Friday, October 23, 2009

hit me like a ray of sun, burning through my darkest night

I wandered over to the discussion finally, on the third-party viewer question on the Linden blog. I'm very nearly sorry I did. It all comes down to two words, one name, one resident: Prokovy Neva.

The very first post after Blondin's expected chirpy intro, in fact, is Prokovy's:

I'm glad there's at least a glimmer of a notion of "accountability" for these heedless and hedonic and even malicious third-party viewers that have enjoyed a reckless field day in Second Life since first blessed by Philip Linden, and since criticis of them were first silenced in town halls or on blogs.

Hedonic? Also, it's "critics", properly, but...



Okay, I admit, I had to look this up, because I'd only ever heard "hedonistic": it turns out "hedonic" is an archaic form that pretty much means...the same thing. It comes from the Greek word hēdonikos, from the base hēdys, which originally meant "sweet".

Still. Weird. Anyway.

The reality is, these opensouced viewers have not brought any demonstrable boon to Second Life, and those using them are not connecting up the dots between their trunks and their devil spawn of deliberately malicious viewers.

Hooooold up, here. First, it's open-sourced, but second, open-sourced viewers have brought demonstrable boons to SL. For one, Emerald has a whole host of innovative features, all of them taken directly from the sldev list; it's not code that's coming from anywhere else. Second, were it not for Nicholaz Beresford's work on the Nicholaz viewer, at least 20% of SL's user base, if not far more, would have been completely, cripplingly unable to log in, AT ALL, during half of 2007 and all of 2008. Third, Snowglobe, which is the single most stable, most creative viewer that Linden Labs has ever built--came directly from conversations on the sldev list WITH OPEN-SOURCE CODERS.

How is any of that not a "demonstrable boon"??

Aeronya Arai had a thought-provoking comment:

[...] after all not every user of SL has an unlimited bandwidth line into SL, some have to pay monthly based on their total bandwidth used during the previous month, and yet others are on plans that simply cut off their access when they reach their maximum usage for the month (the various bugs in the past with the standard viewers haven't helped these individuals, in some cases a new version of the viewer began using up to twice as much bandwidth than the previous version did often times as a result of some bug in the code).

Especially in the case of Australian users of Second Life, this is a very real hazard--per month user loss is one thing, but bandwidth leaks--which are perpetual with the official viewers, even Snowglobe, and have been alleviated to a great extent with Nicholas, Kirsten and Emerald viewers. It's yet another case where there is a visible and demonstrable boon of open-sourced viewers--keeping more international users able to log in to Second Life, and contribute to the culture and the economy.

Things were actually going well in the thread, lots of relevant discourse, between residents and Blondin Linden on what features draw people to the Emerald Viewer. Everything mentioned were things the Lindens desperately need to listen to. Then Prokovy Neva snapped a cog again:

Today, temporary free uploads to evade the sink tax of $10 per texture for the sake of "creactivity". All client side.

Tomorrow, hacks and exploits to ensure that "temp mode" stays permanent, perhaps even during log-ons and movement between sims to enable people to have entire fashion shows, builds, powerpoints, whatever, all without costing a dime.

Then the day after, even more hacks and exploits to permanently do an end-run around the $10 texture cost and to override economic common sense mechanisms to keep it stable.


First off, it's ten LINDEN per upload, not ten DOLLARS. Second, "temp mode" is just that--entirely temporary. When that session ends, so does the texture upload. It's not meant to be permanent, because it never goes on the server. It's entirely client-side.

There's no way the Lindens would change that, for third. And there is no way to get around that, because that is server-side. "Hacks and exploits" would do nothing--you can hack textures off the server, but you can't hack "free" textures into the server...without paying that ten Linden fee.

The concept of 'free' fashion shows, also, is just ludicrous, from start to finish. First, temporary texture uploads, while viewable to others, are based on your session alone. You can't give creations away made with them. I suppose you could sell them, but when the plywood frock ended up in your customer's inventory, you'd be ARed in a flash. Not only that, but if you crash? That's the end of your session, and all those textures wipe back to default.

It stacks stupidity on stupidity, at that point, to ramp that up to builds--because it wouldn't last. All the temporary texture upload feature does? Is bring a bit of beta grid onto main grid. That's all. It means those of us who build--and I'm beginning to understand just how little, if any, building Neva does--don't have to log in to a separate grid to keep creating. This saves us time and is a help, not a hindrance.

Is it something I want in an official SL viewer? Not necessarily; but it's one of the best features of Emerald.

Suella Ember had a great retort on this topic that covers some of the same points I've made, but I want to quote her anyway:

LL charge $10L per upload to cover hosting costs - fair enough, i have absolutely NO problem with that. What i do have a problem with is being charged $10L all the time for textures i upload to test on a build. I like to get my designs perfect and i can often upload a texture 10, 20 even 50 times until i have it looking exactly as i want it on my creation. These test textures are all deleted and hence it does not cost LL anything in hosting.

The temp texture upload from Emerald solves this problem perfectly. The temp textures are automatically deleted at relog and you HAVE to upload a final texture with the $10L upload cost for hosting for the final build. You cannot use a temp texture on a final build as it will just appear grey for anyone else viewing it or if it goes off sim from where it was uploaded.


Of course Prokovy got the concept wrong, and even sent out a patronizing retort that we just weren't 'getting it':

Today, a temp upload for a quick view.

Tomorrow, an upload for hours to check my PowerPoint or Fashionshow

The next day after, a strident demand to have that 'always' on the asset server and "for free".

It's all part of creating the climate of erosion of values and demands for everything for free.

If you don't start pointing out that climate when it is only "client side" it migrates to "server side" in a jiffy.

Yeah, see...NO. First, no one but the stick-stupid would complain about the uploads costing--yes, there are times I can't build because I just don't have the Lindens, but during those times, I can go to the beta grid and work designs out. When I have money for upload fees, I use money for upload fees, and have been doing so since I started building in 2006. It's no exaggeration to say I've paid hundreds of thousands of Lindens in upload fees for textures, sounds, animations, and half again as much in photo fees. And I've never minded this--I know that as a free account, it's what I can do to help support SL and the Labs. And I do it, I've never had a problem with it.

But second, while someone could run a PowerPoint presentation with this technique--if not too many folks showed up for the class--one could never run a Fashion Show, because I don't think a computer exists that could build twelve outfits from scratch, upload them all temporarily, AND hang out until the show and then show all the outfits themselves--without any other models, and WITHOUT CRASHING.

Never happens.

Kean Kelly commented:

What I love about Emerald is that it is made of people who are clearly in the know about using, building, socialising etc. in Second Life.

Emerald has a lot of new features that are great like buildt in radar and ao, But many features is allready in the SL viewer, in Emerald they are just put in a more userfriendly spot on the UI (windlight settings to mention one out many).

All true, and that's one of the things I adored about the Nicholaz viewer, and it's one thing I adore about Emerald--that the folks behind both viewers knew building, knew scripting, and build--or built--heir viewers for SL with building and scripting in mind.

Prokovy Neva also commented on a reply from Korwyn Obscure:

As to all these features, one has to look at them with a weather eye:

*Lagless Radar built in

Er, radar for what? Privacy issues have been raised here repeatedly.

Err, privacy for what, exactly? Radar has been a part of SL since nearly the first two years; not only that, but radar doesn't mean you see everything on the sim with one touch; most radar systems read the people only within talking range (19 meters) or within shouting range (96 meters). And no radar that's not a sim-wide scanner will do anything beyond that. (As far as I know.)

So what privacy issues? The privacy not to be seen by folks who can likely see you anyway as you walk up to them? That's mental.

Prokovy quoting Korwyn again:

*TP to as well as offer tp (works within sim, using the Radar Interface)

Are you saying this enables you to TP on to the head of someone who hasn't given you that power on their friendship card?

This one I have to agree with Neva on--this was a stupid power to put into a viewer. People have been unfriended over this, and in Caledon, there are people who just go OFF when someone ports in without asking. There's a whole different ethos in the portions of the grid that are Caledonian, Winterfellan or part of the Steamlands--that of, knock first. Or at least IM.

This one I wouldn't mind seeing gone from the Emerald viewer, actually.

I skip a lot of "Nuh-UH" response of the five-year-old variety to get to this:

*Being able to become visually phantom in a griefer attack with a keyboard shortcut. No more being orbited by griefers or pushed.

One sided report of this issue, which then puts your entire review here into question. Phantom is what people use FOR the griefer attack, duh.

Okay. Let me clear this up for the intelligence-impaired.

This is me, in normal avatar mode, in Caledon Morgaine:

Em in physical mode.

This is me in phantomed avatar mode, in Caledon Morgaine:

Em in physical mode.

Didn't catch it? Let me explain it further.

When you employ the Phantom setting in the Emerald viewer, you cannot move. You remain visible. But you are visibly fixed in place--so no griefing can touch you, no weapons can push you, even those that have figured out a way to work to blast avatars off prims they use to sit.

You are seen by other avatars when you are in Phantom Mode, you just cannot interact with them.

Can I make this any clearer? Maybe.

This is Ms. Allen (in the robot avatar she's working on) and myself (I have the autumn-leaf dress, obviously):

Em in physical mode.

In phantomed mode--and pull up for the big pic if you doubt this--Ms. Allen WALKS THROUGH ME. Admittedly, this was hard to capture in a still photograph; this was the best one I got.

I do not move in phantomed mode. I cannot move in phantomed mode. In fact, NO ONE WHO IS IN PHANTOMED MODE CAN MOVE--that is, in pure fact, part of the point. I--or any avatar who is using phantomed mode--cannot move to sneak off like great invisible ninjas of the night to hassle Prokovy Neva--or anyone else, for that matter--with atrocious acts of evil griefing. BECAUSE NO AVATAR IN PHANTOM MODE CAN MOVE, PROK. AT ALL. TO GRIEF YOU OR ANYTHING ELSE.

Em in physical mode.

And just because I'm this sort of nitpicky completionist, the proof of phantom mode--because this is me not in phantomed mode, being pushed to the side when Ms. Allen walks into me--because I am not in phantomed mode. And thus, CAN BE INTERACTED WITH. And, just to drum this neatly into the ground, CAN MOVE AND BE MOVED.

Okay? Does everyone have this point? Please tell me I don't have to quiz everyone later.

Moving the hell ON. Unfortunately, it's moving the hell on in the same damned letter:

* enhanced camera

And the reason for that is...what? Spying on people? or sunsets?

Oh, you have to be kidding. WHY is Prokovy so convinced anyone cares enough to spy on people? Or, more to the point, spy on Neva? It's insane. It's raving, foaming-at-the-mouth paranoia. And I think we're going to be seeing a lot more of it, as I crawl through everything said since the 20th of this month.

I, for one, was lost on looking out over larger builds until I discovered the setting that eliminates the camera's internal limits. Even with that, I can't cam up and look down on an entire sim with any efficiency--so I can't imagine how sim owners who might seriously need to build overhead do it. Asking for enhancements on the camera settings--which not everyone is going to need or use--just makes sense.

Beyond that, if people want to, they can already--with existing camera limitations--stand in one sim and see what's going on in another. People can already--on the official viewers--be two hundred, three hundred meters away and watch what folks are doing. It is already possible to cam through walls, it is already possible to cam across sim borders, it is possible to follow people through port after port after port if you really want to--and those are all tools that are available in the official Linden viewers, not any presumed "fly by night" third-party viewer.

Bear with me, people, I think it's going to be a long, irritating week reading through all the dreck of responses on this blog entry.


Edward Pearse, Duke of Argylle said...

There's a temp texture option without having to buggerise around with the Beta grid?

Which viewer?

As for the rest. It's Prok. Bile and drivel as usual.

Dale Innis said...

Refuting Prokofy Neva's false statements is a noble endeavor; keep up the good work! But don't get too upset about it; think of him as a natural phenomenon, like a badly-timed rainstorm. Good to work to minimize the bad effects, but no use in getting angry at it. :)

The TP-to-AV thing can be annoying. But people can do that pretty easily anyway: see you on a conventional radar, type your coordinates into the map screen, hit "Teleport", and there they are. You can make your parcel immune to this by giving it a TP landing point; that's server side, so no viewer can get around it.

Emilly Orr said...


The Emerald viewer has a setting when importing textures--you can't do bulk uploads, you have to upload textures singly--but, before finalizing the "Yes, I am willing to pay money for this" pop-up, there's a small check-box that says something like "Upload temporarily". It's small, and it only lasts for that session--if you texture something and crash, when you come back, it will be an unrezzed 50% grey texture on any items you've textured with that temporary texture.


Yes and No. I live in Caledon, which is mostly still bound by the telehub system, and declared port-in hub points. How'ver, Emerald does manage to dodge around this, which is why certain people keep complaining about it, and, I believe, part of why Emerald is now rumored to be another 'hacked' viewer, just as damaging as CryoLife--at least, to the people spreading this rumor.

How'ver, that's sim-wide telehubbing; I haven't given thought to the concept of individual parcel landing points, save for businesses, so I'll play with that, see what happens.

Diamanda Gustafson said...

As a matter of fact, a lot of Caledon telehubs have been taken from the sims, which might be why it happens. I tried to do it at the Wastelands where it's all telehubed and I ended at the telehub.

Emilly Orr said...

You know, that's a point I hadn't thought of. Duke Wrath lives in one of the newer Caledonian sims, doesn't he? I do believe he was the one who had the friend pop in on him completely unexpectedly, and hasn't gotten over the shock of it yet.

Rhianon Jameson said...

I did a double-take over "hedonic" as well, though probably for a different reason: in the economics literature, the adjective refers to the individual components of a bundled product, so that a "hedonic pricing" study refers to how individuals value, say, the different parts of an automobile when no one can buy the frame separately from the engine or the wheels.

More on point, I agree that it's nuts to complain about features that merely make existing SL features work better.

Emilly Orr said...

Now, see, that's something I hadn't found. I found the medical definition--the study of hedonics is the study of both pleasant, and unpleasant, sensations and states of mind; as well as the further explanation of the "hedonic treadmill" (being a phrase that denotes why people are never satisfied keeping up with the Joneses).

But we now have three sturdy, working definitions for the word, all of which conflict. Wouldn't "hedonistic" have been a better choice?

Edward Pearse, Duke of Argylle said...

Re: the telehub thing.

To the best of my knowledge Victoria City is the only remaining hubbed sim in Caledon. Yes if you use the map and click on a section of Commonwealth land you will be redirected to the old hub as it's the set landing point for Commonwealth lands. But if you click on the map and tp into someone's house chances are you'll arrive inside their house.

The Duchies have the option of setting a landing point, just as any of the parcels do, but not everyone sets landing points. A lot of people don't even know they exist.

Emilly Orr said...

Oddly, I've known individual parcels can set landing points for quite some time, but my brain only connected doing so with business needs.

There's nothing that stops individuals on single parcels to set landing points, though. I'd do so on my parcel, save we have my work studio, Mr. Allen's work studio, and Miss Neome's platform, and we all have those set as personal 'home' points. I believe setting a default landing point would interrupt that.

Dale Innis said...

In Philosophy, "hedonic" means broadly "having to do with pleasure (or utility)", and is not a synonym for "hedonistic". The latter is certainly what Prokofy meant; but expecting him to make correct or consistent word choices is... well... unlikely lead to one's expectations being met.

Emilly Orr said...

See, again, this is what comes of no longer owning my own in-house dictionary.

Maybe for Yule.

But, more than that, this points me back to the same question--why not just use "hedonistic", a word that most people will understand, and if your whole intent is to rack up that triple-word score, it's even a longer word. I don't get it, unless Neva is simply striving to appear more educated than everyone around him...?

Lord DoomRater said...

Prokovy Neka isn't arguing against these viewers very well; I was convinced to switch to Emerald simply BECAUSE of Prokovy Neka. Although I had been looking for the temporary upload and avatar animation preview tools (and those are a godsend!) to help reduce the amount of crap I'll have in my inventory that will have no other use than to be dropped on XStreet as freebies because they're crap... thus flooding the freebie market with MORE CRAP...

Emilly Orr said...

Well, you don't have to dump the stuph on XStreet...

Basically, though, reading along on this, with diatribe after diatribe presented, I'm learning everything Prokovy Neva says can be broken down into three easy categories:

1. We don't need all those newfangled things, you save that for the city folk!

2. The only reason that exists is so those darn kids can hack Second Life!


3. The only reason you want that is so you can SPY ON ME!

That really, honestly, seems to be it.

Lord DoomRater said...

On second thought, considering what's going on with XStreet, it'd be awfully silly of anyone to dump their crap on there for free anyway. I think my original point was that I didn't want to see people dumping crap on XStreet and clogging up freebies, and I still feel that to be the case- I'll hand out stuff if I'm not using it anymore and someone else can use it, or if it contributes to a concept I approve of... but I'd rather it all be high quality regardless of whether I'm doing it for free or profit.

In that sense, temp uploads are a godsend. So many fewer wasted uploads! I just wish it eliminated all wasted uploads...

Emilly Orr said...

I still highly value temporary uploads, and have been ping-ponging between Snowglobe and Emerald for quite some time now, with brief jaunts into world on the Imprudence viewer when both Snowglobe and Emerald bork on me (it's happened, and sadly, it's starting to increase).

I've got panels for skirts and jacket prims down, I have no problems, and pants, jackets, most tops, and tap pant-style undies are no problem anymore either. My glitches come in correct positioning of pattern and length on gloves, stockings and panties/thongs--I'm still working on that. And finding out after I upload a texture and get charged just isn't the way to go if there's another option.

Yes, working under the pay system did make me much more careful on clothing and furniture design. But. Getting out from under it--temporarily--is helping me design faster and better.

That helps everyone, including the Labs and their servers, I would think.