Where was that again?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Short and to the point...

Another fresh Beta release from the Emerald team...

Windows 32bit version: http://emeraldviewer.net/box/Emerald_Viewer_1.5.0.2587.exe
Windows 64bit version: http://emeraldviewer.net/box/Emerald_Viewer_1.5.0.2587_x64.exe
Mac version: http://emeraldviewer.net/box/Emerald_Viewer_1.5.0.2587_Intel_Beta.dmg
Linux version: http://emeraldviewer.net/box/EmeraldViewer-i686-

ekmdu.dll free files are now up and available. If you're installing one of these versions after having a previous version of Emerald on your computer, you'll want to uninstall the old version, restart your computer, and then delete any files that were left from the uninstall (cache, and possibly a few files in the Emerald Viewer folder in your Programs folder, and make sure that emkdu.dll isn't hiding out in your temp folder by searching your computer for it.) before installing the new version. This is called a fresh install and seems to help.

edited to add:
The Emerald team has set up an HG Repo where source code and the such can be found: http://hg.emeraldviewer.net/

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The latest bit....

So today I wake up wondering how the meeting between the Emerald Development team and the LL people went. I logged in and made an inquiry and was handed a link to the latest blog entry by Jessica Lyons. In it she gives as much information as she can regarding what's going on between Emerald and LL.

Apparently Emerald Devs were handed a list of requirements they had to meet in order to even be considered for TVPD listing again... but LL said it's gotta be kept hush-hush so for the time being, the Emerald supporters and those who were scared off of Emerald in the previously blogged 'mass paranoia incident' are going to have to wait and hope that everything turns out ok. One thing we were allowed to know is that LL wants the Emerald Devs to stop using the (now infamous) emkdu.dll or llkdu.dll files in their coding.

Side note: emkdu is licensed by Emerald and llkdu is licensed by Linden Labs...so is Linden Labs going to stop using llkdu.dll or is this going to be a 'do as I say and not as I do' thing? hmm... Back to the topic at hand...

As mentioned in Jessica's blog post, kdu is "a closed source image decoding library which provides a significant speed improvement over the open source alternative." I found that particularly helpful for those of us, including myself, that had never even heard of emkdu/llkdu/kdu prior to all of this. Well, the Dev team are going to comply with the hypocritical request, in future releases, possibly (hopefully?) reluctantly because they know it will affect the viewer. It's also mentioned that the intention of the Dev team is to fully comply with the terms that LL has given them, and that they are working hard to come into compliance as quickly as possible.

I was the recipient of a group notice today that made me literally face-palm myself in frustration. It was yet another log tossed on to the 'mass paranoia' fire. As I looked back in the group notices I realized the one prior was even worse... it essentially says that if you value your SL account, you'll delete Emerald and change your password (same garbage story as before, right? read on...) then it goes on to proclaim that people have lost their accounts due to having Emerald viewer (um what? when? where?) then it references the blog post made by Phillip Linden yesterday. Today's notice wasn't much better, 'don't listen to anyone who says it's ok to use any 3rd party viewers!' it shouts (not verbatim, but very close), 'you're giving these people the keys to your account when you log in with their viewer!' (um, LL has that information too, and they can be just as irresponsible with it, for that matter, they have more than just your password) 'They can take all your stuff!'... ok let's stop there. Enough is enough. Anytime you open the internet and put your information in, whether it's as simple as your email address or as important as your credit card number, you're taking the chance and having faith that the company isn't going to misuse your information and for that matter, that it's not a spoofed site. Your IP address isn't as private as you'd like to think it is, there are sites like ipgoat that give you an idea of what's easily obtainable information.

So you get to make grown-up choices now, what will you log into SL with, if you log in at all? I'm still logging in with Emerald. Why? Because I trust that the past transgressions are just that, the past. I have faith that this Dev team will prove themselves to be honorable. I also know that at this moment in time, the Emerald viewer, for me, is far superior to the official SL viewer and it works better on my system. I've downloaded the latest beta, the questionable section of coding in the emkdu.dll has been removed, and I'm back off and running pretty quickly. Make an educated decision for yourself, don't change viewers just because the scare tactics seem convincing, if you're a current Emerald user and you're happy with it, just upgrade to the 'clean version' and continue as usual.

For 1636 versions: http://www.emeraldviewer.net/downloads.shtml
For the latest Beta versions: http://emeraldviewer.net/forum/index.php?topic=4176.msg21413;topicseen#msg21413
(I'm linking to the Emerald Forums for the Beta releases because when the Mac build is ready, I'm assuming that the link will also be posted there, other than that, the links in my last post are still good)

Until the next time.... Krisy

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Your Emerald Viewer will explode in 5...4...3...2...1.....

Okay, some of you might be wondering what in the world this first blog entry is about, whereas others will get it immediately. Sunday evening I logged into my Facebook account like I do several times a day (addict? maybe) and saw several posts related to the Emerald Viewer (a popular 3rd party viewer used to access Second Life) claiming that it was banned from SL and using it could potentially lead to your account being suspended or even terminated... Say what?

Since I know that the rumor mill is a vicious tool and can take forever to stop turning, I've decided to share what I know, based on the official statements from the Emerald Viewer Development Team, and information from the blog posts on the Modular Systems website. Read on so you can know what I know, and then make your own decisions regarding the situation...

By the time I logged off of SL Monday night, there was what I can only describe as budding mass paranoia regarding Emerald's 'legal viewer' standing. Rumors spanned from the mild 'uninstall and change your password' to the more extreme 'anyone caught using this viewer will be suspended or banned from Second Life'. Mass hysteria was sparked and caught fire quickly causing many people to panic and uninstall Emerald Viewer and tell their friends to do the same. I can understand the reaction... but I have one question for all of those people... Did any of you stop for a minute and even attempt to find an official statement regarding the issue from Linden Labs first? I'm rather doubtful on that as nothing came from LL until today (Tuesday) and it was

Here's where I'm at with the whole thing... I heard the rumors I got a few of the paranoia notecards... I did not remove Emerald Viewer from my computer. What I did do was log into SL on my Emerald Viewer, open up my Emerald Group chat, and get the skinny from their side. I also embarked on my own journey searching for some official statement from Linden Labs. What I came up with throughout the day was this:
  • Emerald Viewer is currently removed from the TVPD (Third Party Viewer Directory) due to actions by recently departed Fractured Crystal from the Emerald Developers team, the related blog entry can be found here.
  • Following his voluntary step down from the team and the disassociation of the Emerald Viewer from Modular Systems, there was a restructuring of the development team which has been described I think fairly well here.
  • The Developers of Emerald, as well as the Support Team have been rather open regarding what's been going on, in my personal opinion, issuing statements both on the blog and in the inworld group, answering questions in the group chat as they come in.
  • The TVPD listing is completely voluntary on the part of Emerald, they've chosen to reapply for inclusion on the page as an approved 3rd party viewer.
  • There was a public statement released in the Emerald Group related to the issue, included was an explanation of where they were at with everything, specifically mentioning the why's of their removal from the TVPD, what changes they were making in their development and team policies, and not once making excuses about what happened. If anyone would like to read it themselves, I will happily share upon request. However, you can get a great idea of what happened by listening to this interview.  
  • With the severing of ties between Fractured Crystal/Modular Systems and Emerald, the introduction of a fresh website for the Emerald faithful to redirect their bookmarks to has come out of the ashes.

Today, Phillip Linden issued a statement which was also sent out to many SL resident's email accounts addressing the events that led up to Emerald's removal from the TVPD listing as an approved viewer. In this statement he references the actions which Fractured Crystal has taken responsibility for, and mentions that LL is in contact with the current Emerald team regarding the issues. He also mentions that although Emerald is the focus of the current attention, that all 3rd party viewers are held to the same standards (for approved TVPD listing). He states that at this time (pay attention people), "We have not yet disabled logins via the Emerald viewer, but will do so if we feel the software and team behind it is not able to meet the standards we've set." The side of me that isn't cynical would also like to believe that his statement encouraging people to (naturally) consider using an official LL viewer or one of the other TVPD approved listed 3rd party viewers isn't biased, although at least part of it appears to be.

Before we go further, those who know me, know I'm an avid Emerald user, so yes, generally speaking I am personally biased. My first 3rd party viewer was the now outdated Gemini viewer, and I was so excited about all the new options that it provided me, as well as less lag and faster rezzing, that I was faithful to the viewer from that point on. When the developer announced he'd no longer be updating the viewer and instead would join the Emerald team I scoffed at it, I had never used Emerald and I wanted my Gemini. I did acquiesce and downloaded and installed Emerald and what I found was a new 3rd party viewer that I really did enjoy using, and now hate the idea of doing without. I am now Emerald faithful and with the current situation going on, I'd rather find out as much information as I possibly can before I run away screaming. I'd like to think I've made a good go at it, and hopefully a good go at sharing what I've found out.

My personal closing thoughts are if you use Emerald and are happy with it, please continue to enjoy it. If you have questions, please join the inworld group which you can find in my SL profile, as I find the support staff to be a great group of people, as well as quite a few very helpful and knowledgeable regular users. Most importantly, if you're not comfortable using Emerald right now, please do check out one of the other 3rd party viewers or even one of the official viewers, as I feel that being comfortable with the viewer you use to be very important to your SL experience.

For those who are current Emerald users, there is a new beta version out, I'm sharing the links to the currently available builds here:
For Windows 32bit users: http://www.emeraldviewer.net/box/Emerald_Viewer_1.5.0.2573.exe
For Windows 64bit users: http://www.emeraldviewer.net/box/Emerald_Viewer_1.5.0.2573_x64.exe
For Linux users: http://www.emeraldviewer.net/box/EmeraldViewer-i686-
For Mac users: It's in the works (Sorry *sadface*)

Until something else inspires me to ramble, and thank you for reading... Krisy