A Weekend Full of Adventure

2806200993510PM This weekend was one of the most disparately eventful times in my life.

Saturday morning was taken up with a Client meeting. Impressive I hear you say.

Saturday afternoon I moseyed on down to Barcamp Sydney 5. It was a great time. I met folk, attended some seminars/presentations, and gave a talk right at the dying stages of the day that was disjointed, had people packing up all around me, and was cut short.

Narky much? No, not at all! Seriously, read on. This whole thing worked far better than I could have hoped.

I was so filled with unbridled stu-thusiasm that I took my guitar and burst forth in song in front of the entire population gathered for the final segment.

“Super Powered Geek” was a song I wrote in two days. Thursday night I wrote the first verse and chorus, Friday night the second verse.

The live performance was, well, interesting. Totally unexpected. The plan was for the 8th and final point of my talk, A Super Heroes Guide To Development, to be titled “A Little Splash of Crazy”. The point being that we need to, in our development, be willing to inject a bit of the crazy.

However, because it was the end of the day, and let’s be honest, everyone’s pretty beat and tired by that stage, I didn’t have a hope of getting through the talk.

Everybody was heading towards the Big Room, so putting the 8th Point (yes, capitalised, because that’s how I roll) into practice, I begged Ajay (@funkycoda) to let me give my last point to everybody.

Of course, Ajay looked at me like I was crazy and said, “What the? No way I’m letting a big hairy ape-like creature with a leprechaun t-shirt talk to my people?” (paraphrased)

A couple of Chuck Norris round-house kicks to the head and Ajay came around to my point of view. From the Ambulance bed he gave me the thumbs up. At least, I think it was a thumbs up.

2806200993420PM So, without further violence I raced into the Big Room, down the front, and proceeded to serenade the crowd of folk with “Super Powered Geek”.

The guitar and my dulcid tones were both out of tune. My strumming was terrible. I missed a couple of lines of the song, and got the rhythm mixed up.

But you know, it didn’t matter. Because when you splash around a little bit of crazy, it’s about throwing together something far more than the sum of it’s parts. It’s about being willing to hold to a singular vision (mine being to tell people to wear their undies on the outside, point #6 in the talk). And it’s about getting out there.

If it wasn’t for me misunderstanding how the “card” system worked for putting your presentation on the timesheet; If it wasn’t for me waiting too long to start my talk; If it wasn’t for throwing caution to the wind, laughing at the fear which rises in the gullet; Then I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy Barcamp as much as I did.

And man alive I REALLY enjoyed it. So many geeks. So much fun.

A special shout out to the Youngin’s I made paper airplanes for. You guys rock!

2806200993711PM Anyway, a big THANKYOU to all the Folk at Barcamp Sydney 5. It was great to get to know some of you, great to make a fool out of myself in front of all of you, and great to get some Microsoft paraphernalia for being “Most Entertaining Geek Of The Day” (again, I paraphrase).

Cheers to @halans for putting a recording of the song up on Youtube.

Saturday night my eldest and I went to the Rugby. We had a blast! Although the game wasn’t an exciting try-fest, it was still enjoyable. We nicknamed the France full-back “Softie”, and I’m sure I didn’t embarrass my son by screaming out “IT’S NOT SOCCER!”.

Sunday is a private day for us. I don’t talk about it much. We go to Church, we have fellowship with our friends, and we spend time as a family. But believe me, today (Sunday) had it’s interesting moments. Interesting enough that it will be a long time until I forget what happened at Church today.

So that was my weekend.

Kudos for reading this far.

I’m excited to really commit to attending more conferences like Barcamp. There’s a lot to be excited about in the world of Development (and general Geek-dom), and I’ve got a lot of excitement to transfer.

Busy Evening: Podcasts, iTunes, New Chapters

1306200922341AM Phew. It’s almost 2:30am and I’m still roaring along.

Tonight I’ve added Chapter Four of Awakening onto the Taels website.


Why? Well, because you can now subscribe to the iTunes feed of Taels Online.

That means you’ll be able to keep up to date with all the story podcasts.

Story Podcasts?

Yup, that’s right. I’ve recorded podcasts of each of the Chapters and the Short Story.

So have a listen, or a read, or do both.

PayPal Noticed Me

30062009101558PM Increasingly I find myself building and advising on web systems as opposed to desktop.

This doesn’t diminish the importance of Desktop development in my books, it just reflects the (not passing) trend of business on the web. It makes sense. And really, it’s all just Development.

A big part of business is making money.

That was some wisdom I dropped on you right there wasn’t it. Don’t clap just yet, the talk isn’t over. Heh heh.

PayPal have been around for quite a while. They are, well, big. Chances are if you’ve bought something online you’ve interacted with Paypal. And if you’ve used them, chances are they’ve helped your business make money.

But regardless of their pedigree, regardless of their massive sway and power, regardless of the fact that chocolate + vanilla icecream is just awesome .. There is a simple reason why I’m writing this post.

PayPal noticed me.

This is a very important point. Not because of me, substitute other names in there. What’s important is that they have gotten smart about today’s web.

30062009101721PM In preparing for Barcamp I noticed a Twitter account for PayPal. Strangely, it wasn’t spouting corporate shillage-speak. Whoever sat behind that Twitter Account was actually interacting with people.

And they talked to me. Before Barcamp (where I fooled everyone into thinking I could sing). And afterwards.

They invited me along to their Australian Developer Days, and I said yes. Signed up today, applied for leave, and had an excellent email conversation with them.

Let me tell you why this is important, although you might’ve already guessed.

PayPal is no longer faceless. They talked to me like a real person. Possibly laughed at me singing a song. Looked at my blog, made reference to a completely different post that needed some searching to find.

This is good PR, good people skills. This wins people over. At the very least, it’s won me over.

30062009101412PM I”m going to the Developer Day mostly as a Developer keen to see what other folk are doing, and to talk about implementation of payment gateways, coding of them, that kind of thing.

One thing I’m interested to find out more about is their API, and using it from a Desktop system, as opposed to a web site/service/system.

But also, I’m going along with the expectation of furthering the relationship I’ve already begun online. Saying g’day, shaking hands, laughing about something or other.

Kudos to PayPal. Thumbs up Sirs + Dames.

So to you humble reader, if you are a Developer, or interested in becoming a Developer, you should look deep within yourself and assign yourself a number based on your .. Urg, wait, that’s Homer spouting out.

The PayPal Developer Days 2009 are being hosted in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. The Sydney day is the 20th of July (2009) and the others follow on from there.

Let’s not forget a big huge and massive reason why you, as a fellow Developer, should be attending:

The Developer Days are FREE*! Absolutely without reservation free to attend. No fees.

* This does not include freedom of time or of your brain activity.

Signup Here And Be Excellent.

To everyone reading this post who’s not a Developer (Mum, Visitor #2), I heartily apologise for it’s unashamed geek-factor.

Introducing "Paid Notes", A Simple Accounting System

Ages pass, wheels turn, stars wink and fade into blackness.

That’s how long ago it was that I wrote a little accounting application to take care of the small number of Invoices and Bills my business deals with.

A couple of weeks back I took a look at the code. After the whimpering had stopped and I’d extracted myself from the foetal position in the corner, I decided to do a rewrite.

Yes, the dreaded rewrite.

Thankfully, two reasons gave me hope that I was doing the right thing.

  1. The codebase is incredibly small.
  2. I had seriously –ve idea about coding back then. No ID fields, bad methodologies, insane functionality decisions.

So I give you a teaser image. PaidNotes:


Show vs Book (1)

1006200994416pm There is little doubt in my mind that television shows have as much power of story-telling as books.

And yet there is such a black hole of difference in how they are treated.

When does an author get dropped before finishing the story? Not often.

When does a television show get dropped before finishing the story? All the time.

Sure, there’s the makeup. A handful of people (the Author, Editors and others) versus a small army (Writers, Producers, Directors, Show-Runners, and many more).

There is cost. While making a run of books is expensive, I would imagine it pales when stacked up against the money required for the ensemble of humanoids needed to put together a television show. Happy to be wrong though.

Given that I’ve not done either (written books or created a television series), I’m only fishing around in what I _think_ might be the differences. There’d have to be lots more.

There’s one difference which seems to matter more than anything (or before anything) else.


It clouds the vision. It creates imbalance. It sullies the story.

Stories told through the medium of television would be a lot better off without advertising.

Course, without advertising they wouldn’t get told.

So what’s left? Do the best with what you have. Here’s the linkage between my thoughts and experience. That’s what Castle taught me tonight. We watched an episode where Castle’s book went on sale. His pulp fiction book. And this is what I got out of it. Whatever the medium,

You can write good pulp.