Immersive Education Meeting – Deja vu – Down Again

It was like a psychedelic flashback (literally, given the venue for today’s meeting) when I logged into SL late to the Immersive Education meeting. The meeting was on “High resolution avatars, objects, and environments”. It was supposed to start at 1:00pm PDT/SL. I logged in at 1:20pm to the above empty scene. Aaron Walsh was there when I asked “Is it over already?” as my avatar rezzed. He responded that the grid was again having problems, just like the last scheduled meeting a few weeks back.

The message on the SL Blog was:

“[1:02 pm Pacific] Logins have temporarily been restricted to staff-only as Operations addresses a slowdown in the asset system. We’ve also broadcast a request in world for residents who are currently logged in to refrain from manipulating or transferring assets. We’ll have more info ASAP.”

Aaron said that he was not able to log in for half an hour. I guess he had just come online a few minutes before I had. Messages from many members were coming in that they were unable to log in (I guess I was one of the lucky ones). The theater where the meeting was being held needed to be operated by the owner, who was also unable to log in. They ended up having to cancel the meeting. At 1:35pm a message popped up that said the issues had been resolved:

“[UPDATE 1:35pm Pacific] Logins are open, and the asset system has returned to full functionality. Please be patient when logging in, as the login queue will be processing a high volume of requests for the next few minutes.”

It was then that people started to log in to the parcel (a persistent group that had waited almost 40 minutes to log in).

We ended up having a good impromptu meeting discussing down times on the SL grid, the possibilities of running our own SL server for these meetings, and the alternative of running some other platform (like Sun Wonderland) for meetings in the future. The one thing that everyone agreed on was that these recurring downtimes were not good, and that many of us have others in our offices to watch these meetings who are still on the fence as to the viability of this technology for education. Having large planned meetings fail due to down times does not instill confidence in these people. Aaron pointed out that recently the grid has been having major problems about every other day.

Aaron gave out a link to many of the videos that were going to be used today: http://immersiveeducation.org/events

This is yet another example of the issues that are plaguing the Second Life platform, and preventing it from moving up to the next level. We’ve more or less been stuck at this point for about a year now. There have been no major advances in stabilizing the grid, and if anything it has become more unpredictable over the past few months. The concurrent user maximum has not moved significantly in the past year, only moving from about 50,000 up to 60,000. With that increase has come additional instability issues. I’m wondering how much longer the residents of Second Life are going to grin and bear it with these problems, especially when they start disrupting large planned events.

You expect to bleed a little with cutting edge technologies, but you can only lose so much blood before you start questioning the source of pain.

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