Firestorm 5.1.7 is here

•July 27, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I’ve waited a few days to see how it actually goes in full-time use before I say anything. Well after three very busy days, I can safely say the this is a great improvement on its predecessors.
There a re several new toys and the most useful for many is the LL-given ability to parcel ban avatars for specific periods. This is a boon to admins and security officers (such as me at Street Whores in my “Alt” account Aishagain).
The Wearable Favourites function is very useful if like me you change your outfit frequently but always use certain items (AOs and Body HUD etc.) but the uses are many and varied. We have the FS devs to thank for that.
RLVa has been updated and while we still don’t have “Vision Spheres” for Restraints, Kitty has explained that the original project has grown into something far more complex, and we will hear more of that later this year, I gather.
There are innumerable tweaks related to the LL 64-bit “Alex-Ivy” code and frankly in the end that is more Firestorm than LL. Having been involved in the testing of Alex-Ivy I speak from some experience there. The LL devs have finally swallowed their pride and accepted that the FS devs actually DO know what they are doing!
Stabilty seems very good and the viewer communicates with its cache rather better than the recent releases, it seems to me. Whitelisting (in my AV) of the executables or the whole folder as well as the cache seems to confer a great deal of extra stability and rezzing speed to the render-engine.
All in all this is definitely a change worth making and I heartily commend it. I know there will be those who dislike the extra code the makes up Firestorm and in some circumstances it is not the best viewer to use if you want the fastest responses. I find FS fulfils all my needs extremely well.

New RLV 64-bit and Revised and much-improved Restrained Elegance

•May 22, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Marine Kelley has released a 64-bit version of the RLV (coded as following the release of Linden Lab’s own 64 bit viewer. This is a long time after 64 bit offerings have been available for many TPVs, I have been using the FS 64-bit for (it seems like) years.
Unfortunately while there have been several small bugfixes, there is nothing outstanding in this latest offering. That, to be honest, is not a reflection on Marine, it simply reflects the underwhelming offering from Linden Lab upon which the RLV is based.
While Firestorm and Catznip’s RLVa still lacks the vision-spheres of “true” RLV, with the improvements to the mouselook functionality in Marine’s latest v1.30 Restrained Elegance cuffs ( ie it uses the HUD as it should in FS), and if you are brave and use Virtualdisgrace’s Premium Blindfold, you are not far short of full functionality again. The revised RE cuffs are very much worthwhile the update. The cuffs and collar are now mesh objects and support materials functionality in their customisation options. Also there are other neat tricks that you really need to find out for yourself!
All in all while the 64-bit RLV is nothing to shout about, it is Linden Lab that need to produce a decent 64-bit viewer. How they can forshame offer such a clunky UI and poor VRAM support so long after other TPVs have been producing vastly superior offerings I do NOT understand. I have tested it and it is really awful!
That’s all I have time for now, keep having fun in SL for as long as it survives.

PS I should add that I still find that I have to fight to let a download from erestaint (where the RLV is available) through my firewall, I really wish that site’s webmaster would sort their certification out.

A Bad Day at the Factory

•February 27, 2018 • 5 Comments

It began yesterday evening UK time…a mass logout reduced SL from over 50K online to under 15K in a matter of moments. Then another some two hours later and a third not long after that brought online count to a little over 10K. SL returned to something resembling stability during my night time, but as soon as numbers online began to climb today it occurred again: currently, at some 3:40 pm for me or 7:40am PST, SL is back to a little over 10K online. At its lowest SL’s population had dropped to 7.5K, a figure I have not seen in years, if ever.
Now a single, or even two mass logouts, affecting both the USA and Europe, might be the result of an ISP issue and server failure between users and SL but four or five suggests either LL has a major hardware failure or malicious interruption of the connections to SL. Either way it is a serious issue. Since I am easily able to do this it rather suggests that SL is implicated in some way.
I wonder what will transpire and if this breakage is not fixed robustly, what AM I going to do with my time? I might actually have to do things in RL….horror!

ETA c2pm PST:
LL have announced via the Blog and GSP that SL has been subject to an unusually persistent DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack over the past 24 hours. That apparently explains the half dozen mass logouts that have occurred and from outward appearances it would seem that SL is returning to whatever version of “normal” it enjoys. That SL proved to be so fragile in the face of a DDoS attack, which is becoming far more common in this internet-dependent age, is worrying in itself and suggests a certain lack of defence strategy within LL. However I am no expert and it may well be that LL staff were indeed burning the midnight oil to counter this recent threat. Let us hope they have been successful. I for one need my fix of SL!

Into 2018 we go

•December 25, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Well another New Year is near.

Firstly a Happy Christmas to all who are curious enough to read this little SL blog. Secondly I wish you all a fortunate and stress-free 2018.

In SL the row between the returning owners of OpenCollar and those who have been actively maintaining it these past six or seven years has been unseemly, confusing and altogether unnecessary, in my view.
That OpenCollar scripts have found their way into products that are commercial propositions (I have several), is a simple fact. That these items are much the better for the scripting is true, but to say that they ought to be free simply because they contain open-source scripts is nonsense. I have a real problem with the attitude of the now current owners of OpenCollar, I simply do not understand it. This despite several notecards that sought to “clarify” the matter. They have done the complete opposite in my opinion and in the attempt have both rubbished the good name of several clever SL creators, and have further degraded the reputation of the OC “brand”.
Put simply, in my view this is an undignified public airing of a personal dispute that should have been resolved in private. I will continue to use my OC scripted items, but I no longer trust ANY of the folk associated with either OC or its offshoots.
Sad, as someone I also strongly dislike is apt to tweet.

Microsoft Issue (Important)

•December 4, 2017 • 4 Comments

It seems that Microsoft have either got server problems or have effectively destroyed the update service for Windows 7 users. Yesterday people worldwide began seeing their MS Update service failing with error code 80248015. This has been found to be an error generated due to a server issue at MS and NOT a problem with anyone’s computer.
The forums are heaving today with posts and questions. The only silence is from MS themselves. MS customer service reps are maintain stony silence and ignorance regarding the problem and no attempted fix has so far restored the service.

This link gives a flavour of the situation: I tried to publish the url as a hyperlink but the system refused to cooperate, just copy and paste it into your browser.
This is a ridiculous situation for the major player in computer operating systems to be in. Very few people are happy with Windows 10, its spyware and security issues, and now Win7 users are once again hit by a bug that is entirely MS-generated.
I do not know what to say.
Edit to Add, 5th December 2017
Well, it seems that the millions of posts, enquiries and general complaining from the users of Windows 7 finally got through to MS. They corrected the out-of-date .cab file that caused all the pain, though in typical US corporate-speak the “problematic issue was resolved”…no hint of either accepting responsibility or apology. I guess we should be glad that at least it was fixed!

Gone but not forgotten

•November 9, 2017 • 2 Comments

Well, Pony has taken a long and well-deserved sabbatical from SL, but I am still in there as Aishagain (yeah I know, how original).

I really have not had much to say, SL Ponyplay does not seem to be improving noticeably and the split over Ponyball is most unfortunate. Myself, I have been thoroughly distracted by mesh bodies (Maitreya) and mesh heads, first LAQ then and most recently CATWA.

Goodness they are complicated, at least the CATWA is. Once I know what I am doing I will blog again, but frankly Strawberry Singh has the most comprehensible tips on how and what to do. I strongly recommend her blog.
I don’t know if my vanity is great enough to post pictures here , certainly not yet.

Anyway this was just a line to point out that I am not dead yet. To misquote Oliver Hardy, Rachael “this is another fine mesh you got me into.”

Rolling Restarts – or “There and Back Again”

•July 27, 2017 • 3 Comments

with apologies to Dr JRR Tolkein.

Until recently “rubber-banding” was reserved for avatars and vehicles in SL. Now in a new venture Linden Lab have brought “rubber banding” to server software. For the second week running the Release Candidate channels have been rolled on a Wednesday and then rolled back to the tested Main Server software with a few hours.

Apparently the software rolled to the RCs had a “slow crasher” BUG. But on neither occasion was any explanation given on the Server Release thread, indeed there was no official recognition of the matter on that thread at all.
To quote the President of the United States of America, “sad”.