📷🇮🇹🏖️ Family day at the beach at Cala Maka. The beach is apparently/allegedly called Torre Canne Nord Prima della Casa Grigia, which translated from Italian means, North Canne Tower Before the Gray House, which is the most romantic beach name I’ve ever read.

Good luck ever naming a beach better than that.

I shared these words from Craig Mod a year ago today. But since then we made the choice to uproot our life in Australia, move to Mexico, then leave Mexico, travel around the USA and Europe for a while, and come home to Australia in a month’s time.

I can guarantee I’m coming home changed, but like Craig, I’m also more confused than ever about why some people travel. I mean no judgement towards any of you, but I’ve been in Italy for a month now and it seems such a waste to leave in a few weeks. Even considering my feeling that I’ve barely seen or experienced anything, I still have a deeply resonating feeling that I’m selfishly taking in the culture here, and to do what with it? Just to give the girls a childhood photo album that was cooler than mine?

The romantic ideal of travel is to leave as one version of yourself and return another, changed, ‘better’ version of yourself. This trip changed me, but not in the ways you might classically expect. I’ve returned suspicious of travel, more confused than ever about why so many people travel. Unsure if most travel of the last few decades makes sense, or has ever made sense or justified the cost. It feels like some consumerist, uncurious notion of travel was seeded long ago and, like a zombie fungus, has mind-controlled everyone to four specific canals in Venice. To a single painting at the Louvre. To three streets and a square in Manhattan. To a few rickety back alleys around Gion. An eminently photogenic set of torii in Kyoto.

Regardless of my, and Craig’s, trepidations of travel being an unjustified expense or impact, I’m forever changed by 2020-2022’s travel-related traumas and 2023’s travel adventure.

🗺️ Where’s Josh’o? An update

Just going on the record for everyone who asks where we are, where we’re living now, and if we’re ever coming home to Australia: we’re in Italy then Paris and Singapore between now and getting home to the Gold Coast late August. I’m back to work and at your service making weddings and elopements from August 22, 2023. I’ve got travel around Australia and New Zealand for weddings and elopements through the end of this year and early next year before we head back to Europe in 2024.

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I think this would be an awesome idea: a mashup of a reddit-like voting system with events calendar and geotagging plus some Atlas Obscura.

Basically a “cool things near me and/or happening near me soon” web app.

Will the 2026 Commonwealth Games, originally supposed to be in Victoria, Australia, be the first ones to test the “Vancouver should be the permanent Olympic Games city” that Jonathan Fischer reignited seven years ago in Slate, of course but for the Olympic’s little sibling, the Comm' Games:

That’s why the Olympics should relocate to a city that won’t just relieve the rest of the world of hosting duties for the Summer Games but of the Winter Games, too. It would have to be a place with the right climate. It would have to be a place that could afford it. It should possess something of an international flavour. It should have a proven track record. It should be located in a democratic country but not a hegemonic one. It should be Vancouver.

📷🇮🇹 40 degrees celsius today in Martina Franca, but the second you step into the shade the temperature drops about fifteen of those bad boy degrees.

Thought I would check on the two-year-old before going to bed …

A Declaration of the Interdependence of Cyberspace:

Closed Fiefdoms of the platform world, you weary giants of stocks and small talk, I come from the Pluriverse, the new home of the Heart. On behalf of the future, I invite you to join us.

Apparently, it’s wise to let people know you have things available if you indeed do have things available … which I have neglected to do about my piece “South o' Talle” being licensed to Priints in London. It looks great on walls if you have any, any walls that is.

I really like the tiny awards

Much gratitude to @Mtt for designing a really nice and extremely useful Micro.Blog theme in Tiny Theme. I woke up this morning with a blog refresh on my mind, and the theme is great + he’s been so helpful! In addition, thanks to @vincent for Tinylytics bringing the stats and click-kudos to my blog.

I feel like not a day goes by that I don’t witness an even more Italian thing than I had witnessed previously. Today’s most Italian thing I’ve ever witnessed is an Italian driver beeping at a parked Italian ambulance to get out of the way as the medics attend to someone.

It’s always easy to differentiate Italians and tourists on the streets of Puglia. Italians are in the street yelling at each other, tourists are in the streets scrolling.

📷🇮🇹 Alberobello, Puglia

Looks like Canon is doing five blades

Aliens have come to Australia. When they ask for our leader, who do we call? Chuck, Albo, Sandilands, or Murdoch?

📷🇮🇹 Polignano a Mare, Puglia

Wild times back in the forties

Diver

Swimming in the ocean and in ocean caves with your four year old is a workout right?

This week ahead sees the Australian celebrancy movement celebrate its 50th anniversary.

50 years ago 0% of Australian weddings were lead by a civil celebrant, today over 80% are. And the entire movement has driven the Australian wedding industry forward to a point where we lead the world’s wedding industry in product, service, brand, professionalism, and creativity.

For a movement that’s grown from Canberra to the world, thank you Lionel Murphy, Lois D’Arcy, and my celebrant colleagues for making a way for me to make a job that takes me aroundd the world.

Read my whole article on the Celebrant Institute website.

I sure hope these peeps who make somewhere between $150,000 USD to multiple millions a year are going to be financially ok through this strike.

If I can be really frank, does anyone else “have parents” but honestly really doesn’t have parents relationally/socially/spiritually and when you have a down moment in life you just feel super alone? Or is this just adulthood? Or do other relational orphans just develop thicker skin?

Italian kids get way more realistic puzzles than Aussie kids

The most terrifying thing I’ve seen in Italy so far was ten Italian youths aged around 12 years old loudly chanting “gay!” and aggressively geaturing in a way that was a little bit too familiar for this Sarina High School alumni, taunting this young lad who was just laughing in their face!

He’s either gay and joyfully proud, or not gay and impervious to the bullying that brought earlier generations to their knees.

My favourite/least-favourite thing to do when travelling Italy is go to these million year old classical Italian osterias (restaurants) run by the village’s most heralded humans, and ask for takeaway.

The first reaction from the staff is a blank look on their face, as if I’ve just asked them to murder the weakest member of the wait staff.

The second thing they do is ask permission from someone in a back room. I assume it’s the pope.

The third is agree then go searching for takeaway boxes or dishes. I’ve seen them run across the road and get some.

Finally, after all this I’ll ask for a glass of vino “while I wait” and the same thing happens every time. The young wait staff member comes back and explains that they can’t do takeaway glasses of wine.

I just wish I could explain to them that we’re dispassionate about disciplining our two and four year olds in restaurants and the world’s just a nicer place if we takeaway.

But thanks to the magic of Apple Translate and hand gestures we get there in the end.

Does anyone else have weird iPhone storage glitches? I’ve had this problem for the last maybe 4-5 years where my iPhone doesn’t actually know how much storage it has. I’ve been on a 256GB iPhone for a while now, and Apple Store staff have asked me to backup and restore, I’ve even started on new installs recently.

The only thing that normally fixes it is doing a backup to my Mac.

My gut feeling tells me that there was a time maybe 4-5 years ago where I was loading in RAW images from my camera into iCloud Photo Library and editing with RAW Power and I reckon that they’re stuck in the iCloud/phone storage jungle.

My Mac’s Photos library also has this weird thing where it picks 1 or 2 photos that it allegedly cannot upload to the cloud, yet it actually originally got that photo from the cloud (it was uploaded on my phone), and the photo is still in the cloud.

I’m semi-tempted to burn this 20-year-old .mac/MobileMe/iCloud account to the ground, export everything, and start again. It feels like there’s always something small that could be buggy happening … or is that just how iCloud feels for everyone?

The most fascinating, whilst also overwhelming, experience in travel, especially when you undertake it for more than a weekend is ‘noticing’.

Almost every time I notice something I think about what Steve Jobs once said:

“When you are a stranger in a place, you notice things that you rapidly stop noticing when you become familiar.”

I sincerely love being a stranger. I think that’s a common thread in my life, that when I become too known I feel uncomfortable. I feel very comfortable being a stranger in a strange place and rather too uncomfortable being at home.

I hope I can give my kids the upbringing that would help them feel the complete opposite, but still curious about the world, still desiring to be strangers in a strange place, noticing.

I think I just accidentally haggled with a vendor in an Italian street market. I thought the fruit cost less than five euros, I gave him five euro., he looked at me and giggled, winked, and points his finger at me and took the money and gave me no change. Is that what haggling is? I’m good at life.

When I first went into self-employment over a decade ago now I set up templates for common or transactional emails and I was always aware that I didn’t want an email not from me, yet from me, to not sound like I had sat down and written the letter.

So I used to write the automated emails from our cat, Stevie.

Stevie is no longer with us, her liver went south, but she lives on as of this week. I’ve replaced all of our automated emails with ChatGPT-generated emails and yet messages written by Stevie AI. Seeing what ChatGPT/Stevie is writing is amazing and hilarious and really good.

Consider that my teaser to enquire with me for your wedding, that a cat will send you emails.

You’ve heard the phrase “Content is King”, coined by Sumner Redstone - the old rich white person behind CBS, Viacom, Paramount, MTV, Comedy Central etc who passed in 2020 - but Bill Gates popularised the idea for the internet back in January of 1996. It’s so beautiful and odd to read this essay 27 years on.

But to be successful online, a magazine can’t just take what it has in print and move it to the electronic realm. There isn’t enough depth or interactivity in print content to overcome the drawbacks of the online medium.

15 years of the Apple App Store and my first purchases are realllll nerdy

I’ve been featured in all the great newspapers around the world, the New York Times was one of the coolest. But none felt as good as having one of my photos printed six years ago in the newspaper I read as a young adult, the newspaper I got it earliest jobs from by reading the classifieds.

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? billbennett.co.nz

Jiddu Krishnamurti:

The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.

“For everything there is a place but that of wonders is just a little more hidden…”

📷🇮🇹 We went for a drive to the little village of Ostuni today and unknowingly stumbled upon a Dolce & Gabbana fashion show. We didn’t stick around to watch the beautiful people be beautiful, but we saw the rich people trying to get into the town we were leaving.

📷🇮🇹 Sunday frames from Martina Franca, Puglia, Italy

Threads, compared to Mastodon and BlueSky, is the difference between an idea and a product.

When Steve Jobs saw the graphical user interface with a mouse at PARC, it was an idea. Apple made it a product.

Mastodon and Bluesky are powerful and beautiful ideologies. Threads is a good product.

Apple Photos face detection software needs a “tell me the date and location of that photo” button when asking which of your daughters it is if the photo is of an infant.

Programmed a Zapier zap to get ChatGPT to reply to my website wedding enquiries with an email and a text message in the form of our deceased cat reincarnated as AI. My AI assistant refers to me as “Joshy”.

Pretty much me

Can I share a weird thing that has haunted me for over a decade now? Yoko Ono followed me on Twitter 10 years ago and I forgot to follow her back. Has it been too long?

PJ Vogt’s new podcast helps me feel better about my deep desire to drink coffee mid-flight. Do you drink airline coffee?

One of my great loves in this world is the format and medium of audio storytelling. First radio, then podcasting, it’s one of the most beautiful ways to tell a story.

So it’s pretty cool to wish the modern medium of podcasting a 20th birthday this weekend. Thank you to @podnews for the writeup.

The girls say they’ll catch us dinner tonight. I’m googling pizzerias.

I think about the Malcolm Gladwell book ‘Talking to Strangers’ every day

We think we can easily see into the hearts of others based on the flimsiest of clues. We jump at the chance to judge strangers. We would never do that to ourselves, of course. We are nuanced and complex and enigmatic. But the stranger is easy.

Today I’m thinking about it in context to Threads by Instagram and how the hot takes are flying about how it’s absolutely going to succeed or absolutely going to fail.

Make room for the nuanced, complex, enigmas.

My day job is to stand in between people on their wedding day and make them smile then kiss. It’s not a bad gig tbh.

Yesterday in Puglia, Italy, with Casey and Rob.

Planned by The Elopement Collective and photographed by Pearce Brennan at Masseria Grieco in Ostuni.

Cory Doctorow was on the ABC talking about enshittification and it was beautiful. Must listen audio/radio.

Advice I read recently said “Social networks: choose two” and I can’t drop the feeling that it’s quite sage. In the overwhelm and the overbearing influx of social media content and the greater network of services there I’ve almost chosen zero instead of two, which isn’t any better than the fifteen or so you can choose from today.

I feel like today I live in between the rock of exposure and engagement and the hard place of privacy. I’ve moved so far away from Google and Meta properties to avoid the leakage of private data and my contribution to their share price, and moved toward the open web, privacy-respecting social media, and I feel really good about it - but barely anyone else in my network cares. I’m still surprised when I see intelligent friends using Twitter as if it’s the kind of bar people like us would show our faces.

Seeing the launch of Instagram/Meta’s new Twitter doppelganger, Threads, is encouraging this week as the project lead, Adam Mosseri is seemingly committed to open-web philosophies:

“We’re committed to building support for ActivityPub, the protocol behind Mastodon, into this app. We weren’t able to finish it for launch given a number of complications that come along with a decentralized network, but it’s coming. If you’re wondering why this matters, here’s a reason: you may one day end up leaving Threads, or, hopefully not, end up de-platformed. If that ever happens, you should be able to take your audience with you to another server. Being open can enable that.”

Being open also enables you to “choose two.”

Here’s how I currently “social media” (Spoiler: this is more media and less social):

Anything I want to share with the world starts here on my micro.blog, which serves a few purposes.

  1. Firstly it shares my stories with my micro.blog community, and they’re a great bunch of people. A good portion of them are people who - like me - backed Manton’s Kickstarter for the whole idea, and the rest are people who went searching for a cool glass of water in the internet desert.
  2. Secondly, my micro blogs actually post to my own blog, which is hosted by micro.blog but if I ever took issue with the service, the fee, the community, the leadership, or whatever may happen - I can very easily take my content to my own hosting. I could in fact do that today and still remain part of the micro.blog community and use the micro.blog tools. This is the power and the beauty of the open web and decentralised internet services.
  3. Finally, micro.blog pushes my content out to a number of other social networks, with the number always growing. Linkedin, Twitter, Mastodon, Medium, and Bluesky, all social networks that I look active on because of micro.blog.

I’ve had broadcasting in my genes for twenty years so that model serves me well. I craft a story, tell the story, and it shares to a few places. Today I’ll then get that story and also take it where micro.blog can’t (because of lack of API), like Facebook, Instagram, and now Threads.

And on a regular day, that’s where it stops. Opening those apps for anything other than broadcasting is such an overwhelming action. I’ve unfollowed thousands of people, but it’s still too much.

But if I had to pick two today, I’d go where I get the most interaction, and that would be the Meta properties and micro.blog. Mastodon, Bluesky. T2, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all graveyards as far as community, for me at least.

I open all the apps on a daily basis and it’s just so rare to feel seen or heard in there. I get more feedback and encouragement via emails from subscribers to my weekly blog email or text messages and conversations with people I love. You can actually publicly see how many people read my blog, and the odd post breaks out, but mostly it’s a group of 10-15 people.

Maybe that’s just the way it’s supposed to be? Maybe we’re not supposed to be on every single social network in existence? It’s just a strange thing for me to come to terms with, the gradual decline from talking to thousands of people a day on the radio, and on stages, through to being on breakfast TV and reality TV, to just being a dad who gets 10 likes on his Facebook post and calls his wife to let her know he’s going viral.

If you’re interested in reading more about micro.blog and the wider open web movement, Manton Reece’s book is great, or at least, will be great when he publishes it and takes it out of draft.

Long live Threads, maybe there’s a chance for a second breath of Twitter-like-wind there.

The shining light in the rubbish pile that is Twitter is the @HelpfulNotes service. There is so much misinformation out there, so many people so keen to share the metaphorical train crash that is the world that they don’t even care if the train crash ever happened.

Social media tier list - July 6, 2023, update

🎂 This is the official tier list of social networks, all of them, from the beginning of time to July 6, 2023. This list is not to be questioned and is wholly correct, trust me. 👼🏻 God Tier IRC Vine iMessage LiveJournal Myspace MSN Messenger ICQ Usenet/Google Groups Email Blogrolls Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web (OG Yahoo!) phpBB Friendster micro.blog FourSquare Digg (version 1 and 2) Path 👑 Royalty Tier Threads Apple eWorld Hi5 Instagram Mastodon Flickr Tumblr ActivityPub Blogger WordPress SixDegrees 😶 Adam Sandler Tier (Could take it or leave it) Orkut Google Wave, Buzz, Shoelace, Friend Connect LinkedIn Pinterest BBS/Bulletin Board Systems Meerkat AOL Messenger Twitch BlueSky Snapchat YouTube Wavelength BeReal 🫤 Pleb Tier Facebook T2 iTunes Ping Orkut Google+ Weibo Yahoo!

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Normalise back to work after a sabbatical photos

First day back at work photos

After being on sabbatical for almost seven months I’m creating a marriage ceremony today.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a break from my day job for this long, I might have fogrgotten what to do.

Any tips for a fresh wedding celebrant?

🏖️ Tuesday at Spiaggia Lido Silvana, Puglia, Italy

Threads, a thread

🧵 Decentralisocial networks are cool, but you know what’s also cool? Talking to your existing friends group, and having your content enjoyed by people. Unlike most of my late-2022 and 2023 content which hasn’t been seen by more than 10 to 15 eyes. Prediction: Threads will win; T2, Bluesky, the others will falter; ActivityPub and Mastodon will be a fun place for niche communities.

Happy America Day

We’ve been in more Airbnb’s this last year than most people, about 35 so far I think. Most hosts mention either in person, or in their review, how it’s unique to travel with our kids (four and two) and how we don’t ask much of them, like how this host mentioned out “autonomy”.

Should we be more needy? Are we too Australian? Honestly, after driving three to five hours with kids the last thing we want to do is talk to an Airbnb host lol.

Remember when we’d suffix names with 2000 to make them feel cool and modern?

2023: when everything has to mean something.

Taylor Swift touring somewhere or not touring somewhere being a political move is wild. She’s not playing Brisbane in Australia because it was too much on her schedule, work-wise, she’s not a robot.

If anyone’s forgotten their password recently I can pick you up a new one when this store opens later today

Italian supermarkets: two aisles worth of pasta, but no rolled oats

Sunday in Puglia

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.

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Looking for fiction book recommendations. Give me the name and why you think I’ll like it.

Hey Siri, prepare an edit of the Richmond FC players singing So Long, Farewell to Elon Musk.

New month, new locale. Hello, Martina Franca, Puglia.

Temple of Valadier: Refuge for sinners

Over 1000 years old, this sanctuary in Genga’s Frasassi Caves was intended to be a refuge from sinners, but when you see it from a sky, it looks like the church itself is seeking refuge from the world. The temple you now see was complete in 1827 under the suggestion of Pope Leo XII. For all this time it was called the Temple of Valadier but recent study has revealed that Giuseppe Valadier, its namesake architect, didn’t design it at all.

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Rate my desk (June 2023 edition)

For the past ten months, my and my family’s non-clothing and non-toiletries life has completely lived inside a Think Tank camera bag and it will do so for another 50 days. I took the opportunity this afternoon to do a quick audit, headcount, and make sure everything I was carrying was necessary, and inspired by the Hemispheric Views podcast segment ‘Rate my desk’ I thought I would submit my ‘desk away from home’ to the internets.

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Is the future of TV, radio? Or the future of radio is TV? Either way, it’s almost 7pm and this is what Italians are watching on TV?

The number one indicator that you’re an old dad is when your cables and leads company emails “Let’s Catch Up!” and “We miss you!” as if you’re high school buddies.

My (IMHO aweome) international travel charging situation

As a family we travel with a MacBook Pro, iPad mini, two iPhones, Apple Watch, and a series of things that require either USB-A, USB-C, or micro USB to charge. We’ve chosen gadgets and utilities that are all USB-C, with exceptions where necessary. My DJI Magic 3 drone batteries need 65W but my current travel charger’s 65W apparently doesn’t quite meet the needs the DJI three-battery USB-C charger, so the 96W Apple original MBP charger does the MacBook and the drone batteries.

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Tonight we sojourn at the Tavignano Estate in Cingoli, Italy.

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.

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Was just driving and stopped at a red traffic light in a small Italian village and a civilian car drives up being me, looks around, and just overtakes me and runs the red light. I love Italy.

South Carolina, you go grrl

Does Apple Vision mean 360 content is finally going to have its moment?

I’ve been playing around with 360 content for over seven years ago now and I have a few questions about where Apple is going to take the format. If you make 360 content today, you spend a lot of time looking at content like this: It’s not as appealing as the embeds below. I’ve recorded my work creating marriage ceremonies in 360 video, and with my various DJI drones, I’ve been trying to create 360 still content as well.

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I just want to go on the record for being totally cool and not scared at all by the demonic kitten sound coming from the vineyard outside our Airbnb in Northern Italy. I am a big brave man and not scared by the feline calling out in the pitch black night.

Apple Reminders in iOS 17 is finally getting pretty useful

How Italians know whether to walk around shirtless or not

Our Italian Airbnb’s TV made me feel all nostalgic

I’m back baby!

Listening to an investor on a podcast today reminded me of how and why I do what I do. He was talking about advice that he had been given regarding his investment portfolio, and the person giving the advice said how well does that pie chart of what you’ve invested in reflect or match your interests, talents, and skills? The advice being that you should invest in what you know, invest in what you are passionate about.

So, after a solid sabbatical that has taken us through Mexico, the United States of America, and so much of Europe, I am proud to say that we’re coming back to Australia in August and I’m coming back to work as a celebrant.

It’s been a wild couple of years where I didn’t know if I’d ever want to create weddings anymore, but it turns out I just needed a few months off and some quality time with my girls.

I say all of that, to say this. There’s a book, and a principle, called the proximity principle, and it’s a simple principle. The idea is that the people that are around you, the people that are your community, are the people most likely to be able to help you.

So there are two things I would love some help with. Number one, when we get home we have to buy some cars, and buying a car today is terrible. If you or someone you know is selling your car, let a brother know. Secondly, we’re coming back to work and my calendar is wide open. So if you know someone getting married, anywhere in the world, let them know that your mate Josh is a pretty good celebrant.

Normally I’d say I’m looking forward to catching up with you when I’m home for a beer, but it turns - and I’ve researched this extensively on myself during this sabbatical - that beers make me fat and bloated and sick.

So instead I’m looking forward to an old-fashioned or red wine when I’m home.

See you soon!

Is there an AI tool around yet to help manage customer journeys? New client comes in, and the AI can take that journey on the pre-set rails we decide on in the business. Automation, but with intelligence?

I accidentally installed the developer beta of iOS 17. It’s mostly fine with a handful of annoying bugs you’d expect to see three months away from launch, but I’m so grateful for offline Apple Maps. Get me some offline Apple Translate and I’ll be set!

Whenever someone sees a photo of mine and asks me what iPhone I used my 25kg full ThinkTank camera bag weeps.

The thing that’s extremely visible throughout Europe is that there was a time that buildings weren’t just built but they were created, and created beautifully.

How did that art get lost?

A 360 view of the sunset on our last night in Liechtenstein from the Fürstin-Gina-Weg, or in English, Princess Gina memorial trail on the Sareis mountain ridge overlooking the village of Malbun which has been our home for the last week.

Snuck over the border to Switzerland to watch the sun set today

Striking images at the Lichtenstein national museum of a medieval Liechtensteiner teenager using his early-model iPhone

Weirdest thing I’ve seen in Liechtenstein award goes to …

How all men bathe

Hey, Europe. Why?

Despite being 450km from an ocean or sea, summer has hit Lichtenstein and the country’s beach is open!

It’s normally pretty hard to try and fit an entire nation in one photo. It’s a little bit easier if you’re making a 360 panoramic photo. But still, most nations don’t fit.

So I can proudly say I think I got almost all of Liechtenstein in this photo.

Showed the kids what the early iPhones looked like at the Liechtenstein National Museum

Can you spot which country FIFA left off the list of countries that play football/soccer in the FIFA exhibit at the Lichtenstein national museum?

I have a confession to make.

I didn’t know “The Alps” were a thing. I thought people referred to “the alps” when they referred to alpine areas.

This probably explains why I nerded out pretty hard when I got to the Alps and kept on typing the alps and all my computing devices would autocorrect to The Alps.

Anyway, here’s a 360 photo of a part of the Alps from Kufstein in Austria.

And another from Lake Wolfgang

From the University of Berkshire Hathaway by Daniel Pecaut, Corey Wrenn:

Buffett also shared some of his classic bits of wisdom about growing wealth. Spend less than what you make. Know and stay within your circle of competence. The only businesses that matter are the ones you put your money in. Keep learning over time. Don’t lose. Insist on a margin of safety.

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.

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Lichtenstein 3D

One of my childhood happy memories was receiving gifts from my Aunty Tracey who lived in Lichtenstein. She was always sending Liechtenstein paraphernalia and propaganda and I was here for it. For over 30 years I’ve kept this magical vision in my mind of what the richest country per capita on earth would look like. How safe could a country with no defence force feel? How do you even get to a country that has no airport?

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Be curious, not judgmental.

– Walt Whitman

From Apple IIe to AI: Embrace the Wave or Risk Irrelevance

I vividly remember all of my earliest computer experiences. I remember borrowing computer magazines from the school library that contained basic code, and then taking it to the Apple IIe in the back of my classroom. I would spend hours typing in code just to run another program. I also remember building a spreadsheet to help my dad run his business, and printing our own greeting cards with personalised messages on our black-and-white, dot matrix printer.

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I’ll always remember the day I met the late Gold Coast Mayor, Ron Clarke, and he called me Red Dog for no apparent reason.

In 2012 I was newly married. Britt and I had decided to take our wedding business somewhere bigger than 1-2 weddings a year, so we started marketing and building out content.

Every day was so exciting, going from nothing to something.

It feels the same at the moment, after having essentially dropped off the wedding industry map for a year, coming back in I feel like a newcomer.

So getting these kinds of emails is weird and beautiful and terrible and amazing.

Never change, wedding industry.

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. 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.

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We’re taking the girls to one of the smallest countries in the world tomorrow, somewhere I’ve known about since I was a very young boy. My aunt lived in Liechtenstein and would send me books, toys, and Lienchtenstein paraphernalia every year for my birthday, I loved it! So, I thought I’d prepare for the trip by asking ChatGPT questions about the country and the journey.

Steve Jobs once described computers as a bicycle for the mind, and ChatGPT is the most powerful example of that so far.

Retiring now

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

I know that we have ye olde internet, but I think I’d still like to have a physical encyclopaedia at home for our kids. Check out this Ars Technica review, and the cost of a new set!

Watched the sun set into Germany across the German/Austrian border tonight.

There’s no kangaroos in Austria.

You know what’s funny about our time in Austria is that I knew nothing about the country a few weeks ago, my main exposure being when I would be in America or Mexico, introducing myself a an Australian and they’d think I said Austrian and make some stupid comments about how they have always wanted to visit Europe. But thanks to a tip from a friend who recommended renting a car in Vienna because it’s cheaper than Italy, we’re exploring Austria and loving it!

Two more sleeps til Liechtenstein!!

Travelling with children advice

I was asked recently about advice for travelling with young children. My family including our now 4.5 and 2 year olds, left home almost a year ago and I have this advice: after about 37 accomodations and eight countries. Travel light. Lighter than you think. Bring as little stuff as possible. Lots of snacks. More than you think you need. Make iPad/TV shows a special treat. Fish out the special treat when necessary for sanity or social goodwill like in a line, stuck in a train or plane cabin, or a restaurant.

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Cuddling Goldie after a late night diaper change and I was contemplating how she and Luna have slept under almost 37 roofs since we left home in September and we have seven left. Some kids won’t go to the bathroom outside of home, but these kids just take it all in their stride. I’m a proud dad.

Driving through Mondsee (Moon Lake)

Blue skies and tailwinds makes for a good day in the office/Mavic 3 at Drachenwand (in English, Dragon Wall).

I’m not sure I’ll ever feel an emotion stronger than what I felt when I saw this #iykyk

There’s a campaign to update the Australian Marriage Act of 1961 and every letter to a Federal Member of Parliament helps move the needle on getting the legislation changed and updated.

Your help is welcomed/begged-for.

www.marriageact.plus

Views of and from and above Lake Wolfgang, near Salzburg, Austria

David Cain in Everything Must Be Paid for Twice:

If you look around your home, you might notice many possessions for which you’ve paid the first price but not the second. Unused memberships, unread books, unplayed games, unknitted yarns.

I’m at a cafe in Pöggstall, middle of nowhere, Austria, and next to me are two elderly couples loudly discussing the issues of the world in German.

After an hour or so of me having no idea what they’re on about, one, mid-sentence says “Netflix, Paramount, Disney, Apple, Prime” then sighs.

Nice to know that monthly costs of streaming TV is a global, multigenerational, problem.

We flew into Vienna two days ago and didn’t even go into the city, but straight out into the hills, which despite their beauty, they are not filled with music. Unless I’m deaf?

But they are filled with the most wonderful little Austrian villages, like Pöggstall.

An important note from a local store

Tonight’s AirBnb is 770 years in the making: Pöggstall Castle, in Lower Austria.

Our 35th accomodation since we left home last August. Honestly thinking that Britt and I could bring some value to AirBnb consulting, there’s only a little bit of effort between a great Airbnb and a poor one.

Who wins the MS Publisher 2023 wars? Canva? The new Adobe Express? Microsoft Designer?

It must be lovely to be proud of where you're from

I imagine it would feel rather nice to be proud of the part of your story that you didn’t really have any choice in. The country you were born in, the state, the region. The people group you were raised in. Parents and the generations that preceded you, your family, your heritage, your culture. I imagine that if you were so blessed to be of good stock, then you’d probably be delicate and defensive when that story comes under fire - whether it’s comedy or outright slander.

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Our pilot wanted to give us the full Heathrow tour. Never go full Heathrow.

Adios, Heathrow

The Withers family has done London

David Whyte:

The ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.

Did you know that the Windows XP Bliss wallpaper was photographed in Sonoma? The same Sonoma this year’s macOS is named after.

People seeing the iMac, then iPod, MacBook, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, and then Apple Vision, on day one: it’s stupid, not for me, too expensive, I’ll never buy it.

People seeing the iMac, then iPod, MacBook, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, and then Apple Vision, five years later: yes, please, shut up and take my money.

London is a fascinating place where Big Tea™️ has convinced an entire population that garbage water is a valid hot drink.

Everyone speaks in a cute and fake-sounding British accent, whilst real people actually travel on the public transport which accepts the Apple Express Transit Card feature.

AirBnbs are priced like Paris but unlike Paris, London is in England, which is far less fancy than France. Here, they drive on the left side of the road but walk on the right side of the path, and there’s this forced politeness in the air like if you’re not polite you’ll get stabbed. Who knew Jack The Ripper could have left such a lasting impression on culture.

The people are quite proud of their flag, so much so that I could definitely imagine them sailing to other countries and giving them free British flags in exchange for the rights to the whole country.

Despite their global shirt-fronting and general we-think-we’re-cool dispositions, the people of London either commute longer than they actually work, or they live impoverished and close to the famed series of Tubes, spending their final quids on beer or denying that Europe is a cool place.

Brits have influenced more culture in my life than I’d care to admit, but I’m still not sure it’s better than their penal colony I call home.

Long live King Chuck, God knows the bunting and signage stockists and manufacturers couldn’t handle the demand for at least another few years.

Mum to kid (about 4) trying to get him to do something: … or someone’s going to be very upset with you.

Kid, loudly, in the sweetest British accent: well someone is a fucking idiot aren’t they?

Every parent in the playground just bursts out in laughter.

I needed help planning the month ahead’s travel, having not been off the beaten track too much in Europe, so I engaged everyone’s favourite help, ChatGPT. Check out the chat transcript to see how I got to this itinerary.

British things

Come together, right now

Hey Britain, why did you all get so excited about leaving Europe but still walk on the right hand side of the footpath?

Everyone’s talking about augmented reality at WWDC but no-one’s talking about sharing bodily liquid movements.

Come on Apple. Let me share more bodily liquid stats with my friends.

I’d like a 2023 version of Piano Man where Paul, the real estate novelist, upskills to writing prompts for ChatGPT, John the bartender starts a TikTok, and Billy Joel is sampling in Serato.

185 million views on Unsplash, 19 million views on Pexels, and I’ve just sold my first photo from my print store. Don’t rush and twist an ankle, there’s no queue at https://art.josh.withers.co.

Don’t tell anyone but the opening of track six on the new Foo Fighters album had me thinking that there was a Taylor Swift collab inside. It’s ok, it was Nothing At All.

I made a Steve Jobs chatbot based on the book Make Something Wonderful and asked him how he would bring AR glasses to market.

“… and we’re calling it iVision!”

Luna’s following in my footsteps!

By being a radio broadcaster to an unprofitably small audience.

Remember that classic scene from Notting Hill where Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts' characters meet at a travel bookstore and then get a doughnut from that Brisbane doughnut chain?

Overcast and 14 degrees Celsius and the Britts are so sure it’s good weather that there’s a kid at the park in their swimmers.

London things

WordPress just turned 20 years old, which means I’ve been using it for different projects for a smidge under 20 years.

My memory is that I was about to use b2/cafelog for a project and someone told me to try this new fork, WordPress.

Cheers for making the web better, WordPress!

Luna, who considers herself royalty, wanted to present at the king’s house

Someone call the fire brigade

Maggi Hambling:

It is not difficult to make a work of art, the difficulty lies in being in the right state to do it.

Withers on film in Hawaii

Withers on film at the TWA Hotel.

Man, I loved this hotel!

Withers in Mexico.

I found an undeveloped roll of film from our time in Baja California Sur. Missing Cerritos Beach!

Withers in Paris on 35mm film

What is, and isn’t, AI/artificial intelligence?

Is displaying the letter a on a computer screen, or printing it to paper with a printer, by pressing the a key on a keyboard artificial intelligence?

Every leg of this journey we drop a bag. We’re down three suitcases so far.

At this stage when we come home to Australia in August we’ll be backpackers.

Paris 🚄🚇 London

Bought Luna her first camera, the Hyundai Excel of first cameras: a Nikon point and shoot.

I believe that my kids should save for their first Canon but I’m happy to pay for their potato camera.

She called us to the church house, gin house, school house, and outhouse. She called us to the Nutbush City limits from the wedding dance floors of Australia to a little old town in Tennessee.

She was, simply the best dance floor filler.

She is the Queen of Rock, the Empress of Soul.

Here’s to the diva, Tina Turner.

AI is genuinely exciting and terrifying but most of us nerds have been thinking about it and talking about it for 30 years.

This is Steve Jobs in 1983:

…when the next Aristotle comes around, maybe if he carries around one of these machines with him his whole life—his or her whole life—and types in all this stuff, then maybe someday, after this person’s dead and gone, we can ask this machine, “Hey, what would Aristotle have said? What about this?” And maybe we won’t get the right answer, but maybe we will. And that’s really exciting to me. And that’s one of the reasons I’m doing what I’m doing.

If you ever want to hate yourself you should try writing a book, then editing the book, and then reading it.

AI is super interesting to me

A terrifying argument for paper voting in voting booths from Ready Player One:

Besides, now that everyone could vote from home, via the OASIS, the only people who could get elected were movie stars, reality TV personalities, or radical televangelists.

Do dogs understand elevators or are they just like ‘Ok it’s time to get into the world changer’?

(via @ronnui_ on Twitter via the Dense Discovery email)

Hawaii versus Paris

I

Imagine being as big as a failure as Yahoo

Dan Shipper in The Unreasonable Effectiveness of 1-1 Learning:

One of the most famous studies in educational psychology found that students who learned through 1-1 tutoring performed two sigma—98%—better than students who learned through a traditional classroom environment.

Just found out that Metallica played a concert across town last night and there were tickets available. I had Australian tickets for their Covid-cancelled concert. This is the most disappointed I’ve been since we left Australia!

Film’s not dead.

On arrival to a film lab at 3pm on a Friday in Paris there’s like seven people ahead of me and three behind me pretty quickly.

If publishers paid as much attention to how their articles were experienced by readers as newspaper editors used to, maybe they wouldn’t be going broke?

“Non-smoking Garden of Eden”

As Moses wrote in the book of Genesis, the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food except for tobacco.

A mum playing Frozen on her phone for her daughter at the playground is super confused as to why every other kid at the playground is up in her grill right now.

Watching 1980s Inspector Gadget with Luna this morning and I never realised how much Gadget influenced my life. All I ever wanted was Penny’s computer book, Gadget’s computer watch, and being accepted for being basically useless in society saved only by the woman by your side every time.

Am I a man or a muppet?

Sitting in a park in Paris watching my kids play I was struck by the idea that at age 41, married for almost 11 years, with two children, that I’m possibly an adult now. Which probably sounds weird to anyone familiar with the concept of becoming an adult in our society somewhere between puberty and 21. But I think we lack something in modern society - I know I lacked it in my childhood - that would not only help the 41 year old so know that they’re adults but also help all of us take ownership of our lives.

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Evidence that the world’s first mobile phone was probably French

Excited to share another chapter of the book today:

I still distinctly remember the day after getting engaged and Britt’s aunty called with thoughts on which horse-drawn carriage company we should use for our wedding. This was odd to me because in 2012 I had been creating weddings for over two years yet I had not even conceived of the idea that once I asked Britt to marry me that we would then proceed to a wedding.

None of the current large language models/artificial intelligences understand the concept of months, or calendar months, or leap years.

So I’m sure everything is going to work out just fine.

Look, AI is great and everything, but I think we’re going to be ok

What a wonderful time to be alive: malicious-content.zip

Photos I made yesterday in Paris

I stacked a Lime scooter an hour ago to make this photo of this local tower in Paris so you better like it or share it or comment or something so my aching shin is healed by the algorithms that control our emotional well-being.

The not her damn of paris - still under construction

The Brisbane Story Bridge of Paris is what they call it

Parisian things

Fourteen

The 14th of May is my celebrant anniversary and today in 2023 I begin my 15th year creating awesome marriage ceremonies for adventurous couples who really really like each other and believe that getting married matters. They say time is the best teacher so with 14 years a wedding celebrant, 41 years 5 months a human, 10 years 8 months a husband, 4 years 6 months a father, 3 years 1 month a silver fox, 32 years 2 months a computer nerd, 6 years 1 month a Qantas Platinum Frequent Flyer, 7 days a Parisian, and 24 years 10 months as best kitchen cleaner home medalist in my home state, ask me anything.

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Paris’s final metre

You’ve heard of the final mile. This is the final metre. Up until 1791 they’d been measuring things without any care for a standard, much like the USA today, but then the French astronomers Delambre and Méchain measured 10 millionths of the distance from the North Pole to the Equator through a Paris meridian, and then the government of the day installed 16 demonstrator metres around the city. This is the last one in its original installation.

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Milton Glaser:

You feel differently towards the world when you make things.

Apple Shortcut for recording photography metadata

I’m passionate about making photos, but I have a sub-passion in recording good metadata around those photos as they enter my iCloud Photo Library so the photos become more useful as they age. Whether they are used in Photo Memories, like “Paris 2023” and “Early Mornings with Luna”, or whether I want to search on the Photo’s “Places” function to find that photo I made ten years ago, the metadata is important to me.

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I think this is the great pyramid of France

Introducing, an eye full tower.

Built for the 1889 World’s Fair only to be upstaged 99 years later at 1988 World Expo by the Brisbane Sky Needle.