Where we experience some technical problems…

And we’re back! Thanks to all the people who have been visiting Enlades while we were on a break.

For this post I’d hoped to be doing an update on some of the things we’ve been working on in our regions. However, we’ve experienced a couple of problems recently. I thought it would be useful to share them to give a perspective on some of the issues you can encounter when running your own virtual environment.

In my previous post on Prim hair I showed that I was following Natalia Zelmanov’s tutorials. Whilst I was working on my hair prims I encountered a bug that has been documented in Mantis previously. (Mantis is the OpenSim reporting system).

Thom managed to replicate the behaviour a couple of times before he found the Mantis reports. Apparently this particular issue had been fixed in a previous OpenSim release but we are experiencing the same behaviour. As of this time there hasn’t been an official confirmation but there is a helpful reply in the comments on a workaround to use. I include the link to Thom’s report here for information. Editing linked objects…

The next problem that came along was a bit more complicated and took a morning of research. If you’ve been, or are, a Second Life resident you might recall owning or seeing televisions for streaming media, in particular YouTube videos. For those that haven’t; I include a link to a product currently being sold on SL’s Marketplace: Flat screen SL t.v

I have to admit that it was with complete ignorance that I decided I wanted to make a media prim that played a favourite YouTube video. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware that there had been a serious issue in 2010 when YouTube changed from Flash to mp4. This had caused a large problem for streaming in virtual worlds.

My error was that I made an assumption that cutting and pasting the URL and using that with the Freeview script, available on OpenSimulator’s website, was sufficient [insert laughter here]. It quickly became apparent that wasn’t going to work. After looking around for information I found out how you can stream media, and the issues last year with YouTube, via the SL wiki pages and forums.

This was helpful for background knowledge, but, it didn’t actually provide a workable solution I could use. Obviously there is a way, or more than one, to do this. An example I did find was what looks a complex method of playing around with something called ‘token authentication’. I have absolutely no idea what that is and felt unconfident at trying to use it. It is also possible to rip a video, save to your hard drive and then stream it yourself. I have some problems with doing that and would prefer to have an alternative.

For people in Second Life, (and other places where it is enabled) on Viewer 2.0 there is another option of using shared media. This facility was mentioned as coming to OpenSim in an interview with Justin Clark-Casey on the Hypergrid Business website back in July 2010; following on from that though I have been unable to find any further information on developments.

Whilst these things are, for the most part, minor problems when taken on an individual basis, one of the biggest challenges is in finding the right information. I think that highlighting these instances is useful to give an accurate picture of (virtual) life using OpenSim. And with fingers crossed on integrated solutions coming along in the near future.

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