Second Life System Requirement Changes

 Update post itAs we all know, having an updated operating system and other various computer hardware is key to having a positive experience in SL. The faster your processor, the better your graphics card, the faster your internet speed — then the better your experience in SL. You’ll experience less lag and less crashing, and faster rez times. Sometimes the technology for SL moves in leaps and bounds, creating a dichotomy. We want SL to improve itself, making avatars better, graphics better, etc. However, this also creates a problem where a computer can become quickly outdated. You can purchase the best of the best, only to find in a year or two that you are back to having the same problems. Every time a viewer updates, you both cringe and look forward to  changes. You cringe because you know your computer will be a little less responsive because of the updates, and you look forward to seeing the newest updates. It is a double edged sword.

Woman frustrated computerI personally used to have a laptop, and that worked for awhile, until it didn’t. Then I purchased a newer, better laptop, but it too quickly became outdated. Finally, in 2010 I got smart and purchased a desktop. While it isn’t portable and makes getting into SL impossible while traveling (that is, until they get the SL Go app from OnLive for the iPad), at least it is more easily updated. I have updated with extra memory here, a new graphics card there. I am sure it won’t be long before I’ll need a faster processor chip in a year or so, but so far I’ve been able to more or less keep up with SL. Not bad for a four year old computer!

man frustratred computerSL has recently announced a couple of important system requirements; one regarding dropping of support for both Windows XP and Mac OSX 10.6 operating systems. The other is an announcement about keeping up with Microsoft’s service pack updates.

Below is the actual announcement by Linden Labs regarding Second Life System Requirements. Windows 8 users want to pay particular attention to a requirement to update to the latest 8.1, otherwise the latest viewer update coming out soon will not download.

Read on, MacDuff!

by Community Manager Linden Lab ‎04-29-2014 11:50 AM – edited ‎04-29-2014 11:50 AM

We have made some changes to the Second Life System Requirements to bring them more up to date, and are making some related changes to the Viewer:

  • We have removed Windows XP and Mac OSX 10.6 from the list of supported operating systems. Microsoft has announced the end of support for XP, and it has been some time since Apple has released updates for 10.6. For some time now, the Viewer has been significantly less stable on these older systems, and the lack of security updates to them make them more hazardous to use. We have no plans to actually block those systems, but problems reported on them that cannot be reproduced on supported systems will not likely be fixed.

  • The Windows installer has been modified to verify that the system has been updated with the most recent Service Packs from Microsoft. While we will not block installation on Windows 8 at this time, we strongly recommend upgrading to 8.1 for greater stability. Our data shows that the Viewer is significantly less stable on systems that have not been kept up to date, so the installer will now block installation until the updates have been applied. This change will be effective in a Viewer version to be released in the next few weeks, so it would be a good idea to get your system up to date before then. You can find information on how to install the latest updates at the Microsoft Windows Update page.

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

Ebbe Altberg: For the People

“We’re here, we’re willing to listen. We’re willing to engage in dialog and have conversations about what is the future and how do we get there. And that the doors are open now, again, and we want to talk to you, we want to understand you, we want to understand how to make you successful, whichever way you feel is required to make that happen. So that’s it. I’m here, I’m happy to talk to all of you, I’m gonna learn and listen and most of all, I want to make you successful, because that’s how we all can become successful.” ~ Ebbe Altberg, April 9. 2014

At a recent in-world conference for VWBPE (Virtual World Best Practices in Education), one of the keynote speakers was Linden Lab’s new CEO, Ebbe Altberg. This was a wonderful opportunity to really get to hear from Ebbe since he was installed as CEO of Linden Labs in February of 2014. You can see the video of Ebbe’s entire address here.

During his 84 minute keynote address, Ebbe touched on his thoughts for the future, gave updates, and answered questions from the audience. He addressed not only issues within the educational community, but also in SL and virtual worlds as a whole.

First of all, Ebbe feels that education is a very important partner with Second Life. He has already reinstated better pricing for educational organizations and nonprofits. He wants to reconnect with the education community and feels it is an important part of the virtual world experience. He is looking forward to education being an important part of SL from this point forward.

Another priority is working with the legal department regarding revamping the TOS (Terms Of Service) regarding content creation in order to mitigate the rumors that Linden Labs is into stealing the rights to user created content and selling it to benefit themselves. They are working to change the wording to reassure creators so they will feel confident that Linden Labs won’t steal their unique user created content, and wants to make it very clear that content creators are owners of their own creations. He is very interested in ensuring that creators can get their content both in and out of SL. Linden Labs is not trying to lock them in to SL only and wants to ensure people can export their items to the metaverse and open sim. Ebbe wants to see users getting the most out of SL.

Ebbe spoke about LL’s position regarding the metaverse and open sim. He feels that he’s glad that others, such as Philip Rosedale’s High Fidelity, are exploring this area, and that it is important for growth going forward. However, Ebbe feels that we need to get SL right first, and that we still have a long way to go. He feels that SL is too difficult for most people, and the learning curve is really steep. Ebbie states that he wants to make SL more user friendly and easier for people to use who are new to virtual worlds. Second Life needs to be easier to use and that we need to make improvements to the user experience. Linden Labs is working on this and they have developed some short-term goals, but most changes are long-term and will take time to develop.

A great deal of progress has been made over the last two years and most of these changes have been behind the scenes, such as a huge improvement to avatars and the ability to have lots of avatars on a sim without crashing. Change comes to SL like a slow drip — they’re constantly improving in small increments.

Future Technology
Ebbie touched on the fact that Linden Labs is actively in development on new technologies — specifically Occulus (a beta viewer has already been released, and an update is coming soon). One of the issues being worked on is how to interact in world without a keyboard and mouse.

Ebbe has received many inquiries about whether or not the in-world Community Liaison between Linden Labs (LL) and SL users will be reintroduced, and the answer is “not at this time.” However, a very big priority of Ebbe’s is to reopen the dialogue between educators and Linden Labs, and to make sure that talk turns into action. Linden Labs wants to develop priorities and work on them to make progres towards those goals.

He is also encouraging employees of LL to go in-world as Lindens. He has lifted the rule against LL employees going in-world as Lindens, and wants to encourage them to get out there and interact with end users and really see what is going on in SL.

There is a perception that SL is nothing but a venue for gratuitous sex. Ebbe feels that there is a need to try and market SL better, so that we can improve the reputation and help people understand the breadth and depth of all that SL has to offer. The good and wonderful things in SL aren’t being seen outside the walls of SL, and that needs to change.

Strategy Going Forward
Some of the things that are in Ebbe’s top priorities in the immediate future include:

• Taking Linden dollars as a currency outside of SL. This is a massive undertaking, and getting RL bankers and so forth to go along with it is huge. They have to ensure transactions are safe and there is controls in place to avoid fraud and money laundering. It needs to be safe, legal and compliant. Ebbe compared this project to Bit Coin.

• Make SL and the viewer more intuitive and easier to use: There was an attempt by LL to simplify the viewer, and it didn’t work. Ebbe says that he is looking into why this didn’t work, because once again, SL’s learning curve is so steep it often chases off potential new residents before they can even get started.

• HiFi in SL: Linden Labs is working on making a richer avatar experience by bringing emotions to avatars. They’re in the early stages of development, but they want to make it so you can interact with avatars and be able to see their emotions, as well as hearing it in voices or emoting it in type. He wants to move avatars to beyond just being “dolls” and actually being able to see expressions of surprise, anger, happiness and have that transmitted visually.

Audience Questions:

• Will LL be working on the ability to export content out of SL?
Currently, Linden Labs isn’t actively preventing this from happening. Perhaps what is happening is that the way to export isn’t simple enough, or isn’t being communicated, but people currently do export content. Perhaps they are using a work-around, but LL isn’t actively preventing this. Which brings up another problem, where creators need to be the original creator of every single piece of the item in order to export it, and so if you’ve added a script or other component created by someone else, then you cannot export the item. And the reasons for this are simple: We need to make sure people can’t pirate your work by exporting it out of SL and into other platforms, but clearly LL needs to work out how to allow creators to export items with other user-created content and still make it so that your content cannot be pirated.

• There is a problem with schools and other groups in Japan, Australia and New Zealand having issues connecting to SL. Will it be possible for people in New Zealand to be able to connect to SL servers using their high speed network? And what can they do to expedite communications with SL more effectively?

Linden Labs is attempting to partner with companies in Asia to help understand what their issues are and how to fix this problem. How do we distribute hardware globally, and there will always be some users who are going to be far away from hardware and thus unable to connect to SL without some latency. The long-term goal is to invest in more hardware and distribute it globally as much as is feasible.

• How is Linden Labs addressing some concerns that educators have with allowing K-12 children onto the grid and still ensure their security and safety?

Linden Labs is attempting to make the main grid better, safer, and cleaner without restricting what adults can do, and then expand it to include children. LL is not currently planning on resurrecting the teen grid because it’s not worth it and it’s not a priority and it takes up too many resources for limited content. Right now, LL’s priorities are solving the problem of ease of use, solving quality issues, making technology more flexible. Then, down the road, we can offer more dedicated special interest audiences like that in a safe manner. But it’s not currently a top priority.

• Community Development — We want to see LL office hours in world back and more visible Lindens in-world.

Once again, the restrictions against allowing staff to go in-world as Lindens has been lifted. Staff need to interact with users, and find out what their issues are. LL would like to have meetings but there needs to be ground rules, such as keeping it calm, make sure actionable items come out of the meetings, and that they are not simply gripe sessions. Perhaps a good way to connect with special interest groups, such as E-sports, the bar association, music groups, machinima groups, etc. would be to create an area where these groups can post the dates and times of their meetings and informational get-togethers. Then LL staff can go there, find something they’d like to attend, and then be able to go there. Ebbe stated that he would like to be involved in that, too. Linden Labs is working towards more transparency, and they want to repair that communication. Special interest groups are welcomed and encouraged to invite LL staff to participate in their events and meetings.

In conclusion, Ebbe stated that he is excited to be here and being part of the cutting edge of this type of technology. The possibilities are endless. Advances need to continue to happen, and LL should be at the forefront of these advancements.

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