Here Are 9 Good Reasons To Backup

It’s a great question… why should you bother to make backups? It’s especially understandable if you’ve never experienced any sort of data loss. But I’ve got a list of NINE reasons, some of which may surprise you. Read on for that list, and ANSWERS to some of the best questions I’ve received about backups…

Do I Really Need to Back Up My Files?

I’m passionate about making sure that important files — programs, documents, emails, contacts, music, photos, and financial records — are NEVER lost due to a data disaster.

My goal was (and is) to teach people how to make backups easily, inexpensively, and automatically.

And I’m excited because I believe that my plain English explanations and instructions will guide both advanced users and even the most non-technical readers to success with backups, and trigger a “Wow, that was easier than I thought!” response when they’re done.

Over the past years, I’ve received some really great questions about backups from Second life goers and customers alike so  I’m going to answer some of those questions here, but first, let’s get into my list of reasons why you need to make backups.

1) Hard drives don’t last forever. Studies on hard drive life expectancy show that 28% of hard drives will fail in the first four years, due to factory defects, random failures, and parts that wear out. Failures due to factory defects tend to happen in the first 18 months of service. How old is your hard drive, and how lucky do you feel?

2) Viruses, power surges, and natural disasters happen. — Ransomware is spreading like wildfire online. It will lock all your files, and permanently delete them if you don’t pay a hefty ransom within a few days. Power surges can scramble data or zap files. Fires, floods and F5 tornadoes can tear the stuffing right out of your shiny gadget.

3) Stuff gets lost or stolen. — Even the most reliable hardware and top-notch virus protection won’t help if your laptop, tablet or smartphone falls into unfriendly hands. Only a backup will save your bacon.

4) Mobile gadgets break or get wet. — Have you ever dropped your mobile phone in a dirty slush puddle, or treated it to a wash/spin/dry joyride? I have. Have you ever dropped your laptop, watched it fall in slow motion, hoping that it will survive the fall? Been there, too.

5) Passwords get lost. — You followed the advice of the experts to use unique, secure passwords for your computer and your online accounts. But then you forgot… was it “23456llbean” or “llbean23456”? Damn it!

6) Accounts are compromised or frozen. — Your password was “PASSWORD” and you’re surprised you got hacked? Sometimes for no discernible reason, people get locked out of their Gmail, Yahoo, Second Life, Facebook or other online accounts. Was it a software glitch, a denial of service attack, or did a hacker gain access to your account? You may never know. And without a backup, you may never again see your saved emails, contacts or files.

7) Data breaches are becoming commonplace. — Every week, it seems there’s another high-profile data breach, resulting in millions of usernames, passwords and other critical data becoming public. Yahoo, Target, Chase Bank, American Express, Home Depot, Apple, Sony, Equifax… who’s next, and how will it affect you?

8) Human error. — None of us are immune to the occasional finger fumble, brain freeze, or senior moment. Files or folders may be accidentally deleted, and sometimes you don’t notice until it’s too late.

9) Incorrect assumptions. — I’ve learned that some people just assume that their computer is automatically making backups. If you didn’t do something to make it happen, it’s not happening. And many users who have some sort of backup routine are not backing up the right files, or all the ones that need protection.

Your Backup Questions Answered

I’ve received hundreds of questions about backups  I can’t answer all of them here, but I’ll highlight some of the most interesting and common ones below:

Q: “Which free backup software do you recommend? Also, which paid one do you recommend, as NORTON and ACRONIS are surprisingly problematic?”

A: My current favorite is Macrium Reflect. There’s a free version which is quite good, and a paid version that adds some extra features I like. Windows 7 includes the Backup and Restore feature, but I find it a bit clunky. If you have Windows 10, the File History feature is a really good option. I used Acronis True Image (paid software) for years, but the recent versions have become bloated and buggy. Lots of people tell me they like Easeus Todo Backup and AOMEI Backupper (both free) but I’ve not used either one enough to recommend them.

Q: “What exactly is ‘The Cloud,’ and how safe is it?”

A: Cloud storage or cloud backup refers to files that are stored on an Internet website (sometimes called a server) instead of your computer’s hard drive or other local storage. The term “cloud” is used to create the impression of a giant hard drive in the sky, which provides convenient access to files that reside on the Internet. Examples of cloud storage providers are Google Drive, Dropbox, Mozy and Carbonite.

I maintain that data stored in the cloud is MUCH safer than files stored on a local hard drive. Do you use 256-bit encryption for your sensitive files at home? Do you have a staff of highly-trained professionals constantly monitoring your computer for break-in attempts? How about strong physical security that includes gated perimeter access, 24×7 on-site security guards, and security cameras? Do you have a fire detection and suppression system, backup power, and a disaster recovery plan in the event of hurricane, flood or earthquake? You can bet your cloud storage provider has all that and more in place to safeguard your data. It’s probably much easier for the NSA to hack into your home computer than to get into any one of these cloud servers. Some people point to all the high-profile breaches reported in the news, but it’s important to note that none of those compromised companies were cloud service providers, who focus on data security above all else.

Q: “What is the difference between full system and data backup? What is the difference between what *should* be backed up and what *must* be backed up?”

A: In a nutshell, a full system backup (or image backup) includes everything on your hard drive — the operating system, program files, and your personal files. A data backup usually refers to a backup that only includes personal files such as documents, spreadsheets, music, photos, etc. That’s better than no backup at all, but my recommendation is to make regular image backups, followed up with a series of “incremental backups” that catch any changes since the full image backup.

Q: “If I get hit with ransomware or other malware, will that also affect the backups on my external hard drive, thus making recovery impossible?”

A: Yes, that can happen. That’s why I recommend backing up your backup. One way is to have two external drives, which you swap out weekly or monthly. That’s unfortunately a manual process, but I will discuss this in future post.

I Object!

I’ve heard lots of reasons for not doing backups. The most common one is “I’ll do nothing and HOPE for the best.” But there’s a problem with that. (Actually 9 problems, see above.) HOPE is the strategy of the fearful, the uninformed, and the procrastinator. In this case, “doing nothing” is almost certain to lead to disaster. BUT… if you knew you could protect ALL your information on ALL your devices with little or no expense, and make it happen automatically, wouldn’t that be great? Wouldn’t it be awesome to have CONFIDENCE instead of HOPE?

Other people say “Backups are too complicated or time consuming.” That might have been true 10 or 15 years ago. My first backup system used a tape drive that took forever to run, was prone to error, and was hard to set up. After that, I tried making backups on diskettes, CDs and DVDs. That was a hassle, and I never remembered to do it as often as I should have. But today we have “plug and play” devices that will start making automatic backups as soon as you plug them into your computer. Getting started with an online backup service is almost as easy, and both options can be configured to run at night, or when your computer is idle.

Another one I hear often is “Backups are too expensive.” As I mentioned earlier, there are some really good free backup software options, and some clever ways to access gobs of free online storage. Don’t trust your data in the cloud? A 500 gigabyte external hard drive costs less than $45 now. Still too expensive? How about a 128GB USB flash drive for about $15?

 

Have a Great Week

ZoHa Islands Staff

Have you ever wanted to pummel a Linden with a Snowball? Here’s your chance!

SAVE THE DATE – RESIDENT and LINDEN SNOWBALL SHOWDOWN!
Holidays have traditions – the gathering of families, the giving of gifts, the food and merriment, and – in our case – the Linden/Resident Snowball Showdown! This is your chance to arm yourself with some sweet snow-slinging artillery, take to the sparkling ice, and attack your friends, fellow Residents, and some Lindens with snowballs galore! But, you had better be prepared to get pummeled in return, because much of the joy of the holidays is giving – even if that means giving someone a snowball sandwich when they are least expecting it. Join us at the Snowball Fight Arena on Friday – December 15th from 11 am to 1 pm (SLT) and prepare to get pummeled!

Take a break from checking off your list, and have some fun at Winter Wonderland !

Settle in with a warm beverage and your favorite blanket, because we have a trove of twinkling winter treats to share.

 

THE SNOW SHINES BRIGHT in the VILLAGE of LIGHTS
Holiday delights are some of the best, and your journey begins in the Village of Lights – a quaint little town with spectacular lights, that buzzes with the charm and warmth of the season! Click the red gift packages that you encounter here for some freebies and gifts to enjoy. Once an hour, the Village of Lights pulls out all the stops for a spectacular fireworks show you don’t want to miss and most certainly will want to share with a special someone.

SNOWBALL FIGHT ARENA
While the scheduled Linden and Resident Snowball Showdown isn’t happening until December 15th – the arena is fully loaded with snow, snowball arsenal and some ‘capture the flag’ type castles for you to get lots of practice and training in! Many an epic snowball showdown (and one pumpkin smash fight!) have graced these fair lands – and this year will prove to be among the most epic! Grab a few friends and family members, and make some memories!

WINTER SNOW TRACK
Attention thrill-seekers:this may be just the spot for you! Grab a snowboard and/or snowmobile from the nearby vendors and hit the icy slopes at high speeds! Swish and whoosh as you through the glinting snow tracks. Be sure to hold on tight as you race other Residents to the finish line.

ICE SKATE ARENA
Glide with the grace of a swan across the frozen lake at the Ice Skate Arena – we’ll even provide the skates –  free from nearby vendors. This romantic spot is the perfect place to take your sweetheart for a spin before some hot cocoa and a snuggle at the ferris wheel.

FERRIS WHEEL
The Linden Department of Public Works did an incredible job on creating breath-taking views all over Winter Wonderland, and you will be hard-pressed to find one better than the romantic view gleaned from atop the Ferris Wheel.  Have your snapshot finger ready, and your special someone at your side because between the lights, sights, and delights of the fireworks show, you are sure to witness some magical moments you’ll want to preserve.

Stay tuned for more wintery fun to come – and watch this blog for info about our upcoming inworld holiday shopping event, and much more.

See you in the snow! (I promise that’s not a snowball bazooka I am hiding behind my back).

Have You Been Phished?

 

Phishing, the art of getting users to click on malicious links in bogus emails, is the favorite tool of scammers, by far. The reason is, phishing works. Scammers are getting better are slipping their phishes through spam filters and past anti-malware software. Ironically, the successful campaign to raise users’ awareness of online security hazards is making phishing more successful. Read on to learn about the latest phishing developments…

The Latest Phishing Baits

The irony is that increased awareness of phishing techniques has driven scammers to adopt techniques that are more sophisticated, and often more successful. Since January, 2017, a phish email targeting Netflix subscribers has been highly successful. The email tells dismayed users that their Netflix account has been suspended. It says the account can be restored by updating payment information, and provides a link to a page where the user can log in and update said info.

Of course, that link actually takes the user to a fake Netflix login page, and from there into a series of forms that demand ever more sensitive personal information. If you take the bait, your account password (and any other information you provide) is sent directly to Hacker HQ.

Several things stand out about the Netflix phish. First, its creators have gone to great trouble to replicate familiar Netflix pages almost exactly; there’s even a background image on the login screen that promotes recent Netflix’s original content. Second, the phishing site to which users get connected encrypts the HTML of fake pages it sends to victims, making it impossible for anti-malware apps to scan it for suspicious code.

A third line of defense for the scammers is that the pages won’t load for IP addresses that belong to Internet security monitoring groups, like Google, or the anti-phishing initiative Phish Tank. This trick keeps the Netflix scam sites off the blacklists of real-time Web monitoring services.

Phishers also evade detection by hacking into well-known, reputable sites and hosting their fake pages there. A fake page delivered from a reputable site will not be flagged by Web reputation services like Google’s Safe Browsing or the Norton SafeWeb service.

And of course, scammers are not interested only in your Netflix account, The same techniques are being used by phishes that purport to be Second Life, big banks, online publications, email services, and social media sites. Paypal, eBay, Facebook and Capital One bank have long been targets of phishers. But more recently there has been a focus by phishers on your Apple ID, Microsoft Outlook and Google Drive credentials. Be especially careful when dealing with online document signing services.

Simple Things You Can Do To Avoid Phishing Traps

Use the phone. Yes, it’s old school, but a quick call to your friend, mortgage broker, attorney, customer service, or the bank’s security department can confirm if an email is legit or not.

Don’t re-use a password on multiple sites. Use a password manager such as RoboForm to generate strong passwords and audit your entire database of passwords for duplicates. If you use the same password everywhere, it takes just one phish to open all of the doors to your digital life.

Confirm the apparent sender really is sending from the right email address (e. g., john@doe.com if you know that’s John’s address). In Gmail, you can do that by opening the email, clicking the down-arrow in the upper right corner, and selecting “Show original” to find the “From:” line. But just because a message comes from someone you know, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to open links in it. Your friend’s email account may have been compromised, spewing malicious emails to all of his or her contacts. (See “use the phone” above.)

Hover over an email link, and its full URL should appear. Does it lead to where it should, based on where the email seems to originate? An alert from Netflix.com should not steer you to a page hosted on some other website. When in doubt, don’t click a link in an email. Instead, go directly to the site via a browser bookmark, or by manually entering the URL.

Beware of email subjects that urge you to take action immediately. Phishers don’t want you to take time to think, or to research their bogus domains. “Panic” or alarm makes people act hastily, so it’s no surprise that the most successful phishing email subject lines include “SECURITY ALERT,” “REVISED VACATION & SICK LEAVE POLICY,” “PASSWORD CHECK REQUIRED IMMEDIATELY,” and the straightforward “URGENT ACTION REQUIRED.” The use of all-caps is deliberate, as it induces the adrenaline rush that comes with being shouted at.

Be careful with shortened URLs. Text messages that contain short URLs are another type of phish that targets mobile devices. Much to my alarm, I cannot find any simple way to preview the full URL represented by a shortened URL such as https://goo.gl/uNEbdN or http://bit.ly/2iT3S5y — it just takes me directly to its target, which may be a phishing trap. (Those examples are both shortcuts to AskBobRankin.com.) (You can do a “long press” on the message, then select “Copy text” and paste the URL into CheckShortURL.com/, but that’s a bit tedious.)

Let’s Review Some Perennial Favorite Holiday Phishing Scams

The fake invoice: invoices are hardly surprising during the busy shopping season, especially if it seems like something you’d buy as a gift. You may be inclined to click to see exactly what you’re being asked to pay, but that click may lead to a malicious download.

Shipping status notifications: a “click here to learn about the delay in your shipment” often works.

Unbelievable bargains, or even believable ones, appeal to greed, which is always unthinkingly in a hurry to be satisfied. “Hurry, only one hour left!” “Last one, on sale for 90% off!” is another good one.

Fake surveys promise some sort of reward for completing them. They start out innocently, asking reasonable questions about your shopping habits. But the questions get more and more personal, leading to requests for your name, address, phone number, and even credit card data (to defray shipping charges). If the questions get personal, it’s time to stop. Let that “reward” go.

Bottom line: Bad guys are getting better at evading all sorts of anti-phishing defenses, and at crafting bait that people will take. Ultimately, the best defense is your own thinking skills and common sense.

Have A Great Week and Be Safe This Holiday Season!

Deuce Marjeta and The Zi Staff

 

Getting Your Business in the SL Spotlight

Often I get  asked for tips from residents to get their businesses seen and get their brand marketed.  Events are definitely one of the many ways you can get your name out there…there are I’d say hundreds in Second Life now…ranging from home and garden, mesh body apparel, hair, and even just a bit of everything.  Many of these events run themed monthly events – where designers can apply to be included.  For each event a listed criteria will be provided on application pages where you can see if you’re business meets the requirements.  These events often get so popular its nearly impossible to get in without a teleport hammer HUD. Below is a list of event calendar and advertising pages with alot of public eye on them.  Seraphim features gallery pictures so you can “preshop”, which is awesome when you’re waiting to enter!

Seraphim – Hosted by a great group of people! / Lists ongoing events, major events and sales within the SL Community.

Second Life Event Calendar – Hosted by Sanura Snowpaw / To Submit Event: Apply Here

Hunt SL – Hosted by Rosamoo Mendlesohn & Xia Nishi / List of current hunts and submission to set up a hunt to be posted can be found on their blog.

Hunting SL – Hosted by Alianna Logan and Alon Alphaville / Second Life Fashion Feed as well as listing of events and hunts.

Here are some helpful tips for getting seen found via Second Life Wikipedia:

Appeal to humans, not search engines

Help people understand what you offer by providing useful, clear, and accurate descriptions that communicate what’s valuable and unique about your place, group, or event. Know your target audience and speak to their interests as specifically as possible. This helps you stand out from the crowd and helps new Residents become long-term members of our community and economy.

Be specific and descriptive

Avoid filling descriptions with nothing but a list of keywords. Use phrases and sentences that are human-readable. The search engine will return results for words that are based on the linguistic root of words in your description. This means that if you sell tango dance animations, your description does not need to include every version of the word dance (dances, dancing, and so on). Searches on the word dancing will include your listing in the results.

Note that a large portion of searches include more than one keyword (in fact, many searches are for phrases). Including relevant common phrases in your listing will increase its visibility.

For example, if you sell Jazz-age clothing and accessories, say so. If your location also looks like a speakeasy and hosts events, let people know.

Create a brand

Top merchants and events in Second Life are successful in part because they have created a unique feel around their product that helps people identify what’s especially valuable or appealing about their offering. Communicate the vibe of your store or group through its name, imagery, and targeted descriptions.

For more info on advertising opportunities, check out How to market your products and see the Classifieds FAQVisit the Business and Marketing wiki portal for more tips on starting a Second Life business or bringing your business into Second Life.

Maturity ratings matter

Be sure to mark your listing with the maturity rating appropriate to the content and location. Listings that are not marked appropriately will miss their target audience and may be blocked from search results. See Maturity ratings for more info. Note that all searches on secondlife.com return only  General results.

Stay current

Second Life is a changing world, and Resident search behavior changes too. Based on our monitoring of user behavior and satisfaction, we continually update our relevance and rank algorithms to serve the broadest user base possible. New releases to Search will be announced in advance, whenever possible, on the Second Life Blog Technology channel. As user behavior changes, so too should listing strategies change — ask your customers what drew them to your listing, and learn from others you admire.

Technical guidelines

Check Show in Search

Click the Show in Search check box to include your listing in the search index. This option is available on places, profiles, groups, and objects. If it is not checked, search results will not return these items. Events are automatically included in the search index. Note that items in the Search index are also available to be viewed on the web and may be indexed by web search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo!

Note: None of your personal information is available on the web unless you write that information in your listing descriptions.

Some tips

  • Spelling and grammar matter. Avoid using non-traditional spellings. Also, be sure you’ve got the correct spelling. Avoid over-use of capital letters or symbol characters.
  • Internationalize. Second Life is an international community in which many languages are spoken. If you are targeting non-English speakers, be sure to use their language in your listing name and descriptions.
  • Indexing. Updates are usually available within 6 hours.
  • Parcels. Take care when changing parcel boundaries. A variety of parcel data is used in calculating search rank, and changing the boundaries of your land parcel can cause that data to be reset or lost. When joining two parcels, the larger parcel keeps much of the parcel data.

Frequently asked questions about search rankings

Relevance and rank: what are they?

Linden Lab monitors and fine-tunes a wide variety of Second Life-specific data signals to weigh the relevance of listings for each search request. We first determine if a listing is relevant to a particular search query; we then determine the importance of that listing relative to other relevant results. Searchers can refine their results with filters or sorting features.

To create the best search tool for everyone, we are constantly improving the relevance and rank algorithms. Following the guidelines, policies, and tips in this document will help you create effective listings that reach your target audience.

Why did my listing move in the search results?

Search leverages advanced statistical regression of many different measures to determine the statistical significance of user behavior.  Put more simply, search changes over time as people use Second Life and we gather information about what they are doing.

How do I boost my ranking in search results?

Read the guidelines above. These guidelines are the best resource for improving your visibility in search.

What is traffic and what role does it play in search rankings?

About_Land.png

Traffic is a numerical metric calculated for every parcel of land inworld. This score can be summarized as the cumulative minutes spent on the parcel by all visitors to the parcel within the previous day. (The value shown in About Land is based on data gathered from midnight to 11:59 PM, Pacific Time.) It is calculated by taking the total seconds spent on the parcel, dividing by 60, and rounding to the nearest whole minute. For example, if your parcel has a cumulative seconds total of 121s over the course of a day, the traffic score is 2.

Traffic has a mild influence on the relevance of search results. It’s one of many factors included in the search logic.

To see the traffic score for a parcel, right-click on the ground in the parcel and choose About Land; or choose World > Place Profile > About Land. The General tab shows the traffic score for each parcel.

If I have zero traffic, do I drop from search results?

No. This rumor is not true. The amount of traffic (that is, the number of avatars on your parcel over time) has a small effect on search ranking, but it will not cause you to drop from search results altogether.

How does size affect search rankings?

Search treats very small parcels, especially parcels that are smaller than the 128 meter size restriction allows, as less important.  For more information about  land parcels in search, see Search FAQ.

How else is ranking determined?

In addition to traffic, size, and many more ranking mechanisms, we also apply a small negative boost related to how spammy a listing seems to be. We determine this using software that evaluates content and gives it a rating. This spam ranking is viewable on the source code of your world page listing, and there are several inworld merchants with free objects that tell you if your parcel has been flagged for spam. Adjusting the title and description text associated with your parcel affects your spam rating, and that new rating is picked up in the next update.

Are inworld business owners subject to a periodic re-shuffling of search criteria?

Search is a very important tool for users and business owners, and we constantly strive to improve that tool to meet all our Residents’ needs. We release periodic updates, new features, and bug fixes that may affect the performance of particular listings in the search results. Whenever possible, we communicate about these releases in advance on the Second Life blog.

Do classifieds that have paid more for inclusion always appear at the top of results?

Ads shown in both the Classifieds tab and on the right of all search results pages are ranked by a combination of keyword relevance and price paid.

Second Life System Requirements Will More Memory Speed Up Your Computer?

If your desktop or laptop seems sluggish, the problem may be too little RAM (Random Access Memory). But “add more RAM” is not the solution to every case of poor performance, and buying more RAM than you need or can use is just a waste of money. Read on to learn the ins and outs of RAM and how much RAM is the “sweet spot” is for most computers…

How Much RAM is Right?

RAM is the memory in which a computer temporarily stores things it needs to access quickly for the task at hand. Don’t confuse RAM memory with hard drive storage, which is where your computer stores programs, documents, photos and other files. When you turn off the computer, your RAM memory sits empty, but files stored on the hard drive remain.

Your web browser and certain parts of the operating system needed to show you this page should be in RAM right now. When you open a document in your word processor, both the program and the contents of the document are loaded from hard drive storage into RAM.

When you don’t have enough RAM memory, that’s when things tend to slow down. This may happen if you have several programs open at once, or if one of those programs needs to open a very large file. Rather than displaying an “out of memory” error and giving up, your operating system creates “virtual memory” by using a special file on the hard drive.

It’s the job of the operating system to move data between physical RAM memory and virtual memory in a way that maximizes efficiency. But all of that data movement involves reading from and writing to a hard disk drive, which slows everything down.

If the “disk activity” light on your PC is constantly flickering, you may need more RAM. I say “may” because a RAM shortage is not the only cause of excessive disk activity. The operating system does lots of behind the scenes tasks that involve accessing the hard drive. Damaged physical sectors on a disk, a corrupted file, or a mixed-up File Allocation Table are some other potential causes. You should run CHKDSK to find and fix such errors before buying more RAM.

The best indicator of the need for more RAM memory is if your computer noticeably slows down when you open multiple programs, or if there is a noticeable delay when switching between open programs. If you press the Start key on a Windows computer, and it doesn’t respond immediately, that could be another indicator.

How Much and What Type?

How much more RAM to buy depends on several things, not just the price of RAM.

RAM for PCs comes in the form of black chips soldered onto a rectangular green circuit board with (typically) gold connectors along one of its long edges; this is called a “stick” of RAM. Your PC has a fixed number and type of slots into which RAM sticks can be plugged. These factors limit total RAM capacity and the increments in which you can add RAM. You’ll need to find the RAM specifications for your particular make and model of PC. The manufacturer’s website or a visit to the Crucial Advisor tool can help you determine how much and what type of RAM your system can use.

The type of operating system you are running also matters when it comes to buying RAM. A 32-bit version of Windows can use a theoretical maximum of only 4GB of RAM. In practice, some RAM is needed by Windows, leaving about 3.1GB for user applications. So if you have the 32-bit version of any Windows edition, don’t bother going beyond 4GB of total RAM; the rest will go unused. (To find out if your computer is running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows, click the Start button, right-click Computer, and then click Properties.)

A 64-bit version can address much more RAM; the exact amount depends on which edition of 64-bit Windows you have. If you exceed these limits, you’ll be wasting money:

  • Windows 7 Home Basic: 8GB
  • Windows 7 Home Premium: 16GB
  • Windows 7 Pro / Ultimate / Enterprise: 192GB
  • Windows 8: 128 GB
  • Windows 8 Pro / Enterprise: 512 GB
  • Windows 10 Home: 128 GB
  • Windows 10 Pro / Enterprise: 2TB

In general, 8GB of RAM is enough for most home computer users. Heavy online gamers, video editors, and professionals who work with gigantic databases or spreadsheets may need more.

Is More RAM the Answer?

Adding more RAM is just one way to improve PC performance, and may be only modestly effective. One other thing that can really speed up older computers is to replace your hard drive with a solid-state (SSD) drive. When I bought my current desktop computer, the first thing I did was order an SSD drive to replace the standard magnetic hard drive that shipped with it. I opted for a 250GB Samsung SSD drive. It came with software called Samsung Data Migration, which made it super-easy to transfer everything from my existing hard drive, and make the new SSD my primary C: drive. The result was pretty dramatic. Startup time was reduced by more than half, programs open quicker, and everything just works faster.

Sometimes, it’s not your computer that causes sluggish performance. A slow Internet connection or a busy website can cause frustrating delays.

Regular disk maintenance, as well as keeping application software up to date will also improve performance, and is free.

Second Life System Requirements

CPU with SSE2 support, including Intel Pentium 4, Pentium M, Core or Atom, AMD Athlon 64 or later.
RAM 1 GB
OS Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 6600 or better

Second Life Recommended Requirements

CPU 2-GHz (Vista) 32-bit (x86) or better
RAM 3 GB
OS Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10
Graphics NVIDIA Graphics cards

My Recommendations
CPU Intel Core I5-I7
RAM 8GB
OS WIN 10 64 bit
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 9800 or better

Have A Great Week!

Deuce Marjeta and the ZI Staff

Linden Lab Exciting Improvements to SL & Fee Updates to Enable Even More

Linden Lab recently announced some spectacular changes and improvements int he works for all of the Second Life community.  I’ve recently seen alot of also negative posting about the Credit Processing Fees, unfortunately good things cost money.  In the end of things, the new rules and laws/regulations are in place to protect from money laundering and lining the pockets of not so good people.  I remember the days when it took well over a week to even process a credit, if I process a credit today – I have the funds next day via paypal…and 24 hrs later in my bank account.  Now – granted if I cash out on a Friday – I do have to wait til Monday, but still a significant improvement from past for sure! To protect the MANY good ones – sometimes we have to sacrifice a little for ultimate end game.  I personally and looking forward to the new Animesh features – this is a game changer guys! This feature will enable creators to use skeletal animations with non-avatar objects – like wild animals, pets, vehicles, and scenery objects

As we recently announced, we’re making multi-million dollar investments in Second Life that will benefit Residents in the near and long term, while also ensuring that the virtual world’s bright future ahead is even more awesome than its 14+ year history has been. Exciting times!

Today, we want to update the Resident community on some of the initiatives funded by those investments, and also announce two fee changes that will enable us to invest in even more Second Life improvements in the future.

Updates to LindeX and Credit Processing Fees

Second Life’s vibrant Linden Dollar economy and the ability to process credits has a very real impact on the lives of many around the world. Residents have built extremely successful businesses in Second Life, charitable organizations have raised millions of dollars for important causes, and a great many creators earn enough L$’s to fund their hobbies and shopping habits.

Underlying SL’s user-to-user economy and the ability to buy and sell L$’s for real currency is a significant amount of ongoing work to ensure that everything remains compliant with applicable laws and regulations, while also preventing fraud and money laundering. This work comes at a cost, and we are adjusting related fees in order to help cover those costs and enable us to continue to invest in Second Life’s future. The changes are as follows:

  • Effective today, the fee for buying L$ on the LindeX will be $0.99 per transaction (previously it had been $0.60 per transaction). These changes impact only buys on the LindeX, and the fees associated with buying L$’s during SL Marketplace transactions remain unchanged.
  • On January 3, 2018, the fee for processing credit transactions (i.e. paying real money into a PayPal or Skrill account) will be 2.5% per transaction, with a $3 (USD) minimum, and no maximum. This fee is currently 1.5% per transaction, with a $3 (USD) minimum and a $25 (USD) maximum.

New & Upcoming Improvements to Second Life

We’re investing across a number of areas for SL, including new features, engineering support, customer support, billing systems and upgrades, and customer acquisition outreach. Some of these will be long-term initiatives, but here are a few updates on some of the improvements you can enjoy right now (or very soon!):

More fun, for everyone in SL. We introduced SL’s first grid-wide game Tyrah & the Curse of the Magical Glytches, giving all Residents a new experience to enjoy throughout SL. The game is designed to encourage a grid-wide level of participation and exploration, and already it’s been played by nearly 5,000 Residents. Very soon, we will enable Resident-owned locations to host portions of the game, and we will announce those details when ready.

New creative tools. We recently released Animesh in beta, enabling creators to use skeletal animations with non-avatar objects – like wild animals, pets, vehicles, and scenery objects. Coming soon is EEP!  (Environmental Enhancements Project), a series of extensions to Windlight that enable you to trade or sell your own environment settings. EEP will also allow Parcel-based environment settings and an extended day cycle too!

More value for Premiums subscribers. In the coming weeks, we’ll be rolling out a new perk for Premium subscribers (hint: it’s a feature that’ll be helpful for merchants and shoppers…).

More customers for your businesses. We’re making changes to help get new users active in the SL economy more quickly and easily. The sooner a new user has L$ in her wallet and understands how to use them, the sooner she can become a customer for every business owner in SL, and so we’re working to streamline user flows and update tutorials to make that happen.

New ways to stop the bad guys. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for successful platforms to attract cheaters and bad actors. Some of these villains attempt to hurt Residents’ businesses by bypassing creator protections in SL, and we’re continually developing new tools and techniques to combat this. Recently, we closed an exploit that fraudulent gacha re-sellers had used. Our governance team can now catch them when they attempt the cheating method that we have already fixed. Many bad actors have already been banned from SL, and additional changes will soon make our team even more effective. Protecting your creations and your SL businesses is important to us!

We continue to make progress in the massive upgrade to SL infrastructure and move to the cloud (we call this project Brave New World). This move will (among many other things), help make SL more performant for Residents around the world, and may also enable us to introduce new products and more flexible pricing in the future.

We continue on our mission of only sending email to verified addresses (more here). Missing IMs lately? To never miss an offline IM again, log in to your account on the web, click on “Account,” then “Change Email Settings,” and then simply click “Verify” next to your current address.

Much more to come!

Of course, we’re working on improvements to the SL Viewer, Simulator (servers), and Web properties all the time, and there’s more than we can fit into a single blog post.  As we forge ahead you can keep up with the latest developments with the release notes we post to the forums: