Picture Peril and The Curse of the Broken Links
Written by Awportals.com
The latest release of the Activeworlds 4.3 shows up the lost nature of Activeworlds builds.

Several builds ago problems encountered with the GDI+ graphics library forced Activeworlds, Inc to implement a completely new image processing subsystem in the Activeworlds browser, then known as 4.2. These changes were brought about due to a complicated memory corruption problem which itself was brought about by incorrect exception handling within the native GDI library.

As part of the upgrades to this module the browser also began showing failed downloads for external URLs as used in the create picture command making it possible to easily see how many of the tens of thousands of external picture links have ceased to function since they were originally built.

Standing at Alphaworld Ground Zero yields no less than 25 failed picture downloads - the majority of which originate from a single server, showing just how heavily dependant some buildings are on single external sources which frequently end up without maintenance or, in the case of free providers, suspended and closed - leaving the 3D environment in a haze of static pictures.

[limg]http://host.awportals.com/chronicles/20090907_brokenlink.jpg[/limg]Perhaps the hardest hit area as a result of broken picture links is the AWGate picture gallery ironically located in Alphaworld (14751S 14967E).

The gallery was originally created by Modred as far back as 2000 and provides evidence that, as hard as it is to believe, there have been hot women in the AWGate over the years - with prime examples being Natalie Nardone and Kaia. There is also much evidence to the contrary as you may expect.

Sitting in the area and letting it load for just 5 minutes yields at least 500 errors and a lot of fog. Modred has done a remarkable job in retaining a large number of pictures, however the area suffers greatly from the user created pavilions where 3rd party hosting is used on now defunct providers such as Angelfire.

The question now is what, if anything, should be done with the many tens of thousands of broken images - options include having a Bot crawl them and alter their picture commands to point to a generic filler (instead of snow), browser modifications to allow a world defined default, or no changes at all.

Do you know of an area that has been particularly badly hit by the loss of external picture resources? Let us known in the comments section (must be signed in).

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