Friday, December 19, 2008

New Blog Post: Social Media Coffee at Single Origin Roasters, Surry Hills #fb

G'day folks, I feel compelled to blog about this morning's incredible experience: Social Media Coffee, held at Single Origin Roasters cafe at 64 Reservoir St, Surry Hills.

This event, which had the atmosphere of the "unconferences" like BarCamp and WordCamp - is a good excuse for a get together for some very bright minds operating in all things online communities, digital and social media.  I thank my Twitter pal Neerav Bhatt for introducing me to this event. A quick Twitter Search later, and I was locked in.

Two hours later, and after pretty much constant chatting meant I managed to meet some inspirational people, such as:
- Beth Etling, ad:Tech's Marketing and Content Director;
- Sarah Peacock, dmg World Media's Marketing manager
Matt Moore,  Knowledge Management specialist at Innotecture;
- Neerav Bhatt , professional blogger.
- Neil Phillips, Principal Consultant at Uniqueworld;
- Scott Drummond - Communuity Manager at Sports Hydrant.

Another key takeaway was Matt Moore kindly referring to me several interesting resources:
- the interesting IBM blogger Jasmin Tragus - who writes the wonderwebby blog.
- James Robertson from Step Two designs - a vendor-neutral intranet and content management consultancy.

What I love about unstructured events such as this one is the directions conversations can take and topics covered.  The above group was just a small snapshot of the people there today - in fact there were more than 100 people there, plus a fantastic band playing.  The cafe itself and in particular Gav and Nick (the cafe's friendly proprietors), was a sublime experience, and will be posted about in The Food Zeitgeist soon.

Update: 15th January 2009, via Ben Cooper on Twitter I stumbled upon this great video, by Scott Drummond, which captures well the experience that is Single Origin Roasters:

Single Origin Gypsy Friday from Scott Drummond on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Online Communities - presentation to primary school community

I recently presented to my local school on online communities and the implications for our children.  This was prompted by my desire to share some of my own experiences with social networks with other parents who may be curious yet somewhat inexperienced in this area.  Particularly with our children having greater access and in many cases greater abilities than our own in navigating through and communicating with others on these networks.

I've embedded the presentation below: 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Attending BarCampSydney4 today

Today I'm very excited to be attending my first BarCamp  I'm not quite sure what to expect, but I see there's 160 people registered for the event in Sydney so I'm looking forward to it.

I've put together a few points I'll be discussing at the event, embedded as Google Docs Presentation here:

Update: 27th November 2008.
Reflections on BarCamp Sydney 4

Its been a couple of weeks now since I attended BarCamp in Sydney.  Well it was a fantastic day, for so many reasons.  Firstly, as Steve Herzberg highlighted at his fantastic presentation over at Craig Bailey's SBTUG last night, you get out of your comfort zone at a conference like BarCamp (or "unconference" as I have learnt it is actually called - because everyone contributes not just a selected group of speakers - fantastic idea!)

Anyway, Steve Herzberg put up a slide last night which articulates how I feel about BarCamp:
“The only way a human being can grow is to work outside their comfort zone” - said by Percy Cerrutty

Well, with BarCamp you certainly are out of your comfort zone:
- you wont know many people
- you are expected to present your own talk or at least contribute vocally
- there's a high proportion of people of above average intelligence in attendence, people such as software developers, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists

However, if you get out of your comfort zone, get along to something like this, and participate, the rewards will flow:
- increase your knowledge
- meet new and interesting people
- increase your own personal brand
- generate news ideas which may turn into new businesses and opportunities for you

I look forward to the next BarCamp and I encourage anyone with an interest in technology and the Internet, to get along.   See for more information.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

You should be on Twitter - creating serendipities and building community

Twitter is an incredible tool for so many reasons, it's worthy of a separate blog post and discussion. If you don't know what Twitter is, watch the brief video below to get a good overview (the video only skims the surface of it though):

A couple of reasons I enjoy using Twitter is it creates serendipities and builds community. Only today, we were celebrating our school's 90-year anniversary. I noticed Malcolm Turnbull was in attendence so decided to send him a notice on Twitter (I am wondering if he is actually using it or employs a ghost writer. See for yourself by visiting his Twitter profile here.)

Here's where the serendipitous moment occurred. Later in the day I checked my email and noticed that one of my Facebook friends (a past-teacher from the school who has relocated overseas) had "commented on my status" I realised immediately, that although this person wasn't even on Twitter, that they had seen my status update which had automatically been sent to Facebook via the Twitter/Facebook application. This person was pleased to be reminded of the event I was attending and had said so in their comment. I was really chuffed by that moment, as it showed how something so simple as a Twitter update (sent from my phone with an investment of time of no more than a few moments) had put me back in touch with them, and caused them some happiness and fond memories.

Creating serendipities and building community - two good reasons you should be on Twitter.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Microsoft catching up to Google? Cloud + Client (Software and Services strategy)

I'm pretty excited to have the opportunity to see Steve Ballmer present live in Sydney next week.  I feel priviledge to have had exposure to and experience with so many technology companies and Microsoft's Steve Ballmer will no doubt thrill the audience - word is, he's a great presenter.  Of course I am a passionate user and supporter of Microsoft's platforms and technology - from the business user's point I have grown up on Office and Windows so feel comfortable using these tools.  I am not a developer but do enjoy working with and listening to their views - and Microsoft probably more than most companies, supports their developer community and in return has amassed an army of "evangelists" who support their initiatives.  Let's face it, as blogger Craig Bailey puts it, there is the need to clarify "...the exciting, overwhelming, and sometimes bewildering array of Microsoft products"

On an amusing note, I thought I would remind readers of some of the famous moments Steve Ballmer has been captured on video - these videos have certainly done the rounds, but here are a couple for your enjoyment:

Steve Ballmer: "Developers, Developers..."  

Steve Ballmer "..I love this company"

On a more serious note, I am particulalry interested to see Microsoft's views on so-called Cloud Computing, which as Wikipedia goes on to explain is simply "..the reliance on the Internet to solve the computing needs of users"  Microsoft was famously late in strategically embracing the Internet, dismissing the web browser's importance before being brought to trial over its anti-competitive behaviour.  This has all been very well documented - one suggested starting point is Wikipedia to see some of this

As the Internet continues to grow its popularity and usage, and bandwidth increases, Microsoft is reinventing itself and positioning itself as a player in the space arguably dominated by Google.  I believe Google is one of Microsoft's major threats - Microsoft even alluded to this in their latest annual report, as reported by Brier Dudley in the Seattle Times

It's easy to be cynical about Microsoft, as in my opinion they are as much a marketing company as a software company - but regardless of what your opinion is, next week's Steve Ballmer and team presentation will be highly engaging, entertaining and thought provoking.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Information Overload presentation via

I haven't looked closely at until I stumbled upon this presentation by Clay Shirkey, hat tip to Endeca's Daniel Tunkelang for the link. really gets how to make a site easy to use - it's video controls were so intuitive I had to embed one here. Of course the content is the key, and Clay's presentation articulates how information overload is still with us. What impressed me about was how simple it is, particulalry the links to the right of the player which make it easy to find out more about the video, emded it on another site (like this blog, below) or link to it. Of course most sites do this too, but keeps it simple and executes it so well.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Arcade games from my youth

My daughter wanted to play a game on the PC so I tracked down Frogger. They love this game. Here it is to enjoy here:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Poor Parenting or carefully staged moment?

In last Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald, I was chuffed to receive a call from one of my oldest friends Warwick La Hood, alerting me to this article. I still remember that scooter, but a 6 year old riding to school alone - can't imagine that happening nowadays!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

All the world's a Twitter - join the conversation!

Hey there folks, it's been quite a while between posts, with Megan back at University studying full time, a busy work/family life, and Twitter, writing on my blogs has been affected. Not that I haven't been spending time online - there's plenty of good reason to do so, and Twitter is one of them.

Twitter? This site is increasingly becoming a daily port of call in my online travels. I joined this interesting social networking site a few months ago (hat tip to my mate Aaron Saikovski who first mentioned it to me over coffee late last year - Aaron will be presenting at the next SBTUG, and just announced he will be joining Microsoft from 4th July - congratulations Aaron.

I find Twitter fascinating because it connects me in to a "conversation" - you get to control who you listen to, talk to, and it happens in near real-time. If you "listen" to people you are interested in, it can yield great benefits - access to current breaking news, interesting links, and new connections with people across diverse geographies.

It reminds me of LinkedIn Answers but "turbo-charged" in that you're likely to get responses to a question in minutes rather than hours.

I recommend you visit and create an account. Even before doing that, check out this post which provides an easy-to-read guide to Twitter.

For an even quicker overview of Twitter, check out the CommonCraft video below here.

Recently people have been talking about - Plurk seems to be similar to Twitter, only more graphical in that it shows posts on a timeline, with categories for each post designed to show a posts intention or mood in greater clarity. One to watch for now - if anyone has tried it please let me know.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Dad's Curry Recipe

Our family love hot and spicy. You'll find mum happily eating whole fresh chilli, and dad spicing up his curries with extra ginger (itself not too spicy, but read on) Recently dad has enhanced a vindaloo curry recipe and shared it with the whole family. So I've included it here for you all to enjoy. Caution: it is hot.

Curry Recipe

Choice of meat and quantity: Buy diced meat or dice it yourself into bite size pieces. Pork, lamb, beef, chicken or even duck are all good. Goat is thought to be the best but Sue would not eat goat or duck so I don’t use these.

500g of meat makes more than enough curry for 4 people or two meals for 2 people.

Process and main ingredients: Peel and chop up fresh ginger and garlic – say 2 to 3 heap tablespoons of each but this is not critical. You might use a little more ginger than garlic. Put the chopped ginger and garlic in a large pot.

Chop up 2-3 onions depending on their size and put these into the pot.

Add some olive oil to pot (say 2 tablespoons) and cook the onions, etc for around 5 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add the curry paste. I use Patak vindaloo paste but there are less hot pastes like madras. How much paste depends on taste but, for a quite hot curry, I use half a jar per 500g of meat. Stir the curry paste in well while you continue to cook on a low flame for a few minutes. The aromas should be great.

Add the meat and continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meat is sealed.

Add one tin of chopped (or whole) tomatoes and the best part of a tin of water (use tomato tin). Stir this all in and allow to cook slowly (simmer really) with a lid on the pot. I usually add one or two additional chopped tomatoes but this is purely optional.

Other ingredients: No other ingredients are really necessary but I always add a few other veggies for taste and to fill out the curry. I add these shortly after the tomatoes. Per 500g of meat, I might add:

· One sliced and chopped capsicum (red, green or yellow);
· One large chopped carrot;
· One potato sliced into smallish pieces;
· Beans, peas or both;
· Some curry leaves (say a dozen)

Continue to cook on a low heat for 1-2 hours. Check occasionally and stir to ensure it does not burn. Add more water if necessary to ensure there is some liquid in the pot.

Serving: Serve with boiled rice, papadums and perhaps some mango chutney.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sonos Digital Music System - unleash your music

G'day folks, I wanted to share with you a fantastic new music system I've recently installed at home. The background to this is that over the years my CD collection's been gathering dust, as I've transferred most of it into iTunes/MP3 on my PCs at home. I've been using an iPod to enjoy this music, but that's usually via headphones. Occasionally I'd plug the iPod into the stereo which is a workable solution but I wanted to enjoy the music in other rooms from time to time, such as outside on warm nights whilst inside others could still enjoy their music/movies/TV etc. In short, I needed to set up a multi-room audio system. Of course most multi-channel amplifiers have multi-zone capabilities these days, allowing you to play multiple sound sources to multiple speaker set-ups. This is all hard-wired usually and requires forethought and often an intricate set up in terms of time and cost. My current multi-channel (surround sound) amplifier still only has one zone, and I've added a simple A/B switch (speaker splitter) to let me play sound to a 2nd set of speakers outdoors. There had to be a better way. With the recent addition of a new PC at home, combined with my home wireless network, it got me thinking about how to merge that technology with my dual indoor/outdoor speaker set up. I simply wanted to unleash all that music stored on computers at home by making that music available to play indoors or outdoors, and not on an iPod or from the PC speakers.

I've known Nick & Tony at Audio Solutions in Mascot for many years and they are good honest guys prepared to give the right advice. They have a new showroom - it is worth a visit just to see the Sanyo Blu-Ray/HD projector which retails for AUD$5K (3 years ago it was many times that price to get that quality of video) Anyway Nick and Tony have been promoting the Sonos Digital Music System for some time . I have been aware of Sonos for a few years but they were AUD$3K+ then so hard to justify. Well, it turns out they have a bundled package now, out of the box comes an amp and two zones of music with the remote. I took the plunge and bought the Sonos. The Sonos BU130 bundle (this links to a CNET video review - Editor's Choice) . It took about 30 minutes to set up (including indexing the songs on my PC) and I was then playing music in 2 zones, living room and backyard. Iwas impressed, and excited. We just enjoyed dinner out the back tonight, and it was sweet relief to finally be able to pick and choose music to listen to with the family while we enjoyed dinner "al fresco", without having to fiddle with iPods or leave the dinner table.

It's so simply executed it is hard to believe that:
- my PC has about 1000's of songs, taking up many GB's of hard disc space (space is not an issue now, the costs continue to fall)
- my PC only has a wireless connection (via a USB dongle/wireless USB adaptor) to my wireless router which plugs into my cable modem
- the PC is the source of the music which I can now listen to on my existing stereo system (zone 1 - living room) and outdoor speakers (zone 2 - backyard)
- remember, the PC has no physical connection to my stereo - it is only connected via a wireless Internet connection!
- the remote which looks like an iPod Video lets me control everything
- I can play music inside and/or outside, either the same or different music in each zone simultaneously.

This is just the beginning. Expansion options include:
- buying a NAS (network attached storage) device (basically a hard drive which plugs into your wireless router) to store all my music and just play off that.
- I can add another 30 zones! 32 zones in total.
- Rhapsody online music service is available (music on demand, unlimited, any music)
- Napster online music service is available (as above)
- Internet radio channels available

I read some Amazon reviews and I have to agree with them. I haven't been this excited about a home appliance since TiVO. It's basically an audio TiVo.

Check out:

How it works at:

If you have high-speed Internet at home (ADSL or Cable), and plenty of /iTunes/Windows Media Player/MP3 files, you should check this system out.