Heavy Plant

Walk past a "Heavy Plant" warning and wonder vaguely if the trees thought it was for them; if whoever put it up had enough imag...


Weekend morning

What if they both learn to read?!
This is commonly the way weekends begin these days.

It's wonderful but this is Tom before coffee - not a pretty site.


A year ago today!

My word how time flies when you're having fun!

Waving to the guests
We've done a lot in the intervening time - including this. Yes, you can keep up with Violet's progress on her blog and through her tweets.


More brilliant Moleskine video

Moleskine is one of those brands that generates almost religious following. The notebooks themselves hold an almost mythical status amongst note takers, something Moleskine foster with the insert found in every notebook  and recently they've added a huge quantity of other desireable stationary to their lines.

What strikes me about this brand is the way that they've embraced the geeky nature of their audience and deliberately pander to it with their creative work and their various web presences despite selling a paper product. Their use of video is brilliant. As an example the piece below encapsulates the creativity of the user, the use cases for the product and wraps it up in a playful stop-motion animation that highlights the desireability of the product and moves you from "well it's just an expensive post-it note" to "I must have that, now!" or at least it did me...

Enhanced by Zemanta





And it gives me special powers too!

My new jewelry


Muppets trailers

in: North Curl Curl NSW, Australia
This movie that the (now Disney owned) Muppets are making had better be good. Of course there may be no movie at all and the teaser campaign ultimately concludes with nothing but a damp squib.

update: new official non-spoiler trailer

Enhanced by Zemanta


Radiolab: Talking to machines

in: Pyrmont NSW, Australia
Got an hour or so to spare? This is a great listen.

More info: http://www.radiolab.org/2011/may/31/


Advance Australia Fair

in: Randwick New South Wales 2031, Australia
On 11 March we became Australian citizens. Which means we never have to leave!

The ceremony itself was a rather peculiar affair which reminded me a little of my graduation. It was one of those peculiarities of local government that's obviously a regular and not insignificant event but which has to somehow stay fresh for the regular participants and might occasionally struggle a little to do so. Migration is a serious contributor to Australia's population and according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics consistently exceeds natural growth so these ceremonies must be pretty frequent.

The mayor of Randwick presented the certificates and  another councilor acted as MC. There were various community members there to represent wider society including quite a few (elderly) former servicemen. For what could be quite a stuffy and tedious affair it was handled quite well and was quite touching in it's earnest sincerity - which I should have expected - formal without being stuffy.

When you arrive at the ceremony you have to go and put your name on the electoral roll (sensibly, voting is compulsory here) and are directed to your seat, on which rests a bag of goodies. It contains:
  • A welcome note from your new federal MP
  • An information leaflet from the Australian electoral commission and,
A cue card with your citizenship pledge on it



in: Sydney New South Wales, Australia
Sydney is a city with more than its fair share of contemporary architectural oddities but there is one I encounter almost every working day and so stands out from the sci-fi inspired towers and glass blocks. It’s not obvious, it’s not always even apparent and I am almost certain that it is an accident of design.

The gently concave shape of the Sheraton overlooking Darling harbour, combined with its mirrored windows and westerly aspect, mean that in the afternoon and early evening the sunlight is reflected and focussed at a particular (hot)spot on the pathway across the road. As I walk past this on my way home, depending on the weather, I am either gently warmed or subject to quite intense heat from the presumably unintentional solar furnace. Remarkably you can actually see this effect on the aerial photograph in the map after the jump (only you can't any more because Google have updated the photo - bugger).



in: North Curl Curl New South Wales, Australia
There's been a shift in my thinking regarding internet based/enabled services which I think is probably reflected in other people too. It's really simple, if it's good I am willing to pay. What this probably means is that I and others like me are starting to recognise that the internet technologies that looked like toys for so long are now recognisably useful tools. This might also mean that the web is finally becoming the platform/ecosystem that it has promised to be but never fully became.

Businesses have paid for cloud-computing and hosted services for some time but my feeling is that persuading individuals to do so has always been difficult. Consumers are used to the internet being free and are generally resistant to any change in that. However, I think that is now changing and it's due to the Freemium model that service start ups have been using; get the majority if the functionality with just a free account and if you then want the whole package you pay a subscription. It's a 'try before you buy' business model the advantage of which is that if you're good you'll do well, the disadvantage being that if you're not quite good enough everyone finds out quickly. The services are now just that bit better than they have been. Given that I try almost all of them I have been driven to pay for some of the good ones.

Things I've paid for which I think are useful and I would actually have trouble living without are:


Venting Spline

in: North Curl Curl New South Wales, Australia

Spline is not a bizarre antipodean-ism that I've picked up. I don't think I've quite assimilated to the point that I can comfortably dipthong to that extent. You see the stuff that looks like licorice rope? That's spline. Spline is the ridged plastic tubing that you wedge into a groove in a screen door to hold in the insect mesh. I have been repairing screen doors. That thing that looks like a pizza cutter is in fact a 'spline roller', it rolls spline. The helpful little illustration on the packet hows you how this is meant to work. Of course being a DIY task it almost works as described.

After long years of being very slow and ineffective at DIY I have developed a process that works for me. There are other parts and guidelines to it but a working example is almost always the most effective way of communicating something.