Seven 8ths Torn and the beauty not stored in data centres

    Kids, gather round for an Australian TV, culture, and music history lesson.

    On Instagram ABC TV’s Rage account posted:

    Anyone remember when @abctv used to close down overnight? …. Neither do we 😏 Back before rage took control of the late night silver screen in 1987, this station closer was played out to signify the end of the day’s programming to the tune of Mike Oldfield’s track ‘Wonderful Land’. Another beauty from the rage archives!"

    Which is missing an unimportant piece of fact which is linked to an only slightly more interesting story about Australian music.

    Back in the old old days ABC TV would close overnight and it would be a number of hours - dependent on day and programming etc - until Rage would start. For the uninitiated, Rage is like MTV in 1982 if it was public access, government-funded, basically no hosts unless there was a band guest-hosting for a few hours. It was just non-stop music videos.

    And for those of us (darn youth) who might have stayed up that late at night, ‘waiting for Rage’ became a thing … if you were lazy or had no video tapes to watch or nothing else to do you’d leave the TV on waiting for Rage to begin in silence with nothing on the screen.

    This lead to the bad Seven 8ths Torn self-titled album final track called “Waiting for Rage!” which was something like 16 minutes of silence.

    And yes, I am contemplating spending $44 just to buy this album on eBay, the listing from which I grabbed those images, it’s potentially the last remaining copy.

    I say all that to say this, that Seven 8ths Torn left an impact on my youth, I saw them live at a local sound shell in a park, and it’s kind of amazing that they exist in like two places on the Internet now and one of them is an eBay listing. There was a whole Triple J Unearthed series in the 90s and it doesn’t exist online, like anywhere I can find. Triple J Unearthed held a live in-person music competition at the Canelands Sound Shell and according to what I can find online that event never occurred.

    Some of my favourite albums I still listen to today don’t exist online.

    It’s just kind of wild how much knowledge, culture, wisdom, art, truth, beauty exists outside the realms of Californian data centres.

    The Canelands Sound Shell in Mackay, Queensland, being demolished in 2009

    The Frequent Vower Card

    For the first time in the world I’m launching a wedding loyalty card, the Frequent Vower Card!

    How often do you get married and at the end of the #wedding you go “is that all?!”

    Now you can get married again, and again, and again, and again, and again with the Josh Withers Frequent Vower program and every fifth wedding is free! Only redeemable on April 1st.

    Go to for more information.

    Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day. J.

    Listen to Really Specific Stories

    Linking to, sharing, telling people about podcasts is a hard problem to solve. If only because I personally do most of my listening while driving.

    So I was reminded this morning to link to a project and podcast I’ve been really enjoying, @martinfeld’s Really Specific Stories.

    Really Specific Stories is a part of a broader PhD project, in collaboration with Dr. Kate Bowles and Dr. Christopher Moore at the University of Wollongong. Each episode includes an interview with a producer or listener from a selected tech podcast case study and uses the qualitative method of narrative enquiry to uncover their experiences. Down the line, responses from each interview will be included in a final PhD thesis.

    They’re all good, and this probably speaks more to my specific brand of nerdery than the quality of the episode, but I’ve personally enjoyed @gruber’s episode, Marco Arment’s, john Siracusa’s, Stephen Hackett’s, Casey Liss’s, Manton Reece’s, Daniel Jalkut’s, Jean Macdonald’s, and Andrew Canion’s episodes .. that said, they’re all great recordings about a very specific time in history, the time that tech podcasts became a thing.

    Designing the iTunes Music Store: "Refer to the main.psd"

    This is a really insightful read by Michael Darius behind designing the iTunes Music Store, wrapping up on the video at the end though, really amazing that an entire genre of store no-longer exists.

    Hoo roo, Uluru, am I even supposed to be here?

    Uluru is such an icon. Its simple beautiful existence is one of my earliest memories, reading about it in encyclopaedias or National Geographic and Australian Geographic magazines. Seeing it in advertisements and in movies, Oprah and Young Einstein, but back then everyone called it Ayers Rock. Today we call it what it always has been: Uluru.

    Uluru has had a complicated 200-odd years of history. Before Europeans visited Australia for the first time, the red centre was just plodding along quite well as a special place for the Aṉangu people and neighbouring Aboriginal nations.

    But a few years ago everything changed. In the 1870s some white blokes sighted Uluru. 1936 saw the first tourists arrive, 12 years later some tracks that would become roads were laid, and in 1959 Eddie Connellan built an airstrip. His name’s important later on in this story.

    I’ve been lucky to witness Uluru’s glory twice now and the main difference since the last time was that in 2016 people were climbing the rock, and now in 2023 every cafe, restaurant, and bar was alive with talk about Uluru from a political point of view. Some talking about the Voice to Parliament soon going to a referendum, some talking about climbing it or why we can’t now, others talking about everything you can or can not do in the area - like drinking and taking photos in certain areas, and most were talking about how the extraordinarily high prices for everything was married to a general lack of enthusiasm from staff for visitors to be present.

    Most of my visit this time - aside from creating the marriage ceremony I was hired to create - was spent thinking about a comedic video I’ve seen on social media a few times recently. The premise of the video is that before a theatre performance an MC offers an acknowledgment of country before the protagonist, an audience member, asks if everyone should leave. She says “if we’re on someone else’s land, we should leave, shouldn’t we?” going further to ask if proceeds from ticket sales were going to the owners. It’s a joke at the expense of what can often seem like token or hollow effort to just be better about how Australia, the whole island and surrounding islands, were inhabited by intelligent, valid, interesting humans well before Europeans turned up and started naming things and claiming areas. Not just one group of people called Australia home, hundreds of different Aboriginal nations did.

    For a few years the people new to the land were pretty bloody horrible to the locals, genocide-horrible, and in recent years current generations of leaders across the spectrum of Australian society have been throwing around the hot potato of how to deal with this generational trauma.

    I was born on the Gold Coast, gifted an Australian citizenship, freedom to roam this entire country (unless there’s some pandemic apparently) and yet thrust into a political debate about being welcomed to a land, land ownership, land use, and land respect.

    I’m voting yes for a voice to parliament, I believe it’s the right thing to do but I don’t think it’s the only thing we should do, there’s a far bigger elephant in the room.

    As native titles are transferred, and places like Uluru fall more into line with the wishes of the owners, what should happen on that land? Should we leave?

    1993 saw the Northern Territory government acknowledge the local name of the rock in a dual naming situation, eight years after the land was returned to the original owners, but still today the airport and the resort keep the names Ayers Rock. As you enter the airport you’ll see the name of the original airstrip builder on the building (Connellan) but to be sure not to confuse the tourists the airport you book a flight to and the motel you book a room at are the right ones, they carry the name Ayers Rock. Obviously they’re keen on keeping that revenue, and I’m keen to keep giving it.

    But, customer service at most of the stores and businesses is by First National people and despite paying top-shelf prices I can’t help but feel that they’d be happier if we weren’t there. After all, we were on their land and after we set up shop there (and put chains up the rock) we gave it back to them as long as we could stay.

    I’m invited to Ayers Rock this week in my capacity as a wedding celebrant by a German couple who want to commit to marriage in an iconic, unforgettable, location. They plan to apply for residency and wanted to have the most Aussie wedding ever: at Uluru. (Photos below)

    The location they choose for the ceremony seemed to be ok in my humble Australian citizen opinion. The lines on the side of the road were white (not yellow “no stopping” lines), and the land off the road was unfenced. So, we started exchanging vows about twenty metres off the road and quite soon after an unhappy first Nations lady, driving a Toyota land cruiser and flashing a card that meant she could tell us what to do, told us what to do and to move on. We did respectfully, to the sunset viewing area that she suggested.

    But the overwhelming experience of Uluru for my German friends and others we talked to, second to the rock’s overwhelming beauty, is that the rest of us aren’t really all that welcome - but our money is.

    Which is a confusing position to leave all of us, including the First Nations people, in.

    I have a proposal for all of us to consider. Let’s go all in. If we’re supposed to leave, please let me know. If we’re not supposed to be in Uluru please let Qantas and the motels know.

    But if we’re going to stay, let’s work out how we can do that in a way where I don’t feel like I’ve committed genocide by asking for a $30 burger that the menu said I could have if I ordered it.

    And if we’ll stay, let’s right our wrongs as a community, as a nation, as invaders, as citizens, and as residents. This middle ground was and is necessary, like birthing pains it has been taking us somewhere beautiful, I just don’t think anyone with the power to decide knows where we are going.

    My family came to Australia in 1903, I sure hope that by 2103 the society my grandchildren live in will be one of unity and joy, not constant tension and racism.

    So let’s figure out where we’re going and let’s go there.

    Why haven't we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?

    For an interesting NASA and Apple-related fall down a rabbit hole, start with the origin of the name of “The Whole Earth Catalog” in 1966, skip forward to 1972 when a whole earth photo was made.

    Photo of the whole earth made in 1972

    Then take a turn to one of Steve Jobs' favourite sayings “Stay hungry stay foolish” which he quoted in 2005 at Stanford in his famous commencement speech.

    Back page of the last Whole Earth Catalog magazine: Stay hungry, stay foolish

    Ad then wrap back around to how the whole earth image as an iPhone wallpaper came to be.

    Original iPhone with earth background

    Welcome to my brain, where I just think about this stuff.

    I, for one, welcome our new British open web overlords

    The BBC has embraced ActivityPub, nice work @[email protected]! I’ve always thought that the long term advantage from a commercial and brand point of view is to be able to say “follow us” and the words that follow are your own brand and your own network.

    The power of Mastodon, ActivityPub, the Fediverse, means that the BBC can be on Mastodon, and someone else can be on a completely different platform that supports ActivityPub (like Threads or for example) and you can follow them. For example this very blog, because it’s hosted on means you can follow @[email protected] on your favourite ActivityPub service, like Mastodon, Threads/Tumblr/Flickr one day soon, Pixelfed, or maybe even X if Leon gets his head right, and you can read the blog there. Even WordPress has an official ActivityPub plugin now!

    In fact I could imagine that sometime in the future there’ll be a new service that perhaps is more suited to a broadcaster like the BBC and they can transition from Mastodon to it, yet the social graph remains.

    When brands and companies operate their own Fediverse instances you can get the updates from your electricity company, you can follow your celebrity or known-person-that-is-a-cool-person and they all get to control their brand and their experience. Instead of mess like this and this.

    They are not at Twitter’s, X’s, Meta’s, Google’s or my mercy.

    They also are not at the whim of a verification service that is either a secret black box experience, or thousands of dollars a month.

    We’re using as the domain, so you can be sure these accounts are genuinely from the BBC.

    This is the social media future I’d like to see. Where following someone or something is as simple as sending and receiving email.

    As a large, high profile, public service organisation, we’ve had to work through a fair number of issues to get this far and we’ve had advice and support from several teams across the BBC. Explaining the federated model can be a challenge as people are much more familiar with the centralised model of ownership. We’ve had to answer questions like “Are we running our own social network?” (well, we’re kind of hosting a small section of a social network) and “Are we hosting a user’s content?” (well, we don’t allow users to create accounts or post from our server, but they can reply to our posts from their own servers, and then their posts will appear next to ours and then they might be stored on our server and it all gets quite complicated).

    Does ActivityPub and the Fediverse have issues? Yes. Should that stop us from moving forward and trying to figure it all out? No.

    ✈️ Flighty 3 is a private frequent flyers social network!

    One of my most-used and favourite apps is Flighty, and they’ve just announced a new version that’s basically a frequent flyer’s private social network. I love it!

    Flighty 3.0 is the new way to share your flying with family and friends. Keep track of your loved ones, not flight numbers. Another industry-first from Flighty.

    1. Flighty Friends - Connect with family and friends once, then you can see each other trips and get alerts — automatically and ongoing. You’ll see them on your map, can choose alerts levels, and can stop sharing anytime.
    2. Group Trip Ready - Your flights and friend’s flights appear together in the new Today view. Everyone’s live ETA and status make group trips easy.
    3. Friends Names in Flight Alerts - Now with name, photo, and custom controls per person to avoid notification fatigue.
    4. Trip Sharing - Send multiple flights at once. Receivers can add them to Flighty, or simply view them in their browser.
    5. Whose Flight is That? - See who’s on each flight in your flight list, on the map, and including their seat number if you’re sharing a plane.

    Add me as a friend on Flighty, yo!

    P.S.: Flighty is one of the very few iPhone apps I use on the regular which was quick to allow it’s app to be used on Apple silicon Macs, something more developers should consider enabling.

    Why the rush to 5G?

    On a per user basis, a 5G network is cheaper to operate than a 4G one. The technology is easier to maintain and more reliable. It’s not sexy. That’s something that is hard to sell to consumers, but makes a huge difference to telcos. There’s much more to this. The additional capacity may not be a pressing matter in New Zealand right now, but in time there will be more connections and 5G gives carriers headroom to cope with future demand. There may be future apps that can use the speed.

    Did you notice the 5G mobile revolution?

    My new Kobo is better than my old Kindle, but barely

    📚 I’ve owned and used a Kindle for over a decade, it had been my favourite gadget for so long. But over the years I started to realise that Amazon wasn’t interested in pushing the platform forward any further and the software wasn’t going to get any better. I even upgraded to the Amazon Kindle Scribe and it was an embarrassingly bad product. The final straw was when Jean-Louis Gassée’s new book, Grateful Geek just didn’t work on any physical Kindle devices, despite Amazon happily selling me a copy.

    On the ATP Marco Arment started expressing similar concerns a few weeks/months earlier in 2023 and he did the hard testing and returning work required to convince me to buy a Kobo Libra 2 while I was in Paris in May.

    I love this device, it’s my new favourite gadget. But …

    • The Kobo store is in a dismal state, and/or, the publishing world is in a dismal state
    • The eBook publishing world is run by terrible humans who sometimes charge more for an eBook than a printed book, often release the print book weeks or months before an ebook, and just generally don’t know how to sell a book to people.
    • There isn’t a competing ebook marketplace outside of Amazon and Kobo.
    • And there’s a chance that the other great feature of Kobo eReaders is going away in Pocket integration, that is, unless Kobo updates its software.

    So I’m now left in a weird spot, there are five books I’d like to read and buy, but I can’t buy them for my Kobo. Will anyone sell me a plain old boring ePub?

    The enshitiffication of the world continues and I guess those books will just sit on my electronic bookshelf waiting for me to figure out how to read them without cutting down another tree or having two ereaders.

    Apple Vision has been 'in development' for 28 years

    Tim Cook once said that “we are high on AR for the long run” and it’s true, for 28 years Apple - and the rest of the tech industry - has been noodling around on augmented reality and virtual reality.

    Out of a purely personal interest, I started flipping through rumours about Apple and its “glasses” to see where the leakers got it right and wrong, and the next minute I’m back in 1995, so I thought a curated list of all the leaks, rumours, and related dates might be a nice record to make in the year of our headset, AVP 0.

    Enjoy this trip down memory lane:

    1981 - Steve Mann designs a backpack-mounted computer to control photographic equipment

    While still in high-school Steve Mann wired a 6502 computer (as used in the Apple-II) into a steel-frame backpack to control flash-bulbs, cameras, and other photographic systems.

    23 May, 1995 - Apple Technical Report #125: Volumetric Hyper Reality, A Computer Graphics Holy Grail for the 21st Century?

    Such a display would convincingly create the illusion of objects with arbitrary optical properties. A metallic object depicted using the display would reflect the visual surroundings of the display. Dielectric materials would show correct refraction and reflection effects. Light shone on the display would illuminate the virtual objects within it. When programmed to depict empty space, the display would, for all practical purposes, disappear, rendering the contained volume invisible. Incremental steps towards such a device are discussed.

    1996 - Apple demonstrates a prototype wearable computer system from Apple Computer with a Virtual I/O head-mounted display at the seventh Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference

    September 16, 1997 - Steve Jobs returns to Apple

    March, 1998 - Tim Cook joins Apple as senior vice president for worldwide operations

    March 21, 2002 - Apple: Stereoscopic Displays?

    Apple is said to have other flat-panel technologies cooking in the labs, including stereoscopic displays

    Arnold Kim writes:

    Stereoscopic displays would presumably simulate 3d/VR environments. A bit unique for the consumer market… but an interesting area of research for Apple.

    May 16, 2003 - Simon Greenwold publishes his Spatial Computing masters thesis

    June 29, 2007 - Apple releases the iPhone

    April 17, 2008 - Apple Researching Laser-Based Head Mounted Display

    A user simply plugs their handheld video player such as the iPod manufactured by Apple Computer of Cupertino, Calif., into the compact laser engine attached to their belt, and places the headset on their head. The user then selects a video to be played at the handheld video player (viewing through transparent display elements).

    Apple’s patent was originally filed in May 2008 and is based on a provisional patent application filed in May 2007

    December 17, 2009 - Apple Working on 3D ‘Hyper-Reality’ Displays

    August 24, 2011 - Tim Cook becomes CEO

    October 5, 2011 - Steve Jobs passes away

    January 12, 2012 - Apple is paving the Way for a new 3D GUI for iOS Devices

    The invention covers a 3D display environment for a mobile device that uses orientation data from one or more onboard sensors to automatically determine and display a perspective projection of the 3D display environment based on the orientation data without the user physically interacting with (e.g., touching) the display.

    August 2012 - Palmer Luckey launches the Oculus campaign on Kickstarter

    22 February, 2013 - Google aims to sell Glass to consumers this year for less than $1,500

    26 February, 2013 - John Gruber on Google Glass:

    And the idea that people will wear things like this everywhere (as opposed to special specific scenarios, such as workers in an environment where their hands are otherwise occupied, like, say, surgeons) strikes me as creepy as hell.

    December 10, 2013 - Apple’s Work on Video Goggles Highlighted in Newly Granted Patent

    A goggle system for providing a personal media viewing experience to a user is provided. The goggle system may include an outer cover, a mid-frame, optical components for generating the media display, and a lens on which the generated media displayed is provided to the user. The goggle system, or head-mounted display may have any suitable appearance. For example, the goggle system may resemble ski or motorcycle goggles. To enhance the user’s comfort, the goggle system may include breathable components, including for example breathable foam that rests against the user’s face, and may allow the user to move the display generation components for alignment with the user’s eyes. In some embodiments, the goggle system may include data processing circuitry operative to adjust left and right images generated by the optical components to display 3-D media, or account for a user’s eyesight limitations.

    November 24, 2014 - Job Listing Points Towards Apple’s Continued Interest in Virtual Reality

    19 March 2015 - Gene Munster Claims Apple Has Augmented Reality R&D Team

    May, 2015 - Apple hired Mike Rockwell from Dolby Laboratories

    The team, called the Technology Development Group, developed an AR demo in 2016 but faced opposition from then-chief design officer Jony Ive and his team.

    May 28, 2015 - Apple Acquires Augmented Reality Company Metaio

    January 26, 2016 - Apple CEO Tim Cook: Virtual Reality is ‘Really Cool’, Has ‘Interesting Applications’

    It’s really cool

    January 29, 2016 - Apple Has Secret Team Working on Virtual Reality Headset

    Juli Clover reports:

    Hundreds of employees are part of a “secret research unit” exploring AR and VR

    February 19, 2016 - Avi Bar-Zeev on his blog: On Holographic Telepresence

    I may get around to telling the rest of the story some other time. But I just wanted to say how proud I am of the team and the vision to show the world a glimpse of our collective future.

    March 30, 2016 - Microsoft HoloLens released

    June 2016 - Avi Bar-Zeev joins Apple

    July 26, 2016 - Apple CEO Tim Cook on Augmented Reality: ‘We Continue to Invest a Lot in This’

    We are high on AR for the long run

    August 23, 2016 - Apple Patent Details Visual-Based AR Navigation Device - reporting on a 2013 patent

    The patent notes that visual-based inertial navigation systems can achieve positional awareness down to the centimetre scale without the need for GPS or cellular network signals. However, the technology is unsuitable for implementation in typical mobile devices because of the processing demands involved in variable real-time location tracking.

    To overcome the limitation, Apple’s invention uses something called a sliding window inverse filter (SWF) that minimizes computational load by using predictive coding to map the orientation of objects relative to the device.

    October 14, 2016 - BuzzFeed News Japan: Tim Cook Talks About Apple’s Augmented Reality Ambitions

    November 14, 2016 - Mark Gurman: Apple Said to Explore Smart Glasses in Deeper Wearables Push

    January 9, 2017 - Robert Scoble on Facebook: “Apple and Zeiss working together on augmented reality optics”

    January 17, 2017 - John Gruber spitballing Apple AR’s usefulness

    January 31, 2017 - Apple patents detail augmented reality device with advanced object recognition, POI labelling

    February 28, 2017 - Apple Exploring AR in Israel as Robert Scoble Insists ‘Mixed Reality’ Glasses Coming This Year

    June 26, 2017 - The Verge reports “Apple’s AR is closer to reality than Google’s”

    Apple has often been accused of acting like it invented things that others have been doing for years. That complaint is not without merit, however, Apple can lay claim to transforming existing things into mainstream successes, which takes no small amount of invention in its own right.

    June 29, 2017 - John Gruber on Genre Munster’s Apple Glasses predictions

    I’m hard-pressed to think of anything we do today on our phones that would be better using AR glasses. Anything.

    August 4, 2017 - Apple Experimenting With Several Augmented Reality Glasses Prototypes

    November 2, 2017 - Tim Cook on Augmented Reality: ‘What It Will Be, What It Can Be, I Think It’s Profound’

    December 4, 2017 - Apple Supplier Quanta Computer Teams Up With Lumus to Make Lenses for Augmented Reality Smart Glasses

    January 12, 2018 - Apple Reportedly Met With Potential Suppliers of Augmented Reality Glasses at CES 2018

    During CES, representatives from major players like Apple, Facebook, and Google met with suppliers that make the nuts and bolts required to power AR glasses, according to people familiar with the meetings.

    March 1, 2019 - Tim Cook to Investors: Apple is Working on Future Products That Will ‘Blow You Away’

    February 4, 2019 - Variety: The Inventor of the HoloLens Just Left Apple

    Bar-Zeev has been working in the AR/VR space for close to three decades. Back in the ’90s, he was part of a team at Disney that worked on some early VR experiences for the company’s theme parks, including “Aladdin’s Magic Carpet” VR ride.

    He then went on to co-found Keyhole, the company that later got acquired by Google to become the foundation of Google Maps. After a brief stint at Linden Lab, Bar-Zeev worked for four years at Microsoft.

    “He helped found and invent Hololens at Microsoft, assembling the very first AR prototypes, demos and UX concepts, sufficient to convince his leadership,” according to his LinkedIn bio.

    Avi says:

    “I left my full-time position at Apple in January. I had the best exit one can imagine. I have only nice things to say about Apple and won’t comment on any specific product plans.”

    March 8, 2019 - Kuo: Apple’s AR Glasses to Launch in 2020 as iPhone Accessory

    June 27, 2019 - Jony Ive leaves Apple.

    August 29, 2018 - Apple Purchased Akonia Holographics, a Company That Makes Lenses for AR Glasses

    November 11, 2019 - Apple Said to Release AR Headset With 3D Scanning in 2022, Followed by Sleeker Glasses in 2023 & New AR Sensor Coming to 2020 iPad Pro and iPhone Models, AR/VR Headset as Soon as 2021

    Plus, The Information reports on the infamous “1000 person meeting”: Apple Eyes 2022 Release for AR Headset, 2023 for Glasses

    Apple executives discussed the timelines, which haven’t been previously reported, in an internal presentation to employees at the company’s Cupertino, California, campus in October, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple Vice President Mike Rockwell, who heads the team responsible for Apple’s AR and virtual reality initiatives, led the meeting, which included new details about the design and features of the AR headset, these people said. The product timetables run counter to recent analyst and media reports that said an Apple AR device could arrive as early as next year.

    March 24, 2020 - Apple’s AR Glasses Could Launch by 2022 as Suppliers Reportedly Ramp Up Development

    May 19, 2020 - ‘Apple Glass’ Rumored to Start at $499, Support Prescription Lenses, and More

    Apple originally planned to unveil the glasses as a “One More Thing” surprise at its iPhone event in the fall, but restrictions on in-person gatherings could push back the announcement to a March 2021 event

    May 21, 2020 - Jon Prosser Claims Apple is Working on ‘Steve Jobs Heritage Edition’ AR Glasses, Gurman Calls Rumor ‘Complete Fiction’

    They’re also working on a prototype, a Steve Jobs Heritage Edition, similar to how we had an Apple Watch Edition, like that ridiculous $10,000 gold one when it first came out. Some like tribute to Steve Jobs, obviously just like a pure marketing ploy at this point.

    Extra: Twitter thread between Prosser and Gurman on the subject.

    May 21, 2020 - Apple’s Augmented Reality Glasses Again Rumored for 2021 Launch

    October 22, 2020 - Apple Glasses Will Reportedly Use Sony’s ‘Cutting-Edge’ OLED Micro-Displays to Deliver ‘Real AR Experience’

    January 6, 2021 - Apple Glasses Reportedly Progressing Towards Engineering Verification Stage With Focus on Battery Life and Weight

    January 21, 2021 - Bloomberg: Apple’s First AR/VR Headset ‘Pricey, Niche Precursor’ to More Ambitious AR Glasses and Could Launch Next Year

    March 7, 2021 - Kuo: Apple to Launch Mixed Reality Headset in Mid 2022 and Augmented Reality Glasses by 2025

    April 26, 2021 - Apple Glasses Prototype Reportedly Falls Behind 2021 Testing Schedule

    October 28, 2021 - Facebook rebrands to Meta, as in “the metaverse”

    Mark Zuckerberg:

    The metaverse is the next frontier

    January 17, 2023 - Development on Augmented Reality ‘Apple Glasses’ Postponed Indefinitely

    March 12, 2023 - Apple CEO Tim Cook Ordered Headset Launch Despite Designers Wanting to Wait for AR Glasses

    June 5, 2023 - Apple Vision Pro announced at WWDC 2023

    A must-listen on the Apple Vision Pro is Cortex’s most recent episode where Myke Hurley recounts his demonstration experience with the product.

    AI and I just published a children's book: The Mountain Princess

    About three hours ago I was putting my daughter to bed and thought it would be cute to have ChatGPT write a fairytale about Luna and where we’re staying this week, Liechtenstein.

    I thought it was a cute story and something others might enjoy.

    Three hours later I’ve had Midjourney make illustrations, assembled the book - very roughly - in the ‘Kindle Kids Book Creator’, and it’s now submitted to the Amazon Kindle store.

    You can see the ChatGPT prompts here and download the .mobi file here. When it’s live on the Kindle store I believe this link will get you there.

    Three hours from a good idea to a low-fi book being published.

    The fascinating story of Castle Itter and the last European WWII battle

    Driving across Austria this week we’ve seen plenty of castles, we even stayed in one, and every sighting of one is pretty special.

    Castle Itter, Austria

    There’s one near us which looks very much like a castle, and tonight on our last night in Hopfgarten I found out the history of the castle on Atlas Obscura and it’s the most interesting of stories:

    In the final weeks of the European theater of World War II, an unexpected union of German and American forces guarded a select group of abandoned Nazi prisoners against the Waffen-SS. The conflict fought by this unique joint American-German alliance is frequently referred to as the strangest battle of World War II.

    Castle Itter was first built in the ninth century by the Bavarians and spent many years as a private residence. In May of 1943, after the Anschluss of Austria, it was transformed into a prison. For two years, French captives considered to be of high value were confined within its walls.

    But as Stephen Harding writes in The Last Battle, those prisoners eventually found themselves unguarded and thrust into a precarious position. Days after Hitler died by suicide, it became clear the war had reached a turning point. The commander and warden of the prisoners at Castle Itter abandoned their posts, knowing the end of the war was near. The remaining guards also fled, essentially giving the castle to those imprisoned within.

    This left the prisoners vulnerable to the loyal Waffen-SS troops prowling the countryside in search of deserters and enemies of the regime. This is when the strange, unlikely union of German and American forces began. Kurt-Siegfried Schrader, a highly decorated SS Hauptsturmführer and Josef “Sep” Gangl, a Wehrmacht Major, joined Captain John “Jack” Carey Lee, Jr., an American Tank Company Commander, in protecting the prisoners and defending the castle.

    Schrader and Gangl had become disillusioned with the Nazi ideology and both independently connected with the Austrian resistance. Upon hearing the prisoners at the castle were unguarded, Schrader went to the fortress to protect those held inside. Gangl, now serving as the head of the local resistance, was aware the forces under his command would not be strong enough to fight against the nearby Waffen-SS troops. He realized he needed the American forces to arrive, so he set off to find them in Kufstein.

    Not long after arriving in Kufstein, Gangl met up with Lee and they began plotting. After a reconnaissance mission, Lee and his friend brought their Sherman Tanks to the defend the castle. But along the way, poor infrastructure caused one tank and its crew to be left behind.

    Once at the castle, Wehrmacht soldiers and the few Americans prepared for battle. The prisoners were instructed to remain safely in the cellar, but many defied these orders and fought alongside the German and American troops. The stage was now set for the fight.

    Between 100 and 150 Waffen-SS troops attacked the castle in the early morning hours of May 5. Though one Wehrmacht soldier abandoned his post during the fighting, the remaining American-German defenses held the prison until more American troops from the 142nd Infantry Regiment arrived 12 hours after the fighting had begun. With the help of the additional American troops, the guards defeated the Waffen-SS in what’s viewed the last battle fought in the European theater of World War II. Gangl sadly perished during the fight.

    It’s so pleasurable to read lovely and persuasive writing like this

    The genesis story of Apple computers

    I’ve been thinking about this story from Steve Jobs, recalled in 1996 and told in the new book Make Something Wonderful, about how and why he and Steve Wozniak started Apple:

    The reason we (Woz and I) built a computer was that we wanted one, and we couldn’t afford to buy one. They were thousands of dollars at that time. We were just two teenagers. We started trying to build them and scrounging parts around Silicon Valley where we could. After a few attempts, we managed to put together something that was the Apple I. All of our friends wanted them, too. They wanted to build them. It turned out that it took maybe fifty hours to build one of these things by hand. It was taking up all of our spare time because our friends were not that skilled at building them, so Woz and I were building them for them.

    We thought if we could just get what’s called a printed circuit board, where you could just plug in the parts instead of having to hand-wire the whole thing, we could cut the assembly time down from maybe fifty hours to more like an hour. Woz sold his HP calculator, and I sold my VW Microbus, and we got enough money together to pay someone to design one of these printed circuit boards for us. Our goal was to just sell them as raw printed circuit boards to our friends and make enough money to recoup our calculator and transportation.

    What happened was that one of the early computer stores, in fact, the first computer store in the world, which was in Mountain View at the time, said, “Well, I’ll take fifty of these computers, but I want them fully assembled.” Which was a twist that we’d never thought of.

    We went and bought the parts to build one hundred computers. We built fifty of them and delivered them. We got paid in cash and ran back and paid the people that sold us parts. Then we had the classic Marxian profit realization crisis, which was our profit wasn’t liquid—it was in fifty computers sitting on the floor.

    We decided we had to start learning about sales and distribution so that we could sell the fifty computers and get back our money. That’s how we got in the business. We took our idea (for the computer) to a few companies, one where Woz worked (Hewlett-Packard) and one where I worked at the time (Atari). Neither one was interested in pursuing it, so we started our own company.

    I’m interviewing newly appointed marriage celebrants for a podcast project at the moment and some don’t have a fire in their belly as to why they started. Their genesis story is missing some heart and soul. I think about them and whether they have staying power like the two Steves who just built computers because they wanted one. That early fire is valuable.

    Steve Jobs working on an Apple 1

    Netflix, One Tel, and me, a nostalgic love triangle

    Britt and I are watching Netflix’s new show The Mole at the moment and as that guy who knows Queensland like the back of his hand I’ve been following the filming locations keenly. (If you know what that Daintree resort is, please tell me!)

    So as the team reached “The Great Barrier Reef” aka The Whitsundays I immediately recognised the location as Woodward Bay, just a few minutes' drive north of Airlie Beach. Visitors in the past include the King of Morocco, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, but most importantly for this story, the owner’s husband, Jodie Rich. Apparently, they all helicoptered in, but I just drove when I visited.

    I’ve been brought in - pretty sure it’s 1999 or 2000 - to install two Alcatel PABX telephone systems, one that sits at the front gate, and another in the main compound, connected by fibre optic, to allow the main compound to make and receive phone calls, but also for the fancy new gate to be opened by phone call.

    I worked for a local company called Business Solutions, and my experience there has always stuck with me. We were a one-stop shop where we provided actual business solutions, not just products. I still love doing that in businesses today.

    Anyhow, I’m on this amazing property that Tom Cruise has just stayed at, and Japanese property developer, Kumagai Gumi, has just dropped $150 million on the property, then sold it to Jodee Rich’s wife for $2.5 million so that’s probably a totally cool and normal transaction.

    The whole thing was out of reach of ASIC as One Tel went broke because the husband didn’t own the property that was attributed to him, but his wife did. That’s the kind of business sense that gets you places, like starting your own top-level domain (.CEO) and NFT.NYC, kill me now, this bloke has such an epic legacy of grifting.

    Seeing the property in The Mole was cool, it looked so similar twenty years on. It is honestly a really beautiful property. Back then they allegedly had lasers across the bay to keep people out, and as a young bloke, it’s the nicest property I’ve ever stepped foot on. I remember being told that the coffee table was made from a door of a monastery.

    Interested in staying the night? It’s only five figures a night.

    And if you need a PABX installed in a weird situation twenty years ago, give me a call.

    My mate Jay has made a documentary about remote knowledge workers, digital nomads, working around the Arctic Circle and I’m pretty damn jealous of those landscapes, the visuals, and the lifestyle! Check out the trailer!

    Salon Tom Weston’s Five Rules of Being A Grown-Up:

    1. You must not have anything wrong with you, or anything different about you.
    2. If you have something wrong or different about you, you really need to correct it. You need to be able to pass under all circumstances.
    3. If you can’t correct it, or change it in any way, you should just pretend that you have. It’s not a problem anymore. Good news!
    4. If you can’t even pretend not to have corrected the situation, you should just not show up, because it’s very painful for the rest of us to see you in your current condition.
    5. If you’re going to insist on showing up, you should at least have the decency to be ashamed.

    Write one blog post every day that scares you

    If you’re uncultured swine like me, you probably thought that Baz Lurhmann gave this commencement speech and it was released as a song.

    The truth is far more boring and interesting at the same time.

    Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young

    Wear sunscreen.

    If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

    Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

    Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

    Do one thing every day that scares you.


    Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.


    Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

    Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

    Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


    Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

    Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

    Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

    Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

    Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

    Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

    Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

    Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

    Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

    Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

    Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

    Respect your elders.

    Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

    Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

    Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

    But trust me on the sunscreen.

    "He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers"

    We, we the people, reframe and view government as a god. Which is quite unhealthy. We position our prime ministers and presidents as idols, put them on a pedestal, and expect a lot from them.

    Ultimately, those positions - from the top to the bottom of the organisation chart - are not gods, they are servants. They serve our community. We render a select number of social services to this service provider and ask them to look after them. We’re talking roads, border control, hospitals, those dinky little health brochures, and everything in between.

    We essentially outsource all these things to the state, federal, and local governments. This is great because I don’t want to be responsible for maintaining roads, bringing justice to situations, or manning the borders.

    In doing this we are making the same choice the Israelites made when they asked Samuel for a king. So we get a king and we “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”.

    Not everything is the government’s job. They are not a god, or God and some things shouldn’t be outsourced to the government.

    Abortion, for example, I see abortion as a symptom of an unwell society. If abortion is occurring and it is unsafe then there should be safety regulations around it, but ultimately these laws or regulations are just bumper bars on the ten pin bowling alleyway.

    When you are unwell, you don’t treat the symptoms, you treat the cause.

    What is the cause of abortion? Who are these people wanting/having abortions? Do they really actually want an abortion, or would they have a child if the circumstances were different, either residentially, financially, or relationally? Maybe if they weren’t abused or tricked, they would want to become a parent?

    Maybe there are people who genuinely want an abortion. Perhaps the baby is the unplanned result of a sexual encounter, what life are they leading where they want this? Surely there is something below the surface? A pattern of abuse, sexual or otherwise, that lead them to this place? Surely if families weren’t broken, and if we were vulnerable with each other, if we had tighter communities, we wouldn’t be reaching this endpoint?

    I’m a middle-aged white guy, so I’m sure I’ve missed a case for abortion, but I struggle to believe that anything more than a few people are genuinely out there “murdering babies” with murderous intent. I imagine that most, almost all, would be regretful and mournful but seemingly without choice and between a rock and a hard place.

    Legislation, machine-learning, artificial intelligence, and even Ceasar (the government), don’t know how to deal with complex issues like abortion, because they are human issues, with complex routing, complex incentives, responsibilities, and longterm effects.

    But in his grace and glory, Christ does, and his ambassadors can. Let us render unto God what is God’s.

    This position will anger pro-abortion and anti-abortion people because it actually requires you to care, listen, and lean in. It might even require some of your money or your resources. People aren’t ready to take personal responsibility for it.

    But as Samuel warned the Israelites:

    “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen to run before his chariots; and he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his courtiers.

    Kings can be real bitches.

    “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them”

    If I can end on a real note, I really struggle when Christians get so excited about governments, electing the right governments, having the right kings, and I’m like, you read 1 Samuel mate?

    The Final Comeback of Axl Rose, by John Jeremiah Sullivan in 2006, referenced in the Rubesletter by Matt Ruby, today:

    Axl has said, “I sing in five or six different voices that are all part of me. It’s not contrived.” I agree. One of them is an unexpectedly competent baritone. The most important of the voices, though, is Devil Woman. Devil Woman comes from a deeper part of Axl than do any of the other voices. Often she will not enter until nearer the end of a song. In fact, the dramatic conflict between Devil Woman and her sweet, melodic yang—the Axl who sings such lines as Her hair reminds me of a warm, safe place and If you want to love me, then darling, don’t refrain and Sometimes I get so tense—is precisely what resulted in Guns N' Roses' greatest songs…

    And what does she say, this Devil Woman? What does she always say, for that matter? Have you ever thought about it? I hadn’t. “Sweet Child,” “Paradise City,” “November Rain,” “Patience,” they all come down to codas—Axl was a poet of the dark, unresolved coda—and to what do these codas themselves come down? Everybody needs somebody. Don’t you think that you need someone? I need you. Oh, I need you. Where do we go? Where do we go now? Where do we go? I wanna go. Oh, won’t you please take me home?

    In 2022 I want to be a lot more deliberate about my inputs. Garbage in, garbage out. I’m continuing to craft my newsletters and subscriptions, detailed on my inputs page. Plus I’m now documenting books I want to read, books I am reading, and books I have read.

    Small atomic changes should put make sure I’m walking down the right track.

    Dear Me,

    If, in future years, anyone asks you to give advice to your sixteen year old self… don’t.

    Make your own unique messes, and then work your own way out of them.

    See you,

    Alan Rickman

    I missed this New York Times piece on my hometown, Mackay in North Queensland, about how the mayor is almost single-handedly trying to turn the community around on climate change.

    “Over the past year, Mr. Williamson, a fifth-generation Mackay local, has tried more outreach and education, meeting frequently with residents to discuss why the trees are needed, and whether a lighter mix of vegetation might be allowed for partial ocean views.”

    If Mackay was going to be in the New York Times I always thought it would be because they ship about 100 million tonnes of coal out of the region every year.

    Om Malik on the lethal and constant feeling of self-importance we walk around with:

    “With all the conversation of breaking free from big social platforms, owning your own digital identity, and being independent, I have been asking myself: how can all of us who have slowly become online performance artists ever be post-social?”

    Since March 2020 I’ve thought a lot about what it means for us to think we’re so self-important and what that means for us living in a community with a virus like the spicy cough.

    I’m sure it’s not only me, but the moment a sense of self-importance enters my soul I start feeling sick. This photo of a chicken with a mullet often helps me get over myself.

    “I used to think the top global environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought with 30 years of good science we could address those problems, but I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy – and to deal with these we need a spiritual and cultural transformation and we scientists don’t know how to do that.”

    – Gus Speth

    West Philadelphia born and raised, and now rebooted, much more dramatically

    Morgan Cooper made a fan-trailer of a dramatic reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 2019:

    Will Smith saw that video and now there’s a real trailer and a real show!

    That’s one of the best things about this new world without as many gatekeepers, and falttened lines of communciation and promotion. You can just have an idea, run with it, and see where it lands.

    Reflecting on the original show, there’s obviously a darker storyline underneath the lighthearted primetime television show, but the 90s were never ready for that.

    Will Smith talks about that idea in this video about the new reboot:

    Mavic 3’s 1x versus 28x zoom.

    "More evidence suggests that nature does something essential for our mental health"

    “More evidence suggests that nature does something essential for our mental health. Specifically, we have learned that nature tends to result in reduced circulating levels of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, lowered blood pressure, blunted “perceived stress” after stressful life events, and lower short-term levels of anxiety and depression. We also appear to ruminate less after we’ve spent time in nature, a phenomenon distinct enough to appear as differences in neural activity during brain scans. One recent study selected 541 vacant lots across the city of Philadelphia and randomly allocated each to either receive no intervention; receive regular trash removal and mowing; or be turned into open pocket parks, with trees and a pleasant, short wooden-perimeter fence. Survey teams blind to the intervention were sent out to question residents at random before and after the great experiment, eventually interviewing nearly 450 people about their mental health. When the study was complete, its architects found that residents of neighborhoods where lots had been greened were much healthier psychologically than those whose lots had merely been cleaned. Around greened lots, neighborhood-level rates of feeling “depressed” dropped by 42%, feeling “worthless” by 51% and having generally “poor mental health” by 63 percent.

    Read the whole article in Outside via Kyle Westaway’s Weekend Briefing email.

    Hey Siri, please remind me of this every day

    “People hate their own art because it looks like they made it. They think if they get better, it will stop looking like they made it. A better person made it. But there’s no level of skill beyond which you stop being you. You hate the most valuable thing about your art.”

    Elicia Donze

    As Brisbane goes into lockdown - 6pm June 29, 2021

    Tap your phone at Gold Coast bus stops to access my website

    My February 2021 Apple Fitness challenge is to walk 227km in the month. So I was out late last night closing in on the target when I stopped and looked at the bus timetable sign at a local bus stop.

    That NFC tag piqued my curiosity. I wondered if it worked on iPhone?

    So I tapped my iPhone 12 Pro up against the NFC logo and a website hyperlink notification popped up like when you scan a QR code.

    And TransLink, the local public transport provider, had neglected to renew the domain name used in the NFC tag.

    I now own the domain name and the people of the Gold Coast now have easy access to my website. 🤷‍♂️

    As an example, a local bus stop links to

    Running the numbers on great writing

    “Hemingway, Morrison and Steinbeck, their best books, the ones that are held up and have the most attention on them now, are the books with the fewest amount of –ly adverbs.”

    One Writer Used Statistics to Reveal the Secrets of What Makes Great Writing

    This is one of those articles I think I’ll read a few times over the next few weeks.

    “Everyone reacts, few respond.”

    “McDonald’s Theory On How Best to Rescue Conversations” by Karthik Rajan

    Homo sapiens won the evolutionary race because we were connected

    Research shows that Homo neanderthalensis (otherwise known as Neanderthals, the species of people that didn’t survive where we did) was more intelligent and had a bigger brain than Homo sapiens, but Sapiens, Humans, were connected. We were social.

    We won not because of our intellect but because of our sociability.

    “If Neanderthals were a super-fast computer, we were an old-fashioned PC – with wi-fi. We were slower, but better connected.”

    From the book I’m currently reading, “Humankind: A Hopeful History” by Rutger Bregman.

    record scratch freeze frame “Yup, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I got into this situation…”

    America, our love story, and how we fell out of love

    19 years and four months ago today, when I was just 19, I woke up on the Gold Coast and discovered the United States of America.

    Before the 12th of September, 2001, I knew of a foreign nation north of Mexico, south of Canada, where a few of my favourite TV shows, movies, and bands were from. I’d heard of ‘Bush’ or The White House', and between friends we’d joke about “not having sexual relations with that woman.”

    Seinfeld was tied with South Park as my favourite TV show, and I thought I did a pretty good US accent for a gag.

    But as Australia awoke on the 12th of September, 2001, we learned of the attacks on the USA.

    I was glued to the TV news for days. I had a computer at home without an internet connection and couldn’t afford a phone line plus dialup Internet, but found out that Telstra offered prepaid telephone landlines and prepaid dialup internet, so within days had my own personal internet connection I could spend endless hours on (until my credit expired) discovering this ‘America’ that was under attack.

    I subscribed to Time Magazine and started reading stories of the American people coming together, being together, joining together, in the days and weeks after the attack. I was hooked.

    I wanted to know everything there was to know about these people, and this country, that was so united despite the terror that rained down on them.

    Over the years I’ve been blessed to visit the ‘home of the brave’ many times. I’ve spoken at conferences there, and even married many couples in Hawaii, New York, Oregon, and California. I was even supposed to be there this week for a wedding in Orlando - but thanks to covid I’m here, home, in Australia.

    In 2011 when Donald Trump questioned if Barack Obama was “made in America?” it was simply comedy fodder for an Australian on breakfast radio. We all laughed.

    But in the nine years since that tweet, through to today where Trump literally encouraged mobs of people to storm the US Capitol, that America I idolised has changed so greatly.

    America was a place I dreamed of ‘making it’ and a country I always wanted to explore. I dreamt of living there and building a life a-fresh in the land of the free.

    Today however, it’s a whimper of the country I researched so earnestly in 2001.

    Today it’s divided, angry, and ignorant of the plight of the persons of America, so heavily focused on the synecdoche America, so ignorant of the American.

    Oh, say can we see, that America I fell in love with 19 years ago?

    A shop displayed a sign announcing that they were “only excepting card payments at this time” and it’s really sitting with me hey.

    ‘Nice’ doesn’t sell ads

    I’ve found the most quotable book I’ve read in a while.

    “Imagine for a moment that a new drug comes on the market. It’s super-addictive, and in no time everyone’s hooked. Scientists investigate and soon conclude that the drug causes, I quote, ‘a misperception of risk, anxiety, lower mood levels, learned helplessness, contempt and hostility towards others, and desensitization’. Would we use this drug? Would our kids be allowed to try it? Would government legalise it? To all of the above: yes. Because what I’m talking about is already one of the biggest addictions of our times. A drug we use daily, that’s heavily subsidised and is distributed to our children on a massive scale. That drug is the news.”

    Ruther Bergman’s book Humankind was recommended to me by my Aunt over Christmas as we talked about the light subject of saving the planet and bringing peace to planet earth.

    Tracey recommended the book and in the first chapter Rutger is straight in for the attack on the news.

    “I was raised to believe that the news is good for your development. That as an engaged citizen it’s your duty to read the paper and watch the evening news. That the more we follow the news, the better informed we are and the healthier our democracy. This is still the story many parents tell their kids, but scientists are reaching very different conclusions. The news, according to dozens of studies, is a mental health hazard. First to open up this field of research, back in the 1990s, was George Gerbner (1919–2005). He also coined a term to describe the phenomenon he found: mean world syndrome, whose clinical symptoms are cynicism, misanthropy and pessimism. People who follow the news are more likely to agree with statements such as ‘Most people care only about themselves.’ They more often believe that we as individuals are helpless to better the world. They are more likely to be stressed and depressed. A few years ago, people in thirty different countries were asked a simple question: ‘Overall, do you think the world is getting better, staying the same, or getting worse?’ In every country, from Russia to Canada, from Mexico to Hungary, the vast majority of people answered that things are getting worse. The reality is exactly the opposite. Over the last several decades, extreme poverty, victims of war, child mortality, crime, famine, child labour, deaths in natural disasters and the number of plane crashes have all plummeted. We’re living in the richest, safest, healthiest era ever. So why don’t we realise this? It’s simple. Because the news is about the exceptional, and the more exceptional an event is – be it a terrorist attack, violent uprising, or natural disaster – the bigger its newsworthiness. You’ll never see a headline reading NUMBER OF PEOPLE LIVING IN EXTREME POVERTY DOWN BY 137,000 SINCE YESTERDAY, even though it could accurately have been reported every day over the last twenty-five years. Nor will you ever see a broadcast go live to a reporter on the ground who says, ‘I’m standing here in the middle of nowhere, where today there’s still no sign of war.’”

    With a careful note on journalism versus the news:

    “Of course, by ‘the news’ I don’t mean all journalism. Many forms of journalism help us better understand the world. But the news – by which I mean reporting on recent, incidental and sensational events – is most common.”

    And then he slides right into Facebook and Silicon Valley’s current obsession with buying and retailing our attention.

    “This modern media frenzy is nothing less than an assault on the mundane. Because, let’s be honest, the lives of most people are pretty predictable. Nice, but boring. So while we’d prefer having nice neighbours with boring lives (and thankfully most neighbours fit the bill), ‘boring’ won’t make you sit up and take notice. ‘Nice’ doesn’t sell ads. And so Silicon Valley keeps dishing us up ever more sensational clickbait, knowing full well, as a Swiss novelist once quipped, that ‘News is to the mind what sugar is to the body.’

    I believe that ‘Humankind: A Hopeful History’ by Rutger Bregman is required reading for anyone who’s upset, angry, our generally uncomfortable about the state of our people entering 2021.

    Guilty as charged

    This American itch—that we must “DO SOMETHING” and “DO GOOD,” as Banfield put it—also fosters a psychological-sociological trap, wherein Americans take the view that society “could solve all problems if it only tried hard enough; [and the fact] that a problem continues to exist is therefore proof positive of its guilt.”

    The Perils of “Doing Something” in City Journal

    “A prank attempt went terribly wrong for a 14-year old boy from Boise, as he was raped by a 700-lb grizzly bear while walking around in the woods in a sasquatch costume.”

    via Designs Salad

    A podcast I first heard a year ago today still sits with me a year later, and I’ve listened to it maybe five times over. Cooking As an Art, With Jerry Saltz and Dave Cheng. It has almost nothing to do with cooking, or art, but more to do with life.

    The future of music journalism is on (wtf) TikTok (sad face)

    “TikTok music blogs have thrived during quarantine, and they’re helping to blow up new acts”

    Simon Owens on 'the Substack problem'

    “2021 will be the year that publishers start to form strategies to deal with the Substack Problem. By that, I mean they’ll need to find ways to discourage their star writers from leaving to launch their own Substack newsletters. In the most likely scenario, they’ll make deals with writers to launch the newsletter under the banner of the media company. They might structure the deal so the writer gets to keep their current salary and then some percentage of the subscriber income they generate – similar to the advances and royalties that book publishers dole out. This will be enticing to the writers because they get to maintain job security while also benefiting directly from their success. They can also grow their audience much more quickly with the help of the media company. It’s a win win for both parties.”

    Simon Owens, on his Substack, which I highly recommend subscribing to

    Have you played the hottest new web game of 2021? School or Prison

    Much applause to the people behind Pentax cameras for this seemingly crazy idea to not go mirrorless. The unpopular route is often not filled with riches of finance, but it is full with riches of art, joy, and soul.

    This is a fascinating story about an Australia man with an illness discovering horology

    Don’t let anyone tell you today is December 31st, 2020.

    Today is March 306th, 2020.

    If you thought everything else that happened this year was scary, 2020 is going out with a bang with delightfully terrifying dancing robots from Boston Dynamics

    Calling all true crime podcasters, I’m desperate to know the story of Henk and Lane and how the small Tasmanian town of Penguin got two IGA supermarkets next to each other.

    2014 article on ‘Silicon Valley data’ being the new ‘Wall Street debt’

    “Built by geniuses, both products end up being deceptively cheap, morally corrupting, and of questionable long-term economic utility.”

    Live Free or Try

    I try to avoid hot political issues here, but if Paw Patrol is a police officer, clumsy firefighter/paramedic, some tradies, & a pilot, how is it that they “always get the job done?” Surely they’d need a barista or a wedding celebrant or other assorted necessary type people.

    “Life is short, like Joe Pesci.”

    — Chance, the rapper

    “One of the most significant facts about us may finally be that we all begin with the natural equipment to live a thousand kinds of life but end in the end having lived only one.”

    The New Yorker

    I don’t like to boast on here, but I wanted to silence all the haters and the non-believers.

    Yes, I totally can fit nine potato chips in my mouth at the same time.

    Hello Coles, it’s modern news media here,

    I hope you’re keeping well.

    It’s the 26th of December, and now they’re ringing the last bells …

    Bloke at the pharmacy tells me that this is the second highest selling fragrance in Australia this Christmas

    The Damage Has Been Proven, So Why Are We Still on Facebook?

    “If a host of reports, studies, articles, commissions of inquiry, books and films were produced about the dangers inherent in the use of a certain product – let’s say a medication or an automobile – the likely result would be a public outcry demanding the elimination of said product. But that’s not the case with Facebook. Why?”


    Quote I’m pondering thanks to Tim Ferriss’ pondering it …

    “If we can forgive what’s been done to us… If we can forgive what we’ve done to others… If we can leave our stories behind. Our being victims and villains. Only then can we maybe rescue the world.”

    — Chuck Palahniuk

    Shop inside a regional Tasmanian town’s local shopping centre. The professional life coach on staff on Christmas Eve is wearing knock-off AirPods.

    I’ve just watched an episode of The Wiggles where they’re singing about, and boating in, The Big Red Boat. In this episode Anthony is assuming the position of captain, which is confusing, because for the first time in the entire show this is clearly a place where Captain Feathersword was the most qualified person for the job.

    Why is Captain Feathersword landlocked even when The Wiggles go on the seven seas?

    What’s the real story with Captain Feathersword?

    The abandoned Laguna Quays Resort

    Laguna Quays and the Turtle Point Golf Course is classical 1990s Queensland foreign investment gone bad. My favourite is the international airport which got as far as a runway missing bitumen. It went into receivership and it hasn’t changed much since I first saw it abandoned in January 2012. Photos shot today, August 11, 2019.