Why do I blog?

1. Because I enjoy the discipline of observing & writing.
2. Because I enjoy a rant (even if it’s to very few people) about issues which I’m passionate about.
3. Because some friends are amused by it.
4. Because I can see the stats of what people read, search for and discuss on the blog, thereby gauging the zetgeist.
5. Because … I like to keep track of my thoughts over time, and I don’t like handwriting – blogs are far better at storing thoughts than books.

I hate voicemail: Here’s four tips on handling voicemail

At the moment… is voicemail messages. I’ve hated them for a while without realising it, but I’m increasingly annoyed with them.

If you don’t answer, you can see who called anyway, thereby giving you enough info to return their call. If they then leave a message it’s both a waste of time and money for the both of you – unless of course there’s a deliberate reason for leaving the message – “Hey, I coudn’t get through to you, my phone is going to cut out soon I’ll meet you on the corner of such and such…”

But to leave a chain of messages within five minutes like “Hey, pick up your phone”, followed by “Hey, where are you, not picking up?”, followed by “Hey I can’t seem to get through”, is just dumb.

The problem is, I’m getting more and more “chain” voicemails. And I’m beginning to hate them, just like a friend who has never had voicemail diversion on his phone. His attitude is: “They’ll ring back, or if it’s urgent, they’ll SMS me”.

That’s far more sensible.  I can see it’s getting ridiculous – and reminds me of a lyric from the Living Colour song: “Information Overload”.

Surely by now humankind should have established some sort of voicemail etiquette?

I’ll start:
1. If you don’t know me, and you’re calling me, then it’s best you send a short SMS introducing yourself and asking for a response when I might best call you back. Don’t leave a voicemail.

2. If I do know you – never leave a voicemail

3. Unless it’s something amazing (eg: you’re trying to record something) please don’t leave a voicemail.

4. If we have a great day / night out / I do something really nice for you and you feel the need to call me and leave me a lovely voicemail. Please write me a nice SMS instead. Please don’t leave a voicemail.


Alan Morris loses his Mojo

One of the most influential people in the history of Australian advertising and popular culture, Alan Morris, has died of cancer.


Morris, half of the Morris and Johnson partnership (MoJo Advertising), created ads like Hogan’s “Shrimp on the barbie”, Meadow Lee’s “You oughta be Congratulated”, Speedo’s “Everybody loves Speedo’s”, Winfield’s “*Anyhow, have a Winfield’s”, QANTAS’s “I still call Australia home” and their most famous, “C’Mon Aussie, C’Mon”.


I mourn his genius ability to grow businesses with distinctive and memorable advertising, and his genuine, profound contribution to Australian culture.

EMI and Apple

It’s fantastic to see EMI and Apple strike a revolutionary agreement which frees up EMI’s content, removing DRM on music for use on any machine, whether iPod or a third party music player.

This big news, as reported by Mac Rumours, is:

  • EMI’s Music will be sold without Digital Rights Management restrictions through iTunes
  • These new songs will be higher quality (256kbps) and sell for $1.29/song individually
  • DRM-Restricted songs at the lower quality settings (128kbps) will still be sold for $.99
  • Albums will be in the new higher quality/DRM-less format but remain at the same price.

Great stuff! If there’s one thing which has made me reluctant to buy from Apple’s iTunes Music Store, it’s the low bitrate in which they provide the tracks. The record companies deliberately restricted the bitrate because they felt it would drive people to “upgrade” to a CD, which naturally is at a much higher quality than a 128kbps file. Instead of driving people to buying CDs, it drove them to download the music illegally instead – as the physical products are poorly distributed, with music available in only a few shops with limited opening hours, whereas downloads can happen on any connected device at any time! However, now that music will be available at 256kbps and in AAC format, it is the equivalent sound quality to CD – my prediction is legal downloads will skyrocket.

The CD is dead, long live Apple! Must go, I’m off to buy Blur’s “Best Of” in high quality AAC format!

Blogging Code of Conduct?

…would be a silly idea. The internet has always been an open place, the product of its users. A code of conduct is a waste of time, a limitation. In the early days of the net (and before that, the days of suburban BBSs) there were certain protocols/etiquettes – “netiquettes” you had to adhere to. From memory (and please feel free to add more if you can remember them) they were – in no particular order:

  • Don’t waste bandwidth – if someone writes a big long important email, don’t respond with “cool” – it’s unecessary. Respond properly or don’t respond at all.
  • Remember the human – if you’re going to bag someone on a Usenet/Newsgroup ) or now a Blog, remember that there is a person behind the pseudonym/alias or their real name.
  • DON’T SHOUT! Capitals are loud and rude.
  • CAPITALS for shouting, *asterix* for italics or emphasis.
  • Remember that in normal conversation, facial expressions and vocal tones can change our preceptions – when writing emails or posting on a USENET group, use smileys to reflect the tone 😉
  • Be conservative in what you send and liberal in what you receive – self explanatory
  • If a message, email or post is over 100 lines (remember the thing abotu conserving bandwidth, it’s good to put (LONG) in the subject line

What has changed? These netiquettes are relevant, even if they were developed in those early, nascent days of the net.

WiFi Radio

Now I wouldn’t assume that it’s not too hard for someone to make a bloody WiFi alarm clock radio? For years, I’ve been thinking that an alarm clock radio would be a logical product to put to market; something which I can have sitting in the bathroom, would be able to sniff the air for a wireless signal and tune into any one of the thousands and thousands of radio stations out there broadcasting over the net.

But seemingly, there’s bugger all electronics companies out there with the brains, guts or nous to make one – Acoustic Energy is the only one I can find. When stores like Myer, or some face in Fed Square are broadcasting internet radio over their PA systems, it shows it has well and truly reached the mainstream.

SO WHY NO PRODUCTS? How would I go about making one – or for that matter a whole heap of other internet connect products?