No Blogging For One Week

I'm taking a break from blogging, and reading blogs, for one week. A self-enforced step back to see if it's worth it (the reading and writing) - sort of inspired by the phrase I read the other day which went roughly like "If we weren't doing what we're currently doing, and with our current knowledge, would we start doing what we're currently doing?"

I'm going to miss all of you, but I will definitely be back in a week with news. And if you like, you can still send me an e-mail. See you in a week!

Weblogger Meetup

The Weblogger Meetup last night (the first I've ever been to) was good. I went picturing myself as a junior blogger, and it turned out to be true: A (one of the guys there, I won't use his name because he doesn't on his site registered his domain in 1995 and started blogging in 1999, and Brian (at started in 2001.

I mentioned I didn't use the internet until 1997 or so at Uni, and even then stayed away until 6 months into my first year because I didn't have the time or was too scared.

The food was sensational, the setting was probably ideal, and there was interesting conversations about blogging tools, blogging styles, how to pick a topic, favorite other bloggers, number of blogs read daily, etc. One thing that came up was that both these guys wrote their own blogging software (like a Jedi making his own lightsabre), and I confessed I used Blogger (the most basic blogging tool around).

A & Brian, if you read this, I enjoyed meeting you last night, I'm spewing there weren't more attendees, but thanks for letting me pick your brains - now I know physically 3 other people that blog!

Interesting first question that came up: what's your site? "What's your name" came a little later, followed (a lot later) by "what do you do?"

So, would I go to another meetup? was good meeting a couple of fellow Aussie bloggers, but like Brian mentioned, unless it gets a bit bigger then it's probably a no-goer. I wonder how people would come across the Meetup site anyway? I'll definitely keep my eye on the site and see how many people are supposed to come to the next one in June.

User Group

Last night I went to a tech user group that applied to the sort of work I'm doing at work (I know, pretty vague, don't want to bore you with the details). I've been before to this group, often it has been fairly low-key with drinks and pizza beforehand, but last night there were stacks of people wearing suits (I'd changed into casual pants and a t-shirt on the way) and I felt very strongly my inability to socialise, and "network" (I don't even really know what that word means). I somehow feel inferior to all these sharp-looking executives and smart-sounding developers...

I do feel however a sense of wanting to get better at both talking and asking questions and sharing skills with my peers, and a desire to get better at my job. So, I'll be back!

The Apprentice Starts To Interest

After hearing about this "reality TV" show for a while from my US-based reading, I finally watched an episode (week 3) last night. I have to say I really enjoyed it (far better than trying to get my modem to work under Linux).

The show's premise is that a 8 or so girls and the same number of guys are vying for a one-year CEO role at one of Donald Trump's companies. They are split into gender teams, and each week the teams are given a task. One member of the losing team is "fired". The last one standing, wins!

Last night's task was making the most savings when buying 10 items - a golf club, a gold bullion bar, a leg wax, calamari, etc. The show had an element of being "Big Brother with a boss" in terms of back-biting, rivalry and general silliness, but it was really interesting to see management styles, conflict resolution (or lack of it, last night) and some of the guys (who eventually lost, sorry for the plot spoiler) trying to ensure they weren't fired.

I'll be watching next week, and I'll be interested to see if the same tactics that teams use to win a challenge actually might backfire in their consideration to be a CEO...

Daniel Morcombe

Here's the text of an e-mail I was forwarded, appealing for help in looking for teenage boy missing since last December:

Hello everyone

Many of you will have seen reports or ads about a missing schoolboy Daniel Morcombe from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Daniel has been missing for five months today. He's my nephew, and my brother Bruce and his wife Denise, have raised over $100,000 to fund an advertising campaign which is currently underway, in an attempt to solve Daniel's abduction, and hopefully to capture the person or persons involved. There has been wonderful coverage of this tragic event, including "Australian Story" on the ABC, and a major article in the current edition of "The Australian Women's Weekly", but still the crime is not solved.

The police now think two men were probably involved, together with a "blue car" as per the composite photo below. Sending out emails may hopefully trigger someone's memory, or someone's conscience, and makes the image of Daniel and the "blue car" below available for longer than is available on an ad. It would be greatly appreciated if you could forward this email on to all your email contacts, friends, relatives and business contacts, in the hope that someone will be able to provide the missing clue that the police are looking for.

If everyone has just five email contacts, who each have five email contacts, who each have five email contacts, who each have five email contacts, that'll be well over a million people we'll be reaching.

Thanks a lot - it's really appreciated.

Perry Morcombe
Managing Director
Seniors Holiday Travel 7th May 2004

PS. Don't forget to ask your email contacts to forward your email on to as many people as they can

Name: MORCOMBE, Daniel James
D.O.B: 19 December 1989
Height: 150 cm
Complexion: Fair
Eye Colour: Blue
Hair Colour: Dark Brown
Build: Proportionate
Tattoo(s)/Marks: Nil
Last Heard: He was last seen at his residence at Palmwoods on 7th December 2003. He intended on walking to an undesignated bus stop on the Nambour connection Road near the Kiel Mountain overpass.

Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 (free call within Australia). Crime Stoppers is a telephone hotline for members of the community to provide anonymous information about criminal activity. This information is electronically sent to the police establishment nearest to where the crime is occurring for investigation.

Searching Google for "Daniel Morcombe" yields lots of hits for people that are praying and contributing to fund-raising for the search, like a country and western singer, red armbands on the Brisbane Lions, and a rodeo. If I was a parent that lost one of my precious children, I reckon I would do the same thing.

Commodore 64

I used to have a Commodore 64 (loved it, great titles like Summer Games, Ghosts'n'Goblins, Rambo, Richard Petty's Taladega), and now it looks like it's back via Tulip Computers (thanks for the heads-up Jan Tielens).

Check out the new model, with 30 games onboard:


PC Solitaire Addicts

Derek Dysart posts:

I know a few people who shall remain nameless that start playing solitaire and fall into this trance where they are completely un-reachable.

I know some too! Seems crazy...there are better games to become zombie-fied to (I know, I've been there). But, you can't deny the simplicity of Solitaire.

Deleting Parts Of Life

Today was sad in that I had to delete some old e-mails (only as late as September 2002) as my mailbox is getting full. How to choose? I felt really bad as I permanently removed all traces of particular communications from family and friends.

So, out of 153 e-mails, I got rid of 30 or so that are monthly newsletters, and the top 5 or 6 biggest (no matter who they were from). Pretty sad - no hard feelings, right?

Tejas Patel

Tejas writes that he is still around blogging. But Tejas, I can't get comments to work on your blog...what am I doing wrong? I was going to comment you and say that you mentioned that you're going to a cert meetup next Tuesday, I've got an SQL Server SIG on the same night so I can't make it.

Let me know how the meetup goes though, 'cause I'm still planning to go to the weblogger meetup next Wednesday.

Sorry, readers other than Tejas, resuming normal transmission...

Primus $55 Unlimited Local Calls

There's an ad going around for Primus One, a telephone service which offers:

...unlimited downloads, as many dial-up Internet hours as you want, your residential telephone line rental and local calls for $55 per month...

Has anyone had any experience with Primus? Is it worth switching over?

Footy Tipping

Hey, this week I got 5 (which puts me on 31 after 7 rounds)! The price of this fame (I again tipped Collingwood, who lost to Carlton) is that I agreed that the next time O wants to tip against my team, the Pies, Collingwood, I would. Small price to pay (one tip against my team) - after that, back to democracy!

Grandpa and Grandma Self Portrait

Grandpa and Grandma Self PortraitGrandma's probably going to kill me for putting this photo here, but it's OK Mum, I think I could take it down again later...I think...

This is a photo of my Mum and Dad - I can see the resemblance in myself, TJ and Maya (then there's my brothers).

Mum and Dad, we love you!

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day! So many mothers in my life - Olivia, my Mum, Marijke (Olivia's Mum), my Gran, Olivia's Oma. Happy Mother's day to you all!

Blogger's New Look

Cool, Blogger's got a new look (as already noted by others, whose hands are quicker than mine). It's now simpler for me to create posts, so that means more half-thought-out ideas will most likely make it through. Great!

Friday Five Finished

The Friday Five has stopped, which is a shame; it was the site that gave out 5 questions on a Friday afternoon for people to answer on their blog.

Favorite Sayings

Rob Steel has listed some of his favorite quotes and sayings - one of them got me laughing out loud in the office:

"Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life." - Terry Pratchett

My favorite ones are IT ones, like "If at first you don't succeed, call it version 1" and "hardware: the parts of a computer you can kick". Geeky.

The History Of Clippy

Chris Pratley's blog has been super-interesting for me the past couple of weeks and he keeps blogging about his involvement with the design of Word/Office in Clippy and User Experiences . If you ever wanted to know about the history of "Clippy", the Office Assistant, you just found the right place!

What Makes Me Do What I Do

Micahel asks (and answers) questions on an interesting theme: what makes you tick? OK, here's my answers to these questions:
What kind of work would you do if you got paid in the juice you get from your job, rather than money? (i.e., what jobs would light your fire in a big way?)
Um, writing computer programs, and playing with technology in general. I'd have to be a little task-focused; I couldn't just free-wheel behind a computer all day, but I do love exploring around the edges of technology on the net and incorporating that into a program that makes people go "wow!"
If you had to choose a career that had nothing to do with any of the work you've done thus far in your career, what would would it be?
Pilot or astronaut. Imagine flying in!
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
See above. When I was 12 or so, I had an eye test that showed I had a slightly bung left eye, and couldn't be a pilot. I cried that day (and night), and I guess I never really made my mind up about anything else until a lot later in life.
List five things you love doing, work or play.
Reading, playing guitar, spending time with family & friends, playing stimulating brain games (I guess that's my job!) and watching movies.
Pick one of those things. Why is that so much fun?
Reading I guess has an element of fun, but that's not why I love doing it. Reading good books (I'm thinking of novels/short stories here) just sucks you in to a whole different universe. And once you've read a good book, it's hard not to tell everyone you know about it.
What do you like most about your current job?
The ability to do a bit of techno-browsing and researching new things, more or less autonomy in my work and time management, and writing reports or screens or whatever that other people use, and want to use.
What do you like the least about your current job?
Doing one-off data analysis, or setting up a system that no-one uses. Yuck.

What about you?

Ghandi's Seven Deadly Social Sins Relevant

Post-Modern Pilgrim posted about Ghandi's Seven Deadly Social Sins, which are:

   Politics without Principle,
    Wealth without Work,
     Commerce without Morality,
      Pleasure without Conscience,
       Education without Character,
        Science without Humanity,
         Worship without Sacrifice.

As he points out, I reckon these are pretty close to timeless truths. The things on the right are so value-laden, aren't they? Like, what is good character? If you ask a lot of people, you'll get a lot of answers.

Is it good character to lie to preserve a friendship or to avoid offending someone (I've been told it's sometimes better to lie, so you don't hurt people)? Is it sacrifice to give up a Sunday that what Ghandi is getting at about worship? Hmmmm...


Jason has a short review of a book "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" which sounds interesting. I am really bad at being in a team, especially when there's conflict, and I want to improve. I want to get involved with teams that care about synergy/relationships/the "team".

Worship Music Wars

GetReligion has an article on worship wars. One of the things I noted the article mentions is that some Christians are looking for more depth in worship - I too have felt this myself. And, I reckon "worship" isn't limited to just church-goers, but the way that "worship" can be done in churches might actually put off non church-goers. Anyway, an interesting read.

Footy Tipping

This week we got two. Yuck. I say we because Olivia and I both contribute - the only one we didn't agree on was a Collingwood game (which I backed, but the Pies failed to deliver on).

Is this a wake-up call for O & I to start actually following the sport, maybe to take some of the guesswork out (although tips are always guesses)? Or is this an indication that through our weakness, we will become wiser and closer together in the face of struggles?


Jay writes a thoughtful post on "the I in communIty" which applies to me as I'm a Visual Basic programmer/developer/whatever. I admit I've been slack in getting together with my peers and being interested in community, whether it's work-related (I'm a bit of a loner), sport-related (I'm nearly always the first to leave after basketball) or faith-related (that's a long story).

Lately though I have been more interested, which is a much more holistic way to live. I plan on going to a user group, and a weblogger meet-up. I'll probably be the one sitting in the corner by himself at both!


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