Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bad information can lead to no good.

There is a user in Second Life who is passing out notecards that he claims to have solutions to bake failures. Unfortunately, this user is woefully misinformed. And he choose to be, because he has been advised that his information is invalid and he has ignored that.

So this is my response to that notecard. I'm going to address it line by line. I won't say who has passed this information out because this is not about the person. It's only about the information.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN: keep in mind that you may mess your viewer settings seriously if you decide to "play" in the advanced menu.
This is true. User beware. It is even more true about the Develop menu and about Debug Settings. If you make a change, and don't remember what you changed, the usual remedy is to clear your settings. Write down what you change so that if something does go cross-eyed, you can reverse your changes.
You are the only one responsible for any actions taken relating to the advanced menu.
CTRL+ALT+D will open the Advanced Menu
CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+S will open debug settings
In all honesty, you don't need the Advanced menu or Debug settings at this point.
I am not sure of the actual cause, but there are a number of ways to resolve the issue (irrespective of the given article):
Bake failure takes on many forms. None are quite the same, though they might appear as such. The solutions also are varied. Unfortunately, we don't have any sure-fire way of telling what kind of bake fail you might have, and so we don't have a solid solution. But we have time-tested suggestions.
01/. The debug setting 'renderunloadedavatar' set to true (Ctrl-Alt D for Advanced menu, if the advanced menu is not available);
OK, this is about the most useless function. It doesn't do anything to resolve bake failure. What it does is force your non-baked objects to render, so you'll see hair and shoes and so forth. But you won't see your skin and clothing layers. This isn't a solution, please don't think of it as anything more than a placeholder.
02/. Power your pc down, if it is a laptop, remove the battery for a minute, press the power button without power or battery in.... Power down the router, leave it off for a minute. Replace power/battery to laptop, power up pc, power up the router. NOTE: Do not run battery and power together on a damages the battery;
This is a mix of good and bad information, and none of it is very relevant to most bake failures. Most modern PCs do not have to be left powered down for any length of time in order to "reset" it, but it doesn't hurt. On a laptop, pressing the power button with the battery removed does nothing unless the manufacturer has specifically indicated this in their operating manual. To achieve the same effect of powering down a PC, you can simply power down the laptop and leave the battery in. Removing the battery doesn't make the laptop turn off any more than just powering the laptop down.

On a positive note, it is a good idea to cycle your battery from full charge to flat to avoid what's called charge memory. Mainstream lithium ion (L-ION) batteries aren't nearly as susceptible to this charge memory, so if you do happen to run the laptop on AC power with the battery installed, it's not a big deal. Again, refer to your manufacturer for guidance on this.
03/. Change your bald base;
This is a great idea. But, if your type of bake failure doesn't allow you to change your outfit, this won't help. It's not a great first measure.
04/. Go to a low lag sim such as Moses, Hatton ...
    04.1/. Disable your bridge from Preferences > Firestorm > General
This does nothing for bake failures. All users on all viewers experience bake failure, and only Phoenix and Firestorm have a bridge.
    04.2/. If you have RLV, disable RLV and relog at your last location
This isn't a bad idea, if you use RLV. This will allow you to make other changes that can help resolve bake failure. But it's not a fix in and of itself.
    04.3/. Make a new folder in your inventory.
    04.4/. Drag into it your skin, shape, eyes, bald base (those 4 are the most important), also drag in shoes, an outfit including as many different clothing layers as possible (pants & underpants, shirt & undershirt, jacket, socks, gloves ...) copy of your AO, everything you would wear. NOTE: Avoid heavily scripted attachments
    04.5/. Once that is done, right click the folder and choose REPLACE CURRENT OUTFIT. Do NOT add or wear. Then, wait for your textures to load. If nothing happens after a few minutes, rebake. Then you can add scripted attachments.
This is a good idea in concept, but off center in execution. What you really need in the folder is your skin, shape, eyes, a shirt and pants (you need no other clothing bits) and the bald base (get it from the library), and they should be things you don't normally wear. Think of it as an emergency repair kit. But leave out the prim objects. Don't put in hair or shoes, and definitely no HUDs.
05/. Clear the cache has been cleared (NOTE: This is not always advisable, so do not do it often);
Rule one: clearing cache does nothing for a vast majority of bake failures except add to the problem. So don't clear your cache unless you actually have a problem with the cache.
06/. Re-set the graphics settings (do not do this unless you are knowledgeable about what you are doing);
I find it interesting that this is put into a notecard without any kind of guidance, but with the admonition that you shouldn't do this if you don't know what you're doing. And, it still won't do anything for most bake failures.
07/. Try to wear a new baldy, and even new shape (make sure you save your shape first);
This was kind of mentioned in steps 3 and 4
08/. Change your bald base 
Mentioned in step 3
09/. Change your group tag 
This should be the first think you try. It's kind of like a do-it-all fix because it forces a refresh of many things, including baked textures, and unrendered objects.
10/. Lower your bandwidth 
This isn't a bad idea. The Phoenix Viewer Project has spent many years testing this, and they have found the maximum useful bandwidths are 500 for wireless (wire up if you can), 1000 for DSL and 1500 for cable and faster networks. These are recommended maximums; you don't need more than 100 after all the textures around you have been downloaded.
11/. Create a folder - in it, place a skin, different bald base, eyes, clothing NO prim attachments. Select **REPLACE** not “wear” or “add” as these will not work 
Same as step 4, only closer to correct.
12/. view for more help 
All of the tested and proven solutions are in this wiki. If you take nothing else from this notecard, take this
13/. read & click 'watch' on this jira -
This is only one kind of bake failure. The root cause seems to be in LL's code, and LL is aware of it.
14/. Reset the router (power it off for 30 seconds);
This was done already. But actually you want to leave it off for several minutes, between 2 and 5 in most cases. This is so that your ISP will see that you are no longer connected and close their side of the link. Then when you power back up your ISP will open a new link.
15/. Try flying up;
This may or may not work. It can put you outside the influence of scripts and lag, but then so would teleporting to a low-lag region.
16/. Uninstall/re-install the viewer ~ (this is not really necessary);
This is not necessary at all. Bake failures aren't affected by the viewer itself.
Then, if that does not work, then try this doing a Character Test.
17/. Advanced; Character; Character Tests; Test Female (or Male).
18/. This is most successful when done after clearing cache and logging into a non-busy sim (Pooley is often recommended).
19/. Wait 5 minutes to give your avatar a chance to load and if it still doesn't then do the Character Test.
Quick note: Character test replaces all of your avatar parts so if you have a shape that you customized, make sure you save it first.
Again, clearing cache is pretty much a useless step and will only cause you to wait while all of your textures and all of your inventory are reloaded. And you can't clear a bake failure until that happens. So leave cache clearing to those problems that are related to the cache.

If you are using Phoenix or Firestorm and your avatar is a cloud or an egg, then look at the useful solutions in (Firestorm) and (Phoenix).

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