Sansar and Blockchain? – Ebbe Altberg

The site The Next Web has an article about how blockchain currency is democratizing the virtual world, VR, and real life. The Sansar Project gets into it because Ebbe Altberg is quoted. Not because Sansar will use a cryptocurrency.

First, do you know what a blockchain currency is? I barely do. Quoting:

A blockchain is a digitized, decentralized public ledger of cryptocurrency transactions. Essentially each ‘block’ is like an individual bank statement. Completed ‘blocks’ (the most recent transactions) are added in chronological order allowing market participants to keep track of the transactions without the need for central record keeping. Just as Bitcoin eliminates the need for a third party to process or store payments, and isn’t regulated by a central authority, users in any blockchain structure are responsible for validating transactions whenever one party pays another for goods or services.

That explanation isn’t all that helpful. If you think of a cryptocurrency as a paper dollar that you print but yet cannot be forged and shows who paid for it and printed it… you sort of get an idea. This is extreme free market stuff and requires a good grounding in free-market economics to make sense.

Dollars

Dollars

Blockchain currencies and other cryptocurrencies depend on complex encryption processes requiring huge amounts of computer time.  No one seems to think about how quantum computing may change the game. So, for now, these new currencies are the hot thing. Hot as in one currency project raised US$25 million in less than a minute.

I suppose it is the freedom from the control of centralized governments where politicians try to control us that makes them so valuable. Continue reading

YouTube Channel Art 2017

Those of us using social media have to deal with companies ‘improving’ things. Which means we have to redo… well, update work already done on THEIR schedule, not ours. Some of us just get to it when we get to it, shift it back to our schedule.

I procrastinate on some of this stuff because I don’t have what I consider important social media advertising. But, every so often I have to update a client. A recent update for YouTube had me digging out the latest on YouTube Channel Art.

The PITA is all the devices that will try to use the same art, desktop, tablets, phones… and then the TV’s. YouTube is competing in the cord-cutting marketplace. So, all sorts of screen sizes are the bane of those of us making channel art.

The Specs

A couple of years ago I wrote about streaming to YouTube’s Gaming Channel. See: How To Stream Second Life to YouTube Gaming. At the time I wrote the article I was interested streaming to YouTube Gaming. It wasn’t a guide for making channel art. Somehow I didn’t even get the template I made into that article. So…

There are two YouTube Channel Art formats currently in use. The old style and the current/new style. You know which you are using by whether you have an icon (new) that lets you edit the channel art or hover your cursor over the art (old) to get an edit option. But, the point of Channel Art is to promote your channel to OTHERS. What format are members of your audience using? We can’t know. So, make a choice. I recommend ‘new’ and that is what I’m writing about.

YouTube recommends using a 2560 x 1440 px image. The minimum size is 2048 x 1152 px. Within the image, the minimum safe text area is 1546 x 423 px. The maximum files size is 4MB.

YouTube Gaming Template 2017v3

YouTube Gaming Template 2017v3 – Download Full-Size from Flickr

This image is a template I use to make YouTube channel art. It shows the safe area, the area that will display on all devices, as 423px high. My testing shows it is currently about 320px high, in some cases. I haven’t figured out what makes it smaller or larger. I have art in a couple of places that displays as 320 and 423 high. Both are images that are 2560×1440.

YouTube: No Channel Content

This is a problem that some people have. I’ve run into it. They have uploaded videos to YouTube but their channel is showing no content. WTH!?!

Open your channel and see if you get the message, ‘This channel as no content.’ If so, go to your channel and look for the Customize Channel button. Click it. Now look for a gear icon near the bottom right of your channel art. Click it. Now look for a button labeled Add a section. Click it and add your content. Most of your content will be Video – Uploads.

You have lots of options here. So, you can experiment to get the look you want for your channel.

CPU’s – Intel 8th Generation and Second Life’s Viewer

Technology is advancing. A year ago, I was building my new machine and researching hardware. CPU’s were a major consideration for me. What was the best gaming CPU and what was important for good performance in Second Life?

That last question is a significant point of debate in Second Life. I think it mostly comes from the lack of information about how the viewer works. In SL it seems old information hangs around forever. The viewer is changing just as technology does. Since Oz Linden’s arrival and later promotion to director (?) of Second Life development the backside of Second Life has been getting lots of attention, especially for the last year, 2016-2017

Quantum Computer – Available now online…

So, most of that old information is wrong. In particular, the idea of whether the viewer runs multiple threads. It does.

A thread in computer-geek-speak, is an independent task, like decompressing an image. Other independent tasks would be retrieving the image via download or finding it in the cache.

A CPU can run a single task. We now put multiple CPU’s, called cores, in a single CPU CHIP. So, a single CPU chip is really multiple CPU’s and can run multiple tasks in parallel.

Intel has been steadily improving their ability to task switch. A CPU must pull program instructions and data from computer memory. To speed things up there are subsystems that set up program instruction cues and data cues. What Intel calls hyperthreading is the highly optimized process of switching out data and program instruction cues for one task for another. The effect is a 6-core CPU can perform as if it were a 12-core CPU, almost. It is so close that for most purposes we consider it as 12-core. Continue reading

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update 1709

My laptop and desktop have both updated with a new, big update recently. So, what changed?

Microsoft tells us we can now have 3D models… really!?! There is a Mixed Reality Viewer and a Mixed Reality Portal. The viewer will allow you to view 3D models and turn them 360×360. If you have a camera connected to your computer you can put the model in the image the camera is capturing.

Mixed Reality Viewer – 2017-Oct

Crazy

Microsoft quickly points one to a site they call Remix 3D, to get more 3D models. It requires a Microsoft account. Unless you are particularly alert, you had to open a Microsoft account to get your Windows 10 working. So, for most this won’t be a problem. But, opening a new account is easy. – This MS Account thing is obviously some nefarious plot to enslave the world…  Continue reading

Second Life – What… SLURL vs URL

A bunch of bloggers don’t know the difference between a URL and a SLURL. The simple explanation, if a web page link opens a web page, image, video, whatever in a browser it is a URL.

If it opens a viewer, then it is SLURL.

A URL: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Vibrant%20Eden/194/150/26

A SLURL: secondlife://VIBRANT%20EDEN/194/150/26

Click each to see the difference in behavior.

.. do you feel like we're being watched? ..

.. do you feel like we’re being watched? ..

On the second one, Windows or your anti-virus may complain saying clicking this link may be a security risk. This is both of those saying ‘I don’t know what this is, so I’ll tell you it may be dangerous, just in case.’ But, if you go to the SL Maps page, the first URL, and look at the SLURL shown when you hover over “Visit this Location” link, you’ll see they are the same.

You can decide for yourself by going to the SL Maps page, the first URL, and looking at the SLURL shown when you hover over “Visit this Location” link, you’ll see it shows the same link address I show here.

Control

The behavior when clicking a SLURL is controlled by you. Settings in Windows and/or your web browser control what happens when you click.

The Firestorm team has made an elegant fix. See: Second Life: How to FIX SLURL’s. Fortunately, it works for all viewers Linden and third-party. Unfortunately, it is a Windows-only solution. To get the proxy for SLURL control see: SLURL Proxy.

If you want a more technical explanation, see: Emerald Viewer vs SLURL. While this is a 2010 solution that uses the old banished Emerald Viewer as an example, it still works. Just change the names to avoid the guilty.

HTC Vive Price Drop

This morning I see the Vive has dropped in price. The retail price of a new Vive is now a mere US$600. That is better than the previous $800. But still expensive. Vive headsets have been going on eBay for about $500 for some time. Gear VR units are going for $65 on eBay.

HTC Vive – Aug 2017

Sansar is supporting Oculus and Vive. I have neither. So, how well they are supported and how easy they are to setup with Sansar, I don’t know. I have yet to get my Gear VR working with Sansar. So, I know that is difficult. I think I am down to a ‘controller’ problem. I have an Xbox 1708 controller on order (US$20-30±).

If you Google on Vive and SL, you may get the idea Vive and SL will work for VR. That isn’t the case. The information is almost all 2016 stuff written before the Lab dropped their SL VR project and CtrlAltStudio stopped VR Viewer development. I have been able to get SL into 3D, not VR, with my Gear VR. Not really worth the effort. It’s a nice novelty.

I have used the old CtrlAltStudio Viewer to see SL in VR. There is no Bento support. Until someone decides to merge the CtrlAltStudio code and an updated Firestorm there is essentially no ‘native’ VR support for SL. There is some third-party software for various games to get them into VR. Most of those are for DirectX games, not OpenGL.

SL users are second-class VR citizens…