Wednesday, 29 December 2010
As we approach the end of the year I tend to reflect back things, and 2010 certainly has a lot to reflect on in regards to Second Life. In fact 2010 has been a pretty crazy year, with the official release of Linden Lab's Viewer 2, the massive layoffs at LL and office closures around the world, the departure of M Linden from CEO, the return and departure of Philip, the announcement of merging the teen grid, removing educational discounts, excitement over the upcoming 40 groups and death of chat lag, and much more, 2010 has been a year full of ups and downs for all of us.
But more than the on-goings at LL, we also saw the unexpected demise of the ever popular Emerald Viewer. It was a time of sadness and confusion for hundreds of thousands of users in SL.
However not all was lost, the demise of the Emerald Viewer lead way to the Rise of the Phoenix!
In just 4 months the people here at The Phoenix Viewer Project have brought the Phoenix Viewer from unheard of to the most popular Third Party Viewer in Second Life, more popular than all others combined... more popular than Emerald ever was. Having started with the Emerald code base which was stuck in beta for over a year because it was so unstable; In 4 months we made it the most stable Third Party Viewer in Second Life with the lowest crash rate in version 126.96.36.1998.
Phoenix Viewer sessions ending in crash %
188.8.131.528 = 11.81%
184.108.40.2065 = 12.44%
220.127.116.113 = 12.44%
18.104.22.168 = 13.10%
22.214.171.124 = 17.48%
126.96.36.199 = 17.95%
Note: versions 168 and 156 will be blocked near the end of January.
Now I don't mean to brag but suffice to say, I am DAMN proud of everyone on the Phoenix Team and the accomplishments we've made in such a short time should be mentioned in an end of year message like this. Our Developers, Support team and QA team deserve a huge pat on the back! I am beyond proud of them all. You guys are amazing... simply amazing.
But beyond all this, one of our founding goals was to rebuild the trust from the residents in SL and from Linden Lab towards Third Party Viewers in general. I believe we have come a long way in that regard as well.
New Years brings us the end of one year and the beginning of a new one. 2011 is looking very promising here at the Phoenix Project as we work on the much anticipated Firestorm Viewer based on V2 code base, but made a lot more friendly to those who are used to the 1.23 UI. Phoenix Viewer has pretty well reached it's pinnacle and it's time to start over and do it again. We have some very big plans for the Firestorm Viewer and while at first it may not be much, by this time next year I hope to see it become the next favorite viewer of the wonderful residents in Second Life. Some other plans for 2011 will be support run classes for sl residents on the Phoenix Viewer, more video tutorials especially for Firestorm and an announcement about a partnership Phoenix is forming with another grid. Stay tuned for that one!
I would like to also thank all the residents in Second Life for your enduring trust, faith and commitment to us. I must admit there was a time in the beginning where I had second thoughts about starting a new viewer project... The Phoenix Project. I questioned myself, if I would be able to dedicate my time as much as would be required to run such a project. After-all, I was left very tired, depressed and down after the demise of Emerald. I questioned if I even had the strength and leadership skills to lead such a project, I am after all, just a lowly photographer in the real world. Could I really manage a team of 14+ developers, a team of 20+ support people, a QA team of almost 200 people? Would I really be able to stick with it? without burning out? What was I thinking... to start a new viewer project.. I asked myself... Am I crazy?
It was YOU, with your enthusiasm and appreciation that swayed me into making that commitment and taking that chance. It was the thousands of IM's from thousands of residents that inundated me with hope. It is YOU who made it possible for the Phoenix Viewer to exist. It was YOU! And It is now that I turn to you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for pushing me over that edge. For pushing ALL of us into working so hard to bring you this viewer... this... improved user experience.
From the bottom of my heart and from all of us here at The Phoenix Viewer Project.
Happy New Year Everyone! and may 2011 be a safe, prosperous and happy year for you all!
Phoenix Viewer Project Manager
Friday, 24 December 2010
A few notes:
Support has the day off Christmas Day, although some have stated they would like to continue to help when they can.
If you can't reach support, you can always submit a support ticket to our Jira here:
And don't forget we still have our "Unofficial" official Phoenix Forum where you can post questions and concerns. The forum now has a cool Christmas Theme set up which you can find on the drop down menu near the bottom of the forum. You can find the forum here:
Have a Wonderful Christmas Everyone!!!
The Phoenix Viewer Project Inc.
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
A few things to note...
We are no longer providing SSE and SSE2 in one installer for windows. We've gone back to providing two separate downloads for each because too many people were getting confused.
We will be using the SSE Standard binary in our quick download links because it works for everyone. For the SSE2, please go to our downloads page. When in doubt of which one to use... use SSE! It works for everyone, and while many systems can run SSE2, they don't necessarily run it well. If you have a performance decrease on this version while on SSE2, use the SSE instead.
While this is our final 'major' release.. we will continue to have releases for Phoenix but they will mostly just be bug fixes and improvements.
Among many other changes we have added Display Name support in group, IM and local chats, radar, friendlists, partners etc, fixed a lot of RLV issues from 725, fixed voice issues on Linux and Windows, fixed the viewer lockups from 725, Parcel WindLight water settings, fixed the crash on "Initializing Multimedia" and "Failed to initialize application" errors some people were getting... etc etc etc,
Full change log here:
Windows Failed to Initialize fix:
Special thanks to Jed Gregg, Crystal Glasswing and several other users for enduring dozens of trial and error builds in order to help us fix the long standing "Initializing Multimedia" and "Failed to initialize application" errors. We couldn't have fixed those bugs without your help!
The Phoenix Viewer Project Inc.
Friday, 17 December 2010
During our Office Hour on Tuesday we discussed all of these issues and announced what we've added for the final release. As well, Rezzed.tv announced the winners of their "Photoshop Jessica Lyon Contest". Congratulations to the winners and thank you all for your participation. You can see all entries here http://inside.rezzed.tv/2010/12/15/photoshop-jessica-lyon-finalists-and-entries/ and you can watch the Office Hour recording and all others here, http://rezzed.tv/shows/the-phoenix-hour/ .
We are very much looking forward to getting this final "BIG" release out to you for Christmas. There will be more releases in the future too, but they will contain mostly bug fixes. We call this our "Final" because it's the last release we'll have with major changes and new features.
NOTE: Please note that we cannot provide support reliably through the comments section of this blog. If you are having problems or have questions please contact our support team. Support team members and our support groups are listed under the "Support" link on our website.
Friday, 3 December 2010
Secondary Attachments Migration, what to expect:
Multi Attachment system FAQ:
The day has finally come!
The Phoenix Viewer 188.8.131.525 is a Release Candidate because we want to be absolutely certain everything is how it should be. We are also aware that there are still a few bugs which need to be worked out and a few more things we want to add to it before we make it a final release. Although we are calling this a release candidate we WILL be providing full support for it and it can be treated as an Official Release.
We have loads of documentation and feel it is very important that our users read it because there has been a lot of changes made that might confuse you if you're not aware of them when you first log in. For this reason, we also ask that you link your friends to this blog page rather than the direct download link. You would be doing them injustice otherwise. Download links are at the bottom of this post, we will be adding the download links to our main downloads page in a few days.
Among many other things in this release, we have Parcel Based Windlight settings, Altitude based Windlight settings (sky boxes), Display name support, Multi attachment system, Inventory links... and much much more... so much more.
What you should know before logging in.
Secondary Attachments Migration, what to expect:
Multi Attachment system FAQ:
Parcel and Altitude based Windlight:
Parcel and Altitude Windlight Video:
Inventory Links Video:
Display Names Video:
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
Yesterday's office hour was a lot of fun! We talked all about some of the great new features coming out in Friday's release, explained how to use them, what to expect with the new Multi attachment system and inventory links. Introduced our new youtube channel for Phoenix Viewer Tutorials here..http://www.youtube.com/user/PhoenixViewerSL and much much more! If you missed the office hour you can watch the recording here...http://rezzed.tv/2010/12/the-phoenix-hour-30th-november-2010/ .
During the office hour I was holding up some signs to help our viewers understand certain things. While doing so, the great folks at Rezzed.tv decided to make a fun contest called "Photoshop Jessica Lyon". They are giving away $5000L for First Prize! $2500L for Second Prize and $1000L for Third Prize. Everyone is welcome to join the contest! For more information on the contest visit...http://inside.rezzed.tv/2010/12/01/photoshop-jessica-lyon-contest/
The Phoenix Viewer Team
Friday, 19 November 2010
First of all, what are Display Names?... Display Names is a new feature designed to allow users to create a name of their choice. Not to be confused with a (user name). The user name is the name you signed up with to LL. This is the name you sign into the viewer with and this cannot be changed.
A Display Name can be just about anything up to 31 characters long. Only people on viewers that support display names will be able to set and see display names on other avatars. If you are on a viewer that supports display names, there will be options to see either display name only, display name AND user name, or just user name. If you have display names enabled, while on LL V2, the chat you see from users who have a display name set will reflect that display name and not their user name (from what I understand). If your on a viewer that supports display names, and you have it set to only show display names, you can always open a users profile to see their original user account name.
The next release of Phoenix Viewer expected out in the next few weeks will have support for display names a well, however you will have an option to list users in chats by their user name, display name & user name or just display name.
There has been a lot of negativity surrounding Display Names, and while I don't entirely agree (personally) that display names are a great idea, I will say that they are NOT evil! They do have some good use cases like for Role Playing, or simply fixing a typo in your user name. Married couples can now have a common last name, etc. Yes, display names can be abused and used for malicious behavior, however this is no different than most any feature in SL. The vast majority of users will be using display names appropriately and as they were intended to be used.
I've heard reports first hand that people are passing out scripts that auto ban anyone using a display name. While land owners do have the right to ban/eject anyone they wish for whatever reason they choose, I strongly urge people not to do this to users just because they have a display name. There are many valid reasons and uses for display names and I suspect a lot of people will be using them. However if you see someone who has set their display name to your account name, with the intention of impersonating then I would strongly suggest you abuse report them. Ejecting and banning accounts who do this from your land.. in that case.. I think would be reasonable.
NEW ACCOUNT NAMES
LL has made some changes to the sign up process. No longer will last names be available primarily because Display Names allows users to create whatever name they want. Old accounts signed up with a (firstname lastname). New accounts only have a first name and the last name is automatically "resident". This has caused a lot of confusion among people who have recently signed up with one of these account names and dont know how to log into older viewers that have a (Firstname Lastname) login field. Simply login with your first name, being the name you chose when you signed up, and use "resident" as your last name. For example, if your username is thejoesmith: First Name: thejoesmith Last Name: resident
Old users who have a firstname lastname might notice that logging into secondlife.com website no longer has firstname and lastname fields. You guys log in using firstname.lastname. So for example I log in as jessica.lyon
I hope this clears up some of the mass confusion going around about display names and new account names.
Here are some links with more information.
LL Documentation on display names: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Display_Names
Must see Torley Video on display names: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGoHjGz2OaQ
A must see follow up Torley video on Display Names: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNH-3IPTrjc
Documetnation on SL Usernames: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Usernames
Monday, 15 November 2010
As usual, you can join in the live discussion either in world at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Rezzed%20TV%20Island/60/188/25 . Or you can jump on the live stream at http://phoenix.rezzed.tv OR watch it from your sl tv's using this url. http://streams.rezzed.tv/rezzed.mov. And if you can't make it for whatever reason, don't worry! it will be recorded and posted at the rezzed.tv website within a day or two at http://rezzed.tv. We hope to see as many of you there as possible and answer all of your questions!
The Phoenix Viewer Project Inc.
Friday, 5 November 2010
Within the next year or so, LL will be essentially breaking all 1.23 and snowglobe based viewers with features they are rolling out in their Viewer 2 which won't work in 1.23 and snowglobe viewers. Because of this, and because we want our users to be able to take advantage of those new features we will be starting up a second viewer called Firestorm Viewer.
Our Firestorm Viewer will have all the features the LL viewer 2 has, plus we will be moving our features from Phoenix Viewer into it. So our users will get the best of both worlds. Moving to V2 codebase is a must because of the inevitability that 1.23 and snowglobe based viewers will no longer work in the not so distant future, including Phoenix. Our primary focus for Firestorm will be with making some big changes to the UI in the hopes of making it as familiar to our users as possible. We won't be able to make it look exactly like the Phoenix interface but we will do our best to make it look and function closely to what you are used too.
We will continue development of the Phoenix Viewer until it no longer works, but will be dividing our efforts between Phoenix and Firestorm viewers. This means you will see less frequent releases of the Phoenix Viewer but they will not stop completely.
We will have TWO viewers on the Third Party Viewer Directory when Firestorm is released, however we don't expect a solid release for Firestorm for at least 3-6 months. We have a LOT of work to do on it. To be clear, we are NOT forcing our users to use the Firestorm Viewer, however in time when Phoenix no longer works, we will all have to move to it.. or another V2 based viewer.
We have collected hundreds of emails resulting from our Firestorm Poll, listed in a previous blog post, thank you all for taking the time to send them. We will be using the results of that poll to determine what priorities we shall make in the development of the Firestorm Viewer. We will not be able to move ALL our Phoenix viewer features into it right away, however in time we hope to have all your favorite features in Firestorm along with an interface you will enjoy using.
The Phoenix Viewer Project Inc.
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
Many have asked me to provide a notecard or wiki page with regards to the things covered. I will be creating a wiki page in the next day or so and will link to it here once it's done. Many have also asked for the links I referred to during the discussion so I will post them here.
The Phoenix Viewer Project
Monday, 1 November 2010
We just received a report from a credible source that there are Phoenix Viewers in circulation which have been built by others and offered as official Phoenix Viewer downloads on various hosts like mediafire. The source also tells us that there are reports that these builds have keyloggers and/or username/password loggers embedded in the code.
Please make sure that you only ever download Phoenix from our website here, and nowhere else. If someone offers you downloads to a Phoenix Viewer, or ANY viewer that is hosted outside of it's associated website, please Abuse Report them and include the link to the download being offered in the abuse report.
Linden Lab is aware of this problem and will respond accordingly.
Our downloads are hosted on the domains of http://phoenixviewer.com or http://code.google.com/p/phoenixviewer. Do not download from anywhere else.
The Phoenix Viewer Project Inc.
We will of course open up to questions for the second half of the hour and your questions can be about anything your interested in. You can participate live in world here if you get in early enough, http://slurl.com/secondlife/Rezzed%20TV%20Island/60/188/25 . Or you can jump on the live stream at http://phoenix.rezzed.tv OR watch it from your sl tv's using this url. http://streams.rezzed.tv/rezzed.mov . And if you can't make it for whatever reason, don't worry! it will be recorded and posted at the rezzed.tv website within a day or two at http://rezzed.tv
Friday, 29 October 2010
As most of you know, The Phoenix Viewer team has begun working on a second viewer called Firestorm. This will be our customized version of the V2 LL viewer. We always listen to our users and we want to know what features from Phoenix you most want in Firestorm, and what you hate most about the LL Viewer 2. We want you to send us an email at email@example.com and tell us what you think.
Please format your email in this order…
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Firestorm poll
1st paragraph… Provide a list of your 10 most used/cannot live without features that are currently in Phoenix Viewer, that you would want in our Firestorm viewer.
2nd Paragraph… Provide your 10 most hated aspects of the LL Viewer 2 you would want changed or simply cannot live with. There are some things that are obvious and need not listing, like the side bar.
Optional 3rd paragraph… Add your own thoughts, issues and whatever else you like here.
We will be putting the results from everyone together and use that to help formulate an action plan and roadmap.
Thank you all for your time and efforts in helping us bring you a better user experience!
Monday, 25 October 2010
Friday, 22 October 2010
You can see our financial statements here.
GOAL REACHED! Chipin Widget removed.
Thank you all for your very kind and generous donations!
Also! For those of you who were unable to be part of our Phoenix Office Hour Tuesday, the recording is up online now to watch. http://rezzed.tv/
Monday, 18 October 2010
We have made many HUGE improvements in our most recent releases of 184.108.40.206 and especially 220.127.116.113. Because of these improvements, and compared to the significant amount of bugs, crashes and multiple other issues in the old releases, we feel this block will be beneficial to everyone.
To give you some numbers in the form of crash rates provided to us by Linden Lab...
Percentage of sessions that end in crash.
18.104.22.168 = 16.96%
22.214.171.124 = 14.40%
126.96.36.199 = 12.90%
188.8.131.523 = 12.69%
We hope those of you effected can understand the reasoning behind this decision. Our support teams will be standing by during this time to help you with any issues you may have.
Sunday, 17 October 2010
Starting with the most obvious..
We have a new website!
Please look around, if you find any issues feel free to report them on our jira. Special thank you to Alexis Stapovic of digitalgraffiti.ca for dedicating so much of her time to building this site for us!
The Phoenix Viewer Project Inc. (TPVP)
Yes, you saw Inc. The Phoenix Viewer Project is now Incorporated as a Non-Profit Organization! Being incorporated means that the project exists separately from the people that make it up. It will help ensure that Phoenix will outlast any of the developer's participation in it. The project can own things itself. It is tax-exempt, meaning that it will not pay taxes on its own income. Finally, it will have a formal governance structure, so that the ways that people can make decisions and act in the name of the project as a whole are defined and easily understood by new members and the community at large.
Phoenix Viewer on Twitter!
We have an official Twitter account now! If you're a twitter user please feel free to follow us to stay up to date with announcements! Our account is PhoenixViewerSL
One of the things people keep asking us for is a forum. Officially the answer is no and the reason is that we simply don't have time to moderate a forum. However! One of our support folks, Selene Gregoire has taken it upon herself to create a forum and manage it on her own for our users. So this forum is the Official Unofficial forum for Phoenix Viewer! FORUM Although some developers may be members in the forum, we won't be watching it all the time. If you need to reach a developer you can do so in world, through email (available on the website), or in IRC here IRC Link.
BIG Release in the works!
We have a big release in the works right now with some great new features many have been asking for! You can find out more at our next Office Hour Meeting... Speaking of that....
The Phoenix Hour!
Tuesday Oct, 19th at 2pm SLT, we will have our second (bi-weekly) Televised office hour hosted by Rezzed.tv. Please try to make it if you can, we have a lot to announce and discuss! The purpose of our office hour is to keep you up to date with things we are working on as well as provide you the chance to ask us direct questions about issues that concern you. If you get there early, you can participate in the studio audience here: SLURL LINK. The Region fills up fast though, so if you can't make it in person you can watch it on the web here http://phoenix.rezzed.tv and ask your questions in the provided chat room OR on twitter using the hashtags mentioned on that page. OR you can watch it on your sl tv's by tuning into http://streams.rezzed.tv/rezzed.mov. This is all part of our continuing effort to reach more and more of our users and providing a means for more of our users to reach us. We have a big list of announcements to make this week, this is your chance to find out first! hope to see you all there!
We're blocking an old version (184.108.40.206)
A few days ago we discovered a bug in our first release viewer ver 220.127.116.11 which sends the avatars first and last name to our server on login. This information is not used in any way and this bug does not exist in any of our other releases. We have sent a request to Linden Lab to block this version for the above reason AND because that version was FULL of bugs. We will also be blocking 18.104.22.168 Linux because of bugs as well. We have had many great updates and improvements since then and would like any users still running that build to upgrade.
Phoenix Halloween Dance/Party!
On October 30th The Phoenix Team will be hosting a Halloween Dance for our users! You may come in costume (or not), it's entirely up to you, but we plan on showing up in costume ;). We will announce more information on that as we get closer to the event. Stay tuned to this blog or our twitter account for news and announcements!
Thursday, 14 October 2010
Why hello there!! It is I, Alexis, the Magical Website Fairy! I have come from a land far far away, to bring you a shiny new website, filled with colourful words and things to click on!
But seriously, my name is Alexis Stapovic and I've recently joined the Phoenix Developer team as their resident website ninja. I'm sorry it took me so long to get you a shiny new site, I was all sick and stuff. I'm sporadically on in-world or you can contact me via email if you have any comments or suggestions regarding the site.
Just thought I'd write a little bit about me, for those of you who are wondering who this new addition is. I've been in Second Life for over four years now, and I've dabbled in everything from building full sims to fashion blogging, from scripting to skin and eye creation. I prefer to spend my time in SL building, but I'm always happy to go out and spend far too much money on things I dont need, or to lend a helping hand to a newbie.
p.s. Keep your eye out for some new awesome features on the horizon for Phoenix.