Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bare Rose does Space Junky's

Well this is a bit off my usual topic, but I have to say June Dion the premiere fashion designer and owner of Bare Rose ~ Tokyo has certainly topped herself this time. Last Sunday I attended a concert at the B@R White Wolf location, and witnessed something that completely blew me away ! Space Junkies the SL band that seems to be taking on SL with a vengeance. If you have not seen them yet, Woooo Look Out, this band Rocks BIG TIME !!!! :_)



JayR Cela :_)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

SecondLife 1.20.x.x Release Candidates & Dazzle

By JayR Cela 5/3/08

Most SLifers are aware of Linden Labs(tm) fervently fast paced upgrade path for the SecondLife(tm) client viewer. The current batch, 1.20.x.(1-5) have been met with mixed results from the general and developer communities. During a recent Linden meeting, I had the chance to ask some questions, and print a condensed version of my transcript. But first A quick look at the disappearing skirts issue, the Havok 4 team, along with some closing comments on recent Server problems, and a statement from Rob Linden.

Disappearing Skirts
You: silly question / if I may ask please ...............
You: has any one solved the dissapearing skirt problems yet ?
Alexa Linden: it's still being looked at, VWR-2778
You: ok / thanks Alexa :_)
Alexa Linden: np :), it's been imported, and we are looking at it

The Havok 4 Team
You: ok i got comment.......
Aric Linden listens to JayR
You: sidewinder and his team deserve some real hero pats on the back and probably a raise in pay for pulling of the havok 4 release, that team rocks
Aric Linden: Oh, they got all that and more, and yes they do rock. They're showing the rest of us how real people get work done

Dazzle and the 1.20.x.x Release Candidates
You: so why ya'all gonna do about Dazzle ? / I personally like it / but seems as
if not many other folks do ?
Aric Linden: JayR? what is it that you think we should do with Dazzle?
You: ok / I personally like the Dazzle skin / should be an option to choose between
Classic and Modern / same as Sea Monkey ( FireFox ) (Win~Amp ) why is this
not an option ?
Kooky Jetaime: I haven't tried Dazzle... I'm in the boat though of hold dazzle and
just go straight to a skinnable UI. At the minimum, give the choice of Dazzle or
raditional. I like the dark ui.
Aric Linden: It's not an option currently for a few reasons. It was very expensive to try and test and support two versions
concurrently so we opted for pushing to dazzle and moving towards a skinnable ui
Squirrel Wood: Dazzle, afaik is a first step towards skin ability
Aric Linden nods at Squirrel
Yuu Nakamichi: I have read that the skinnaibility will be finishied before Dazzle
becomes main?
Asriazh Frye: would the skin modifying be an in-client thing or an extra program?
Aric Linden: Asriazh it would be a simple config - you'd add a folder with your
desired skin to the install directory for SL. We are working on it, and we're split into many different groups and have a range of priorities. Sometimes our priorities map 1-1 with residents (the crashes in last weeks rc for example). In other cases, the timing shifts out based on other ordering for resources. QA and release are both stretched very tightly right now, we wanted to get Dazzle out and get feedback before we completed the skinning, but we haven't given up on skinning at all .
You: Aric / seems as if QA is streatched more than a bit thin / the RC's should be
re-named ALPHA clients / they are not of Release Canidate calibur
Aric Linden laughs This topic has been discussed and is in the process of being worked out now
I'm driving that
You: and this is a problem ...... because ..... the average user is or does not
seem to be able to grasp the fact that these are experimental
Squirrel Wood: mayhaps a name shift from RC to Beta Client may help ?
Aric Linden: but since you seem to know - how would you define the difference
between Release candidate and Alpha or Beta software
You: Ok...look at MS for an example, they go thru and closed alpha & beta stage .....
Aric Linden thinks fondly of IE 3 and listens closely
You: then an open beta.....then a closed RC....then an open RC stage
Aric Linden: and they take how long to release product?
You: a long time:_)
Aric Linden: would you be willing to wait 2 years for an update to SL?
You: no / I would be willing to wait several months. What the heck are you'all rushing for ?
Aric Linden: We're rushing because we are not ubiquitous. We are trying to build a platform and feel that time to market matters. We are also solving (or trying to solve) problems that MS doesn't have
Trinity Coulter: for me, i don't think rapid changes matter as long as you have a
lot of communication with the residents
Aric Linden: all that said, we will be slowing down the RC process and implementing
a more closed alpha cycle
You: but in the mean time you have created a unstable platform ..... why not pay residents that actually want to work with you..... for their time to test things before they are release into the general population
Aric Linden: Um, I'm not in charge of the pay residents to work with us problem, JayR - I will bring your suggestion to the team tho
Kooky Jetaime: I think JayR is on something that I've been repeating about for awhile....
LL needs to use the "established" meanings for words in software development.
These RC's are not Release Candidates. They are Public Beta's. They are no where NEAR polished, or feature locked
Aric Linden: Kooky - have you been sitting in on our meetings?
Kooky Jetaime: I hit some hours here and there, if not talking about those, then no.
Aric Linden: no, i meant our internal meetings
Kooky Jetaime: No.
Aric Linden: we're discussing this stuff - alpha beta naming conventions time to
release etc.. this is a big topic internally and we'll be making some changes
Bridie Linden: Another reason for the increase in RCs lately was to try and
find/fix crashes...
You: but in essance you are using the general Avatar population as guinee piggs.....
thus in the long run ...alienaiting a lot of potential future customers to this platform
Kooky Jetaime: Bridie - RC's are not for bug hunting. Thats what Alphas/Betas are for....
something titled with "RC" should be, as far as can be determined" A-OK, and ready to
ship, your just checking to make sure the public agrees with you.
Bridie Linden: As Aric mentioned, we are discussing all of this internally.
Aric Linden: thanks - we're doing something that's not been done before and we're
feeling our way along sometimes really painfully, sometimes really successfully. We're' trying to collaborate with you all and internally
Bridie Linden nods
Aric Linden: sometimes we don't realize we've effed up until two days after the effup
Squirrel Wood: If y'all ask me then it may be a wise idea to have one team rewrite
the client from scratch and define common interfaces for different modules like input,
rendering, skins, ... but that's just my two cents of L$
You: i agree with Squirrel
Aric Linden: wow squirrel - i think if we had a large enough team, we'd consider that, but that's HUGE, and by the time we got to the end of that, we'd have to rewrite a
bunch of it cuz it was outdated
Trinity Coulter: they are working toward that, Squirrel, by changing the way the server and client interact, so its on the long range plan
Squirrel Wood: yes. but the team would just rebuild the base framework. everything
else comes as module to link into that frame
Aric Linden: Trinity is right, exactly right, and even though sometimes it doesn't seem like it, we try to factor residents into the work we do all the time

Some Server Issue's
You: personally I dont think the client is the biggest problem right now
Aric Linden: agreed jayr, the server is. But that's only because we put so much into the client over the last 9 months
Squirrel Wood: Yes. The asset server has been a pain during the past couple weeks...
not a single day without any major troubles
Aric Linden: we're now pointing at trying to get the server solid
Trinity Coulter: to help improve the reliability of SL, but, i guess this isn't the Which hour, its the Bug Lindens hour :)
Squirrel Wood: modularize...much easier to rewrite or exchange a module than the entire thing :)
Aric Linden: Squirrel, we're trying, we're getting there
You: Backward compatibility with legacy code is allways a problem / and sometimes,
can choke off inovation /
Aric Linden:sometimes, so you refactor all of that and make occasional updates mandatory, and then listen to your users gripe about mandatory updates, or lack of mandatory updates
Aric Linden: Sadly, I need to go, I'll set up office hours. It seems as though this is a conversation worth continuing with y'all

Final Comment from Rob Linden
Rob Linden: the question is not whether it's possible to write something
more compact and less buggy. the question is whether a complete rewrite is a faster path to
more compact and less buggy than gradual refactoring/improvement
Rob Linden: this line taken from the essay link below, is pretty important:
" The old mantra build one to throw away is dangerous when applied to large scale commercial
applications. "

Well there ya have it folks.
JayR Cela :_)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Microsoft does .NET Event in SecondLife

By JayR Cela 5/2/08

This Week, I was invited to a virtual world event hosted by Micro Soft, courtesy of Linden Labs Second Life(tm) internet Virtual World platform. The former had set up several islands to host a number of .NET developers an enthusiast's. I'll admit I was quite impressed upon initial arrival. MS had numerous in world employee's there to greet and direct all newcomers and old time SLifers as well, they were very friendly and helpful to everyone. This this is a bit unusual, most SL in world experiences with corporate entity's, (an exception being Sun Micro Systems) that I have experienced, are not as well planned or executed. However, as with any new medium of virtual communications first time large scale event, things swiftly started to unravel.

MS had set up 3 separate islands for the attendee's, depending upon their particular interests. My teleport to the Visual Studio island landed me somewhere in a lake bed underwater, but according to my map, I was close enough to make my way to the proper location. Within a minute I was at the auditorium that had been set up with help from LL. I sat and watched as the MS employee's unfamiliar with this new virtual environment, struggled with in world Power Point slides, and the spotty voice chat performance that seems to be so common in SL. Most problems were eventually resolved, and the presentation proceeded, minus the PP slide show.

In closing, I would like to say, that considering recent difficulties LL has been experiencing the past month or so, things seemed to go over well enough to satisfy, the majority of attendee's. I base this statement on follow up, in world text chat, and the dot~NET group IM comments afterwards.

Does this mean that the Linden Lab folks are finally getting a handle on things? I sincerely hope so.

JayR Cela :_)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

SecondLife Perpetual Beta & 1 Big Crap Shoot

By JayR Cela 4-25-08

Ok it has been a while since I have posted here, I hope fate, smiles upon me. So with out further adieu. I am here today to explain, as I see it, my opinion of. The current state of affairs, dealing with the issues of server instability and client disaster within SecondLife the Virtual World owned and operated by Linden Labs.
As most readers already know, the SL (tm) grid seems to have turned into a mass of mush the past several months. Not only that, but the flurry of poorly designed and implemented SL client viewers, tends to make one wonder, what and the heck is going on. The recent firing of Corey (Ondrejka) Linden, ( Linden Labs lead technical architect) was thought by some to signal trouble ahead, perhaps they were correct, perhaps not so. And Phillip stepping aside, hmm I believe this was, and still is a good idea, simply because this is considered to be a logical move for many growing companies that start out small, and suddenly grow faster than anticipated. So lets start with the with some very apparent facts.
The first open to the public release of SL was in October of 2003 with version 1.0.0, prior to that SL was an open beta, and prior to that a closed internal beta. Currently the server code is at and soon to be updated to 1.21.x.xxxxx. For a look at the version history ( see > http://secondlife.wikia.com/wiki/Release_Notes ) ( this shows a complete history of SL version progress with explicit details included ) The client viewer software version, generally runs concurrent with the server software. It is important to remember that the two, although intertwined, are separate pieces of code, and that they perform different functions from one in other, as are the subsets of other contained code within each of them. So often, I hear or read in the blogs people getting the two of these programs functions confused with one in other. Example: "Since the introduction of Havok 4 the inventory system is ruined!" This is simply not true, and for that matter an impossibility. The inventory asset system and the Havok physics engine ( although they run together on the Server side of the equation) perform two completely different and separate tasks. This would be similar to making a statement that your automobile started running poorly, because you overfilled your windshield washer fluid reservoir. The two have nothing to do with one in other, besides the fact they are both a part of the same overall end result. Getting from point A to point B. In September 2005 when I first became aware of SL, the server and client code at that time was the1.6.12.x series. And I can tell you for the past 2-1/2 years that the one thing about LL that remains the same, is that, things are constantly in a state of flux, that will never change. Sometimes problems get solved only to resurface for no apparent reason again, months down the road. Old problems that have been here forever seem to be completely ignored, while the coders at LL feverishly pile on new features, that seem to most of us, that not many users really want, or care about. Although I am sure LL has their reasons for doing so.
Another thing that however regrettable also seems to remain the same. Is that the utter lack of seeming concern by LL, of its life and blood. The Customer, that's right, the Customer! Mind you now there are a variety of customer types. You have the free accounts, paying, premium, land owners , estate owners, corporate & educational accounts. And I am sure that, priorities come into play when dealing with different account types and their various concerns. For instance, consider the addition, and botched introduction of live voice chat into SL. if I recall correctly, there was a huge outcry from the basic and premium account holders against this feature being added to the platform. However the cooperate and educational communities felt this was a necessity, in order for SL to become a viable venue. The latest features to be frowned upon by the community at large, Wind Light & Dazzle have been met with the same vigorous dismay, as so were the previous introduction's of Flexi & Sculpty Prims. ( I don't recall hearing any recent rantings about these now invaluable features )
Why you ask, does LL do these things. The answer is simple, in order for them to remain competitive, in what is probably the fastest growing industry seen in recent times, ( see article >Ignore Second Life at your own peril< http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article3803056.ece ) they simply have to, in order to survive. No if ands or buts about it. Face it quite a few people, whom are technically savvy enough, and who even have the desire to dabble in Virtual Worlds, like their bells and whistles. We are for the most part a gadget obsessed society. However to obtain all these perks at the sake of having countless system breakdowns, major issues that continue to remain unresolved, and the general population so often simply to be told to file their complaints into the almost incomprehensible bottom less pits, so unaffectionately referred to as the JIRA, and PJIRA can be utterly maddening at the least.
So what are we as users to do? Complain in different ways available to us, yes. Will our voices be heard? Maybe they will, maybe they wont, who knows. Its all one giant crap shoot, a big game of chance, the players being us the customers, and Linden Labs the persons running the gambling table. We are all gambling here. And as with all business ventures of any sort there are risks that must be taken. We constantly here from different sources, issues such as, why don't you fix what is broken, instead of adding new features? Well the reason for that may well be, that all companies except for the smallest Mom & Pop shop types, are sectioned off into separate teams, these individual team members work on different aspect's of the overall performance for the business as a whole. The fact remains that SL in of and as itself, is a huge undertaking, unprecedented before now. I ask you to sit back for a moment and think about this question. Have you ever not been able to find something to do here in SL? ~No !!~ I'll bet that you have not. That is because the possibilities of things to do are practically limitless. And you have to keep in mind another truism, if nothing else, remember this whole on line environment, that we call SecondLife, is has been and will continue to be one giant Beta Project. So hold on tight, and fasten your seat belts. Either way no matter how things eventually work out, it will be interesting to say the least. And years down the road, you can look back and say, I was there when it all started ! And then you can smile.
Finally, a prediction for the future. Database server related problems will soon become a thing of the past, now that Sun Micro Systems has acquired MySQL, the open source company that developed the underlying data management software that runs SL. ( see Sum Micro press release > http://www.sun.com/aboutsun/media/presskits/2008-0116/index.jsp/ ) 4/15/08 Cheers & Rock On !!

JayR Cela :_)