The English, said Sir John Fortescue (c. 1470), “drink no water, unless at certain times upon religious score, or by way of doing penance.”, looking at reconstructions of beer consumption from the middle ages to the pre-industrial era this was only a slight exaggeration. When estimating consumption from the amount of beer provided to soldiers, convicts, and workers or reconstructing consumption from tax revenues on beer we see that the average person consumed about a liter of beer a day, this is around four times as much as consumption in modern beer-drinking countries.

Better times, ya know

Do I get my eye scanned by Worldcoin when I’m in Paris in two weeks or do I just share my genitalia size here in public instead?

Anthony Agius in The Sizzle

The ATO is cool with scammers ripping off $557m in MyGov identity fraud. A whopping $557m has been stolen off the ATO and people entitled to a tax refund by scammers in the last two years.

If the Aussie Tax Office is ok losing half a billion dollars, I’ve just realised that I have spent about that on uniform laundry last year.

Six years of making photos and droning

Reflecting on Matt Mullenweg ten years ago reflecting on Steve Jobs/Apple’s courage to release products, I’ve been on an early morning walk down memory lane - perhaps because I woke very early and the kids are still asleep - thinking about my first few weeks with a drone camera, the original DJI Mavic Pro. It was delivered on the 28th of April 2017. I was fresh off a red eye flight from a Perth wedding the day before and straight out the door to a Tenterfield wedding that afternoon. Britt came for the drive and we put the drone up at the Airbnb.

I didn’t read a manual, or the civil aviation guides. I just turned it on and thought I’d see what it did.

I didn’t know about aperture (or lack thereof in the original Mavic), ISO, white balance, or shooting in RAW.

I just put it up in the air, mashed my fingers into the remote control, and started creating.

It always has been and always will be not only my first camera, but my favourite camera.

I’ve crashed a few drones, thank god for great insurance and DJI Care, lost one into a wave, and another into Queensland’s Great Sandy Bay. I’ve even had one fly away in Iceland due to magnetic interference!

Since these early photos - seriously, all a fluke that they’re ok photos - I’ve been so blessed to have my work experienced by so many. 24 million views on Pexels, 201 million on Unsplash, commissioned work in a handful of places like the Sydney Reece showroom or the Hilton Gold Coast boardroom, and in a gallery in London.

I’ve got my own fine art prints gallery online that’s sold about three photos, and the commissions I’ve received have probably covered the cost of the drones I’ve purchased, but regardless it brings me so much joy.

I hope my photos over the last six years have meant something to you. It makes me smile looking back at these first few photos. I had no idea what I was doing, I was just making.

Matt Mullenweg on Apple and 1.0 products back in 2010:

Many entrepreneurs idolize Steve Jobs. He’s such a perfectionist, they say. Nothing leaves the doors of 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino without a polish and finish that makes geeks everywhere drool. No compromise! I like Apple for the opposite reason: they’re not afraid of getting a rudimentary 1.0 out into the world.

This has rocked my day. Re is its own word. It’s not short for regarding.

✈️ 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.

Imagine being the butt of this line in a news report “The launch of the eye-scanning cryptocurrency project Worldcoin” and you’re also the guy standing behind the main brand name related to a technology the world is shit scared of, and just thinking everything is fine.

Matt Levine on “Leon Smuk”, from X:

I guess my question is, what was he paying for? Musk didn’t want Twitter for its employees (whom he fired) or its code (which he trashes regularly) or its brand (which he abandoned) or its most dedicated users (whom he is working to drive away); he just wanted an entirely different Twitter-like service. Surely he could have built that for less than $44 billion? Mark Zuckerberg did!

I’m looking for an erratic egotistical billionaire to trust my savings and family’s future to, if you can recommend anyone, slip into my DMs

Scissor me on parenting

In a story on the book ‘Welcome to Sex’, Amy Remeikis writes in The Guardian:

The response to a sex education and consent book which was removed from the shelves of Big W stores shows how far Australia still has to go on sex education, a Senate committee inquiry has heard. Welcome to Sex, co-authored by the former Dolly Doctor and adolescent health expert Dr Melissa Kang and feminist writer Yumi Stynes, became the target of an online protest campaign. The book was pulled from shelves at Big W after staff members were abused.

I’m fairly done with the constant outrage in society today, the idea that we just need to be upset all day every day. It keeps journalists employed and right wing activist social media groups active. But I will say, I don’t want Luna or Goldie to stumble across this book in a bookstore without me there to guide them.

I have a theory that the problem with modern Australian society is that continue outsourcing jobs that families, humans, friends and partners should be doing. An example is there’s a guy in a Facebook group today hiring people to be friends with disabled kids and it’s NDIS funded. We’ve outsourced friendship to the Commonwealth. Even in COVID most didn’t understand that the reasons for the lockdowns and border closures is because we have outsourced out community wellbeing to the state, so their undertaking of the ‘contract’ is to minimise expenses.

As it is with this book, it’s a vendor looking to win the contract for the outsourcing of your parenting.

My worldview is that there are matters for the home, for the community, for the family, to deal with, fix, entertain, talk about.

An example is my controversial opinion that I don’t like abortion. I have no problem with liberal/progressive abortion laws, it’s good for it to be regulated and I don’t think people are just out there aborting babies like it’s a fun pastime, but ultimately - in my utopian vision for the world - I’d like to see no abortion. Instead as someone is presented with the crossroads where they would consider an abortion the community would help. If money was required, they’d help. If the baby needed parenting, we’d help. That there would be a personalised, tailored solution, involving community and family compromise that resulted in the baby being born and being loved. I’m aware that my utopia does not exist, but that’s just where I’d like to see society be. No need to @ me, I know that rape exists, there are medical quandaries, and sex protection doesn’t always work, but I’d really simply, almost blindly stupidly just love to see babies be born and be loved. It’s like a one in 400 billion chance that a baby would ever be born, I just don’t want to squander it.

So I have my utopian vision, and it’s about communities and families taking it upon themselves to care for and love the ones within. Of course Police and governance has its place, but we should take more responsibility in the home and in the community. If I see someone litter I call them out on it, and if they’re not there I pick the rubbish up and put it in the bin, that’s me.

So, back to the book.

The main problem I see with the book is that I don’t want my girls to pick it up, if I liked the books message, I would bring it to them. But the other problem in the story today is with the linking of the book and consent. It’s a long shot. Consent is important, should be deeply known, understood and respected by all people.

Chanel Contos, the founder of Teach us Consent, echoed those concerns. “Young people are learning about sex from pornography, which – a phrase I always use is that is basically like learning how to drive a car by watching Formula One,” Contos said.

If children are learning about sex from pornography - I’ll humbly admit that was my early “education”, not due to my own wants but a severe lack of parental input and presence (thanks mum and dad, didn’t mess me up at all) - the answer isn’t to put a children’s book about sex on shelves. Sure, make it available as a resource to parents who want to engage with that resource when they are ready to, but the gaping hole in Australian society today isn’t lack of resource, it’s leadership from parents, or as I like to call it: parenting.

Australians are parenting less and less. I can talk about this from my own experience, my mother walked out when I was five, my step-mother didn’t really like me, and my father worked often two to three jobs.

A former Channel V host should not have to parent my children, I don’t want Woolworths Group to parent my children, I want close to zero of the community group that identifies as politicians to parent my children, and regardless of education choices anyone makes the educators are not parenting our kids.

Parents need to parent. Families and communities need to step up. Parents are not the kids best mates. Parents are not caregivers or landlords. Parents are leaders, leading their kids from birth to greatness - of course that greatness does include a deep and loving understanding and respect of other people’s consent, and also an understanding of the concepts of sex, intercourse, dating, courting, etc.

We have a set of boundaries with our kids that we will not lie to them, we will not lead them astray, but we’ll also respect their need to play, rest, and learn at their speed.

I’ll let them learn about scissoring when their fragile-because-of-age minds can fully understand what it means. Not when they pick it up off a shelf in a book shop next to Paw Patrol.

Page from the Welcome to Sex book

I welcome resources like Welcome to Sex being made available as a resource for parents to introduce to children when they deem so, but please make a space in society for parents to parent their children in their own unique way. Don’t force our hands. We don’t live in a single-speed society. Our lives have a transmission, everyone’s driving at different speeds at different revs using different gears, on different roads, needing to operate at different gears. Making a book this graphic and forward available for my child to just to pick up isn’t the way.

Create space for parents to lead their children, and maybe they will?

📷🇮🇹 Our last Monday in Puglia

📚 After backing and reading Renai Le May’s The Frustrated State it felt like Australian governments had completed, achieved the highest level of information technology incompetence. COVID proved me so very wrong, but then today Anthony Agius writes in The Sizzle:

Services Australia has cancelled a project to create a calculator for Centrelink entitlements, after spending $191m on it over 3 years. Incredible incompetency for such a basic thing the government needs.

How many millions of dollars can the Australian government flush until we actually get real upset?

When people talk about how the 80s were better I want to remind them that there was a character on TV whose name was Gordon Shumway, called himself Gordon Shumway, but everyone called him ALF because audiences and cast stupidly needed the reminder that the alien looking dude was an alien life form.

This is terrible branding, design, and UX. How am I going to remember where to go to be an insufferable prick now?

Thirteen eggs, four pregnancies, six years, and two children ago

I shared this on Facebook six years ago, on July 24, 2017:

Something you probably don’t realise when you ask me to be your celebrant is that in celebrating your marriage, you’re gleaning a little from mine. As I prep for your ceremony I’m taking notes on you both and your definitions of marriage,m although the foundation of my belief of what marriage is and what it looks like in real life starts at home. So with that said, I ought share some personal news about our marriage. For almost five years Britt and I have been trying to fall pregnant, so today we took the next step and our doctor extracted 13 eggs from Britt so we could get some third party assistance in that area.

13 eggs

How cute is it that while you’re under general anaesthetic they scribble the extraction number on your hand like you’re tattooing your BFF with a biro in high school. Life doesn’t always go as you plan, that’s the beauty of marriage - it’s the two of you together forever regardless of how well the plan’s going, or not. And because of that union, we know, that the best is yet to come.

Here’s an update on those thirteen eggs today.

The Withers family

Michael Bierut:

No one will remember that it was on time, everyone will remember that it was bad.

Starting to feel a little bit alone over here in Italy. Trying to get some Aussie work done and it looks like Telstra cuts you off from WiFi calling after your SIM card hasn’t been on an Australian Telstra tower for seven months. Google Fi was three months.

A birds eye view of Martina Franca, in southern Puglia, where we’ve been hanging out this month.

In these photos, happening at the same time, is a funeral procession, a dance contest, and an opera, amongst whatever else the 49,000 residents are getting up to.

There’s also two 360 photos of Martina Franca in this embed, a higher and lower shot, look for the hotspots when you’re scrolling around.

Enshittification reaches the wedding industry, revealing The Knot to be rotten

Three former employees of The Knot have blown thy whitsle. Jennifer Croom Davidson, former Global Fashion Director; Rachel LaFera, former Director of Fine Jewelry; and Cindy Croom Elley, former Account Executive at The Knot, have since left, are out from under NDA, and they’re truth-telling about one of the world’s largest wedding industry companies: The Knot Worldwide.

The Knot Worldwide is the current name of the parent company of WeddingWire, The Knot, The Bump, Hitched (which formerly had a presence in Australia, and disclosure, yours truly was a paid writer for them), a series of localised wedding directory websites through The Americas and Europe, and the Real Weddings TV show. They started as an AOL channel in 1996 and went to the open web in ‘97, and just before the dot com bubble burst they raised $35 million in their first IPO.

Since then lots of corporate shit has occurred, most of which bores me as someone who prefers to be on the “tools” in the wedding industry, not in the C-suite, but the trio dropped the bomb on The Lioness in an extremely detailed expose revealing that advertisers don’t get what they’re paying for and the whole business is terribly run.

This internal chatter among The Knot Worldwide’s customers is confirmed by looking at currently available web review sites; to this day, you can see complaints of contracts unfulfilled and impossible to get out of, and torrents of fake and spam leads. A recent Business Insider article also reveals that things are still amiss, reporting that 70–80 percent of the company’s leads are scams and that little to no inbound results from their advertising.

PetaPixel sums it up well:

Whistleblowers within the company say the supposed “swindling” issues began with vendors who purchased premium ads with the promise of generating new client leads, but instead were delivered spam content and even lost rankings within The Knot’s own ad-based search results.

The enshittification of the internet spares no person and knows no bounds. It is sad to see one of the few companies that made it through the dot com bubble to be revealed as rotten.

I’ve just finished reading Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution by P. W. Singer, recommended by my favourite Cybersecurity Guard, @qldnick 📚

It was a compelling and enjoyable read, and honestly, a refreshingly human conclusion that somewhat settles its disturbing and frightening chorus of a society a few years ahead of where we are today struggling with the effects of advancing technology.

Never go into battle with a bot you can’t trust and never trust a bot you don’t know how to snuff out.

The largest truth in this fictional read is that fear always takes the wheel, especially for those who have apparently been listening to the guy who said not to fear.

This is Luna, pitching you her idea for her new TV show. If you are a TV producer, Luna would like to sit down and talk about you buying the rights to her show.

Please, no tyre-kickers.

📷🇮🇹🚁 Fifteen of Monopoli’s best from my Mavic in Puglia yesterday

📷🇮🇹🏖️ Torre Canne, Puglia

One day we’ll have to explain to our grandkids that we all dressed daggy now because of Elon Musk.

Big news crew, new gender droppin

Doing the right thing is always the right thing

If you're interested in learning more about Tony Bennett's activism, take a look at this story from NBC, which covers his civil rights work. Bennett walked at Selma beside Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., having been invited by the late, great Harry Belafonte.


#TonyBennett #Entertainment #Activism #History

⛪️ I did it, I finally did it. I crucified the sun.

… and other photos from the sunset over Monopoli, Puglia, this afternoon 📷🌇🇮🇹

This might be a silly question for an old nerd to ask, but for those that know the answer, why is the book he famously write in prison, ‘The Fugitive Game: Online with Kevin Mitnick’, not really listed as a book by him on his website etc? Also, the only eBook version I can find is on Kindle. Why?!

Derek Sivers in The past is not true:

Aim a laser pointer at the moon, then move your hand the tiniest bit, and it’ll move a thousand miles at the other end. The tiniest misunderstanding long ago, amplified through time, leads to piles of misunderstandings in the present. We think of the past like it’s a physical fact - like it’s real. But the past is what we call our memory and stories about it. Imperfect memories, and stories built on one interpretation of incomplete information. That’s “the past”.

No matter how hard they try, the modern web can’t escape Wordpress.

📷🇮🇹🏖️ 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.

I’ve also had some requests for the USA if you’re interested in having me there too.

June, July, and August 2024 for weddings and also elopements with The Elopement Collective and some of our team including Jason Corroto, House of Love Weddings, George Bowden, House Of Lucie, and Pearce Brennan.

Finally, I wanted to address something a few people have lovingly brought to my attention “I thought you only did elopements”.

I might be married to the @elopementcollective’s boss, but I create ceremony for all and sundry. Big weddings, small weddings, elopements, and corporate events as a master of ceremonies. As the band was named, I do weddings, parties, anything.

So very formerly: I do weddings as well. If you know someone getting married somewhere in the world and you reckon we’d be a fit, let them know I exist!

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


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! Messenger
  • FriendFeed
  • App.net
  • Periscope
  • Fidonet
  • Pixelfed
  • Discourse

🤮 Would rather eat cat vomit tier

  • Twitter
  • WhatsApp
  • Nostr
  • Hive
  • Telegram
  • Plurk
  • Musical.ly
  • Bolt
  • Bebo
  • Yik Yak
  • Signal
  • Diaspora
  • TikTok
  • Green bubbles on iMessage
  • Post
  • Discord
  • Reddit
  • Swarm
  • Pownce
  • RenRen
  • Weibo
  • Parlar
  • Truth Social

Shoutout to Bruno Bouchet for the tier grading methodology. All other Tier grades (like the S, A, B, C, F make no sense to me)

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.

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.

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.

Either which way, it’s nice to know that Catholic sinners get a cool place to pilgrimage to.

I caught a few moments after the sun set, in between rain clouds, to get the drone up. I’d been driving for 45 minutes and gotten stuck down two dead ends. I was making these photos tonight!

A few other accounts of the sanctuary:

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.

All of our life’s possessions that aren’t our actual home and the furniture in that home required for it to be on Airbnb, lives in our two July ‘Checked Plus’ bags, and two Dagne Dover bags, plus a Phil & Teds travel cot and a Baby Jogger travel pram, and this Think Tank Streetwalker camera bag pictured below.

The reason for the Think Tank Streetwalker bag is that it’s unique in being a carry bag, a backpack, and a roller bag. It’s the Optimus Prime of camera bags.

I’ll guess a few of the questions “What is that?!":

  • Panic Playdate
  • photocopies of passports and actual passports
  • parfum
  • new and identical backup sunglasses because the last place you want to be is in a strange new land without your favourite sunglasses
  • octopus straps, you never know when you’ll need to strap something to something (same goes for the tape)
  • USB-C dock with an ethernet port, because sometimes you just need to plug the damn thing in to get internet
  • my eldest daughter’s camera (Nikon Coolpix childproof potato camera)
  • my wife’s camera (Fuji X-S10 with a 27mm)
  • my splurge camera purchase in Paris (Leica Z2X which means 2x zoom, film camera)
  • my flying camera (DJI Mavic 3)
  • my camera (Canon EOS R5)
  • Native Union universal cable
  • supporters gift from the Wedding Photo Hangover podcast
  • DJI Mic kit
  • MacBook Pro M2, a new addition to the kit after my former M1 MacBook Pro got drunk on a glass of whisky
  • Philips OneBlade shaver, the best travel shaver I could find and the only one that has USB charging
  • ThruNite torch that takes AA batteries because you can’t leave emergency eyesight to a lithium USB-charged battery
  • 35mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.8, 70-200mm f/2.8
  • Anker charger and Britt has one too
  • my friend Scotty’s latest book on my Kobo Libra 2 (I’m a recent convert away from Kindle, and love this Kobo!)

Our whole charging strategy is based on IEC C7 (Figure 8) leads and getting local leads wherever we go and they plug into the Anker chargers and the 96W Apple charger. There’s a blog post on my reasoning for this. I’m now a cable dad.

So, rate my desk.

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.

For a family of four travelling globally for a year it was hard to figure out the exact right kit, but we got there in the end.

So my worldwide travel solution has been

  • two Anker 543 Chargers (65W II), these have two USB-A ports, a USB-C 45W port and a USB-C 20W port
  • my original 96W MacBook charger.

Each of these, including the MacBook charger, takes as an input the figure 8 lead. Figure 8 leads, or IEC C7 leads as they’re technically known, are very easy to procure locally, most Airbnb’s even have multiple devices already using them, they’re inexpensive, and they’re small to carry.

So I buy three IEC C7 leads for each region we’re travelling to. If we weren’t on a year long trip I’d hold onto the leads but suitcase space is at a premium. So far I’ve needed four different leads, a set for Australia, Mexico/USA, then the European kind, and finally the best of all - the British variety. The Brits don’t get much right but they figured out electrical points and plugs really well.

I also have this assortment of cables

  • 4x Thunderbolt 4/USB-C cables about 25cm long. These suit most charging, data, plugging-in situations.
  • USB-C lightning leads for the iPhones
  • the Apple MagSafe travel dock for Watch and iPhone
  • and the get out of jail free card is my USB-A to Lightning + USB-C + Micro-USB three-headed plug.

That’s how we travel the globe keeping everything charged and no stress.

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.

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.

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.

My question and thought for today is how will the new spatial computing frontier handle consumer stills and video in 360? Will Apple standardise the media, and let it be viewed in Preview or Quick Look?

Will other devices be able to make content for the Apple Vision, will Apple Vision 3D or 360 content be viewable and enjoyed on other platforms?

How should content creators prepare for this new content-style? Is this permission to buy new gear?!!? (Please let my wife know if so).

I’ve been bullish on 360 for over seven years, I’m excited to see where it goes.

Where we’re currently staying in Northern Italy

Playa Ballandra, Mexico

Brisbane, Australia

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Malbun snow village, Liechtenstein

Lake Wolfgang, Austria

El Pescadero, Mexico

And where we’ll build our home one day, Tasmania

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.

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.

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? How small can the smallest country to win an Olympic medal be? How beautiful could the only country on earth to be completely in the alps be?

Today I got some answers.

P.S. Scroll to the bottom of the post for an awesome 360 photo!

We’re really lucky to be staying near the summits of the mountains, in Malbun, with friends of my aunt (thank you Martina and Markus!), it feels like we’re on the set of a fantastical movie. It’s unbelievably beautiful here.

The two furthest-away boundaries of the entire nation are 25km apart!

Some of the most interesting Lichtenstein facts I know:

  1. Liechtenstein is one of the smallest countries in the world, both in terms of land area and population. It covers just 160 square kilometres, about the physical size of Geelong, with a population of just over 39,000, about the same population as the town of Orange in New South Wales.
  2. It is one of only two countries in the world that are “double landlocked”, which means they are landlocked by countries that are also landlocked. The other is Uzbekistan.
  3. Despite its small size, Liechtenstein is one of the wealthiest countries in the world per capita. The Prince of Lichtenstein, the head bloke, makes $40 mil a month off his own investments and businesses, he doesn’t take a wage or anything like that.
  4. Liechtenstein is the world’s largest exporter of false teeth, specifically for dentures. This is due to the presence of Ivoclar Vivadent, a company that leads the world in false teeth manufacturing. The country is also home to Hilti the construction tools company.
  5. Liechtenstein doesn’t have its own airport or railway system. The nearest airport is in Zurich, Switzerland. For rail, it is served by the Swiss railways.
  6. Liechtenstein is a principality, governed by a constitutional monarch who holds expansive powers, including the ability to veto legislation. It is the last remaining monarchy in the Holy Roman Empire.
  7. Liechtenstein had the highest gross domestic product (GDP) per person in the world, when adjusted by purchasing power parity.
  8. The entire country is invited to the castle of the Prince of Liechtenstein for beer and pretzels on National Day (August 15).
  9. Despite being an independent country, Liechtenstein uses the Swiss Franc as its official currency.
  10. Liechtenstein has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. It has even been reported that the country’s citizens often don’t lock their doors.
  11. Liechtenstein disbanded its army in 1868 because it was too costly. In fact, Switzerland has been responsible for its defence since 1923. The CIA World Factbook for many years incorrectly stated it had a defence budget of $12. It’s actually closer to zero.
  12. The country’s capital, Vaduz, and the region of the Alps, has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its stunning alpine beauty.
  13. Liechtenstein is known for its excellent wines. The Prince of Liechtenstein Winery, owned by the princely family, is one of the most famous wineries. I drank one of his beers today and it’s equally delicious.
  14. Despite its location in Central Europe, Liechtenstein managed to remain neutral and was untouched during both World War I and World War II.
  15. There are more businesses registered in Lichtenstein than residents, so most of the residents work in support of these businesses, or in tourism, dentistry, or working for Hilti making tools.

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.

Even back in the 90s, there was talk of this coming artificial intelligence wave. Funnily enough, my entire experience from the very first day was about artificial intelligence. The simple fact that I could press the letter ‘a’ on a plastic keyboard and then see that letter appear on the computer screen in front of me, or even get printed out by a printer, was, in my humble opinion, a form of artificial intelligence. This might be an oversimplified view, but whether it’s displaying the letter ‘a’ on a computer screen or using ChatGPT, it’s all about computers computing.

In 1999, Bill Gates published a book called ‘Business @ the Speed of Thought’. I read it maybe a year later, and the foundational principles of “using computers for a real purpose” have stuck with me ever since. One idea was that a sandwich shop could use just-in-time ordering for sandwich ingredients based on previous order histories for different days of the week, taking into account seasons, weather, and trends - a task that a computer in 1999 could perform with some effort, but a task a computer in 2023 could handle effortlessly. This resonates with Steve Jobs’s idea that computers are like bicycles for the mind, an idea based on the fact that the fastest and most productive animal on the planet is not a human, but a human on a bicycle.

I think one of the things that really separates us from the high primates is that we’re tool builders. I read a study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. The condor used the least energy to move a kilometer. And, humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing, about a third of the way down the list. It was not too proud a showing for the crown of creation. So, that didn’t look so good. But, then somebody at Scientific American had the insight to test the efficiency of locomotion for a man on a bicycle. And, a man on a bicycle, a human on a bicycle, blew the condor away, completely off the top of the charts.

This simple principle - that humans are more efficient on a bike, and that the human mind is more efficient when using a computer - has proven true in my life every day for the last 30 years.

Quickly replying to enquiry emails on my iPhone from a toilet cubicle at my last job before becoming self-employed was a key factor in my early success.

That’s my encouragement to anyone skeptical about the 2023 “AI wave”, including ChatGPT, large language models, transformer models, AI, generative art, etc. It’s just what computing is now. Embrace it and exploit it to your benefit. Whether it’s for play or for work, use these technologies to not only stay ahead of the pack, but to keep up with the pack.

A fellow wedding celebrant argued on a post of mine about AI that anyone using this technology should be de-registered. My counter-argument is that any celebrant (or entrepreneur) not using this technology will self de-register within a few years, sinking into irrelevance and inefficiency due to their refusal to adapt.

AI’s right of reply

As an AI developed by OpenAI, I’d like to add that I’m designed to assist and augment human capabilities rather than replace them. In the case of a wedding celebrant, for example, I could help with tasks such as drafting vows or organizing schedules. The idea isn’t to detract from the human element, but rather to enhance it, freeing up time for more personal interactions.

The notion of de-registering those who use AI perhaps stems from a fear of being replaced or a misunderstanding of AI’s role. AIs are tools, much like computers or smartphones, meant to assist humans in various tasks and should be seen as such. Adopting AI and other technological advancements can lead to increased efficiency and enable people to adapt to the fast-paced world we live in. It’s about integrating technology into our lives and work in a way that benefits us all.

View the chat thread with ChatGPT to see how ChatGPT helped me with this post.

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.

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.

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.
  • Discipline your kids lovingly, positively, and well in private so they are awesome humans when in public.
  • Teach your kids to be bored and look out the window.
  • Figure out what kind of daily sleep/wake/activity routine or schedule works best for your kids and run with it so that all of you have a good day and you’re not dragging your kids through a hike they were never going to enjoy.
  • Expect to see and do far less things than you imagined. If we do one travel or touristy thing a day that’s a win. Two is a big day. Three is a mistake.
  • When in lines at immigration or other important things, and they’re really unhappy, just grin and bare it. It’s a few minutes of everyone’s life, we’ll all be fine, and all the other assholes around you have been expecting the tantrum anyway. If people look at us or comment on a tantrum, I just joke about it like “sorry, she just learned about taxes” or “sorry, this is my first abduction and it’s not really going well.”
  • Teach your kids their names, ages, and your names so that when police come for you after you make a joke about abductions you can prove they’re yours. Make sure they know not to joke about who their parents are and what their names are.
  • Bring extra dummies/soothers.
  • We swear by the Phil & Ted’s Travel Cot version 5. Not sponsored. We’ve tried the rest, the Bugaboo is awesome, Phil & Ted’s is better.
  • We also swear by the BabyZen YoYo and/or the Baby Jogger City Tour travel prams. The rest are not as good. Not sponsored. But come on guys, send us money.
  • When boarding flights ask the staff where to “put the kids” as if you’re expecting them to not sit with you. Say it with a straight face, and kind of hold the child out toward the staff, gesturing that they can take them now.
  • Book accomodation that is walkable to public transport and parks. Nothing else in your life matters more than a good playground. Also look for accomodation with cooking facilities, you’re going to want to cook at home.
  • Whatever you order for them at a restaurant will not be good enough so share meals. Encourage them to try new foods. Our mantra is that you can’t say you don’t like something if you haven’t tried it yet.
  • Almost all long queues can be skipped if you are a family, or if you accidentally go down the not-foreign-passport line, or if your kids has a tantrum. Turn that lemon into line-skipping lemonade.
  • I’ve got VLC installed on my phone with a series of old school TV shows offline like Franklin the Turtle. Old school slow TV shows are better than the visual cocaine that modern kids shows are. Damn you, Paw Patrol.
  • Take a million photos. Sync them with iCloud Photo Library so when you drop your phone in the Mediterranean Sea you’re not devastated. Buy disposable film cameras for the kids to make them feel involved.
  • Each of our girls has a plush snuggle toy that has come with them the whole journey. When you’re changing accomodation every few days a common smell and feel is a godsend.
  • I’m lucky to have travelled so much with Qantas that I have a Qantas Platinum status which gets us more luggage and airport lounges with OneWorld airlines worldwide, this is so good with kids. Everyone in the Oneworld First Class Lounge thinks they’re having a fancy aviation with champagne moment but then in runs my two year old ready to bring hell. It’s my favourite part of every flight.
  • Snacks. Water. Lots of snacks.
  • My kids like to play with tape so we have random coloured kid’s sticky tape for them to play with on flights. The water-painting kits for kids are awesome, they come with a water “brush” and it reacts with the board, so they think they’re painting but it’s zero mess apart from some water. So many books as well, we’ll buy, read, and donate books regularly.
  • Sleep. So much sleep.
  • There’s no greater experience than allowing your kids to sulk in different cultural settings.
  • I use the Anker 4-port chargers and buy the figure 8 lead for the appropriate country, then make sure everything we own is USB chargeable.

These experiences and memories will be priceless. Be in the moment for them all.

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.


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.

I imagine that’s why I’ve upset friends and lost social media klout this week after joking about the UK and how it didn’t meet the hype, in my ever so humble opinion.

Friends and strangers let me know how they felt about it, and it honestly left me stunned. But as I watched the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace yesterday it all fell into place for me. These people, Brits, people who like the Brits, people who love London and the UK, all this pomp and bullshit from the royals to the status quo is an essential part of their story. It’s who they are this external force of nature.

You dare make a joke about London, and you’re attacking their identity.

I see myself as blessed because I know exactly who I am. I’m the Gold Coast born, Central Queensland raised white boy born with colonial blood, entering the world not into the lands of my people but someone else’s land. Born of convict blood, sent from England to the stolen land down under generations ago. I’m the abandoned son, a homeless teen, who got by the only way available to him, working.

My birthplace, my country, my people, they don’t know me. There is a small group of friends and family who stand with me, but we could fill a minivan. If I was to die tomorrow my funeral would be a lovely occasion for the small group attending. They’re a good lot.

But my culture, my family, my tribe is a single generation old, my generation. With my wife I have drawn a line in the sand and said it ends with me. Britt and I, we’re starting new.

I also know how few people read my words or see my art. I’m no Shakespeare or Monet.

I have nothing to be precious of but my wife and children, my work, my words and my art, my relationships and my reputation.

Make a funny joke about them and I’d probably push back hard as well.

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.