yesterday's technology tomorrow

Friday, March 26, 2004

My little echo chamber
Recently the tide of techno blog babble around my generally read blogs is starting to get to me. So much so that I'm finding the more interesting and readable blogs are those that are more "human" and give some indication of the writers personality.

While I'm all for techno stuff I really think the level of discussion in some of these usual suspects blogs and comments indicates that they need to "get a life". I mean does someone using tables and not css for layout really mean you have to ban yourself from looking at their site or the hoopla around the vaporware typekey this week. Crazy stuff!!

To which I say the following things are inherently good or evil (you decide...but don't talk to me about it)!!

- css vs tables
- typekey
- xfn
- loaf
- foaf
- yasns
- xmlrpc

0 comments | 11:52 AM

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Joyeux Anniversaire Mum
My Mum and Dad are in Paris this week enjoying the start of their post retirement trip.

I'm sure that missing your grandchildren is easily made up for by being in Paris.

Happy Birthday and have a swish something from the Pātisserie.

0 comments | 7:00 AM

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Example #4,464,484 of how the Internet has changed everything
Yet another example of how the world has TOTALLY TOTALLY TOTALLY changed in the last 10 years with the Internet and associated techs....

I have The Saturday Age on the table here opened but unread. So rather than moving the 1.5 meters to the other end of the table to read it I jump to the web site (from my wireless laptop using my home lan and broadband connection) and browse every 2 hours or so the breaking news and anything else that catches my fancy.

Today it is an article about Gaijin!, a magazine about cool things from Japan.

Four clicks later and I'm subscribed for the year with my free t-shirt on the way and in the draw for a DVD.

All the while I'm soundtracked to whatever is pumping out of the iPod and transmitted to the stereo by my snazzy little FM transmitter.

No way this would have been possible 10 years ago...not one bit of it..none!!!

0 comments | 3:48 PM

Single Ben Saturday
One of the things I used to love about living in San Francisco for weeks of end was the entirely selfish single ben weekend.

Without a partner or children around, all I had to do was my washing and whatever the hell I felt like.

Generally my weekends began with a video on Friday then a good sleep. Saturday morning was a early morning long run past Pac Bell Stadium, around the Embarcadero and under the Bay Bridge ending at the ferry building before turning around and heading back home. Then it was off to Potrero Hill, do some washing and a coffee at Farley's with Andrew and the paper. Up to Whole Foods for some groceries then back down to the work/live office. Then the whole afternoon stretched out in front of me with my fast computer and T1 line all to myself and those wonderful music services such as Audio Galaxy to download as much as I wanted.

The afternoon was the best, doing personal projects and listening to my fave music before heading off to Mario's for the best focaccia in the world along with a half carafe of house red.

You get the gist of it...

Anyway, today Suze has taken the kids off and left me alone for the day...THANKYOU wifey!!!

So it was gym this morning for a while, then back for yummy lunch, coffee and coding. And listening to my music at a high volume which Suzette and the kids could not tolerate....Wham, Pet Shop Boys, Alcazar, and other glorious 80s stuff.

If things go to plan I should have completed the beta of my project this weekend and be able to open it up on Monday.

0 comments | 1:33 PM

Friday, March 19, 2004

Exciting Father/Daughter time

Today is another one of the days where Suzette scoots around town doing all sorts of things and I stay at home working and managing one or two active infants.

This morning she was off to the Zoo for breakfast with her mum super early and got back later in the morning. This arvo she is off with Oskar at kinder...being the assistant for the afternoon, which leaves me with Jasmine for a few hours.

Normally no big deal...I work and she potters around enjoying a free run of the house, no brother to jump, twist, and bother her.

Jasmine knows how it all works and is happy for me to look after her. So she treated me with a surprise today and took her first steps while I was playing with her.

Such a treat to watch your child's first steps!!

Thanks Jasmine.

0 comments | 1:30 PM

Thursday, March 18, 2004

On Sunday I made some very very yummy bagels....the best ever!!!

Here are some pics. The recipe is below for those interested.

A plate full

Happy Ben with bubbly

Bagel Recipe (makes 10-14 bagels)

You will need
4 cups plain flour
2 tsp salt
2 sachets of yeast or around 20-25g of natural yeast
3 tbl sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 egg yolk
2 tbl oil
poppy or seasame seeds to cover

The Steps

1. Cream the yeast with 1tbl sugar and 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Let stand for 10-15 mins
2. Mix Flour, salt, remaining sugar in big bowl with lukewarm milk and remaining water, egg yolk and oil. You may need to add an extra 1/4 cup water to make it fairly stiff dough.
3. Knead the dough well and put in bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
4. Punch down dough, knead again. Divide dough into 10-14. Roll each portion into a 20cm long rope. Coil rope into a bagel shape, moisten and squeeze the bit that joins the ends. Put them down for 10 mins to raise a little.
5. Slide a few bagels at a time (4 max unless you have a super size saucepan) into boiling water. Let them sit for 1 min the turn over with a slotted spoon. Turn them over and leave for another 1-2 mins. They will swell really nicely and look like uncooked yummy bagels.
6 Finally, put the bagels onto a greased tray (or oven bake paper) brush with egg white and water then sprinkle poppy seeds and sesame seeds. Bake at 200 for 15-20 mins or until golden and bagel-ish.


0 comments | 2:40 PM

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Congratulations Claire
Claire just won a Bloggie for the 4th year in a row.

Well done!! I now have to present her with the prize and a drink.

0 comments | 11:09 AM

Sunday, March 07, 2004

New Project
One of the reasons for the lack of posts recently has been that I've been quite focused outside of work on a new project/business that I have started. Its going to be an online service with potential revenue generating opportunities (physical products) in the year or so offline.

I'm using the project as a great opportunity to learn about starting a business from scratch and making sure I'm covering off the things I didn't have involvement in when founding AgentArts 5 years ago. Things like business structure, options for future staff, the business' values, the business plan and all the interesting things (and some not so interesting) associated with it.

As its an online service I've been coding the web site, database, PHP pages etc and again have been using it as a chance to skill up on CSS and approaches to building a database driven web site using the best techniques I know and to adapt from the problems I've previously encountered.

All this has meant that my brain cycles have been fairly focused on this new project and not on creative or interesting things to say on my blog. This will change over the next week as I start to get the site live and post some thoughts on it.

0 comments | 9:00 AM

Telstra launched a new DVD rental service a month or so ago called FetchMeMovies. Basically its a NetFlix style service which allows you rent a number of DVDs at a time and return them when you feel like paying a flat monthly fee. So if you watch and return the DVDs quickly you'll see more during the month. For Suzette and like watching DVDs but struggle to watch an entire movie in an evening and don't like the hassle of driving to the video store late at night, this is perfect!!

Initially I was skeptical about how the service would work given my poor experiences with Telstra products initially (ADSL etc). I've always found that whenever I use something of theirs for the first time I need to contact the support or customer service people for a couple of questions.

As usual...I did need to contact the support, firstly for their problems with support for Safari and Mozilla due to silly javascript use and , secondly, to find out when my DVDs would be sent. In both cases the customer service was BRILLIANT!!! They responded to my emails with a few hours and escalated the tech issues to their developers. Wonderful.

Anyway, I must admit its been a great service so far with the core function of DVD delivery response time being spot on....return a DVD on Sunday and get a new one on Tuesday morning.

0 comments | 8:49 AM
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