Viewer

Sense And Stability

Viewer-Icon

I’m very pleased to report that it looks like the Second Life Viewer 2.6.8 appears to be a stable release.

We (the SL residents who participate in testing and development, as well as Linden Lab staffers) put a lot of time into checking and testing viewers, and then reporting results and documenting any new or returning headaches, and it has been driving me crazy that with the last few releases, the person(s) responsible pull the trigger just a little too early, or they pick the wrong build number to bless as an official release. When that happens, it feels like SL is taking two steps forward, and then one or two steps back. I really don’t want to dish any dirt or get into the particulars, but let’s just say that there have been some challenges with the last few releases.

That said, I am very pleased to report that SL Viewer 2.6.8 appears to be a stable, solid release. Voice support in Basic mode is the only big feature (and that has little to no appeal to the existing SL user base), but in my opinion 2.6.8 is more of an interim release. After 6+ hours testing the release version, it appears stable and solid, and addresses the known serious problems with the previous versions. If you haven’t been riding along the crest of each new release, think of 2.6.8 as your ‘best-of’ update. It’s got the render engine overhaul (faster rezzing of textures), http inventory support (which means less lag and fewer failed teleports if you have a large SL inventory, as well as faster inventory load speeds), and of course let’s not forget avatar physics. Multi-wearables (multiple attachments per attachment point + multiple clothing items per clothing or tattoo layer) works beautifully, too. Check out the release notes for details on what’s changed, you’ll also find download links on the page.

FYI, I’ve run into a few people in-world lately who wish they could turn off the automatic download and update of the SL viewer. There’s a Preferences option for that! Go to Preferences -> Setup tab, and on the bottom of the screen you’ll see a drop-down menu for Software Updates. Change it from “Install Automatically” to “Download And Install Updates Manually” and you’re good to go. Now the Viewer will still notify you when a new release becomes available, but you can download and update at your convenience.

New 2011 iMacs and SL

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Apple just announced new iMacs yesterday, and I’ve already gotten tons of questions about the new machines and how they’d handle SL. In an effort to offer some more detailed information, and to save myself from having to type the same thing over and over again in chats and IM’s, I’m posting it here.

For those who don’t want to do much reading....


The new iMacs are awesome. Even the base model has a pretty powerful GPU, and the high end is a powerhouse.

And now for the detailed bit.


When you’re looking for any computer, there are 4 main components to consider: processor (CPU), graphics (GPU), memory, and storage. For Second Life, the two features to really pay attention to are the CPU & GPU. It’s not that memory and storage don’t matter at all, it’s just that SL doesn’t have demanding requirements in those areas, and just about any machine you could buy today will have the bases covered. Let’s take a look at each of the four components.

In the CPU department, even the base model iMac has more than enough horsepower to handle whatever Second Life can throw at it. On a machine with only 1-2 processor cores, you’d want to pay attention to the clock speed and look for something ideally 2.2GHz or higher. Anything less, and the machine would struggle to keep up with SL, and multi-tasking (switching between a few different programs) would likely cause problems (most likely in the form of freezes and crashes as your computer came up short on resources). But all these new machines all have quad-core chips that can easily handle Second Life as well as other applications you may be interested in using at the same time.

GPU is where most people have struggled in the past. iMacs (as well as other Macs and PC’s) from several years ago often struggled with running Second Life even with quality settings turned way down, and the culprit was almost always that the GPU was lacking. In 2006 and 2007 high performance graphics power was just starting to become available, so getting something that could do everything you wanted meant a very expensive graphics card that consumed a lot of power and generated a lot of heat. Things have improved greatly in the last few years, and in 2011 each of the choices is a powerhouse.

In case the brand name confuses you, ATI and AMD are one in the same. AMD bought ATI several years ago, and kept using the ATI brand name on the graphics cards and chips. Last year, they decided that it was finally time to retire the ATI name, and starting with the Radeon 6000 series, they would only use the AMD name. But it’s the same group of people behind the designs and the drivers. Since the launch of the Radeon 4000 series, AMD/ATI has been firing on all cylinders and really doing a great job with their products, and their latest generation of GPU’s is no exception.



The first thing to point out about the GPU’s in the new iMacs is the letter M. Each of the chips has an M in its name (6570M, 6770M, and 6970M) - what does that stand for and what does it mean? M is for mobile. It’s a version of the desktop chip that uses less power and generates less heat, designed for mobile computing. Why would Apple want to put a lower power laptop chip in a desktop? Very simple - heat. Using more power and generating more heat would mean you’d need a lot of cooling fans, and you’d need a bigger case design in order to get enough airflow around all the components to keep it from overheating. In 2011 low power doesn’t mean under-powered, and each of these packs quite a punch.

On the low end, you get the Radeon HD 6570M, the same chip that’s in the most powerful MacBook Pro. It packs 400 vertex shaders, 20 geometry shaders (that’s a lot, and more is always better), has an incredibly fast fill rate (how fast it can draw pixels and fill textures), and has 512MB of dedicated video memory (256MB of which you could use for SL, the other half would be reserved for Mac OS and other applications).

The mid-range machines (the ‘big’ 21.5 inch model and the ‘little’ 27.5 inch iMac) come with the Radeon 6770M, which adds 80 more vertex shaders and 4 more geometry shaders, and has an even faster fill rate. Most measurements put the 6770M at around 15-20% more power than the 6570M, making it a very nice upgrade. It’s also got 512MB of dedicated video memory (256MB of which you could use for SL, the other half would be reserved for Mac OS and other applications).

The high end 27 inch iMac comes packed with the Radeon HD 6970M, which is an incredible GPU. It has double the number of vertex & geometry shaders of the Radeon 6770M (960 vertex and 48 geometry), nearly double the fill rate, and it packs double the video memory at 1GB (letting you use the max of 512MB for Second Life, and still have plenty of video memory for the OS and other programs). Serious content creators can even optionally go for 2GB of video memory (SL will still max at using 512MB, but you’ll have an extra gigabyte of video memory for running graphics intensive programs like Photoshop, AfterEffects, Premiere, Blender, Maya, Cinema 4D, etc). This machine is quite a content creation powerhouse in its own right, actually packing more punch than a quad core Mac Pro from a couple years ago (in fact, the Radeon HD 6970M has more shaders, a faster fill rate, and double the video memory of the ATI Radeon HD 4870 card you could add as an upgrade at the time).

Click here for an ultra-nerdy technical comparison of the GPU’s, along with listings for nearly every AMD/ATI offering in the last decade.

Memory is a much smaller issue these days, both because Macs come with plenty and because Macs handle memory fairly well. All the new iMacs come with 4GB standard, and can be upgraded to 16GB. 4GB is more than enough to run SL as well as a few background apps, but if you do a lot of multi-tasking, and like to have beefy apps like Photoshop running in the background, I’d strongly consider the upgrade to 8GB. If you do a lot of video production work or are a serious SL content creator (who would likely be getting more involved in 3D rendering over the next couple years, if you aren’t already working with it) you may want to consider stepping up to 16GB, but 90% of even the biggest SL ‘power users’ won’t need to go beyond 8GB.

Storage is almost a non-issue. Second Life doesn’t take up much disk space, and even the smallest 2011 iMac has enough room to install a copy of every viewer you could ever want to run many times over. The major decision to make with the new machines is whether you want an SSD or not. SSD’s use flash memory for storage (like an iPad or iPhone), and load much more quickly than a hard drive. How much more quickly? On a machine that would normally take 30 seconds to go from the power completely off to being completely loaded and ready to run at your desktop, an SSD cuts that time down to 15 seconds. An SSD doesn’t make your CPU or GPU or memory work any faster, but because it can get to the files stored on it almost instantly, you end up with faster performance in just about everything. SL users who’ve made the switch from hard drive to SSD (or use an SSD and a hard disk) report an increase of around 5 fps (frames per second) in Second Life. SSD’s are a lot more expensive than hard drives, so depending on your budget you may or may not want to go that route just yet.

That covers the four components, and I think you’ll agree the new machines have a lot to offer.

But what about shadows?


The short answer: Not yet. Shadows (and the newer depth-of-field feature) are still considered experimental in Second Life (click here to see a video that shows dynamic shadows and depth-of-field in SL). In the earliest stages, they only worked with a limited number of nVidia graphics cards, and not at all on any Mac (regardless of the video card). But with the release of Viewer 2.3 last fall, Mac users with nVidia cards finally got working dynamic shadows, projected lights, global illumination, depth-of-field, and other cool ‘bleeding edge’ SL features. Linden Lab has continued to hammer away at it, and does have plans to get shadows working for ATI users as well. They’re finally working for some PC users (and should work on the new iMacs running Windows under boot camp), and in the not-too-distant future I hope to see an SL update that adds dynamic shadow support for ATI users.

New Basic Avatars in Second Life

Short clip showing all the new 'default' avatars available in Second Life's basic mode, plus a couple extras! 12 male and 12 female looks to get you started. And then go beyond basic and switch to Advanced mode, where you can get free clothes and gifts (like the Tramontane Outfit shown in the clip) or go shopping for other great looks (like the Swashbuckler Pirate Outfit at the end of the video).

The video has a slight promotional vibe to it, though that wasn’t necessarily the initial intention. My original plan was to create something that shows new folks and the existing SL user base (and content creators) what the new residents are getting ‘out of the box’ now. Linden Lab has definitely stepped up the game, the new basic avatars are amazing. It also teases new residents that much more is possible, it they’re willing to ‘go beyond basic’ and jump into advanced mode.

Avatar Physics in Second Life Viewer 2.6.3

Demonstration showing how Advanced Avatar Physics works in Second Life, Viewer 2.6.3 (and later). Great controls, easy to use, and respects your privacy and personal settings - awesome! Dress worn: Fiorente Gown in red (with the included short skirt option). Music: "In Chaos (Paper Crows Remix)" by Strangers.

Another Multi-Wearables Clip

BlakOpal demonstrates Multi-Wearables in Second Life. Multiple attachments and multiple layers has been supported in the SL Viewer 2.x since last summer, and is an great feature for customizing the look of your avatar. Demonstration features the Josephine Outfit. Music: "The Gallery" by Muse.


Exploring The Wastelands in Second Life

A slightly experimental clip, shot on location at The Wastelands in Second Life. Features the Barbary Pirate Outfit (in black), and shows off dynamic shadows, shadow smoothing, global illumination, anti-aliasing, and depth-of-field effects in the SL Viewer. Music: "Wrath (Version 3)" by Future Funk Squad.

Multi-Wearables In Second Life

Video demonstrating Multi-Wearables in Second Life. Multiple attachments and multiple layers has been supported in the SL Viewer 2.x since last summer, and is an great feature for customizing the look of your avatar. Demonstration features the Josephine Outfit. Music: "Bad Wings (Deru Remix)" by The Glitch Mob, original version appears on the album Drink The Sea.

Logging In To Favorite Locations

This video shows you how to configure your Viewer (2.5 and later) so you can log directly into Second Life at one of your favorite locations. Great new feature! The music is a track called "Cinder Core" by Tipper, from his excellent album Broken Soul Jamboree.

Viewer 2.4 Immersion Improvements

Here’s a video that shows some of the features in Second Life Viewer 2.4. Nice immersion improvements, like better support for custom sea levels on private regions and new preferences settings to let you customize how the Viewer works for you. The music is a track called "Cinder Core" by Tipper, from his excellent album Broken Soul Jamboree.

Visit The Vernian Sea in SL

Depth-Of-Field in Mesh Project Viewer

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Recent builds of the Mesh Project Viewer beta have been including another surprise for users with nVidia GPU’s (well, the 9xxx series and above). Depth-Of-Field! You may have seen pictures like the one above in blogs and on the internet before, but those involved someone working on the SL snapshot after they took it... but now it’s happening in real-time in the viewer!

Admittedly, it may not be something you use every day, and it is still VERY MUCH in an early beta stage. But it’s definitely got a certain wow factor, and made exploring the beta grid a lot of fun.

For those who head over to see for themselves, first make sure to download the latest Mesh Project Viewer. While you’re checking it out, there are three Debug settings to play with that give you some control on how the feature works... CameraCoC, CameraFNumber, and CameraFocalLength. For more info and details, you can check out the SL WIKI!

OpenSource Obscure has put together a great clip showing the new feature in action, check it out below

Super-charge your SL Viewer with Draw Distance Slider and About Land/Advanced Sky buttons!

Tutorial guiding through the process of adding controls for Draw Distance, About Land, and Advanced Sky to SL Viewer 2.x. Has also been tested with Snowglobe 2,x and Kirsten's S20 Viewers.

XML file can be downloaded here

This tutorial is done on Mac OS, but it works on other operating systems! Windows users, place the XML file in the skins\default\xui\en subdirectory from where you have your Viewer installed.

XML code based on tips and tricks from residents Opensource Obscure and Hitomi Tiponi (based on an original idea by Avi Arrow). Shot on location in Second Life at Caledon Oxbridge Village. Music: "The Alienist" by Random Rab.

FAQ Boots with Alpha Layers in Viewer 2

Short video explaining the difference between boots using alpha layers in SL Viewer 2.x versus invisi-prims in older viewers. Please note, we’ve recently updated most of our boots to take advantage of Viewer 2.x’s alpha layer feature, and get rid of the invisi-prims and invisi-prim scripts. Better boots, less lag.

Music: "Three Views Of A Secret" by Kryptic Minds.

Acceptable Violations?

By most accounts, people are very concerned about their privacy these days. Specifically, they don’t want people violating it. I can’t say that I blame them. While I don’t lead any kind of ‘secret internet double life’ (I’m known by Trilo in RL), I do like to keep my personal account details to myself. I don’t want to have others automatically creating accounts in my name on other web sites, putting me on mailing lists without my permission, sending me promotional offers, or getting at personal data that could help them steal my identity.

There have been two major breaches of privacy within the metaverse in the last few weeks, and I’m a little surprised that more people aren’t up in arms about it. Almost hilariously, more people are expressing militant outrage about changes to the LL viewer’s UI than they are about very serious and real violations of thousands of users’ privacy by organizations that really should know better.

The first one was with the SL Bloggers Ning site (no link, it’s not a public group and you don’t want to risk signing up). The backstory is that Ning.com recently announced the failure of their ad-supported business model. Ad clicks weren’t paying the bills, and they’ve been losing money on the free Ning sites hand over fist. To change course and save their company, they recently announced that they’ll be shutting down the myriad of free Ning sites (inciting civil unrest amongst those who feel entitled to something for nothing). They of course do offer a few reasonably priced premium Ning site upgrade options, enabling those who believe in the communities they’ve built to stay the course (or even improve service & remove unwanted ads). The leader/founder of the SL Bloggers Ning chose the option of moving to another free social networking site and starting over. The problem, apparently, is that she didn’t want to start over. And Group.ly, the new service provider, was so eager to build up its user base that they went to the length of providing tools to help violate members’ privacy. What they did was create and use a tool to scoop all the SL Blogger ning account info (at the very least user names and email addresses, though more data could have been mined) to populate a new SL Bloggers social network on Group.ly’s site. That’s right, without having given permission of any kind, SL Bloggers Ning site members now suddenly found themselves with accounts on some completely different social networking site. Even worse, it all went horribly wrong, and literally overnight the members found themselves being sent between dozens and hundreds of unsolicited emails. I’ll link you to a blog post about the aftermath, but not to either Ning’s or Group.ly’s sites, seeing as right now one of the last things you want is to have an account on either one of those sites. Ning’s user account info needs to be more secure, and Group.ly shouldn’t even be attempting such an underhanded way to grow its user base. And shame on the SL Bloggers’ founder who made the decision to use those tools. While she may have had honorable intentions (keeping her community together during a transition), she completely failed to think about the privacy implications or consider the best interests of the members of that community. The strangest part of it all (at least to me) is that more people aren’t outraged about it. Some folks have expressed anger and frustration about Group.ly’s handling of it all, but hardly anybody seems to care that they made such a tool in the first place, or that Ning’s user account info is so easily scooped by third parties, or that the person they trusted to lead their community would act so thoughtlessly.

The second one, which seems far more sinister, concerns Modular Systems, the makers of the Emerald Viewer. It has recently come out that Modular Systems has been involved in data mining. In a nutshell, they’ve been compiling a list of avatar names, IP addresses, and other information about users without their permission, for whatever reason. This information only became known because their site was hacked and someone got that list. It has now been posted on file sharing sites, there is no way to get that data off the internet now. Regardless of how evil or wrong the hacker(s) were who broke into their site and accessed/copied that private info... Modular Systems should never have been compiling it!!! It is important to point out that:
  • The data that’s been leaked & published appears to have not been a list of users of the Emerald Viewer.
  • You have no way of knowing that Modular Systems is not similarly tracking & logging data for all Emerald Users without their permission, for whatever purposes they choose. Modular Systems has already clearly demonstrated both a lack of respect for user privacy and a lack of website security.
I’m completely baffled as to why people (particularly Emerald users) would not be paranoid and outraged over this. There’s a good chance Modular Systems is compiling that data (even if under the guise of helping to craft a better performing viewer, it’s still wrong), and it’s also entirely possible that they could fall victim to another hack in the future. My advice to anyone who’s ever used that Viewer: Go change your account password on the official Second Life site now (for all your accounts if you have/use alts), and never use the Emerald Viewer (or any viewer from Modular Systems) again. No amount of extra attachment points, temporary uploads, sim-lagging radar functions, or boob jiggling is worth the risk of having personal details of your accounts published online. In my opinion, Linden Lab should not only seriously reconsider allowing Modular Systems to sign up new Second Life accounts on its site, they should think long and hard about allowing them to be on the Third Party Viewer directory.

Ultimately, of course, people are free to make whatever personal decisions they like about privacy and security. It just seems surprising that at a time when sites like Google and Facebook are being taken to task for what they do with user/customer data that these fixtures of the metaverse are getting away with the things they do.

Second Life on iPad?

Folks have been wondering about running Second Life on an iPad since before Apple formally announced the device back in January. And now that iPad (and over 3,000 iPad-specific apps) are out on the market (in the US, anyways), it’s time to revisit the question. Can you use Second Life on an iPad?

Yes. There are two different ways of going about it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll point out that I do not yet have an iPad. While I would love to tell you I’m holding out for the 3G model or some future version of the device, we have some other financial priorities and my iPad purchase is still several months away. Hopefully BlakOpal will be able to get one by summertime.

One is through remote access. In a nutshell, the program you run on the iPad is an app that lets you access a desktop or laptop computer that is running somewhere. Currently there are a number of remote access applications for iPad, with LogMeIn Ignition receiving high marks from some (a ‘first look’ review can be found here). Remote access does have its drawbacks. First, you’ve got to have a computer connected to the internet somewhere (of course, since you use Second Life you probably already have that), and second, you’ll need a fast connection for your iPad. Streaming what the SL viewer app sees on your desktop/laptop and your pointing and clicking on the iPad back to your computer will use a lot of internet bandwidth, and most likely choke on a 3G connection. But if you’re on a wifi network, things should be okay. They’ll be more sluggish than as if you were sitting directly in front of your full-powered PC, but it will work. Probably not the sort of thing you want to do if you plan on going in-world to fly airships or stage battles with friends, but for casual SL use, socializing, and even shopping a remote access application should be up to the task.



The other way to access Second Life on an iPad is through an app. Linden Lab does not have an iPhone or iPad Viewer (though that would be great to see), but there is a program out there. Pocket Metaverse and the premium version Pocket Metaverse Pro currently runs on iPhone, iPod Touch, and on iPads (since the iPad runs all the iPhone apps) and lets you do a lot of stuff. IM’s and chats, teleport, access your inventory, and even upload photos. And it works reasonably well even on a 3G mobile connection. Even better, the makers of Pocket Metaverse Pro have recently announced (via their Twitter account) that their iPad version (as well as the next bugfix release of the regular app) is coming soon. No word yet on what additional features or functionality the iPad version will offer, but even if all they do is optimize the layout and improve the graphics for iPad’s larger display it’s going to be a hit.

Are there any full-on 3D graphical SL Viewers for iPad? Not yet. But it’s still early - very early, in the product’s life. While iPhones have been on the market for a few years now, they’ve lacked the computing power to handle a fully functional viewer. Let’s face it, if full-powered laptops and desktops can sometimes struggle with Second Life, getting SL to run on a phone would be near impossible. On the back-end of things, each successive iPhone has been faster than the last. With the iPhone 3GS, speeds are around 50% faster than 2008’s iPhone 3G. iPad performance is about double that of the 3GS, and it’s well within the device’s capacity to render SL at up to 1024x768. It’s just a question of time before a native 3D graphical Viewer becomes available.

Viewer 2 Released

For your information, Viewer 2 was officially released today. If you care to download it, you can get it here. Fear not, it's not a mandatory upgrade by any means (it will likely be another 4-6 months before support for 1.x viewers is discontinued - by that time any of the third-party Viewers will have most likely updated to remain compliant).

Probably the first thing to know about the 2.0 Viewer is that the overhaul was geared towards making some desperately needed improvements for new and first-time users. This is because something on the order of 90% of the people who had bothered to sign up to SL, download the software, and log in never ever came back. From a UI design and business standpoint, that's just plain tragic. The continued existence, as well as success and growth of LL's business depends on improving that number.

Does this mean that LL doesn't care about those of us who are already in-world? Of course not, that would be stupid. Just about everyone benefits from LL improving that number, too. For merchants and land baron types, it means more potential customers to do business with. For artists and creators with no commercial inclinations, it means more people will get to see and experience your creations. For RP/gamers, it means more people to play with. For those here purely for social purposes, it means the party will get bigger.

Knowing that puts the rest of it all into much-needed perspective. With that said, let me talk about the new Viewer. For experienced users, it will likely be disorienting and confusing at first. The look of the interface has changed, and buttons and controls are in different places than they used to be. Have patience, you'll get used to it in less time than you think.



My impression of the re-work is that they went for a decidedly more browser-like feel. I think that's a good thing - just about everyone using the internet is already familiar with a web browser. The chat/communications functions appear to take cues from sites like Facebook. Complain all you like about Facebook, but with 400 million users worldwide there's something to be said for using what people probably already know how to use. While it's different from the 1.x Viewer, it's not that hard to get used to. Small square icons along the bottom right of the window represent any open group chat windows or IM's, along with a "conversation feed" (that tallies up the # of unread msgs) and "notifications feed" (that tallies up and organizes notification windows). A yellow dot on a button indicates that there's something unread. Gone are the annoying blue boxes in the top left corner. Click a button, the window opens up. Click away and the window is minimized. Or click another button and it swaps windows. You can 'tear away' the chat/IM window if you like, just click and drag it.

While I don't intend to walk through the entire viewer in this post I felt it was important to point out the above since in my experience over the last month that's what people seem to have the most trouble with. You do have the option of switching back to IM's in tabs (making the change requires a restart), but my advice is to have some patience and give it a little time. During my first experience I just didn't like it at all. The next couple sessions weren't so difficult - I felt like a traveler changing trains at an unfamiliar station, not quite sure what track I was on or how to find the platform. Soon after (in my case, once I made the Facebook connection) it started to make a lot more sense. Now I'm at the point where I miss the ease of use and functionality when I jump back to using Snowglobe 1.x for any reason.

During your first session, you'll want to give yourself a little extra time, as you'll likely need to re-adjust any custom settings you've made in the past. While it appears to try and retain most of your preferences, some things needed to be re-set. Viewer 2 was certainly usable the first time I ran it, but I prefer twisting some of the knobs and adjusting the dials to improve performance on my system and get it configured to my taste. For the more technically-minded user, a page of tweaks is available on the Second Life Wiki.

Marching Forth



Despite us being relatively low key in the new release department in the month of February, it was quite a busy month. Starting with getting things established on Avatars United, we had a couple of our best-ever days in the shoppe, appeared in the Modavia Fashion Directory XIV, and even made our first appearance in the Second Life Destination Guide! I also spent quite a bit of time doing some software testing, ranging from projects I can’t talk about to Snowglobe 1.3 and then towards the end of the month with the SL Viewer. There were a few other bits and bobs in-world, but a lot of time was also spent with upgrades here in our RL studio. I’m happy to report that BlakOpal’s machine is running beautifully and exceeding all our expectations, plus my redesign of our wired and wireless networking, and backup strategy seems to both be running well and ready for the next steps.

In getting ready for those next steps, I think it’s time to pull a few things off the fire. Linden Lab will be retiring the Battery Street Irregulars (viewer testing group), and the time seems ideal to back away from a few other testing programs as well. There are a couple I’m very interested in, and will not only continue with but likely become more involved with them. And I’ll likely continue to fumble my way through the Viewer 2.0 Open Beta, wrapping my head around its features and functions. But involvement in too many projects starts to stretch me thin, and worse it seems to invite some people to treat me like a personal tech support department or target me as a person to sound off on when they feel the need to vent regarding something LL does or says (and believe me, there have been some doozies). I’m happy to participate in technical group chat conversations from time to time, but that’s about the extent of it. Except for Miss BlakOpal, of course, as I do happen to be her IT department :-)

That said, I’m very excited indeed about the next steps ahead. BlakOpal’s first machinima video on her new machine came out looking great, and I’m looking forward to seeing more videos from her soon. Additionally, we’re both bubbling with excitement over ideas for outfits and builds, and I’m looking forwards to some big improvements in computing/rendering power on our next system upgrade (once certain hardware is released and we’ve saved enough lindens). There will hopefully be a couple new shoppe locations in there as well. It’s going to be an exciting month - I’m excited.

Snowglobe 1.2!



Hey look, the new version of Snowglobe is almost ready! As a beta tester, I’ve been working with various builds and incarnations of Snowglove 1.2 since late summer, and I’ve got to say I’m really excited about this thing coming out. All the safety and security of a Linden Lab viewer, plus a lot of the innovation from the vibrant SL developer community - it’s a great mix.

As of this writing, Snowglobe 1.2 RC3 is the latest release, and offers significantly faster network connections (in preferences on the network tab, you can now set the slider to 5000kbps - more than 3x faster than the max of 1500kbps in the SL viewer), automatic language translation in local chat (using Google translate, it’s far from perfect but a very nice start), greatly improved texture handling (in the Advanced menu, enable Rendering -> HTTP Get Textures to let Snowglobe take advantage and drastically improve the loading of things like the SL map), a Worn Items tab (in your inventory window, you can now click on the Worn Items tab to see just the stuff your avatar is currently wearing), and more.

Get Snowglobe here.