2014-04-08 12:54:31

DynDNS going commercial-only

As told in the previous post, DynDNS is going fully commercial now and since I am not willing to pay for an A record, the address radio-boomslang.shacknet.nu will go away. Use willy.rfc1437.de from now on and all will be fine.

Posted by Barney Boomslang | Permanent Link

2014-01-27 13:13:40

Warning about server name

Well, looks like dyndns - who provide for the domain address for this server - decide to turn into something more like an annoyance than a service. I have to regularily claim activity for my account there - by manually clicking a link they send me - or have to pay 25 bucks a year to get rid of that annoyance. Since I prefer to not be blackmailed, and so won't pay for a service that doesn't produce any load on anything that remotely looks like infrastructure (hey guys, it is just an friggin A record, that's neither rocket science nor road constructions, what do you want 25 bucks for?), I can't guarantee that the address of this server will stick around.

But I don't have to, anyway - you can just use it's alternative address.


That way you can reach the server even if the dumb gargoyle running it forgets to udpate his DynDNS account. That address is provided by my typist, so hopefully it will be much safer from any blackmailing attempts. Allthough you never know with that guy.

Posted by Barney Boomslang | Permanent Link

2011-12-28 16:53:22

The end of 2011 - and show and tell

Just noticed that I haven't updated this blog in ages. Well, there wasn't much happening with me in SL anyway - I mostly only logged in to host show and tell with Flo. And well, during 2011, a lot changed for me in my personal life - one thing being that I married a lovely russian woman in September and that she joined me in my home in June. You would be astonished how something like that gets your mind away from second life!

Aside from that main life-changing event, lots of little things changed, too - work shifted to a more sane rythm, which included getting a more natural day-and-night cycle. And that was what made show and tell for me harder and harder. For the very simple reason that I didn't get enough sleep on sunday nights. Yep, it is that banal - I fell asleep at the keyboard several times during shows. Bad (sleepy) gargoyle.

In late October (or was it November?) I had a chat with Flo and we both decided that after running an event for more than 5 years, we are in the right to reclaim our sundays, and so we did. We had a last show and that's it.

Don't despair - there still are show and tell events on the grid. One was founded by a S&T regular actually: the show and tell at little blue island (it was started by Paddy Wright). It's happening on saturday at 1PM SL time, so go there for your fix of showing and telling. Our events shared quite a few regulars, too.

And Barney Boomslang and SL? Well, sure, I might drop in from time to time - mostly to chat with friends and see if the grid is still there, but don't count on it. My stuff is still up at Grendel's Children, so you can still get my weird avatars and other stuff, at least until the resident troll at GC decides to throw everything out and start anew.

Lummerland itself - the opensim based version, that is - is still chugging along, too. I do update it from time to time to new versions when they come out, but don't do much building there, too. Just far too busy being happily married, sorry folks. (btw: honeymoon was to Lanzarote. If you ever wanted to see a place that looks like an empty SL sim, go to Timanfaya national park and you will see - down to the strange colors!)

Posted by Barney Boomslang | Permanent Link

2010-12-11 19:01:13

Lummerland updates

Been quite a bit busy every now and then since the last post and so Lummerland starts to look like a real place. The fights with terraforming are done, I found a bunch of nice free plants and other stuff and started to litter my sims. And of course I started again on my floating islands and other places.

One of the places I of course needed again was one where lots of doors end up. And where there are actually doors, so I first had to build and script those. Turned out quite fun and with using some of the OpenSim scripting stuff and some of the newer LSL stuff, I think the result is quite nice. And it's multi-sim. And it could at least in theory - even be multi-grid.

Door Place

Looking up from there, you can see the allmost sim-sized home island. Well, ok, it is a floating ice flower in this incarnation of Lummerland. I am in a wintery mood.

Up and away

And the inside of that giant ice flower carries my nice wild garden and my home. Still lots of work to do, and freebies to hunt, stuff to build and things to script, but hey, it's home again.

Home, sweet home!

Oh, and did I mention that the four sims of Lummerland only cost me a quarter of what the SL lummerland did cost me? And that I get working backups now? And imports and exports? And funny crashes due to bugs? (oh, wait, SL has those, too)

Not bad for a project still in alpha stage.

Posted by Barney Boomslang | Permanent Link

2010-10-13 13:14:58

Lummerland lives!

No pictures, yet, as it would look just like the last snapshot from my home intallation, but nontheless a big jump forward for Lummerland and for me. And most of that is thanks to the very nice Diva Distribution of OpenSim. The result is available as my own private Lummerland Grid with working hypergrid integration. Woot!

You can create an account there if you want, just send me an IM from Second Life with details of the account you created so I can activate it (to make sure that I know who is connected with those accounts). Not much there currently, but hey, the stuff that is there is all my old known Lummerland stuff!

OpenSim for me really means freedom, but HyperGrid means no isolation. So I actually get the best of both worlds - I can work on my own content in my own grid, backup my stuff easily, and be sure that actually I decide what will happen with my content. But due to HyperGrid, I can carry my content with me to other worlds. This is a big benefit - I did a bit of HyperGrid traveling yesterday, and it's just cool to go from your private space to some public space and have your normal avatar with you and have access to your inventory.

Other things I realized: terrain tools in Second Life are terrible crude. That is a bit of a shame, because terrain is important for building. But is it really? In OpenSim I can just sculpt mountains and use normal scalable prims. And due to the better collision handling of OpenSim, I can walk on that sculpted landscape. And due to the fact that I use Megaprims, I won't waste too many prims on the landscaping. That's a big win. Of course, terrains might still be a better solution in some cases, but even there opensim helps with some terrain tools that help with full-region modifications.

And OARs and IARs - do I really have to talk about how convenient it is to have proper backups (and therefore proper content versioning if I want) of full sims and inventory folders?

Of course there still are problems - the physics engine, while allready very useable, still is a bit quirky and some things you take for granted don't work as nicely. One example is that normal stairs built out of prims don't work as good as with SL, since the avatar doesn't "glide" over bumps but blocks. But hey, why use stairs at all? With scalable megaprims you can often just use ramps and they work like a charm. Stairs with single prims are prim waisters anyway.

And HyperGrid - it's not just for the cool. It is starting to become quite practical, even though it is more or less a technology preview still (at least if you look at the quirks of the protocol). There even is a HyperGate project that allows dynamic linking of targets into your grid and so provides a neat way to hook your sim to other hypergrid enabled sims. Ok, many of the places are down or not accessible, but this is just the start, I could see someone doing a curated hypergate network one day. And quite frankly, even the preview version of HyperGrid is worlds better than anything SL can provide.

For me, the future is OpenSim and HyperGrid. Yes, most of my inworld friends still are on Second Life and probably will be for quite some time. And sure, I do show and tell with Flo there and that's something that might run for still some time to come (allthough I don't know, but what about a HyperGrid show and tell, where people of different grids meet to show stuff they created?). But in the long run, I think SL will lose out to OpenSim if they don't hook up with things like HyperGrid and don't allow backups and easy content transfer between people via things like OARs and IARs. Walled gardens only work if there is not much competition. If there is competition, a walled garden could easily translate into irrelevance over time. Not this year, not next year, but well, OpenSim won't stop developing. And sooner or later it might be OpenSim that provides the cool new features (as they allready do with HyperGrid and Backups) and SL is the one playing catch-up.

Whatever might come in the future, one thing at least is sure for me: Lummerland lives. On OpenSim.

Posted by Barney Boomslang | Permanent Link

2010-01-31 19:44:33

A Short Note on Avatards Uninterested

Or was that Avatars United? Same thing. You know, a company that builds some site based on the concept of aggregated identity should maybe put some thought into the concept of identity verification. Not the kind of verification the Lab dreams about and most definitely not that crap Aristotele sold to the Lab, but some kind of verification against those different Avatar platforms they propose to aggregate identities from. Yes, I blame Avatar United for that omission - even long before they were bought, their concept was a failure in planning. But at least it was a more or less irrelevant failure in planning.

A company that actually buys crap like that to integrate it into their allready existing stuff should maybe put some thought into real integration before they start to applaud themselves. And maybe, just maybe, it does reflect someones state of mind when they blurb about a great identity integration plattform that actually doesn't verify anything. Especially if the very same people before went nuts with claiming identity verification against real life data and allready presented a system everybody who had rudimentary ideas about how something like that works laughed about.

You know, there are only so many ways to insert your foot into your mouth and really, the Lab allways impresses me in finding absolutely every single way out there.

Posted by Barney Boomslang | Permanent Link

2009-11-19 00:27:43

Lummerland about to close

Just thought to give a bit details about the upcoming closing of Lummerland. What? Yes, Lummerland is going away. After 3 years. As a friend of me put it, it was a window into my brain (with lots of crazy gnomes running around in confusion I guess), and that window will close soon. Maybe this month, or latest next month.

Some might ask "what about show and tell"? No worries there, we have you covered. Flo and I will run that from Avaria Sav - the new place allready had it's first show last sunday, all went well, so that is secured for now. Big thanks out to Flea for the offer and the support. That troll rules!

But Lummerland itself will go away. And there are a lot of reasons. Some angry ones, some just accepting ones. The angry ones? Well, lets just say that I rarely have seen a bundle of incompetence as big as the lab in my whole life. And let me add that I am not used to be treated like a pile of dog droppings when I pay several thousand dollars over the time I am in SL. I am one of those crazies that actually expect to be treated like a valued customer when I throw money in that amount at someone. And well, just read the latest marketing bullshit about how supposedly freebies diminish the shopping experience on XStreetSL. Stuff like that makes me sick. Especially coming from a company whose product would be completely irrelevant without the work of their users. But that's what user created content is about: ripping off those who do the actual work. I guess someone at the lab has a good laugh about all this ...

But enough about the angry reasons. There are other factors, too. I have to accept that my life changes. And those changes change what I value. I still value my friends I found through SL. I don't need a sim for that. I still value some little hacking or fiddling with prims every now and then - like for example for the new stage for Show and Tell. I don't need a sim for that. I might even come up with new avatars or other stuff that I might want to make available. I don't need a sim for that. I still value interesting builds of people, crazy projects and impressive avatars. I don't need a sim for that. My time is spent much more in RL - lots of live music, long walks, going back to photographing and reading. I definitely don't need a sim for that.

So with me lately only spending small time in SL, and my sales going down 30 percent, I have to carry a much bigger part of the sim payments (it's a grandfathered sim, but as EU resident I have to pay taxes and so it adds up to about 80 dollar now each month where it was before maybe 30 dollar). And quite frankly, it galls me to give that money to the lab every month.

So Lummerland will close. It wasn't an easy decision, it was one I was mulling over for literally months. And it is not easy for me - there are lots of memories connected to Lummerland. On the other hand, I am maybe an odd one, because I am quite sure that to actually have something like a community or even society, change is needed. We can't conserve everything and keep it around forever, archiving every single thought. Things have to go away so that people have an actual chance on forming stories. Because after all is said and done, it's not the empty buildings around us that make us a community. It's the stories of things gone, things changed and how we relate to them that form a real community.

I hope Lummerland gave people some base for some stories of it's own. It was fun while it lasted. If you have stories of it - photo sets, movies, texts written about happenings there, feel free to send links to me. It allways makes me smile to see things like that!

Will I myself leave SL? I doubt it. I will be a hobo gargoyle, maybe squatting on the land of some friends, not being online much probably, but dropping in from time to time, if only to meet and talk with some good friends. I'll be around on sundays, of course - as long as Flo and I have fun with it and continue to run the show and tell. After all is said and done, I hope SL will just become again what it original was for me: a strange place with even stranger people that do wonderful stuff.

Posted by Barney Boomslang | Permanent Link

2009-05-02 13:12:16

They make it hard to like them ...

Who? Well, the Lab, of course. Really, everytime you think you detect some smarts around them, you get kicked in the proverbial nuts. If there is one thing that is consistent with the Lab, it is their desire to piss off residents, especially those who actually do things to make their world fun. This time? Avatar makers, especially those who make full-prim avatars.

Avatar using the hiding prim

You can read it on Jira in MISC_2723 - where they (well, in this case BigPapi Linden) put down the law on a cute and harmless hack. Those who don't know about it: there is currently (since Version 1.20) a way to make your avatar mesh not rez on clients by attaching a megaprim. This might read a bit as overkill, but the results are quite fun. From the symptoms it looks like the client has some ARC cutoff value when it decides "hoo, boy, that avatar is a bit too much" - and then doesn't render that attachment and the avatar mesh. Every other attachment is rendered, though. This is a real boon for avatar makers that are sick of only being able to do oversized avatars (where you make sure all prims are bigger than the included avatar mesh) or invisiprims (where you use a much worse hack to not rez parts of the mesh, but get ugly artifacts with alpha textures in the background).

This hack is especially neat in that you can use all characteristics of texturing, be it bump mapping, shiny, or even use particles on prims. Invisiprims (the only way to achieve roughly the same effects if you don't want to make only bulgeous avatars) are much worse there. Even though shiny now works behind Invisiprims, bump mapping doesn't, as does any alpha texture or particles (since they usually are alpha textures, too).

The downside of that hack? Up to now the only one is that your ARC is shown with a horribly high number - a little over 131000 - but the rendering itself isn't made slower (you can test that by wearing an avatar that uses this hack and attaching/detaching the hiding prim). Even in a crowd of avatars using that hack there is no negative impact on rendering performance.

So someone complained about it - probably because they didn't really understand it. So far so weird - there are allways people out there "for the good of the community" with lots of uninformed blabber. But well, the Lindens are smart, right? They should be able to see what it actually does? Prioritize it accordingly?

Well, yeah, kind of. Read that jira and you notice that they did prioritize it. Prioritize it way above most other bugs - it only showed up on Jira a little bit ago and allready got assigned a release number when they "fix this bug" (which, as I have to repeat, has no negative impact anyone cared to document anywhere). Yep, right. A harmless hack that helps avatar makers will be broken. Explicitely broken. While other client bugs stay available to annoy the hell out of us.

Like, have you seen your avatar run around with spread fingers, even though your anims aren't using spread fingers at all? Well, that one is just annoying the hell out all animation makers and lots of users and creates tons of complaints of users who know about this particular bug. So yeah, of course it is far less important to fix than some harmless hack that actually provides value. I totally see that. Not.

Or the horrible default anims, where your avatar waddles like a duck on speed? Well, yeah, it should be simple to provde a set of better default anims, right? Shouldn't be too hard to do, given the fact that there are tons of AOs out there and maybe they could just ask someone of the animators if they are willing to provide one for free? Or even just add the default poser anims they use for their animations with the correct speed settings? (hint, the walk looks much better at half the speed) Ah, well, but they have to fix this super-important rendering bug that allows avatar makers to hide the avatar mesh!

Not to speak of the fact that we still after literally years of SL-usage have to use a scripted hack like Framination to forcibly override the default animations. A scripted hack that has to check in a tight timer what animation runs and then start it's own animations, animations which have to be highest priority btw, because the lab used up most low priorities and the only way to make sure that your wanted animation is run instead of the default anims is to use brute force and a pry bar. Why didn't any of the Lindens by now added a way to set animations via some script command so that your avatar doesn't run any standard anims? Baked in support for AOs? I mean, come on, it can't be that hard. Oh, right, they have to fix that harmless Megaprim attachment "bug".

Or the still very inconsistent way to handle windlight presets in your viewer, when you make your own and store them? Yes, they finally fixed it - after how many months? If you go through the open viewer bugs and only look at those that actually have patches, you could get quite depressed.

So, yeah, sorry folks. We have a current way to make decent full-prim avatars that don't look like crap against plants or the ocean (hey, they can actually go swimming without making weird render holes into the water). We can't use it, because the lab decides we can't have it now. Oh, sure, they provide a new way to do the same thing and more - so I should be happy, right?

Well, sort of. You see, the problem is that even though the rendering code for the new solution is in 1.23 allready, none of the other stuff is. So yeah, it is nice what they propose - and I'm the first to admit that it is better than any hack and that it will be a big boon if it hits the grid and will finally allow us to get rid of invisiprims and other hacks. So, on that account: Yay! Happy! Joy!

But did you notice something? They don't give even a time frame or target version number for that feature. Nope. Nothing. I poked Nyx Linden at office hours about it and didn't get anything - only thing I got was "we don't talk about coming feature releases" (which is bullshit, they did so with windlight and havoc4). But they do give a quite concrete version number when they will break the existing hack - it will be RC1 or RC2 of 1.23 according to BigPapi Linden.

So what does this boil down to? Well, maybe the new feature will make it into 1.24 (it won't make it into 1.23, according to a chat I had with Nyx Linden). I would be surprised, though. Maybe more realistic would be 1.25. So what does that mean, timeframe-wise? I guess 1.23 will hit the grid in Summer, since they need it for the adult crap. So 1.24 might be end of the year, early next year, 1.25 maybe summer next year.

Yep, right. They are eager to break a harmless hack for us out of completely stupid reasons and will give us some feature to replace that and invisiprims sometime next year. Or maybe not - remember Puppeteering? Get the idea why I am pissed?

So what should they have done? Well, think about a posting on the blog along these lines:

recently we noticed some avatar creators to use some attachment including megaprims to prevent rendering of the avatar mesh. It's a neat hack, but sorry, we can't keep this hack working forever. See, we are working on this nice feature of avatar alpha maps that will hopefully hit the grid with version insert realistic number and this feature will really be a good alternative to all those collected hacks that avatar creators have to resort to currently. So, sorry to say, but we can't keep that megaprim hack working. If you make content based on it, make sure you inform your customers that a) it will probably break in the future and b) they should contact you when the avatar alpha map is available to receive an upgraded avatar. We won't go out of our ways to break it, but we can't promise to keep it alive and most probably some changes we have in the queue for insert a feature that might break it can break it, because they target avatar rendering.

Different, eh? Not "oh, that hack will be broken by us, because well, we don't want others to complain about broken content and we can't be bothered to actually communicate with our users like they are adults, and so we just take some time off our busy schedule to kick you in the nuts over this. Oh, and no, we won't tell you when the release timeframe for that feature we talk about is. Bugger off." - which is essentially all we got.

Just to make it clear: I don't expect them to support that hack. I do want the avatar alpha map feature - the earlier the better. I am objecting to the really stupid (and in my opinion rather destructive) arguing and the really nuts way of prioritizing their work. I object to being fed bullshit when everybody with half a braincell can see that it is bullshit.

And no, I am not a pissed off creator just because I used that hack myself - I did, but so far only with a freebie. So there is no financial reason behind it - I just hate the way they treat us. How they don't even try to look at alternatives that are less destructive or less annoying. How they don't even try to start a meaningful discussion about it, but instead just put down the law.

Repeatedly (anyone remember that crap they served us when they talked about the Aristotele age "verification" bullshit? Anyone noticed that now they do indeed talk about verification by having a registered accepted payment method? Oh, how they were talking about "impossible" when we suggested exactly that to them!) being fed bullshit makes me a grumpy gargoyle.

Following is the IM exchange I had with Nyx Linden a little ago about this, when one of the show-and-tell regulars pointed me to the discussion about that megaprim attachment hack.

[13:28] Nyx Linden: Hi Barney - thanks for your notecard. We WILL be breaking the avatar hiding bug, probably sooner rather than later. However, we are going to be providing a better alternative to using it. The current "hack" is NOT a supported feature and should be treated as such - content that relies on it will be broken. I will be happy to discuss with any content creators about the alternatives and how they will work.

[13:28] Barney Boomslang: well, I am the first to say "yay" if there is an alternative to it. but currently there is not and it would be sad to be deprived of this hack just to wait for something that doesn't show up in the end (like puppeteering ...)

[13:30] Nyx Linden: the alternative exists in the 1.23 client, we just have not finished & enabled the interface for utilizing it - see the "no invisiprims" image on VWR-812

[13:30] Nyx Linden: http://jira.secondlife.com/browse/VWR-812

[13:30] Barney Boomslang: yeah, seen that one, but not that it is in 1.23. if that is the case, I am just silently waiting for that to hit at least beta :)

[13:31] Nyx Linden: the ability to draw avatars that use it is in 1.23, not to make avatars that use it

[13:31] Barney Boomslang: allthough it would be nice to keep both changes in sync, timewise - get rid of the megaprim hack when 1.23 hits at least RC or something like that

[13:31] Barney Boomslang: ah, bummer

[13:31] Barney Boomslang: how about keeping that hack "ignored" until the creation of those alpha maps are in the client? :)

[13:32] Nyx Linden: we need to release it in stages, so that it is backwards compatible

[13:32] Nyx Linden: the danger is that the longer we leave it in, the more people use it and rely on it to work in the future. We've been actively telling people not to sell avatars that utilize the bug, but it appears that has been ineffective

[13:33] Barney Boomslang: well, it's still quite harmless and the high ARC number allready limits it (since many places tell people to use low arc avatars)

[13:34] Barney Boomslang: those megaprims will go away anyway when the megaprim regulations kick in - those andrew talked about a while ago - so why worry about them before that? just a thought.

[13:34] Nyx Linden: the problem is that if it breaks at some point in the future, we'll have many more people fighting to get us to support the bug as a feature - as happened with invisiprims in the first place

[13:35] Barney Boomslang: hmm. how about doing a good and solid public statement "this WILL break and cease to work in the future" on the blog? since you now have many more categories, that could be placed there quite prominently.

[13:35] Barney Boomslang: I'd be happy to lend a hand in spreading the word at show and tell, too - we get around 60 content creators every week on sunday there, so we have quite a bunch of multiplicators of that message

[13:36] Barney Boomslang: people selling now can take them back and tell their customers they will get updates later and that's it - those who ignore the writing on the wall will be bitten, they have been told.

[13:36] Barney Boomslang: (yes, I am an optimist in thinking that people actually read - but most content creators do read, as far as I can tell ;) )

[13:36] Nyx Linden: please do let people know that it will break - I also host office hours every Wednesday, and that is a topic that comes up regularly. I'm more than happy to field any questions about it there as well

[13:37] Barney Boomslang: are you ok if I pass this conversation on to some people?

[13:39] Nyx Linden: yes - and encourage them to come to my office hours if they'd like to discuss it - I'm happy to answer any questions. What is the time/location of the event on Sundays? I may be able to show up one week to address any concerns for people who cannot make it out to my office hours.

[13:40] Barney Boomslang: show and tell is every sunday 2PM SL Time in the sim Lummerland (northern beach)

[13:40] Nyx Linden: thanks!

[13:41] Barney Boomslang: any word on wether the creation of alpha masks will make it into 1.24?

[13:41] Barney Boomslang: (even just a prefabricated "full alpha" mask could be useful - even if we can#t edit it - just to replace the prim)

[13:43] Nyx Linden: we'll be working to get it in as soon as we can - we're not giving a specific release date or version yet

[13:44] Barney Boomslang: ok, I'll pass the message on.

[13:45] Nyx Linden: speaking of which, I must get back to coding - feel free to drop by my office hours or drop me a message if something comes up

[13:45] Barney Boomslang: what times is your office hour?

[13:46] Nyx Linden: noon SLT on Wednesdays in borrowdale

[13:46] Barney Boomslang: ok, thanks!

Posted by Barney Boomslang | Permanent Link | Categories: Grendel's Children

2009-04-20 23:18:32

Show And Tell on Youtube!

For all of you who were there or who couldn't make it or who are just interested in what a show and tell at Lummerland looks like, here is a video Waelya Tenk made last sunday. Thanks Wae!

Posted by Barney Boomslang | Permanent Link

2009-02-11 20:11:09


Bonsai Ash

Yes, there is new stuff! I finally updated my tiny trees, calling them bonsai trees now - they are taking the most time to make of all my avatars currently, for the simple reason that the leaf textures are raytraced 3D tree models. Yes, I am nuts. But hey, they look good! As an orientation, that sculpture to my left is a little bit bigger than a normal avatar (what, you didn't know I make sculptures, too? Well, haven't you been to Lummerland? Oh, you have? Didn't pay much attention, eh?)

They come with a little season switching HUD (yes, I raytraced four different seasonal textures for them each) and a nesting pigeon that will fly out every now and then. Everything else is the usual stuff you would expect from your tiny tree, like rustling leafs on walk, magic sparks on talk and a fun waddly AO.

I have done a bonsai oak and a bonsai ash so far. As usual, look for them in the Grendel's Children store - upper humanoid section (blue floor tiles), under the botanical sign.

Posted by Barney Boomslang | Permanent Link | Categories: Grendel's Children