Bento is getting closer to being available, though it’ll be a while before the clients start catching up with its capabilities. If you find someone selling a Bento shape, be aware that you’ll look oddball to anyone without a Bento viewer. Although photos of yourself will look good
The following notes and audio were taken from the weekly Bento User Group meeting, held on Thursday, May 26th at 13:00 SLT on Aditi. For details on each meeting and the location, please refer to the Bento User Group wiki page.
Note that this update is not intended to offer a full transcript of the meeting, nor does it present the discussion points in chronological order. Rather, it represents the core points of discussion, grouped together by subject matter were relevant / possible, whilst maintaining the overall context of the meeting.
Bento on Agni
A Bento Imp celebrates the upcoming Bento move to Agni
It had been hoped that back-end support for Bento would be enabled on Agni (the main grid) during week #21. However, things got held up while a fix was being pushed through QA (possibly the security fix…
I just came across this in my mail, from Dec. 17. (This tells you how hectic December is for someone who works in retail.) This news is important for two reasons: (1) the obvious thing, the information contained within — hands and face mobility, especially, will be a vast improvement over current SL state of the art; and (2) this, in my perception, shows Linden Lab’s ongoing commitment to the original Grid, as well as exploring new areas with Sansar. Look forward to these additions; when the tools come down to improve our smiles or frowns, I suspect a whole new era of SL photography will open up!
On Wednesday 16th December Linden Lab announced Project Bento, adding new bones and attachment points to the Second Life Avatar Skeleton. This is the biggest change to avatars in years and the good news is that it’s fully backward compatible with existing avatars.
This is excellent news for sure and this announcement sounds very exciting indeed. :)
We know how much work, value, personalization and emotional investment goes into a Second Life avatar, so we have always been careful when considering avatar changes. While we want to make improvements, we also want to maximize backward compatibility. Get ready for the biggest thing that’s happened to avatars in years …
Ever wish you could incorporate a tail, wings, or second set of arms into your avatar? How about having animations for facial expressions and finger movements? Yes, we know that there are some incredibly creative workarounds that give you some of these…
I had to go someplace before I could do any real playing or setup with the new version of the Firestorm viewer. Some quick thoughts from the first day:
This is version 4.7.3; it’s finally made it out there, and it’s a “major” release, which means that one or two older versions will be blocked. As the previous version was considered something of a “working beta,” it would probably be a very good thing to update to this one, as many pernicious problems have apparently corrected, including an attachment bug.
Your antivirus may trigger as you open the setup executable. I checked on this in support (via going in world with the Linden viewer), and it’s definitely a false positive. If you get a warning, click Allow to let it through.
Be prepared to do some resetting of your preferences, even after “saving and restoring” preferences — unless I messed something up during the clean install that Firestorm really really encourages you to go through to put in a major version. I can say that I needed to turn transcripts back off (I hate transcripts on chat and IM for the most part), rejigger my graphics, reset a bunch of other clickoffs that needed clicking, and put all my buttons back into the locations I like them — and I’m still not sure I got everything where I like it to be. As with everything involving computers, Your Mileage May Vary. Usually depending on the phase of the moon, the height of the tides, the flip of a celestial coin, and whether or not you have sacrificed a she-goat, if not a higher and purer form of life. (Darned hard to find a virgin when you need one….)
After working past that, I quickly found one of the obvious goodies I’ve wanted: the dynamic hover height control. If you find yourself floating too high, or slogging through the dirt at ankle level, right-click and select this control, and you can adjust your hover height ± 2.000 (you can fine-tune it to the thousandth, yes) over the current shape default. This comes in very handy for situations where you put on a fresh pair of shoes and you find yourself at odds with the current ground level. This is a keeper!
I haven’t been able to play with a promised goodie, the ability to pile on up to 60 attachments combined, all types, instead of only five attachments of any one type. I may take a proof-of-concept photo of myself wearing 6 or 7 tattoos — though at least one of them will be like a hairbase — to see how well this works, and publish it.
I may try some experimentation with posting directly to Flickr or Facebook (using the included logins) from in world as well. However, that will be more to get something up that I want to have a quick snapshot on, instead of a polished, finished piece. Blessed be Paint Shop Pro X8, and health to all its subroutines.
Most other things, as far as I can see right now, are beyond my interest, leaning toward the more technical end of a complex piece of simulation software. But if anything strikes my fancy in the future, I’ll surely note it here and on my other methods of communication.
I have returned from the world of updating Windows 8.1, also known as the Mildly Darned, to Windows 10. And I can pretty reliably report to those considering it, or waiting to get the green flag from Microsoft, that it was a 99% smooth ride.
The worst part was the wait while everything downloaded and installed; but even that is not as bad as previous editions of Windows. I got my current Black Tower of Elminster done in 1.25 hour, give or take maybe five minutes. There were no glitches in the process, only two restarts, and it seemed a very satisfying operation. I would counsel you to make sure your antivirus software is up to date, to be sure it’s running correctly with Windows 10 from the get go, and to recheck it when the new install settles in for fresh update files and drivers. A reasonable precaution here, which may save much hassle in the future.
The most surprising moment was, ironically, when I went to open Firestorm. I got a notice saying it couldn’t find my graphics card. A quick dive into Control Panel to update Nvidia’s driver, and all seems to be well now; I’ve signed in, cleared my waiting notifications and shot a light photo (but still at 4,000 pixels), and all seems smooth. So definitely update your graphics driver before starting a client; it would need it anyway, so it makes sense to do it before starting up anything that’s graphics-intensive, like Second Life.
Perhaps the most pleasant thing? That Which Was Lost has now been Found — the Start Button has returned! Microsoft, in its infinite insanity of trying to be over-current with the times, dropped Start in Windows 8. It has now been restored, and no workarounds from third-party vendors are required.
This is by no means a comprehensive endorsement of Windows 10 yet. Reviews from PC Mag have been excellent, and I’ve encountered no great problems to date; but one of my spies reports there have been some complaints about drivers for some programs updating, then Win 10 slams them back to the old driver on restart. I haven’t encountered this yet, but I may not use whatever software these people were using. Your Mileage May Vary. I also haven’t tried out the new Edge browser to see if it is an actual improvement over Internet Exploiter, uh, Explorer; though, again, the reviewers have been fairly complimentary. At this point, though, I would encourage you to go ahead and update. It’s free (for a year, to current users who have a compatible computer), it’s comprehensive, and I haven’t crashed yet. Give it a shot and see what you get.
Daniel Voyager reports that Linden Lab is changing the code for groups this week. According to the official announcement:
Beginning tomorrow, Linden Labs will be rolling out some changes across the grid in the code for groups that will affect ALL viewers being used in SL right now – including the SL viewers. The rollout should be completed by Friday.
What it means is that you will be unable to access the member lists in any group with 10,000 or more in the group. You will still be able to get group chat. You will be able to send group notices and invite people to join the group if your group role allows it. You will be unable to assign a role and you will be unable to eject anyone from the group since you will not have access to that particular individual’s name. If you are a moderator in the group, you will be unable to exercise any mod abilities such as taking away chat privileges for the same reason.
The SL viewer should be updated soon. Firestorm will be updated but the timeline is unsure at this point (hopefully this weekend but that’s not a sure thing yet).
We have no information about any of the other viewers at this time.
As I’m reading Daniel, the loss of powers should be a temporary thing, until the viewers themselves are updated to handle the new code. Daniel says, “The new code changes will fix groups using HTTP which makes it more reliable for loading and editing for 10k+ members in SL groups. This is a switch-over from the old UDP which is not that great for handling large groups with 10k+ members. Its slow loading and harder to edit things with additional issues within groups.”
For those who have downloaded the latest update to LL’s Viewer 2, you’ll notice a change straight off. Instead of the traditional photograph, rotating from view to view with each sign on, we are now given a menu of pictures, destinations and events to examine in a browser when we click on them.
Do you think this gives the LL viewer more versatility or usefulness? Do you like it or not?
UPDATE: August 9 —
New World Notes suggests that the “What’s Hot Now” line might encourage more new user retention, as they now have a few suggestions where they will find other Residents congregating. Check out Ham’s article.
A fresh issue hath arisen on the Grid, and it doesn’t have anything to do with gambling, or banking (read: gambling), or policy decisions by Linden Lab.
Or maybe it does have something to do with policy. For the issue centers around the new Version 2 official viewer, which was formally made gamma a week or so ago. Viewer 2 is now the main viewer new users are actively offered when they sign up for Second Life; I suspect Snowglobe, the Lab’s own “alternative viewer,” will go eventually in the same direction. To my experience so far, the Residents are in two distinct camps: they either enjoy Viewer 2, or they hate it and refuse to leave their Type 1 viewers. There doesn’t appear to be much of a middle ground.
For my part, I haven’t found anything that terrible about Viewer 2 since the first beta. The development team addressed many of my concerns with the original beta build, as listed in my first article on the subject and associated comments (particularly by T Linden), and most of my others are more pet peeves than real concerns, easily worked around. My current primary concern: Viewer 2 seems to not like “crowded” or “prim-busy” sims (the best way I can express it, not dependent on avatar presence) when you first teleport in. I’ve tended — though not consistently — to crash out of Second Life after a serious period of lock-up as my computer thrashes with the situation. A fresh login usually solves the problem, but it gets annoying.
However, in defense of Viewer 2, the official version 1.x viewer could do that at times as well, and even the so-lauded third-party viewers could have problems with such a situation, as well as their own glitches and idiosyncrasies. Kirsten’s Shadowdraft, for instance, has a terrible problem with texture loading in my experience; and the last version of Emerald that I used was far slower than previous versions. Out of recent alternative 1.x viewers, Snowglobe was the best I’ve used in recent days, believe it or not.
Overall, with respect to friends and fellow Residents, I believe this is rather the situation that was addressed once in the New Hacker’s Dictionary — known better to many as the Jargon File. I can’t remember now which it was, but one of the definitions noted that people put a lot of emotional investment in their tools, even if the tools are mere objects and completely non-sentient. The look and feel of the Second Life viewer was bound to change eventually; indeed, we should remember the private competition that was held sometime in the past year to year and a half, with a large prize in lindens offered for the best redesign of the 1.x viewer — meant, as I recall, to offer an easier experience to new users as much as anything. Does the concept sound a little familiar? Rather like what Linden Lab is now trying to do with Viewer 2…?
Give this new viewer a chance, says I. Get used to its different layout and idiosyncracies, remember that most if not all of the keyboard shortcuts are still the same, and work with the Lab to encourage them — not “demand” that they “fix the damned thing.” Such things prove more productive in the long run.
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