Cheeseburger Gothic

Distraction vs disruption

Posted April 13, 2012 by John Birmingham
I'm heading out the door in a couple of minutes to pick up Thomas from his school holiday rugby camp. As always with school hols I go into them thinking, 'This is gonna be great. The kids are older now. They'll look after themselves. I'll get my work done. Even some exercise...'

Bzzzt.

Wrong answer.

It never works out that way. I can do some reading and some blogging, but sustained writing is a no go. There's too many disruptions.

I got to thinking on this while trying to plot a path to the far flung rugby fields this morning. When you work for yourself people often ask 'How do you avoid distraction?'

I think what they actually mean is how do you avoid disruption. Mostly, you don't.

It was kind of a revelation. One of things things that seems so obvious when the lightbulb goes on. And the more I thought about it, the more I realised that working on your own and working in your office are not just different, there's these fundamentally opposite polarities involved.

Allow me to explain, while I wait for the clock to tick down to my departure time.

When I go pick up Thomas in a minute it will disrupt my work day. By the time I've driven out to the edge of the city, picked and his mate up, got them back back, fed them, and split 'em up, that's an asteroid crater in my work day. It's unavoidable. The challenge is to work around it. Get stuff done in the morning. get stuff done in the arvo. Let go of any frustration in between. It could be worse.

Distraction however, is avoidable. Distraction is stuff like this. Or twitter. Or faffing about jumping from online tech site to another. In an office I imagine distraction is like a productivity cancer. It could eat your entire day if you let it. Emails, phone calls, pop in visits to your desk. A long line of people long to steal five minutes here, ten minutes there. I dont suffer any of that shit at home because I can unplug and turn it all off. And of course, most of the time anyway, I'm here on my lonesome. Alternately I'd guess that major disruptions like cross city rugby runs in the middle of the work day, are not aregular part of  office life.

Just a thought.

Now I gotta go.

34 Responses to ‘Distraction vs disruption’

Therbs mumbles...

Posted April 13, 2012
I reckon working at a home office, particularly with kiddies around would provide for far more distractions. Dunno how Dr Yobbo does it with all those sports channels sitting there waiting for an audience. Not only do you get the email storm, deadline countdowns but there's other stuff like no-one looking over your shoulder when you jump onto a blog and make comments. Oh crap ....

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 13, 2012
The days go slow, but the years fly by, mate. I have all the time in the world to work, but I miss my son something terrible.

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Chaz mumbles...

Posted April 13, 2012
'I’m here on my lonesome' yep my heart bleeds for you mate!!!

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Monster Yuppy mumbles...

Posted April 13, 2012
Hey PNB! Are you gonna bring No 1 son to Oz in October ?

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melbomartin asserts...

Posted April 13, 2012
Disruption in the office is more in the form of meetings or training sessions you cannot avoid because they have to be done for some contractual obligatory reason. Or they keep changing the rules on how things are to be done so that instead of getting your fucking work done in the time allotted, you spend most of that trying to remember how they want it done this week.

But enough of that ...

When you're working from home, the key is to schedule disruptions which sounds stupid but it is in effect what you are doing. You know which times are set aside for school pickup and travel etc. and you're working around it.

As Paul said though, they are young for so short a time. I try to remind myself of this when I become frustrated. I realise that I've had to lower my expectations of what is reasonably achievable at home with kiddies present. For some reason, even though I've had these kids a while now, I still need reminding occasionally which is why my three year old has been secretly vandalising the place with crayons this week.

At least that's what I choose to believe.

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted April 13, 2012
You're totes right about scheduling your disruptions, or scheduling them right out of existence. Theyre frustrating when you dont prepare for them by clearing time elsewhere in the sched.

Having said that, there's some disruptions, such as restaurant reviewing (there's a whole day gone) that I'm cutting back on over the next year.

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted April 13, 2012
I hope you don't want us to consider RESTAURANT REVIEWS a Disruption?

I'm averaging 2 days a week from home, thats a combo though, of at home and on the road from home. Its been ok for week 2 and 3 as Mrs H is in UNZUD... and there, right there is the generator of UNPLANNED ooooooh, could ya gimmie a hand with this!.

Kids arn't really an issue given their ages, but ..the odd one with the youngest.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted April 13, 2012
For me it boils down to defining success.

In my old job (corp audio visual) I had crystal clear goalposts- show rigged & tested >1hr before showtime. Simple & clear.

In the public service, er, not so much. Success is such a malleable amorphus thing that If one is held to account "Why didn't you achieve X by the deadline?” Any excuse, justification or even pitiable mewling is accepted.

As a solo work @ home I expect that setting challenging yet achievable goals & kicking slacker's arse must require skill & a suprising degree of flexibility.

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Quokka is gonna tell you...

Posted April 13, 2012
The hardest thing about working from home, and in this I include studying, was The Drop In Guest.

I regard them with the same warm sentiments as I feel towards a procession of ants migrating into the pantry in wet season, except ants are so much easier to dispatch.

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Orin has opinions thus...

Posted April 13, 2012
The distractions of parenting are fleeting and I know I'll miss them when they are gone (even if school holidays seem specifically designed to fuck with end-of-book schedules).

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Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 13, 2012
I always saw it the other way around: work and school--especially school--getting in the way of my time with my daughter. Now she's 15, I have no idea where the months went, in just thirty six months she'll be moving in Melbourne to go to university (well, assuming she gets in but she probably will) & we're already looking into student accomodation on campus (because you sort of HAVE TO folks!!)

Resent work, resent school, resent university in other cities because , as PNB said, the days are long, the years are (fucking really really) gone and over before you turn around.

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Darth Greybeard puts forth...

Posted April 13, 2012
Quokka, I guess you weren't home this afternoon. I mean I knocked and I knocked for ages . . .

And yeah, enjoy every minute you can while your kids are young. No matter how well you get on, they will have their own lives, jobs, friends and so on and it will never be quite the same. On the other hand it can be pretty damn good and rather less stressful. One of the best things is getting a call for advice or help. Nice to know that Dad is still someone who can provide an ear or a shoulder or add a new PC to your office network.

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Mayhem's Mum puts forth...

Posted April 13, 2012
One should not have to provide an ear to one's offspring, as we are each only issued with two. Look what happened to all of those friends, Romans and countrymen who lent an ear. They couldn't hear the fire alarms.

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Nocturnalist would have you know...

Posted April 13, 2012
+++Nice to know that Dad is still someone who can provide an ear or a shoulder+++

Huh, I'd have thought it would be the parents nabbing transplants off the kids, not the other way 'round.

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Abigail reckons...

Posted April 13, 2012
It's true what they say about reaping what you sew. I work in a nursing home and the "kids" who visit are the ones who have had a reciprocal relationship all their lives with the old stroke vicitm sitting in bed all day waiting for a visitor. It's so bloody true, you know.

Uhhh, JB, ,btw, that's no reflection on you or what you said, I'm just sitting on the porch smoking my pipe thinking about life :)

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pitpat mumbles...

Posted April 13, 2012
Was my youngests 4th birthday today and he is the only one for whom(?) I have been at home for the entirety of their life- it is also the longest I have stayed in one place for the last 20+ years. As PNB says the days are long the years are getting quicker. However, I have been working from home over the school hols and yep work is coming a poor second and I am kinda looking to getting back to my pokey office so that I can combine work with faffing around in peace.

We are also building a detached home office but as I can see from the above combined wisdom that there needs to be pretty clear 'rules' which I daresay limits the whole multimedia centre plus pool table and bar fridge dream

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dewpoint ducks in to say...

Posted April 13, 2012
Time spent with your kids isn't really a distraction or disruption

It's work on your most important project

(though against restaurant reviews this could be debatable)

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damian puts forth...

Posted April 13, 2012
On the principle of saying nothing when unable to say something helpful or pleasant, I'll refrain from commenting.

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted April 13, 2012
There will be disruption in any life, that is true and one must find a way to manage it. On the other hand, when the level of disruption consumes most of the workable hours of the day, productivity stops, pure and simple.

Case in point? Mad Cab Driverland.

Trinity and I have been with each other for nearly four years now. Throughout a sizeable portion of that relationship, we have had exactly one working car. I was required (because buses were not going to work as an answer, don't ask) to provide transport. Given that I already drive thirty minutes one way to the campus where I work, this could get out of hand fairly quickly. There were points during a given semester where I was fairly certain I was spending up to four hours or more a day strapped to the driver's seat of the ZX-2.

Four hours which could have been spent writing.

Four hours which could have been spent working out.

Four hours which could have been spent pondering.

Four hours which could have been spent doing just about anything more productive than sitting in that fucking seat driving the car.

You can tell from that last sentence that I've really grown to resent Mad Cab Driver. What is worse is the fundamental disagreement about what that time in the car means to the relationship.

Trinity, I still believe this, is convinced that it is quality time, time spent together and she enjoys it.

Myself?

I fucking hate it. It is not quality time at all. It is the acid which will surely murder the relationship. It isn't helping that it has had a detrimental effect on my various careers and my health.

Fortunately, Trintiy now has an operational vehicle and an incentive (namely she knows how completely, totally and fully consumed with anger I will become if I have to engage in Mad Cab Driver for longer than a couple of weeks) to keep the vehicle fueled, insured and operational.

And as I get older, I find that I resent the disruptions of my work time even more than I did in my mid-thirties.

A different take, if not a positive one.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted April 14, 2012
Monster Yuppy - Nope. Just the wife. The kid is in school then.

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Monster Yuppy would have you know...

Posted April 14, 2012
Well we better be organising the welcoming dinner then Mr Boylan !

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Abigail would have you know...

Posted April 14, 2012
So you are definitely coming back over in October Paul? excellent, will make a point of getting there --last time I had a clash. bah:/

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Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted April 14, 2012
After meeting the Monster and his lovely wife, my better half said yes to my proposition she accompany me to Oz. She hates to fly, so I am striking while the iron is hot, so to speak, and I plan on it being October again - depending, of course, on whether I can arrange for any speaking gigs along the way.

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Lobes asserts...

Posted April 14, 2012
Between Facebook, Twitter and this blog you must have the entire population of Porlock virtually sitting in your drawing room. Amazing anything gets done at all.

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ConspiracyCat mumbles...

Posted April 14, 2012
Is birthday cake a distraction? If so, I hope Quokka will be very distracted today. Happy birthday Quokka!

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HAVOCK reckons...

Posted April 14, 2012
JESUS!..Happy Birfday Qiockka

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Rhino swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 14, 2012
OK ... not to change the subject or anything (And happy birthday Quokka) ... but now that AoV is out in the US when are we going to get a discussion thread?

Just wonderin'

R.

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Darth Greybeard swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 14, 2012
Yeah, Happy Birthday Quokka. May the cats not puke on your birthday cake. (No, I'm not being nasty - I've met those cats.)

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tqft ducks in to say...

Posted April 14, 2012
Happy Bday Q, may your presents be many and your wishes fulfilled.

Some days I get too busty at the office to do any actual work. Always seem to get more done when the boss and his boss are off at meetings.

Unfortunately I do not have the option of working at home for now. That may change if there is no money to renew my contract. Looking for work is a fulltime job. Distraction at home by myself when there is just endless lists of jobs to look at is rife.

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Mayhem's Mum has opinions thus...

Posted April 14, 2012
If one is too busty at work, tqft, might I suggest Playtex?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 15, 2012
Happy B Day, Q!

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Quokka reckons...

Posted April 15, 2012
Thanks folks.

There is cake and an excess of ferrero rocher chocolates to be had. Just watch out for those pots of boiling oil on the porch, and careful of the heads on the spikes by the front gate.

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DrYobbo has opinions thus...

Posted April 15, 2012
Re Therbs point... The answer, for those playing at home, is it's next to fucking impossible. Have done it for two years, but that's about my limit; off to Do Something Else in a month or two.

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damian mutters...

Posted April 15, 2012
I must admit the "Go off and do Something Else" theme is growing on the horizon for me, too, though arguably has been waxing and waning for a couple of years. It's ages since I started to really quite bitterly resent time spent at the office, doing roles I'm finding increasingly difficult to take seriously at all, and much of the time finding ridiculous and pointless, while stuff happens and time passes.

Yet the ridiculous and pointless roles always pay better than the ones that are unquestionably useful. Quite a lot better. I'm not sure if it's a specific sickness of western business culture or just me. In any case, my patience and willingness to have anything to do with that stuff at all is dwindling. Looking with tidally increasing (ebbs and flows, but some overall cyclic growth) seriousness at an orderly transition to some Other Way of proceeding.

Meh, don't mind me. Plodding blithely on.

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Respond to 'Distraction vs disruption'

Further thoughts on reading tech.

Posted April 10, 2012 by John Birmingham
One of the things I most look forward to with travel is the opportunity to get some serious long-haul reading done. I do most of my reading of an evening these days, because I simply cannot justify the hours during daylight. So I try to get a minimum of an hours reading for work done sometime after dinner, and maybe 10 or 15 min. worth of reading for pleasure before going to sleep.

The chance to sit on a plane and read for hours at a time while I'm still alert is a gift. With this in mind I took both my new iPad and my old Kindle 3 away to Hong Kong last week. Everything I have on the Kindle is also available on the pad, of course, in the Kindle app. But I also have a bunch of magazines and longform articles in Instapaper on my Masters slab.

The first thing I can confirm is the awesomeness of the new retina display on the iPad. Everything is crisper, sharper and insanely more vivid, and there is no better way of demonstrating this than by opening the same page of text on a new iPad and an old one for a direct compare and contrast. I did that this morning as an experiment, and oh my fucking God how I wish I hadn't. I don't think I'll ever be able to read anything on my old pad again. What had previously seemed to be so clear and beautiful now appears as though seen dimly through the sort of ‘Vaseline lens’ favored by Playboy photographer's in the late 1970s.

The second ‘discovery’ was more of a surprise, however. The superiority of the older Kindle under some circumstances remains unchallenged. Specifically, I found myself packing it in the small satchel I carried everywhere because it was so much lighter than the iPad and could be whipped out at a moments notice when needed. For instance when traveling on a train, or standing in yet another enormous shopping mall. I was very glad on a number of occasions to have access to a compact, lightweight E reader with an excellent screen. A screen which is still easier on the eyes during the day than a backlit retina display.

The Kindle is not the most robust piece of tech I own. I expect that in the next 12 to 18 months I'll have to replace it. But the bottom line is, as much as I hate Amazon, I will replace it because it remains a piece of kit for which I can still find regular if not daily use.

I'll be staying old school, though. I just don't see the point of messing up a touchscreen with my greasy finger marks.

64 Responses to ‘Further thoughts on reading tech.’

Orin mumbles...

Posted April 10, 2012
iPad III makes the iPad I and II look like cheap Albanian knock offs.

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melbomartin swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 10, 2012
The Kindle I got for Christmas converted me to e-readers and it isn't the newest version. Mine's got the keypad. It's just great for all the reasons you've mentioned. I can actually read on a crowded train in the afternoon because it's so easy to hold with one hand and just the fact of being able to have all my reading matter with me without the extra weight is brilliant.

I don't mind that I'm Amazon's slave now. It's cool. I can live with that.

I wish I didn't feel like I was taking valuable time away from something else by reading but I wonder if that is just a consequence of being older with more responsibilities. I never used to feel I had to justify spending an afternoon reading but it does feel that way sometimes.

I like reading before bed but tend to nod off while doing it. That's the only drawback.

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pitpat ducks in to say...

Posted April 10, 2012
Love the kindle, got a jacket with an LED to read in bed. But have been thinking about a kindle fire lately due to it's size and its good price point. Downside being it won't be as nice and shiny as the Ifad

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Therbs asserts...

Posted April 10, 2012
That helps me with a decision I was going to make, i.e. when I have dosh again and buy an iPad do I get a kindle as well for train/bus reading, given the size and weight of the Jobs slab. I reckon it couldn't hurt.

Its not a case of either/or. The pad will be bought.

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JG is gonna tell you...

Posted April 10, 2012
I love my paper books. Hard copy on bookshelves. I need to hold, caress, smell, cherish, and own my books. Still, it's good to read your comments, Burgerati, should I ever get an e-reader. Sounds like Kindle and the new iPad are both great e-readers in their own ways. Saw the new iPad in an Apple store recently. Very crisp screen.

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HAVOCK asserts...

Posted April 10, 2012
ROO those fkn flat screen fkn things are for fkn elietiest mother fkrs who happen to have forgoitten their god dam constituents...homies or....MATES..FKN BASTARDS!. Did ya hear anywahere hear where persons were asked did they wanna go to honk kong...NOOOOO!, fkn noses in the air gits forgot us...FKN AGAIN!. I reckon somebody need to build an APP thats gunna put a circle with a dot in the middle of the fkn things SO I CAN FKN SHOOT THEM!

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mrblenny reckons...

Posted April 10, 2012
Very timely thread as I was thinking about an e-reader but there has been something I cannot find an answer for despite repeated keyword variations on the ol'google box. On my friends kindle I could not find a way to make the screen display the pages at a 1:1 zoom level (ie make kindle display 1 "real" page worth of text on the display).

Can anyone tell me if this is possible, and if so is it readable? I only got to play with the kindle for a few minutes, but I found myself annoyed at having to turn the page 2-3x more often then in a normal book. It is basically the only thing stopping me at this stage as I feel like I am reading a kids story book or something with so little text on each page.

Thanks!

(eyeing off the $99 refurb kindles w/ old school keyboard at DSE and BigW)

PS: JB or someone else, why is Amazon evil? I know about some titles not being available in Australia but I have no remorse for acquiring said titles via *ahem* other means if my money is not good enough for them. Are they more closed than apples ecosystem?

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted April 10, 2012
Well, Havsy, we did speak about you doing circle work on my water bed..

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John Birmingham mutters...

Posted April 10, 2012
Why is Amazon evil? You got an hour or two?

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meeeee puts forth...

Posted April 10, 2012
"I just don’t see the point of messing up a touchscreen with my greasy finger marks."

You're the first ever guy to say that. Every time I tell the guys at work I hate touchscreens because they look so messy after five minutes of use, they're all like "Oh, I don't mind." The only ones telling me that yes, they do mind were fellow female co-workers. I started to think it was a girl thing...

As for e-readers... I still love hard copy books. I thought I was being unnecessarily conservative but after trying out e-books on my parents' Samsung Galaxy tab, I'm more than ever convinced to stay old old school. E-books are nice but the real deal is nicer. The only thing an e-reader is REALLY great for is fanfiction in EPUB format :D

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Durand mumbles...

Posted April 11, 2012
A different angle on the "Which Company Is Evil" debate...

In the last 15 years since the internet took off, people have stayed home more. As a result, there was less face to face interaction between people, and thus fewer opportunities to spread germs. Below a critical mass, you don't get epidemics. That's why epidemiologists love Mark Zuckerberg. He may end up saving more people than Jonas Salk.

On the other hand, by inventing the iPhone and putting the internet in our pockets, Steve Jobs has encouraged us all to get out and smell the fresh air. His greatest legacy may be as a Bringer Of Pestilence.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted April 11, 2012
That's why I am reluctant to upgrade to new tech: what I have serves me fine and I don't want to be disappointed in it.

Which means that when I do upgrade, like I did with the iPhone, it rocks my luddite world.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted April 11, 2012
I got a look at the iPad 3 a couple of weeks ago. It was everything I was looking for. Responsive, easy to use with crystal clear screen quality. A quantum leap above my previous experiences using store models. As a result, I started saving up for one. Hopefully by Fall I'll have my own.

I've got a Kindle 2 and I like it for certain things. However, it has not always been the most reliable (I had to request a replacement after the first one went belly up) and sometimes I get frustrated with the impossibly small buttons on it. It isn't like I have terribly thick fingers either.

However, it did accomplish the primary goal of converting me from skeptical about ereaders and books to a convert. I will say that I find that I read more by way of my iTouch using the Kindle app than I do on my actual Kindle.

Which probably won't matter to amazon in the end. They've got me into the habit of downloading media direct from the net, creating yet another addict for their revenue stream.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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HAVOCK reckons...

Posted April 11, 2012
heres a Q. Are any paperback books manufactured over seas, ie: Made in Thailand or china. I know the I LOVE DEM FKN PADS AND THE LIKES ARE!. But what about PAPER BOOKS!.

where are they made?. I'm fkn going back to protectionism i reckons

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted April 11, 2012
Off topic warning

1 Don gloves & mask before reading this comment, MANFLU!

2 Hooray hooray Santorum has dropped out of Republican race. If as predicted Obama beats Romney it may leave the door open for another anti-science loon to run next time, but good news is good news.

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Mayhem has opinions thus...

Posted April 11, 2012
Love my Kindle. I'd actually been thinking I wouldn't mind an upgrade, but your comment JB about greasy finger marks reminded me that I hate the fact that I'm constantly having to wipe the damn iPhone screen. Think I'll stick with the one I've got.

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Darth Greybeard would have you know...

Posted April 11, 2012
Still haven't made the jump to a "real" e-reader though the ancient tablet does the job for now. Tried, even repaired a Kindle, but can't enjoy it the same way. Books are flexible. You buy it, you can give it away, sell it, lend it to a friend who'll never return it and so on. If the power goes out you can read by a window or light a candle. If it's well made, it will still be around - in the same format - in a couple of hundred years and readable without translation software. We've been pruning back our books pretty heavily and all three kids have happily grabbed hundreds of them. I'd mention that we've cataloged them and the non-fiction are in Dewey order and fiction by author but I'd be afraid you'd think we were weird.

That is kind of good news NBob but most of the rest is bad. The Governor of Wisconsin has repealed their equal pay law because it was a threat to employers and because women don't have the same work ethic as men anyway. One state (Ohio? Idaho?) where over 17% of year 9-12 girls were raped has the strictest anti-abortion laws. More states are passing the transvaginal ultrasound laws (aka the We're Going to Stick This 10" Probe into You for No Medical Reason, You Slut law). Welcome to Abbott's Australia. Teaching of creationism will now begin.

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted April 11, 2012
Greybeard, the Kindle runs for a month on one charge. If your power is out for that long you got bigger problems than being unable to catch up with The Hunger Games. And yes, paper can last for hundreds of years, but mostly it doesn't, and most of us surely don't.

Mayhem, one of things I like about the old Kindle is not having to obscure the screen with my fingers for a page turn.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted April 11, 2012
@ JB, while sciematists are still unsure, it's believed he may already be into his 16th century. Only known older organism is a grove of geneticly identical but obscure cycads in a taswegian valley, you'll note they are not an Individual per se, but rather grow a new stem as the old one dies back. He just expands his girth.

@ Greybeard. I'm trying to be positive, IE we are less likely to see the most powerful armed forces ever at the control of a loony fundy in the immediate short term future.

But generally I concur, this overlaoded barbed-wire canoe aint going anywhere good.

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Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 11, 2012
whoa whoa back up a second , so the iPad has a Kindle app?? I know I'm very naive about tech readers etc ., but I was feeling frustrated about imminent purchase of iPad because I wanted to be able to download from Amazon. I'm pretty surprised by this news!

Is there any bad news? ;)

Aside from Amazon is *indeed* evil...

Durand, that's very good, I must quote your work. I have a prediction of my own: That if they ran the stats they'd discover that book groups generate a HUGE percentage of Kindle sales and will tip the balance between the exiostence and the non-existence :(( of bookstores. The reason being , one is compelled to gamble on so many titles in BGs that the economics dictate a cheap little Kindle is the best way to go. I'm developing that mentality myself and a year ago I'd have baulked. I resent paying $25 for a piece of crap like The Help but I'd download it on a Kindle. Multiply me by a zillion and ...

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Abigail mutters...

Posted April 11, 2012
Plus, this is where aesthetics enters the equation. JB, I think you ran a Geek blog on which books we'll all decide to keep buying in hard copy. I reckon you're right.

The easier it is to obtain books (thanks to online stores) the more books people will download and the more book groups and schools, hospitals etc will avail themselves of this. Which means the more finely grained our decisions will be about which books are trashy enough to read online and forget, and which we prize--they'll be hard copies treasures forever. Ish.

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Abigail reckons...

Posted April 11, 2012
Mayhem, you can get a piece of film to go over the screen. It's apparently a bit hard to apply it so buy two because people stuff up the first one (bubbles). ONly $16 a piece though.

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Tom Forest swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 11, 2012
@Abigail,

Yes, the iPad has a Kindle app... It's a bit restricted though. You can't buy stuff from the Amazon store through it like on the Kindle or the Android app.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted April 11, 2012
More important than the Republican Presidential Primaries is the fact that Angels of Vengeance is now out on the shelves here Stateside.

Why, I have my copy sitting next to me as I type.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Abigail swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 11, 2012
Thanks Tom, so if I were to buy an android phone, such as a galaxy, I could buy from amazon, unrestricted? are they affiliated with androids?

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Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted April 11, 2012
sorry for the vague queries -- this is probably the most basic stuff everyone knows

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mumbles...

Posted April 11, 2012
Not everyone. I am often confused.

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Stevo 73 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 11, 2012
I bought me a Kobo touch for Christmas. I am now officially converted.

Don't get me wrong, a good hard cover will always top an ebook, but since I moved house and have even less space now, I have started to move paperbacks from the physical collection to the e-collection. Including my copies of AOT books (bit rich on the price I must say JB!)

Before making this purchase I tried a few other e-readers and found the Kobo touch to be the most responsive of the lot. It loaded pretty damn fast and it does go about a month between charging. My wife has a Samsung tablet which is pretty, but the reading apps just suck, so all in all happy with Mr Kobo

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damian is gonna tell you...

Posted April 11, 2012
Abi: There are Kindle apps for both iOS (Apple products) and Android. You can't buy books directly from the app. Instead, in your Amazon web profile, you register your various devices. When purchasing, you can specify which device to send it to. No matter which you choose at that point, later, in the app you browse to "archived" items (ie, items which are not currently physically on the device) and simply select a book to download it. The Amazon "whispersync" feature will automatically transfer a record of where you are up to, so when you open a book it opens to the last page you had open on any device.

As noted, there are Kindle apps for Android devices so yes you could read any title you've bought as Kindle edition from Amazon on a Samsung phone. Amazon's "Kindle Fire" device is an Android tablet, but I believe that's the only Amazon branded Android product to date (ie, no Amazon phones).

Most of my reading is done on my current iPhone (aka iPr0n). I use the hardware Kindle only really at home and in daylight or a well lit room. I have the case with the built-in light for the Kindle, but tend not to use the light very much: if the lights are out usually it's for a reason. I'm planning to replace the iPhone with a Samsung Android phone (the "Galaxy Note") in the next few weeks, and I expect my usage pattern to be the same only more so (somewhat bigger screen, not quite so high resolution as the iPad3 but quite high, and using OLED technology that means it does not require a backlight - something that for me is a plus).

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MarkM puts forth...

Posted April 11, 2012
My Kindle never leaves my side and, in the six or so months I've had it, I've only charged it three times. If I could get a solar charger for it, I'd be even happier. To boot, it makes the idea of downsizing very achievable.

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BruceGaryNigelson is gonna tell you...

Posted April 11, 2012
Righto - had a fiddle with a Kindle last week - the wi-fi one (the cheapie) - how do I download stuff onto it? Download onto a stick then put it into the Kindle thingie?

Yes - it would be fair to say that I am not technically minded. It is hard enough to put wordy stuff into this blog and come back later for responses to my inane questions.

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BruceGaryNigelson reckons...

Posted April 11, 2012
further inanity - can i load non-Amazon stuff onto a Kindle?

Be gentle with your responses. I cry easily at tech.

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted April 11, 2012
fkn hell, this comment was REJECTED at the age today on a VLINE PIECE. FKN MUPPETS

"Well it's taken the press long enough to really work this one out. If you go back and look at other media such as twitter you will notice that people have been screaming blue murder about V Line for a LONG BLOODY TIME. The Ballart line is just as bad to be honest, fast trains that you have to stand up in or sit on the floor. These arrive at Bacchus Marsh station already near to capacity, the resulting additions at B <Marsh is too much. The look at the cancellations and what takes place on FRIDAYS. YOU WILL NOTICE A PATTERN TRUST ME. I'd shoot the lot of the management idiots.Biggest bunch of over managed and under worked retards."

Its about as fucking MILD as you can get! FFSAKES

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Furious E. asserts...

Posted April 11, 2012
Damo, Abi: You can, in fact, buy directly from the Android kindle app. So despite Birmo's love of all things i-, it's the Android that lets me sling a few cents his way no matter where I am... mind you, so does my old kindle... and the free worldwide 3G on it ain't too shabby neither.

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 11, 2012
sorry for going OT..BUT THEY ARE DEATHSTAR ARSE HATS!

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Legless has opinions thus...

Posted April 11, 2012
I've the best of all worlds. A proper library - a room dedicated to books and only books with big comfy chairs. And lots and lots of Kindle-enabled hardware. Android, IPad, PC and MAC OSX.

I've also two Kindle Amazon accounts. One, registered to a florist somewhere in California and my standard Oz Amazon account. There's a method to my madness. I simply refuse to pay any more than our Colonial Cousins for my ebooks. So I buy them from my US account, rip the DRM from them, and transfer them to my various kindles.

I do have another odd quirk though. Textbooks. I go through a lot of textbooks on various aspects of computing and I find that Kindle textbooks just don't cut it for me. I have to have physical books. You can't stick post-it notes on pages with a Kindle. (well, you can add notes but it;s just not the same as good old post-it notes....) Fiction is great on the Kindle but textbooks need to be physical.

Cheers

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Furious E. mumbles...

Posted April 11, 2012
Bruce: you can download directly from the Kindle, or from a PC via usb cable. You also get a free Kindle email address, and you can send docs to it, and they will be convereted to the right format and downloaded automatically onto the Kindle... that works for .doc or .pdf files, but not sure about other e-book formats.

Unfortunately for us non i-lovers, these docs are only available on the Kindle itself, not on the android app.

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Legless reckons...

Posted April 11, 2012
@BruceGaryNigelson

Yes. Yes you can. I buy a lot of books from Baen books and load them onto my Kindle. Easy as pie. Connect with USB cable and copy files over to your kindle directory.

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BruceGaryNigelson mutters...

Posted April 11, 2012
Cheers Furious and Legless - have been offered one for $50 used twice - think I will grab it - space issues similiar to a few people above.

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damian would have you know...

Posted April 11, 2012
Ah yeah. Apple introduced that whole "If you sell stuff through an app you have to give us a cut" rule, so I guess Amazon only removed the "buy stuff from the app" feature from the iOS version. Makes sense.

Of course you can simply hop onto the Kindle store via Safari on the same iPr0n. I've certainly bought more than one book that way, being too lazy to get up and get a computer. First world problems, eh?

BGN: you should be able to find all the information you can use without too much trouble on the Amazon site. Including a list of file formats readable on the Kindle. Certainly Project Gutenberg's plain text files are readable to an extent, though they also seem to have a range of e-reader formats too these days which may make things easier (ie, not having to navigate past the legals section). The old-school Kindle has an "experimental" web browser on board, which is up to grabbing PG's content. But download to PC and transfer via USB works.

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Abigail asserts...

Posted April 11, 2012
I can't quite believe this but I actually understood what you said , guys.

Thanks Damian , brilliant. Yep. probably getting the same phone you're getting! In fact it was probably something you explained about the Galaxy weeks ago that convinced me.

Legless, BGN, I'm very surprised to learn you can load non-Amazon onto a Kindle, I thought it was a closed system. A few people I know don't know this; will spread the word.

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Legless would have you know...

Posted April 11, 2012
Another way to get content is to convert from other formats to mobi which the kindle happily reads. The open source Calibre program is the man for the job. Can convert almost anything to anything.

I just wish there was an easy way to scan my hard-copy books into the Kindle. I've got the software to do it but it's a tedious, time-consuming job. Eventually, someone will come up with a machine to do it but I don't think it'll be cheap. A book-scanner would need to be capable of turning the page, scanning, OCR and rinse and repeat.

Cheers

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Mayhem asserts...

Posted April 11, 2012
Good point JB, and you can turn the page with either hand as well :)

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Stevo 73 would have you know...

Posted April 11, 2012
Oh agree 100% with calibre, it is the file conversion bomb and it will sync with your e-reader product automatically.

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damian would have you know...

Posted April 11, 2012
The 3D printer fans think you'll be able to download a CAD file for such a machine one day, Legless. I'm dubious. I do want to build some DIY "subtractive" CNC kit when I get the workshop in a fit state, but that's a whole other story.

There are smartphone apps for doing that though... doesn't make scanning a complete book not tedious, but at least it would be slightly less tedious than "pick up book, turn page, invert on flatbed, run scan, repeat". They auto-detect edges and auto-adjust for perspective.

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Darth Greybeard would have you know...

Posted April 11, 2012
There's always this:

http://www.gizmag.com/book-saver-scanner-from-ion-unveiled/17532/

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damian ducks in to say...

Posted April 11, 2012
That looks pretty nifty. But as one commenter said, for $150 I want it to turn the pages too. Of course, it's the page-turning that is hard to automate. Not impossible, but has some unique problems. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SBF51g3X7I for a relatively successful looking example.

Abi: the phone you're considering is probably the Galaxy S-II. The Note is very similar, but larger - many say too large. I think the extra size will work for me, but it's not for everyone. Suggest handling one of the plastic lookalikes in a phone shop to gauge size.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted April 11, 2012
I saw a lot of the big arse Galaxy's in Hong Kong. After the iPwn4 (one phone to rule them all!) they seemed the next most popular. Looked like a good ereading option for slabs o' text. Not so much for mags.

But so fucking big!

People looked weird using them. Especially little chinese girls.

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Abigail asserts...

Posted April 11, 2012
Again, thx, Damian: trying them on for size tomorrow so that's good intelligence.

Yes, JB, those little Chinese girls are little. I can hardly imagine one of those slabs in their paws.

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damian puts forth...

Posted April 11, 2012
This one looks pretty interesting. Quite a bit of work to build, but an encouraging amount of madness in the design. I'm not sure it's clear from the video, but there obviously must be two cameras.

http://diybookscanner.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1180&start=42

As for the Note: I'm there there are people for whom "you might look weird" is a consideration. Pshaw, I say. Agree about mags, but I don't do so much of that now (and it's gotta be better than trying on a iPhone screen). More real-estate can only be a good thing.

I'm actually very keen to play with the pressure-sensitive Wacom style pen/stylus these things (and the just released 10.1" version) come with. Ye iFondlers can finger-paint all ye like...

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ConspiracyCat is gonna tell you...

Posted April 12, 2012
@ JB: If you want a slab for magazines, you'll have to wait a few months.

http://www.news.com.au/technology/tablets/sonys-instant-browsing-s1-and-s2-tablets-ones-a-magazine-ones-a-book/story-fn6vigfp-1226045381006

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted April 12, 2012
Sony? Those guys still hangin' around?

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Tom Forest puts forth...

Posted April 12, 2012
Abigail said:

Thanks Tom, so if I were to buy an android phone, such as a galaxy, I could buy from amazon, unrestricted? are they affiliated with androids?

I think so, yes. I have the 3rd gen Kindle (the one with the keyboard) and the original 7" Galaxy Tab and can purchase Amazon books through both of them. Stuff I buy on one also shows up on the other and they stay in synch (I can carry on reading on one device where I left off on the other).

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Tom Forest is gonna tell you...

Posted April 12, 2012
BruceGaryNigelson said:

Righto – had a fiddle with a Kindle last week – the wi-fi one (the cheapie) – how do I download stuff onto it?

You can buy books through the device or through the website and they download via Wifi to the Kindle.

further inanity – can i load non-Amazon stuff onto a Kindle?

Yes, the Kindle acts as USB storage when plugged into a computer and you drag and drop files into it. I've got books from Baen onto it that way. It will read plain text and pdf files also. Some people put out non DRM'd files in Kindle format. The only downside is that it doesn't support epub.

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BruceGaryNigelson asserts...

Posted April 12, 2012
Thanks Mr Forest Sir. One last possibly stupid question - I don't have wifi in my unit - does it still somehow get to the Kindle?? If it does, I am going to faint with tech awe.

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damian mumbles...

Posted April 12, 2012
BGN: Two ways are possible. If you get the 3G-supporting model, it Just Happens. Amazon fund the connectivity, it is effectively free 3G for the ebook data. If not, you would need to connect the Kindle via USB to a PC. Not sure about how Amazon content works with the latter.

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BruceGaryNigelson asserts...

Posted April 12, 2012
Thanks again - that wifi thing is the awesome.

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Abigail is gonna tell you...

Posted April 13, 2012
anyway, so I got myself a HTC One X after all that. Just now. Had a good plan and good features; could see the screen better with my bad close up vision and distance vision than the galaxy screen. Mentioning that apropos of nothing other than , if you wear glasses and are tossing up about androids, maybe the screen size and lighting is a big consideration, when all is said and done.

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damian mumbles...

Posted April 14, 2012
I'd be stunned if you can't simply adjust the size of any text. But more screen is what you need for that to hold over all cases.

Handled a dummy One X last night and it's huge, almost as big as the Note (which was displayed next to it). I think it's a good choice - should be fast, the only downside in reviews I see would be battery life. Not that big a deal if you keep extra chargers around.

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Abigail would have you know...

Posted April 14, 2012
Gee Damian, the reviews you saw couldn't be more right about charge. *Kryptonite Batteries reg trademark*

Yes it's sizable isn't it? . Uhh, I didn't know you could reduce text size on an Android, but shhh... that can be our secret. There was no significant reason, aside from my perception of screen-read/text read , why I didn't choose the Galaxy but I'd be keen to know what you think of the Note and its advantages--size -wise

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Abigail would have you know...

Posted April 14, 2012
sorry, I meant increase text size, of course.

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Abigail reckons...

Posted April 14, 2012
..one reason I'd be curious if you do choose Note , is because my HTC is a standard 24 month plan and maybe a Note next go round if it's good for storing writing, somehow (the name suggests...) Mind you, 24 months = great jumps in tech I guess.

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Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted April 14, 2012
oops one more, I forgot to say--Yeah the HTC One X is fast. Is very intuitive.

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damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 14, 2012
Oh I decided to get a Note last November when it was released in Korea and the reviews started coming out. Existing contract didn't run out till now, so figured waiting couldn't hurt and competitors may have arisen. The one you got is probably the closest, and yanno is also the fastest phone available now (same CPU as the Asus Transformer tablet we were talking about here a few weeks ago).

Yes, the phones around in 2 years will make all these look a bit tired :)

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Respond to 'Further thoughts on reading tech.'

Workflow

Posted March 27, 2012 by John Birmingham
I took an hour out of my day to do some pondering of my work habits yesterday, what hardcharging management consultants seem to call ‘workflow’ these days. I do this once or twice a year to make sure I'm not slipping into bad habits, which is very easy to do when you work for yourself.

I had further motivation because of the amount of book writing work piling up in front of me in both the short and medium term. Combine that with my feeling that most of my media-based income streams will start to dry up over the next 5 years as Google completes the work of eating the business model, and it was time to do some thinking and planning.

Unlike Orin I have some faith in the future of books, although I accept the future of the industry is going to look very, very different from even the recent past. With this in mind I've been dialing back my media commitments while ramping up my publishing ones. Right now I have commissions for 8 titles, some hardback, some paperback some purely electronic. Mostly fiction, but some nonfiction. This is enough to keep me busy for a while. By the time I've written up all of these contracts the industry will have sorted itself out, or died screaming in a ditch.

My personal Pepsi challenge yesterday was to reformat my work week to create more focused time for book writing, while still leaving enough space in the schedule for blogs and a declining number of feature articles. I had a couple of practical considerations to factor in as well.

Thomas is already traveling backwards and forwards across the city to school. Anna will be doing so next year. I had originally thought this might free up more time at the end of the day, maybe an hour or so while they were in transit. I've come to understand this is not the case. Most afternoons are given over to a patchwork arrangement of ferrying kids to or picking them up from various activities. What I gain in 30 minutes here, I'll lose in an hour or so's driving there.

It doesn't mean I have no useful time after 3 o'clock in the afternoon, just that it won't be sitdown time, when I can apply a concentrated effort to a manuscript. More likely this is when blogs will get written, and features researched. Often on-the-fly, on my iPad.

The other practical consideration is kind of embarrassing. Old JB is getting… well, I'm getting on a bit. My ability to punch out 3 or 4 hours writing of an evening is pretty much at an end. I have to dips me lid to Orin on that one. He wins.

It doesn't mean my evenings are completely unproductive however. I've run a bit of a trial over the last week and found I'm still able to read and take notes on quite dense texts of an evening. So that's what I'll be doing at least 2 or 3 nights a week, when I'm not at jujitsu or committed to some other parental engagement.

There were a couple of other tweaks and adjustments I made to my day, but the main outstanding one is a five-minute review at the start and the end of each day, just to keep track of my various deadlines. One of the problems with having so many of the things is that they can very easily slip to the back of your mind if you don't constantly attend to them.

With that in mind I turned to a couple of apps on my phone and my pad to help out. Wunderlist I may have mentioned before. It's a very nice, simple to-do app that syncs across my various, fruit flavored computational machines. I use it for my lowest level of organization. What do I have on today?

One level up I'm using Clear on my iPhone to wrangle all of my commitments and deadlines into a coherent whole, so that one off restaurant reviews, and three book deals, can all be integrated into the same commitment matrix.

Finally, I loaded Timescale onto my pad because it's a really lovely, brutally simple application that works a bit like a whiteboard. Into timescale I load all of my major medium and long-term commitments and it gives me a somewhat scary looking visual representation of how much time I have left on each of them. I only need to check it once a week.

My actual working day is still divided up into 25 minute pomodori. At least between 9 AM and 3 PM, which are the only hours I have to myself.

So why am I wasting one precious little tomato posting this blog entry? Well, today has been a bit of a write-off because of an unusual combo of family commitments, and I found myself sitting in the car with 15 minutes to kill before going to pick up Thomas from rugby training. I thought it might help me to put down some thoughts about everything I had worked out yesterday.

And it might be interesting to those of you who live in the real world to see how those of us who don't, organize our work day in the absence of timesheets and bosses.

53 Responses to ‘Workflow’

WarDog swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 27, 2012
OK, I gotta ask, what's "or died screening in a ditch" when it's at home?

Is it a Sirism?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted March 27, 2012
Like you, I have no boss and I have no time sheets (other than what I use to bill clients). And I, too, am "getting on," so I can predict with reasonable certainty that, when your children go off to Uni, you will include naps in your daily routine. I do, and it really is magnificent. A good hour (or two) nap in the mid to late afternoon can revitalize and engender great productivity through the rest of the day and into the evening.

You have much to look forward to.

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Naut has opinions thus...

Posted March 27, 2012
Workflow in my industry is usually rules within a process. So a purchase request can be raised and then goes through an approval workflow.

You then have business processes that may include 1 or more workflows.

What you have described is basic time, resource and demand management. I say basic, but in my experience it is the hardest thing to manage as it requires great estimating skills which require experience and it is impossible to anticipate all the interruptions.

I have often wondered how close managing the lifecycle of a book is to the basic principals of project management and if you took a formal project management approach to writing a book would it help?

Books have stages, deadlines and milestones like a project but I wonder if the formality of a project could stifle the creative process?

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted March 27, 2012
easy..you drink piss all day, faff the hell about and generally do fk all!

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John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted March 27, 2012
Nah, not Siri. Dragon.

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted March 27, 2012
Naut, I have often wondered that about project management training too. I've never bothered taking a writing course, but I once did a small business course on stock control that I've found hugely helpful ever since.

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jp asserts...

Posted March 27, 2012
Ye gods, so organised JB. I like to think that in agreeance to Naut's notion of stifling creativity, I'm a bit lax...

Closest I get to getting org'd is using iCal, which obviously syncs to the phone. All I do 24/7 is novel writing, so I guess that's easier to manage (was a book a year...of, those were the days, now a bit more than that), plus there's no kids of my own to factor in. For the cal, I put in there all the talks I have to give, trips and tours, publication dates, the deadlines, and sometimes (although you can never really put a day... or exact $ figure... on these things) pay days from contacts and royalties etc.

I break down the big thrillers, knowing it's a month of research and planning, and around 10 weeks to do a decent draft. Couple weeks to kick it around, then hand in. Then there's a month or so of editing... all time frames sounding pretty vague, huh.

At the mo I'm working on a 13 book series for Scholastic. Yes, sounds a lot, but they're 35k words each, so ten easy days of ATS, then hand in and get the agents to inv for delivery adv. Nice. Of course, it's never 10 days, as life gets in the way, and random media and PR stuff, along with a school or library talk on average once per week - all that gets in the way.

My one hard and fast rule is that I write every day. Even, if it's xmas or something, just a couple hours of note-making. Gotta be done.

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sibeen has opinions thus...

Posted March 27, 2012
include naps in your daily routine

Oh, sweet Jaysus; how I wish.

I too am a poor homebound slob who works for himself and the thought of an afternoon siesta sends shivers of joy up my spine. Unfortunately I'm also in JB's predicament of having children still at primary school and I'm therefore stuck with the school drop off, pick up, swimming-tennis-piano lessons et al. So for the moment that will all remain a far distant dream *sob*.

As for work habits, what are they?

As a self employed engineer it's mostly feast or famine. When the work comes in you work like a navvy and it's not uncommon to find me grinding away on drawings and calculations at midnight, and be hitting the computer again at 7:30 am, whilst yelling at the sprogs to get ready for school, quickly running in to make their lunch for the day and then doing the 3 minutes it takes me to get them across the busy road so that they can walk the rest of the way to school.

Of course the next month may be completely different. Bugger all work coming in so I can spend an inordinate amount of time scratching my nuts, surfing the web and occasionally getting a little motivated and doing some professional development - basically plowing through old text books to try to put back into my brain what years of dedicated drinking has taken out.

The one saving grace is that if I'm at my computer, even faffing about, SWMBO thinks that I'm working - or at least I believe she thinks that :)

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Bunyip swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 27, 2012
I'm in the process of ditching my employer of 12 years, and going into practice myself. Am doing a small business course so I've got a lid on the admin requirements.

Might trawl the Android apps store for some project management apps but. They sound like a winner. Especially as I am thinking of using some people I know as subcontractors to round out the gaps in my skill base (previously fulfilled by my former colleagues). So having a tighter grip on time spent and accrued costs to project sounds like a necessity.

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Bunyip puts forth...

Posted March 27, 2012
Afternoon naps: Where the fuck is the soft keyboard? We need one now...

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Orin ducks in to say...

Posted March 27, 2012
The books I write are managed according to a project managment schedule by my editors - usually because there are a lot of other people in the chain (content editors, technical editors, art editors, legal, localization ...) so content has to be submitted and reviewed constantly. Everything is done on a per-chapter basis. If you can't hit those deadlines on a reliable basis, you're less likely to be invited back to write another book.

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Naut would have you know...

Posted March 27, 2012
JB and JP, I reckon you guys already apply many project management principals to the way you write.

Project Stages:

Initiation - The thing you send to publishers/agents to convince them to give you an advance (I have forgotten what it's called).

Planning/design - Story boards, whiteboard, post-it notes on the wall, character bios, etc.

Execution - Writing the bastard

Monitoring & Controlling - Initial edits

Closure - Final edit, cover designs and getting your hands on the hovercraft cash

It just seems to fit.

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Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 27, 2012
In terms of the future of books - The iPad 3's resolution is another big nail in the coffin of publishing.

Until the more recent Kindles, the ebook experience hasn't been good enough to make a person give up paper. When the first iPod was released in 2001, were you able to imagine that 10 years later it would almost be impossible to buy a "discman" or "walkman"? Books are like cassettes and CDs - same "product" - different medium (and like music you'll always have your vinyl/dead tree die hards). Physical books will become a specialist market. Not tomorrow - but by 2020? Sure.

The thing that will kill publishing is "one click" piracy. In the past pirating stuff required some basic level of technical knowledge. You had to know how to log into an FTP site, or decode a USENET binary, or download and run Napster. Today the piracy experience has been optimized to the point where it is more straighforward than the purchase experience (because when you purchase something you have to perform a checkout, something you don't have to do with piracy).

To find a pirated work today is a matter of typing the name of the thing that you want into Google. You click on it (and it will be one of the top results) and you get it. Now that you have the search engine built into the ereader, it's even easier.

The other difference is that piracy is socially normalized. People still argue that piracy isn't harmful to creators. That may have been true back when you had to know something to be a pirate (which limited the percentage of people who could do it) - but now that Grandma knows how to use magnet links, piracy is something that everyone can do. And because everyone has been convinced that no one is getting hurt - almost everyone does it. Sure it used to be "pirates were hardcore people that wouldn't have paid anyway" - but that's a very 90's understanding of who was pirating.

Today's pirate is "Joe Average". He's been told that no one is getting hurt - and if no one is getting hurt, why should he pay for something when that money could be spent on something else a little more "necessary" than entertainment?

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_QMuDihPPyPA/S8RRnYqCCzI/AAAAAAAAMtU/X3Bfvq1Wkg4/s1600/tom.jpg

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abi puts forth...

Posted March 27, 2012
You were sitting on 13 comments, jb. Had to change that.

I wish I knew what and where that "real world" resided. Then again, nah...

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abi puts forth...

Posted March 27, 2012
I find that piracy argument , that it's "not harmful", arrogant and stupid because on one hand we all applaud when a writer says "all writers should get paid for their published work (ie JB, your sound reasoning on that topic) yet on the other we're saying "we shouldn't have to pay to access arts-based work" ? They'd never fly that one in the sciences.

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted March 27, 2012
I'm coming to the conclusion that there will always be piracy, and it will always cost me, personally and directly, some unknowable amount of money each year. But people, normal people, are getting used to the idea of paying for content and as long as you offer them the chance to do so, at a low price via convenient channels, enough will pay up to make it worth while. At least for shorter length books that can be churned out in a couple of weeks. The critical points are convenience and price. When an ebook launches it has to do so everywhere, simultaneously, at a price low enough that the punter thinks they're not being ripped off. (Somewhere between $4-$7). That may be impossible for current publishing houses to pull off with their current cost structure, but it's not impossible using other structures.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted March 27, 2012
JP: "For the cal, I put in there all the talks I have to give, trips and tours, publication dates, the deadlines, and sometimes (although you can never really put a day… or exact $ figure… on these things) pay days from contacts and royalties etc. "

Oh yeah, always exciting just before you're about to fly out for a week or so overseas.

On which tangent, JP and Orin, the US tax laws have changed and unless you've filled in the right forms you'll a 5% witholding tax on any income you raise there. Just thought you should know. Change went thru last week.

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Abe Frellman has opinions thus...

Posted March 27, 2012
On the bright side, at an exchange rate of 1.05, it won't feel like you're paying much US withholding tax! ;)

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Blarkon would have you know...

Posted March 27, 2012
That's where I think the horse has bolted. Buying stuff on iTunes is simple and straightforward, but a substantial number of people torrent albums and videos because piracy is so optimized these days.

Whether you pay for it has become "optional".

There is a generation that have simply grown up not paying for media. This is where the ground has shifted. Those of us that grew up having to buying the majority of our music and videos (because dubbed copies were inferior) feel differently about this than the millenials that grew up always having this stuff for free on tap.

It's a "genie/bottle" situation. If you've grown up believing no one is getting hurt by piracy - what rational reason would you have to pay for media? Surely donating five bucks to a charity is a better use of money than purchasing media *if no one is getting hurt*.

Interestingly Cory Doctorow (who is the evangelist for "piracy doesn't matter / DRM is evil") did a little experiment with a book called "With a little help from my friends". He offered limited edition signed copies, print on domand, and a whole lot of other options. He also offered "you can download this for free".

The results are here: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/columns-and-blogs/cory-doctorow/article/49010-with-a-little-help-now-at-your-library.html

Result - income was 17K. Now Doctorow has a massive social media presence. He's been nominated for the Hugo. Has 230K twitter followers.

When it came down to it though - even when he made it dead simple for people to choose to buy his book (many options, right through to a special limited author edition copy selling for 100 bucks) - a Hugo award nominated author who is regularly quoted by people like William Gibson earned 17K.

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Bunyip has opinions thus...

Posted March 27, 2012
JB & Blarkon, how much do the ePulp books over at Baen make for their authors? Is that a better publishing model? Do they have cheaper overheads than mainstream publishing houses?

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jp mumbles...

Posted March 27, 2012
Yep, had my IRS fun day last week... but will check in with the Suits to make sure it's all correct.

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Mc KinneyTexasSenatorTeaserPony has opinions thus...

Posted March 27, 2012
Old JB is getting… well, I’m getting on a bit. My ability to punch out 3 or 4 hours writing of an evening is pretty much at an end.

This is part of it. I'm guessing you still take on too much work. Do you use a calendar, in which you input your mandatory stuff, kid rustling and the like? If you know on Sunday what your week looks like in terms of set obligations, you can fill in with work. I sense there is a time of day when you are at your best. Make that the inviolate time and schedule any other non-mandatory stuff around that. Proof read in the evening. Limit your commitments. Put your work outs on the calendar same as kid rustling. Turn off your phone and don't take emails during your peak work time. It's like putting a 'do not disturb' sign on your door. Write more books for me to read.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted March 28, 2012
Ah, the quagmire of Mad Cab Driver. Oh, how I know it well. So many hours of my life have been lost strapped to a fucking car while I ferry Trinity around during the various vehicle failures of the last two years. I can't even begin to calculate the lost productivity, the effects on my physical and mental health plus the wear and tear on the relationship.

A word of advice?

Teach them to drive as soon as it is legal to do so, buy them a second rate, reasonably priced, reliable (emphasis on "reliable" as my father liked to fuck me with POS vehicles as a character building exercise) vehicle and have done with it.

Still, that is probably five years on, I am guessing. You'll have to mind Mad Cab Driver though. It is a soul killer.

I agree with the notion of naps but perhaps more important is figuring out at exactly which times of the day you feel like you are at your writing peak. For me, it has always been either in the mornings between seven to eleven in the morning and evenings from nine pm to just after midnight. Sadly for me, those blocks are often filled with, "something else," now that I am not a security guard.

For less optimal writing times, which for me tend to be the afternoons or early evening, I find it best to edit what I have.

That said, I don't have eight book titles racked up ahead of me and I can afford to be as leisurely as I want about my writing effort for the moment.

In so far as workflow management, I've found two things which are helpful. One is a very simple To Do List. Each day I go down to my office in the reclaimed garage and write it out on the dry eraseboard next to my desk. As I go through the day, I knock off the taskings.

The other thing, particularly with fiction projects, is to maintain an internal story journal. Some things, for better or worse, can't be blogged about or discussed with anyone else. Non-writers won't get it and your fellow writers may well muck things up for you. I find a few hundred words in the story journal when I am stuck usually gets me unstuck, solves problems with various projects and allows me to move forward.

In fact, I am growing increasingly convinced that my lack of progress as a writer is down to the simple fact that I've not had the time to work on the internal story journals for any given project. They are vital, at least for me.

Lastly, no matter how busy one gets, I think a creative mind needs time to just let the wheels idle and ponder if for no other reason than to maintain your sanity.

Totally different topic, I got 600 yards of swimming in at a new, very quiet and cheap swimming pool this morning.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Paul Nicholas Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted March 28, 2012
I'm not sure I would want to swim in a "cheap" swimming pool.

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted March 28, 2012
I forget that we have a surplus of barristers around this burger joint.

:)

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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abi is gonna tell you...

Posted March 28, 2012
blarkon/ jb, anyone else re publishing--yes, very interesting and true; agree with both.

Just wonder if the publishing interests will more frequently use this as leverage for a 'non pay for junior writers/ academics ...others who "do it for the love"' mentality. I already know of one or two which receive sponsorship yet justify their "no $$$" ethos based on the above--an academic friend of mine has written a few articles for them (Politics) and has now said, fuck it; I don't sit around making this stuff up off the top of my head; I've actually got to research it all . Anyway, don't want to flog as dead horse , just ...that's my thinking: market place / free enterprise crap intruding on arts.

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Robert puts forth...

Posted March 28, 2012
Slowing down in the evening had me worried about losing mental capacity too, so I readjusted my schedule to think earlier in the day, and compressed my game-playing and drinking hours into those diminished evening hours.

Now I think great thoughts before noon, take action on them mid-day, and kick alien butt after walking the dog in the evening.

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HAVOCK asserts...

Posted March 28, 2012
OMG, JB's PM plan, its CP ( critical path ) will most likely be faffing!..

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Orin mutters...

Posted March 28, 2012
Bunyip - re Baen - I'm not sure that anyone has published any figures. When they came up with the idea of a free library, reading on a computer was a sub-optimal experience. With the new e-readers it's a better experience.

For example:

I've bought a couple of books - like the recent Al Reynolds, Paul McCauley, and Pratchett in both formats and found myself choosing to read on the kindle rather than the DTF that sit on the shelf (it was a bit of an experiment in "what do I prefer" with the answer being "ereader".

When Baen developed the free library - it worked as a teaser because reading in ebook was a rubbish experience. You went and purchased DTF because you wanted to read the book, you just didn't want to do it on an e-reader.

Now that the ereaders are awesome and reading in that format is preferable to reading in DTF, you aren't so much providing a teaser as giving away the whole product.

We'll buy books because we want to keep them - but as everyone who buys a lot of books already knows - the books we want to keep is only a small number of the books we buy. My new policy is that I'll only buy very specific authors in DTF and everyone else in ebook. But after my experiment, I'm even thinking of revising that. Do I really need a copy of something on my shelf for decorative purposes if I've got it on my kindle?

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damian reckons...

Posted March 28, 2012
I read a whole lot of stuff from the Baen free library back when they first set it on on a Palm device - and it was very much as good an experience as the reading I do on the iPhone Kindle app now. If Baen had figured out a charging model for those e-editions, I'd almost certainly have paid, though I may not have read so many. Baen do claim that sales for printed books increased for those that were in the free library.

Doctorow is an interesting example: he's a well known online presence, but would I buy a book by him? Probably not, and the choice around that doesn't really reflect the choice I'd make regarding an author whose book I'd buy anyway.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted March 28, 2012
I've read novels and whatnot on ereaders as well. That said, for every positive experience I've had with my kindle, I can point to times when I've had to wait until I got something sorted out or resort to using the app on my iPod touch.

On the other hand, the physical book doesn't require charging and no one is likely to steal it for dope money. My book purchase budget, thus, is split about half and half between physical books and ebooks. Each have their strengths and weaknesses but I doubt the actual book is going away anytime soon. It is too useful, too durable and too reliable as opposed to ebooks which are incredibly fickle even today.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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damian is gonna tell you...

Posted March 28, 2012
On and on "workflow": what Naut said. It typically refers to the "flow" of work between different people in a business process (such as a leave approval process, for instance, which involves the person, their line manager, possibly the division's HR assistant, and people in HR and payroll). Time and/or project management is different (though specific changes to workflows can be a project outcome).

Like Naut said, there's probably a lot of correlation between project management and writing a novel. It could be an interesting exercise to map some activities and processes onto a formal project management model. In Queensland, there's a whole of government (WoG) mandate to use PRINCE2 -- a British methodology. I'd nudge in that direction if you were wanting to take a course. The alternative is the (mostly) American Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), which isn't a methodology as such. I can talk about PRINCE2 if you like.

"Managing a Stage Boundary" seems to be the process that comes up the most...

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted March 28, 2012
You writers are addicted crazies. Yeah I know you have to feed that addiction but FFS where's beer o'clock in all that project/time management scheduling? And where do you fit in fkn nana paddle pops?

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damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 28, 2012
Oh and what Murph said too. I buy both printed books and ebooks, and split my book buying budget about 50/50 between them. The 50% on ebooks does go further though, and the number I carry around casually in my pocket (iPhone Kindle app) would require a new set of shelves if I were to get them all in printed form.

I mean, assuming the various things life has brought up lately don't force a revision of the owning-a-big-house-in-the-suburbs lifestyle choice, I'll probably be building more shelves anyway. But still :)

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Murphy reckons...

Posted March 28, 2012
Damian, I've got my father's basement at my disposal. Plenty of room to convert every last wall into a bookshelf.

I've even got a set of Encyclopedia Britannicas which have proven to be very useful over the course of time. Shame they won't be printing any more additions after this year.

One thing I do like and a lot of textbooks have this feature is an internet augmentation. The new lifeguard textbook I have features an online component which includes demonstration videos that often clarify what I'm trying to refresh my memory on. It would be cool and perhaps this is the future, if fiction works had similar tie ins.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Paul Nicholas Boylan puts forth...

Posted March 28, 2012
I've never bought an ebook. But that will change when AOT4 is released (I am hoping it is soon).

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted March 28, 2012
Get a Kindle app for your iPhone, Paul. Believe it or not, reading on something that small isn't all that bad. I read two of Paul McAuley's novels on my iPod Touch that way.

One additional benefit to the ereaders is that Amazon and other outlets provide books which are in the public domain free for download. The sci-fi book club I belong to takes advantage of that frequently.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Flinthart asserts...

Posted March 28, 2012
" I had originally thought this might free up more time at the end of the day, maybe an hour or so while they were in transit. I’ve come to understand this is not the case. "

Yep. It never is. Ever.

Also... Anastascia Palachzukiuzkuskuz? HAVE YOU QUEENSLANDERS NO SHAME? Or at least - those of you that have met her in person, anyway.

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Edna swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 28, 2012
Well, first I got up and had a piece of toast. Then I brushed my teeth. Then I went to the store to buy some fish..."

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Zoidberg mutters...

Posted March 28, 2012
Fry, look what you did! She won't shut up.

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Fry mutters...

Posted March 28, 2012
That's normal. Just nod your head and say 'uh huh'.

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Edna would have you know...

Posted March 28, 2012
And then you threw an octopus at my window.

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yankeedog puts forth...

Posted March 28, 2012
A good read. I know that I'm better off going to the office to work than stay at home and do it. Too many distractions and not enough willpower. My blue Cubs chapeau is off to anyone who can make working at home happen!

Now at work, the priority seems to change depending on which salesman whines the loudest at that moment (Think Veruca Salt in 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' whinging 'I Want It NOOOOWWW!' times four). I get ever so much more done on the weekend or when the sales force is out on calls. But try to focus when priorities change every couple of hours! Those of you with children will probably understand. (Am I implying that our sales people act like children? I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin') Best thing to do is roll with the punches and get done what you can.

I'll add another facet to your schedule, JB, since you and I are roughly the same age. Your and your wife's parents (that survive) aren't getting any younger. They're probably going to start relying on you a bit more for things, and health issues, and all of the other issues that crop up with getting older. Assuming that your folks don't die suddenly in a bizarre kangaroo rustling accident, you'll probably start spending more time with them. Another thing to put in the schedule. Which is OK, because coffee can be made strong and sleep is vastly overrated.

You probably have a few more means to make sure that your elders are taken care of (which is good if that's the case), but it doesn't mean there won't be mental stress aplenty. Keep up the jujitsu!

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Murphy mutters...

Posted March 28, 2012
Sleep when yer dead.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brother PorkChop swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 28, 2012
I prioritise. The work for the people I like first followed by those that I don't care either way and lastly, very lastly, i.e. NEVER those that I don't like. Fortunately I like most of the folk here so I am kept busy.

In a previous life when I was a MCP, it was how big the norks were.

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted March 28, 2012
Birmingham would have fkn loads of Slack time....

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pi ducks in to say...

Posted March 28, 2012
If it's any consolation JB, your latest book was the first book I bought on the Kindle that I got for Christmas. How you beat it, I have no idea. Finally something that is easier to do than actually getting off your ass and going to a shop, or even finding a pirate copy out on the interwebs.

And we didn't even need to chop down a tree.

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Trowzers is gonna tell you...

Posted March 28, 2012
Your 5 mins at the start and end of the day to review priorities and progress was mandatory at one of my workplaces. It was one of the few practices I've carried on from there (they had some odd ones, like a ban on personalised workspaces, waterbottles, snacking at desks and post-it notes!) I also appreciated the tough line on document naming and filing (which was audited fortnightly!) but I guess that is less important in a home office.

Another workplace bought in a highly paid organisational expert who used Outlook as a sort of quasi post-it note system. He was all for filing things once they were done, leaving only absolutely essential items in the Inbox area and the rest to be put in subfolders, and setting tasks and emailing yourself for any odd items that needed to be done so that they did not pop up until you needed to see them. It was pretty neat, but unfortunately did not rub off on some of the lawyers, some of whom had over 35,000 emails in their Inbox (and one over 5Gg in their mailbox despite us actually having a document management system that filed outside Outlook) and then complained about how long it took their Outlook to load!

They will never know the joy of a clean Inbox. I even file things away properly in my personal Gmail - takes hardly any time and already twice this year my college teacher has been stunned by my ability to pull up notes from last semester at a moments notice (I have some college notes in Google docs - very handy to be able to pull them up at a moments notice, even when I'm not on my own computer). Cheap and easy and accessible for those that don't have an iDevice to install apps on (ie me).

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Trowzers mumbles...

Posted March 28, 2012
I should also mention that I'm not some sort of workaholic freak - I like organising things because I'm LAZY. Every moment spent doing work-things takes away from my precious, precious internet faffing, so I want to get it done as efficiently as possible so I can get back to wasting time!

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted March 29, 2012
Good point on gmail notes. I struggle to keep mine in order

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Kieran mumbles...

Posted March 29, 2012
I'm currently trying to juggle a writing project against my day-to-day work that regularly ratchets out beyond 12-14 hrs in a day (and into weekends). So I'm used to my best laid plans being upended on a regular basis. But one thing I do do that helps is I try to write for 15 mins each morning on what happened the day before. Find its a good way to reset my brain, clear things out and cement any observations from the day before. Its only a blip but it seems to help. Oh and I can only really handle one list, for which I bump and allocate items on up to a week or two ahead of time. But Timescale sounds like it might be worth a squizz. Also, Murph speaks truth when it comes to letting the wheels spin. You can plan all the life out of your life if you're not carefu;l.

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John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted March 29, 2012
Nice idea, that 15 mins. I got me a lovely leather bound journal from Prof Orin a while back and been wondering what to do with it.

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WarDog asserts...

Posted March 29, 2012
JB/Blarkon, re: piracy I'm somewhat in the same boat since my revenue comes from my app. But at the outset I made a decision not sell the app but to give it away and try to recover revenue via in game ads or possibly in-app sales.

Not suggesting that this is appropriate for all books, but I think it has a couple of appealing factors:

* Freely distributed copies become your friend instead of your enemy. So you encourage people to hand them on (or hand on a link).

* You remove a barrier to entry - price.

* Revenue accrues every time the app/book is used instead of once at purchase.

It's certainly a possibility for some forms of digital media.

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Respond to 'Workflow'

Mike Daisey. There but for the golden rule...

Posted March 21, 2012 by John Birmingham
I didnt pay much heed to the Mike Daisey thing when he toured he recently. At least I think he toured here. That's how much I didn't pay attention. Some fat whiner trying to make me feel bad for all my shiny preciouses. As if.

But I listened to the excrutiating hour long retraction on This American Life, Sunday afternoon. I've taken to putting my feet up for a short break when I can on the weekend, after the kids sport is all done with, to listen to a few podcasts. I ended up at Life via Daring Fireball, which has been all over Daisey like a labrador on a t-bone.

The schadenfreude was good, but it got me to thinking about the shame and embarrassment of the journalists who'd all run with the Daisey line. Well, those who had the decency to be ashamed anyway. For now the only retraction seems to have come from This American Life and and a theater where he performed. I might be wrong but I haven't seen corrections from any of the broadsheet who ran his bullshit on the op-ed pages or the TV shows who had him on as an 'expert'.

If you work in the media you're going to have your own Mike Daisey moment at some point. You're going to get a story so fucking juicy the very smell of it makes your head spin and hot spit shoot into your mouth. What you do at that moment can make or break your career.

I had a Mike Daisey moment many years ago when working for Rolling Stone.

I was researching a story on the neo-Nazi movement in Sydney. I had a few pretty good sources, one of them exceptionally good. This source provided me with a photograph. A dozen or so men in combat camouflage, posing with guns in the bush. At least they looked like guns at a glance. They were actually paint ball shooters, a detail which lent the photograph sort of risible charm. It fit perfectly with the theme of my piece, that the neo-Nazi movement in Sydney, while a source of low-grade fear to those directly targeted, were really just a bunch of wankers.

We ran the photograph prominently, because the source was so good.

Of course one of those wankers turned out not to be a fully paid up member of the Nazi party, and he sued. The magazine settled and I was left with a very valuable life lesson.

As a journalist, the story of which you should be most skeptical is the one you most want to hear.

Quite a few people who've dealt with Mike Daisy the last few months have had to learn that lesson anew.

15 Responses to ‘Mike Daisey. There but for the golden rule...’

Blarkon mutters...

Posted March 21, 2012
It's pertinent to point out that the New York Times article on Apple's working conditions hasn't been retracted - no matter how much Gruber would have liked it to be - and that the majority of commentary on the issue resulted not from Daisey's work, but from the article New York Times.

Apple fans seem to have conflated the problems with Daisey with a retraction of the New York Times article.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/business/ieconomy-apples-ipad-and-the-human-costs-for-workers-in-china.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

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Dave Sag puts forth...

Posted March 21, 2012
I certainly felt better knowing Daisey turned out to be a big fat lier. But alas that's not going to improve working conditions for people in Chinese factories. But out of all the major companies that use firms like Foxxconn to manufacture their goods, Apple is one of the only ones actually doing anything about it. And so they get picked on while Sony, Nokia, HP, etc all get a free pass.

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Alison Croggon is gonna tell you...

Posted March 21, 2012
It's also pertinent to point out that Mike Daisey isn't a journalist, and that the work he made wasn't a piece of journalism. You wouldn't present your fictions as fact, John; that's exactly what Daisey did. When he told his audiences, other journalists and the media, without a trace of ambiguity, that everything he told them was factually true, he transgressed the ethics of theatre as well as that of journalism. Theatre has its own ethic of truthfulness, but it's entirely different from that of journalism; you see it in something like King Lear, which is truthful although it doesn't pretend to one ounce of fact. Daisey's done nobody any favours: not those he purported to help, not himself, and certainly not theatre. Journalism's probably come out of it better than anything else.

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Bangar swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 21, 2012
The easiest lie to sell, the one they want to believe.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted March 21, 2012
NYT have not retracted their story, because they have nothing to retract. Almost all of their facts can be checked in Apple's own reports into labor practices in its supply chain.

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Blarkon ducks in to say...

Posted March 21, 2012
Daisey had been doing his show for some time before the NYT article ruffled more feathers. I'd heard of Daisey, but never really heard more than generalizations about his claim - but remember reading the NYT piece in its entirety (and the firestorm it generated when published).

For the conspiracy minded - interesting that the world's richest company and most effective PR operation (one that apparently can mobilize cops to do a search of someone's house for a missing iPhone http://gizmodo.com/5837038/apples-lost-iphone-search-team-flashed-badges-to-search-mans-home ) manages to get this particular scalp right around the time of the iPad 3 release.

Of course humans are far too incompetant to pull off effective conspiracies. But a revived android cybernetic Steve Jobs merged with the Siri AI datacenter ...

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NBlob mutters...

Posted March 21, 2012
So Apple turns out to be 10% less Eeevil than some hyperbolic ink sellers claimed.

Paint me Unsuprised.

What is important is: How Fkn AWSM is This American Life?

I'm a giddy fanboi that waits with baited ears for the next installment.It take's some pretty big cojones to retract as publicly as that.

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Surtac mutters...

Posted March 21, 2012
Heard the orig. program - downloading the retraction now. I believe it's somewhat excruciating to listen to.

OT but wondering Birmo if you have any thoughts on tonight's PM item about FOI on Timor material about the 1975 or thereabouts starvation of Timorese citizens by the Indonesians, based on your earlier 'Appeasing Jakarta' research. Concerted citizens want to know.

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Surtac has opinions thus...

Posted March 21, 2012
Damn that should read 'concerned'.

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MickH reckons...

Posted March 21, 2012
Pardon my ignorance

but who the fuck is Mike Daisey?

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Blarkon reckons...

Posted March 21, 2012
He's the guy who did the stage show 'Agony and Ectasy of Steve Jobs" - the theme of which was how he went from an Apple Fan to being disturbed about the conditions under which the products he "loved" so much were made. The show was presented as factual whereas in reality his sources couldn't be traced.

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Murphy reckons...

Posted March 21, 2012
Mick, Mike Daisey is yet another example of why it is many Americans have very little respect for the media these days. Or to put it another way, people like him are the reason I get my news from overseas sources.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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MickH reckons...

Posted March 21, 2012
Ah!

thanks Blarkon,

Couldn't be traced by apple minions?

Sounds like he's gunna be the Salman Rushdie of the of the Apple/tech religion

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MickH puts forth...

Posted March 21, 2012
Its the same here murph

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beeso mumbles...

Posted March 22, 2012
http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2012/03/21/mike_daisey_david_sedaris_david_foster_wallace_and_other_storytellers_who_can_make_stuff_up_.html?wpisrc=twitter_socialflow

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Perth fest.

Posted February 29, 2012 by John Birmingham
So, Perth was good.

I flew out last Thursday, just before lunch, traveling with the sun and against the clock to land in Perth just after lunch. A pleasant flight. I had a couple of over wing exit seats to myself, a fully powered iPad and a free, open bar. Even so, I managed to restrict myself to one glass of wine. I wanted to hit the gym at the Duxton Hotel when I got there. I find when traveling across time zones that blocking out a couple of hours to do some sort of exercise at the other end, even if it's just having a long walk, helps me settle in. The Duxton has one of my favorite hotel gyms in the country, however, so I headed down there to smash out some cardio.

Two hours later I figured I had earned myself a decent feed and drink, and I hit the hotel bar looking for new best friends. Quite a few of the other writers were already in town, but a lot of them were heading off to the opening-night address. Since this was to be delivered by Germaine Greer I'd already decided to give it a big swerve. A wise decision, as it turned out. Even one of her fans later described to me as a meandering, unfocussed, disappointing and sort of worn out rant. Something about how you could not be a feminist unless you are a socialist. My eyelids are getting heavy just thinking about it.

Instead I made my way to the Greenhouse, one of my favorite little restaurant bars in Perth, and had me a rather decent fish burger with a broccolini salad and two glasses of Pewsley Vale riesling. I had the phone with me, so although I was dining alone, I was chatting with 17,000 friends on twitter. I wrapped up dinner with time enough to get out to the University for the opening night party, but the exercise, the alcohol and the time zone difference had caught up with me by then, so I piked and headed back to the hotel.

There I made the acquaintance, after a fashion, of the residents of room 307. I never met them face-to-face, and wish I had, because they had the loudest longest hotel sex it has ever been my pleasure to vicariously encounter. Four fucking days it went on, with nary a care in the world for what the other guests might think. It seemed every time I left the hotel and every time I came back, these two were at it.

Reminded me of my share house days, it did. Even to the point of me perching outside the door with a drink in hand, encouraging passersby to enjoy the show along with me.

Had my first panels the next day, the first of which was at 11 o'clock in the morning. I had thought I was on late in the afternoon, but that's what I get for not really checking my schedule. A quick gym sesh, a bowl of muesli in my room, and I caught the bus out to the campus of UWA, where the festival proper was underway.

The last couple of times I've been in Perth, the panels and lectures and workshops and so on were all held next door in some kind of arts precinct. It was a very pleasant arrangement, allowing your hard-working writer to shamble from bar to stage and back again without breaking a sweat. The campus is beautiful in Perth, and shuttle buses traveled continually between there and the hotel, but it did give the festival a sort of diffuse atmosphere.

Normally at these things you'll spy at least a dozen people you know hanging around the hotel bar or foyer enjoying a drink and a chat, and for me that's the charm of the festival. Writing is a lonesome business and these get-togethers are the only opportunity we have to… well, get together. As the week went on the population of the bar steadily increased, at least at night, but it was only on the last night, Sunday, that it felt like a true festival bar–where anything could go wrong.

(And did, the next morning, when Matt our shuttle driver, failed to materialize. Probably a good thing, given the reports of his condition late the previous evening.)

Anyway, the panels were all good. I particularly enjoyed talking about blogging with Marieke Hardy and Paul French, and, strangely enough, talking bromance with Nick Earls and a local travel writer Stephen Scourfield. The latter session was particularly enjoyable, because none of us really had a clue, but Nick and I at least had a few drinks on board. We threw down a few more afterwards, and I went out with some local tweetenvolk who knew of a bar having its 1st birthday party out in the burbs. Free food and alcohol. I say again. Free food and alcohol.

(Yes, I know, writers festivals all about free food and alcohol, but it seems somehow more exciting when you find it for yourself where you never thought to look).

One upside of not having the hotel overrun with drunken colleagues was being able to get some work done. I took the iPad, of course, and borrowed Anna's bluetooth keyboard. Using the pad in portrait mode, propped up on a powered stand, I found this a more than adequate arrangement for getting a bit of writing done. In fact, possibly because you can only have one app open and occupying the screen at any one time, I found it a restful and strangely productive time.

I'm back to the screen farm and the dictation software now, of course. And my short Pomodoro break is now pretty much over. So I better get back to it. But not without saying a quick thank you to monster yuppie for clueing me in to a very cheap and sneaky way of scoring a business class flight home early on Monday morning.

Early enough to help Anna with the final preparation for her election speech. A speech, for which Jane can take a lot of credit, that helped her win the school captaincy the following day.

Huzzah.

25 Responses to ‘Perth fest.’

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 29, 2012
The auditory voyeurism thing is interesting in terms of balance: there's a fine line between seeing it as an expression of joie de vivre and just seeming pervy.

I'm interested in this writing with the iPad experience. Been looking at the Asus Transformer -- an Android tablet with a clip-on keyboard that turns it into a "light" laptop replacement (quad core Tegra-3 CPU and all). Waiting to see how the iPad 3 looks when it comes out, of course. But the enforced single-tasking mode sounds like a winner...

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted February 29, 2012
Ah, a new riesling to try.

I used to be able to comment on the other stuff but I've got a new social media policy I am supposed to comply with. Too bad. I rather enjoyed the contents of this entry.

Hell, this is so vague and unfocused it could almost constitute spam.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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damian has opinions thus...

Posted February 29, 2012
I rather like the Pewsey Vale riesling myself: it's got that (annoyingly) hard to find "dry but not acidic", "crisp rather than sharp" quality to it. And perhaps more to the point it's very affordable. In the same territory as the Peter Lehman semillon, Yalumba unwooded chardy, etc.

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Mayhem's Mum mutters...

Posted February 29, 2012
So, Mr Birmingham, Sir, you are now a successful campaign speech writer? Marvelous. I know a chap in Canberra who could probably do with your services in the near future.

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Matthew swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 29, 2012
I killed a redback with a newspaper the other day. Well, I say killed - I showed it the latest on the ALP's internal wrangles and it committed suicide.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 29, 2012
I wanna go to Perth. I hope my lovely wife permits it.

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Kat reckons...

Posted February 29, 2012
Sounds like you had a smashing time!

I assume it's much preferable to (be forced to) listen to other people's lovemaking rather than them having a domestic and having to call the police.

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John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 29, 2012
Kat, but of course.

Mayhem's mum, nope. My contribution to the speech was simply to listen to it down the phone and suggest one simple cut.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted February 29, 2012
But dammit JB, she would have not just won, but won in a landslide with that "free Hoverbikes for all students" promise and even 12 year olds don't expect campaign promises to be kept.

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ConspiracyCat is gonna tell you...

Posted February 29, 2012
Mere free food and drink, JB? You're in the wrong line of work:

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/mps-all-agree-on-huge-pay-rise/story-fn7x8me2-1226284523101

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JG is gonna tell you...

Posted February 29, 2012
Yep, Perth's a great place. So laid back and with brilliant beaches. Loved living there for a while. Congrats on Anna being made school captain, John.

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Gilligan reckons...

Posted February 29, 2012
Sounds like an awesome trip, Mr B.

Only been there once meself, but I'm a big fan of the Greenhouse. There's also a whisky bar a coupla streets away called Helvetica that I'd heartily recommend if you're not aware of it.

Re: bluetooth keyboard + iPad combo; what program do you use for the word processing? Is it a Word-y one, or just the usual note taking program?

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John Birmingham reckons...

Posted February 29, 2012
Gilligan, I usually default to Elements, cos of its awesome Dropbox synchy thing. But Pages is getting better. I might try it again

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Mark Duffett reckons...

Posted February 29, 2012
Pity you didn't have the dictation software with you. Would have been interesting to see what it made of the sounds emanating from Room 307.

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Matthew K ducks in to say...

Posted February 29, 2012
Sounds like Greer gave Oz a taste of what she's been giving late night discussion programs over here for years. Actually she's kind of faded away now I come to think of it, so too erratic even for the BBC.

And there's a pair of Apache gunships growling away two fields away outside my window. Just thought I'd share that because they're cool.

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Darth Greybeard asserts...

Posted March 1, 2012
Mark D. Brilliant.

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pi mutters...

Posted March 1, 2012
I used to live in Perth. Never met more assholes in my life if truth be told. Not that they were all sand-gropers... most of the assholes were fly-ins.

But it had to be said.

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Quokka reckons...

Posted March 1, 2012
Pi, your experience tallies with the high number of jobs listed on seek dot com for domestic violence & drug/alcohol counsellors in WA.

JB, how do you know it wasn't one miner with a hearing problem + 4 days of amphetamine crazed surfing on the pron channel?

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Paul Nicholas Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted March 1, 2012
I want to visit because Perth is famous for its assholiness. Do y'all 'member JB's last trip there, and his encounter with the surly waiter who, when JB ordered a piece of cake, asked JB if JB saw a piece cake with his name on it? "No?" legend has it the waiter asked JB, "then no cake for you."

I am embellishing a bit, but I believe my memory is true in essence. I've wanted to go there since I read that story. My problem is that my wife is likely to accompany me on my next antipodean visit, and she doesn't share my enthusiasm for assholery.

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Therbs mutters...

Posted March 1, 2012
Oh, don't worry about assholery. We can organise that. When I was planning a recent trip to W.A. I rang one pub and asked what their closing time was. I explained we were on a late flight and may need suitable refreshments. The disinterested response was, "When we close." Further details could not be dragged out of her so we crossed that pub off our list.

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Emma mutters...

Posted March 1, 2012
Ah, Pomodoros ... I love my little kitchen timer, I have half a chance of being productive and not pissing the day away if I keep the chook going round to 25 minutes ... now for the discipline of restricting the breaks to 5-10 minutes!

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sibeen mumbles...

Posted March 1, 2012
Germaine Greer and a nasty heckler, standing close to John Birmingham, yelling out, "what about Steve Irwin, you bitch" should have been the highlight of the festival.

Unfortunately, the no show by one Mr Birmingham scuttled this cunning plan.

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John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted March 1, 2012
But you didn't tell me you'd be there!

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Abe Frellman has opinions thus...

Posted March 3, 2012
Similar next-door noise shenanigans happened to me when I was in Vegas for HTBAM last November. Thought that 5 in the morning was a bit rough so I yelled 'SHUT THE FUCK UP' without realizing I'd made a funny. They either didn't hear or didn't care and kept going. So I put my ear up against the internal door between the rooms and rubbed one out.

If you can't beat em, join em.

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Legless puts forth...

Posted March 5, 2012
I had the problem of noisy neighbours screwing their brains out and being exceedingly loud. But I cured them of their problem. Every time they started, I stuck this on:

http://www.yourememberthat.com/media/11104/Porkys_Lassie_Scene/

and cranked my external speakers up high.

Warning: Slightly NSFW - especially with speakers on high

Cheers

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Respond to 'Perth fest.'

Some felafel artwork.

Posted February 19, 2012 by John Birmingham
A couple of years ago I was wandering through West End when I passed a café with some interesting art hanging from the walls. It was the bright, cartoonish intensity that caught my eye. I like cartoons.

A couple of the pieces that really appealed to me obviously appealed to some other punters as well because they had red stickers on them. But I put aside that disappointment for something much more exciting. A commission. The artist, a young bloke by the name of Dave Jones, was easily contacted through the café and even more easily convinced to read one of my books and render it in color on canvas.

The book was Falafel, and this was his interpretation of it. Apologies for the lighting, it's not perfect. The wall on which I have this piece hung is angled away from the sun. Those of you familiar with the book may find it amusing to try and identify the episodes he's chosen to paint.

 

 

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