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Showing posts from 2009

OLPC Enters the Mythical World of Tablet Computing

One of the most exciting areas of make believe computing is the mythical tablet PC. Apple has been rumored to be developing a tablet PC whilst Microsoft is supposedly developing a Tablet/booklet PC.

Now OLPC, the project that designs low cost computers for kids in developing companies, has stepped into the arena not once but twice. First with a Booklet style, dual screen, tablet PC and now, after canning that idea, an ultra thin tablet screen with thumb/finger ring grip that supposedly will retail for around US$75.00 (pictured). The device is also rumored to include a digital camera on the back

What caught my eye about this device is the image on the right. Nothing particularly revolutionary here but for some reason I'd never considered a touch screen, full size, keyboard before. It's not a new idea by any means and I have seen it on other touch screen devices (like mobile phones) - just never linked the idea to tablet PC computing.

The concept gives me some confidence that mayb…

Retail Hostages

Ever been in one of those discount variety stores, found nothing you want to buy, then discovered you can't get out? Well, you can get out but the only way is to queue at the checkouts until a gap opens up and you can squeeze past.This situation recently happened to me. It occurred because the store in question has an automatic barrier across the entrance. You can only get in that way, not out.The store has multiple checkout lanes but they're so narrow all it takes is one small woman with a hand bag to block them. Thus, during busy times, like Christmas, all the checkouts backup with queues of people carrying whatever it is they want to buy.I just want to get out of the store but I can't. I'm a retail hostage, forced to queue because the store is too cheap to hire a door attendant to monitor customers, not making a purchase, as they leave.I tend to avoid stores like this but sometimes their discounts are just too enticing. Before I know it I'm in the store again, t…

Blogging from my Mobile

Maybe this isn't new to some people but I came to the whole Internet on your mobile phone thing quite late, thanks to my old phone company.Now I'm playing 'ketchup' (that's 'catch up' in plain speak). This post has been written entirely on my mobile phone - including taking the photo on my phone's camera. Just a snap shot of some items on my fridge.I'm contemplating using my phone more to blog when I'm out and about. To fill in unpreductive gaps - like when you're standing in a slow moving queue. Not that I do a lot of standing in queues but you get the idea.My phone has a full keyboard but it's still only two thumb typing at best. Probably won't be writing any essays this way any time soon.For the moment I'm just hoping this post works. If you're reading this then thankfully it did. I may just be blogging from my phone again some time soon.

TET Now on your Mobile Phone

Ever since I got one of those flash new phones with internet access I've been thinking I should make a 'mobile friendly' version of my own site i.e. one that's a little less graphics heavy and taxing on your mobile download limit.

Thanks to Mippin, a free service that can convert your RSS Feed into a mobile site, you can now get my Master RSS feed as web site for your mobile phone.

By simply bookmarking my mobile site at http://mippin.com/etourist on your mobile phone you can view all my latest content wherever you are including; my latest ebay auctions, blog posts, animation blog posts, flickr images, videos and more.

You can see a sample of my site and how it looks on a mobile phone in the image above.

If you have a blog and want to make your site even easier to access by your visitors wherever they are then give Mippin a try. It's almost as simple as supplying Mippin with your RSS or Atom Feed URL and then getting your new mobile site URL.

There are a few other step…

The Time Traveler's Wife - Movie Opinion

When I first saw the preview for The Time Traveler's Wife I thought 'chick flick' however, the movie has a time travel component (one of my favorite sci-fi subjects) so I was interested to know more.

If you're a time travel fan too then this film will not only not disappoint but it also breaks all the 'rules' of time travel. However, having said that, it's also a great chick flick too (especially for Eric Bana fans).

As with all my movie opinions, this isn't a review as such, it's more of a commentary on what I found interesting. I'm assuming you've seen the film but if not I'll try not to write anything that will spoil it for you. If you don't know what the film is about then you may like to click the link in the first paragraph which will take you to the movies page on the Internet Movie Data Base.

Quickly, on the plot, Eric Bana plays Henry DeTamble, a man born with a genetic condition that causes him to involuntarily travel both fo…

How to Market and Sell Your Art Online

The Unconventional Guide to Art + Money ebook
by Chris Guillebeau and Zoë Westhof

E-Book Review by TET

Less than two percent of Bachelor of Arts Graduates in Australia will actually go on to become established artists. At least that's the figure according to an article I recently read in The Adelaide Review by Peter Drew titled, Poor Odds for Arts.

That article is very relevant to this review as it highlights the emergence of Artist Run Initiatives (ARIs). Particularly the idea of young artists not waiting for their big break with a major mainstream gallery but instead, actually getting out there, finding their own audience and making their own success.

Many artists are turning to new media, such as the Internet, to promote and sell their work directly to collectors. Unfortunately this process can be trial and error to find what works.

This is where The Unconventional Guide to Art + Money ebook by Chris Guillebeau and Zoë Westhof steps in by delving into the real world experience of se…

Wrong Way Already and Cat Sampler Books

For anyone who has ever done any kind of writing you'll know that you never really feel quite like a writer until you have a book of your own writing in print. Yes, old style ink on paper, professionally printed and bound.

So it was quite a buzz today to finally get my hands on a small stack of two books (pictured right) I've self published, one of which represents my first properly published work as a writer.

Wrong Way Already, A Road Trip Across Southern Australia, is half travel guide and half travel journal of a Road Trip my Sister and I embarked upon mid way through 2007.

We traveled from Gawler, South Australia to Broken Hill, New South Wales and then back across the continent to Perth Western Australia. Each day I wrote about my experiences in this very blog you're reading now. Hence the book brings together all the posts and photos from this blog into one handy sized guide that you can either take with you on your own Southern Australia travels or curl up with if you …

Microsoft Courier Booklet, An Artist's View

There's been a lot of buzz lately in tech circles about tablet computing, in particular the Apple Tablet which is either a soon to be released product or a whole lot of geeks speculating on a fantasy.

Possibly the most exciting thing I've seen in this space is the Microsoft Courier booklet, which, like the Apple Tablet, is a potentially soon to be released product or just some one leaking ideas that may never come to pass. For the purpose of this article let's suppose this product is really in development.

The Microsoft Courier Book (illustrated in the picture from Gizmodo top right) is a tablet computer with two screens that folds in half like a book. It's about the size of your average journal or diary and is operated with a combination of touch screen motions and a pen/stylus.

Gizmodo has also discovered a video of how we'll actually use the Courier (follow the link to see the video).

From an artist's perspective I'd have to say it all looks very intuitive a…

Not Quite Power Walking

Since I discovered jogging wasn't for me I've been kind of all over the place with my daily exercise routine. In fact for a little while I stopped my daily walks altogether.

Not walking meant I could do an extra 50 minutes of work a day which was great for getting things done but not so great for my health. Since I haven't yet been able to get myself a bike to replace jogging it's back to walking, however, this time it's different.

When I was jogging my daily walking route I'd managed to cut my time down to 35 minutes, noting that I only actually jogged about two thirds of the way. The rest of the time I spent gasping down water and walking until I felt ready to jog again.

It occurred to me that if I simply walked consistently at a fairly quick pace the whole distance I could probably cut my time dramatically and increase the benefit of walking as a daily exercise routine. Yeah I know, totally obvious, right?

So I gave it a try.

Now we're not quite talking…

The Frog Van goes to a Garage Sale

I've written about my Frog Van on several occasions so I thought it only fitting to mark it's first real use as a cargo mover on my blog too.

Granted this isn't the first time I've used it to transport stuff (I used it to move my recent art exhibition back home from the gallery) however it is the first time it has had anything close to a load that would require a van.

My partner, Enigma, and I decided it was time to clean out some of our crap from my studio and the house. What better way to do that than to haul out all the excess stuff to a local 'Mega Car and Garage Sale' and try and get a few dollars for it. I don't think it was actually called that but it was pretty big. Easily more than a hundred stalls at a guess (maybe even close to two hundred).

You can see our stall in the photo, taken at about the half way point of the sale. By this time we'd sold most of what we managed to sell so almost all of the rest you can see came home again.

If you've …

How to Lose a Mobile Phone Customer

I recently upgraded my mobile phone to this very modern Nokia E63 (pictured right). At the same time I changed my phone carrier to Virgin Mobile. It cost me nothing up front and the new plan I'm on is far better than the plan my previous mobile carrier imposed upon me as part of 'upgrading their billing system'.

This article is actually a sequel to an article I wrote just over two years ago titled Forgotten by my Phone Company. In that article from April 2007 I described how my phone company *cough* AAPT *cough* failed to upgrade my very old mobile phone (a Nokia 2100, pictured left) when my contract ran out - like they had the previous contract.

How to Lose a Mobile Phone Customer

Step 1: Double your monthly service access fee.

Fast forward to November of 2008 and I get a letter from my phone company explaining that they will be upgrading their billing system over the next few months and as part of that I'll be switched over to a new monthly plan called '$15 Access…

Jogging - What Was I Thinking?

A few weeks back I started jogging on a daily basis. For those of you in my age group that are unfamiliar with the idea, jogging is like walking only much quicker - or so I thought.

Turns out jogging is more like systematically bruising your muscles and joints until just standing upright becomes a challenge in the face of pain. Let's back track a little.

I've been walking about 1.2 kilometres on a daily basis for the best part of the last two years. Taking the same circle route every day as part of my exercise routine - which also includes about an hour of daily weight lifting. The walk usually takes me about 50 minutes - clearly I'm not walking all that quickly.

Recently I've become bored with walking and I don't actually think it's doing me a great deal of good. I started my walks to get my high cholesterol levels down but discovered it was having only marginal benefit. However some benefit is better than none so I kept walking long after the doctor had prescrib…

JK Wedding Dance and Music Royalties

You don't even have to be on the Internet to know about the JK Wedding Dance Video. The unique wedding where everyone danced down the aisle to Chris Brown's song 'Forever' spread so widely that it even made it to the evening TV news.

What's interesting is that the video seems to have resurrected the failing career of Chris Brown who is currently facing charges for assaulting his former girlfriend, singer, Rihanna as reported in this E! News article, Could Viral Wedding Dance Video Save Chris Brown's Career?

Bearing in mind that the original wedding video was posted on Youtube for the happy couple's family and friends to view but then went viral, there was no licensing agreement with the copyright owners of the song.

In this Mashable article, JK Wedding Dance Also a Boon to YouTube’s Click-to-Buy Ads, It appears that Google and Youtube moved quickly to monetize the video with their click-to-buy program, which places overlay ads for iTunes and Amazon download li…

I'll Paint What They're Painting.

Have you ever seen the movie When Harry Met Sally staring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan? If not you may at least know the classic scene where Sally demonstrates to Harry how she can fake an orgasm right there in the diner they've chosen to eat a meal. The scene ends with the classic line from an onlooking lady, "I'll have what she's having". Keep that in mind for a moment.

I'm subscribed to the newsletter of respected Art Advice writer, Sylvia White, who recently published an article called the 12 Step Recovery Program for Artists.

What struck me about the article was the very first step reproduced below:
1. Admit that you are powerless over your ARTmaking, and it is the only thing that makes your life manageable.

Many artists describe the feelings they get from making art as an almost spiritual or sexual experience, feeling a complete and total sense of happiness and being at one with the world. Much like the feeling an athlete gets from hitting the ball in the swe…

Home Made Crutch, MacGyver Style

My partner, Enigma, recently had a bad fall and did her ankle in. Nothing broken thankfully but painful enough to make walking nearly impossible.

Initially Enigma was using an old student office chair (with coaster wheels) to get around on which was proving to be awkward, impractical and still quite painful on her ankle. Me, being the creative person that I am, went out to the shed, MacGyver style, to see what we had to make some kind of crutch.

After some searching I brought together our mop handle, the handle off the end of a spade, a rubber stopper, a towel and some tape (couldn't find a use for a paperclip) to fashion the very effective temporary crutch you can see in the photo.

Whilst, ultimately, it didn't get a lot of use after about day two of Enigma's ordeal it did come in handy for a trip down to the chemist to fill a script for pain killers. The Women at the chemist was very impressed with my makeshift crutch too.

Enigma said on the day she twisted her ankle she had…

NavMan: Telling YOU Where To Go!

Traveling to Port Broughton and Moonta with the aid of a NavMan was something of a new experience for me. My partner, Enigma, was doing the driving so I had plenty of time to observe this little technological marvel from the passenger seat.

If you're like me, able to get yourself from A to B (most of the time) using old fashioned maps and street directories, then you might appreciate the following explanation; A NavMan or, I presume, Navigational Manager, is a little electronic device with an LCD display that attaches to the windscreen (usually) of your car and tells you how to get where you're going through the use of real time animated maps, voice instructions and GPS (global positioning system) data. (See my photo above).

Before this invention the term Navigational Manager and Passenger were interchangeable as many of us drivers relied on our memory and the map reading skills (or lack there of) of our passengers to direct us to where we were going.

A NavMan completely eliminat…

Public Toilet Tourism: Art Where You Go

There seems to be a growing trend in Australian Public Amenities (i.e. public toilet blocks) where councils cover them in art, thus turning them into a tourist attraction.

Far from the usual graffiti attacks that often befall Public Toilet Blocks (as well as the occasional, more artistic but still unwanted graffiti 'pieces') I'm talking about a council taking a considered approach to decorating their public facilities then adding the artwork to the local tourist trail.

I first encountered this in the almost a ghost town of Iron Knob, South Australia, where our tour guide directed Rose and I to what he called 'the most photographed toilet block in Australia'. A big call at the time but I did take a photo so one can assume just about everyone he showed it to does.

The toilet block in question couldn't be more Australian with the word 'Dunny' emblazoned across it as part of a mural created by the town's former local artist.

Recently, on our trip to Port Br…

Gunner Bill's Gallery - Bute, South Australia

May 17, 2009

I was all ready to bag the town of Bute as not being worth the visit but then Enigma and I had a look around Gunner Bill's Gallery in Bute and I changed my mind. First though, let's back up a bit.

After spending our Saturday at the Cornish Festival in Moonta, Enigma and I were wondering how to spend our Sunday, the final day of our holiday? We knew there was a fair on at Kadina for the final day of the Cornish Festival but we had a sneaking suspicion we'd see pretty much all the same food vans we saw at the fair at Moonta so decided not to go.

I read in a tourist magazine a single paragraph about the town of Bute which mentioned that the town had an award winning fauna park and a Gallery/museum/craft shop. Thinking the fauna park might be a good animal photo opportunity and the Gallery could be interesting we decided to go. Bute was on the way home anyway (we passed through it on the trip to Port Broughton but it was dark then).

Bute is small so the fauna park was…

Port Broughton, Moonta Mining and a Cornish Festival

May 15 & 16 2009

After traveling everywhere with Rose for the last five weeks, my partner, Enigma, and I decided we were well overdue for some 'us' time. Enigma heard that there was a Cornish Festival happening in the town of Moonta, South Australia so she booked some accommodation over the coming weekend for us in the, kind of, near by town of Port Broughton (closer, affordable accommodation was booked out due to the festival).

We didn't see a lot of Port Broughton as our specific purpose was to see the Cornish festival. In fact we didn't arrive in town until after dark on the Friday. However we did enjoy some fish and chips for tea at a local cafe and, on the Saturday evening, we snapped a few pictures of the Port Broughton historic jetty and surrounding beach front at sunset (see photo above).

According to one passer by the sunset we snapped was nothing compared to some he had seen there. I can only imagine as the sun seems to set almost in line with the end of the…

As Fast as a Speeding Frog(van)

Since I haven't mentioned my frog van since Rose and I's trip to Mannum I know you're wondering how it's doing and whether I drove it the 90 minutes each way to and from Burra?

As you can see from the photo on the right, this is my van parked outside the old Burra historical railway station. No, really, I didn't photoshop the van in, it's really there!

The van traveled to Burra in 100 minutes (give or take a minute or two) reaching speeds of up to 110kmph (that about 68mph in old 'money') without so much as raising a sweat i.e. the engine stayed at normal temperature the whole way.

At about 110kmph the vans roof begins to vibrate in the wind. Nothing serious, it's a commercial style van, it doesn't have roof upholstery like your people movers just the thin sheet metal that is the roof. Since the speed limit in most places was 110kmph the vibrations are quite handy for letting you know you're going too fast.

As well whenever an oncoming eighteen …

Two Afternoons in Burra, South Australia

9th and 11th May 2009

This is my third trip to the town centre of Burra, South Australia, approximately 90 minutes drive north(ish) from Gawler. Fourth, if you include the second trip two days later on the 11th of May.

The first time Rose and I were here, during our 2007 Road Trip, I briefly wrote about our visit in two posts titled Miranda's Bedroom and Searching for C. J. Dennis and Gunning for Broken Hill.

At the time I was disappointed that the towns Community Art Gallery had an exhibition of quilts (not really my thing but I do appreciate the work involved). On the first day of this trip to Burra we visited the same gallery and... an exhibition of quilts (sigh). Must be an annual exhibition that occurs during the month of May?

The town of Burra is actually famous in these parts for its copper mining history and in particular the open cut 'Monster Mine' which is now used as a venue for Jazz concerts and can be seen in the background of this photo of Rose (above) taken on …

Back Into Central Adelaide

6th May 2009

Rose and I specifically planned another trip into central Adelaide to see a free exhibition called Picturing Words at the Adelaide Festival Centre, Artspace Gallery.

Prior to visiting the exhibition we made a stop into the Festival Centre's Cafe where I snapped this photo (on the right) of an almost deserted table area. We were having a fairly late lunch so had to go with pretty much what was readily available. I had a piece of Quiche, that looked more like a slice of cake it was so big, along with a bit of cucumber and lettuce salad topped with some kind of savory sauce dressing that I couldn't quite determine the flavor of.

The Picturing Words exhibition was described on the festival centre's web site as follows (because I'm too lazy to write this up and you'll understand more why I was a little disappointed later on):

Picturing Words

Artist's Perspectives on writing and illustrating picture books

Program developed with the DECS education officer based…

Mannum House Boats and the 1956 Flood

May 2 and 4, 2009

Mannum, South Australia is situated on the Murray River about an hour and twenty minutes drive from my home town of Gawler. If you've been following recent posts on this blog then you may be wondering if my frog van was up to this distance.

Fortunately the day before Rose and I spent a very damp afternoon at The Gorge Wildlife Park located in the Adelaide hills about forty minutes south of Gawler. The van had not only got us there without any real problem but had also negotiated some pretty steep hills (one of which had me right down to second gear to make the steepest sections). After that a drive to Mannum should be easy.

Before I get back to Mannum, I didn't write about The Gorge Wildlife park because I've already covered it in 2007 with my post, Gorge Wildlife Park, Cuddle a Koala. That previous trip we had a much better time and weren't rained out. Back then I took 137 photos, this time I took only one and it was a bad photo of a dingo.

Right, that o…