Archive for the ‘tech’ Category

Name this country . . .

  • Richest in the World
  • Largest Military
  • Centre of world business and finance
  • Strongest education system
  • World centre of innovation and invention
  • Currency the world standard of value
  • Highest standard of living

Yep, it’s England – in 1900.

[From an interesting slide presentation “Shift Happens” by Jeff Brenman & Karl Fisch, winner of Slideshare‘s World’s Best Presentation Contest. (World in a very American way, in that it’s not really a global contest, but the winning presentations are all good insight into good presentation styles.)]


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I like to…

Gah! Guilty of blog neglect. Despite some feedback from the silver surfer end of the readership spectrum that my blog is overloaded with jargon, I couldn’t resist this one (techy-blog-filler alert!)

Inspired by Beano’s facebook note, I have used Google to run a search with the phrase (using the quotation marks) “Vanessa likes to” – the top 10 hits were:

  1. In her spare time Vanessa likes to buy new shoes (she has a very unhealthy fetish for shoes), juggle, and see how long she can hold her breath.
  2. But Vanessa likes to watch the women coming out, to look at the dresses, the furs, the jewels, the shoes. “I’m getting inspired,” she mutters.
  3. In her spare time, Vanessa likes to read books about sociology, religion, spirituality, and current affairs.
  4. It seems Vanessa likes to keep sturdy walls between the different parts of her life.
  5. Austin Powers wants to know how Vanessa likes to “do it”.
  6. Vanessa likes to be needed, as well as to cherish and protect her loved ones, of whom she is somewhat possessive. Vanessa is attracted to foreigners.
  7. Vanessa likes to suffer.”
  8. She had to be a little bit more composed and more conservative last year and that’s not how Vanessa likes to play.
  9. Vanessa likes to consider herself a citizen of the world and goes by the motto ‘today is all you truly have’, or ‘Hoy es todo lo que verdaderamente tienes’.
  10. Vanessa likes to make up. stories. She has a very vivid. imagination.

A little random, due to there being a more diverse range of Vanessas on the web (than say, Beanos.) Not just fictional characters such as Ms Vanessa Kensington, but also musicians, bloggers and athletes. None of the top ten hits were me!
But given the random assortment, they’re a bit like astrological predictions in that they’re mostly true – except for the show buying (although I do love them… there just ain’t many in my size here), juggling, holding breath, the suffering, the playing conservative and possibly the spirituality books – and would be for most women named also Vanessa (who are often born late 70s/early 80s.)

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A quick post as life’s been rather busy since Mum arrived and lots of work happened at once. I was inspired to post at lunchtime today when I returned to my office from site, and along the way I GAVE DIRECTIONS to a woman who SOUNDED ENGLISH (to me, my accent ear is crap nowadays) very cool.

But while I was standing around in EC1, I saw these cool mosaics of old school Space Invaders characters, which are on buildings and structures around the area:



And my favourite one, above Kurz & Lang, one of Farringdon’s best lunch shops:


So what’s it all about? This French artist puts them in cities all over the world, as part of his street art project. An interesting aim, but also something to spot in London. There seems to be a small collection here, but this map suggests others have gone up too, or that some tribute acts are around. Strangely appealing.

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HMSO Keep Calm and Carry On

Had an amazing dinner in Pimlico with Kate-o last night – just like we’d seen each other far more recently, with lots of giggles and a nice recharge in energy. She managed to share so many interesting ideas, and empathise with my my-accent-is-sometimes-unintelligible woes. Very recharging and good indeed – AND she bought with her (via the US, major brownie points) two tubes of Vegemite. Bless. True to form, we stood in the street trying to say our goodbyes for far too long. Total flash backs to our Thai dinners in Kirribilli, but with coats and the tube.
Kate/Rock reads my blog via her del.icio.us account, which is the parent of ma.gnolia, which I use – this is cool as it means I can see when she’s reading things (hello Rock!), but also means (and this is why you, interesting friend, should be sharing bookmarks through one option or the other) I can look at all the gorgeous, creative blogs she reads.

Keen for another hit of Kate this morning, I went looking through her links to find Hop Skip Jump, and from there this gorgeous poster. Although it is a reprint of an HMSO original during WW2, it is just as relevant for me today! It’s now on order, for just a few pounds, and will make a nice reminder in the morning. The trip to Ikea for a frame will require a few weeks until I have the strength – my nearest store is so popular that it’s dangerous.

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I’ve previously alluded to the very tip of the iceberg of my tech-nerdiness (as if my blog wasn’t a good enough indicator for you….), but today I thought I’d mention a few tech-resources related to my London experience. Lots of people who are already here in London will tell you about TfL‘s Journey Planner, Gumtree, the Lonely Planet site’s forum Thorn Tree, but here are a few more that are a little more exotic…

Londonist – A blog of news and events, restaurants and bars, happenings and goings-on in London. It’s varied, random and feisty! Features gig reviews, images of London that clever design types have modified, events, trivia and history.

Fridaycities – London by London – Formerly an email list known as LbL (London by London), now a fully grown (OK, so in beta…) web2.0 community that know everything within hours, can find what you’re looking for, and have a lovely British sense of humour, with a reasonable helping of London-cynicism.

g24 – I mentioned this before, but you can avoid the free paper flood, really you can. This is updated enough that anyone who uses public transport should check this one out – read something better than celebrity trash alone (do both and recycle!) The Saturday Guardian lasts me a week, but this way I can be educated during the week, in case I ever go to dinner parties, or get trapped in a lift, etc..

Trusted Places – Have added some reviews here, but also handy to find places in one of the many corners of the city you’re new too. Information, photos and reviews of bars, restaurants, cafes and other place.

TubeTracker – This is a cool thing I found via Londonist, who put me onto the blog of creator Tom Morris. Basically, it sends tube info (delays, closures, people under trains, etc) either to your Twitter page, mobile phone or IM. Am doing OK not getting too addicted to Twitter (despite it being so fun and addictive and quick to play) – but you could ruin this by letting me know if you’re on there…

[I realise that lots of my fans readers are friends, family and former colleagues in Australia, so not all of you are going to find a collection of some cool resources all that interesting when they’re London-specific…. sorry, come back for fresh content tomorrow, which might be more your bag!]

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After arguing it was a time waster I was too old/cool for, filled with time-wasting types I didn’t have time to keep up with, that it was not something I needed, that most of my friends weren’t on there, etc – I got an account on Facebook today. I got two more emails over the weekend inviting me to join and so I wasted a few hours (my boss was out, and I had no control over the addiction once I started looking for people) today getting set up. Am now just waiting for my UNSW Alumni email account to get sorted out (who’d a thunk I’d be so keen to get one?) and it’s done. I have found lots of people (mostly debaters, sure) already, but if you’re out there and read this and I haven’t added you, look for me here.

My logo,with blurred name to reduce the weirdo count, looks like:

my Facebook badge

My main motivation for doing all this was Robbo – he thinks that he doesn’t have time to email/write to me between beach holidays unless I’m here, so will see if this works. May have to leave both?? To be fair have found a few friends that I’d lost email touch with, and it won’t be too time-consuming if I can manage my friend-farming addictions!

(Clearly by thinking the technology was unnecessary and then getting on board sooo late, I am a text book late adopter on this one…)

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Last week was a fairly intense week – my work sent me on a week-long training course (for you more eng/nerdy/tech readers, it was the Construction Industry Training Board’s Site Management Safety Training), a five-day course which was run internally in the Hanover Square office. Despite all the assessments, long hours, huge volume of material and formal written exam with a pass mark of 70%, I got to meet some new employees and was lucky enough to get onto a London-based course. (A company policy of training across the UK sounds good, but did not come recommended – akin to that most obscene of geographical compromises, Canberra….got to study at home in the evenings, and really appreciated my newly-lined nest rather than a Holiday Inn near a Regional Airport!) Also, it turns out Hanover Square is pretty flash, and certainly a much more posh office than mine – felt like I got my luxurious office fill for a while. Marvelled at all the environmentally friendly, progressive policies and smiling happy workers.

I celebrated doing well in my course with some well-deserved boots from Duo Boots in Saville Row: a company from Bath that makes boots in many calf widths (including my small foot – massive calf combo.) Will post a photo or two when they arrive here (Paris, brown suede) – having worn nothing but jeans or one of two my pairs of non-sneakers everyday, will be exciting (and will require a trip to H&M/Topshop!)

Will post separately tomorrow about the weekend, but worth noting that the cricket just keeps getting worse – how? Why now? Am I the cause? 10 wickets to NZ? Do the boys understand that I have to work with English cricket lovers – the worst kind of loser? In fact, a week away (from the ribbing/abuse/reminders) was another benefit of training last week- my colleagues really compound the losses for me. When I spoke to DC and Mum over the last few days they both tried to make me feel better, but I really liked Alex Brown’s column in today’s Age – brutally honest, a little pessimistic but not yet abandoning hope of a third World Cup!

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