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Technology Improvements for Q1 Including Raising Group Limit to 42

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FJ Linden

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As we begin 2011, I want to share the progress that we’re making on several important technology enhancements that I discussed in my last post.  As I mentioned, we are focused on improving the overall performance of Second Life while addressing some long standing limitations such as  raising group limits, improving the chat system, and reducing lag.

Group Limits Raised to 42 Today

In October, we committed to increase group limits from the current 25 up to 40 in the first quarter of 2011. As of today, group limits have been raised to 42! To add groups beyond the previous limit of 25, you must be using Viewer  2.4 (or a more recent version). And if you’re still using Viewer 1.23, or a third-party viewer based on Viewer 1.23 code, then you can add more groups in Viewer 2.4 and they will still be accessible when you switch back to Viewer 1.23.

That said, if there is an unexpected load, then we may need to lower the group limitation to maintain acceptable performance levels across the grid. If we decide to do that, then any Residents who have up to 42  groups will not lose their memberships. But, other Residents will not be able to exceed the new limit.

Group Chat System Will Launch Gridwide By March 31st

We were set to deploy a prototype of the new group chat system in December, but last minute licensing issues were found with our chosen open source library. Now that a solution is in place, we expect to have the prototype available by the end of this month and an industry standard and high performing group chat system available by the end of this quarter.

Performance Improvements When Teleporting and Crossing Regions

As you teleport, or cross regions, all of your avatar data (often a very  large amount of data) needs to be processed by both source and destination regions. In order to streamline this process, we are now compressing avatar information, making your teleports and region crossings faster and more reliable. In fact, we’ve found that teleport failures, due to avatar complexity, have dropped 40%. See the graph below for a more detailed view showing how much we’ve shortened region crossing time.

region_crossing_compression_2011_01_11.jpg

Viewer 2.5 Beta Releasing Soon

We will soon launch the latest version of the Second Life Viewer -- Viewer 2.5 Beta. In addition to more performance and stability improvements, we’ve added enhanced web-based profiles, accessible both on the web and in the Viewer. And, if you wish, you can even connect your Second Life profile to other social identities including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn! You will also have the option in Preferences to choose your first inworld destination from the saved Landmarks in your Favorites Bar. This is very handy when you need to get to a specific destination quickly.

Also, one of the most important new features added to Viewer 2.4 was the auto-updater capability. If you're using Viewer 2.4 or higher, then you won’t be inconvenienced by the notification and download process when we release a new Viewer.

Planning to Implement Significant Grid Infrastructure Enhancements in 2011

We’re planning significant grid infrastructure enhancements throughout the year including technologies to speed server-side rendering (SSR) and server virtualization (web and simulator services). We are also exploring new storage and asset delivery systems. Some of the benefits will not always be noticeable, but they are foundational platform changes that set the stage for rapid performance and scalability improvements. We will continue to keep you updated as we roll out these systems.

I’m pleased with the progress that we made across the platform last year and I'm looking ahead to newer technologies that we will deploy in 2011 to enhance your Second Life experience. As always, I'll be watching for your feedback and thank you for making Second Life such an amazing place.

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I have just recently finished 5 months of trying to give the viewer 2 interface an exclusive try, during which I used only it. The last straw for me was at the end of December, when anything I clicked on to edit turned all invisible on me under 2.4, and I could no longer see what I was working on. I re-downloaded viewer 1.x, fired it up, finished my chore for the client that day, got paid, and haven't looked back. My productivity shot back up to where it was before I determined to master viewer 2.x at the start of those 5 months.

So, I don't suppose there's a way of offering a choice of viewer interfaces: 1.x for advanced users, content creators, and 2.x for regular users, both just pasted on as skins to codebase 2.x? I've never tried a third-party viewer, but I'm given to understand that the Phoenix people are essentially doing it, or trying to....

Lots of softwares offer two versions, end-user and developer versions....

I suggest this because I totally agree, FJ, that it would be a pain in the butt to support two different codebases and really in the long run a bad use of resources that are ever more scarce, and I certainly wouldn't want to be in your shoes having to do it! Ugh.

Maybe we certify something like Phoenix (caveat as I say, I've not tried it, just an example) as the developer version, though Lord knows what the politics and legalities would be behind a word such as "certify."

Its pretty clear that a single UI to serve all residents doesn't work.  You are thinking in the right direction here, as we need to be optimizing for classes of resdients with our UI.  The underlying codebase needs to be unified, but that does not imply forcing residents to an experience that does not work for them.  This is part of what the Snowstorm team is working through and has received tons of great feedback from the resident community.  This is also where TPV's can really help to extend and customize experiences.  Content creators will have very different interface and tools capability requirements than a resident who just wants to explore and experience Second Life's content.

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FJ, LL knows for almost a year now the Viewer 2.x UI is a desaster and lots of the residents refuse using it. So why does LL poke more and more (IMHO useless) features like social web stuff, display names and others into the viewer instead of making ONE wise decision and provide an optional UI that comes close to the old 1.23 interface, mainly that comes without sidebar but with multiple, closeable floaters? You would already see much more residents using a Viewer 2 based viewer. THAT would be an appreciated feature! How long does LL deny there's no issue with the UI?

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To be fair Ansariel, I know many people who use the new viewer, and are just fine with it, or even LOVE it, and who would likely refuse to use the old viewer.

I myself liked lots of things about it when I was just in an "end-user" frame of mind, bouncing around from club to club.

I think it's great for people who are just regular "end-users."

That being said, there may even be a few content creators who found that they were able to work productively with it, who knows, there's bound to be.

Judging by what FJ, just said, it sounds like LL "gets" now that different interfaces will be needed:

"Content  creators will have very different interface and tools capability  requirements than a resident who just wants to explore and experience  Second Life's content."

So, the best way forward may be to see how we can positively support them in that direction.

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FJ, will we see improvements w/ group notices? In large groups, notices are not received by majority of members if they're offline (either as a popup when logging in or email notification). I think it's a pretty critical piece of group communication and would be fantastic to see fixed w/ the overhauls you guys are making.

Thanks!

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I vote for focusing all resources on making the v2+ viewer the best it can be. Backporting features to v1 is a waste and just needlessly burns resources.

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Thank you FJ, great work. I would love to read more often about technology improvements. You know, when the Lindens don´t communicate with us residents more often, there is always a lot of speculation in the other blogs. And they are often rather negative. So it would help building confidence in the platform. Besides, group chat is important, but MUCH MUCH more important is to finally fix IMs. IMs are always capped when I am offline and I miss important messages. People keep sending notecards now instead of IMs, which is kind of ridiculous. Also the Display Names are often showing like "???".

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I am  excited about the additional  groups. I really need it.

As  for better  teleporting  no i can not see a difference in fact i have  had more  problems in the last 24  hrs then i have  had in  5 years... altho thank heavens  no  boots or  heel in my  bottem...or  landing nakid  or  hairless.  So i hope in the future i see these  changes also.

As for group  chat.. no thank you ... I use phoenix and  can  shut that off  as well as all  methods that  create additional  spam.

Now  for linking to  FB  t hat someone mentioned erlier... This is  Second Life and i think I will  keep mine like that.. no i  have  zero  to  hide in or about my  real. Those  that know me  know all about me and those that  don't  well  too bad i do not trust you  so thats  that.  Besides i do not have  FB  account I  think it is  silly i prefer  my  second life.  I had  a  job once and saw a  man  loose his   over  his  FB  account .. also on the Morals clause we all had to  sign  for employment  was a  blip in the agreement refering to on line activities  and games and social networking sites. So people might  find SL to be againt a morals clause. Some of the  things I  have seen posted in  the  forums or blog are  full  of  racism and hate it  would  turn most  prospective employers off if they  investigated and make them wonder  why an  employee would go to a place like that   I keep  my  real  real and SL   here  after  all the  key  word here is  "Second"

My best to all

Angel

PS:  Please make a  viewer thats  set up like the old one and  has  the new  features and isn't such a resource hog 

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I never had the first viewer and pretty much joined when viewer 2.0 was out. Now have 2.4. There are slight differences between the two, but the main thing are login issues and getting logged out when teleporting. And with sim crossing lag on top of that it's pretty much a nightmare somedays, depending on where I go of course.

For teleporting to improve that would be great and sim crossings, but since yesterday I've had trouble doing both. And today I can't even get into the sim I own for more than a minute, and not long enough to Restart it to help myself.

Constantly getting logged out is driving me insane, in between changing router channels to see if that helps. Alas it does not; so yet again right from since I joined I'm still wishing the Login screen appeared after I got logged out or cleared me cache (which I have to do every six hours if I want so stay at top speed) before logging out then back in again. Practically all systems, sites, even game ones etcetra and games give you the option to login after you logout. Why doesn't SL have one, instead of forcing us to close the program then open it again just to get the login screen up? That would be a normal expected feature I'd love to see that is oddly missing from the viewer features.

As for groups, a few more for me will be nice, as I have to join Support groups for the different animals I breed, and are at my limit now, along with my own groups and the odd clothes groups etcetra that I love.

As for chat, being able to open a group chat session manually without it not connecting would be great. Especially since i only tend to do it when I really need help. But before the names of members even load it always times out on my a lot of the time. Touch wood, not this last week, but then on relog I tend to make sure I don't close a group I might need that day, especially if I might not be able to open a chat session with them on my own. I'm not even going to mention chat lag! Grr!

Facebook, My Space....social networking sites...newsfeed joining with Sl or whatever... Not really fussed on that. I have both sites and yes, I'll upload pictures to Facebook, but then only certain people can see them, close friends that want to see what I'm doing. But beyond that I won't be sharing any other information that will have the option to post automatically to Facebook/My Space/Whatever as I'm here to get away from those kind of sites. And to be honest, no one at those kind of sites that I've spoken to have any interest in joining Second Life whatsoever. So I can't see why they would integrate them. Just like I won't be joining my My Space to my Facebook. I'm at both sites for totally different purposes and wish to keep them seperate still, which is why I'm at both places and not just one. Guess I don't see what the added bonus of this new feature will be.

As for another new version of the viewer, I'd just love them to fix the bugs with this one first. Especially the amont of time it takes to load inventory. Does it really need to reload three times and then some in one day if I haven't logged out at all or teleported anywhere?

And I do agree with some above about adding people to groups. The invite doesn't always go through. I know I usually have to invite people twice before they actually receive one invite. And I use the Display Name feature, mostly because of having to pick an last name that I would have chosen differently when I joined if I'd had the choice at the time. But I do show up as ??? a lot, which kind of bugs me, because then it makes me wonder what else is not loading correctly if it can't even show my name!

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The group leap, whilst welcome, is a temporary reprieve, you will never have enough groups, you need an overhaul, land groups and communication groups should be different beasts, you are merely chasing your own tail right now.

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I still don't get why some people get so uptight about being able to connect SL to Facebook. I have no issues about others finding out who I am....its not like I have anything to hide or have anyone to catch me cheating on them with an SL pixel. The way I see it, the only ones who feel the need to hide in SL are either RL cheaters, criminals, crazy people or sex offenders.

So yeah, great feature, the whole Social Network thing. Kudos.

The second word is off, seriously, you want to share your details with the world, have your house burgled when you go on holiday, invite stalkers, fill your boots, there are plenty of us who don't want the world to know everytime we take a dump.

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Why are you giving Facebook the time of day when they quite clearly don't embrace the concept of Second Life? You guys should be leading, not following.

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Forgive me if I do not jump up and down in delight at the news that "group chat issues will definitely be resolved in X months' time". I have heard that *forever* - in blog posts, directly from Lindens, from all sorts of sources over literally years.  The group chat issue utterly baffles me. I simply do not believe that it is treated as really being important at all. There are many potential reasons for that but none of them are at all complimentary. This is functionality that is, quite literally, as important as being able to rez prims.

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I second Suella's suggestion about groups on the web. Avatars United gave us a small look at how some of this can work together, but we needed it in the viewer.

Plus, If you move all the sidebar functions to web windows, then we don't need the sidebar there at all.

Oh, and I'd love to see a blog feature for all of us, either in the profile or eventual group page. Maybe similar to the FB kinda thing, tho I think groups work better for SL than it does for FB.

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Please plan something to speed up delivery of web-based profiles.  The speed that they are loading in the recent Snowstorm release (that will become 2.5 Beta) is far too slow.

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how would i get this for snowglobe viewer?

 

 

It lets you have up to 42 in Snowglobe 1.42, even though it says the limit is 25.

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Jan 14, 2011 10:08 AM Randi.Wildmist  says:


... The way I see it, the only ones who feel the need to hide in SL are either RL cheaters, criminals, crazy people or sex offenders. ...

Well, I'm glad that you're either independently wealthy, or have a job where your current employer, potential employers and/or clients won't regularly perform background checks on you and then apply snap moral judgments that can affect your livelihood. Just having a virtual life, however 'innocent', is bad enough, to some people.

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A Debug setting in the Advanced menu, for Phoenix.

Ctrl-Alt-Shift-S for the debug settings window.

Set Phoenix40GroupsSupport to True

If you have Alts, you only need to set this once.

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Is the compression feature for sim crossings and teleports generally enabled? I've had a few seriously slow crossings this week?

Teleport to Bay City, folks, don't even try to go through the Ahern infohub cluster.

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