As people may have noticed from my Twitter feed, I now have a new computer. However, this system was purchased with a loan from a private investor that I do have to pay back, so although I’m not in dire need of funds, I’ll be leaving the donation button in the sidebar till I am solvent.
Now that I have a working system, I’ll be able to get things moving along with SL5B :-)
Like a lot of people, I feel a bit odd about asking for charity. But there comes a time in a geek’s life when he has to swallow his pride and ask for help.
The past several weeks I’ve been unable to get in-world, so I’ve been making little if no progress on the alert request service. I have however been able to work on the semantic world.secondlife.com replacement. One of the topics that came up in my rants, conversations & internal dialogue was how the notes feature is similar to the feature request that the alert request service be able to leave notes on Residents and the requests they’d triggered.
At one of Everett Linden’s recent Office Hours, I’d ranted about how useless the current implementation of Linden Lab’s “notes” feature was. One of the reason why it (along with the rest of the in-world data) is useless is that you can only view or edit the information from inside the viewer.
While the alert request service is pretty much an internal thing- in the sense that you can only use it from within the website- call has been made to allow people to respond to calls directly through the viewer (and not via uBrowser). So it would be nice to not force users of the service to interact with it in a single way.
So here’s what I’m thinking. Why not use existing blogging interfaces to allow Residents to remotely create and modify their notes and picks ? To do this, I’ll be attempting to implement an XML-RPC interface- similar to those used by all the well known blogging platforms. What this means is that instead of being forced to log onto the site to leave a note or creating a custom API for LSL scripts to talk to, I’ll be offering an established API so people can use their existing remote blogging tools to access and modify the information.
Unfortunately for the SL picks, this’ll be a little tricky. Linden Lab doesn’t provide any unique identifiers for picks, so forking existing picks data onto the blog-esque system may prove troublesome. Another thing is that since I don’t use libSL and I don’t ask for your Second Life passwords, you won’t be able to edit existing picks or access existing notes from inside the viewer. However, if the experiment is a success, it may prompt Linden Lab to stop partying like it’s 1999 and open up the data to the outside world. Or hire me to do fix it :-P (one can only dream)
Now that we’re starting to increase our efforts regarding SL5B, the old email address published in various sources as a means of contacting me regarding SL4B is now closed, so if you need to contact me regarding SL4B you’ll have to use other channels of communication.
Over the weekend I discovered that the Linden Lab webmap API is giving out rather odd results- it’s showing the same region existing in a couple hundred different places at once, which is of course a technical impossibility.
Because of this, the Linden Lab webmap API can be considered unreliable and unfortunately since I’m using the LL webmap API as a data source, this means my results could be considered contaminated (as is anyone else’s data that uses the LL webmap API).
I let Yoz Linden know about it during Tuesday’s meeting, and I’ve also filed a bug (WEB-473) in the public SL JIRA.
To give people a better idea of how long the exhaustive grid search query takes, I’ve set up a twitter feed for MN:SL and added the feed as an RSS Widget on this blog.
I’m hoping this will illustrate why Linden Lab need to beef up their WebMap API (or hire me to fix it :-P)
Since the grid search query is going to take a while to complete and most of my projects are either being held up by the query or something else (if there’s a project I’ve forgotten about, please remind me!), I thought I’d use up one of my PHP5 Certification practice exam credits.
Things I failed
- Database Access
- PHP4/5 Differences
Things I passed
- String manipulation and regular expressions
- Streams and Network Programming
Thing I got an “Excellent” rating on
- Basic Language
- XML & Web Services
- Web Features
The overall result was a Pass, but there were some things that surprised me:
- Failing Arrays– how do I fail one of the most basic concepts in PHP ? Looks like I’ll have to brush up on that.
- Passing Streams and Network programming– I don’t generally work with streams & sockets– although I have thought about glueing libSL to PHP via a secondlife:// stream :-)
- Excelling in Design– WTF?– knowing the theory of design concepts is probably why I excelled in design, but it’s not something I would’ve predicted
The two things I would like to improve upon are the Database & Streams areas of PHP5- if anyone can recommend a good book or two that focus on the subject, I’d be grateful; One could argue I should focus on the differences between PHP4 and PHP5, but since PHP4 is nearing the end of it’s life cycle, I’d prefer to focus on current elements of PHP- leaving the differences between PHP4 & PHP5 to when I work on PHP4-based applications (WordPress/Mu/bbPress etc).
Over the new year, I exhaustively searched the grid within the confines of the size of the grid as my database was aware (e.g. the query didn’t check outside the minimum and maximum boundaries). Afterwards, I generated and posted several images of the Agni grid.
In an effort to improve the data provided by my version of Linden Lab’s Webmap API, I’ve expanded the area of the search to cover what is probably a more complete area- which comes up to just over 26.5 million acres. This more expansive query should give me an idea of how often I should be running other queries- for example, if it takes a week to finish an exhaustive search, then exhaustive searches and minor queries (getting region parcels, compositing map images) would alternate on a weekly basis.