Thursday, May 5, 2016

Am I on the latest version

I see this question now and then, and thought I'd show you a way that enables you to determine the answer yourself.

The clues are in a few places, one being our blog, another being our downloads page. But the simplest way is on the login screen.  Here's a shot of a previous version of Firestorm:

It tells you that you are not on the current version.

If you don't see that sticky note and are unsure that you're on the latest, the splash page tells you. On the left is a previous version, on the right is the current version.

Notice that in each the current version is shown at the left, and toward the right is the version you're using. If they match, you're on the latest version

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Firestorm and Flash

This is a bit late, but it's important enough that I wanted to mention it. As of the latest 4.7.7 release, Firestorm now uses the new webkit system, which replaces and obsoletes the old one. This new one uses CEF (Chrome Embedded Framework), which for Flash video uses the Chrome-based PepperFlash player.

You will need to install this newer player in order to use/see flash media in world. It's easy to get, and you don't need a different browser. Simply go to, choose your operating system, then select the flashplayer "for Opera and Chromium".

The flash player for Firefox is no longer needed, nor will it work for SL. And again, you don't need to install Chrome or Chromium, you just need the player.

Also note, Linux users are still left out with no updates from Adobe. But installing Chrome or installing the Pepperflash plugin for Chromium should both satisfy the requirement

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Duplicate Inventory

Dealing with duplicate items in your Inventory isn't as easy as it would if the inventory were on your computer. There are lots of programs for all platforms. That doesn't mean it's impossible, just difficult. And for several reasons:
  1. Inventory items may have duplicate names, but they may be different items.
  2. Inventory items may have different names, but they may be copies.
  3. Inventory isn't presented to the user in any way that helps to find and remove duplicates, partly for the two reasons above.
If done completely within Second Life, it's a terribly slow process; even a couple hundred items could take several hours.

Here are a couple things I've tried that might help.

If you habitually name things for exactly what they are, you can copy a folder into a box. Inside the box, you cannot have duplicate names, and so the second copy gets a "1" tacked on the end. The next gets a "2", and so on. Once the folder is copied in, delete the contents of the folder, then copy everything back from the box to the folder. Repeat this process for other folders, and when you're done all your duplicates have numbers added to the names. In the filter field, enter a 1 or 2, then select all the files that are duplicates and delete them.

Don't delete folders because that will also delete anything not shown due to the filter.

If you want to reduce the repetition, you can do some sorting in your inventory cache. It's not a flat file, there are a lot of references that the viewer uses but isn't quite readable. And, once you're done, you still have to filter for each duplicate and delete it/them manually, but it can be a more complete check. For example, you can sort your duplicates by their creation date, or by inventory type, or by UUID, or any other parameter available. It will take some work to make the Inventory understandable, but once it is it reads like an inventory listing

There is no automated process I know of to do this for you, no script can access your inventory. And I personally wouldn't trust a viewer that had the ability to manage your inventory, unless it was the official SL viewer. I would like to see inventory management tools via their web site, but I won't hold my breath that they will do anything for inventory management.

In my next blog post, I hope to have crafted a way to read your inventory cache offline, organize it so that it's readable and usable. It may only be a Linux-based solution, but I will also try to make one for Windows. Apologies to my Mac friends, I don't own a Mac, I have zero experience with Mac scripting or text editing, and I don't have the means to solve either problem.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Nvidia flickering

I'm configuring my laptop and I found the Firestorm view would flicker. I thought maybe I had a bad chipset, or overheating or something, but then I found the official SL viewer didn't cause the flicker. So I did a little investigating and found some interesting details in the Nvidia driver.

This is a dual-card laptop, an Acer V15 Nitro to be exact. It has a 5th gen i7-5500U, so it has Intel HD 5500 integrated graphics. It also has an Nvidia GTX 950M. It cam with Windows 8.1 installed, and Acer told me it could not be upgraded to Win 10 Home for free because it didn't qualify, but it will. To do that I had to reset the laptop back to OEM condition, then let Windows Update have a couple rounds, then I updated to Win 10 and it activated. I had a Win 10 Pro license, so I wiped the machine and installed Win 10 Pro.

Anyway, after manually installing the Nvidia 361.43 driver, I saw that the screen would flicker when I moved. I found that it was some additional settings on the Nvidia files that might have been the cause. To start, I reinstalled the driver, choosing custom install and then in there I chose Clean Install. I let that run, then launched Geforce Experience. I am not a fan of Experience because in the past it had a tendency to mess up the driver it was helping you to install. But in this case, I found that not running it made some undesirable settings default, and after clearing those the screen no longer flickers.

So here's what I did. After installing, I let the installer launch Experience. Then I went to Preferences

Then BatteryBoost.

There I unchecked Battery Boost.

Since I have no other games that Experience recognizes as needing optimizing, I went to Games

There I unchecked Automatically scan for games daily (likely not relevant), and Recommended optimal settings.

Then I closed Experience and launched Firestorm. Now, because I performed a clean install of the drivers, I was told that my graphics had changed to the Intel chipset. But that's not a bad chipset, and with current drivers I was getting smooth motion. But I did go back into Nvidia and graphics was still very smooth.

So if you find that your Win 10 dual-GPU lappy with Nvidia is flickering in SL, try what I did and see if it helps.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Dealing with disputes

Canary Beck has a nice article on how to deal with disputes. This can help us no matter which side of an argument we find ourselves.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Building the 64-bit Linux

This morning SLT there was a commit made to the Firestorm viewer code that is a problem for the 64-bit version. You won't be able to compile a 64-bit version right now.The error you'll see is
firestorm/indra/llimagej2coj/llimagej2coj.cpp:31:22: fatal error: openjpeg.h: No such file or directory
You can still compile the 32-bit version, so if you self-compile, stick with the 32-bit until the source can be fixed. And I'll let you all know when they get it fixed

Update: Nicky made some changes and now the 64-bit viewer will compile. Enjoy

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Griefers, spammers and thieves, oh my

It is no secret, and not something most SL residents are fond of or want to admit, but Second Life has its share of malicious residents. They are the bullies, spammers, beggars, crooks, griefers and so on. It seems there are more per capita for Second Life than we might see in real life. And so it's a little more difficult to promote the good and pleasant in SL when unprepared new residents experience these evils so early on in their experience.

But I think the one thing that's worse than a new resident experiencing these bad thing is that the existing residents do so little about them. Linden Lab have a system for reporting these bad people to them so they can investigate and take action. Linden Lab is concerned about the abuse, and although we as users don't see much reaction from them, they do react.

One thing I hear residents say is that they will let someone else report the abuser. But when 20 million residents all say that, then no report is made and the abuser continues unabated until such a time as a Linden employee happens to come across the abuse and reports it or, with hope, takes action. We as a community cannot just wait for the "cops" to come by and observe the problem. We must take action against the abusers. Every time. Even if there are 30 others are also being abused, there then should be 30 or more reports of the abuse. If you see abuse near you, report it. If you see abuse in a group, report it.

What kind of abuse should be reported? Well, really anything you think is a violation of the LL Terms of Service or Community Standards (which itself is a violation of the ToS). This would include fraud involving money, phishing, or pasting your communication somewhere without your permission. Read the ToS and CS so that you understand what they contain, and whether what you observe is a violation. Then, if you think it is a violation, or if you think it might be a violation, report it.

Don't assume that a violation will be reported if you don't report it. And don't assume that a violation isn't really a violation. Only Linden Lab should make that determination; it's their ToS, after all.

What kind of abuse should not be reported? Drama. If someone makes you upset because they have a contrary opinion, or you feel disrespected, welcome to life. Move on.

What happens after a report is filed? There is nothing that we can know about what Linden Lab do about a report. It is ultimately up to them how to interpret the report and determine whether there is an actionable violation. They are secret about their process because they need to protect every resident. We are all innocent until and unless proven guilty, and we as residents are the toothless court of public opinion and must defer to the Lab.

When we observe that no action is taken, we only assume that no action was taken. It wasn't a wasted effort to report the abuse. Keep reporting, keep showing Linden Lab that we are concerned with the quality of life in SL, that we won't tolerate the abuse that takes place at so-called safe hubs, or anywhere else.

When we assume that reports are useless, or that someone else will report the abuse, we become an enabler of that abuse and lose the right to complain about the abuse. If you want to assume something, assume that no one else will file a report except you.