The Firestorm Viewer and EEP

EEP is the Enhanced Environment Project. I consider this a step in the Lindens rebuild of the render engine. Whatever it is, the Firestorm team has released a Beta version of their viewer with EEP.

Photoshop Play Time

Beta, in this case, means the software is not yet ready for prime time. It also means it is your choice as to whether you install this version. And for those of you using a version three versions back, this does not count as one of the three allowed versions. So, you aren’t going to have that 3rd old version blocked from the grid. Yet…

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Second Life Region Crossings Fixed?

Wouldn’t that be something?

In my previous article, I recount how I sailed across dozens of region-crossings without crashing. Now I am reading of others testing the new cloud-based region servers having the same experience.

Cloud-based? You probably know the Second Life™ system is moving to the cloud. We don’t get to hear much about it as user knowledge of changes messes up the bug reporting. But Mazidox Linden posted, Blake Sea is now up on Aditi!  (July 20, 2020) And wow…

Region Crossings
Those invisible region crossing walls…

If you don’t know, Aditi is the beta test grid for the Lindens. Also known as the Preview Grid. They allow us to use it too. Only selected parts of the main grid are in Aditi. Plus, the Aditi grid changes… a lot and unexpectedly and often goes down as they restart tests. Unexpectedly for we mere mortal users. Aditi is the Linden workspace and their testing takes first priority.

Every so often the Lindens need some genie pigs… er… beta testers. The Thursday UG Server Beta meeting is usually the place for those requests. Meeting participation there has been declining since most server news over the past few months was just internal fixes and other stuff they couldn’t talk about. The servers run on proprietary software and contain the security for the system. So, there are limits on what they can say, which makes sense.

Whether that is the reason Maz posted in the SL Forum’s Tech->Server section or not, there the post is.

The post tells us they are testing region crossings. The test scenarios are for regions within the same host and in different host servers. The article has links to the test regions in Aditi. Plus, there are a few accounts from people participating in the testing.

The majority find the crossings are ‘barely noticeable’ or a total fail with the vehicle lost and never returned. To me this sounds like progress. It also tells me the Lindens are getting close to having region servers running in the cloud. The region servers are a huge part of the system using a large number of computers.

This should make for dramatic changes in SL. The Lindens are excited. It leaks out here and there and user complaints at UG meetings about annoying problems are often addressed with an intimation that will sort of get solved with the move, ‘uplift’, to the cloud.

Whatever, I think it interesting and exciting. Only time will tell if this is the big FIX we all hope for.

So… what’s going on at Second Life?

I haven’t posted in a while. I was feeling the URGE… to post, silly. So, I stopped to think about what is happening in SL that might be interesting.

Sailing

I like to sail and fly. I have a Bandit-55 sailboat that is great fun. Saturday, I sailed it around Eden. If you haven’t been to Eden it is a fun place to sail and fly. It has handy ports and landing fields. There are even some GTFO stations. And there are some large open space areas. I seldom have problems with security orbs there.

Eden: August 2018 – With Aviation Grid

The remarkable thing that may be interesting, was to me, is I put in and sailed from Eden Cygnet, the hedonistic Bumrose for elegant avatars (horny will suffice), in the upper northwest to the East-Southeast edge then around and south then slowing tacking my way North West, with wind from the NW, to the far western edge. Then back North to Bumrose.

What is interesting is I was never detached from my boat nor did I crash nor did I run into a security orb. Amazing. I sailed for hours.

I often strip down to my fewest scripts, often none attached, and drop my ACI by wearing only my classic avatar body. This trip I worn my mesh body, head, and mesh outfit (wearing it here – white top and jeans shorts – like 130k ACI). Dropped off my various HUD’s and jumped on my Bandit-55.

This was an amazing trip. Sailing for hours without a crash is very unusual. Eden was not deserted nor was SL. Concurrent users was in the high 40k and low 50k. So I am surprised there were no problems.

Was it Eden, SL, me… not sure but it was a nice time. Plus, I have been needing to work on my tacking for some time. This was a great opportunity. I think I improved my skill. I still cheat now and then and use the motor. But mostly I moved Northwest under sail. Yay, me!

Linden Lab to be Purchased

On another note, a little-noticed post on the Linden Lab website announced that the Lab is being purchased. It says little more than an agreement has been made and who the acquirer is.

LINDEN RESEARCH, INC. TO BE ACQUIRED – July 9, 2020.

What’s with THAT face?

In Second Life™ lots of people are all about looks. Few of those people know much about making a beautiful avatar. They just shape their avatar by eye. Those that are better at making shapes may end up selling shapes to the rest of us. The next step up from making shapes is sculpting heads and bodies.

I keep looking at people’s avatars and notice how some are just gorgeous. Some with incredible faces. What makes their face so pleasing?

One part of the beauty equation is proportions. Some time ago I made a tool for getting body shapes proportional. Mostly getting height and arm lengths right. Now I’ve made a guide for getting facial proportions correct. The video is the quick answer to what it is and how it works. About 3 minutes.

Demo and Tutorial – Face Shape Guide

Before you run off to buy this tool and fix that ugly face of yours… well… you’re not that bad… you need to know this tool is just a guide to assist you in creating a face shape. It doesn’t make a shape. Also, it isn’t easy to use CORRECTLY.  Read on or watch the video before you decide.

Be warned. The Guide is Copy-OK so there are NO REFUNDS.

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What is a ‘Slink Feet Switcher’?

Every so often I stumble onto something in Second Life™ I didn’t know about. Slink’s Deluxe Feet Auto Switcher is one of those things… and I’m a Slink fan.

Slink has five foot-positions in their main body HUD, Slink Physique (F) Utilities HUD (Redux) V4.0.0.

Slink’s Hand & Feet Controls v4.1.0

I’ve been putting on the HUD every time I needed to change foot positions. It can take a minute for the HUD to fully render. But the way I dress that usually isn’t a problem. I’m a top to bottom girl. By the time my dressing routine that I am picking out shoes the HUD has had plenty of time to rez.

When I change between existing outfits, going from a club to the beach, it can force me to wait on the HUD. However, there is a solution for the existing Outfit problem, the Foot Switcher. Makes the wait go away.

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Photoshop 2020 June Update & Tips

Adobe has released a new set of updates. For those of us in Second Life, there isn’t a lot to get excited about in this update. There is enough to be interesting.

I suspect the most useful update in Photoshop is to the Select Subject feature. Jesús thinks its better. The example used in the video… leaves me undecided. I’ll have to get some experience with it before I decide. I suspect he is right. And the Adobe examples do make it look better than Jesús’ example.

On to the updates…

Lens Blur – They have improved this feature too. I often use it. The viewer’s Depth of Field does some nice blurring on its own. While the viewer’s DoF is simple and more than adequate, Photoshop’s Lens Blur is awesome… and complex offering many controls.

If I think I want to blur a background, foreground, or combination of the two in a photo I’ll snap both a Color and Depth image. Then I use Lens Blur to get the look I want.

It will let you blur just background, just foreground, or some combination of both. One uses the Set Focal Point in the tool to select what is in focus. That selects a shade of gray in the depth map to consider in focus and progressively blurs other levels of gray as they go darker or lighter.

Watch this video to see a comparison between the old and new Select Subject and some other features.

Select Object– This is now a tool in the tool’s pallet. It is different than the Select Subject tool. Adobe explains the difference this way:

The Object Selection tool is useful when you only need to select one of the objects or part of an object within an image that contains multiple objects. While the Select Subject command is designed to select all the main subjects in the image.

From Adobe Make Quick Selections

I was annoyed that it was often hard to find Select Subject when working in an image. I had to select some specific selection tool to get access to Select Subject. The first thing I find when I go looking for this ‘Object’ tool is that I don’t have it. So, off to find out why. Adobe explains how to find it here.

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Second Life: Moving/Positioning Avatars

In 2013 Strawberry Singh posted a couple of articles (here & here) about positioning and moving avatars when setting up snapshots. This was needed for those areas where you do NOT have rez rights. Over time viewer upgrades broke those processes.

Avatar Positioning with Black Dragon

Every so often I would check to see if the problems with those processes had been fixed. With Firestorm 6.3.9 (May 2020 release date) I can move the avatar again sort of with her process.

Strawberry explained the process for moving your avatar. (Ref)

  • Open the Develop menu. Top menu, press Ctrl-Alt-Q to reveal it.
  • Then enable Develop->Avatar->Character Tests->Allow select avatar.
  • Press Ctrl-3 to open the Build Panel.
  • Right-click the avatar. Move arrows appear. Move.

Here is a video showing how it used to work. If you have a mesh avatar, right-clicking the avatar likely is not going to work. Instead, you have to right-click on your name tag. Then it works.

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Escaping Censorship

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and others are censoring more and more of what is posted. It is their platforms, which are privately owned, so they have a right to do that. I don’t have to like it. I can go elsewhere. But, where?

Here is an alternative.

Many people remain terrified of Covid-19 and think everyone needs to hide. They insist everyone wear a mask, distance, and scrub everything anyone touches with bleach/chlorine.

It is no surprise when media is suppressing the opinion of all those doctors, epidemiologist, researchers, and statisticians that disagree. CoVid-19 is worse than the typical seasonal flu… for OLD PEOPLE. For almost 100% of everyone else a common cold is worse than CoVid. But, you’ll never learn that from the corporate media. The American CDC says masks and handwashing are NOT substantial preventatives for influenza. But, you won’t hear that from politicians or the corporate media.

Where does one go to find out this stuff?

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