Friday, September 20, 2013

Sitting with my pink prim

A cute little pink prim has been living in my house for almost a couple weeks now, quietly monitoring various statistics for the region Bay City - Dennis. "Pinkie" – formally known as Ansi's Performance Prim (and available from Ansi Soderstrom here by subscription) – would have been very helpful back in the day when I helped out the the Isle of Lesbos for she (yes, like cars, ships, and airplanes, the prim is a girl) tracks various data points from the sim such as prim usage, frame rate, traffic (the number of visitors in a given time period), and more, all of which is then reported on a secure Web site (see below).

Estate managers will love this. For example, by knowing a region's "natural" performance peaks and lulls event planners can see what times might be best to stage events. In the same vein, access to detailed traffic numbers can be used to judge how well said events were received. Did traffic drop shortly after the DJ started a Cantonese Bluegrass set at quarter past the hour? Just drag over the little time span box below the graph to "zoom in" on the data.

This view lets me see how busy Bay City - Dennis was during the Thursday night "Rumble" car race and compare it to the general performance of the region as shown by the red Frames Per Second Line. There was some peak lag and I can see where the sim emptied of racers during the legs that crossed into adjacent regions. I can guess that the sim crossings caused the lag spikes. By mousing over data points I can even see the names of those present. Imagine being able to tag griefers by name!

The panel above contains useful information should an Estate Owner/Manager need to contact Concierge Services about issues with the region, in particular the last date/time the region was restarted and the sever information.

Pinkie is alone in my world but an Estate Owner/Manager could put out one on each region to be monitored and reported on the Web. Unlike some systems I've seen, there's no need to teleport to the reporting prim for information. In fact, there's no need to log into Second Life at all. This also reduces the total Land Impact (LI) needed compared to some systems (I saw one the other day when I was exploring it was something like 20 LI as it rezzed prims as needed for various data points).

This is a Beta service for now but it is working very, very well so far. The cubed needed to be replaced once when the monitoring site was suffered a DDoS attack. And there was one update when Ansi found a minor bug (which I never noticed).

The update process was amusing. I dropped the updater on the ground and it zipped about to find Pinkie. After a couple moments the crosshairs disappeared and a Torley Linden-themed sphere orbited Pinkie for a few more moments then de-rezzed itself upon update completion.
Ansi plans additional features, too: Memory usage by avatar; E-mail alerts based on activity; Ban list control; and "onethousandtwentyfourandahalf other features" to come. Of course, Ansi's exceptional customer service (she proactively contacted me several times) and all these features aren't free. As I mentioned, this is a subscription service but the cost is very low at L$250/week ($1.32 USD as of this writing ... less than a cup of coffee).

Yes, Pinkie is quite the gadget. Regular readers know I don't normally review products (full disclosure: Ansi sent a demo unit to me) but Ansi's Performance Prim is certainly an item I will tell my friends about. Any Estate Owner/Manager will find this tool helpful and well worth the investment.


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