Around The Grid April 2015

There are lots of things happening around the grid in Second Life. Here’s a brief overview:

SL12B Logo

SL12B Is Coming!

It’s coming up on that time again, folks. It’s Second Life’s birthday in June! Applications are open to be part of the SL12B 12th Birthday Bash. Being held June 21st-28th, 2015, the theme this year is “What Dreams May Come.” Participants can attend performances at the 4 stage venues, and stop by the auditorium for talks, interviews, fashion shows and performance art. Additionally, exhibits and stages across 15 sims will be available for viewing from June 29 to July 4.

Linden Lab states: “Unlike our physical world, everything we see in Second Life© was born out of the stuff of dreams. For some, these dreams are what they aspire to, while others seek to recreate that which is unattainable in their lives.

“Some may craft elaborate worlds of gleaming gold, while others may descend into the netherworld, portraying realms of flame and darkness.

“Still others may have dreams of a simpler variety: a nice house, a picket fence, and a perfectly green lawn. All dreams, big and small, are valid and welcome.

“We want to see your dreams. what do you imagine for the future, what are your aspirations, or what is your own personal flight of fancy?”

Applications to participate in the celebration as an exhibitor are now open. Please check out the website here: SL12B Community Celebration

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Viewer Managed Marketplace Beta

The Viewer-Managed Marketplace (VMM) officially started an open beta test on the main grid, which is scheduled to last for about a month.

VMM allows merchants to easily manage their inventory on the Second Life Marketplace using the Second Life Viewer. Items no longer need to be loaded into the Merchant Outbox or a Magic Box, and are instead sold directly from inventory.

VMM will allow all merchants to stop using Magic Boxes while also enabling them to modify listing inventories directly from the viewer. Merchants will still need to go to the Marketplace web site in order to edit listings, but with VMM, they will be able to create new listings, publish them to the Marketplace, and/or unlist them, all from within the Viewer.

Firestorm has not yet come out with a viewer that features VMM, but Firestorm folks have asked for beta testers for their upcoming project viewer. Perhaps this functionality will be in the next FS release.

LL’s official blog states that they expect the Beta period to last abouit a month, with the next steps after Beta being a full release of VMM to all merchants.

“A month after the release, automated migration of Direct Delivery listings will begin. Magic Box listings will need to be manually migrated. After migration has completed, Xstreet and Magic Boxes will be shut down. Merchants may choose to manually migrate Direct Delivery listings before the automated migration occurs. The automated migration will take place during lower traffic times on the Marketplace, and more details will be provided closer to the migration period.” states Linden Lab.

Here’s a video narrated by Torley Linden:

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MadPea’s Unia Opens April 27th

As you know, I am a huge MadPea fan, and I am excited if not a bit trepidacious about this newest event coming April 27h. MadPea released a preview video and it is very scary!

Naturally, I will have to check it out, but meanwhile here’s the trailer:

/me shivers. Looks scary! Join me… if you dare!!

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I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Blogger/Social Media

Linden Lab Announces 2D Side Scrolling Project Viewer

April 1, 2015: Second Life’s Official Blog posted about a new Project Viewer! They are introducing 2DSS Mode — or 2D Side Scrolling Mode. Think Mario Brothers in Second Life.

Screenshot of 2DSS Viewer

Screenshot of 2DSS Viewer


Linden Lab states:

“There’s been a lot of excitement recently around our integration of the Oculus Rift with Second Life. The addition of HMD (head-mounted display) mode offers a new level of immersion for 3D experiences, but what about people who want less immersion?

“Today, we’re happy to announce a new way to explore the wide variety of community-created experiences in Second Life, without the complexity of the third dimension: 2D side-scrolling (2DSS) mode. Without the third dimension, you can enjoy Second Life just like your favorite 8-bit games from the past!

“Note: while this new mode is compatible with HMD mode, we do not recommend trying both simultaneously. If you were to turn your head 90 degrees while doing so, the world may simply disappear from view – causing a rather jarring experience that might make you feel a bit foolish.

“The new 2DSS mode is available as of April 1, 2015, and you can now download the Project Viewer to start enjoying some retro-future fun in Second Life!”

Download the Project Viewer here: 2DSS Project Viewer

Hurry! This viewer will not be available after April 1st!

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZI Social Media Manager

Second Life is Alive and Well!

I know I have been doing a lot of reposting of articles lately but there are a lot of good ones out there.

Second Life’s Facebook page posted a link to an excellent article recently posted in an e-Zine called “Good,” about the life cycle of Second Life, and that despite it’s detractors, Second Life is alive and well and thriving! It’s really nice to read some positive things about Second Life, instead of the usual articles decrying that SL is nothing but a den of iniquity and ruiner of RL marriages and relationships.

It also has some interesting information about SL. For instance, did you know that SL was inspired by the Metaverse in Neil Stephenson’s 1992 seminal sci-fi hit Snow Crash?

The article talks about SL’s rapid rise to fame: “From 2006 to 2009, optimism about this new space reached a fever pitch, with dedicated reporters, travel guides, and hundreds of businesses clamoring to get in on the excitement of a whole new universe within our own. Researchers flooded into this alternate world as well, examining all the ways one could use Second Life to, say, help Asperger’s patients develop their social skills in a specially tailored, therapeutic safe space.”

The article also refers to the notion that SL became a dystopian, dirty, and absurd world in a post-2009 crash as humans fled back to the predictable dynamism of the real world.

But then the article takes a hopeful turn. It states:

“Though that’s not quite the whole story. In truth, Second Life remains quite alive, clocking a million active users per month as of 2013 and up to 13,000 new users ever day. The site may actually have a larger, more stable population as of today than it did at its 2006-to-2008 peak of popularity and respectability. Yet we don’t hear about this continued vibrancy in Second Life, mainly because it’s no longer thought of as a space for general populations to enhance their lives. Instead it has generated a second life of its own as a uniquely attractive hub for globally dispersed subcultures to join together. These groups can create whole worlds that unite them, transcending role-playing and turning their ideologies into a comprehensive society.”

You can find the article in it’s entirety by clicking on this link: Second Life is Staying Alive.

And try getting that song out of your head after reading the title of the article. Excuse me for now; I’m going to dust off my Bee Gees album!

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZI Social Media

Help Firestorm Save ‘Restore To Last Position’

Firestorm needs your help!

Here is a copy of the post on Firestorm’s blog regarding helping them convince Linden Lab that blocking the “Restore to Last Position” functionality is not a good idea, and that does more good than harm.

“In a recent meeting, LL mentioned that they are considering blocking the “Restore to Last Position” functionality at the server level. This is because it results in permanent content loss if it fails when using it on no copy items. Since version 4.6.7 Firestorm prevents the feature from being used on no copy items as a simple measure to prevent loss, but the underlying issue here is that LL doesn’t understand the feature’s value to residents who use or rely on it.

“Kicking, screaming and calling foul will not save this feature, nor will criticizing LL or anyone else for not understanding the feature. In fact actions like that will speed up its demise. What WILL save it however is a well structured set of use cases that demonstrate clearly and concisely how useful and valuable this feature is to you.

“If you use this feature and would like to see it stick around please leave a comment on this post detailing how you use it and why it is valuable to you. In a week’s time we will extract the best use cases and formulate an email to LL that will demonstrate both the feature’s value and its usefulness.

“Please be civil in your comments and with each other!”

You can go the blog post and leave your comments with your good experience with “Restore to Last Position” and they will select the best cases to take to LL to try and save that feature. Click on the link here: Restore To Last Position Needs You!

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZI Social Media

Improving Viewer Performance

The Second Life Wiki has a wealth of information for Second life residents — from answering frequently asked questions, to how to manage private regions, to improving viewer performance.

For those of you using the SL viewer, I thought I would share some good information that can be found in the Wiki regarding how to get the most out of your SL experience by a few tweaks of the viewer. The full article can be found by clicking here: How To Improve Viewer Performance.

Linden Lab suggests always maintaining your computer to run at it’s optimal performance. This can be achieved by following these simple steps:

• Routinely removing unwanted files and programs from the system.
• Defragmenting your disk drive regularly.
• Using anti-Malware software to remove spyware, virues, and other malware.

Follow the recommendations here to improve overall performance of Second Life and to address many common problems.

THE BASICS
• Make sure your computer meets the minimum system requirements. (Click here: SL’s Minimum System Requirements). It’s best to exceed them to prevent bottlenecks, since they are the bare minimum required to run Second Life. A slower processor, older video card, or low memory can contribute to slow framerates.

• Make sure you have working drivers for your video card. Search the SL Forum for posts on your video card. The latest driver is not always the best. (See my previous post on AMD Driver Updates Wrecking Havoc with Mesh).

• Make sure your firewalls are properly configured. Click on the following link for firewall information: Using Second Life with a firewall.

• Check to see if your hard drive light is showing a lot of activity. If it is, your system may be running low on memory and using hard drive swap space instead, which is significantly slower.

Based on statistics collected by Linden Lab:
• If you are using Windows 8, make sure you have upgraded to Windows 8.1. Our statistics show that Second Life crashes half as often on Windows 8.1 compared to Windows 8.0.

• If you are using Mac OSX, upgrade to 10.9.3. Our statistics show that 10.9.3 crashes one third less than 10.7.5.

• Use a 64-bit version of Windows if you can. Even though Linden Lab doesn’t offer a fully 64-bit viewer for Second Life as of July 2014, statistics show that Second Life running on 64-bit operating systems crashes half as often as on 32-bit systems.

Important: Second Life allows but does not support wireless connections. Always use a hardwired connection if possible.

OPTIMIZE YOUR DISPLAY PREFERENCES
Optimize your preferences to help Second Life run more efficiently. Try the following:
• Choose Me > Preferences
• Click on the Graphics tab.
• Move the Quality and speed slider to Low.
• Click the Advanced button
• Move the settings on the Mesh detail sliders to “Mid” or “Low.”

Autoplaying music and media can be very demanding on some PC equipment. Use manual play instead:
• Choose Me > Preferences > Sound & Media
• Deselect Allow Media to auto-play.

Review the rest of your preference settings disable any unused features:
• Choose Me > Preferences or press Ctrl-P).
• Try disabling settings such as Play typing animation, Name tags, and Arrow keys always move me.
• Even minor items can add up to significant improvements in performance.

For more information, click here: Setting your preferences.

DON’T DISPLAY EXTRANEOUS THINGS
Make sure your Viewer is not displaying unnecessary information that may reduce performance:
• Choose World > Show> Advanced Menu.
• Choose Advanced > Highlighting and Visibility.
• Select Hide Particles.

Also to improve performance by eliminating gratuitous visual noise:
• Choose World > Show
• Disable Property Lines and Land Owners.

MANAGE YOUR ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE
To prevent false cache virus alerts and improve texture cache performance, turn off virus scanning for the following directories and add them to the list of ignored (trusted) directories for Norton AntiVirus:
• The Second Life skins directory, C:\Program Files\SecondLife\skins.
• The Second Life cache directory. To determine this directory:
1. Choose Me > Preferences.
2. Choose the Advanced tab.
3. Look for the Cache location setting.

Click here for Technical overview of Second Life security.

TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS
If you followed the advice above and are still experiencing performance problems, try the following.
• Exit and restart Second Life. This often is enough to fix the problem.
• Clear the cache. The cache is where the Second Life Viewer stores data on your hard drive for later retrieval.
To clear the cache:
1) Choose Me > Preferences.
2) Click the Advanced tab.
3) Click Clear Cache.
4) After you’re prompted, restart the Viewer.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: FIRESTORM VIEWER EXPERTS RECOMMEND THAT USERS DO NOT CLEAR CACHE EXCEPT IN SPECIFIC SITUATIONS)

Check the Lag Meter:
• Choose Advanced > Performance Tools > Lag Meter. The lag meter breaks lag down into Client, Network, and Server lag, with corresponding indicators for each lag type.
• Click >> to reveal descriptions and advice for solving any lag problems you are having.
• Try teleporting to a quieter area or one with fewer objects, to see if the situation improves.
• Disable antialising.

Check your Ping Sim and Packet Loss values:
• Choose Advanced > Performance Tools > Statistics Bar to open the STATISTICS window.
The ping values are the time (in milliseconds) it takes to reach the server from your computer. If this number is high, it could indicate a problem with your network or internet connection. If Packet Loss is a nonzero number, your network or ISP may be having issues. See Using the statistics bar for more information.

• Check to see if there is anything blocking your computer’s ventilation ports, and make sure all the fans are working properly. Laptops in particular can get quite hot when placed on a flat surface, so you may want to try propping yours on a stand to increase airflow, or consider buying a cooling device like a “chill mat”.

• Finally, if you’ve overclocked or made other modifications to your computer, disable them until you can attain stability. You can use tools like Prime95 to stress-test your computer independently of Second Life.

USING THE STATISTICS BAR
The statistics bar presents a detailed list of information about the performance of your computer and Second Life. While the sheer amount of information can be confusing, knowing what to look for can tell you a lot about what’s going on in Second Life.

To view the Statistics Bar, choose Advanced > Performance Tools > Statistics Bar.

Please keep in mind that some of these tweaks may improve performance (i.e. reduce crashing, reduce lag, etc.) but they also may affect the visual look of Second Life. By lowering graphics settings, turning off antialiasing, etc. it will affect the quality. You will trade performance for sharp visual quality. Play with the settings until you can get a balance of performance and visual appeal.

FIRESTORM VIEWER USERS: I strongly recommend joining the in-world Firestorm Users Group. There, you can get instant online help from FS staff as well as users. Also they frequently hold in-world classes on the viewer. I highly recommend these classes. They are extremely helpful.

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Social Media