Fallout from direct delivery

At Z&A we finished moving all of our products on the marketplace over to direct delivery about a month ago. While the deadline had been extended, we decided to meet the old one anyway so that we were all done (personally, some niggles aside, I rather like direct delivery).

There was, however, an interesting bit of fallout from doing this.

I've been a premium account for quite a long time now and, obviously, because of this, I've always had my 512 tier allowance to do something with. For as long as Z&A has existed we've always made a point of duplicating the magic boxes (first when it was XStreetSL and then when it became the marketplace) so that if one region was down, or was having problems, another one should be able to step in. To do this we've generally had one box out at the main store and one out at the "head office" (also known as "a crappy skybox rezzed over a 512 plot that Antony grabbed cheap somewhere").

Originally this was some scrap of land on Zindra. However, some club or something turned up in the region we were on and often lagged the place badly, or filled the region so we couldn't actually TP in. After that we moved it off Zindra and onto a quiet region on the mainland.

But, now, because there's no magic boxes any more, we don't need a "head office" any more.

The "head office" tended to serve another purpose too. It was somewhere to run to and wait out a rolling restart (waiting for the region restart notifier to do its thing).

So, for no good reason other than the "head office" had no use for hosting magic boxes any more (and so didn't have a use for the skybox any more), I decided it was time to find a nice plot and make an attractive rolling restart retreat.

This is it:

It's high up on the side of a mountain range (apparently the highest point anywhere on mainland isn't too far away) with most of the clutter out of draw distance so the view is mostly empty land and then sea. Which is nice.

So, in future, when Z and I just want to go sit and have a quiet chat, away from the workshop, or we need to wait out a restart, we can go laze by the fire.

The really fun part was building to the prim allowance of a 512 plot. It's easy to forget how fun the challenge is when you've got a whole region to play with elsewhere.


We have normality. I repeat, we have normality.

After today's rolling restart (which took an awful long time -- the region went down at 19:08 local and didn't come back until around 20:26) the great leap backward has taken place:

Now to see what has been borked in its place...

Raven Park Henge

A little earlier I was trawling around on the marketplace for cheap/free mesh items, just to see what was kicking about, and I stumbled on this rather nifty mesh Stonehenge:

Given what time of year it is at the moment I've decided to leave it out for the next 24 hours or so. If anyone fancies a quiet place to contemplate the workings of our solar system, their place in the universe, or simply enjoy whatever it is they associate with a henge, please feel free to come over to Raven Park and do so. The henge is rezzed on plot #2 of Raven Park.

Note that it could get taken in early if someone happens to rent the plot. ;-)

PS: Exact alignment for sunrise is left as role play for the reader.

(In case you want one for yourself, you'll find the henge here)

Waiting for the great leap backward

It's rolling restart day today for RC regions and, I imagine, the Lab will be fixing the recent LeTigre timezone SNAFU. Given that this caused me to mess about with some clock-driving code the other day, I thought I'd build a nice big obvious test for this on a build platform:

The clock to the left is working off llGetGMTclock(). The one on the right is using llGetWallclock(). As you know, they should show a time difference but, as reported in SVC-8000, right now they report the same.

All being well, post-restart, they'll show the correct difference again.


I made a clock

The problems with time on LeTigre sims hasn't been all bad, from my point of view. For no obvious reason it got me to write a bit of code to work a clock (yes, I know, hardly a new thing in Second Life, but I've never had a go myself before) and, this evening, I used it to build a clock for the Raven Park Mansion.

I'm rather pleased with it:

Currently, of course, it's showing UTC rather than (what most people still call) SLT. I'm actually tempted to change it so that it'll always display UTC. Although I guess it makes more sense to show Second Life time rather than a RL universal time.


LeTigre time travel

It doesn't seem to have been a good week for updates to LeTigre sims. The rolling restart came to our sim (which is currently LeTigre) on Wednesday and took the sim out for a touch over an hour. When it came back nothing had changed. The host machine was the same (not unusual) and the server version was also the same (unusual).

And then, yesterday, it was announced that LeTigre was getting another round of restarts (apparently there'd been an issue the day before). So, the restart came and went (although it seemed to take a long time to get round to us), the server software changed, and all appeared good.

Until I woke up this morning.

We have a couple of traffic monitoring systems on sim. One counts traffic in the Z&A shop, the other the traffic at Raven Park. They both report the counts and reset for the next day at midnight SL time. That means, for me, I generally get the emails at 8am local time (daylight saving switching periods aside). This morning I woke up to find that they'd done this at 1am local -- seven hours too early.

When I finally get in-world I see that there does seem to be a problem with time on the sim. Even the clock in my office was wrong:

That was taken at around 01:45 SL time. To further test things I quickly knocked up this script:

and, sure enough, the UTC and "wallclock" times were both the same on my sim but had a 7 hour difference on non-LeTigre sims.

It seems I'm not the only one to notice this, there's now a JIRA for the problem.

So, if you're wandering around SL and your watch is showing wrong, or if your clock at home is wrong, or (I'm guessing) midnight mania type systems are kicking in at odd times -- this'll likely be the reason.

I'm just glad I don't have anything vital that works off the wall time.


One year on

A year ago today, for reasons I'm unclear about now, I decided to start this blog. Initially I thought it wouldn't go very far. I didn't think I'd write much. I didn't think I'd still be writing it now. Sure, it's not the most busy blog -- I generally don't say anything unless I have something to say. Neither is it one of those Second Life blogs that reviews anything and everything, or repeats every bit of news about SL no matter how big or small (that's not to say that's a bad thing, I'm an avid subscriber of r/secondlife for a reason).

It is, if anything, an evolution of the plurk account I used to have but no longer bother with. It's a place to post a fun picture, ramble on about a fun thing, or have a little rant now and again. Sometimes it's just to write about a bit of personal news, even if it is rather sad.

It's also become a place where I post small scripts that I find handy and I hope others might also.

I don't know how many people read it, if any at all do (of course the stats say it gets views, but views don't mean there's actual readers) -- it isn't about numbers. But, if you do read this blog on a regular basis, thank you. Thanks for being there. :)

On communication

Any time I deal with customers I do my best to communicate with them as much as possible. Especially given the nature of the way we communicate in Second Life (as much as we dress it up, it is still generally a text chat system with fancy graphics) I think it's vital that, at every turn, you let someone you're dealing with know what's happening and why it's happening.

Just the other day I had a customer send me a notecard while I was offline. Of course, I didn't know what the content of the notecard was, but I had a vague idea what it might be about given the name of it. I immediately replied to them (an email reply to the email notification, which is normally turned back into an in-world IM) to let them know I was aware that they'd sent me the card and that I should be able to log in within the next couple of hours to look at it and deal with the issue.

Sure enough I was in-world a couple of hours later. I accepted the notecard, had a quick read of it, and then sent them an IM to say hello and let them know I was available. Long story short, I popped over to their home, where they had my product installed, checked the problem, realised what they were missing (in this case they didn't know about the need for a relay for non-attached RLV items to work) and got them all sorted out.

They were very appreciative of the help (sadly, they seemed surprised that they'd get this level of help and attention -- it seems that too many people are too used to store owners being hands-off and unavailable) and I left them as a very happy customer.

For me, the important part was that I let them know what I was doing, and why I was doing it, at every turn of the conversation. From my initial reply, right up to explaining that there'd be a pause in our conversation because I needed to check something for them, I made sure they never felt left in the dark.

I do wish everyone operated this way.

In the past couple of weeks I've had a sim owner make changes to my presence in their mall with no word of explanation whatsoever. In both cases an action was taken that, without explanation, looks very negative and very targeted -- even more so given that the mall in question has a mall manager who, it seems, also wasn't informed of these actions. In the first case, once I'd taken the trouble to go and ask what was happening, I received an explanation that was reasonable enough, but what a shame that the explanation didn't come first. A "Hi, Antony, sorry about this but I'm about to do this thing and I'm about to do it for this reason..." would have had the whole thing make sense and appear reasonable. Without warning or explanation it gives a very different initial impression.

Again, today, the sim owner made a change to my presence in their mall with no warning and no subsequent explanation (and, I imagine, no knowledge on the part of the mall manager). In this case it was the return of an object to my lost and found folder; an object that the mall manager had invited me to place there for everyone's benefit a few months ago. I logged in a few moments later to ask if it was a deliberate return (accidents do happen after all), only to find they'd logged off.

The impression I'm left with is anything but positive. While I firmly believe that a sim owner's wishes are paramount, it never hurts to properly communicate those wishes. Not doing so can give entirely the wrong impression and damage trust.


1,000 days

Today is my 1,000th day in Second Life:

I started as an "alt" to explore the BDSM side of Second Life, pretty much a throwaway account. It didn't quite turn out that way... ;-)


Region Restart Notifier (again)

Last year I posted a script that I use to let me know when our region has restarted. It's always proven to be handy, letting me know as soon as possible when it's safe to TP home again. Recently I thought it'd be handy if I had it keep track of a couple of key details and let me know if they've changed in any way. This was prompted by the fact that, one day, our home sim stopped being main channel and became an RC channel (I'm not overly bothered by that, but it seemed like it would be handy to know that such a change has taken place).

So, with that in mind, here's a newer version of that script:

It's also worth noting that I've extended it so that it'll send an email instead of an IM. This has actually turned out to be handy because, if I've run to another region while I wait for a restart, I can miss the IM. On the other hand an email causes an alert on my desktop and on my phone.