It Will Take Awhile for Bakes on Mesh to Make a Difference in SL

Why It Will Take Awhile for Bakes on Mesh to Make a Difference in SL

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Commenting on Cassie’s video comparing SL mesh bodies, and her note that Bakes on Mesh doesn’t seem to improve performance, Patchouli W provides this analysis:

BoM’s true value contribution will only surface once onion-skin geometry is stripped away from BoM-optimized versions of the same body and people stop wearing more than one copy of the body geometry because of the removal of said onion-skins. The other optimization that will need to happen – and this is trickier because of limitations on how BoM works currently as well as so many legacy mesh clothing items being reliant on them – is the removal of legacy alpha cutting in favor of a BoM model that can handle ‘cuts’ made by using system layer alphas – this would reduce the amount of duplicated geometry required to fake smooth transitions between disparate pieces of geometry as well.

Only when these two changes are pushed through in full will the full value of BoM in cutting the impact of mesh bodies on the SL grid be fully realized. Then there’s the issue of trying to port this work over to cope with normal and specular/env channels baking, which is an entirely new kettle of fish since the way normals are blended is a little different compared to diffuse and specular texture layering.

This may be true or not true, but what’s striking to me is all the 3D graphics technical jargon one must know to understand the state of Second Life mesh. Or as it was expressed in the immortal line from The Limey: “There’s one thing I don’t understand. The thing I don’t understand is every motherf#@&ing word you’re saying.”

 


Anyway, Patch’s basic takeaway — be patient:

In short, it’s going to take a while, and you need to support your body maker of choice in the transition by encouraging them and providing the feed back they need as they release beta tests of your current body, because if they see it as a thankless task, they may just give up and let go. And that’s no good for any one of us.

And don’t forget to watch Cassie’s mesh round-up above!

Have a great week from all of us at ZI and FI

Haunted Second Life

“Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.”  – 
from Shakespeare’s Macbeth

 

Oh, there are strange ( and stranger) things afoot, and all over the Grid, Residents and Creators alike are brewing up some Halloween mischief. It is — after all — one of the most exciting and celebrated holidays in Second Life!

All Hallows Eve, Samhain. Hallow E’en – a time when the spookiest, kookiest, and most mystical of mayhem rolls into our world like a thick and possibly sentient fog. The veil between the living and the departed grows thin, and everywhere you look, you see pumpkins, skeletons, ghosts, and ghouls. And don’t forget the treats, and sweets, and tricks and broomsticks – it’s magical!

This week’s destination video highlights just a few of the scarier Regions you can experience in Second Life, and while many embrace the spookier side of things all year round, be sure to haunt the Haunted category of the Destination Guide, throw on your favorite costume, and explore. Then join us on Halloween from 11 am to 2 pm SLT for our annual Creepy Crawl. More details on the schedule for that are coming …

Locations featured in this video are:

 

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Arranmore

Explore the timeless coastal island of Arranmore, with its haunted manor house and photogenic scenery. Enjoy the creepy landscape shrouded in mist. Remember, it is not what you can see that is scary – it is what you can’t see. Don’t forget to take the flashlight from the station platform when you arrive.

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Everwinter

Welcome to Everwinter, a post-apocalyptic theme park. Many years after a nuclear disaster, Everwinter sits frozen in time. Explore the aftermath, take in the sights and sounds, or maybe find a quiet spot in an abandoned building. Frequented by scavengers and those lucky enough to survive, only time will tell how long you’ll last in Everwinter.

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Pendle Hill

Welcome to Pendle Hill, a new creepy build by Lauren Bentham. Explore the dark side of Second Life at this creepy haunted island. Bring your friends and wander the misty shores and haunted house of Pendle Hill, but remember, it is not what you can see that is truly scary, it is what you can’t see. Don’t forget your camera, so you can take home some photo memories of your visit.

These regions are made by well-known UK-based designer Lauren Bentham, whose work – with her unique style that includes delicate windlight design – includes more lighthearted fare such as beaches and other relaxation spots.

For more  Destination videos, check out our Destination Video channel on our official YouTube Channel.

Video production courtesy of Draxtor Despres
Featured in this video: Masks and avatars by Walton Wainwright

Have a Great Week From All Of Us At ZI

[SECURITY] Your Password Is Not Enough

If you scanned that headline quickly, you might have read it as ‘Your Password Is Not Strong Enough.’ The point of today’s article is no matter how strong your password, it’s not enough to protect you. Some security tips bear repetition. I’ve been beating the drum for two-factor authentication for several years. I know, it sounds geeky, but it’s actually a simple tool that can protect you even if your password is stolen or compromised in a data breach. Here’s what you need to know…

What is Two-Factor Authentication?

It goes by many names… Sometimes it’s referred to as “2FA,” “two-step verification,” “login approval,” or “enhanced login security.” Bottom line, it’s a big improvement on the username/password method of gaining access to online accounts. Massive data breaches, often exposing millions of login credentials

Two-factor authentication makes it much more difficult (if not impossible) for someone to hack into your online accounts, even if they have your password. That’s because a password is just one factor used to prove (authenticate) that you are who you say you are. The other authentication factor will be quite different.

A username, such as JSmith419, is who you claim to be. In order to authenticate that claim, you may provide a password which, in theory, only the real JSmith419 knows. That’s one-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication requires two of the following three types of authentication factors:

  • Something you know (e.g., a password)
  • Something you have (e.g., a mobile phone)
  • Something that is part of you (e.g., a fingerprint)

Passwords and mobile phones have become the preferred pair of factors for two-factor authentication. To use two-factor authentication methods 1 and 2, you might register your phone number with an online service such as Gmail, Facebook or your bank. Then, each time you enter your username and password, the service sends a text (SMS) message to that phone number, containing a unique one-time code that you must type in to be fully authenticated.

But there are serious vulnerabilities in SMS-based authentication. The SMS protocol was never designed for sensitive communications, so it utterly lacks encryption and other ways of defending against eavesdroppers.

You’ve Got Options

Google and other online services offer 2FA without the insecure SMS requirement. If you turn on this option you’ll need to enter your username/password as usual. You’ll then be prompted for an authentication code before the login can be completed. The code can come from Google Authenticator, an app for your Android or iOS device. This time-sensitive code can be generated even if you’re not online, and you can also print a list of codes for use when you don’t have your phone handy.

The really cool thing about using a two-factor authentication app is that even if a malicious person has your username and password, they cannot login to your account! And no, using Google Authenticator does not give Google access to any of the accounts you use it with. If you prefer to use a non-Google authentication app, check out Authy or the Lastpass Authenticator.

If it sounds like a nuisance to enter both a password and a verification code every time you log in, well, you’re right. But most services that offer two-factor authentication give you the option to enter the code once and check a box that says something like “trust this computer.” If you do that, you won’t need to enter a verification code each time you sign in with that computer.

Online businesses increasingly urge customers to use two-factor authentication. Some even insist upon it. Their reasons include the skyrocketing frequency of mass thefts of username/password pairs by hackers, and the cost of responding to such breaches. Those costs can include lawsuits, fraudulent transactions that merchants or banks must eat, the cost of notifying affected customers, and even the cost of providing a year’s worth of credit report monitoring. Not to mention the cost of bad publicity and lost customers.

2FA: Step-By-Step

There are a couple of websites developed to encourage and help Internet users enable two-factor authentication on all the sites that offer it. The Turn It On site is chock-full of information about two-factor authentication (abbreviated 2FA). Even better, it provides step-by-step instructions for enabling 2FA on over 100 sites, a list that is growing rapidly. See also TwoFactorAuth.org for a long list of websites that support Two-Factor Authentication.

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Gmail, Instagram, Outlook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Yahoo are among popular sites offering 2FA. “Turn It On” also documents 2FA procedures for backup and sync services such as Dropbox; financial sites including Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America; cloud computing resources such as Amazon Web Services; communication services such as Skype and Office 365; domain services such as GoDaddy; Web hosting services; government Web sites; Paypal and other payment services; eBay, Etsy, and other shopping sites; and many social media sites.

Another option for two-factor authentication is a gadget called a security key. We are all relying on web-based services for an increasing number of functions. As the number of user accounts you have grows, so does your exposure to identity theft and fraud. Two-factor authentication is the best way to protect yourself. It’s worth the small extra effort.

Have a Great week from all of us at ZI

 

What’s Next for Linden Lab?

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We at Linden Lab are dedicated to creating the future of virtual experiences via both our pioneering virtual world Second Life and new virtual multiverse Sansar. We also recently launched Tilia, which powers our virtual worlds’ commerce.

As a company, we do things that no one else does and we aren’t afraid to take on complex challenges that drive innovation and improvements on both our established and emerging virtual world platforms. That’s why we’re excited and proud to share with you the latest news about what we’re up to for both Second Life and Sansar.


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Today Sansar introduces new features including improved avatar editing, experience points and titles, and new core worlds. We also have first-of-their-kind partnerships with several established music and entertainment companies. Now with a rich backstory and new quests, Sansar has come a long way since it debuted in beta in 2017 and is worth a second look!

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As for Second Life, we continue to work hard on making substantial improvements and new additions to ensure that it stays fresh and relevant for many years to come. Here’s an update on what we’re working on:

New Features & Enhancements
Over the past year, we’ve shared our plans to add multiple new features and enhancements to Second Life. Our engineering and product operations teams are continuing to do the heavy work on making these and other improvements available as fast as possible.

Animesh
We’ve already delivered Animesh, which allows independent objects to use rigged mesh and animations. We’ve been having so much fun watching residents’ creations come to life! So far, the creator community has developed over 1,300 animated objects on the Marketplace.

Bakes on Mesh
Just last month, we released the official Bakes on Mesh-enabled Viewer, the last piece of the Bakes on Mesh project. To learn more about this cool new capability, watch the video below!

 


Learn more about Bakes on Mesh in this community-created “How To” video from Novata.

EEP
We’re also getting the Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP) Viewer into shape to promote to our default official Viewer. EEP is a series of new customizations in the environment rendering system that will allow for the creation and sharing of advanced environment settings, including up to four different sky layers which can be set independently.

EEP We’re also getting the Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP) Viewer into shape to promote to our default official Viewer. EEP is a series of new customizations in the environment rendering system that will allow for the creation and sharing of advanced environment settings, including up to four different sky layers which can be set independently.


This video from Tao UminoB shows Second Life EEP skies deployed in the Miyazaki Region

Migration to the Cloud
We have been hard at work moving the services that bring you Second Life from our existing data center to cloud hosting. Our goal is to make almost all of it seem invisible to you; in general we won’t announce that a service has been moved until it’s been working in the cloud for a while. Some things already qualify, though: Your inventory data has been in the cloud for quite some time, and the maps website moved a little while ago. We have several more things that your viewer uses that are being tested internally now, so expect more updates in the next couple of months. We are very excited about the new product possibilities that cloud hosting will enable.

More to come!
There’s more in the works, too! Stay tuned for updates on when to expect the return of Last Names, availability of a new mobile app beta, changes to Premium options, improvements to Events, Search, the Destination Guide, and much more.

New Linden Home Theme: Campers!

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Pictured: New camper-style Linden Homes.

We continue to innovate and expand upon our Linden Homes offerings. Recently we debuted (and quickly sold out of) new Traditional and Houseboat styles…we’ve been making more to accommodate the incredible interest these generated, and now we’ve introduced the newest theme: CAMPERS!

Clustered in central Bellisseria, the new Camper regions offer a secluded, rural environment, with more nature and parcel privacy than the previous themed locations. We’ve already seen amazing creativity in decorating and customizing these campers from our Residents.

Like all Linden Homes, these are first-come, first-served, so keep checking for availability and act fast to claim yours if you see any available!

New Growth & Community Initiatives
Linden Lab also has several new initiatives aimed at growing awareness of Second Life through a combination of new ad campaigns, original video content programming and other growth-focused community efforts.

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Second Life Blogger Network
Are you a Second Life blogger looking to expand your reach to a wider audience? You’ll want to consider joining the new Second Life Blogger Network (SLBN). This new initiative will promote high-quality independent blog content to the Second Life community. More details coming soon!

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Halloween & Community Events
One of the most popular holidays in the Second Life community is Halloween – and this year we’ve got a bunch of tricks and treats that are sure to delight (or is it fright?) Second Lifers. Residents can expect a mix of new events, freebies and other spooky surprises throughout October – including a special haunted edition of the Swaginator!

New Video Programming & Ad Campaigns
Eagle-eyed Residents may have noticed a flurry of activity on our official YouTube channel and other social networks, which are now filled with dozens of new community-focused videos aimed at better showcasing the diversity and creativity of the Second Life community. More than  30 episodes of our weekly “Second Life Destinations” series have already debuted this year with many more to come!

 

There’s also our ongoing “Made in Second Life” series, which goes deeper to discover the people behind the avatars including explorations on themes as varied as romance, gaming and education. Many episodes of “Made in Second Life” and “Second Life Destinations” are also trimmed down into 15- or 30-second ads.

In addition, we’ve started the first of several new initiatives that involve live streaming programming about Second Life. First up is the recently announced bi-weekly talk show “Lab Gab.” (Don’t miss the next episode on Wed. at 3 p.m. SLT/Pacific).

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Finally, we’ve already started production on a new round of video tutorials aimed at new, intermediate and advanced Second Life Residents. Our own Strawberry Linden serves as your guide to topics such as “Getting Started,” “Shopping & Buying Linden Dollars,” and “Customizing your Avatar Shape.” Each video is also translated into multiple languages, too. Check out this playful clip to see if you can identify each language:

We are so proud of how far we’ve come and we’re excited for the road ahead. As always, we appreciate all the amazing creativity found in both the Second Life and Sansar communities. Thank you for joining us on the journey!

– The Linden Lab team

Have A Great Week From All Of Us At ZI

Time to Reset Your Web Browser?

Google Chrome… Internet Explorer… Edge… Firefox… Safari… all web browsers misbehave in mysterious and frustrating ways occasionally. You could spend hours trying to troubleshoot the problem, but sometimes the Reset button is the answer. Here are my tips on when (and when NOT) to reset your browser… If your browser does not work well on your computer it won’t in Second Life internal Browser.

When and How to Reset Your Browser

When struggling with a web browser that’s not doing what it should, sometimes it’s better to just reset it to the “factory defaults” that are known to work. However, that may come at a price. But let’s talk about the problem first, and then move on to solutions.

Symptoms of a borked browser may include browser lock-ups, Web pages that do not display properly (or flash on screen and then disappear), very slow rendering of Web pages, and add-ons that do not function as expected. You may also have unwanted toolbars or notice that your search function has been hijacked. If you are being redirected to a page that you didn’t request, that’s almost certainly a sign of a malware issue affecting your browser. Generally, problems start shortly after a new add-on or software package is installed.

When do you need to reset your browser? Most often, a reset is needed because add-on software is causing a problem. Sometimes add-ons don’t play well together, and finding the subtle conflicts between add-ons is a detective job for professionals. Some add-ons are Trojans concealing malware, and it’s not always obvious how they get there.

If you like to tinker with browser settings you may have caused the problem yourself. For example, the wrong font size combined with a text-magnification factor of 150% can produce very weird results. It can be very time-consuming to review and adjust a lot of settings; a reset may be easiest way out.

If you’ve recently installed or uninstalled software, the Windows registry could have been damaged, causing browser oddities or malfunctions. Viruses and other types of malware can also do this sort of damage.

Dangerous Curves Ahead…

When you reset a browser, you may lose some data stored in it that’s important to you, or be forced to restore it from backup files. Most people have customized their browsers with extensions, add-ons, themes, font changes, and other setting tweaks. Many people have stored usernames and passwords in their browser’s vaults. Most folks don’t realize how convenient cached images, files, and browsing history are until these things vanish. Depending on which browser you use, some of this data will not survive a reset.

Generally, I will try searching online for a solution to a browser problem before I reset everything. I look for an authoritative source; ideally, the browser’s developer. That would be the official user or support forum provided by Microsoft (Internet Explorer), Google (Chrome), Mozilla (Firefox) or Apple (Safari).

If your problem is an unwanted toolbar, or you suspect the problem is related to recently installed software, first try removing the offending item(s) via the Control Panel (for Windows) or delete the program from the Applications folder (Mac OS X). It’s also a good idea to run a scan with to check for and remove malware. Just be cautious about advice from self-appointed experts who urge you to “try this and see if it works” unless you see that several people have done that and it did work. If I don’t find a credible solution I will reset my browser.

Hitting the RESET Button

Actually, there is no big red button, sorry. But here are brief instructions for resetting Internet Explorer, Edge, Chrome, Firefox, and Apple’s Safari browser for desktops. I’ve included lists of what each browser keeps and deletes during a reset, and provided a link to the official low-down on resetting for further details.

Internet Explorer: On IE Version 11, then click on the gear icon and select Internet Options. Click the Advanced tab and then click the Reset button at the bottom of the menu. IE will warn you, “You should only use this if your browser is in an unusable state;” just ignore that.

By default, IE’s Reset permanently erases browser, privacy, security, and pop-up settings, and any stored passwords. You have the option to “delete personal settings” which include your preferred home page and search providers, and the temporary files, browsing history, and cookies specific to your user profile. Add-ons will be disabled but not removed from IE, so you can re-enabled them if you wish.

Microsoft Edge: Microsoft Edge is the default web browser for Windows 10. If it seems to be giving you trouble such as slow performance or crashing, you can do a reset. First, click the WIndows button, then open the Settings app. Go to Apps then Apps & Features. Scroll down to find Microsoft Edge and click it once. When the “Advanced options” link appears, click it. You’ll see two options here: Repair and Reset. I recommend you try Repair first. If that doesn’t solve the problem, try Reset, which will return Edge to default settings. The downside is that you’ll lose your History, Cookies and Settings. Your Favorites (bookmarks) will not be affected.


Google Chrome claims it “gives you the option to reset your browser settings in one easy click.” But it takes several clicks and some scrolling to get to the Reset button:

  • Click the Chrome menu (three vertical dots) in the upper-right corner of Chrome
  • Click on Settings
  • Click “Advanced” in the left sidebar
  • Click “Reset and clean up”
  • Click “Restore settings to their original defaults”
  • Click the blue “Reset settings” button

Here is what happens when you reset Chrome, quoted from the Google Chrome Reset support page:

  • Default search engine and saved search engines will be reset and to their original defaults.
  • Homepage button will be hidden and the URL that you previously set will be removed.
  • Default startup tabs will be cleared. The browser will show a new tab when you startup or continue where you left off if you’re on a Chromebook.
  • New Tab page will be empty unless you have a version of Chrome with an extension that controls it. In that case your page may be preserved.
  • Pinned tabs will be unpinned.
  • Content settings will be cleared and reset to their installation defaults.
  • Cookies and site data will be cleared.
  • Extensions and themes will be disabled.

Saved bookmarks and passwords will not be affected by a reset. Extensions and themes can be re-enabled, you don’t have to install them again.


Mozilla Firefox’s Reset button is just a few clicks away. Click on the three-bar menu icon, then Help, then “Troubleshooting Information” and there’s the “Refresh Firefox” button in the upper-right corner. Alternatively, type “about:support” in the address bar to go straight to the Troubleshooting Information page.

A Firefox reset saves backup copies of your bookmarks, browsing history, passwords, open windows, tabs, and tab groups, cookies, Web form auto-fill information, and personal dictionary. These data are stored in a folder on your desktop labeled, “Old Firefox data.” They can be restored if desired by simply copying files from the “old” folder to the new user profile folder, overwriting the default files.

Unlike all the other browsers, Firefox deletes all extensions and themes during a reset; you’ll have to re-install those you want. Also purged are website-specific preferences, search engine preferences, download history, DOM storage, security settings, download actions, plugin settings, toolbar customization’s, user styles and social features, according to the Firefox Reset support page.


Safari: Apple’s Safari browser doesn’t really have a reset option. You’ll have to take a series of steps to remove browser history, cookies, cache, extensions, and plugins. Rather than re-invent the proverbial wheel, here’s a Lifewire article that details all the steps.


To summarize, if your web browser is not behaving, a browser reset can often cure your ills. But first, try removing any recently installed software. Next, run a malware scan. If that doesn’t fix things, check online support forums for possible fixes. As a last resort, hit the Reset button.

Have a great week from all of us at ZI

Destinations Video: Escapades Island

Einstein is alleged to have once stated, “Imagination will take you everywhere.” We tend to agree! A sense of adventure is one of the most exciting things about Second Life. You can explore and experience so many places from the past, present, future, and from the imagination – and you can bounce from one to the other with a single teleport.

The element of journey and discovery that Creators in Second Life build and breathe life into is something that is difficult to replicate anywhere else – which is why we enjoy highlighting these destinations on the blogs, our social pages, and in these destination videos. There is so much to experience and see across the Grid!

This week, we’re highlighting Escapades Island – a conglomerate of fantastical and whimsical genres to tease your imagination. If you think you’ve seen it all – think again! Escapades Island has just undergone some new construction, and is now revamped and ready for daring and curious adventurers alike. You’re going to want to plan a trip with your best friends to embark together on this playful and whimsical trip.

Watch this small glimpse into what you can expect, then hop in for yourself and prepare to discover something exciting and new!

For more  Destination videos, check out our Destination Video channel on our official YouTube Channel.

Video production courtesy of Draxtor Despres

Have A Great Week From All Of Us At ZI