Quick Links after a meeting with friends

July 15, 2013

Last week I was fortunate enough to catch up with some very good friends back in Sydney. This is a really smart bunch – we’ve known each other since university. The conversation was fantastic, ranging over many topics. At some point I realised a collection of links to some of these might be useful.

Speaking of encryption, online safety and such

There’s no party like a Cryptoparty 🙂

TrueCrypt is PC’s favourite encryption tool – “Free open-source disk encryption software for Windows 7/Vista/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux”

My password tool of choice is 1Password ( Mac / Win / iOS / Android ) – makes it easy to generate secure passwords and use them in the major browsers. Quick links to 1Password for OS,1Password Mac App (1Password keeps all my devices in sync using DropBox)

Other password tools :

  • Keepass is an Open Source tool
  • LastPass is free to start, subscribe for advanced tools (including group management?)

Just plain Useful

DropBox is just amazing. They provide 2Gb free storage (subscribe for more) across platforms and seamlessly syncs. My affiliate link gives us both 500Mb extra storage. Direct link https://www.dropbox.com


Tard the grumpy cat is grumpy. Source for Mel’s character in a Melbourne Fringe show in 2013.

Rush – is the F1 movie by Ron Howard about Niki Lauda

Hackerspaces in Sydney : Hackerspaces are community places to hack, program, tinker and make cool stuff. There’s now three in Sydney! I’ve written about the idea before.

Holiday by MooresCloud :  Mark Pesce’s smart lighting startup. Follow along at the blog. Note both the hardware & software is Open!

Remember the Curiosity Show?  Episodes are appearing on YouTube

The Aeropress is how I make coffee these days (especially at work.) Where to buy Aeropress  in Australia, here’s a GizMag review.
I use a Porlex hand grinder from Japan to grind my bones, err, beans.

That VPN plugin is called Media Hint (for FireFox & Chrome) to watch NetFlix (movies) or Hulu.com (US TV)

Sir Hubert Wilkins

Australian-born adventurer Sir Hubert Wilkins was the first to use a submarine to cross the Arctic Ocean by way of the North Pole. In 1931. In a rusty de-commissioned bucket of bolts called Nautilus.

That was just one of his many adventures. Wilkins is truly Australia’s unknown hero.

How to group people on a web service without a login?

March 5, 2011

Thinking out loud here. A favourite boardgame in our family is “Stockmarket” – a classic from the 1960’s that is fun all (yadda yadda.) We have a game underway at the moment (well, on hold since last night anyway 😉

Here’s my train of thought:

Wouldn’t it be great to have an iPhone app to keep track of your cash, stocks and give you a running total net wealth as you play? Of course it would.

Then the marketing brain comes on : but the market would likely be too small to justify the development. But if you made a web app, it could be usable no matter the client and upgrades for new games would be instant!

Then geek brain comes back in : how would you sync a web app’s users (i.e. people sitting at a table playing a board game) easily? Without a registation process?

To restate the problem: I’m wondering how to associate players in web browsers to the same game.

What is you were to create an alpha-numeric key out of the players first initials and their ages (or the hour the game started)? This would create a (most likely) low-collision key (along with the game chosen) so the web app could link the various users together in tracking the actual game that they have on the table in front of them.

That’s pretty much it. Imagine a key for the game stockmarket : m37m33j14a11 for example. Plenty of room there for multiple games running at once without many collisions on a lookup table, wouldn’t you say?

The Spice of Life

November 20, 2010

We are told often enough, usually by our mothers, that variety is the spice of life. It is also true online – without variety in your sources, all you have are people who agree with you. Fun for a while perhaps, but ultimately lacking in stimulation.

This struck me particulary when this morning I saw the following two tweets in my tweet-stream:

Singularity Summit Australia Opening

September 8, 2010

Stelarc – 1, originally uploaded by Matthew Hall.

The opening night of the Singularity Summit Australia 2010 blew my mind. All I can say at this point is you really need to be in Melbourne for the main event this coming weekend!

Tickets available through EventBrite

Programme details at the Singularity Institute

Is there (digital) life after death?

June 18, 2009

After the untimely passing of a high-geek friend of mine, before he had achieved the age of 40, I was struck by the lack of preparedness of most people I know with respect to their online lives.

Is this how I’m grieving, by throwing myself into this slightly morbid topic? Probably.

Since we have an upcoming BarCamp in Sydney I decided to lead a session on death and passwords, digital ghosts & things we’d rather not think about (but really should!) Ever since the decision a few weeks ago, I have been blabbing to any who will listen in the hopes of picking up some useful information. Only now am I able to publish this post as a reference point for the topic for my records, the BarCampSydney session and hopefully we can trigger thoughts and ideas on how best to handle things.

There have been some great blog posts (“Ghosts of the cyber dead” and “Will you leave your online life to your loved ones?“) covering differing aspects of this quite large issue. Just today, our local rag prints an article called “Cyber graveyards a growing problem for legal professionals” which is symptomatic of this issue not having been covered deeply. Thanks to @Jodiem for pointing this one out to me. I am happy that articles like this are being written – but we need to spend some time in deep thought working out better solutions than “keeping a log book containing all internet passwords and codes to make an executor’s job easier.”

More of my thoughts will follow – this is my stake in the sand to say that I’m working on this topic now.

Splinter of the Twitter’s Tweetdeck

March 17, 2009

Cue Dylan’s Times are a-changing.

Twitter (the company) has just lost the absolutely clear number one position in micro blogging.

Facebook have made two massive changes recently to set the stage : first the home page now resembles that famous micro blogging service Twitter. Already, over the din of “bring back my old Facebook”, the status messages seem to be more frequent.

Secondly Facebook have added a new privacy setting – everyone. Hmm, another move in the Twitter direction?

Most recently Tweetdeck have a pre-release version out that brings Facebook status messages in just as if you were looking at your Facebook homepage!

That is a really massive move.

That is a really massive move.

Mind bomb.

Why? For me, an inveterate tweeter, Tweetdeck has become indispensable. Along with columns for my inner circle on Twitter, replies to me, direct messages and searches for trends I’m monitoring, I now see my friends’ Facebook status messages right alongside. Not only read them, I can post my status messages back to Facebook (only or also send it out as a tweet!)

Now Tweetdeck has the high ground!

There’s no way I’m using only Facebook or Twitter for my microblogging – rather they complement one another as sometime overlapping, but distinct groups.

One application now bridges those two communities for me, allowing cross posting from one to the other. Giving me the overview of both groups in one place. It is only a matter of time before other apps do the same thing, after all once experienced it is obvious.

Now what if Tweetdeck, or another app, also allows me to bring in updates from a laconi.ca installation? These are personal Twitter-like engines you can install on your own servers. Suddenly you see that Twitter has irrevocably splintered. Tens or hundreds of twitters by the end of 2009 seems an easy target now.

One window to Twitter, Facebook, your company’s twitter, one for your friends or club or team or franchise or school … What an interesting world this will be!

Do augmented social skills make me worse than a politician?

February 10, 2009

[Note I wrote this draft at 2:30am from bed on my iPhone, I had intended to edit but I think it is more interesting as is]

How will you feel when, next we meet, I ask how you enjoyed the last movie you saw, referring to it by name? About your partner? Your kids? Pets?

Does that depend on our relationship? If we aren’t close, but I have good ‘people skills’ (read an exellent memory for personal details) is it creepy or does it engender perhaps a closer bond than before?

Now if my recall is augmented by notes in my address book swotted before we meet, is that different?

What about a politician’s handlers prompting these tidbits?

What if these details writhe ghostly about your person when I see, or even hear you? Only to me of course, apparitions conjoured inside my glasses by my digital djinn. Divining your recent personal history by re-tracing your digital footprints upon need. My very own internet 6th sense, a social prosthesis if you will.

This is the world being summoned right now by the technomancers, the wunderkind, the hackers of our futures.

There are many philosophical questions to be answered, let alone new social customs to be discovered. Or perhaps merely unearthed? Restored from a time not so long ago when social graces really did make the world go around.


  1. Mark Pesce: This, That, and The Other
  2. Wired: TED: MIT Students Turn Internet Into a Sixth Human Sense