VR Gear

I saw a photo on the Second Life Facebook page of someone wearing VR gear and a headset for chatting. This all looks very cumbersome and heavy to me. It reminds me of the early days of cell phones.

VR headset

Don’t you know that someday, we will look back at this picture and shake our heads, saying “Oh can you believe we ever had to wear something that clunky???” I mean just look at the evolution:

First cell phones:
early cell phone

Cell phones now:
iPhone 7

Old Virtual Boy Set
Virtual boy

Will this be the future ???
Future Virtual Reality

We live in exciting times!

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

Ebbe Altberg Discusses Project Sansar

From an article on the blog UploadVR:

Nick Ochoa from Upload got the opportunity to sit down Linden Lab’s CEO Ebbe Altberg to discuss virtual reality. In development for two years now, Project Sansar essentially allows people to create virtual environments on a platform without all the technical know-how.

Sansar is being developed as a separate platform from Second Life, partly because Linden Lab could not get the frame rate up enough in Second Life to create a smooth and comfortable VR experience. Built from the ground up, Sansar enables users to create quality virtual experiences by taking care of horizontal capabilities such as hosting, social and monetary support. Ebbe says that Sansar is “built in the spirit of Second Life but doing quite a few things differently.”

Linden Lab is only a few weeks away from bringing aboard a few hand-picked test users, but they are still about six months from a beta program and about a year away from any sort of formal launch. Linden has plans for Sansar to be available on many devices, including mobile. In the words of Ebbe, Linden Labs is “trying to build a Platform that will last decades” in what he sees as the “final medium for creativity.”

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

Windows 10 and Second Life

Just a quick note about Windows 10 and SL compatibility:

After my post yesterday, a resident messaged me and told me they could not use SL after they upgraded to Windows 10. The first time after I upgraded to Windows 10, I also tried logging into SL without luck (I use Firestorm viewer).

However, what I discovered was that the graphics drivers have to be updated after you install Windows 10, and that is not something that Windows 10 prompts you to do. Apparently the upgrade rolls your graphics card drivers back to their original version. If you try Windows 10 and are not able to log in, try updating your graphics drivers and see if that makes a difference.

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

Windows 10 Privacy Concerns

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you are aware that the Windows 10 update has been released. Naturally, it isn’t without it’s flaws, and one of the biggest is the concerns about privacy. Many articles and blog posts have been written about the intrusion by Microsoft into your personal information, such as the one rumor flying around that Microsoft will use your computer (and thus your bandwidth) to send out updates to other users. Is there much ado about nothing, or does the public have some valid concerns? I upgraded to Windows 10 just a few days ago, and wish now that I’d read this before installing. But read on!

Ask Bob Rankin‘s blog tells about five things you must do now to protect your privacy on your Windows 10 OS.

If you allow Windows 10 to upgrade your existing system automatically, as I did, it will enable many default settings that you may not want enabled.

Bob discovered five privacy-related features you may want to tweak or disable. Here they are…I lifted this directly from the article, which you can find by clicking here: Do These 5 Things Now.

“Windows Update Delivery Optimization (WUDO) is a peer-to-peer file distribution server, like a Bittorrent client, built right into Win 10. WUDO doesn’t just speed up delivery of Windows updates to you. Instead, pieces of the Win 10 installation and update files on your machine and/or local network may be distributed to other Win 10 users who need them.
Windows 10 Privacy settings

“Instead of investing in a global content-delivery system, Microsoft is using YOUR upload bandwidth to distribute its product! There’s no evidence that WUDO is a threat to your privacy or security, it’s just a bit icky. And who knows if it might not be subverted by Evil Hackers tomorrow?

“If you have a fast Internet connection (especially the upload speed), you’re a trusting soul, and you don’t mind facilitating the distribution of Windows 10 to your friends and neighbors, do nothing. But if you prefer to disable WUDO, follow these steps:
•Open the Start Menu
•Click or tap “Settings”
•Select “Update & security”
•In the left-side pane, select “Windows Update”
•In the right-side pane, select “Advanced options”
•In the new right-side pane that opens, select “Choose how updates are delivered”
•Move the slider control under “Updates from more than one place” to “OFF”

“WiFi Sense is a Win 10 (and Windows Phone) feature that I think is nonsense. It lets your contacts, Facebook “friends,” and Skype contacts share your WiFi network without knowing the network key. You get access to their WiFi networks, too. But I don’t want share my WiFi with all of those contacts, and WiFi Sense does not permit discrimination at the individual level. Also, if some of your contacts have your network key and use WiFi Sense, you may get total strangers using your WiFi.

“Fortunately, this feature is also optional. To learn more about WiFi Sense, and for instructions on how to disable it, see my article Is Windows 10 WiFi Sense Nonsense?

“Should you opt out of personalized ads? This one is tricky. With ad personalization turned on, Microsoft will try to show you the ads that are chosen ‘based on the sites that you visit, your online searches and more.’ Some find this useful, and some find it creepy, when they see ads for products directly related to web pages they’ve recently browsed. Turning off ad personalization won’t turn off ads, but it will ensure that the ads you see are completely unrelated to your interests. Again, Microsoft makes it easy to turn it off; just visit this link and toggle tracking “off” in your browser and on your Microsoft account, if you ever use one.

“But don’t think that ends the collection of data about your online or even offline activities. Consider what’s in the privacy policy linked at the bottom of the page:

” ‘Microsoft collects data to operate effectively and provide you the best experiences with our services. You provide some of this data directly, such as when you create a Microsoft account, submit a search query to Bing, speak a voice command to Cortana, upload a document to OneDrive, or contact us for support. We get some of it by recording how you interact with our services by, for example, using technologies like cookies, and receiving error reports or usage data from software running on your device. We also obtain data from third parties (including other companies).’

Cortana is a personal assistant built into Windows 10. It’s ability to respond to voice commands is similar to Siri on the iPhone, or the “OK Google” feature on Android phones. Some pundits believe that Cortana is the omnipresent, silent observer of everything you do, online or offline, reporting it back to Microsoft. I’m not so sure about that. But to disable Cortana and end the collection of data through it, type “cortana” in the search box and click on the first link in the search results (system settings). Then slide the off/on switch to “OFF”.

“Last but not least, wade through the 13 pages (yes, thirteen!) of Privacy Settings and turn off whatever seems appropriate. Type “privacy settings” in the search box to find the link to that system settings page.

“It’s a bit tedious to batten down the privacy hatches in Windows 10. But at least Microsoft makes it possible to do so. And remember, this isn’t just an issue with Microsoft. Most of the snooping (and perhaps more) that Windows 10 does is also done by Google and Facebook.

“Google recently implemented a Security and Privacy Dashboard that makes it fairly easy to understand and manage the related settings. But Facebook gives you few privacy controls, and obscures their privacy and data collection policies in a collection of documents containing over 20,000 words.

“Don’t get me wrong on Windows 10. For the most part, I’m very pleasantly surprised at how well the folks in Redmond reponded to the many (well deserved) criticisms of Windows 8. Win 10 is a huge improvement in usability, and will probably speed up your computing. But information is power, and it’s better to have that power in your hands. Take a few minutes to review and tweak your Windows 10 privacy settings.”

I hope you find this information helpful.

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

PaleoQuest: Second Life’s Dinosaur Adventure!

As most of you know, I’m a huge MadPea fan. But recently I’ve discovered a Linden Lab created game that was just opened called PaleoQuest. It’s a skill game (along the same lines as MadPea but certainly not to their level). I started it tonight and couldn’t make it through the First Quest; I kept getting killed. It’s getting late so I will try again another day. However it’s fun and interesting, and I need to figure out how to avoid the traps. Meanwhile, I encourage you to try it out for yourself. I strongly recommend you use the game settings they suggest — it makes a difference. And of course, the game takes advantage of the Experience Keys — one click to allow the HUD and game to control your avatar and no more clicking.

The Story behind PaleoQuest

Here’s the notecard that is given about PaleoQuest:

PaleoQuest Game Play:

Welcome to PaleoQuest. This is a fully interactive game, where you can take part in adventurous quests, collect various common and rare objects to help Magellan close the time anomalies, avoid perils, dinosaurs, and foil Dr Talpa’s evil plans to take over the grid! Receive prizes and L$ rewards for your bravery!

Game settings:

Please use the regions Windlight settings (Select World > Sun > Use Region Settings).
The game is best viewed at maximum draw distance. (Select Me > Preferences > Graphics > Draw Distance > Set to 512).
Please turn your animation override OFF.
Standard sized avatars are recommended.

Game play:

Welcome to PaleoQuest. This is a fully interactive game, where you can take part in various quests, and earn L$ or prize rewards.

HUD:

When you first land in PaleoQuest, a HUD will automatically attach to you. The HUD shows you:

– Current game information and clues.
– How many common and rare collectible objects you have collected.
– Which Artifact quests you have completed.
– Hands out a help notecard.
– Has a mute button, in case you wish to mute the audio clues that the HUD plays.

Visitor Center:

The first building you enter is the Visitor Center.
Here you will find:

– Game information.
– A tutorial video to play.
– A background story video.
– Paying out stations.

Paying Out Stations:

– The Paying Out Stations are located in the left and right wings of the Visitor Center, and are clearly sign posted.
– Here you can REDEEM your Collectible objects (FOR L$) and completed Artifact quests (FOR L$ OR A RANDOM PRIZE).
– Prizes are given out randomly from the Prize Payout Station, and are tradeable.
– Please rez your prizes on a sandbox, or on your own land.

Monorail:

– Stairs to the monorail are located at the sides of the entrance to the visitor Center.
– Follow the signs to the monorail start platform.
– Ride the monorail to take a tour of all the regions.
– At each monorail stop, there are quests to play.
– Touch the quest information signs to find out what the quest for that region is.
– If the Monorail is not working, please use the Teleport Pads to go from stop to stop.

Daily Collectible Quests:

– Once you leave the start region, each region has a series of common and rare objects to collect.
– Blue = common; Pink = rare.
– Rare objects are located in the most dangerous places.
– You can carry a maximum of 99 common and rare objects.
– When you are carrying the maximum amount of objects, you need to return to the Visitor Center to hand them in for L$ rewards.
– Stand on the “Collectible Payout Stations” to automatically get a payout for your objects.
– You cannot hand in FEWER than 20 common or rare objects.
– You can hand in a maximum of 200 common blue objects, and 100 rare pink objects, per day.

Weekly Artifact Quests:

– There are 5 regions where you can take part in Artifact Quests, and collect artifacts.
– Depart from each Monorail stop, and click on the quest sign to find out what you have to do for each quest.
– If you find a key object to complete a quest, and it attaches to you, DO NOT DETACH IT UNTIL YOU COMPLETE THE QUEST.
– Once you have completed the first quest, the icon lights up on your HUD.
– Each Artifact Quest needs to be completed in consecutive order. Completing the first quest gains you access to the second quest, and so on…
– Once all 5 artifact quests have been completed, and all icons are lit up on your HUD, you may return to the Visitor Center, and can then choose a L$ reward, or a random prize, by standing on the relevant platform.
– You can complete the Artifact Quests (must be in consecutive order) once a week.

Dying:

– When you die, you get teleported to the nearest resurrection circle.
– You lose everything you have collected.
– You do not lose any artifact quest progress.

Rules:

The following scenarios will result in players being moved to a Resurrection circle:
– Flying.
– Moving faster than the standard Second Life run speed.
– Being idle for over 9 minutes.

Tip and tricks:

– PaleoQuest is a game involving skill.
– Take your time, observe your timing, walk, jump, run, look around carefully, and listen.
– Remember to always watch your step.
– Always read the text messages on your HUD.
– There are also audio messages, and signs to touch for more information.
– If your audio message repeats, click on the mute button on your HUD, and then unclick it.
– Sometimes it is better to complete the quests, and then collect the collectibles afterwards.

To get started, please watch the videos, and then make your way to the Monorail start platform. Stairs to the monorail start platform are located behind you, and are clearly signposted. Your adventure awaits!

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Here are some photos I took:

Entering the area

Entering the area

The portal to enter the game.

The portal to enter the game.

Entering the Visitor Center

Entering the Visitor Center

The Monorail that takes you to the quests.

The Monorail that takes you to the quests.

Make sure you get on the Monorail at the Start Gate.

Make sure you get on the Monorail at the Start Gate.

The Monorail and surrounding views.

The Monorail and surrounding views.

Dino Falls

Dino Falls

Here’s the SLURL to the Portal Park. Find the PaleoQuest entrance, and off you go!

Click here: Portal Park — PaleoQuest

Enjoy!

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

Windows 10: A User’s Perspective

ZoHa Islands resident Traugh Underwood (Bluebane Akula) contacted me in-world recently, and said that he was a Windows 10 user and would be happy to answer any questions I might have about the OS. I was delighted that he was willing to discuss his experiences with Windows 10 and sent him a note card with my questions, which he most graciously answered for me. Below is Traugh’s discussion of his experiences with Windows 10. (Traugh lives in the UK).

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Q: How long have you been using Windows 10?

A: Since October 1st, 2014. As a technical support for a lot of my friends, I wanted to get used to it quickly. Despite Microsoft advising people not to do so, I have been using as my only OS on my PC since then.

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Q: Are you using the Alpha version or Beta version, if there is one? Has it been real buggy?

A: Its always been beta. There have been some bugs, especially in the early builds. But unlike other operating systems, Microsoft had a special insider app for Beta testers we could send feedback through, and a LOT of changes have happened along the way because of insiders voicing their opinion, even down to silly things like the icon for the recycle bin.

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Q: What OS were you using before Windows 10?

A: I was using windows 8.1 before i jumped up to 10. 8.1 was very controversial. Although I can understand why people didn’t like it, for me the change in 8.1 to the start bar that people were so upset about, was far outweighed by the benefits of apps and a much faster OS than 7.

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Q: Did you ever use Windows 7, and how does Windows 10 compare?

A: I did use 7, from its launch until Win 8 was launched. How does it compare to 10? Ummm well 10 is as if 7 and 8 had a baby. So take all the things you like about 7 and combine it with added apps, faster booting, better memory management and a much better DirectX system.
Also for gamers and multitaskers especially, the multi-desktop is invaluable if you only have 1 monitor. I actually dropped my second monitor because I just wasn’t using it on windows 10.

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Q: What do you like best about Windows 10 in general?

A: It’s difficult to pinpoint just one thing, to be honest. There are a lot of things in Windows 10 that I now use daily. Cortana is very useful when I’m feeling lazy and just want to tell my PC to do stuff instead of clicking and using my keyboard. Multi-desktop is invaluable especially as a gamer as you can devote one desktop just to running a full screen game, and then switch desktops to check things without having to use alt tab (there is a shortcut to change screens – Crtl-Win-Left/Right). The notification bar is very useful to anyone used to a smart phone. It’s wonderful to have the ability to see whats going on with the PC without having all the annoying pop-ups you used to get in 7 and 8. But above all else, I would say the performance boost is what I really admire about Windows 10.

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Q: What do you like least about Windows 10 in general?

A: Up until this point its been certain bugs, or when some app you use daily stops working and you had to wait a few days for the fix. But that’s something you have to accept when beta testing, and for the past week everything has been working flawlessly.

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Q: How does Windows 10 interface with Second Life? Good and bad?

A: Second Life runs exactly as it did on all my other OS’s I personally don’t see a difference, but a friend of mine running Windows 10 on an Apple machine saw vastly improved frame rates. On Apple OS, he gets 15 fps. On windows 10 he gets 25/30 fps.

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Q; What viewer are you using for Second Life?

A: As a builder I use a combination of Firestorm and the official viewer, depending on what I’m doing.

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Q: Did you change viewers because of Windows 10? If so, what were you using before?

A: I haven’t changed any programs I was using since windows 7. Since 8 and 10 are built upon 7’s code, I’ve not found any incompatibility so far moving up from 7.

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Q: Do you do other gaming besides Second Life? If so, what do you play and what do you like or dislike about Windows 10 as it pertains to your gaming experience?

A: I play a LOT of games on Steam, I currently own over 150 games, as well as software. I’ve tried every one of my games testing them during the beta process, and not had a problem with any so far.

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Q: Finally, would you recommend that Second Life residents upgrade to Windows 10 right away, or wait awhile? Why or why not?

A: That’s an interesting question. I would say it comes down to personal preference. If you’re someone who is competent with technology and likes the idea of having the latest in features, then you may want to get it straight away. If not, then you may want to wait a little while. Personally I don’t see a downside to it, and I have personally helped a bunch of people make the transition from Windows 7 and 8 up to 10, and nobody has ever complained about it. Most have said its the best version yet. But all that aside, my biggest advise would be don’t just read one review. If you decide to wait, everyone will have their own personal view on Win 10 including me, and to really get a good view, you will need to look at multiple reviews and make a decision for yourself.

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Please comment about anything else you’d like to say, good or bad, about Windows 10?

In reference to the “forced update” conspiracy everyone is ranting about I have this to say:-

Windows 10 does do SOME forced updates. This is exactly the same situation LL had to do not so long ago. They had so many people running outdated viewers on Firestorm, and even some still on Phoenix that they were forced to deny access to SL on any viewer that wasn’t mostly up to date. This was for the benefit of all SL residents and for SL as a platform.

Windows 10 pushes updates to the PC that are required for the improvement of the user experience, so stuff like bug fixes, security hotfixes, etc. However there is also an addition released last Sunday to allow users to choose updates not directly linked to the actual OS; for example graphics updates, sound drivers etc. These will be optional, so if you don’t want to do them you wont have to, which is very good news for gamers who don’t want to update their nvidia/AMD graphics drivers. In the past, updating drivers on AMD, for instance, caused problems in SL so you couldn’t see mesh avatars/clothing etc.

Best wishes, Bluebane Akula.

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Thank you so much, Traugh, for your first person perspective on using Windows 10! It sounds exciting and I am really looking forward to the ability to have two screens on one monitor, among other things. It sounds like Windows 10 is mostly positive, taking the good things from both 7 and 8.1 and melding them into an OS that is going to be user friendly. SL residents would benefit from the upgrade to Windows 10, and I personally will be upgrading with it’s initial release on July 29th. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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