November 2020 WUG 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, November 4th, 2020. These meetings are generally held on the first Wednesday of the month, with dates and venue details available via the Web User Group wiki page.

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

  • The SL Marketplace is again being transitioned back to AWS services, having been rolled back the the Lab’s co-lo after the initial migration. This work has been causing some hiccups in Marketplace service delivery.
  • For those will using the old style Linden Homes, the web-based control panel pages for these (controlling decoration, door locks, window blinds,, etc.), have now been transitioned to AWS.
  • The Destination Guide pages (world.secondlife.com) have been transitioned to AWS.
  • Tools and web pages related to the support teams have been migrated to AWS.
  • It is possible that by the next WUG meeting, all Uplift work related to the Lab’s web properties will have been completed.
  • Once the migration work has been completed the web teams will start reviewing their backlog of work and prioritising items for actioning.

Mobile Client

  • The iOS version of the mobile client is now with the Lab’s QA team who are testing the changes made following the initial rejection by Apple.
  • Once QA are satisfied, the app will be re-submitted to Apple for acceptance into their app store.
  • The Android version remains under development, but still “some way” behind the iOS version.

Please also refer to my periodic SL Mobile updates, which are made as and when there are significant updates in the status of the client.)

As an aside, for those who point to the likes of Lumiya and its capabilities and ask why the LL client isn’t offering the same right from launch, it’s worth remembering that Lumiya took several years to develop its capabilities  iteratively – it wasn’t launched with all of its features fully-fledged.  This is the route the Lab is trying to take with their mobile client.

Marketplace

  • Some have noticed that they are no longer receiving e-ail notifications when they have a sale on the Marketplace. The Marketplace team are aware of this issue and are investigating.
    • Those who do encounter the issue are asked to contact support and let them know, and the details will be passed to the MP team.
    • Re-verifying your e-mail address is also suggested, just in case.

In Brief

  • LL is liable to release a new batch of last names for Premium Name Changes during the winter months. this will likely see the removal of some of the lesser-used last names that are currently in the list, as happened with the first set of updates, as well as the “limited offer” SL birthday related last names.
  • There are currently 11 themes for the “new” Linden Homes that are either available or in planning, with a possibly farm-ish teaser  (note the hay bales) of the theme that will follow the Stilt Homes.
  • Premium Plus remains under discussion internally at the Lab, but no information on possible deployment dates or fees, etc., are available at this time.

Next Meeting

  • Wednesday, December 2nd, 14:00 SLT.

October 2020 WUG summary with SL Mobile news

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, October 7th, 2020. These meetings are generally held on the first Wednesday of the month, with dates and venue details available via the Web User Group wiki page.

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

The primary focus remains on uplift work, and while there have been updates to some of the user-facing web properties and image updates for web pages to reflect the season, and some new pages for events such as the September Titmouse event (see: Second Life to have a smashing time with Titmouse) there was not much to report.

There should be more news on web updates available at the next WUG meeting in November.

General Uplift Notes

See also my recent TPV Developer meeting and CCUG meeting notes.

In general, the Lab’s aim is to have all uplift work completed by the year-end.

  • This is getting all services and properties running via cloud services without additional work on making improvements (unless it makes specific sense to make changes as a part of the uplift process, as we saw with region crossings recently).
  • Improvements will follow-on from the initial uplift work as the Lab gains greater familiarity with running services in the cloud.
  • Similarly, there are no plans to offer new land products or alter the capabilities of the existing region types on completion of the uplift (although it has been indicated elsewhere these may come over time in the future).
  • There will obviously be a resumption in region availability once the uplift work has been completed.
  • The end-of-year target is a fairly “hard” target, with the caveat that the unexpected can happen to delay things – although that doesn’t appear to have happened thus far.

Mobile Client

iOS

  • The iOS version of the mobile client was submitted to Apple for review – and was rejected. LL is currently working to address the issues as a part of Apple’s review.
  • Once this has been done, the app will again go through LL’s QA process and then be re-submitted to Apple for evaluation / App Store listing,
  • The version currently remains available to those on the closed Alpha only.
  • Interestingly, the Lab’s data suggests to them that the number of users with iOS is slightly greater than those with Android, although it’s not clear had this data is derived.

Android

  • The android version is still being developed, but remains “some way” behind the iOS version.
  • Currently it is not ready for any user-based testing.

General Points of Note

Please also refer to my periodic SL Mobile updates, which are made as and when there are significant updates in the status of the client.)

  • It is initially intended to be a communications app, aimed at allowing those who are away from their their usual means of access Second Life to communicate with friends via IM.
  • This means that the initial release will not have capabilities such as world rendering, support for making sales / purchases through it, etc.
  • However, the client will be enhanced over time.
    • Group and group chat functionally were specifically mentioned, so might be the first set of enhancements.
    • Inventory management was also mentioned, as is apparently being considered, but is described as having its own “own bucket or twelve of worms”, so no decision on if / when it may appear has as yet been made.

As an aside, for those who point to the likes of Lumiya and its capabilities and ask why the LL client isn’t offering the same right from launch, it’s worth remembering that Lumiya took several years to develop its capabilities  iteratively – it wasn’t launched with all of its features fully-fledged.  This is the route the Lab is trying to take with their mobile client.

Marketplace

Demos

  • In general, demo version of items on the Marketplace should be linked to the full version.
  • There are reports that since making demo items filterable in search, there has been an increase in unlinked demo items
  • It’s not clear if this is because people are trying to avoid the filter, or that incoming new merchants simply don’t understand they can link demos to full versions, or even if it is a functional limitation of the filter to pick-up all demo items.
  • The Lab will take a look at this, and ideas on how to improve the information given on creating listing are requested via feature request.

Suggestions

A number of suggestions for the MP were put forward at the meeting:

  • Add a feature similar to see on the old XStreetSL marketplace: a request for purchasers of items to provide a review.
  • Provide a means by which creators can enable a report their last log-in date on their stores / listings. The idea here is to increase the confidence of purchasers that they will receive after-sales support, etc., should it be required.
  • An option for a “Show Only # Star Reviews” (where # is the number of stars) and / or to show a summary of star reviews by #of stars (as with Amazon product listings).
  • LL have requested these all be submitted as feature requests.

Last Names

  • Last Names are still seeing a good response from Premium users.
  • LL might opt to offer a new selection of names to reflect the time of year – but again, this would be dependent upon the current volume of uplift work.
  • Currently, the Lab has around 10,277 names that could potentially be used over time.

Next Meeting

  • Wednesday, November 4th, 14:00 SLT.

September 2020 WUG summary: uplift and SL Mobile

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, September 2nd, 2020. These meetings are held monthly, generally on the first Wednesdays of the month, with dates and details of the meetings available via the Web User Group wiki page.

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

The primary focus for the web teams remains the transitioning of services from the Lab’s own servers to AWS servers as a part of the Uplift project, although non-uplift web properties work is being carried out where possible, as noted below.

Uplift Work

  • Place Pages and the land store pages are all now running in the cloud.
  • Various support tools as used by the Lab have also been transitioned to running in the cloud.

Non-Uplift Web Properties Updates

  • The Second Life Jira has been updated, although this caused some issues for users who had not used  the Jira for some time, but who had used the Name Changes capability to change their avatar (user) name. This has now been fixed.
  • A  similar update is required for the SL wiki (for those able to edit pages). This will be implemented after the cloud uplift work has been completed.
  • The Marketplace has received a number of fixes / updates, including:
    • A fix for some users being unable to create stores on the MP.
    • A fix for some of the merchant reports hanging when run.
  • The SL web properties (including the viewer’s web search) now have a Cookies Acceptance banner, as required under Californian law.

Premium Plus

  • Currently “shelved” due to cloud uplift work,
  • It is still “on the [road] map, but just not a target right now.”
  • Will be looked at again some time after the uplift work has been completed.

Mobile Client

  • Issues arose during the QA testing of the last iOS update, these are currently being worked  on.
  • The current plan is now:
    • A further QA testing on the iOS version of the app.
    • If  this version passes QA successfully, make it available to the current closed alpha testers AND submit it to Apple for their testing / review.
  • While LL will *not* be offering the ability for using to purchase L$ or make transactions in the initial releases of the app, they are watching the escalating Epic (Fortnite) / Apple + Google situation (see: Epic suing Apple and Google over Fortnite bans: Everything you need to know) to see how this affects fees levied by both Apple and Google regarding L$ transactions, once they become available through the SL mobile app.
  • As per last month, the Android version of the apps remain some way behind the iOS version.
  • General reminder: in its initial iterations, the app will be primarily focused on communications. It will not have a full range of capabilities when initially made available to users, but will be iterated upon; this includes the app not having any world rendering capability, although this may be added in the future.
  • General updates on the app can be found in my periodic SL Mobile updates.

Next Meeting

Wednesday, October 7th, 14:00 SLT.

August 2020 Web User Group: updates & upcoming attractions

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, August 5th, 2020. These meetings are held monthly, generally on the first Wednesdays of the month, with dates and details of the meetings available via the Web User Group wiki page.

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

The primary focus for the web teams remains the transitioning of services from the Lab’s own servers to AWS servers as a part of the Uplift project. However, other work is continuing as an when possible, and in the last month this has meant:

  • The new Second Life logo (see: Out with the green, in with the blue) continues to be rolled out across the various services – in this case, notably the Cashier pages – as the team get to them. This is a relatively low priority item so it will still be a while before the logo is consistent across all properties.
  • UTF-8 will now be accepted in response to security questions.
  • Additional back-end work on Name Changes was implemented, mainly tools used by the Lab but also some changes that may allow for some possible future features related to the capability.
  • The secondlife.com log-in page images received a refresh.
  • Fixes:
    • Marketplace: received a fix for images not showing correctly.
    • Events: fixes for images not showing with posted events; for multiple pages of hosted events not working and for the language picker drop-down not working on exiting events pages.
    • Place Pages received a number of fixes.
    • Land Auctions received a fix for beta lifetime users being unable to bid on auctions.
    • A back-end issue with Premium acquisition was fixed.
    • Viewer download page: now includes a link for Mac OS X Catalina (and later) users experiencing problems installing the Mac flavour of the viewer, and that takes them to the Troubleshooting Second Life Installation on Mac OS X page.
Viewer installation help for Mac OS X Catalina (or later) on the viewer download page

Mobile Client

  • The iOS version has been in a closed alpha for 2+ months. These is now a build destined to go to Apple’s App Store.
  • Work continues on the Android version, but is currently some way behind the iOS work.
  • See for more.

Post-Uplift Work

Note: the following is a general list of work LL are looking at, post-Uplift to the cloud, however, it is still subject to change, and none of it should be taken as a firm commitment for carrying out the work or any indication of the order in which it might be carried out:

  • Marketplace: variances for listings (e.g. one listing for an item offering it in different colours).
  • Events: bug fixes, category  and search refinements.
  • Names Changes: further tweaks.
  • Web properties in general: better optimisation for display on mobile properties.
  • Further work still to be added to the list.

Marketing Brief

  • Following the presence of Gen Con in Second Life (see: Coming to Second Life: Gen Con “the best four days in gaming”, Gen Con: sneaking a peek in Second Life and Gen Con in Second Life: let the games begin!), LL have had a debriefing with the VRazeTheBar team, and the hope is it will pave the way for further displaced conferences to be held within Second Life.
  • There are potential opportunities in the offing for a further media presence for Second Life which may be akin to the CSI:NY episode Down the Rabbit Hole (2007), or SL’s appearance in the US version of The Office. Details still TBA.
  • There is also an upcoming partnership with the Peale Museum in Baltimore, so the latter can bring their exhibits and events in-world with a reproduction of the museum building (itself a National Historic Landmark in the United States) and special virtual open house as part as the museum’s August 15rh Founder’s Day event.
  • These styles of events are seen as a way to broaden awareness of Scone Life and its potential.

Premium Plus

  • Still on hold.
  • May be revisited at some point.
  • May also be revised before being released.

Next Meeting

Wednesday, September 2nd, 14:00 SLT.

May 2020 Web User Group

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, June 3rd, 2020. These meetings are held monthly, generally on the first Wednesdays of the month, with dates and details of the meetings available via the Web User Group wiki page.

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).

Account Self-Reactivation

  • Previously, if a user left Second Life and asked for their account to be de-activated, it would require a support ticket to have the account re-activated at a future date, should the user wish to return to SL and to that account.
  • Users can now re-activate their account directly.
  • This is seen as a way to help people returning to Second Life as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 situation to be able to resume using their “old” accounts, rather than having to fully start over without having to soak up support personnel time in re-activating an account.
  • To work, a returning user must know both the account name / password and the e-mail address used to create the account.
  • This method doesn’t replace raising a support ticket for account re-activation, so people can still file a ticket if they do not have all the required information.
  • Details on account reactivation can be found here.

Mobile Client

  • The iOS version is now in a closed alpha featuring some residents.
  • In keeping with the Lab’s plans, this version offers the ability to communicate via IM, and has a basic Friends listing.
  • Further updates will follow  – the next being the addition of Abuse Reporting support and improved management for the Friends list.
  • Once the Lab believe the client has an initial set of functions to make it useful as a communications tool, it will will move to a beta phase and made available to a wider cohort of users for further testing.
  • Work is progressing on an Android client, but it will take time for it to reach a point where it is ready for testing. When it is ready, it will likely follow a similar Alpha / Beta test process to the iOS version.
  • Additional work on SL web properties is also being carried out in relation to the Mobile client.

In Brief

  • The Adult Swim event held in May heavily involved the web team, and similar events are apparently being planned for the future.
  • Name Changes:
    • In response to requests, the list of last names provided on the Name Change page can now be seen by Basic members, so they can review the currently available names without have to upgrade first.
Basic users can now see the list of available last names on the Name Change page, so they can check to see if there is a name they’d like before they upgrade to Premium to use the capability.
    • No indication of how frequently the list of last names will updated, but plans remain to change out names once they reach a certain point of use and / or fail to gain traction and use.
    • There will be a blog post ahead of any update to allow people who what to take a name before it might vanish from the list can do so.
  • Work continues on deploying the updates Second Life logo / font (see Out with the green, in with the blue) across web properties as they are naturally updated for other reasons.
  • There was a reminder that user in Norway and Australia must now pay VAT or GST is now applicable on Linden Lab products services (see VAT & GST on Lab products & services for Norway & Australia).
  • Feature request and bugs discussed:
    • To help with EEP asset merchandising, the following feature request has been filed: BUG-228856 “EEP Category in Marketplace”.
    • BUG-228845 “Marketplace Edit Item Listing loses Image Upload option” has been accepted by the Lab for cloning to their internal Jira system.

April 2020 Web User Group: Name Changes et al

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 1st, 2020. These meetings are held monthly, generally on the first Wednesdays of the month, with dates and details of the meetings available via the Web User Group wiki page.

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).

Name Changes

  • Deployment of the Name Changes capability is now “really, really close”.
  • As of the meeting, all of the major elements for Name Changes are with the Lab’s QA team for testing.
  • IF no significant issues / showstoppers or the like are uncovered by QA, it is probable that Name Changes will launch before the end of April.

Premium Plus

  • All of the required / update workflows for managing Premium Plus are in place, and the various web pages that will need to be refreshed with updated information have been prepared ready for the eventual Premium Plus launch.
  • All of the back-end work is in place.
  • LL are still “sitting on” all of the various values (fee, benefits, etc.), that are associated with Premium Plus.
  • No release date but said to be be “closer” – however, as I’ve previously noted, it will not come until some time after Name Changes have been made available.

Marketplace

  • Keywords and unlisting: if an item is unlisted from the MP for keyword use issues, the merchant will now get an automated e-mail notification.
  • Further improvements to the keyword system will be made over time.
  • There have been multiple fixes to the Marketplace, including:
    • Corrections for translations for non-English languages and alternate language descriptions on listings being incorrect or not displaying correctly.
    • Fixes for issues with the transaction e-mail settings.
    • Correcting the issue of some listings failing to appear in search results on Merchant’s Manage Listings pages.
    • Cleaned up the behaviour of received items.
    • Single sign-on session handling between the viewer and the Marketplace has been improved to prevent the system getting confused between which account a user was using to make a MP purchase if they were logged-in and using the MP from two accounts.

SL Marketing

  • Work has been put into refreshing a lot of the Second Life landing pages as a part of promoting Second Life.
  • This work includes the development of the enterprise / business micro-site, including the new explore page for the (at present) seven turnkey solutions.
    • I’m currently discussing with LL a possible article on this aspect of Second Life that will present a walk-through of the micro site and how interested parties can use it to engage with LL and progress through to using one of the region types.
    • The global MuseWeb 2020 conference is in progress at the time of writing, and has moved to an entirely on-line status as a result of the current pandemic. Portions of this event are being presented in or relayed through Second Life, using one of the enterprise turnkey solutions – see: MuseWeb: utilising Second Life in support of a global conference).
  • Internally to the Lab, one of the new consumer campaigns (yet to launch at the time of writing) is called the Comfort Campaign, promoting Second Life as a virtual social environment where people can meet, share times, enjoy the company of others (pretty much in keeping with the ideal of “stay safe, stay virtual”) during the current crisis, whilst at the same time avoiding the appearance of being in any way exploitative.

Two-Factor Authentication

  • Still being worked on.
  • First step will likely be sending out an e-mail notification when an attempt to log-in to a Second Life service is made from an unrecognised device.
  • More robust 2FA controls will be added, and will initially be opt-in before eventually becoming required.

It’s a very serious topic that we are working on in parallel to AWS work. Which means it made the cut of “what can we stop working on to make AWS go faster.

– Ekim Linden

In Brief

  • Website polls. People visiting Second Life web properties such as secondlife.com and the Marketplace may have noticed a pop-up poll appearing when they do so, asking if they would recommend SL to others.
    • Apparently, those responding at largely indicating they would (although obviously saying and doing aren’t the same).
    • At the same time, the poll also received a lot of negative feedback due to the annoyance factor (it would keep popping up on a user logging into any Second Life web property until responded to), and so has been turned off.
    • However, there are more such polls being planned, although how they are being presented might be reconsidered.
  • Web profiles and legacy profiles viewer: there are further fixes awaiting before this profile can roll forward, and these are queued behind other work at present.
  • Forum spamming. There has been an upturn in new accounts spamming the forums. It is possible that if this continues and gets worse, LL may consider some form of throttling / limits on the volume of posts that can be made by an individual account at a given time.