This is the last month before many schools start the 2014-15 classes, which in a round-about way makes it vacation time for families. Lindens are people with families and they take vacations. Those Lindens that supply us with information on the server side of things are on vacation. So, Oz and Caleb Linden are filling in. But, with a few people gone the work seems to have slowed, suggesting not much is happening… happening in the sense work progresses to where we can see change.
I think we are seeing the affect of a smaller team working on Second Life™. Previously vacations did not slow the pace of releases by a noticeable amount.
The result is there isn’t much news to write about. I think because of the reduced pace of change you see blogs covering more subjects. I know I am writing smaller blurbs about what is going on, thus the ‘bits’ articles.
Also, this coming week (33) there is to be a gathering of Lindens. Oz Linden has canceled the Monday and Tuesday meetings where he would be filling in as moderator/facilitator to spend that time in Linden meetings. So, there is less opportunity for announcements and news.
We know that the SL Team has been looking through their To-Do lists and picking projects, deciding priorities, and moving to implement those plans. So, I don’t find it surprising that there is a slowing in releases and updates, which may have more to do with planning stages than vacations. At the start of a new project there is little that can make its way to the end user.
Lindens have historically not discussed what they were doing until just before they were ready for release. Recently communication has opened up and we will likely hear more about what they are starting work on and planning. I expect some news in that line after next week’s meetings.
It appears there has been a tendency by Lindens to decide, based on what is known, what things to look at fixing, changing, or adding and then make a try at implementing whatever to see how complex the project would actually be. Then deciding if it was a go/no-go all before we heard more than just the barest hints, if anything. I suspect that process will to some degree remain in place. How much we will hear about those doings is still a matter of conjecture. But, I think we will hear more than in the past.
Until then we know they are working on Chat and Experience Tools. What is happening with Chat is deliberately unclear. Not because they don’t want to talk about what they are doing… well, they don’t but… because they believe it would distort the feedback they get not because it is secret. Also, vacations are slowing that work and certainly the reporting of results.
With Experience tools we know a few more details. Oz says the project is coming along nicely. I take that to mean we are weeks from a general release. I expect one decision likely to come from next week’s meeting will be the pricing structure of Experience Keys. That cost seems to be more about security than profit, so I expect the keys to be cheap. But, we’ll have to wait and see.
There is a griefer tool that tricks people into giving it animation permissions the owner can then use as they please. Exploiting how permissions and variables work when scripted objects are taken into inventory the owner can avoid the target revoking permissions via most normal processes.
Apparently the tool has legitimate uses in the BDSM community and as a practical joke. But, griefers can miss use it as they do many of the things in SL. So, far the Lab seems to have decided to try to remove the abusers and allow the tool to remain.
The victim of the tool only sees the standard request for permission to animate their avatar. If the abuser is at a dance club or other places where such requests are expected and they time it well, it is pretty easy to trick someone.
Lindal Kidd, a Helper in the SL Forums, has an article up where she connects the Soul Stealer (no, that isn’t its real name) with experience tools. At the recent Server/Scripting meeting that was discussed. There is no connection. This type of griefing has been considered and the Experience Tools system should eliminate such abuse.
Whirly Fizzle, obviously a computerized artificial intelligence with a fashion sense*, suggests that the new “Stop Animating Me” menu item will more effectively cancel animation permissions. I suspect that menu item has changed as part of the changes made for Experience Tools. It is still limited to canceling permissions from objects within the region. I’m not sure how it is going to work with Experience Tools. I’m not positive that it has changed, I’m just inferring from things I’ve heard.
As the current HUD’s being used have to be worn, it is possible to revoke the permissions. Objects like dance balls that one rezzes are easier for the griefer to copy and keep rezzing new copies. While the same is true for worn objects, attaching is more awkward and a bit slower.
If Experience Tools/Keys end up working as Dolphin Linden described, dance ball makers could create their products as an Experiences and sell them. We could grant permissions to that Experience once and at a club we could just dance and not have to grant permissions… again and again… This could conceivably cut down on Soul Stealer tricking.
Other things we commonly grant permissions for would be the same. Would Xcite! find a way to use Experiences? Furniture makers? I can imagine that creative use of Experience Keys could change much of how we interact with SL.
Grid Wide Experiences
This is something that some of us are hoping for. Oz Linden is saying that as of Tuesday he didn’t know when OR IF they would issue grid wide Experience Keys. So, that is a bit of a downer.
If you have grid wide use cases for Experiences, send those cases, well explained, to Oz Linden.
FabFree does their excellent reporting on currently running hunts. See: Today’s Top 10 Hunts.
SL Email Blocking Germany
It seems some of the German email providers block SL email. Oz says they are making some changes that may help with that problem. But, the keyword is MAY. He doesn’t know when those changes will complete and be in effect.
Road to VR
There is a new article up on Road to VR: News Bits: Second Life Viewer with Oculus Rift DK2 Support on the Way. It doesn’t say much. But, being on R2VR should catch the attention of numerous people interested in VR and alert them to Second Life.
I check the Answers section of the form once or twice a day. There are numerous first post questions appearing there every day. Moer than I remember in the past, but that is subjective not an actual count. So, we are getting new people into SL. I have to wonder what the Lindens are doing about the new user experience.
PS: Whirly Fizzle is an asset to the SL community. She has an amazing ability to remember or find JIRA items when needed and chase down bugs or inspire others to report the information needed to help developers track down the source of problems. Whirly is a well respected and valuable part of the Firestorm team. So, my A.I. comment above is a teasing compliment.