the world’s worst website?

I know, it’s a big call but incorporates unimaginably awful design, the very worst elevator music, a ‘terrorist alert’ indicator and a christian chat room! What more could you want?? This site will leave you utterly speechless. It’s so bad you will almost forget to be outraged at the basic idea of selling monkeys to be dressed up as quasi-babies by empty headed americans.

that eye in the sky

I admit it, I’m a bit of a map nerd… I just love ’em – the more detail the better. You can learn a lot about a place just by looking at a map. You can learn even more by looking at an aerial photograph, and google maps has got lots of them! So far, the high res images are only in the more populous areas of North America, but striking images can be found over the whole of the continent. In fact, it’s a bit addictive – a bit of a time waster!

If you can’t be bothered with trawling through masses of photos and just want the juicy bits, check out Google Sightseeing, a winderful blog with daily updates of cool things that can be found on google maps. I’ve even had one of my submissions shown!

Oh, and before I go, here are a few of my favourites: the boneyard, the grassy knoll, the hollywood sign and Yazgur’s farm. Cool, eh?

Nikon’s encryption bungle…

I was amazed by recent reports about Nikon encrypting the raw files in their high-end digital cameras… what were they thinking?

The glare of publicity has been aimed at this story since Thomas Knoll, the ‘creator’ of Photoshop attacked Nikon for the practice, which appears to impose some ownership by Nikon over a photographer’s creative work. For more years than I know, people have bought Kodak film, had it processed by Agfa chemicals and printed on Ilford paper… that is the freedom that photographers are used to. They are not going to put up with being told to use a particular (Nikon) Image Capture software ($us99) to access their highest quality, raw images.

Sure enough, less than a week later, “A Massachusetts programmer has broken the code“. Implications for big players like Adobe who still don’t want to be sued are uncertain, but it is inevitable that either Nikon gives in, releases the encryption code somehow, or suffers the consequences. If the savage opinions expressed on forums and comments pages are turned into actions, Nikon will have some serious customer relationship rebuilding to do.

Doing my bit for the National Debt…

Yes, I’ve been busily consuming… spending money. I confess to being a bit of a technosucker. I’ll usually find a justification for some gadget or another if I really want it.
I never could justify an iPod. Not heavily into my music, not really in need of a portable hard disk or even an organiser, but Mrs woo bought me a shuffle for my birthday, so I was naturally delighted.
Firstly, the shuffle is fantastic – I’ve turned into an avid music listener… exploring parts of my music library I haven’t visited for years. BUT… the earbuds are (literally) a pain! They fall out unless you jam them into your ear so hard they hurt. Never mind the 12 hour battery life, one or two was all I could stand. Until I found Griffin Earjams. Believe me, if you have an iPod G3 or later or Shuffle, you owe it to your ears to get these. They only cost me $18 over at

the social bookmarking experiment…

I’ve recently joined the wave of web users to try online bookmark tools – specifically – known as a ‘social bookmarking’ tool. is simple and, for what it does, it works very well. The social aspect is the real revelation though. You bookmark a page and see that others have also bookmarked it, so you get to explore things that have interested them. I have already found dozens of excellent sites I would never have found in other ways.
Still, I’m a picky bugger, and I find it lacking polish and integration.

I have now dropped in favour of Furl. This is state-of-the-art in online bookmarking. In beta, run by Looksmart and (at the moment) free, it has all the appeal of, but with added extras like: bookmark importing (yay!); page snapshots; export to bibTex, endnote etc.; smarter handling of the social aspects; superb integration with firefox and IE; integrated contact management; several different feeds for my weblog (coming soon!) etc…

While I was ferreting around I found another excellent tool that people might like to explore… Connotea. This is a much more hard-core academic bookmarking tool, though still in development. A level of polish and integration somewhere between and furl, but definitely one to watch. The only problem with connotea was that I felt a bit low-brow posting my ‘fun’ urls, when everyone else on the site was posting scholarly journal articles… the latest postings show up on the front page!

I still feel there is plenty of room for improvement and further integration that would significantly benefit the academic user/researcher/student, but I feel these tools are going to change the way we look for new information, having huge implications for search engines, metadata etc. If you think about it, they are profiling you, then finding other users with similar interests and then offering recommended urls based on that information – you are multiplying your searching and filtering powers for every user that you silently collaborate with. Compelling stuff!

Send a link from Safari

I love Apple’s Safari browser. There is a level of polish not even available in the wonderful Firefox, however, I’ll admit it’s sometimes a little short on functionality. One that annoys me is the lack of a quick ‘send link’ function to email a URL to someone. All fixed now!

Drag my ‘mail this‘ link to your Safari bookmarks bar to provide a functionality similar to that in Firefox/Mozilla. It also works in those browsers if you’d rather a clickable link than the default menu item.

Bollywood and Jane

Bride and Prejudice ThumbnailJust been to see “Bride and Prejudice” at the Nova. It was great! what a laugh – what a riotous party of a movie.

One of my criterias for music I like is that it should sound like it was fun to make – if you can hear the musician’s enjoyment coming through, it’s bound to be good. This is a movie that fits the criteria. The actors practically beam enjoyment as they go about the story.

From what I recall of the Jane Austen novel I studied in year 10, it was surprisingly close to the structure of the story, if not the setting. Also, I never remember getting the impression that Jane Austen particularly enjoyed what she did…

Get a few friends together – leave your critical thought at home and go and see it!

upgrade time!

Ok, the observant ones among you will have noticed that my website looks different. I have upgraded the blog software, wordpress, which went swimmingly well. Not wanting to push my run of good luck too far, I am going to leave the look and feel for another day. Til then, you can enjoy the default (and very sweet!) kubrick theme.


norman bay

Norman Bay, Wilson’s Prom

We got back from Wilson’s Prom on Friday and still haven’t accepted the fact that the holiday is over. It was blissful!

For people who don’t know Wilson’s Promontory, it is the southernmost tip of the Australian mainland, so isn’t necessarily the first place you think of for a beach holiday, but this year we struck it lucky with the weather and had a full week of superb weather, swimming, walking and enjoying the magnificent national park.

I know when I return to work tomorrow, I’ll be sneaking looks at my photo album in an effort to hold onto the memory as long as possible.

[edit] Oh dear, looks like the DSE will be looking at my photos so that they can remember what the prom looked like before they destroyed it with a ‘controlled burn’!

I don’t want a pickle…

Honda CB 250…just wanna ride on my motor sickle – at least that’s how the Arlo Guthrie song went. Yes, my big new year’s present to myself is a motorbike. Not a great big prestige mid-life crisis motorbike, but a small, slightly gutless and not very exciting ‘commuter’ bike, (a Honda CB250). Still, it’s exactly what I want for my city-bound life these days. I love it. I’ll try to get to a photo sorted tomorrow. [edit: photo sorted now!]