Lab’s Solution Provider directory.

The official video of the segment is available via You Tube, and is embedded at the end of this article. The following is a summary of the key topics discussed and responses to questions asked.

Izzy Linden is a senior member of Linden Lab’s Land Operations team specialising in specializes in Custom Names, RegAPI. most recently, he has been handling the new business requests incoming from businesses and educational institutions due to the COVID pandemic. Along with the rest of the team, he also handles abandoned land tickets and liaises with the Moles concerning everything Linden Department of Public Works (such as provisioning regions for Linden Homes development).

Also, since May 2017, Izzy has run the Lab’s internal course teaching ALL Linden Lab employees (regardless of their pre-existing familiarity with the platform) about Second Life and how to use it – and how the Lab uses it (SL actually forms a core component of the Lab’s working tools, as it is used to host company / department / project meetings etc.).

The initial part of the discussion revolves around Izzy’s recent conversion to an all-mesh avatar, and I refer you to the video for that aspect of the session.

The all-mesh Izzy Linden with Lab Gab host Strawberry Linden

Solution Provider Directory

What is the Solution Provider directory?

  • A one stop shop resource location for people needing to find others in Second Life who can handle the things they need to get done: resign design / landscaping; making / proving buildings and objects; scripting; environment design; etc.
  • A place where any size of specialist providers from individuals with a specific focus (building, scripting, avatar looks creation, etc.), through to complete solution providers.

How can people apply to be a part of it?

  • At the bottom of the Solution provider directory page there is a link to a submission form.
  • Applications are reviewed by Linden Lab for suitability (e.g. the references provided in the form, checking the provider’s standing as a Second Life user, etc.).
  • The list of providers itself will be reviewed as well to ensure those who many have ceased offering a service / services for whatever reason are removed, etc.
  • An open rating system will not be provided, simply to avoid it being positively / negatively gamed.

What Happened to the “old” Solution Provider directory, and how is this different to that “old” directory?

  • It had been around a long time and was on a wiki page and had become stale.
    • (Side note: the original Solution Provider programme actually ran for around 2 years and utilised a web page supported by wiki pages – the directory itself didn’t become wiki-only until LL wound it down in 2012.
  • The goal is now to refresh it, and push it forward “more and more”.)
  • The current wiki page is purely an interim measure to get things started, and to address the needs voiced by incoming businesses / organisations to obtained skilled support.
  • Enhancements to the directory will be made over time and links to it will gradually appear “anywhere someone is liable to be looking”, e.g. the enterprise micro-site, the knowledge base, etc. Even the Marketplace may come to include a link.
  • The current directory has four categories: Full Service Companies; Software Solution Providers; Developer Tools and Specialists – these many be added to / refined / made more granular as a result of incoming submissions.

Business and Educational Use of SL Arising from the Pandemic

  • LL has had a “huge” level of interest from companies / organisations looking to shift to a virtual means of meeting their business or educational or social needs. These have included:
    • Wanting to run virtual meetings with staff.
    • Healthcare organisations wanting to provide psychiatric help to people virtually.
    • Schools not currently using SL to provide lessons.
    • Educational facilities wanting to offer their prom or graduation ceremony.
    • A virtual summer camp (which I’ll be covering shortly, having been in contact with the organisers for the last month).
  • Izzy was shifted to focus directly to trying to provide support / solutions for these organisations.
  • Organisations still wishing to contact LL about the potential of using Second Life should do so through the connect.secondlife.com micro-site.

Miscellaneous Questions

  • How do people join the Moles?
    • Details on the Moles (the Linden Department of Public Works, or LDPW) can be found on the SL wiki.
    • Applications can be made via note card to Derrick and / or Patch Linden.
    • Applicants will have to go through an interview process.
  • Can suggestions be made for future LPDW work?
    • Yes, again via note card to Derrick or Patch.
    • However, not every suggestion will be acted upon; a lot depends on feasibility, current LDPW projects / workload, etc.
  • Why does abandoned land remain so for so long?
    • The Land Team tries to respond to abandon land as quickly as possible, either be setting it for auction or by selling it directly to a user, depending on the particular situation.
    • A lot of factors play into this, such as trying to keep the Mainland as fresh as possible, not harming / being detrimental to surrounding Mainland areas, etc.
    • Additionally, the team pro-actively check areas of the Mainland for abandoned land that has not been made available for auction and make it so whenever they can.
    • Users finding abandoned land that is not set for auction can file a support ticket requesting the Land team investigate – either for a direct sale or for it to go to auction.
    • Land available for auction can be found on the Second Life auctions page.
    • Could there be a automated means of getting abandoned land set for auction? – not easily.
  • Will Cape Ekim be preserved when LL starts to retire the old Linden Homes mini-continents? (See: Of forgotten explorers, dragons and mysteries, May 2013, for more on Cape Ekim.)
    • Any area of the old Linden Homes of value to residents may be considered for preservation.
  • How will the old Linden Home regions be retired?
    • Currently, many of the old Linden Homes regions are still in use by residents who have opted not to move to Bellisseria. Ergo, for the immediate future, there are no plans / options for retiring these regions that can be discussed.
  • Will the updated trees and other flora seen in Bellisseria be added to the inventory Library?
    • Will pass that question up the line.
  • Will prices on land be coming down at all or soon?
    • Mainland and private island prices have been adjusted in the last few years.
    • LL is always looking at land costs and opportunities to make adjustments.
    • When we might seen any further adjustment cannot be indicated at present.
  • What’s happening with the work to beautify areas of the the Mainland?
    • The Moles are constantly working to improve the landscaping, etc., of Mainland.
    • No specifics on areas being selected, etc.
    • There are also a number of resident groups who purchase areas of Mainland specifically to beautify them for people to appreciate.
  • Why have there been no visible environment changes on Mainland with the release of EEP?
    • Because estate-wide changes could have a significant impact on people’s expectations of what they expect to see with environment lighting.

Previewing Lab Gab with Izzy Linden & the return of the Solution Provider Directory

via Linden Lab

The next edition of Lab Gab will be live streamed on Friday, May 22nd at 10:00 SLT (18:00 UK; 19:00 CET). For those who have not seen the official blog post about it, the segment will feature Izzy Linden of the Second Life land team.

Izzy has been with the Lab for some 13 years, working with the Land Team in various roles. Most recently he has apparently been working on a new Solution Provider’s Directory, which will be a core part of time on the show.

For those unfamiliar with it, the Solution Provider’s Directory formed a part of the Second Life Solution Providers Programme, this provided the means for businesses and organisations seeking specific skills – scripting, building, etc., – to make contact with individuals or companies / organisations providing such capabilities. At its height, the original solution provider programme included general users active within Second Life through to “gold” solution providers – those who had formalised their status (e.g. as a company of some form).

Izzy Linden with Lab Gab host Strawberry Linden

The original Solution Provider programme comprised a dedicated micro-site on the “old” Second Life web properties, and was supported by an in-world group and mailing list (SL Dev), a dedicated in-world region, and a series of SL wiki pages. However, it entered something of a decline from around the start of 2010 onwards, and in May 2012, the Lab announced the programme was to be wound down – see: End of the road for the SL Solution Provider Programme).

Since then – as far as I’m aware, the Solution Provider Directory has lain largely dormant, but as the Lab Gab announcement notes, it is now being revived (and in fact has two “full service” providers already listed), apparently driven in part by the number of business enquiries Linden Lab has received as a result of the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

Exactly whether or not this means LL will attempt to revive the broader aspects of the old Solution Provider Programme – direct links to relevant micro-sites such as connect.secondlife.com to better surface information on solution providers, together with a mailing list / in-world group and and supporting region, etc., – remains to be seen (although I’ve dropped a question or two on this ahead of the programme!).

If you have any questions for Izzy about concierge work, the Land Team and / or the solution provider programme, you can submit your own questions via the Lab Gab Google form.

As usual, the programme will be streamed via YouTube, Facebook, Mixer, or Periscope, and if all goes according to plan, I’ll have a summary of the video (and the video itself) available soon after the the broadcast, for those unable to watch live.