Friday, August 5, 2011

her CD changer's full of singers that are mad at their dad

Ran into an unusual problem over the past couple days. I decided that my install of Viewer 2, main viewer branch, likely needed updating, so off I went to download and install It unpacked neatly, installed, I clicked the icon to log in...and crashed.

Huh, I thought. How odd. I verified my settings, realizing that I had automatically chosen the Nostalgia Blue default setting for the StarDust skin, so switched to Original Orange. (Not my favorite, but hey, I can cope; I'm still hating everything about viewer 2 in the first place, so the colors generally don't get under my skin as much as the coding itself.)

And I crashed on login again.

So I switched to the nauseating baby blue, followed by the equally nauseating baby pink, variants of StarDust--colors that I would have serious trouble using. And crashed both times.

At that point I walked away from viewer 2 for a while, because technological glitches when I'm already in full hate mode don't do me any good, and only reinforce the hatred. I came back, hours later, and tried it again, going through both Original Teal and Nostalgia Blue of the Starlight skins. And crashed both times again.

That would be bad enough. But then I started having problems with Singularity, after I had downloaded and installed

(Well. To be fair, this has been ongoing for about two weeks now. I log in on Singularity and can barely move. I realize I'm carrying a heavy inventory load, but two weeks back, it worked fine; now, it doesn't.)

So, late last night, I tracked down the latest download of Imprudence, because even if I wanted to use Firestorm, I can't, because I crash every single damned time using that, and always have--and installed it. And crashed dead at the start when I loaded it up.

While I'm now uninstalling every version of every viewer I have on my engine, I'm idly searching JIRA filings for similar problems. And not finding much that's actually relevant.

Oh, there are mentions. This, for instance, filed near the end of July, which is now in JIRA limbo because a) the original poster gave almost zero info, and b) when asked for more, has never returned to the JIRA afterwards.

There's also this one from May, but a) it's complaining about a Mac feature for Snowstorm, not the main branch, and b) it's saying that there's a failure to start with install of a new graphics card, which frankly (at least for me) comes down to a driver issue, not a viewer issue.

There's another complaint specifically pointed at the 2.6.3 release, which again does me no good, because it's specifically pointed at Macs, too--and is about a viewer several generations beyond the one I'm trying to use.

And this comment from the SL Community forums just makes my teeth ache. Is your viewer experience less than optimal? Don't worry, you can fix it, because it's ALL YOUR FAULT. Yeah, thanks for that. Only that one doesn't matter for those of us who run Disk Cleanup every few days (though I will grant I don't defrag as often as I likely should). But still, the coding on the main SL viewer shouldn't be so sensitive that emptying the trash will give better performance!

Also, it's really starting to bug me that nearly the default stock answer on the Community forums is use Firestorm. Screw you people, that crashes too. Give me a viewer that goddamn WORKS, and I will swallow my innate mistrust of the Emerald-influenced conniving bastardy behind Phoenix--but since Phoenix can't do that for me, I'm not even considering their product as a viewer!

And Rainbow's out, because Rainbow has major code glitches in the Estate Management system. And now Imprudence is out, because every time I download it, it says the files are corrupted, and to download a new copy!

Friend Alex suggests CoolViewer, which just makes me depressed, but after I track down the latest version of SnowStorm to try that, I'm also going to install CoolViewer and see if I can stand it.

[Note from the Editrix: Near as I can tell, the actual CoolViewer hasn't been updated with any coding past 1.22. I'm trying to go forward, not to backslide into code made obsolete by 1.23! So no on CoolViewer.]

Look, Lindens, I realize I'm not the biggest viewer 2 booster on the grid--it's not hidden in any way that I despise every action of every section of the code. I do not like it really isn't virulent enough, unless I'm also etching that in hydrochloric acid on someone's skin.

BUT. Viewer 2.7 worked, as annoyed as I was by it, and I was hammering it into some form of shape I could live with (which admittedly, basically consisted of me beating at the code and asking it to tell me there were five lights while it begged me to stop hitting it all the time).

Now? Viewer 2.8 fails to work at all. This is, to borrow the parlance of the JIRA, a major showstopper, because if I can't get in, I can't participate on the grid. I can't buy things. I can't go to social events (though seriously, who am I kidding? I no longer go to social events). I can't support charitable efforts. I can't do the job I'm being paid to do. If I can't get onto the grid, why am I bothering to play Second Life?

And it's not just me. Friend Hank has a more highly evolved computer system than I do, and is running at least a dual-core processor, if not a quad-core. His system is fast, lean, and eats code with style and grace.

And he crashes with

To be absolutely, shockingly blunt about this--Lindens, you fucked up somewhere, and you fucked up badly. Your product no longer works. FIX. IT. Or you will lose people. Because "Fast, Easy, Fun" no longer works as a motto. This is no longer fast, it's far from easy, and in all seriousness, I'd rather be gang-raped by angry dentists than fight viewer 2.x this hard. I am really, honestly, openly, starting to despise everything connected with SL.

Now, if you'll pardon me, I have to install SnowStorm, in the hopes that that will work, and start fixing everything I had fixed in the main branch of the viewer all over again.


Alexandra Rucker said...

Actually, Cool has a numnber of features *backported* (alpha layers, etc.) into the 1.x codebase. So while on the surface it looks like "all old code" - most of the modern features are in it. May take some digging to find, though.

Emilly Orr said...

Find me a link. Everything I can track down points to Rainbow, which is backported, and--save for the annoying EM issues--highly efficent, but everything I was able to track down on CoolViewer says "2010" and "1.22" for code and date of last revision.

If we're not even talking 1.23? Not interested.

Winter said...

2.8.x has some major problems. I freeze for 1-2 minutes on every login, and run about a 50% chance of getting "ding greyscale" (disconnected from Second Life) during that freeze.

The issue for me, seems to be related to a new implementation that "tops off" your inventory list on login (as opposed to waiting til your first search). With 84k items, that's a lot of items to wait for.

There's a jira on this particular issue,

There's also a lot of bugs still surrounding shadows and SSAO.. both of which are still REALLY not ready for prime-time. This code makes invisiprims freak out (hiding non-alpha prims too... invisible shoes).. there are workarounds for some of that mess.. but they involve turning off "basic shaders".

I think the problem here is that they tied this code to the mesh beta, and no matter how many jiras we filed on shadows and SSAO performance issues, they were only dealing with the MESH related issues. So all the bugs with shadows and SSAO (screen space ambient occlusion) are basically exactly the same as they were the first day they turned them on, in the mesh beta viewer.

Just for completeness' sake, MY computer (the one I bought in summer '09, from Dell.. with the two awesome video cards).. can't run shadows without basically slowing to a crawl. The latest SL viewers (2.6+) have been triggering a LOT of video card driver crashes for me. But 2.8 it's become a twice daily occurrence.

Meanwhile, I can play Star Trek Online (which uses the same type of shadows and SSAO) with the only noticeable system issue being a higher GPU fan RPM.

Emilly Orr said...

So, finally getting to this, sorry about that, and I'll do my best to toss the JIRA in to an entry tomorrow when I can.

Here's the sad thing, though. You're saying your (decent, couple years old) comp is struggling with the new code. Hank is saying his (pretty much top-end, year old at max) computer can't even log into the grid without tossing code errors, which is odd. But both he and you can process shadows and lighting effects.

Me? I can't. My computer's parts are mixed, but date from 2007 onward, with I think only the video card from '09 or '10, but to me, shadows are icing. They're not necessary, and I run just fine without having them.

Or I did. Because that's not my issue. I can't log in without crashing from the start. While the problem is, you think, in basic shaders, it doesn't matter if I can't even get on the grid.

Now, after several hours of struggling--and trying, I think, virtually every viewer that exists that I'm willing to try (and which works, unlike Kirsten's, Firestorm, v2, SnowStorm, Rainbow, and now Singularity)--I've discovered I can run CoolVL. It's not perfect, I'm still adjusting to it, but it works, and I can actually log in without the program closing.

For now, that works. I really hope the 2.8 issue gets resolved, but being unable to log onto the grid for several hours, when I'm part of an estate management team? Did not thrill me. And it would have been much worse if I were running a successful business, or involved in sim ownership. The code is bad.

Serenity Semple said...

Yaaa, I really don't want to even think about using Firestorm until I get some goddam blue tp popups and I can see mesh. I watched the vid on how to 'optimize' your firestorm to look like v1 layout. BS, it doesn't look like it at all. I found their whole youtube vid a big crock of... well you know. And epic lol towards the gang-raped by angry dentists rather than use v2 bit. XD I almost agree with that, I think it's just so junky. So far all I'm hearing about mesh is a lot of problems, I kinda thought this was coming when they tried to bring it into SL but meh I kinda wish they'd get a hint to fix things before flinging them into a crowd.

Emilly Orr said...

What? The Lindens, actually testing out code and refusing to release it until it actually works? You speak MADNESS!

More seriously, for me it's not even "I still don't trust the Phoenix crew", though that's in there. It's more literal--the same thing happens when I download Firestorm and try to use it, as when I downloaded 2.8 on the SL official viewer: I click the link, it takes me to the login screen, I log in, I watch the bar creep about a third of the way across the screen...and I crash.

Every. Single. Time.

As far as mesh goes, I think that's seriously part of the problem with the new version of v2, and the new SnowStorm (which is reporting as being majorly unstable for most users): putting in the code for mesh, and getting that to work, is breaking other things that SL also needs to work and be effective.

The problem is, this has been known for a while. People have been complaining about this for a while, on the mesh beta viewer. And as usual, the Lindens aren't listening.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I missed this until now... Rainbow is 1.22 based. Cool VL Viewer used to be based on 1.23, but has since jumped tracks to Snowglobe 1.4.2. (It numbers its current version as 1.26, having gone significantly beyond the 1.23 codebase.) Go here:

Emilly Orr said...

Now, if by 'current' you mean, last week, I'm good, but if by 'current' you mean yesterday, I need to go download VL again.

So far, I like it about as well as I liked Nicholaz, and Nicholaz was a grid *lifesaver* for me.

Anonymous said...

Last week should work; it was last updated this past Saturday. (Release notes here.)

I'm glad you're liking it so far; it's been my client of choice for some time now.

Emilly Orr said...

So far, the only problem I'm having is no ported-from link in history. But that's small, for the ability to use everything else.

Anonymous said...

Check out the Teleport History panel, found under the View menu. :-)

Emilly Orr said...

That is good to know, thank you. Though having it be one more window to open and use does make it more cumbersome, especially when the system already displays SLUrls given by residents, and SLUrls given from objects.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on the cumbersome plethora of windows... otherwise, I suppose the relative ease of use varies depending on whether there's been lots of conversation in the area since you teleported.

Emilly Orr said...

Considering I manage estates on a sim where green spam fills the screen every three seconds on parcels for sale?

Yes. Yes, there is. :p