Firestorm 4.6.9

For quite some time after updating to Firestorm 4.6.7 I've being meaning to downgrade back to 4.6.1. The main reason was two rather annoying bugs (only one of which could be called Firestorm's fault, as far as I can tell) that did degrade the in-world experience. The worst, of course, is the Interest List related bug that actually messes with in-world objects and so affects people on otherwise unaffected viewers.

So, last night, I did the sensible thing and.... updated to 4.6.9. Yeah, I know, what was I thinking?

The main reason for this was that 4.6.9 has some features I thought sounded really useful, especially some that would be really useful when helping other people out with things Firestorm-related.

Often I'll be reading a non-viewer related group and someone will be having some sort of problem or wondering about some sort of in-world thing and I'll be sat here thinking "there's a Firestorm setting for that!", followed by some frantic searching for the setting (thanks to Firestorm's setting backup/restore system I seldom need to venture into settings so easily forget what's where). Or there'll be something that can be done down in the Advanced or Develop menus.

Firestorm 4.6.9 has this nicely solved for menus...

which means you can do this:

and the menus narrow down to just the options that match:

The choice of colours to signify hits is questionable, at least in the theme/skin I'm using, but it works and works well (why the hits need to be highlighted when the menus are filtered anyway is something I can't quite work out).

The preferences dialog is just as handy now too (and here the highlighting makes more sense):

As well as the above, this was also of great interest to me:

While I've only once, as far as I can recall, felt the need to ban an avatar from a group I own, finally having access to this "just in case" is a good thing. Hopefully I'll never need to use it.

Another thing I'm really liking is the new columns in the radar:

The notes column (see the column with an N in it for Zanda?) is especially worth having. I'm an avid user of avatar notes; I generally use it to keep track of important stuff about friends, make notes about interactions with customers and, sometimes, record details of a concerning incident with avatars who might be causing trouble. Given that it's really handy to be able to see at a glance, when you land at some location, who you might have made notes for. Really nice touch.

There's one final little change (that I've noticed and that I find useful -- I'm only a few hours into using this relase so this is all I've disocvered that's useful to me so far) that's worth a note:

The two little arrows highlighted with the red arrow can be used to navigate through prims in a linkset when you have "Edit linked" ticked. For a long time I've been used to using Ctrl-. and Ctrl-, to do this but, sometimes, reaching for the keyboard to press a key combination like that can be a pain -- especially if you've got one hand on your trackball and the other on a SpaceNavigator (as I sometimes find when I'm copying/pasting data throughout a linkset).

Another not-obviously-visible change in this release is the fix of the really annoying "textures get all funky when loading after you've done a texture refresh during a login session" bug. That one was getting seriously annoying to the point that I'd do everything I could to avoid doing a texture refresh. I can now finally refresh all the things without worrying.

So, all in all, not a bad update. There's a good number of useful things to be had.

One downside is that there's been no update to RLVa to bring it in line with the latest version of the RLV API so, for now, the new vision control APIs can't be used by a lot of people (if this ever rolls out in Firestorm there's a few Z&A products I want to update to make use of this; until then though it doesn't seem worth the trouble).

Another downside is that the Interest List bug still hasn't been fixed (it's marked in the JIRA as fixed for 5.0 from what I can see). This alone means that, if anyone were to ask me if it's worth updating, and if they're on 4.6.1, I'd answer with an emphatic no. I consider this to be a near-showstopper when it comes to bugs and it's caused me no end of problems as a builder. As it is I've managed to find workarounds for most of the issues it's introduced and I've learnt to be very careful about how I approach certain aspects of building, but the fact remains that 4.6.7 and 4.6.9 (along with other project Interesting viewers, this has been demonstrated as an issue that affects other viewers) actually break content. Unless you must upgrade I'd hang on for now.

Given Firestorm's "only three active versions and then we block" policy I really hope the next release is the one that fixes this.

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