Archives for November 2006

Second Life income taxable in Australia?

Reuter are running a report that the Australian Tax Office has ruled that profits made in-world will attract a tax liability. Quoting a Fairfax newspapers article, there’s also discussion by Reuter’s of the UK investigation into the issue of tax liability.

So we’re assuming this means that if you are making serious money in SL, then registering an ABN may be worth considering. If you are making more than $50 000 Australian, then it’s another ball game again. The Australian Tax Office has all the fun detail on the tax system.

Aussie landmarks appearing as Second Life locations

Whilst looking for a location for SLOz’s new in-world location, I came across sims with the names of Boggabri and Toowoomba. Neither looked much like their counterparts of course, but I’m wondering what the impetus is for those names being selected…

Version 1.1.3 of SL is released

Linden Labs have released the much awaited update to SL and the initial response has been… well… a lot of queuing to actually get back in. Linden are asking people to wait in queue and eventually they’ll get in. Another example of SL and the real world merging!

Any reports of usability of 1.1.3 gratefully accepted.

Staking the Claim

SLOz is the first Second Life news portal aimed at informing Australian SL users on events in-world, real world issues impacting on SL and pretty much anything else SL related. If you have an event you’d like to promote, contact me. Not interested in promoting new Casinos or Free Sex Communities however.

The plan is to provide at least one news story per day. In the short term the emphasis will be on non-Australian content but as Aussies start promoting themselves in SL then that will become the focus.

Howard Jones Podcast

I had the pleasure of interviewing electronic music legend Howard Jones last week for Australian Macworld Magazine. I created a podcast of the interview which can be found here.

Your privacy

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Second Life – The Next Big Thing?

Second Life is a virtual world, and it’s pretty well explained in the following video:

Now, like a travel brochure, Second Life isn’t quite as nice looking in total as the video shows – there are reams of casinos, shacks and endless suburbia. There’s also orgies, strippers and pole dancers. Yes, some big businesses have set up shop in the game and some big name artists have started doing gigs (Ben Folds and Suzanne Vega to name two). But it is going to change the world?

I think there’s a more than 50% chance it actually will. And there are lots of things to like about the change but also a slew of concerns. Addiction is one of the obvious concerns, addiction treatment potentially one of the greatest goods. There is probably a cohort of people addicted to the game already and their real life may be suffering. On the other hand – could a virtual world make it easier for real life addictions to be addressed in the most non-threatening way ever? An example: you are a heavy cannabis user and you’ve come to the realisation you need some help. You live in a small town where seeking help will stand out in a big way. Log on to Second Life, find a counsellor and get the ball rolling with no-one ever knowing. Of course, there’s issues around confirming the comptency of the ocunsellor you’re dealing with, but the potential is there. And I think Linden Labs themselves seem really switched on in their approach to potential issues.

Aanuka Break Free? Not really

I’ve always felt that people who write complaint letters to TV stations and the like, to be individuals in need of a life. I recant on this view now, only because I want to whine / complain. I’ve even taken pictures to back up my whining (usually a sign of REALLY having no life, but this of course doesn’t apply to me).

The premise: Take my family on five nights at a 4-star plus resort. We chose Aanuka Resort at Coffs Harbour based on one recommendation and some website browsing.

Complaint 1: The old ‘the website pictures don’t match the reality’ issue. Now, I’m fairly aware that the accommodation promoted on a website always has the benefit of wide-angle lenses and the like, but in this case the disparity was huge. Go to the Aanuka Resort web page. There’ll you’ll see a lovely photo gallery including shots of the rooms. An important note: I booked one of the most expensive rooms, so it’s not a case of the penthouse suite on the website and I had booked a basic room.

The front entrance:

The light and airy hallway:

The main living area:
(couch was a sofa bed that was impossible to sit up straight in)

The spa ensuite:
(hard to see from pic but spa was old and grouting was far from clean)

The main bedroom:
(the bed was actually two singles which was ok – however the vertical blinds were mouldy)

The kitchen:
(This was quite spacious although dishwasher didn’t work well and fridge made a terrible noise everytime you opened it)

Other gripes – balcony area was filthy, plumbing had problems including noise that woke the kids when we turned the shower on, and cockroaches galore (though probably to be expected being based in a rainforest-like setting)

Complaint 2: Basic resort facilities:

It could be just me but it would be nice to be able to access a resort’s facilties without having to walk a tortuous route that requires backtracking. I’m talking close to a kilometre walk to get to food. Now, that distance isn’t that bad if you know you can get there without needing an umbrella if it rains, gumboots if the rain is heavy and a torch in some sections if the sun has gone down. I am not joking.

Complaint 3: Non-basic resort facilities:

On the way to Coffs Harbour we stayed in a ‘cheaper’ apartment complex called the Sevan Apartments – the place was stunning and had free wireless broadband – a compact little wireless transmitter and ethernet cable was given at check-in and it worked beautifully. What do you get at Aanuka? A dial-up option which involved removing the wall phone off its bracket (I couldn’t get our phone off) and plugging into that phone outlet.

Food – the range was ok but the main restaurant was closed the one night we wanted to use it. If you order room service expect to pay more than if you eat at the restaurant (not unusual) PLUS a $5.00 delivery fee. I kid you not.

Pools – the pools were good – although the one morning where it was really warm, the small kids pool was closed – I couldn’t see why aside from the fact that there was a small palm branch in the water. On a rainy day we used the cave spa which was nice and warm. Trouble is the spa didn’t work. Myself and another family asked for it to be looked at, nothing happened in the 90 minutes we were there.

Overall: this resort does not deserve its 4-start rating. Did the kids enjoy themselves? Yes they did – once the youngest one got over the smell of the room (“I don’t want to go back to the smelly room daddy”) – it was just a little musty. The cleaner who came when we complained about the filthy balcony area was wonderful and the plumbing issue was fixed at our request the following day. That said, this seems a pretty tired place in need of some greater upkeep. I’d look at spending your money elsewhere….

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