Saturday, September 24, 2011

Something Fishy

I have these tropical fish swimming around in several places at Masocado. They’re made by a very clever resident, Supa Shang. The fish are “temp rez”. You put out a little cube object that contains examples of the fish, and every few seconds, a new one is created and it swims away, cruising at random within an area you designate. After a minute, the fish disappears, but that’s not a problem, because others have taken its place.

At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. But a couple of days ago, Linden Lab updated the server software (Le Tigre channel) that runs the Masocado region. Suddenly, my fish no longer swim about. They rez normally, but they are stuck in their original position. As fish stack up atop each other, they (well, the server, actually) send me error messages.

I was able to verify the problem was the server software by taking the fish to another region and trying them there. They worked fine.

So…I submitted a bug report to the Second Life JIRA bug reporting and tracking system. Today I got an email from the system. Maestro Linden had closed my report, saying that it duplicated another one. Now, I would not have minded this so much, except for the attitude Linden Lab displays here…it’s so typical of them. I know Maestro is a pretty good person, and works hard to manage the JIRA…so this is not exactly a criticism of him personally. But here is what I, as a customer, felt as a result of this experience.
  • LL is telling me I’m at fault for submitting a problem report that’s already been submitted. “Stupid woman, if you had looked more thoroughly you’d have seen we already knew about this.”
  • There was no link to the duplicate issue. If I want to see what, if anything, is being done about it, I’ll have to go look it up myself.
  • There is no hint of when a fix will be made, or if one ever will be made.
  • There is no hint of any apology. “We’re sorry we broke your content.”
There’s also the matter that the bug affects not only fish, but ANY moving physical object. Weapons won’t work in my region, coconuts won’t fall from the palm trees.

To rub salt in the wound, other regions are working fine…this affects only MY land, and others that use the Le Tigre software version. Why can’t LL just toss this buggy crap and run my server on one of the software versions that’s working correctly? Isn’t that why they have multiple versions, so if one release is bad, the others can be used until the problem’s fixed?

Well, so what? you snort. That’s the way LL always is. Yes, I know…but…

The Phoenix/Firestorm viewer developer team has a JIRA too. The SAME bug tracking software. It’s nearly as hard to navigate as LL’s JIRA (not quite, because its data base is not as large). But I like the Phoenix JIRA. When I submit a bug report there, I get a response. The response is timely and friendly. They don’t make me feel like an idiot, even if the “problem” I reported was actually a Really Dumb User Error. If the problem turns out to be a real bug, they tell me how soon they think it will be fixed (“scheduled for version 3, Release 26.2”). If they need more information, they say so (“I couldn’t duplicate the problem. Could you please try X, Y, and Z and get back to me?”). There is a sense that everyone…the developers and the users together…are working as a team to make the viewer better.

Two groups of people, using the same problem reporting software. And yet, what a world of difference between the end results.

[September 29 Udate:  Last night's server software rollout cured my paralyzed fish.  Thank you, LL, at least that did not take too long!}

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