Monday, July 23, 2012

The Cool VL Viewer

The computer I've been going about Second Life in has been the same one I've been using since regularly logging on, for a bit more than five years. Windlamp wasn't around when I got it, let alone mesh. And it seems more and more, I've been finding mesh objects where I go, whether it be clothes and hair, vehicles, or as part of a build. Problem is, the viewers I've been using, Singularity and Imprudence, don't support mesh. And the objects appear as ovals and shapes instead of clothes or whatever else they're supposed to. The latest version of Phoenix that I've been using can see it sometimes, but it's buggy. When I had a chat with Tonya Souther, the head of the development for Team Phoenix's Apple viewers, she thought my computer was probably too old for the latest Phoenix viewers.

So I've been getting by with what I have for now, trying to put a little money aside for a new computer, eventually. But with a mortgage on my house while earning a laborer's salary, easier spoken than done. And given the current economy, I've been more reluctant to part with my money than ever. While there is the option of a cheaper PC computer, I still have memories of my old one taking a long time to start up, and of course the time for virus checks and defraying. And then there's Windows 8 of which I've heard can lock up a computer to the point it becomes useless and has to be thrown away. Maybe the sour luck I've had with machines over the years has made me edgy.

But recently a friend, Lomgren Smalls, told me about a viewer that should help, the "Cool VL Viewer."

Formerly known as the "Cool SL Viewer," the developer Henri Beauchamp explained on his website he first created it in response to Linden Lab being unable to "account in a timely manner all the patches and big fixes which the open source community provides." He made the first version in November 2007, and has been updating it since, sometimes more than once a month. Besides the Apple version, there are Windows and Linux viewers as well. Cool VL isn't among Linden Lab's approved list of viewers, but I was willing to take Lomgren's word that giving it a try would be a good idea.

In the case of the Mac Viewer, clicking on the downloaded software will result in a window popping up, where the viewer can observe the prioress while it either downloads the Snowglobe DMG from Linden Lab's servers, or if you already have it in the same location, it skips ahead and uses that. It takes the Snowglobe files, and makes them part of the viewer, "Once it's done, you can copy the Cool VL Viewer app where you want it," such as applications.

Once it was downloaded and done with, I double clicked and brought it up, logging in … and it worked!  Everyone took a little time to becloud as usual. But the man in the mesh avatar, instead of rezzing into a bunch of squares and shapes came out more or less normal. He didn't come out perfectly, instead of hair I saw a couple of knobs on his head. But still, the difference was like night and day. Going about, I could see cars and other vehicles where I once saw just shapes. So it would seem the viewer was a success.

The viewer isn't perfect. In one area with lag, some mesh items I happened to have on couldn't be seen. But others in the place commented they too were having problems due to the lag. And of course the viewer settings may need to be reconfigured to what one prefers, such as IM tabs appearing top to bottom on the window instead of left to right. The "Preferences" offer a "Cool Features" tab as well. It *may* handle lag slightly better than Singularity. I have yet to see how it does for flying or air combat.

There has been some talk about Linden Lab essentially shutting down Viewer 1-based third party viewers in some months, which is for another article later. But until such an event, Cool VL seems to be just the viewer for those older computers that can't handle V2 or V3 based technology or Phoenix.

The Cool VL site is at

Bixyl Shuftan.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Content Creators’ Conflict Leads to Fundraiser

     A conflict involving allegations of copyright infringement and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) have resulted in one resident’s creations being removed by Linden Lab, and her friends and fellow content-creators holding a fundraiser to assist in her.   They also hope to focus attention on the issues raised by the DMCA.   The One Voice Fundraiser is being held at Mesh (18, 131, 22).
     The controversy is between Gala Phoenix, owner of Curio Skins, and Hush Darkrose, owner of HUSH Skins.  The issues involve not only copyright and DMCA law, but also international law and the impact on SL.   The RL people behind Phoenix and Darkrose live in different RL countries.   

     According to information posted by Gala Phoenix at, she initially filed a “take-down” notice against Hush Darkrose because she believes Darkrose’s skins infringes on her copyright.   Darkrose filed a counter-notice and also copyrighted her skins in her real-life country.   Darkrose then filed a lawsuit in her country against Phoenix, and filed a notice of the action with Linden Las.   Phoenix failed to take any further actions after filing her initial  take-down notice.  
      If all of this sounds really complicated, it’s because it is.  Once court actions are initiated, the law requires specific responses, usually within certain time limits.   In addition, under the DMCA process, when Linden Labs receive notice of a lawsuit, they require that the products at issue be removed while the court action is pending.  The result is that Gala Phoenix’s skins have been removed from SL, even though she was the one who initially filed a “take-down” notice against Darkrose.   Darkrose was the one to filed in court, and sent notice to LL of that action.    At this point there has been no decision as to which party infringed, or if there was, in fact, any infringement at all.

      Many content creators are taking part in the fundraiser to help Gala Phoenix and also to let the SL community know about this process.  They feel the action taken by Darkrose is unfounded, but the process to fight it is expensive and it could happen to any of them.   Eku Zhong provided the location for the fundraiser.  Over 50 different creators are taking part, with 50-100% of the proceeds going to help with legal fees.   Gala Phoenix estimates those legal fees will be over $20,000.00 (US).   The fundraiser will be held from July 9-16th.

Grey Lupindo