5 days and counting…

October 26, 2008 - Leave a Response

That is how long it has taken us to sign up one 14 year old on Second Life Teen Grid.  Unbelieveable and possibly the reason so little growth has been seen in the TG the past year.  The registration process keeps failing after ‘verification’, which is in itself rather weird as they expect a 14 year old to have either their own physical phone number (US / Canada only) or their own PayPal account.  Sooo we telephone LL on that fantastic number they display on the Second Life website, only to be told we should be submitting a ‘ticket’… How in the world would any new player, and more so an under-18 smell this from the usual registration process on the site, where this is NOT mentioned at all.  It has been harrowing to say the least.  Lindens, wake up and FIX this asap please!!!!  Teen Grid will continue to grow stale and die at this rate!  Why cant we have a simple registration process for the Teen Grid that involves a check or two and gets the account live!  O, and faxing or scanning/emailing a birth certificate has not added any resolution to the matter either, urghhhhh!!!

7 DAYS AND COUNTING…. Unbelievably a very accented (German) telephone support person told our potential Teen Grid resident that she will need to download a whole new browser, called AVANT apparently, before the registration will work correctly, as Firefox and IE do not work for some reason… How is this possible and how can LL be happy to have such support for a product that they have been pushing and pushing for years now?  Surely they wish to grow the Teen Grid, and surely they know that without streamlined signups kids just do not have the patience to stick with them whilst they take this long to approve that registration?   Download a whole NEW browser just to register….

Second Life Profiles rock!

September 12, 2008 - One Response

Heya everyone, for those of you who do not yet have my profile details on SLP you can find it here: http://www.slprofiles.com/slprofiles.asp?id=7063

SLP is a really cool social site for SL members and a lot of fun with all its tools and stuff.  If you’re not on you’re missing out on something.  Pop in, create your profile and let me know so I can add you as my friends 🙂  Who knows I may even send you some hugs every now and then 😉

Heather Goodliffe responds to ‘Scripters, designers, creators – what right?’

September 12, 2008 - One Response

I am posting here the complete response from Heather Goodliffe to my previous post ‘Scripters, designers, creators – what right?’.  I asked Heather for her comments to my post and she very kindly responded with a clear and balanced comment that I felt should be shared as it is:

‘Excellent post Dumi!  Thanks for the invitation to respond as well.

My general perspective is the following:

There are those in the world who bring us novelty with their creativity, testing the boundaries of what’s possible, usually motivated by their passions to do so. 

On the other end are people who may lack faith in their own creativity or for whatever reason or another choose not to employ it and instead are perhaps looking for a quick buck by copying the works of others.  As it unfortunately turns out, the least principled of these people may even try to verbally diminish the work they’ve been duplicating and attempt to manipulate people’s negative emotions get them to buy their stuff instead.

Most people I’ve found would happily focus on their own novel creations if it paid the bills, however to be honest I’ve occasionally been inclined myself when I see a top seller on SLX to think, “I could totally do that.”  (Incidentally people first started copying my work when it first showed up in the most popular items on SLX.)  I also know its especially tempting when you’ve left a decent paying job to focus on the work you’ve done in SL and you’re trying to make sure you can get the bills paid. 

Principles aside however, I think the real question is, who’s best interest is it for people to support.  On the one hand you can support the people who did the initial hard work bringing their years of experience to bear and suffering through much trail and error and jumping through many SL hoops to create something different and new.  On the other hand, you can support the people who put more effort into reverse engineer or even directly copy other’s work as best they can and add their own flourishes and call it their own, possibly selling it for cheaper since it didn’t require as much work for them upfront to copy what already exists.

Bottom line, buying copied or reverse engineered items reduces everyone’s incentive to experiment and create new things.  (Especially if it’s so bad you can’t pay the bills, creating new things becomes no longer economically viable no matter how passionate the creator is about it.)  If you’d like to see more wonderful things in SL and RL, than I believe its important to support original content creators and steer clear of the imitators.

I wholeheartedly agree with Dumi on the point that there’s nothing wrong with competition to create things better than they are now and bring new ideas to the table.  In that respect, I think most people already know I’m also happy to work with anyone who has something to contribute to surfing in Second Life rather than trying to duplicate what already exists first.

Unfortunately, my trust in people has been a little bit damaged by certain people who have pretended to want to work with us and then turn around with the knowledge we give them and duplicate the work we’ve done.  Lessons learned however, and I’m still open to working with people and making sure that everyone benefits fairly in doing so!

Last but not least, I just want to say I have a tremendous respect and appreciation for the surf community in SL.  So many talented people have come together to make it happen including people like Dumi and VW who devote so much of their time and resources to provide awesome places to surf.  I’ve been blessed with the time I have been able to dedicate to my passions by being apart of it!

Thanks Again!

~HG~

See you on the waves!’

SUP Surfing – Whooooootttttttttt!!!!

September 11, 2008 - Leave a Response

Hiya everyone! I’m so bummed about missing out on SL life at the moment.  I cannot wait to fix things up with LL and get back inworld asap!

But I’m being spoiled in RL.  A good friend of mine is introducing me to SUP surfing on Big Bay in Blouberg, Cape Town, South Africa – Whoooottttt!  To those who do not know what SUP is, it stands for Stand Up Paddle surfing, and it is a brand new sport with lots of innovation happening just now – reminds me so much of where we were with Windsurfing and Kitesurfing in the beginning days of each of those sports.

I’m hoping to hit the water this weekend to see how it’s done, and we will be introducing a whole series of videos for you all to see and buy in-world soon to show you too how it is done!  Watch this space 😉

Scripters, designers, creators, what right?

August 29, 2008 - Leave a Response

I have been really concerned lately about some issues that keep cropping up in SL and in particular in the surf community.  V has covered the politics, so I thought I would share a little about the issues that bother me other than politics.

I love the designers, creators and scripters in SL, who made the world what it is today, and who give us such enjoyment, such fulfillment in SL.  Each of these individuals took the time to plan something, to draft it, to design it, to test it, and finally to release it to us all.  Many or most sell those creations of theirs as is their right.

I think it is important to realize that SL is NOT a game in the slightest.  It is a commercial platform that offers entertainment to some and creative expression for others, but it costs money, a LOT of money. I have already shared with you all just what the Resort has cost us since creation (over US$25,000) and many many other residents who own land have paid many more US$ to bring us the beauty and diversity we see in SL today.

Now for many designers the product becomes their livelihood even in RL, that supports them on a full time basis so that they can focus on bringing us even more wonderful products and scripts.  For them protecting their interests is a serious concern and hence we have many products sold with no permissions other that Transfer OR Copy.  Few sell their products with Modify rights these days, and when you do buy such a product treat that permission as a privilege afforded to you by the creator of the product. Do not abuse it!

This is where I am very concerned at the moment about our surf products.  I am in agreement that the wonderful products created by Heather and Seb have been directly responsible for the most amazing virtual surf environment ever in SL.  Without those products we would not be here enjoying surfing as we have.  I know that the closeness of the product range has frustrated some too, and this is understandable as the products have not reduced much in price over time and the scripts have not been written for others to manipulate (all very much Heather and Seb’s right by the way).  I wholly agree that this closeness has encouraged others who are able to rethink how scripts in waves and surfboards/windsurfers/kites may work and to try their own hand in developing a new range of products.  After all competition will only benefit the surfing community.

What I am concerned about, and very much against, is the similarity of some products to the current HG line of products and it especially worries me when some of the creators of ‘new’ wave and board products had in their possession HG products with MOD rights.  I am not pointing fingers at anyone, but I want to make this very clear.  I am AGAINST any product illegally based on someone else’s hard work and innovation!  If designers take the time to develop their own products from the ground up, I am 100% behind them.  However, if that designer had scripted objects from a HG product line with MOD rights, and their own products are not very dissimilar to HG’s line of products, I for one will be HIGHLY suspicious of the authenticity of the new product range!

I am not saying all this in support of a monopoly.  I too have my doubts about the costs of current wave and board products, and the limited access to more innovation in them because of their closeness.  I am not a mouthpiece for HG either, dang, I only wish I had more contact with her on a daily basis, but I barely speak to her once a term.  I am just stating here that as far as Dumisani Ah is concerned, though wholly supporting new innovations and creations based on fresh approaches and built from the ground up, I am drawing the line for me personally on supporting new product lines that seem cloned from the current line of surf products in SL.  If I have a doubt about a product’s origin or authenticity, I will remove that product from the Resort and will ban anyone associated with it!

However, if you are a designer wishing to make your own line of products and you have taken the time, like HG and Seb did all that many months ago, to study RL waves and board action, and then taken the time to try and replicate those in your own original way in your own original product line you will have my wholehearted congratulations and support!

My home, a peaceful fun and fantastic place!

August 24, 2008 - Leave a Response

Many of you may not know me well, and may not know where I live in Second Life. Those that do know just how crazy I am about all of you, and the fantastic friendship we have all developed there. So for those who don’t but who wish to be a part of a warm and friendly group of crazy people, let me explain.

I live in an estate called Bishara Resorts. An estate is a group of regions or islands, and in our case our estate or ‘Resort’ consists of 6 islands, two residential/commercial, one commercial/environmental and three for surf/windsurf/sail only. They are Bishara Island, the oldest and the heart of the resort, Bahati and Mandhari Islands our residential and commercial islands, and Majini Island, one of the most popular and famous surfing beaches in Second Life. We have two lighter weight or ‘void’ islands for surfing/windsurfing/kitesurfing and they are Pepo Island or the Island of winds, and Wimbi Island or the Island of waves.

Its one thing to have a beautiful environment, but somehow many of those would be completely useless if not filled with people. Well, I have to say that, though we are not an adult site or a gambling site or a camping site, we have that fantastic crowd of regulars that make living there so worthwhile! No amount of building, landscaping or scripting can make up for people, and in Bishara Resorts we have the people!

This posting is a tribute to those people, who make living in the resort so worthwhile, who are always there 24/7. I cannot remember a day that I have logged in this past year that someone in the group did not pop up to say hello on my arrival. There is something about that that makes everything we went through and are going through worthwhile. If you miss the same in your place of living, whether RL or SL, pop over to the resort islands. I can promise you that, even without all the activities and beauty of the place, the people will make you come back again and again!

I’m a little frustrated right now…

August 13, 2008 - Leave a Response

Hiya everyone, okay, serious problem.  I’m traveling at the moment in Africa and realized two days ago that Linden Lab have suspended my account. No, not big mean LL, they had good reason as I suddenly had US$500 owed to them that was not automatically settled by my bank.  What a mess!  I have been talking to their accounts departments for over two weeks about the problem that may have caused this unpaid amount, but it seems there may be two different departments who handle these issues and though one has been talking with me in a very understanding way the other decided to suspend my account.  So in my absence please IM VW Sands with any problems that you may have until such time that I can sort this out and get back in-world.

Best regards,

Dumi

My SL life continued…

August 9, 2008 - Leave a Response

I wanted to write an update to my previous post of my future in SL.  I have now just hit the first deficits in owing Linden Lab money since my new employer only pays me at the end of August.  Sadly it seems we will receive no compensation from the old company for whom I used to work, as there is simply no funds there at all.  Despite being in the red with Linden Lab I have been treated exceptionally well.  I have been trying to pay my way using my AMEX card, but for some reason keep getting declined though it still has a balance on it to easily cover the deficit amount.

Linden Lab could have cut my personal access to SL easily and have not done so.  Instead I have been treated only with respect and understanding when explaining my problem to them.  This must be mentioned because so many blog entries involving SL mention only the negatives about Linden Lab.  I want to state here that my experience thus far regarding this issue has been contrary to everything I have heard or read before, and it has been a pleasant experience.

So now to the good news: we have managed to get the resort to a financial position where the tiers, rentals and stores pay over US$800 of the +-US$1,200 it costs to run the resort these days, so we only have a shortfall now of +-US$400 per month.  VW Sands and I are working on a way to have this amount subsidized through a council of residents who will become co-owners or an outside sponsor from the RL surf scene.  Please keep us in mind as these next few weeks are critical for the future of the resort.

Finally – if you have any ideas to help the resort financially, feel free to IM VW or myself any time.  We will do what it takes without resorting to adult or gambling entertainment in-world 😉

Second Life lsl scripts for free use

August 4, 2008 - Leave a Response

I have launched a little tool on Bishara Resorts’s blog that allows us to freely share some script ideas.  Right now there are only 3 little scripts for everyone to download and use in Second Life, but I will load as many as I have under the various open use licenses that govern them.  If you need any help with any one of them I am always available in-world to assist you.  Enjoy!

BMW leaves Second Life!

July 31, 2008 - Leave a Response

Wow, another bit of sad news, though maybe not as bad as some these days.  BMW announced it will withdraw from Second Life.  Interesting, lots of debate about what they were doing there in the first place, but for me it is just again a reminder to Linden Lab that residents who have put blood sweat and tears into creating ventures in Second Life at their own cost, and not sponsored, are a better long term investment that fickle corporates who have very little loyalty to the world as we know it.

See more here