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Archive for June, 2013

Firestorm Release

Everyone has to upgrade!

Linden Lab has stated they intend to begin rolling out Server Side Appearance (formerly known as Server Side Baking) on July 9th or shortly thereafter. It is of paramount importance to your user experience that ALL our users upgrade to this 4.4.1 version before the 9th of July. Even our 4.4.0 users should upgrade because 4.4.1 contains some additional SSA code from LL.

Clean install!

Support will kill me if I don’t mention this near the top… most of the issues that get reported to support immediately after an upgrade could have been prevented by performing a clean install, which includes manually clearing the settings files from your hard drive, along with uninstalling the application and manually wiping the cache. If you are on 4.4.0 you can create a settings backup prior to doing a clean so that you can restore your settings quickly and easily afterwards. Video tutorial on that here.

The fixes and new shiny

We are aware that there are a percentage of users who could not use 4.4.0 for one reason or another, and so it was very important that we do our best to fix those issues and get it out to you before Server Side Appearance rolls out. This update resolves all the issues we are capable of resolving in such a timeframe, and we hope it will improve performance and stability for everyone. It also comes with some great new features and options that we encourage you to check out and hope you enjoy.

A full change log can be found here and downloads from our downloads page.

Phoenix users

The time is now folks! In less than two weeks’ time, avatars are going to begin looking horribly wrong to you and, likewise, you will look horribly wrong to everyone else on up-to-date viewers. We have gone to great lengths to offer you options, features, skins and customization in Firestorm to allow you the closest resemblance to Phoenix as is possible in a V3 code base. We have been doing this work since the beginning, and it even carries into this 4.4.1 with even more Phoe features such as an independent Radar floater, name auto complete, region script count notifications, ability to minimize floaters to bottom left instead of top left and more. We have gone to these efforts because we truly do care about your user experience and hope that you will stay with us as we continue development of Firestorm into the future.

However, if all these efforts are not good enough, please know that you also have other viewer alternatives you can choose, available from the LL Third Party Viewer Directory here. The bottom line, however, is that if you want to continue seeing other avatars and being seen normally, you will have to upgrade to something… now. We have video tutorials on our YouTube page here, including a video about migrating from Phoenix to Firestorm here. We will begin using all our resources to notify Phoenix users of the upcoming change and the need to upgrade. If you are a Phoenix user, you may find this to be annoying and nagging – sorry about that – but there are a great many users who do not pay attention to upcoming changes and have no idea their experience is about to become epic fail.

Our support nightmare…

According to the latest statistics from LL there are still some 67,000+ users on Phoenix and 77,000+ on Firestorm versions that are NOT compatible with Server Side Appearance (for Firestorm, that means any version older than 4.4.0). That is nearly 150,000 users who will have to update in this two-week period. I suspect most will wait until the very last minute or will wait until it’s too late. This means our support team, being the only live, dedicated viewer support team in Second Life (to my knowledge) is going to be absolutely inundated. Because of this I’m going to ask you, our users, for a few favors. Before you run to our inworld support groups

WIKI, WIKI, WIKI! – Please search for your problem on our wiki first. The best way to search the wiki is to start typing a keyword into the search box, but don’t hit Enter! Just wait for a second and a drop down list of possible matches will appear. This is more effective than typing your search and hitting enter. Try it! Our main troubleshooting index can point you to tips for fixing the most common issues, as well!

JIRA. – Yes! Please file a support ticket! This is much easier for support and our development team to collaborate with you and each other on your specific issue. File a support ticket. 

Help us help! – If you see folks asking questions in our support groups and support isn’t around or is busy, and you know the answer… please feel free to try to help these folks yourself! Your help is hugely appreciated, but please don’t take offense if you are wrong in some way and support corrects you. We do still appreciate your enthusiasm and willingness to help. This is, after all, what we look for in new support people. We recruit based on attitude, willingness to help, persistence and resilience to negativity.

Patience grasshopper! – Please be patient with our support team, because…

  • They are 100% volunteers helping out because they want to help out.
  • There will be times when no one will be available. This is because we encourage support to take breaks rather than burning out.
  • They are human and make mistakes too.
  • Sometimes they don’t have all the answers and may not be able to help you with your problem.
  • They will be inundated with the 150,000 users who chose to wait until the last minute and then scream for support when they have problems that NEED to be fixed NOW… because they waited until the last minute.
  • Chat lag in the support group happens!

We truly hope 4.4.1 will be awesome for everyone! Also, you can expect a 4.4.2 in a few weeks which will contain “Polishing up code” from LL for Server Side Appearance.



Jessica Lyon and the entire Firestorm Team