yesterday's technology tomorrow

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Happy Anniversary
Suze and I have been married for 4 years today. Still very very very very very happily married (if quite tired due to being parents of young kids).

We were married at the Windsor Hotel on a Saturday arvo and then headed off to Chinois in South Yarra for a most magnificent meal and wonderful cake then back to the Windsor for the night.

My memories of the day

- Smelling of garlic because I used 8 cloves of garlic in my yummy pasta the night before
- Going for a run in the morning and having enough nervous energy to do a marathon
- Voting for the liberal party for the one and only time in my life
- Wearing my brand new $300 shoes bought for the wedding
- Waiting in the room we were getting married in (with 50+ guests) with Handel and Bach being played by a string trio.
- Having the music stop and everyone start to wonder why Suzette hasn't turned up 10 mins after everything was going
- Seeing my lovely bride in a magnificent blue dress with cleavage!!!
- Feeling nervous about correctly saying "I will!" (not I do.)
- Kissing my bride
- Getting photos taken at Pellegrini's
- The limo driver's super smooth acceleration and braking while driving to dinner
- The close-up magician who performed for us all while we had pre dinner drinks
- The most wonderful meal
- Jo stressing that the cake was screwed cause the icing had done strange things...she fixed it all and it was Great
- Adam's super short speech ....lucky if it was 10 words
- My great speech ;-) Lots of laughs
- Waking at the Windsor and realising that Melbourne city on a Sunday morning is Boorrrrring.
- My new $300 shoes bought for post wedding :-)
- Going down to Johanna for a peaceful and relaxing honeymoon

0 comments | 9:10 AM

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Telstra Bigpond is pathetic
Begin Rant
We ordered Telstra ADSL to be connected to our new offices two weeks ago at the same time we ordered the actual lines to be installed.

I expected around 5 days for the lines to be installed...which was exactly as it was.

Given I have installed the ADSL at home and am quite technical I went with the self install option in which Telstra ship out the modem to you.

Last Thursday the stupid head on the phone said that the modem hadn't let been scheduled to ship and it should ship on Monday. Today I ring and they say it shipped today (Tuesday).

Unbelievable.....two weeks to get a modem shipped is terrible customer service...especially when the damn line was installed in 5 days!!!

NEVER AGAIN....Optus, ozemail, etc you have my business next time...SELL the stupid company Mr Howard and maybe they'll start sacking the people they need to sack to get to a level where they have good people left.

End Rant

0 comments | 11:46 AM

Monday, September 15, 2003

Old before your time
Today I got a document about items to be discussed with a 3rd party tomorrow morning. The 1st item on the agenda is a service I built probably 3 years ago. In other industries or maybe even in some sectors of the IT industry, one could hold up, as a shining light, "world's first" work done 3 years ago as being a great example of what we could do now.

In this sector and in this industry I feel dread at the prospect of having this brought up as the first item of conversation. I can see it now "Ben why don't you give xyz and overview of our WAP Music service?"....the old, I'll pretend to open the conversation up to you while backing you into a corner trick certain people are very prone to. I'll start given an overview to xyz, all the while thinking I should be saying..."This is what we did 3 years ago. As you know, technology has changed, and what we did 3 years ago really doesn't show any level of expertise in the current environment; and I'd be embarrassed for you and me if it was decided to go forward with something similar."

As I read somewhere recently...what was cool bleeding edge tech 12 months ago is boring COBOL like stuff today.

0 comments | 9:21 PM

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Game Dreams
Back when I was at school I was a little bit into Dungeons and Dragons, a lot into Sherlock Holmes and a huge amount into online BBS such that I lead a fairly nerd like life for my final school years. (ha ha I hear you saying....not much has changed).

Around this time I bought a copy of Steve Jackson Games' Killer, basically its a live roleplaying game where you try to kill people without hurting them....all harmless fun back in the 1980's but somehow I feel would get you arrested in certain countries at the moment.

Since that time I've always held a candle for developing the next generation of role playing game in a real world environment.

In 2001, It's Alive, a Swedish company, came out with BotFighters which is a killer like game you play using your mobile phone and some snazzy location based services available through more progressive telcos in Nordic part of the world. BotFighters was very much along the lines of what I had been thinking of for a game for ages.

I contacted Its Alive in 2001 and told them I'd love to work for them if they were ever wanting to start an Australian operation. They responded nicely saying my skills and background would make me perfect for the role but they weren't planning anything in Australia yet.

I also pushed forward with some initial designs for a 007 Spy type game based around a city and using mobile phones and the web for communication. The big stumbling block around here was the lack of location based services for the phones but I now see lots of chances to build something which uses more non virtual location services e.g. addresses etc to base the game around.

Around the same time I was organising the AgentArts christmas party and thought it would be fun to have a treasure hunt type of thing as part of the day. So I planned a game where the staff were split into 6 teams of 2 people and each started at the office after lunch and was sent out with their mobiles and cryptic description of a location to get to. Once they got to the location they called me and told me where they were then got the next clue.

The end result was that they ended up down at the Yarra River ready to hop on a boat cruise for the rest of the afternoon. It was a great success with everyone finding the boat and everyone getting slightly lost at some point.

Yesterday I read Geeks without borders, an article about virtual/rela world games and saw that a company has built a business out of running exactly this game for corporate clients and others!!!!! WOW!!

The article also talks about these immersive online games which are an online treasure hunt with secret messages encoded in images, fake websites, instant messanger bots etc.. Apparently there are some groups out there that band together to solve these puzzles and manage to do so significantly faster than a single person.

Associated with these types of games are the pure online games such as Ultima Online and which are totally virtual worlds in the snowcrash sense.

The REALLY interesting things that are happening with these games is the unintended crossover between the virtual and the real worlds and the marketplaces that are being created for selling online game items (houses, gold etc) in the real world using real dollars. Julian Dibbell's Play money is the blog to start with this stuff if you are interested. He's trying to create a job brokering the onlilne and offline trading.

I still harbor the desire to start or work for an "immersive game" company here in Australia, in fact I feel that with my internet, distributed computing, emergent behaviour, swarming, instant messanger bots and creative game play ideas it would be the Perfect job for if anyone knows anyone doing this type of thing or wants to do it let me know!!

0 comments | 10:31 AM

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Divorce, work, qubes, cooking, sleep and dancing
Lance and Kristen getting divorced...its got to have been hard to keep the training and a relationship happening at the same time. I can only think of Ironman triathlon being a more selfish athletic pursuit than road cycling from a partner point of view. I keep thinking about the kids.

Things seem on the up workwise this week despite on of the founders leaving to have an exciting adventure in Kuwait of all places....but not until his band does a tour of syria performing!!!! It looks like our main client is going to be wanting our services for the next 1/2 year and the Nokia deal is starting to kick in so I'll probably have some cool work to get my brain around in the next month. All this AND we have a new office in Chapel street to move into next week....oh and did I mention we're getting iPods!!

Over the weekend I rebuilt ourGateway microserver using the original Cobalt Qube restore software. I followed the reinstall instructions kindly done by Brian at DSL Webserver and it worked first go. Now this is a small miracle for you non techie people (who have probably given up by now), as the install required downloading disk image, burning an ISO CD disk, connecting the PC to the Qube via a crossover cable, booting the cube with a special key command and then starting the PC booting off the CD into a Linuxish reinstall thing. So CD imaging, networking and remote self installing of an operating system all done in 15 mins (excluding download of image)!!!! AMAZING!! So with that done its time to install PHP and MySQL on it and start using it properly.

Here in Melbourne, Jamie "pukka tukka boy" Oliver has a TV show on every night at 7pm (a couple of weeks he had one every night plus a show on Tues for 1 hour and another on Wed......maybe he was trying to out do President Ed.....good luck!!!) and has been inspiring me to try some slightly new twists on current faves, so tomorrow its time for some new indian style yummy things. I also made another panettone this week but it wasn't as good as last times. I've promised one to Suzette for her birthday in a couple of weeks which will be much better and more polished!!

I'm sure you've heard this...but Oskar is sleeping through the night much better now. Its still not sleep in time but its better than waking at 4:30. Last weekend to celebrate we got him a lovely scooter like po's. He is very cute zipping around on it.

In other Oskar "Riverdance" Tex news.....I burnt a CD of Riverdance music for him yesterday. Since then every chance he gets he is dancing around saying "Like Michael" or "Like Collin". Its very impressive. Obviously he gets his dance skills from his Mum who was a bit of Calisthenics legend when she was younger (a member of the state champion's team) until she broke her back doing some flip thing. I however am obviously not made for dancing....swimming, riding and to a degree running is my forte. I've filmed him a bit on my little toy camera so I'll make sure he sees them in 20 years time.

0 comments | 9:20 PM
Playground Finder Flink Labs - Data Visualisation

neuronwave is the personal site of Ben Hosken. I am the founder of Flink Labs, a data visualisation studio based in Melbourne. Previously I founded AgentArts, where I developed a recommendations system that we ultimately sold to MSFT.I have two patents, one in Recommendation Systems and one for a datamining algorithm I invented. I have a strong interest in physical computing, emergence, self organising systems, immersive games, bluetooth ad hoc networks and other fun things.
A while ago I built and ran Blog Change Bot - an AOL IM Bot which notified you when blogs you like are updated. I also built IcyPole, a bluetooth based P2P mobile phone app in 2004. With Suzette, I've built Playground Finder - a community contributed site for parents to find playgrounds nearby and while traveling for their kids to play in. Its a "playground" for my social, location, community and mobile interests.
I live in Melbourne with my wife Suzette, son Oskar Tex and my little girl Jasmine

Random Pile of Ben
Bodypump, Flink Labs, autumn weather, balance.

Downloads etc
The Best Bagel Recipe ever
iTunes XML structure
Photo of some of my best Panetones

Neuron EcoSystem
Flink Labs
oskartex.comOskar Tex
JasmineJasmine Aurora
Playground Finder

April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004

ben at neuronwave dot com