Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Second Life: New problems with the viewer

Mister Acacia is online

So after a while watching folks in the Phoenix/Firestorm Viewer Support group and in the Phoenix/Firestorm and Linden Lab JIRAs, one thing I've seen most common is that there is an assumption that this new problem is a bug in the viewer that until now was not present. I see lots of people saying that they've done this or that many times and just recently it started failing.

I'm sorry to say to the implication is that it's not a viewer issue. The viewers don't break down because there are no moving parts to break down or wear out. It's as if you blame a digital movie and not the medium on which it is stored for suddenly failing.

I know you would blame a scratched disc before blaming the data file, that would be rather silly, wouldn't it? Well, the same thing applies to Second Life viewers. They don't change, but everything else does.

So when you find that what you could do yesterday is failing today, try to remember everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, that may have possibly changed on your computer, in your network or at SL.

  1. Did your computer perform any kind of update?
  2. Did your computer perform any kind of performance improvement task, such as a disk defrag or file purge?
  3. Did your antivirus update its files?
  4. Did you install, update or change anything on your computer?
  5. Did the viewer crash the last time it was shut down? You can't always tell, but if the failure occurred immediately after and there was no other change on your computer then consider wiping your settings and cache.
  6. Did you wear any new objects or activate any new gestures?
  7. Did you make any settings changes to your viewer?
  8. Does the problem only happen with one of your avatars?
  9. Did your network performance change? This doesn't mean checking the "last mile" but the entire route to the SL servers. There are some good tests and recommendations here (of course, that's for Firestorm, but the tests work for every viewer).
  10. Did you change any hardware, like a router, modem or network cable?
  11. If you use any kind of wireless connection (wifi, wimax, satellite or any other unwired connection), did anything in the environment change, particularly things that can emit electromagnetic signals? Your neighbors microwave, your new cordless phone, even the landscapers motorized tools can all affect a wireless network.
  12. Did LL do any kind of server maintenance, like a restart or rollback or server upgrade?
If you can factually answer no to all these questions then the cause may have been temporary, but its effects may be lasting. Here's what I normally do:

  1. Log in to a different region. Moses, Cyclops, Hippo Hollow, or another of your choice. Put the region name into the location field on the login screen.
  2. Relog - this can clear most temporary glitches
  3. Reboot the computer - this will clear temporary glitches in the OS
  4. Cold boot the router and modem. Unplug power for 2-5 minutes (at least 2).
In rare cases, the viewer code could have been changed by malicious software. If you think that may have happened, you should first confirm that there is no malicious software on your computer, then you can reinstall the viewer.

Now if you still have the issue, then it would be time to contact the support team for your viewer. Tell them that you can factually answer no to all the questions in this blog and work with the support person. Remember always that they want to help you resolve the issue.

And best of luck.

Mister Acacia is offline

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