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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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My biggest concern here, what with all the childrens bein' allowed in and all:

Is anything being done about profile ratings?  This conversion to a new, web-based system seems like a great opportunity to let us voluntarily censor ourselves by rating parts of our profiles PG/Mature/Adult, or even "Private" or "Friends Only" like many of the social networks you're emulating.

Would be great for anyone with stakes in an adult business, or who have information regarding adult activities in their profiles (whether it's advertising "services," or just a funny quote that's fine for adults, but really shouldn't be seen by the kiddies).

I know this has already been done for the Classifieds, but are we going to see anything for the rest of the fields/tabs?  Or the opportunity to provide alternate PG/Mature/Adult versions of certain fields, depending on who's viewing the profile?  Imagine someone with adult and non-adult business, who wants to use their Picks section, or their main profile page, to explain relevant information?  They might not want non-age-verified users to just see "CENSORED."

ugh.. its so annoying when you people insist on calling 16 and 17 yo "kiddies" and act like they are going to be traumatized by your profile picks for bukkake bliss.  these "children" have most likely seen far worse on google, and its highly likely that they are doing more sex than you are.  they arent children, they are teenagers.. they hold jobs, they drive cars, they have babies.. they arent 12 or 13 year olds.  ugh.

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Me too Lori.

It seems somehow silly that teens will be on the main grid and could be exposed to the excesses of.. well.. pony girls, for example!  I am not sure how this might pan out legally and I am sure that in the US the lawyers will find an opportunity to make money on this one.  Just suppose a teen saw a pony girl in someone's profile and harnessed his sister, braking her teeth with the bit.  Would the litigious parents have a case against LL, the ISP, the computer manufacturer or ... far more likely.. the profile writer?  I don't know the answer, but it is an interesting issue.

I suppose if we had the ability to self regulate and didn't we would also be in trouble.... Ah well, no easy answers I suppose.

Btw, I love Pony Girls... just wish I could afford one of my own.

 

Pittacus

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Whilst you are absolutely correct in what you say Sunbunny, it is what you do not say that is, sadly, more of an issue.  It is not what we think, or what these young people do in the real world that is at important here.  The issue is that AT LAW in most countries, people under the age of 18 are considered to be minors and are afforded a special status by the courts and the legal process.  There are 'child protection laws' for example...   I know a 17 year old is not what most of us would consider to be  a child, but the law says they are.  That leaves us all open to legal action if we are involved with anything A COURT DECIDES is inappropriate with people under 18 (21 in some countries by the way).

(My Caps here are not shouting, merely to emphasise that this is out of our hands.)

Apologies for this being off topic.

Pittacus

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While many areas can and are getting tweeking, I think region crossings is a great place to focus. This has been an issue for many years that prevents SL from feeling "whole". Rather than region edges being so noticable, it would be nice for them to feel seamless.

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ugh.. its so annoying when you people insist on calling 16 and 17 yo "kiddies" and act like they are going to be traumatized by your profile picks for bukkake bliss.  these "children" have most likely seen far worse on google, and its highly likely that they are doing more sex than you are.  they arent children, they are teenagers.. they hold jobs, they drive cars, they have babies.. they arent 12 or 13 year olds.  ugh.

The law of most lands disgrees with you, 16 and 17 year olds should not be discovering about bukkake bliss and whereas I agree with you that they can find far more graphic content via Google, LL encouraging them to come here without putting in proper safeguards is an accident waiting to happen.

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And, on a different note.... WHY the bleepity bleep does this blog STILL default to you receiving email notices of every post here after you post?  I have to come in every time and turn it OFF again!  I want to turn it off and have it STAY off!

I think I have finally figured out how to do this.

The control is under My Stuff -> Profile -> Manage Email Notifications.

There is a list of each blog and forum thread you have commented on.  You can individually select them and delete them, and they seem to stay turned off at least until you post in that thread again.

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I tryed to have more than 25 groups with the actual SL Viewer 2.4 but I can´t  because appears a message : You can´t have more than 25 groups.
So is it only to the third viewers like Phoenix?

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Sounds intresing this group chat is a challenge that all other platforms have found hard is there somthing that is going to be Closed sorce somthing thats kept in house that SL can keep to themselfs I truly think its time to start keeping a hold of some features by not releasing every line of code you make it may be a wise choice in the long run then you have somthing to call your own and can fall back on when everything gets opened up wider in years to come.  Can we MUTE a group even Temp mute would be handy when you have many users in a group that you have to be in for updates these groups get very annoying on the chatter side.  Instead of having to set busy all the time.

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@Darren: They are specifically moving the chat to a well-known, open source system developed by others over the last decade. (XMPP running on ejabberd).

-Apart from that, LL has never released any of the server code.

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I was able to add groups over the old 25 limit in the new Phoenix viewer, and am able to see them.  Was also able to add groups in viewer 2.4

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I joined a bunch of groups using 2.4 and back in Phoenix, I see all 35 with the text "you are in 35 of 25 groups".  I was also able to join an additional group (#36) while using Phoenix!

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I love all the new enhancements you guys are making.  Now, I actually like Viewer 2 for the most part as it's stable and rarely crashes, unlike Phoenix and the other 3rd party viewers.  However, the whole chat and notification system pretty much sux.  If they can design the chat like the old Emerald or the current Phoenix/Imprudence/etc.... system, that would be great.  All my chat in one window, with vertical tabs.  And popups for notices (group notice, L$ paid, etc....) or at least another tab in the chat for the notices, that would be great.

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A lot of great advancements here! I'm surprised the group limit being raised isn't being hailed as the beginning of a new era of awesomeness or something, after having been clamored after for several years now. Even still, i'm sure there will be many people thrilled at the new group limits.

The other work looks impressive as well. The region crossing improvements look good, although i haven't really tested it myself. It does seem that there has been a noticable difference for several people in these comments, which is great to hear!

I'm very interested to see how the new group chat pans out. From what i've been reading and from what i can gather, it seems like it should be a massive improvement over the current system. Kudos and good luck!

-

For everyone who is pointing out how there are profiles which would not be lawfully decent for teenagers to see.. here's the thing, they're currently existing against the ToS. All profiles are supposed to be limited to PG content only. Anything more "adult" than that is against the ToS, an AR-able offense and something which can have consequences against one's account. To argue that children shouldn't be here because there are adult profiles is sound; however, those profiles should not exist as such to begin with.

What this points out clearly, is what many of us have known would be a good idea and asked to have for a while now - the ability to have rated (G/M/A) profiles. This would lighten the burden on support in that people could just set their profile rating and no longer have to worry about if the profile meets PG standards. Not to mention bringing in a much easier way to make sure profiles are not unlawfully accessible to the under-18 crowd. It just makes sense. If there's a continent for all Adult rated material, why shouldn't that extend to our profiles?

-

Lastly, the Facebook/Twitter/etc. content.. is not a "bad thing". While many of us may not want to participate in it, having that extended functionality will appeal to some people. Which is in line with part of what SL is about.. creating an existence of your own creation. Just because you or i like something, or dislike it, doesn't mean the same goes for everyone. Not even the loudest voices/crowds in the forums and blogs could claim to speak for everyone... many times less so, actually.

All of that being said...

Ciaran wrote:


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.

Cybin Monde likes this.

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Not to sound disrespectful, FJ, but how's about doing a little improvement on your external infrastructure? Either the DMZ/External facing servers are way too overloaded, their nic drivers aren't properly tuned or you have a speed/duplex issue somewhere.

For over a year and a half, I've captured samples of the network traffic that originates from your server farm, and on average, the packet size is approximately 250 to 300 bytes. Occasionally, it dares to flirt with 500 bytes per packet.

Given that the theoretical maximum packet size is just over 1,500 bytes, if you're not using jumbo frames, you guys are spewing traffic at fraction of what your hardware is capable of.

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Thanks for the improvements! Well, about the Group number, i'm only member of 12 or 15 because i don't think i need more, but i'm sure this new limit will help a lot of people.

About the improvement in Teleports, i noticed (as average) how the TPs works faster in the last days, let's hope this remains. And... btw... it seems the (???) issue is not so... "issual" this last couple of days, just saying, even maybe i just jinxed it...

Thanks for telling us all this and thanks for the hard work!

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Groups in general are pretty broken. I would really like to see two kinds of groups: Social groups for tags, chat, notices, and Permission groups for land / object management. The group limit is mainly because for nearly everything you do, SL has to check your group permissions to do things. If groups were separate, there would be no need to have a limit on social groups because it wouldn't impact performance of the grid.

Second: llGroupInvite() and llGroupEject() - let's get rid of the group inviter bots. Give us LSL functions so we can use a scripted object to do group management.

Group Chat: So you are implementing a new system. Please ensure it is jabber (XMPP) compatible. So here you are linking with Twitter, Facebook, etc., but it's still nearly impossible to communicate with someone inworld unless you are ALSO inworld. Group and IM chat should be based on an OPEN protocol and not some nasty proprietary thing from VoiceAge. It works for Google's GTalk so it CLEARLY can handle the load.

Lastly: Yet another plea - address the sim freeze bug that occurs when people with scripted objects TP in and out of a sim which has been plaguing us for nearly 18 months.

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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.

Glad i read this comment! I and a lot of other creators can't live without the oldskool UI, well it is important to us anyways. I gave the new viewer several chances and tried to work with it, but it is just not suited for my needs.

Great to see that LL see the importance of the old UI and is working on a solution to have both the new coding and the old interface in the client.

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Not bad for a start but if you dont want small Creators and Entrepeneurs to start giving up and than leaving SL only for Big Fish and more poor for just users, either you lower the tiers, either rase the prims limit or, even better - Improve the scripts lag impact on sims.

I had a Full Region with not many scripts and it crashed when 66 people came in to an event - Maybe you should warn sim owners that 100 avis limit is only if you consider naked Avis and not hud users.

Costs are still to heavy for small brilliant minds, lol - I know LL earns enough now and dont bother to lower its revenues but in the long term it wont work, just wait for competition to arrive.

A Full Region for a group or company is nothing on tiers, classifieds or Inworld hiring, but for an individual intrepeneur is too much if one wants to make something original and different, not just Malls or Clubs!!!

You are putting the small fish outside SL and sometimes is precisely the small fish that brings quality and innovation on the long term.

I gave up my full region because 23k a week was to much for a non commercial sim, and  I did quite a few original events there, but I did not have a single L left to improve the sim or hire artists and so

- If tier was, lets say, half the price I would go on and develop and also hiring Inworld witch is a great potential booster - I manage to invest 5 or 6 months without incomes, just developing community and even offering free homes, etc..

Maybe all can get along without me but its just a sign that, like me, many others may give up, is that simple, now is up to you !!!

Many thanks for reading

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Good posts so far by everyone, positive and negative. Here are my two bits into the information pool:

A few have asked "Why increase groups to 42 if you know the system cannot handle everyone doing that?" I have to agree completely. If you cannot supply that many groups to every resident then do not do it. In fact, that statement implies a reduction is inevitable because incoming new residents using 42 groups will push the system over its threshold. In that respect it looks like the number of groups was set looking at current resident levels and did not consider future growth.

Residents also need to be aware that although connecting to Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks sounds exciting, it also means linking into your Real Life information. Facebook is especially keen on enforcing its TOS policy of not allowing avatar-based (false names or alias) members; they can and have deleted accounts based on avatar names and information. So if you link into any of the social networks plan to either run the risk of having an avatar-based account deleted or being directly associated with your Real Life identity.

As always, remember the first rule in Second Life is to have fun! Peace and love everyone!

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Hi Nuhai

Thanks for the up to date info on FB.  I suspected that Avatar based accounts were not allowed and you have confirmed that.  I now conclude that FB links are therefore not of much use to most residents whereas previously I felt that it was good that we had the choice.  Someone elsewhere has referred to the ubiquitous 'Sl is SL and RL is RL' in many profiles.  The only use I can now see for FB links is if residents wish to use SL as a dating site, in which case, FB is probably a much better option anyway.

Thank you for your thoughtful input which has helped me to develop my own ideas.

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