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  • Linden Lab

    Announcing “SL16B” - Second Life’s Sweet Sixteen!

    By Linden Lab

    It feels like we just packed away all that crystal magic from our 15th anniversary celebration, but our sweet sixteen is just around the corner! This summer, we’re throwing a huge celebration to commemorate 16 years with this incredible community and we wanted to fill you in on just a few of the details. Sixteen years ago, on June 23rd, 2003, Second Life launched to the public. Though it feels like just yesterday and a lifetime ago at the same time, this year we couldn’t pass up the opportu
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Our community blogs

  1. Pride-3.jpg
     

    June is Pride month and many in the Second Life community are celebrating with month-long parties and events that celebrate our diversity and the ability to love freely without labels or limits. 


    A highlight of the community events is the annual Second Pride event, held June 14-23. Check out the full event schedule to see what’s happening. You won’t want to miss the many deejay performances, parties and special “All About the Facts: Stonewall Edition” event.

    There are plenty of other Pride-related events in Second Life, too. For example, London City is holding its annual London Pride celebration all month long!
     

    Check out the LGBT category in the Destination Guide for even more spots to explore. Happy Pride!

     

  2. 48007961112_39b0114b7a_k.jpg

    Today's Second Life pic of the day is "F L O W E R P O W E R" by S A L T Y.

    To submit your image for Second Life Pic of the Day consideration, login to Second Life, snap some pics and add them to the Official Second Life Flickr Group.

    Be sure to check us out on social:
    Instagram
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    Twitter
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    Pinterest
    Plurk

  3. Hi Residents!

    We had one of the longest periods of downtime in recent memory this week (roughly four hours!), and I want to explain what happened.

    This week we were doing much needed maintenance on the network that powers Second Life. The core routers that connect our data center to the Internet were nearing their end-of-life, and needed to be upgraded to make our cloud migration more robust.

    Replacing the core routers on a production system that’s in very active use is really tricky to get right. We were determined to do it correctly, so we spent over a month planning all of the things we were going to do, and in what order, including full rollback plans at each step. We even hired a very experienced network consultant to work with us to make sure we had a really good plan in place, all with the goal of interrupting Second Life as little as we could while improving it.

    This past Monday was the big day. A few of our engineers (including our network consultant) and myself (the team manager) arrived in the data center, ready to go.  We were going to be the eyes, ears, and hands on the ground for a different group of engineers that worked remotely to carefully follow the plan we’d laid out. It was my job to communicate what was happening at every step along the way to my fellow Lindens back at the Lab, and also to Residents via the status blog. I did this to allow the engineering team to focus on the task at hand.

    Everything started out great. We got the first new core router in place and taking traffic without any impact at all to the grid. When we started working on the second core router, however, it all went wrong.

    As part of the process of shifting traffic over to the second router, one of our engineers moved a cable to its new home. We knew that there’d be a few seconds of impact, and we were expecting that, but it was quickly clear that something somewhere didn’t work right. There was a moment of sheer horror in the data center when we realized that all traffic out of Second Life had stopped flowing, and we didn’t know why.

    After the shock had worn off we quickly decided to roll back the step that failed, but it was too late. Everyone that was logged into Second Life at the time had been logged out all at once. Concurrency across the grid fell almost instantly to zero. We decided to disable logins grid-wide and restore network connectivity to Second Life as quickly as we could.

    At this point we had a quick meeting with the various stakeholders, and agreed that since we were down already, the right thing to do was to press on and figure out what happened so that we could avoid it happening again. We got a hold of a few other folks to communicate with Residents via the status blog, social media, and forums, and I kept up with the internal communication within the Lab while the engineers debugged the issue.

    This is why logins were disabled for several hours. We were determined to figure out what had happened and fix the issue, because we very much did not want it to happen again. We’ve engineered our network in a way that any piece can fail without any loss of connectivity, so we needed to dig into this failure to understand exactly what happened.

    After almost four very intense hours of debugging, the team figured out what went wrong, worked around it, and finished up the migration to the new network gear. We reopened logins, monitored the grid as Residents returned, and went home in the middle of the night completely wiped out.

    We’ve spent the rest of this week working with the manufacturer of our network gear to correct the problem, and doing lots of testing. We’ve been able to replicate the conditions that led to the network outage, and tested our equipment to make sure it won’t happen again. (Even they were perplexed at first! It was a very tricky issue.) As of the middle of the week we’ve been able to do a full set of tests including deliberately disconnecting and shutting down a router without impact to the grid at all.

    Second Life is a really complex distributed system, and it never fails to surprise me. This week was certainly no exception.

    I also want to answer a question that’s been asked several times on the forums and other places this week. That question is “why didn’t LL tell us exactly when this maintenance was going to happen?”

    As I’ve had to blog about several other times in the past, the sad reality is that there are people out there who would use that information with ill intent. For example, we’re usually really good at handling DDoSes, but it requires our full capacity being online to do it. A DDoS hitting at the same time our network maintenance was in progress would have made the downtime much longer than it already was.

    We always want what’s best for Second Life. We love SL, too. We have to make careful decisions, even if it comes at the expense of being vague at times. I wish this wasn’t the case, but sadly, it very much is.

    We’re really sorry about this week’s downtime. We did everything we possibly could have to try to avoid it, and yet it still happened. I feel terrible about that.

    The week was pretty awful, but does have a great silver lining. Second Life is now up and running with new core routers that are much more powerful than anything we’ve had before, and we’ve had a chance to do a lot of failure testing. It’s been a rough week, but the grid is in better shape as a result.

    Thanks for your patience as we recovered from this unexpected event. It’s been really encouraging to see the support some folks have been giving us since the outage. Thank you, you’ve really helped cheer a lot of us up. ❤️
     

    Until the next time,
    April Linden
    Second Life Operations Manager

     

  4. We’re happy to announce some great changes for Estate Managers which rolled out in Tuesday’s Viewer Release.

    This shiny new viewer is a brave foray into improving the state of Estate Access Management! We can’t wait to see what you think about it. Here’s what you’ll find:

    •  New “Access” tab in the Region/Estate floater with subtabs for “Estate Managers”, “Allowed”, “Allowed Groups”, and “Banned”
      • Recording banned date, banned by, and last login for each banned account †
      • Search & Sort within each of the sub-tabs
      • Copy Banlist & Allowed-list
      • Added a confirmation for adding or removing from a list
      • More Estate Managers!
      • We’re upping the number to 15. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.

    † these features only available going forward.

    Known Issues

    • There is currently an issue where newly added Estate Managers will need to relog in order to view access lists. A fix for this will be arriving in an upcoming server release.

    As always, please file a Jira to tell us about any problems you discover or request additions or feature changes to this functionality.

     

  5. Happy Monday everyone!  As we posted last month the Web Team has been busy with an array of different project and fixes.  One we’d like to highlight is our effort to clean up Marketplace listings. We’ve had many of you give us feedback on absentee store owners who cannot offer sales support for their products. You also told us there were older products which were still in demand even though the Merchant hasn’t been currently active.  Keeping all this feedback in mind, we had undertaken a cleanup sweep of the marketplace in the past, and had very positive response. Today, we have taken a second one:

    • If the Merchant hasn’t logged in in two years *and* a specific product hasn’t  sold in 1 year, the product will be unlisted.

    • If the Merchant hasn’t logged in in two years *and* the store hasn’t sold anything in 1 year, their store will be disabled.

    • This means that if a product has sold within the past year, that product listing will remain available on the marketplace.  If a store has products, which have sold within the past year, it will remain enabled.

    We are confident that a more relevant selection of products and search results will benefit the shoppers on the Marketplace, as well as active Merchants.  Spring is in the air!


     

  6.  

    Hello Residents of Second Life!  

    Over the last few days, Residents using certain email providers may have noticed that they are not receiving all email notifications for events such as Marketplace purchases and Offline Messages.  

    Email has come a long way since it was first introduced to the world in the 1960s. There are many factors that affect the deliver-ability of a message, and algorithms which affect it are constantly being updated.  Sometimes things go awry despite best intentions - such as certain phrases being flagged as indicative of spam, or the volume of messages sent in a certain time frame.

    Second Life is a complex beast and not all our email sending practices are as good as they could be. We are re-examining these practices and we’re going to do better to make sure our Residents are able to get the information they need.

    There are some things you, as the recipient, can also do to better ensure deliver-ability, such as having email filters, white-listing certain contacts, checking your spam folder and marking legitimate messages “Not Spam,” and even contacting your email providers about certain emails.

    If you are experiencing issues receiving emails from us, you may also want to consider updating your email temporarily to a different provider (for example if @yahoo emails are failing, try a @gmail account), verifying your email address with us (offline IMs, friendship offers, auctions, etc all require a verified address), and white-listing (add sender to contacts) Second Life messages to ensure you receive them in the future. It’s always best to use an email account that is only accessible by you.  

    We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused and will provide updates once available.

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