Blogging Predates the Internet

It’s no secret that I love Science Fiction, and more specifically Star Trek.  Rewatching an old episode recently reminded me of the typical formula for the introduction of the impending episode, which typically starts with a character “speaking” their personal or officer’s log into the main computer.  In the world of television this is just an interesting way to open the narrative, but moreover, it shows that the concept of blogging predates the mainstream Internet.

I love my blog. I admit that blogging (which, lets be honest is just a technological equivalent to a diary) is something I initially resisted, but after a time, I began to really enjoy communicating into the nether.   My only regret is that I didnt start earlier.  I wish I had archives reaching back into my teenage years – what an amazing insight of growth that would be.  Blogging can help act as a cathexis for our lives, a place to bleed away energy and thoughts without judgment.  It helps me archive and coordinate my thoughts, as well as acting as a effigy for one’s personal brand and acting as a version control system for your life – capturing snippets of thoughts and feelings over time for prostherity.

I wished I had started blogging a long time ago. Ideally, 1992 when things became so bad between my step-dad at the time that I was forced to move in with my Dad is when I wished I started.  It wasn’t a great time, but that doesn’t mean archiving it wouldn’t have been positive. I remember the technical details of the events, but none of the intricate feelings. I just hold onto the negative energy because I’m honestly not sure what to do with it. Unable to work through it because I left the healing for too long. If only I’d written it down I’d have the clarity of the time, and the wisdom of age to temper it. I wished I had started blogging a long time ago…


It’s been a tumultuous month for me. The past 14 months haven’t exactly been a riot, but it’s been great being a stay at home Dad, studying. And I think that on the home front and the study front, I’ve done pretty well. I have occasionally bitten off more than I could chew, but I’m still on top and that’s something.

Recently though, I find myself increasingly wanting to find some more normality with life. Days seem to roll into one another and I dislike the disparity between days that are so full and busy I can barely breath and others so debilitatingly boring that I end up not doing anything constructive at all. One of the major problems I have discovered with being home and self-paced is one of motivation, and this is something that has plagued me my whole life. I am a very passionate person, and I love to jump fully into things with my eyes open and irrespective of consequence, but to take this action independently is something I’ve always found incredibly difficult. After reflecting on this recently (in one of my dreary, semi-conscious state of minds, after another night of sleep deprivation) I have come to the conclusion that it might be Freudian in nature. Constantly trying to seek the appraisal of others, and perhaps from my parents.

Whatever the reason, it no longer matters. What matters is the future, and this is the attitude I am trying to embody for (at the very least) the rest of the year, specifically in respect to study and my weight-loss.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, my intellect is both my biggest asset and my biggest curse. Apparently I am smart enough to be able to luck my way through life, smart enough to ‘guess’ the answers to the things I need to know. However, I am also stupid enough to never actually apply these ‘smarts’ in any significant way. In many respects I think the frustration I have within myself for knowing that I am smart enough to succeed in virtually anything I want, but constantly failing to properly apply myself to achieve it; is a primary driver for my decision to finally obtain a university degree. I am sure a psychologist could provide us a number of insights as to what events in my childhood led to these behaviors, just as it would be very easy to simply call me lazy. In either case is, this main point is that I need to retrain my mind and body to be more disciplined. To try and change past behaviors and relearning how to think and to stop taking the path of least resistance; lest I actually have to work hard.

This goes for my weight-loss too. I think both my attitude to study and my attitude to weight-loss are a microcosm for a larger, unhealthy lifestyle. What’s more, is that I am able to create an environment for myself that supports my unhealthy attitudes. I’ve lost 25kgs in 8 months – and most people, especially those closest to me consider this to be a great success. But I know in my heart that I barely tried. The same is true of my studies. My academic transcripts scattered with one or two credits and a handful of distinctions and high distinctions. I know I could have tried harder.

But I’ve never been pushed before in my life by anyone. And unfortunately, I seem to resent anyone who ever does try to push me. I live a life of comfort, when I should be living a life of much greater success.

But how do I train this old dog new tricks?

10 years & 1 day

Today marks the first day commencing the 11th year that will be married to my chosen person, @MrsAngell (that’s her on the left). Happily, I can quite honestly say that as we’ve started getting old together my feelings have changed, but only to be deeper and wider than when we first were married.  10 years, 8 room-mates, 7 houses, 3 kids, 2 degrees and 1 cat later; I’ve become so accustomed to her being around that when she’s missing, I feel as though I’ve lost an arm.

Or a leg.

…That sounded more romantic in my head, but you get the idea.

She has been a part of me for so long that I can’t even quite remember what it was like without her, and certainly it doesn’t feel relevant anyway.  After all, who would want to remember times when she wasn’t part of their lives?  No  one.   And all romantic bias aside, that’s the point.  She is a unique selfless individual who enriches the lives of the people she connects with.  I’m just luckier than most people.

She’s sexy, elegant, polite, caring and intelligent and I challenge people to create a more complete list of desired attributes in a partner.

I told her last night, that managing to reach the 60 year anniversary would be really neat, and she pointed out (rather correctly) that 80 would be “even awesomer”.  Of course I agree, because spending another 40 years seems together seems not only exciting, but an absolute delight.  (we’d both be exactly 100 years old on our 80th anniversary for those who are interested).

And it hasn’t always been easy, and sure there are days and even months I’d sooner rather forget but the number 1 lesson I’ve learned over the past 120 months is that anything can be fixed, provided both parties want to fix it. And obviously that’s what we’ve done – fixed things that were broken and had the courage and care to try new things to make them even better.  A mutual friend recently said to me that our marriage was above all others, the one for which this person held the most regard.  “Real”, “honest” and “role model” were some words used to describe how this person saw our marriage, and how they wished to emulate it. It came as quite a surprise, because we were just living our lives.  It does highlight to me how much I can take for granted AND how much I really do love her.  I think she’d probably say the same thing about me.

Our marriage has survived teen pregnancy, family death, family dis-functionalism, breast-cancer scares, lost employment, dead brokenness and financial windfalls; there isn’t much in the past 10 years that couldn’t have easily torn us apart.  But we are not perfect, and we continue to try to “get it right”.

I was reflecting on some of the reasons why we’ve stood together this long, these are:

  • Mutual rule to never go to sleep angry at each other.
  • Trying to keep perspective at all times.
  • Proportional split of chores.
  • Freedom to be one’s self.
  • Listening, listening, listening.
  • Trying to get involved in the other person’s interests.
  • Knowing when it’s time to step back (being secure enough to let your partner experience things without you).
  • A ritualized, regular “date night” – which for us is each and every Wednesday night, chatting, playing games, baking, watching movies, going out, anything actually, but with basic rules which for us are: must be done together and no computers/iPad/Phones).  It’s not a chore, it’s something that both parties want to do because it’s mutually important to us as a technique to keep the marriage strong and healthy.
  • Similar ideological views
  • Identical and consistent parenting views and techniques.

But I think the main reason we work so well together is because we’re so remarkably different.  This gives us a diverse range of conversational angles, but also that each one makes up for the short-comings of the other.  The simple fact of the matter is that each of us, makes the other a better person.  And we love each other for that.

I love you honey.

Always have.  Always will.

Monstrous Discrepancies

I saw this image late last night and instantly loved it.  Its so true how far our perceptions and feelings can be from actual reality.  I’d like the original artist to make it into a poster so I can put it up somewhere where my children will always be able to see it.

It’s so great in fact, that I’ve mirrored it here should the original URL suddenly become no longer be available.

Reign Supreme

Sometimes I wish I was a super-hero with the ultimate power of persuasion.  Because then I could call up world leaders and convince them to do things my way (because clearly my way is better)!

On a less narcissistic note, I was thinking about the things I would do to shape the world in my own image – and realised that you can tell a lot about a person about the things they don’t like about the world (or the lack thereof).  To that end, I’ve created a list of the top 10 things I would change:

  1. Make it illegal to charge ANYONE (parents, insurance companies, anyone) for medical care given to children (people under 18).
  2. Rename “marriages” to “civil unions” for everyone (gays, hetros, lesbians) – and make the churches responsible for the “marriages”.  If you want to be joined by law – get a civil union, if you want a marriage, goto a church.
  3. Allow stem-cell research, but with strict oversight.
  4. Roll-out fibre to the home for all residences in Australia.
  5. Tax high-pollution industries and use that Tax to give a rebate for deploying solar power to every household in Australia.
  6. Revoke Scientology’s tax free status.
  7. Pass laws to give woman the right to choose what happens to their own bodies (surrogacy, abortion etc).
  8. Pass laws to protect Doctors and create a proper due-process for people to choose to end their own  lives.
  9. Eliminate years 11 and 12 – either pick a trade and work as an apprentice for 5 years, or study in academia for an additional 2 years in your chosen field.
  10. Create a “guild” system of government.  Several elected officials, with the cabinet of the elected party made up of the people chosen to best represent that industry or sector – so instead of “climate change minister” in cabinet (for example) – it would be a person considered by his peers to be the best climatologist in science – and for these leaders to be separate from political affiliation (too many times we’ve had ministers filling port-folio’s they didn’t have the knowledge or skills to manage).

Why I Bought a MacBook

For my whole life, I’ve basically been a Microsoft Fanboi.  This isn’t because I actually believed Microsoft was better, but more so that I was a big gamer; and well, games sucked on everything that wasn’t a PC or a console.  My options were limited.

So after my impressionable teen years and I started my IT career, it was really only logical to continue down that road, since in my opinion at the time, Window’s worked fine.  Linux and BSD operating systems were still notoriously difficult to use, and had swarms of issues and Apple machines we’re for people who didn’t want a REAL computer.  And since I still liked gaming – Windows was my de-facto standard operating system and I never thought that would ever change – until a couple of months ago when Vista finally broke what was left of my patience and spirit.

Unable to tolerate the Vista rhetoric any longer, and having been frustrated with the “omg, your computer’s sex is on fire” beauty of the new Intel-based MacBooks I made the switch.  A long time ASP3, .Net developer by trade, doing the unthinkable – joined the army of  people who like to  wear berets, and watching Steve Jobs’ latest Apple keynote speech.

And I have never been happier, nor have I looked back.

Looking back on it, I actually think that the problem started the moment that WinFS was dropped from the (then longhorn) feature set.  This was followed by more dropped features until there was nothing left to look forward to.  Vista ended up being all bling and no substance.  It is the Amy Winehouse of operating systems.  But still, despite this, despite the endless trouble with driver accessibility, despite the pitiful security solution called UAC, despite the endless and constant flow of problems; I persevered – hopeful in the knowledge that if I gave Windows some love, it would love me back.  This has always been the case with previous versions of Windows, why should this be any different?  But try as I might, as patient as I was, there just ain’t no love coming from Vista.  It hates you from the moment you install it, until the day that you die.  And no matter how many service packs or patches I installed, it never got any easier.

It’s like the spoiled middle kid from a dysfunctional family.  What’s worse, is that I suspect Microsoft knows it!

And before all of my previous comrades start cheering for Windows 7, like its the second coming, can I just point out that Windows 7 is effectively a working, stable version of Vista.  Not much more.  And what’s worse, your going to be charged for the pleasure of upgrading to what Vista should have been in the first place.

Having had several conversations with various Windows user’s since the purchase of my Mac, has been an interesting experience.  I’ve come to realise, that Windows users have come to expect mediocrity from operating systems.  And when I try to explain some of the awesomeness of OSX I am met with either apathy or a serious lack of comprehension.

It didn’t take me long at all to fall in love with the MacBook.  And this is just as much a tribute to Apple elegance (when they choose to use it) as it is about Vista sucking harder than a hoover.  But the single, final feature which sealed the deal was the magical MacBook, sleep and wake-up/resume functionality.  It sleeps and wakes up on he close/open of the lid like any other notebook.  But the speed at which is goes from fully awake → fully asleep → fully awake is simply staggering.  And, unlike Windows, I mean fully asleep (minimal battery usage) to a fully awake (and fully usable) state.  I have the 2.0GHz version of the 2009 aluminum MacBook, and the whole process is only a few seconds!  Simply amazing.

And much of the things which have truly impressed me are not even immediately obvious.  The best way I have found to summarize the difference is this; “All of the things that you [Windows users] have learned to live with, just gone!”  Windows in Finder (the equivalent to Explorer) open instantly, viewing folder file properties are virtually instant, search is staggeringly fast (this is called spotlight) and often, close to instant.

Even gaming isn’t an issue (although I seldom get time for much of this these days) – I have a 30gb side partition for Boot Camp which runs Windows naively with correct drivers when I HAVE to use Windows with as much grunt as I can give it.  VMWare Fusion actually lets you run the Boot Camp installation as a virtual machine if you only need basic Windows functionality (such as testing browser computability).  This is sometimes to even needed, however, as many of the more popular games are sometimes available for OSX anyway.

I was expecting a lot more pain with the transition and its difficult to adequately paint the correct picture, but the simple fact is, MacBooks are amazing.

Enough said.

I Love You @MrsAngell

12 December 2008 marks the second annual Spouse 2.0 Day! The day dedicated to remembering those running your other startup.

In its inaugural year, Spouse 2.0 generated 4,250 references in google for a day dedicated to the significant other of startup-founders (and IT folks at large).

2008 saw massive investment in Web 2.0 start ups, the worst economic climate since the Great Depression, and the fastest rate of growth and change on the Internet and Social networking since the tech bubble burst in 2000 – Entrepreneurs have never been busier.  Spouse 2.0 day is an opportunity for start up founders and staff to take time out to remember their other start up – their personal relationship or family.

The day encourages everyone to buy a small gift for their significant other and blog, tweet or share about it all over the web. Posts will be aggregated into a combined feed (accessible from the site) for the world to watch.  This doesnt have to be limited to blogs and Twitter, however, and could be a nice message on your partner’s Facebook Wall.

Last year, I bought @MrsAngell a Jamie Oliver cookbook (as she is a massive fan of cooking) – and this year I have gone for something a little more “traditional”…but I obviously cannot spill the beans yet – ’cause she ain’t got it yet! 😉

So anyway, in the spirit of love and companionship I want to tell my best friend, that I love her more than she knows and I thank her for her patience, care and support.

I love you honey. 🙂

Faraday CEO One of the 30Under30’s

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

There are only a limited number of start-up founders in the world, even less who sets his or her mind to change the very fabric of the internet. Chris is one of them.

When Chris and I founded Faraday Media, it was of extreme importance that just being another startup was not enough. We had to do something meaningful. Something significant. Not happy with fame or glory, we wanted to grow as people – giving back to a medium which had fed us for long time. To take the internet to a new place, just like Google had done nearly a decade ago. Its been a long road for Faraday, and while it hasn’t always been easy, Chris’ drive and aspiration has bought us to new and extraordinary heights, time after time after time; often at great personal sacrifice. I could never ask for a better CEO, or friend.

It’s no secret that Chris and I are the best of friends and it makes me very happy, to congratulate him on being selected as one of the 30Under30’s for Anthill, the leading entrepreneurial magazine in Australia.

From the website:

At 26, Chris Saad is one of Australia’s most impressive young web entrepreneurs. His theory and practice around web standards – specifically ‘DataPortability’ and ‘Attention Management’ – have gained significant traction and are set to have a profound impact on the evolution of media in the digital age. Saad has co-founded several web-related companies and organisations, most prominently Faraday Media in 2006, of which he is CEO. Faraday Media is developing Particls, a technology that learns user habit and taste and delivers relevant information to them via news crawler, SMS, email, flash visualisations, etc. He also co-founded the Media 2.0 Workgroup with 14 industry ‘commentators, agitators and innovators’. There’s no shortage of ideas or energy in this digitally-minded entrepreneur. One to watch in the years to come.

Make sure you click through to the Article, subscribe to the mag and read the other 29 profiles!

This is recognition to a man whom has dedicated and sacrificed so much for the greater good, a true philanthropist. Well done Chris, you are definitely deserving of this prestigious award and will no doubt be one of many in the years to come.

@MrsAngell == Spouse 2.0

As many of you know, today (in America at least) is Spouse 2.0. Some people assume that it’s like another opportunity to mirror Valentine’s Day, which is fine; but thats a holiday for love and Spouse 2.0 is about thanks, spun with a geeky name to make it more accessible for us geek types.

Let me explain my situation a little bit.

Julie is my loving wife. And obviously we care about one another a great deal, but being a start-up founder is very hard on the loved ones in your life. Constantly being at the computer distant conversations by the cool glow of an LCD screen (or three). And while she might tolerate my somewhat poor relationship behavior, because of the hope of financial freedom or because I am doing what I love; the fact remains that it must be incredibly hard.

Now while this is true for so many other partners out there, its my firm belief that Julie has it harder than most. You see, not only does she also work full time and do an amazing job looking after the 2 little ones, but she has to deal daily with TWO “start-up” founders in her house.

She cooks us dinner, cleans our house, does the shopping the laundry and basically makes our lives such that we don’t really have to think about much other than Particls.

She is a Particls user, however, so I do find some solace in the idea that we actually save her some time – somehow evening the score. But I don’t actually say “thank you” nearly as much as I should. So, here, in this public forum; “Thank you Julie”.

But alas, she does tolerate far more than even a cool and reasonable person, so I was more than happy to purchase her a gift (or two) to show my appreciation for her help and patience. I (well, actually “we” because Chris came with me) bought her the Jamie Oliver book “Jamie at Home” and the newish Michael Connelly book “Echo Park”.

So my last act of Spouse 2.0 day is to publicly thank Julie for her endless devotion to 2 start-up founders who love her unconditionally.

Happy Spouse 2.0 day Julie, and all the other Spouse 2.0’s out there.