Friday, December 19, 2008

Hilarious customer review for Dropship

Shutyamow by Quagdy

"Honestly this game is the raddest. u hav got to b stupid not to buy it. I hav a stupid friend who won't buy it even though it's only a few bucks. Did u hear that chris? YOU TIGHTWAD haha qwaqwaqwa"

Spotted in the App Store on the Dropship page. Cracks me up for some reason.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Multitasking developers

From How To Guarantee That Your Software Will Suck

"If there is one thing that developers do not do well it is multi-task. Multi-tasking is for operating systems. Sure, we can multi-task, but I promise you that our productivity will be destroyed by it. Developers are most of all problems solvers. Problem solving is an extremely time consuming task that requires focus and concentration. Multi-tasking is the arch nemesis of focus and concentration."

(Emphasis added my me)

Wow, when I find myself doing some heavy development I end up focussing in on the job at hand to such an extent that I literally don't know what day it is, if I've had lunch today, or where I am. Also, who are you and how did you get into my house?

To such an extent in fact that my spouse was concerned that I had an early case of Alzheimer's, but now has wrongly concluded that I just don't care about her, or anything else for that matter, which couldn't be further from the truth.

The problem is compounded by the fact that when a guy's brain is in "problem solving" mode, it's too easy to default to "Mr Fix-it" behaviour in our relationships too, which does not help at all. The trap that's easy to fall into is thinking that working one's self into a zombie for their family might be interpreted as as a sign of dedication or devotion, when in fact it's seen as being disconnected and disinterested.

I may have been too slow to realise my mistake, but if you're buried in the middle of a world-changing software project please, for the sake of your self and your family, un-plug for a while, take the wife and kids out to see a movie, and take that fucking ridiculous hat off...

Monday, December 08, 2008

UK Internet Firewall already affecting Wikipedia

Original article, more here

So the UK turns on their transparent internet filter designed to protect kiddies from child pornography, and already there have been 2 immediate effects:

  1. Because the filter redirects all users through a proxy, their IP address is the same, which means social websites like Wikipedia can't distinguish between legitimate users and those who maliciously vandalise their content

  2. An article on a 1976 metal band with an album cover of questionable taste has vanished

This has major ramifications that do nothing to aid the purported cause:

The IP addresss issue means other systems that rely on blacklisting the IP address of abusive users, like for example the comment system on a weblog like this, have to block everyone behind the filter. Could the same also apply to SPAM blacklists? Could it block access to internet banking? What other sites would you suddenly find yourself unable to use?

Reiterating my previous point, it does nothing to address the real issue with society, but has very real, harmful effects. Whether the album cover is tasteful is perhaps a subject that could be discussed in a mature way between parents and their kids, as opposed to the government stepping in and forcefully assuming a role that is not theirs.

It's a very short, slippery slope between throwing buzzwords around like "child pornography", and the great firewall of China, a tool employed by a repressive military regime.

Do we really live in a free nation or not?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Save the 'net!

I just contributed to GetUp! to buy some ad impressions for their save the net campaign. Please use their widget below to sign the petition to keep Australia's internet un-censored.

Why I'm against censorship and for net neutrality:

Firstly, it does nothing to address the real issues it claims to protect us from. The internet doesn't drive people to act badly, it's just a source of information. The money would be much better spent finding what causes people to seek out the information they want to censor and addressing the problems with society instead.

Secondly, as someone who works with the internet everyday I just don't want them to fuck it up! I truly believe that free access to information will drive forward our collective consciousness at an exponential rate by increasing our general knowledge and awareness, and also giving us tools to overcome geographical, lingual, social, and temporal barriers and communicate freely with each other.

Don't let their fear and ignorance jeopardise one of humanities greatest resources - free knowledge.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No nuclear power in Aus!

Got an action alert from the Blue King Brown news letter about plans to introduce nuclear power to Australia, the largest island continent on earth comprised largely of sun-drenched desert and completely surrounded by ocean, both limitless sources of renewable energy.

Worth while plans take time to implement and are expensive, but the benefits are enjoyed by our children and all generations to come. I'm completely over the oil economy, and my son who is much smarter than I will have his own opinion about it when it matters, which will be after those now lobbying for nuclear power have retired on the windfall and the damage is irreversible. I don't want to let that happen.

All that glitters is not gold

Saturday, November 15, 2008

World of Warcraft first timers be warned...

Caved in to peer pressure today and bought a copy of World of Warcraft. I had actually played the streaming trial and quite enjoyed it, but really just don't have time for gaming. It was naive to think I could just buy the full game and start playing...

Here I am now in the middle of the 5th successive patch the game has downloaded, weighing in at a massive 2.6GB!!!

Notice the message about being behind a firewall. The first massive patch screamed in at nearly 1MB/s and took less than half an hour. This one is dribbling in at ~200KB/s, so I opened up the required ports in my modem/router's firewall, but to no avail...

Good thing I just upgrading my broadband account. If I leave my computer on overnight it might be ready to play by tomorrow, but I'm thinking that by then I'll be over it. And here was me trying to be good by playing games at home instead of drinking excessively. Oh well

Monday, November 03, 2008

Blue King Brown

I've been really enjoying Blue King Brown recently. The music is great, and they're utilising social media well.

I guess I must have subscribed to their newsletter at some point, but over the weekend they sent out a link to download their latest single Moment of Truth from iTunes for free. It's a great track, and I liked it so much I bought their full album Stand Up while I was there.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

We're killing air

I love the perspective of the world that kids have through their eyes, so simple and pure. Here's a conversation I had with my son this morning on the way to school:

me: "Don't break that!"

Tyler: "Why not?"

me: "Um, well it's polystyrene"

Tyler: "But, why not?"

me: "Because it will break into little pieces and they don't bio-degrade, um, they never go away"

Tyler: "Yeah, but why not?"

me: "It's bad for the environment and we need it to live"

Tyler: "What's the environment?"

me: "You know, trees and plants and the air in the sky and stuff."

Tyler: "Trees make air!"

me: "Yes, they do"

Tyler: "Trees make paper too!"

me: (laughs) "Actually they don't make paper, we cut them down and make them into paper"

Tyler: "You mean mean we kill trees to make paper?"

me: "Yes we do actually, it's a big problem"

Tyler: "But we're killing air!!!"

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Web Developers Anonymous

Web Developers Anonymous

A few weeks back I started a podcast with a good mate of mine Sean Schertell who I met in Japan and have been a web development co-conspirator with since.

It's called Web Developers Anonymous and can be found at We mainly ramble on about web dev related stuff, and we recently added "Crotchety Sean's Rambling Rant" where Sean vents some politically charged thoughts that have been on his mind.

It was actually Sean who spent many years evangelising Apple to me before I finally converted by buying a Macbook Pro just before moving back from Japan.

So please check it out, you can subscribe in iTunes (it's free) at, or go to the podcasts section of the iTunes store and search for "web developers anonymous".

Also, we'd like people to email us your questions, comments, flattery and insults to:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Renting Makes More Financial Sense Than Homeownership

From Yahoo Finance:

Businesses are great investments while houses are poor ones, so I'd rather rent the latter and own the former.

I just knew it! I've previously made the case for renting vs. buying in favour of using a high-interest CMT earning 6% or more compounded quarterly as a wealth generation vehicle. The writer points out that houses provide zero real returns after inflation, while stocks consistently provide 7%, so it looks like I wasn't far off the mark!

Maybe a time will come when renters are afforded some respect yet!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Note to self

(to be read in the future)

ha ha ha... fuck you

More thoughts on money as debt

Watched the excellent YouTube series on money as debt again this morning. Was thinking about the proposal towards the end to replace the fractional reserve banking system with permanent currency based on value and harnessing renewable energy.

I think it's a great idea, and it got me to thinking about thin film solar. I'm very hopeful and optimistic for our future with the emergence of such energy sources. It would be great if existing home owners would invest in similar technologies en mass to increase demand and in so doing reduce the price.

One problem though is a lack of incentive - energy bills really aren't a major part of the cost of living in a country like Australia, it's just not very expensive compared to consumables, transportation, and more importantly home ownership itself which can only be achieved for most through a life-long commitment to a mortgage. The last thing home owners who are free of their mortgage payments will want to do is spend another $10,000 or so on their home for very little perceptible return.

It will more likely be corporations who have large energy bills that will invest heavily in alternative energy sources, such as the Googleplex, the roof of which is reassuringly plastered with solar panels that produce 30% of their energy.

Right now, I'm really not interested in committing our family to filling the role of turning a half-million dollar debt into six or seven hundred thousand dollars worth of interest so the banking cartels can continue to repress renewable energy and perpetuate rising debt through military spending on incessant, needless wars.

How about you? Waist-deep in a mortgage, burning cash on rent like myself, living in a hippy commune? What can we do to ensure freedom for our children of the future?

Monday, September 22, 2008


A day in the life of a rent paying tennant in Sydney, Australia:

Just got a letter in the mail that has completely ruined my day:

I have received a call from the Stata Manager of the complex and they have advised that they are concerned that the gardens are not being maintained to the appropriate standards. This is a breech of your tenancy agreement.

The tennant will during the term of this agreement ensure that:

  1. Such grounds and gardens as form part of the residentaial premises are kept tidy & free of rubbish; and

  2. all waste is placed in bins provided

In future this area will be monitored through the year to ensure that the grounds are kept tidy.

We anticipate that the above matter will be attended to promptly & a further inspection will be carried out within 2 weeks of this letter to ensure this work has been done.

Yours Sincerely
(name withheld)

What fills my stomach with bile besides the unnecessarily confrontational tone of the letter, is that when we moved in the gardens were basically full of shit. We took photos:

Pile of shit

and had our Property Manager inspect the premises in person and were promised the situation would be taken care of and told not to worry about it...

Truth be told, in the winter months a tree which has grown over the fence from a neighbouring yard renders the back yard completely uninhabitable, and having not gone out there for some time there is some more grass that has grown up from the cracks between the old, broken, and uneven paving stones.

How about instead of shooting off a harsh, nasty letter, just taking 2 minutes to call and say "hope every thing's fine, just FYI the back yard could do with a bit of weeding, OK, take care now, bye bye"?


Just for the record, we're paying $2,175 a month.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Empires and Entropy

Was talking about the futility of empire building today and making the case for entropy working against it. The gist of it being that the natural order of things is usually to achieve a balance or equilibrium.

My point was that modern fascist dictatorships historically have only succeeded in being relatively short lived, not because they are inherently evil as such, but because attempting to control something as organic as human affairs in that manner is contrary to the very nature of life itself - which is to continually change, adapt, and evolve, not to stagnate or even regress.


Came across a video of a certain senator speaking out against the empire building tendencies of the republican party: someone predicted this economic collapse a year ago

The money quote: (pun not intended)

we have to "reject the notion that we need to run an empire, we can't afford it, it's going to come down, it always comes down, it has come down all throughout history because eventually the currency is destroyed"

The destruction of an empire's currency is surely an indicator of it's pending demise.

My belief is that the fundamental floor of empire building war mongers is to overlook one very simple, and incredibly obvious fact: empires are made of people, genetic organisms, that thrive on change, discovery, and achievement.

These would be dictators deny their own true nature and start to believe their own lies - that they are working to build a better future for humanity - when in practice what they set about doing is creating division and segregation by syphoning out the toils of the many and depositing it in the hands of the fortunate few. They willingly blind themselves to their own internal corruption and lies. They run full steam ahead to the demise of the economy, the nation's currency, and the detriment of the world around them.

Hopefully the main difference between aspiring empires of today, and the great empires of the past is how swiftly they fall.

Eight years has not been swift enough for one evil empire in particular.

The disheartening thing is that it really doesn't have to be that way. People are smart, and compassionate, and will usually work together for mutual benefit in preference to serving their own needs at greater expense. Life takes the easiest path that leads to further life, and over time achieves a natural equilibrium. The common mistake is to use too small a scale of time for reference.

Watch this animation of 3000 years of imperial history of the middle east for example. In the current socio economic climate, modern empires like Nazi Germany and Communist Russia rise and fall in periods of time that are measured in decades rather than centuries, and it should prove to be an exponential curve.

I just wish that future empires would instead just not bother, and instead turn to renewable energy and true freedom and liberty for all, not just the fortunate few.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Jimmy the Fisherman

Jimmy is eight years old and goes to school. Every day he goes to school with his frying pan and his fishing rod.

His job at school is to catch fish. When it's time for morning tea and lunch, Jimmy gets out his fishing rod and catches a fish to eat. Then he cooks the fish in his frying pan.

That's the story Tyler told me this morning on his way to school as he trundled along next to me on his scooter. Hilarious. It's really weird, I think I'm actually more advanced in years than his school teachers.

The usual suspects

Friday, August 01, 2008

Your cost could be $12.60 instead of $42.60!

I had clicked through to Amazon to buy a book that cost about $13, ended up adding another similarly priced book, and was on the final checkout page with left mouse finger tentatively hovering over the buy button when I noticed this huge call-out at the top of the page:

Really? Then why isn't it! Seriously, the final checkout page is the worst place to be reminding customers that their cost could be much lower without offer a way to act on it immediately.

Didn't end up going ahead with it. It made the experience feel like being kicked in the nuts and laughed at for being so stupid as to pay the full amount. What they should have done is congratulate me for how much I had already saved over going to a brick & mortar bookshop, and then on the receipt page offered a tip for how to make my next purchase a little cheaper.

Morfeus Fucking Scanner

Pleas excuse the profane title, it's the string that an entity identified itself with that hit up out server a few hundred times over a period of several seconds during the night. A little googling reveals it to be a PHP vulnerability exploit scanner.

I thought it was funny that they'd be so blatent, but also because our site is a Ruby on Rails application and as such is invulnerable to PHP exploits. It was hitting up URLs like this is rapid succession:





Anyway, to the script kiddie who was running box, can't blame you for trying hey :)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Easy Eikaiwa

To the 130 or so individuals who showed an interest in Easy Eikaiwa by taking the time to open an account I'd like to say thank you.

We've been back in Australia for nearly two years now and have moved on to other things, but Easy Eikaiwa is still ticking along, signing up the occasional free account every now and then. If anyone is actually using it I'd love to hear from you! Otherwise as we're paying ongoing hosting costs to keep the site operational it might be time to call it a day and close the site down.

My time working in Japan developing a scheduling system was a great experience. The vision for Easy Eikaiwa was to create a simple and affordable system for english schools to manage their scheduling online instead of using Excel spreadsheets via phone, fax, email, etc. as many schools do.

Let me know if anyone would like to keep the site up.


Mark Beattie

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Has it been 5 years already?

Was just taking the A List Apart 2008 survey when I came up to a question asking how long you've had a personal blog for. Turns out 5 days ago was the 5th anniversary of this very blog! What are the chances of that?

I'd never have known otherwise. Looking back, it seems I've made just shy of 150 posts over the last 5 years, averaging at something like 1 post every couple of weeks. I know there are no regular readers, but I still like to get stuff off my mind that I feel like addressing to the world in general on the off chance that someone might stumble across it.

More recently, Twitter has filled a niche for broadcasting random thoughts and musings:

Should spend more time doing stuff worth writing about.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Come and feel the noise

Normally I quite like the Ebay layout, it's clean and intuitive, and their algorithms for recommending content and keeping recently viewed items in view are very good. Then I got a reply to a question I had asked a seller...

Try and spot the reply amongst the interface background noise:

After several painful seconds scanning around the page aimlessly I finally focussed in and found it:

Absolutely shocking! The very part of the page the viewer is most interested in has the least focus, a clear case of mistaken priorities.

(Yes, I have been browsing V1 iPhones...)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Telstra - coming into the 21st century kicking & screaming

This whole iPhone thing has been very depressing, with Australian telcos basically trying to rape consumers up the ass for exorbitant data fees. Telstras plans being the worst offender of all, averaging at $1/MB.

It got me to thinking, forward-looking telcos like the unfortunately named 3 Mobile have come to terms with the fact that their role in the new communications landscape will essentially be as an ISP, and are embracing it with data plans at a mere 10c/MB.

Telstra must be afraid of being relagated yet again to being "dumb-pipes" for mobile data, and are reluctantly being dragged into it kicking and screaming the whole way. It's clear they fear that offering affordable data rates would inevitably eat into their voice profits when VoIP becomes more ubiquitous on mobile handsets.

3 Mobile on the other have been offering Skype phones for quite some time now. Interesting that they are one of the Australian providers not granted an iPhone dealership...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Australian tiered iPhone plans

Well done Vodafone and Optus on publishing your iPhone pricing plans. (Vodafone prices, Optus prices). Telstra: what are you hiding? Seriously, it can't be much worse.

For a poultry 1GB/month of 3G data, they both want about $AU170. A month. Every month. For several years. That's only the best part of four thousand dollars, just for the data! For fuck's sake!!!

Should someone maybe tell them that it has WiFi as well? You know, it's that thing where you can connect directly to a wireless internet router without using the phone's 3G packet data.

So predictably short-sighted and lame. Much like tiered broadband with "peak" and "off-peak" data allowances, ways and means of accessing data will be found at the minimum cost and inconvenience to the consumer - be it automatic throttling of our bit torrent clients to stay within our "broadband" data allowance, or simply using the increasingly ubiquitous WiFi hotspots in city centres and staying on the bottom tier iPhone pricing plan.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Word of mouth marketing

Came across a free PDF for The Word of Mouth Manual Volume II via Guy Kawasaki's interview with the author, and it's just brilliant.

"the recommendation of a friend, family member, acquaintance—or even a stranger—is a primary driver of most purchase decisions"

As I read that I remembered going into the beer fridge of a bottle shop on the weekend to pick up a case of James Squire amber ale. I'd tried a six-pack the weekend before and loved it enough to happily invest the $50 in a case this time around.

I was with my son actually, and as we went in there was another father and son about the same age browsing the selection. Maybe he noticed me beeline the amber ale, but for whatever reason he said he'd been thinking about trying it and asked me what it is like, what other beer you might compare it to.

As we left with our purchase I looked back to see him proceeding to the counter with a six pack himself. My guess is that if his tastes are anything like mine he'll be back for a case next weekend too.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Believers as a percentage of global population 2002


19.8% - Muslims
17.4% - Roman Catholics
15.5% - Other Christians, Protestants, Orthodox Christians
14.9% - Agnostics, Atheists
13.3% - Hindus
13.0% - Other...
5.9% - Buddhists

0.2% - Jews

Six years ago, nearly one third of the world's population weren't sure, believed something else, or believed in the non-existance of any divine entities.

Tibetan Buddhism stresses the importance of empathy and compassion regardless of religious belief.

There's hope for us yet. For as long as we can maintain separation of church and state anyway.

Friday, June 13, 2008

iTunes - I want to love you, but you make it so hard!

Here I am listening to Groove Salad when a song comes on, Universal Traveller, that I remember wanting to add to my playlist. Legally. No, seriously.

So I hit up the iTunes store, find the album, and click buy. Reset my password (again), and verify PayPal as my payment method. Go back to iTunes, hit the buy button again, and am rewarded with this:

It says:

"This recipient requires that you have a valid funding source from the United States in order to complete this transaction."

WTF? They're a French band! Seriously, I'm so tired of trying to buy media legally and having it thrown back in my face, just to hear the recording industry crying about file sharing eating into their business.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Money created from debit - oil prices continue to soar

Just saw an article about Spanish hauliers on fuel strike where it says:

"The Spanish government says it is preparing a package of measures to assist the transport sector.

These measures include emergency loans, more flexible contracts and cash payments to older lorry drivers who are willing to retire."

The fractional reserve banking system just found more fuel for the fire:

In short, there are two types of money in a fractional-reserve banking system:

  1. central bank money (physical currency such as coins and paper money)

  2. commercial bank money (money created through loans) - sometimes referred to as checkbook money

Expect prices to get higher

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Aussie taxi drivers

Some quotes I found interesting from a recent Triple J TV interview with some local taxi drivers:

"The worst passengers are people affected by alcohol. Like this clown here getting out of a cab in the middle of the road. I mean, he wouldn't do that nine to five. I'd much rather carry a junkie. People on drugs don't want any trouble. They just want to sit down, shut up, and get where they're going. They don't want to end up in the police station."

"I've had people shooting up in the car, that's a bit scary. I worry if they're going to drop off the perch. I just tried to make light of it pretty much, make a joke out of it and say "you watch yourself there". They're just trying to do their thing as I'm trying to do mine. As long as we don't come to grief over it, it's all good."

Friday, May 30, 2008

storage of information


The main role of DNA molecules is the long-term storage of information

Some random (semi)inebriated thoughts on the flow of information and the futility of continued attempts to profit from it:

  • Information subverts control

  • Information subverts hierarchy

  • There seems to be a relation between the increase in entropy and information - the less able our universe is to to do work, the more we seem to know about it

  • We are ourselves products of the free exchange of the information stored in our DNA - limiting this flow of information, for example through in-breeding, has detrimental effects such as a higher frequency of recessive, deleterious traits

  • Attempts to stem the flow of information for any reason are probably an anomaly

  • This tends to suggest that ultimately all information should be shared, freely

  • Secrecy and privacy are an illusion

  • Information is not owned, it is only exchanged.

  • Gatekeepers of information hold a precarious position - information by it's own nature strives to be shared by all

  • secrets are just information that is temporarily shielded from de-centralised systems of information exchange

  • Profiting from restricting the flow of information through controlled pipelines is temporary

  • Sharing information freely is priceless

  • Enabling individuals to exchange information freely should be more valuable than attempting to restrict it's flow to those who pay to access it (such restrictions can only ever be temporary)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Girls claim to want a guy with a good sense of humour...

...but always go home with his better looking mate.

This photo of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniac,

reminded me of this billboard poster:

(sorry about the crappy photo, my camera phone sucks)

My sense of humour is often remarked upon. Admit it, which guy are you?

Friday, May 16, 2008

OmniFocus sync to a generic WebDAV server

This in from Ethan Schoonover of The Omni Group:

Just wanted to note that we've built OmniFocus sync so that you can use either an existing .Mac membership or a generic WebDAV server (often much cheaper than a full .Mac membership). We've also added the ability to sync via a disk so you could also use a USB thumb drive, for example.

Yay! Now that's what I'm talking about.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Genetically pre-disposed to be susceptible to advertising

Testicles are proof! From any encounter in animals where advertisement is important--and that's very, very often--an advertisement is only believed if it's validated by being costly.

Translated into English, what the male is saying is, `Look how powerful a male I am, because I can afford to wear my balls outside my body, in the most vulnerable position. You'd better not mess with me because I am proving my strength and my ability as a fighter.'

Photo by 512 Photography - CC Attribution

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

BitTorrent for legitimate file distribution

Over 1MB/sec, with zero load on the software vendor's servers.

Cloud Computing

Was just thinking about how much I love cloud computing, and how some people are still opposed to the idea.

The advantages as I see it are not having to store countless GB of data on your own computer, and being able to access your data anywhere. Not to mention leveraging the huge computing grids it's hosted on to perform CPU intensive operations like searching your data.

The disadvantages I think are moot, namely that an active internet connection is required to access your data. To draw an analogy, I think it would have been like arguing against the introduction of the motor car by saying they're only useful wherever there are paved roads.

Internet access will become ubiquitous. The limiting factor is bandwidth. Using the motor car analogy again it's like the number of lanes limits the traffic bearing capacity. It will be a long time before we can store our entire digital libraries online, but for now I'm happy keeping my media locally, and my email, RSS feeds, notes, and bookmarks online.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

OmniFocus gets sync... soon


Sounds like sync is already in the internal test versions of OmniFocus. I had tried messing around with Automator scripts and rsync to no avail. The first out of Omnifocus and Things to get full synchronization will be the one I'll start using again at work. It will most likely depend on .Mac membership which I'm disinclined to pay the $130 or so per year for.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Perspectives: contexts vs tags

I had recently switched from OmniFocus to Things for a trial comparison of the 2 main GTD apps for Mac. I have a purchased copy of OmniFocus, but was finding it a little frustrating trying to track multiple home & work related projects, and using it as a system you can trust to store ideas and someday/maybe tasks using only a single context to identify each task.

After using Things for a few weeks now it feels like a breath of fresh air. It's tagging system is very simple, but incredibly powerful. I love being able to process my tasks and quickly move a bunch to the Today focus, and then using the tag filter further refine my next actions down to either general work/home related tasks, or a specific context.

It also has a strong someday/maybe and scheduled concept. Tasks in the Someday focus don't vanish completely, but appear in a collapsed section beneath your active tasks. Scheduled tasks automatically move into the Today focus on their scheduled date.

I'm also loving the Projects and Areas features. Projects can have tags which automatically apply to any tasks added to them, but can also be assigned to an area such as Work or Home. For me it's more in keeping with the GTD definition of a project being any action that requires more than one step to complete. OmniFocus on the other hand left a lingering feeling of hierarchical structure makes tasks less accessible.

Anyway, there's a perspectives screencasts video for OmniFocus out that made me think how much it points out the difficulty in accessing tasks in Omnifocus.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pictures in books

I can't remember how the conversation started. We were driving home from spending the day dressed as Ninjas, I think the place was called Iga-shi but I'm also equally suspicious of being completely wrong about that. At some point though, he asked "don't you believe in god?"

Misaki and I exchanged glances. I employed an extreme amount of mental effort to carefully time and calculate my responses, a rare occurrence for once as myself who usually lacks so much as an inner monologue. I said "Why, do you?". The exact words of our exchange have lost me, but it was something along these lines. "Yes, of course", he said. "Why?". "Because I've seen pictures in books". An interesting response for a six year-old who has never been to church, seen a bible, or been to scripture class. At least not in my presence...

"Grandma and Grandpa told me about Jesus, and God. They had a book with pictures". Another calculated pause... "Can you remember any of the pictures?" He couldn't. When asked if he believed them, he said he loves learning because it makes him smarter. Not what I asked, but an excellent answer. He instinctively trusts knowledge passed on to him from people he trusts and admires.

"Don't you believe in god?". What could I say, isn't it about ten years too soon for this conversation? "Which one?" I reply. Learning what I believe is of less importance than discovering the ability to discern right from wrong independently. The concept of multiple gods was new and intriguing... you mean there's more than one?

It depends who you ask, I explain. There are many people in the world, some people believe in Jesus, some in Muhammad, some follow the teachings of Buddha, while many once worshipped Amon-ra. Most of them believe that their beliefs are right however, while everyone else's are wrong. "I just go one step further - maybe we're all wrong. The important thing to remember is: don't believe everything you read in books".

I don't want to influence my son's religious views one way or another. Actually, that's not true, I do truly want to protect him from being blinded, but I have to trust that he'll open his own eyes in time and see, see whatever he chooses to see. I hope he never looses his child-like sense of wonder though, his empathy and compassion for all living things, and his joy and humor. If he has to learn from pictures in books, may they be photos that are true to life without any bias or opinion, that invite him to explore and discover for himself.

I don't fear answers, only that we forget to ask the right questions.

love, peace

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

East of Everything

It's rare that I switch our large LCD TV over to the digital tuner and actually watch terrestrial broadcasts, as opposed to watching DVDs or browsing the web with our Wii, but a couple of weeks ago I did. On such rare occasions I'll gravitate straight to the ABC or SBS, emulating the way your eyes are drawn the the center, advertisement-free section of a web page to avoid the banner ads while it loads. I don't even see them anymore, just like the commercial channels 7, 9, and 10 don't exist in my world.

The reward this time was a new show on ABC called East of Everything. Set in Broken Bay, it follows the stories of two brothers acting as the executors of their recently deceased mother's estate, once a tropical resort which has since degenerated into disuse. It really strikes a chord with me somehow, and I'm really enjoying it.

A couple of quotes:

East of Everything reminds us that whatever our past, for most people there is the opportunity to recognise something good in it, which we can take and move on

It's a show about characters in large spaces. People are trapped by circumstance rather than geography.

Ultimately, we wanted to create a series that was very hopeful, which recognises that there is a melancholy sadness about life, but there is also a fantastic joy.

The last quote means the most to me. Fortunately, it's available as a podcast which suits my viewing habbits.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Nan, dearly departed

My name is Mark. I'm Marjory's grandson from her son Barry. To her was I was always called 'Beet', and to me she was, and always will be "Nan".

We Four grandsons, David, Matthew, Philip and I are no strangers to loss, even from a very early age, but that has made Nan's passing no easier to endure. Now we grieve a source of joy, humour, compassion, and understanding that we've depended on thru-ought our lives.

It's hard to comprehend living on without her, but I know that what Nan shared with us so openly, lives on as part of us today. I'm also honored that my wife Misaki, and our son Tyler who is one of Nan's three great-grandchildren along with Amy and Ace, were able to share some of their lives with her too. We each will hold a part of her in our hearts always.

Nan once observed while Tyler was just little: "I'm ninety years older than you - you're two, I'm ninety two!". She went on to live to ninety six, giving selflessly to those around her, and will be missed by many. We will miss her good natured humor and wit, and her many stories from our youth. In many ways, she knew us better than we know ourselves, and could impersonate any one of us perfectly - when the one being impersonated was not in the room of course.

To live on without her, we can try to honor her memory though celebrating the love and joy the she gave, by making the most of what time that is now left to us. I'm proud and honored to have shared my life, my wife Misaki, and my son Tyler with Nan until now. We will think of her always with love.

Thank you.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Demovibes 8

From Demovibes Google Groups:

Hello, this is the Demovibes newsletter !

Demovibes 8 is now released, ready to be downloaded.
Here's the tracklisting :

01. Carlos & Norfair - Another kind of beauty
02. Irvin - Gamma
03. Gloom - D and B
04. Little Bitchard - Schooled in the methods of murder
05. Keito - Route 1066
06. Takomo - Projections
07. NF - Yellow rose of Texas
08. Amb - Emoparticle
09. Dixan - 80's
10. Reed - Dead ringer
11. Virgill - Elements (Willbe remix)
12. Kaktusen - Take a deep breath
13. Paniq - Barcode anxiety
14. Deetsay - Quarterna
15. Ronny - Debris
16. Blaizer - Starstruck
17. Neurokin - Tokyo
18. Moonove - Neja
19. Raytrayza - Weide 65
20. Looza - Exospect
21. Bay Tremore - Beats 2
22. Lug00ber - Out the exits

Get the full MP3 at :

All the best,


Thursday, March 06, 2008


I was just reading on Fortune where Steve Jobs speaks out about all things Apple when I realised what it is that I love about Apple so much - we share the same values.

Life is short, and too precious to expect anything less than beauty and perfection from how we invest ourselves in the things we do. That's not to say that as individuals we should expect to be perfect and never make mistakes, but we should strive for that little something more from ourselves.

Apple push the curve. They don't just make stuff to sell, they create things you can get passionate about, and passion is what drives us to not just do well, but to excel.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

When will real estate agents get real?

There was once a time when lawyers were despised as the scum of the earth for their deceitful, contemptuous ways. It seems they may have been dethroned from dubious position by an even greater evil - the real estate agent.

Sydney city Australia is a beautiful city. Green and picturesque, with a booming cafe culture. It's also one of the most expensive parts of the known universe to own land in. While a re-enactment of the US sub-prime crash seems unlikely down-under, with interest rates hovering around 8-9% and average property values of over half a million dollars, it's definitely not a buyer's market.

In fact, the fallout of the decline in first-time home buyers has led to hugely over-saturated rental market. And the real estate agents hate it.

Gone are the days when they would spend their time romancing prospective property buyers with the promise of a sizable commission glinting in their eye. Today the average real estate agent is all but run into the ground opening rental properties up for 15 minute inspections, and attending vacating inspections as previous tenants flee in terror from how much their rent gets hiked-up between contracts.

All of this for a measly 7%.

They radiate contempt, exhaustion, and disinterest. It's clear when they arrive 5 minutes late to open a 15 minute inspection how much they loathe the work that will be created by the 30, 40, or 50 eager applications they will have to process for a tiny cut of the rent.

Phone calls go un-answered, emails get ignored, but the rent keeps steadily climbing up while the agents sit on the one month's bond paid in advance as a right of passage. Even still, the number of prospective tenants continues to increase, while the amount of available rental properties plummets down to 1%.

Here's a shout-out to Sydney's embattled real-estate agents: if your business card says "property manager", then prove your worth by demonstrating the ability to manage in a saturated rental market. Find your way clear to returning people's calls, or even answering emails with just a simple acknowledgment.

Or just kindly fuck off. Let the tenants talk to the strata and have them copy a key for us. Allow us to call a certified phone technician to fix our noisy line. Don't leave a bin full of garden refuse in the backyard and then refuse our offer to have it taken away.

Scratch the "property manager" off your business card and let us manage affairs ourselves. Let us send you a bill, or deduct it from our next rent payment. Don't treat us like shit from the moment after we sign the lease and pay the bond with nothing less than a bank cheque, lest your title as the new scum of the earth be forever associated with the lowly real estate agent.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Comcast suck balls

That's right, they suck testicles, short curlies and all. Comcast, and their co-conspirators in their quest to capitalize from restricting internet access are a bunch of soulless mother fuckers. Why? The internet must be unrestricted to all. But comcast paid people to cheer at a net neutrality meeting.

Fuck you Comcast, and your fellow would-be gatekeepers of information - AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Multiple Mac power supplies

"Did Apple hire some MBA from Gilette who thinks the real money is in power supplies, not computers? The next time Steve buys a pair of New Balances, I hope his old socks don't work with them."

Into Thin Air: How I Spent $5,000 on Air and Made Fifty-Year Old Women Swoon, Guy Kawasaki

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Stephen Conroy is Kevin Rudd's Communist Cohort

Fuck me, turns out our newly elected Labour government is taking cues from China's internet censorship, citing some bollocks about child pornography as reason to encroach on our freedom of speech.

See article on TechCrunch