I havent been around for a while…

I miss Bish so much! I have to say these last few months since LL closed us down, I have been very much in mourning, and driven by a horrible guilt loaded with shame for dropping so many wonderful friends by losing the resort like that.  I have finally made my peace with the loss though, but I still miss just dropping out of RL into paradise and living the dream that was Bishara, Majini, Bahati, Mandhari, Pepo and Wimbi Islands.

That said it was always the people who made Bish what it was, not even the waves, the environment or the sounds.  So I was overjoyed when I heard from a friend of mine that there has been some new sims with a similar feeling, full of echoes of the past, but soaked in a much brighter future!  So seeing how it has affected him so positively to be again in a sim where the old friends have all found a new home, I have decided to write a final post here to help you all find this new paradise. If you see any of the old team there, send them my fondest regards.  I still dream of my return, and as soon as my RL avatar’s ship finally comes in, I will be back and then I too will hope to call this new place my home!


Ripped off surfing products!

Hiya Bisharians!

Hey, take a moment and read ‘http://dumisworld.wordpress.com/2008/09/12/heather-goodliffe-responds-to-scripters-designers-creators-what-right/

Excellent comment from Heather Goodliffe about the work she and Seb have done for surfing in SL, and her fears about copied work and dishonest operators, in response to my own piece on the matter.  Let’s get behind the efforts to clean up the surfing product offerings in SL by purchasing only from designers who honour their agreements with creators like HG and Seb, and let’s encourage innovative new designers who clearly have not ripped off someone else’s designs.  I always find voting with your wallet works wonders 🙂

New Mono fix rolling out this week!

Hiya Bisharians.  Hey, the Lindens are rolling out a new fix for a serious Mono glitch that caused scripts to crash completely (unrecoverable) suddenly and randomly.  A problem with C# too complex to explain here, but at least the more experienced coders / scripters in Second Life will be testing the fix to make sure it’s all sorted out for us.

This post is simply to warn everyone that the patch will be rolled out through the next few days so if anything strange happens just let VW Sands know and he should be able to sort out surfboards and waves that act weird in any way 🙂

Ode to the Sidewinder of Lindens…

Ok, this is not quite an ode, or you would be bored out of your mind.. I’m really not good at the roses are red, violets are blue, can I have another shoe… sort of thing, so this is more of a tribute.

Reading Tauri Tigerpaw’s excellent interview with Sidewinder Linden (http://surfwatch.blogspot.com/) reminded me of just how impressed I was with this Linden’s responses after H4 rolled out. Other than Torley Linden, I don’t think I can remember any other Linden who responded so much and in so much detail on the public SL blog (blog.secondlife.com) as Sidewinder did.

So here’s to you, Sidewinder, a special tribute from Bishara Resorts to a man-av who knows the value of good PR lies in responding to customers, regardless the trivialness of the issue at hand! Not that Havoc 4 was trivial, not in the least. So this tribute also goes to you for doing the impossible and doing it damn well. So ok, you missed that there was this whole creative community of SL residents that were negatively impacted by H4 and you were led to believe waves in SL were just cosmetic, but at least once you realized your mistakes you came through and started communicating with us all, and that is all we ask. O, yes, and maybe that we first check out the impact of any future upgrades of Havoc on the Beta grid until we know that we won’t turn surfers into submariners again 🙂

And if it was not for you, Sidewinder, and your team, Dumisani Ah would not be able to cross sim borders and remain blond and shoe’d!

Cheers to you, Sidewinder Linden!

Bishara’s reefs – the real story…

When you arrive in Bishara and its sims or islands, it will strike you that we use an interesting blue texture for the base water texture of the land and that we spend a lot of time and effort building virtual reefs all around. In fact we support Splash and Kaikou Splash, and many other SL sea-life creators extensively for very good reasons.
Although Bishara means ‘commerce’ in Swahili (Biashara), it also means ‘blessing’ in Arabic, and it is intended to mean both these two things within SL for us for a very good reason. In the resort we are trying to excite SL residents about their ocean life and the fantastic creations that SL artists and creators are putting out into the SL community every day, and we do this because we too find such wonderful creativity in Second Life’s tools and we like you to see just what can be achieved by using them like Kaikou Splash and others do.

However we also try and excite you about these fantastic creations because they showcase in a very limited fashion what you and I can experience in RL (real life) almost every single day if we live near a body of water, or at least every time we visit the ocean or a lake or a waterside resort. Life in water is absolutely amazing and the color of our base texture, the blue you see there, comes directly from a modified picture of a reef in real life. It is our way of linking Bishara with RL almost from the word go, as you land in Bishara it is the colour that first strikes you as odd. And it reflects our passion – to showcase the beauty that the sea and water in general has in its diverse life and diverse environments.

SL cannot begin to truly reflect this beauty yet, but we feel it is one place where we can show you from the comfort of your home just how wonderful water based, or sea-life or aquatic life can be, and it is our particular interest to use Bishara Resorts as a springboard for our residents and visitors to visit real life establishments that work so much harder than us to conserve the stunning world under the waters and seas of this planet of ours. So we are rolling out over the next few months project after project to showcase this to you all and to direct you to a real life experience reflecting each new SL project we do.

Starting in November you will be able to see how scuba works by diving in Majini under the powerful Epic waves there, and to experience first hand what happens when a dive goes wrong, how the results are treated, what makes for safe scuba experiences and so on.

In November we are also launching our first attempt at a virtual fish counting experience for residents, and this will showcase the efforts made by REEF.org in real life fish counting projects around the world and their hard work at preserving our future aquatic heritage. – See my Reef.org post just above.

Month after month Bishara will be rolling out project after project that will showcase someone in RL’s efforts in as near as we can in SL, so that you as our residents and visitors can have the best virtual experience of what it takes to conserve this planet of ours and in particular the underwater world we dont always see, but that is essential to our life here on Earth.

Bishara Resorts Financial Report

Some of you have asked me what it has cost me to date to develop the resort as it is today, and though I do not have the exact costs on hand I will explain briefly in a summary:
1. Bishara Resorts is made up of four islands or sims (simulators) that each cost me USD1675.00 per island and then cost USD295.00 per month in tier fee per island.
2. Bishara Island has a mall on it, built by myself and stocked mostly through a wholeselling deal with designers, again at my cost. The stock in the mall for example would be well over L$100,000.00 in stock purchases that have remained UNSOLD or still inside the vendors. The bowling alley was purchased from Iron Games and cost approx L$15,000, and the fish in the aquirium were also bought in-world, although I do not have the cost for that. On the top floor or roof area we housed a Tringo game before gaming was banned that cost approx L$20,000.
3. Bishara has many other activities like the golf course, the diving and reef areas, the fishing areas, the spa, and the waves and animals all around. The cost of the development of these open areas again is well over L$150,000 since the start of the first island, and may well be over L$200,000 by now.
4. Majini’s EPIC waves cost L$82,000 and are also free for use to residents and visitors.

So even in the roughest estimates the capital costs of the project to date, not including lost inventory (an old SL problem), amounts to USD 8,250.00, with a further USD 1180 per month just in tier fees, and not including maintenance or object replacement or the time we put into the project.

One last thing for those in the USA and the Americas who make such calous comments to EU citizens on the VAT blogs like ‘get over it’ or ‘stop crying about it’ and so on, just work out what 17.5% unannounced fees do to such a budget as mine and how it may lead to projects like mine or others to close down, and how that will impact your enjoyment and life in SL. Help us instead to make a proper and mature opposition possible to an ill-planned and very ill-executed discriminative fee by SL. Furthermore, for those non-EU residents who think EU citizens should complain to the VAT authorities because its THEIR fault we are paying, please do better research next time on how VAT is calculated and who is firstly responsible for defining the product that the VAT is applied to. You may be surprised by your own findings and hopefully it will lead you to help the EU residents instead of simply trying to mudsling again.

To all Bishara’s supporters, thank you for continuing your support of our project, even with the smallest donations, and rest assured that we are not planning any kneejerk reactions as Linden did regarding the costs and the VAT charges.

Bishara Resorts,VAT and our growth!

The last few months have seen a huge expansion for Bishara, with the estates growing from Bishara Island (1 sim or island) to four islands in size, with Bahati Island and Mandhari Island as our residents and new commercial regions, and the exciting Epic wave region we call Majini Island.
The main estate remains Bishara Resorts, and the development of the estates will be as follows:
1. Bishara Island will be the heart of the Bishara Resorts estate, as the name implies both ‘commerce’ and ‘gift’ or ‘blessing’ in its meaning. Bishara has all the exciting free activity features on it, and also has the first and original reef we started way back in February 2007.
2 Then the other sims will be split into three types, hopefully reaching 9 in total including Bishara Island. These will be volcanic, beach or open ocean. However only Mandhari and Majini Islands will be normal sims (normal sims have 117 prims or objects per 512 sq meters with 15,000 in total for the whole 65,500 sq meter region), as the rest of the volanic and ocean or water sims will be Open Spaces or low prim sims (low prim density means that we have 15,000 prims over FOUR sims, not one.). These sims or islands will create an open space around most of Bishara, Bahati and Mandhari, and allow free space for water channels and horse trials around the entire estate.

Most of you may know this, but it is important to realize that the Bishara Resorts region and estates are all covered by Dumisani Ah only, not sponsored by a corporate company or a charity or Linden Labs. Parts of the estates that are not wholly financed by Dumisani Ah are the land parcels sold to some residents – currently 7 parcels all together. Everything else on the estate has been financed privately by Dumisani Ah, including stock in all the Bishara stores except for BodyFashion and Tatuii.
I state that here as I wish for you all to understand why we are so stressed by the application of VAT on ourselves, as it has increased our financing costs to run Bishara by 17.5% without any recourse, i.o.w. we cannot charge this through to anyone as the project, the Resort, has been financed to be at the free disposal of our residents and visitors.
In fact we cannot charge this through to anyone in SL regardless of the above point as only EU residents are VAT charged by Linden Labs and therefore as stated in our previous posts, we would be completely uncompetitive against other US resident owned properties if we did.
Sadly in the SL blogs I have noted just how much this VAT issue has caused the usual US vs EU vs UK arguments to flair up again, a very sad and childish way to deal with the issue. We hope that our own residents and in-world friends would instead unite to fight this alongside us so that we can get some reasonable compromise setup between Linden Labs and the EU residents like myself, regardless of where they are based in RL.

For the interim there will be no change to Bishara or its islands until VAT has been sorted out and comprehensively understood, and the current island developments completed and the Open Space islands dropped. Until then the project will not expand beyond its current island size.

We will keep you all informed of all new changes and additions in-world!