Jack.Linden

Retired Linden
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About Jack.Linden

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  1. A Farewell From Jack

    My last blog post as ‘Jack Linden’ is almost certainly the hardest that I’ve had to write. Sad to say that I will be leaving the Lab at the end of December. It’s time for me to set sail for new horizons, hang up the god powers, and journey to another grand adventure elsewhere. It has been an incredible six years, and one that has been made extra special thanks to sharing it with you, the Second Life community. Seems like only yesterday that I was helping new residents at the welcome area, shaping new mainland continents and delivering islands to the very first wave of estate owners. Second Life was amazing to me then, and it is no less amazing to me now. It’s an incredible virtual space full of real people and their extraordinary creativity. It’s been a wild ride at times, always mesmerising and never a dull moment. I have loved every moment of it. I have watched pioneering virtual businesses grow and flourish, seen people from around the world making friends and falling in love, been amazed at the range of new communities that have found a home on the grid, and witnessed an explosion of content that has made Second Life the largest home of user generated 3D content in existence. It’s been an honour to be a part of that world and to serve you, the residents who have made it so rich and diverse. I will be leaving behind a Linden Lab that is in great shape. A Lab that is more focused on fixing the core features, more open and productive, and that remains on course for a very bright future indeed. Up until the end of the year you can still reach me as Jack Linden inworld but from January 1st I will be enjoying Second Life as a resident once more, probably on my new alt (username and display name of simply ‘Jack’). Many thanks to all of you for everything you do to keep Second Life so special.
  2. Today we’re making available the first beta release of Viewer 2.4. We’ve done a great deal of maintenance work for this release, with significant help from the Second Life open-source community, including fixing a number of interface problems, hunting down and eliminating some key crash bugs, and making several performance improvements. A number of features and changes are worth noting with this release. For the most part, we consider the work we're releasing today to be intermediate steps on the way to a better future: A new auto-updater: Whenever there’s a new viewer release, the viewer will now download the new installer automatically in the background, and offer to install an upgrade when you next log in. You still control whether you want the new version, of course. We’ll continue to improve the auto-updater experience in future releases. Clearer preferences: We’ve reorganised several of the preferences tabs to make them more understandable (and to make it easier for us to create new preferences, should the need arise). We've added some colour and transparency options, and fixed some bugs too. There will be more work to come in this area as we strive to make the viewer more customisable. External text editor support: This is one we’re extremely happy about, as it's something Residents have wanted for a long time. If you’re a scripter, then you can now use your own text editor for scripting. The feature still needs a lot of user interface work, but as we work more on build tools in coming months, it will keep getting better and easier to use. Graphics improvements: We’ve also integrated some graphics improvements as we work towards integrating mesh import into Viewer 2. Our graphics systems are undergoing major renovation, and there have been improvements to anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering, and snapshots, with more to come in future releases. So, although Viewer 2.4 is fundamentally a maintenance release, it has a lot of great stuff in it. Please give it a try and give us your feedback! Download the Viewer 2.4 Beta today, try it out, and Twitter your thoughts using the #slviewer2 hashtag. Helpful Links Download the Viewer 2.4 Beta (Version 2.4.0, Beta 1) Windows | Mac | Linux Viewer 2.4 Beta Release Notes SL Forum on Viewer 2
  3. Recent Improvements to SL Search

    At Linden Lab, we recognize that SL Search is an aspect of the Second Life experience that is a top “back to basics,” priority to improve. So, over the last few months, the SL Search team has been working hard to make Search results more accurate and prepare for the Teen Second Life migration to the Main Grid. Here's a brief overview: New Filters for Search with General or Moderate Ratings Until now, we've had both land and language filtering in search results. However, there was no real difference between General and Moderate content filters. We're tweaking the content filters, both by defining a "Moderate" set of keywords and by altering some of the teen-related language in the adult filters. If your parcel or profile does not appear at the maturity level you expect it to, then edit your text. You will usually see your edits reflected in Search within six hours. Classified Ads Now Get Extra Level of Rating Validation Classifieds have always allowed Residents listing a Classified to self-declare the maturity rating of their ad. With teens gaining access to the Main Grid, we've added content filtering to provide another level of rating validation. If you list an ad and don't see the maturity level you're optimizing for in search results, then just edit your text. You should see the edits reflected in Search in about an hour. New Functionality Automatically Builds in Keyword Variations We’ve also added new functionality (stemming and stop words, for all the industry professionals out there) into Classifieds, which means that advertisers don’t have to stuff their descriptions with every variation of a keyword. For example, a search for “Dance” will return descriptions with “dancing,” “dances,” and “danced." More Sophisticated Filters to Identify Spam and Optimize Search Results We've moved from the more rigid "past this point and you get dinged" method of calculating boost to one that balances several features of your page. These aspects include how often words are repeated, the nature of the objects on your parcel, the size of the parcel, unique descriptors, and the use of symbols and ALL CAPS. It is important to note that the filter takes into consideration many things. Depending on the combination used, your score could be impacted negatively or not at all. A note about the perceived "size boost": We want to promote all relevant locations in Second Life -- big or small. Larger stores, with bigger inventories, are more likely to be mistakenly downgraded in Search for repetition in their descriptions and objects. So, we give larger parcels a minor buffer to allow for that. We’ve also adjusted this buffer so that it should be less noticeable. In addition, we now apply a negative boost for parcels that are below the minimum size permitted in search. All of these factors are now rolled into the one visible spam boost rating on each parcel. It’s worth checking it over the next two weeks as we roll out changes and make the appropriate updates to your information. Edits are typically reflected on the World page in a few minutes and up to six hours in Search. Destination Guide Finally, we’ve made some changes to the Destination Guide to reflect each listing’s parcel maturity. This will ensure that teens have access to all of the Destination Guide listings they see in the Find window and all Residents will now see Destination Guide entries filtered by maturity level. Let Us Know What You Think We hope that these changes benefit everyone in Second Life -- inworld businesses and Residents alike. Keep an eye on Search release notes for ongoing updates. Try it out and let us know if you notice the improvements. We look forward to your feedback in comments below! Note: Edited to fix spacing and headings on new platform. - Sea
  4. Viewer 2.3 Launches with Display Names

    @Sharcel.. Yeah the registration pages will be changing to match the display names feature. Is the name creation process going to change to where you can create an account with the name of your choice, and that's what people will see in-world and in the blog-forums?
  5. Viewer 2.3 Launches with Display Names

    I’m delighted to announce that today we have released Viewer 2.3 as the main Second Life Viewer and the default download for new Residents. This release includes the full launch of Display Names allowing greater self-expression, improved Event Scheduling, Viewer Hints, and many additional performance and usability enhancements. For more information on the new features, see our Viewer 2.3 Beta blog post. This is just a few short weeks from when the Viewer 2.3 Beta was made available; a big thanks to those Residents that downloaded the beta and provided feedback. Download the Viewer 2.3 Release today, try it out, and Twitter your thoughts using the #slviewer2 hashtag.And, if want to learn more about Display Names, then there are plenty of places to find information including some excellent videos by Torley. Check out the helpful links below. Please note: If you are using an older version of the Viewer (including most 3rd party Viewers) that still has three login fields (first name, last name and password), please read this page for guidance on how Display Names affects logging in. Helpful Links Downloads: Windows | Mac | Linux Viewer 2.3 Release Notes Display Names FAQs Changes to Display Names Based on Your Feedback with Video Display Names Knowledgebase Article with Instructional Video Usernames Knowledgebase Article with Instructional Video SL Events Wiki SL Answers on Display Names SL Forum on Viewer 2
  6. Today, we are excited to launch the latest version of Viewer 2 -- Viewer 2.3 Beta -- that makes it even easier to connect to friends and relevant experiences in Second Life. We’ve come a long way since we first launched the first Viewer 2 Beta in February. We’ve dramatically increased performance and stability while adding cool new features like Shared Media. We’ve also made many usability improvements, based on your feedback, that make it easier for content creators and developers to build in Second Life. With the Version 2.3 Beta, Viewer 2 takes another big leap forward. This Beta not only includes many performance enhancements and bug fixes, but it also allows you to more freely express your inworld identity with Display Names, introduces helpful pop-up hints to make it easier to learn Viewer 2, and gives group owners more control of SL Events. Display Names Arrives on the Main Grid Display Names, as you know, gives all Residents two names: a unique username and an optional Display Name that you can change on a weekly basis. Display Names gives you the ability to use Unicode characters and multiple words so you can use your current SL Name, your real name, a pseudonym, or a gamer tag. It’s your choice! Since we originally blogged about Display Names, and subsequently launched the Display Names Project Viewer on the test grid, we’ve made a range of changes to the feature that address the Resident concerns and feedback we received around impersonation and griefing. If you want to learn more, there’s a video below showcasing the enhancements and a full list detailing each change. We have also compiled a Frequently Asked Questions wiki page and two Knowledge Base articles, one on Display Names and another on usernames, complete with video tutorials from Torley that show you how to use this new feature. Check out this video to see Display Names in action: Because we need to ensure that Display Names operates correctly, we will not enable Display Names for the entire grid immediately. Today, it will work in a few thousand regions; once we see how it performs, we will dial that up over the next few weeks until the whole grid is enabled. If you want to try using Display Names, then head to Blake Sea and Bay City, as those areas will be enabled first. Group Owners Can Now Control Event Scheduling The Viewer 2.3 Beta now allows group owners to control events scheduling on group-owned land. Please read more and see our step-by-step instructions on the SL Events wiki pages. Viewer Hints Make the Switch to Viewer 2 Easy We understand that there’s a bit of a learning curve when you make the switch from Viewer 1.23 to Viewer 2. So, we have added helpful pop-up hints for newer users around commonly used features, such as walk and chat. These disappear when the user takes the appropriate action, or dismisses the hint, and then you’ll never see them again. Download the Viewer 2.3 Beta today, try it out, and Twitter your thoughts using the #slviewer2 hashtag. Helpful Links Download Viewer 2.3 Beta (Version 2.3.0, Beta 1)Windows | Mac | Linux Viewer 2.3 Beta Release Notes Display Names FAQs Changes to Display Names Based on Your Feedback with Video Display Names Knowledge Base Article with Instructional Video Usernames Knowledge Base Article with Instructional Video SL Events Wiki SL Answers on Display Names SL Forum on Viewer 2
  7. Jack's office hours cancelled - 14th October 2010

    Unfortunately I won't be able to run my usual hour long office hour today. Apologies to those that had planned to attend, I know it's slightly late notice. Normal service should be resumed at the usual time (Thursday 11am PST) next week. All the best, Jack
  8. Mesh Import Open Beta Starts Today

    Hey Darien - I agree on the importance of the prim calculation. It's something we're going to be very careful to get right. It's not so much that we're waffling, but part of doing a beta like this is to help us make those kinds of choices (and to include residents in the conversation as much as we can). Jack It would be nice to see some people post some numbers about the complexity of their build, how many LODs they included, and the corresponding prim count the said object came out to be. It seems LL has waffled again and changed the way prim counts are calculated. It would be good to know what they are aiming for now. IMHO, this is the single most important factor about mesh, as if they get this wrong, it will destroy the economy.
  9. Mesh Import Open Beta Starts Today

    As previously blogged, I’m very excited to announce that the Beta for Mesh Import is now open to all Residents. Mesh Import allows you to bring models into Second Life from the many popular 3D tools such as Blender or Maya(t), using the COLLADA file format. We see this as an important step to empower content creators to make the inworld experience an even richer and more creative one than it is today. You can read more about Mesh Import here and in my last blog post. Join the Mesh Import Beta In order to take part, you will need to first download the Project Viewer for Mesh Import, based on the Viewer 2 code base, available below. This special Mesh viewer will take you to the test grid that we call Aditi. This is a separate grid from the one you normally use for Second Life -- so any changes you make there will not be preserved nor transferred to the main grid. Whilst the Mesh Beta is open to all Residents, it is possible that accounts created within the last few weeks may have trouble logging into the test grid as they won’t have been migrated across yet; so if you have trouble, then here are instructions for updating your account info on Aditi. Getting Started with Meshes So that you can get started straight away, we have prepared a few simple walkthroughs for you to follow once you’ve logged in. You can find them on the main Mesh wiki page along with various other pieces of information. They should give you a good idea of how the Mesh Import tool works before you import your own meshes. Remember that we are using the COLLADA file format, so you’ll need to use a tool that can create COLLADA files such as the free, cross-platform Blender. Over the coming weeks, we will continue to add information to the Mesh wiki page, so do check back often. Please note, that the Second Life Terms of Service applies on the Aditi test grid, as it does on the main grid. That means that you should not import any content for which you do not have the appropriate rights. But, For more information, see our Intellectual Property Policy and if you’re in doubt over a specific object, then it’s probably best not to import it. What to Expect on the Beta Grid Although the base technology that drives mesh is in good shape, we still have some way to go before this is production ready. We wanted to get it into your hands sooner, versus later, to get your feedback. You should only take part if you’re comfortable with beta software that may crash or cause content that you’re working on to break in unexpected ways. In addition, the product design piece -- the user interface -- still needs some work so you can expect that the interface for mesh will change and improve over time. The Mesh Project Viewer will auto-update as we ship updated versions, so when there’s a new version, then you’ll be prompted to install it. Another change, that many of you will notice right away for this beta test, is that we have changed the maximum size of a prim, for both normal prims and mesh prims. The maximum for each dimension is up from 10m to 64m. Our hope is that this change will also be available on the main grid as well once Mesh Import ships. But, we need to assess how these larger prims perform during the beta period to ensure that they will integrate seamlessly into the main grid environment. Releasing the Viewer Code for Mesh To give our third party viewer developers as much time as possible to work with the Mesh code base, and so that we can get additional feedback and support from the opensource community, the code base for the Mesh Project Viewer will be released by the end of this week. It will be made available on the Snowstorm wiki page. Giving Feedback on Mesh Import If you believe that you’ve found a bug, or have a suggestion for how to improve the feature, then please use our public Jira issue tracker to let us know. Before you file an issue there, please do search to ensure that someone hasn’t already filed the same issue before you. If they have, then by all means add your comments there. Anticipating a Few of Your Questions Yes, you have questions. Let me anticipate a few. Feel free to ask more in comments and we’ll answer what we can. Q: How will Mesh objects look if you’re viewing them from an older viewer, such as those based on Viewer 1.23? A: They will look like flat shapes and will not resemble the real mesh objects. See the Mesh wiki page for examples. Q: What are the prim costs for importing Meshes? A: Aspects of this are still being worked out, but the latest info is on the Mesh wiki page. Q: Will you be charging upload fee for meshes? A: Yes we will charge an upload fee in L$ when mesh launches into production. For the beta test on the test grid, there will be no fees. Q: Will you have Mesh office hours? A: We are holding Mesh Import office hours tomorrow, October 14, at 3pm PDT (6pm EDT) at the four corners of Mesh Headquarters on Aditi (SLurl: secondlife://Aditi/secondlife/MeshHQ 1/238/238/26). We will have more office hours in the future, so keep checking the Mesh wiki page as they are scheduled. Finally, I’d like to thank you all in advance for taking part. We’re looking forward to seeing the amazing mesh creations and hearing your feedback. Resources: Download the Mesh Import Project Viewer Windows | Mac | Linux Read the last blog post on Mesh Import Read more at our Mesh Wiki Page Share your thoughts on the Mesh Forum or the Mesh section of SL Answers Log bugs on the public Jira Twitter your feedback on #slviewer2 Please upload pictures of your mesh creations to Flickr with the #slmesh tag. You'll be able to view the resulting collection here.
  10. Farewell, Avatars United

    Today, is a bittersweet day. As planned, we have taken down the Avatars United site, as outlined in last week’s blog post. The Avatars United website now points to the main Second Life homepage. Although many are sad to see Avatars United go, we are very excited that soon we'll be sharing more of our thinking as we explore how to integrate social networking capabilities, powered by Avatars United technology, directly into the Second Life experience. We want to make it even faster, easier, and more fun to find friends, build vibrant communities, and share the richness of Second Life. For Avatars United members, we hope that you’ve taken advantage of the past week to save any pieces of content that you wanted to keep. And, if you have an account balance, then yesterday you should have received an email regarding your AU Coin refund. Expect another email later this week with more specifics on your individual account. As I stated before, a big thanks to all Avatars United members and we encourage you to reestablish your connection with friends--and find new ones--in Second Life. See you there soon!
  11. Mesh Open Beta Begins on October 13th

    Following on from my previous post, I am delighted to announce that we will begin the Mesh Open Beta on Wednesday, October 13th, allowing all Residents to experiment with our new mesh upload fuctionality. We’re extremely excited about this project; here is what to expect from the beta program: On October 13th, you will find a new “Mesh Project Viewer” on the Downloads page, which will be available for any Resident to download. This Viewer cannot connect you to the main grid; instead, it will take you to a development grid (called Aditi) where mesh has been enabled. After you download the Mesh Project Viewer and log in to Aditi, you can then experiment with mesh without impacting your regular SL account. The mesh features should be fully functional, so you’ll be able to upload mesh files, define their physical shape, apply them to objects, and link multiple mesh objects together. Some aspects of mesh are complex, but don’t worry -- we will also provide documentation explaining how to get started with mesh, along with some simple examples to get you started. The main purpose of the beta is to have as many folks trying out the technology as we can, so that we can improve the quality and iron out any issues early. I’ll blog again on our progress shortly and will also let you know how best to file bugs or give us other feedback. We are still actively working on the user interface for mesh, so you should expect this to look a little rough for a while as we polish it up and make changes based on your feedback. So, if you’re someone who is comfortable trying out beta software, and you’re interested in creating mesh objects in Second Life -- a whole new level of creativity -- please do put October 13th in your diary! The more involved you get, the better it will be!
  12. Saying Farewell to Avatars United

    In January of this year, Linden Lab purchased Avatars United as part of our social strategy and a larger ambition to integrate powerful social networking capabilities into the Second Life experience -- to make it even faster, easier, and more fun to find friends, build vibrant communities, and share the richness of Second Life with fellow Residents inworld and friends outside of Second Life. We purchased Avatars United for its underlying social technology -- the ability to create social networks, communities and groups. In order to focus our resources on integrating that technology to Second Life, and to minimize the confusion between the Second Life and Avatars United brands, we will be taking down Avatars United, on September 29th, 2010. We will roll out new Resident Profiles in the coming months -- including the option to share more about your inworld identity and infused with social networking functionality -- all under the Second Life banner. The most “back to basics” building blocks of Second Life -- the heart of what makes Second Life so special -- is you, and we’re committed to using the Avatars United technology to help you build richer communities and create stronger, more dynamic relationships with each other. If you have a profile on Avatars United, then we encourage you to use this week to save any pieces of content (such as pictures, friend’s names, etc.) that you want to keep. AU members will shortly receive an email version of this post that will also update them directly on their AU Coin refund, for those that have an account balance. We would like to thank all members of Avatars United for participating in our community, and being part of the Second Life family. And, we hope we will see you again, in Second Life!
  13. Next Steps for Mesh Import

    During Philip’s keynote at the 2010 SLCC, we committed to bringing Mesh import to Second Life. This functionality would allow content created in the mainstream 3D creation tools, such as Maya or Blender, to be imported directly into Second Life, in much the same way that animations and textures can be uploaded today. In this case, we would provide support for the Collada file format. We see this as an important step to empower content creators to make the inworld experience an even richer and more creative one than it is today. Find Out What Our Mesh Import Beta Testers Think As you know, we have been working on Mesh import for some time and have had an awesome group of Resident beta testers helping us to iron out the kinks. Those testers have been under NDA, but today we will be lifting that NDA so that those folks in the closed beta can talk publicly about their experiences with Mesh in Second Life. This is in line with our desire to be ever more open about what we are working on. Look for other videos, blog posts, and Tweets (#slviewer2) shortly. In fact, I encourage you to view the Second Life Youtube channel where we already have six videos showcasing Mesh Import technology, contributed by beta testers Draxtor Depres, Timmi Allen, and Matrice Laville. And, big thanks to all of our Mesh Import beta testers. Your dedication, creativity, feedback, encouragement, and patience has been invaluable. We couldn’t have gotten here without you. Open Beta Coming Soon We’re also getting ready to move from the current closed beta, to an open beta so that any Resident interested in helping us to test the Mesh toolset, or just curious about the technology, can get involved. Mesh Import has some incredibly exciting implications for inworld content creators, so we’re very keen to get as much feedback as we can; and of course, the more people that use it, the better the feature will be when we go live gridwide. The plan is to blog again in two weeks, when we’ll announce when the open beta will be available and talk more about the development process and the remaining work to be done. As you’re starting to see on other projects, there will be a specific Project Viewer for the open beta for Mesh Import that will take Residents to a development grid where Mesh is enabled. The open beta will be a ‘technology demo’ rather than being a complete product -- so you should expect that the user interface will change significantly as we receive your feedback and continue to work on it. The technology for Mesh Import is complex, so making sure that it is not only easy to use, but also a powerful tool for content creators, is part of the challenge. We’re looking forward to getting your help. Take a Look at What’s Ahead I’ll leave you with some great screenshots showing some of the work our beta testers have done. And definitely check out those Mesh Import videos on Youtube. I hope you’ll agree that this is going to be a wonderfully exciting addition to Second Life.
  14. Along with many other services across the Internet, Second Life needs to separate the unique identifier you use to log in with from the name you are known as inworld. By insisting that the two needs be served by one name, we make it nearly impossible for anyone to use their real name, nickname, role-play name or their social Web identity within Second Life. Our new Display Names feature will finally make that possible, as well as allowing a greater freedom of expression inworld. Over the last two weeks, we’ve received a tremendous amount of Resident feedback, based on two blog posts -- one announcing Display Names and the other announcing the open beta and Project Viewer for that same project, giving all Residents the opportunity to get hands-on experience with Display Names today. In fact, we received more than 63,000 views and 1,600 comments on those two posts alone, which is very cool! Also, we’ve had thousands of Residents download the Display Names Project Viewer and test out the feature on our test grid which is providing invaluable feedback and enhancement suggestions. We’ve read every single one of your comments and Jira submissions and as a result have been rethinking certain aspects of the feature with your comments in mind. Display Names EnhancementsHaving taken on board the concerns, here are the changes that I have asked the team to make in response to your input so far: We will change the default behaviour to show both the Display Name and the unique Username if the two names do not match. If they do match, we will show just one (Display Name). Residents can still change this behaviour in preferences. Increase the visibility of the Username throughout the interface. As the Usernames are unique to each account we’ll make this more prominent in the Profile and elsewhere so that you can easily check who someone is. We’ll also label the two names clearly in the Profile so that it’s obvious what they are. We will make it more consistent so that where you need to see both both names, you will. Improvements to chat so that you can see username if you wish to and so that chat logs include notification of any display name changes by anyone present. As often happens with password creation, we will require Residents that are changing their Display Name to enter it twice, to ensure they do not misspell it and end up stuck with a name they can’t change for a while. We’re looking to add a simple one-click way to copy a Display Name to your clipboard - because unicode can be incredibly tough to type. Other Ideas being considered We also received two very good suggestions to help mitigate the impersonation and griefing risks. The first was to use colour coding for Display Names to bring more clarity to names. The second is charging a nominal L$ fee to change a Display Name. The thinking there was that it would deter new Alt accounts being used to misuse the Display Name feature. We are considering both ideas; I will get back to you with the outcome of that discussion soon. Some of you have suggested disallowing the Display Name from matching any previous Username, but as we have used many millions of names for accounts already that would make Display Names very hard to use as most names would be blocked. Rethinking Identity in Second Life The Display Names project is about the freedom to express yourselves inworld -- including using the tag above your head. As people live out their Second Lives their needs for the name above their head may change -- perhaps they meet someone and fall in love, or they make a new professional affiliation or decide to roleplay. This is why an important principle behind this change is that Display Names not be unique or limited. The Display Names project also allows us to simplify the registration process. In the past, name choice has been a point at which many potential Residents abandon the process. Display Names is also about the ability to use Unicode characters for our international Residents, something that is increasingly important as we grow. We recognise that we need to offer this capability in a way that best preserves your unique inworld identity and protects you, as much as possible, against the risks of impersonation and griefing which are the areas where a large bulk of your concerns lie. We are listening and will continue to do so. We will soon provide a revised Project Viewer so that you can see the changes we are making as they take shape. We may have several such iterative releases so that you can see the results of your feedback. On behalf of the entire Display Names team, we want to thank you for your passionate and thoughtful responses. You are at the heart of our business, and we really value the dialogue because ultimately it results in a better Second Life experience for all. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts as we continue to improve this Viewer 2 feature and others coming soon.