Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

Wikipedia vs Mana Party

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Local elections are happening in New Zealand in a few weeks. As part of it people from the parties are active online.

On September 6th a wikipedia account called “manamangerecreated a Wikipedia page for James Papali’i who is standing for Auckland city council seats on a Mana-linked ticket (Mangere is the suburb of Auckland near the Airport).

However a regular New Zealand Wikipedia editor made this edit to the article who linked back to a 2006 conviction that Papali’i had received for fraud.

“manamangere” is now asking that the article be removed since if it includes the fraud conviction it does more harm than good. In reality it will probably be removed since Papali’iis below the level of fame that usually gets an article.


Idea: Cafe magazine club

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

I was in a cafe last night that had a a magazine I used to read and I realized how much I missed reading magazines.

Up until about 5 years ago I used to spend about an evening a week at the local Borders working my way though around a dozen magazines in a row. Most of these were from the US/UK and had sticker prices of $20-$30 to buy so I couldn’t realistically afford them. However I changed jobs and Borders closed so I’ve gotten out of the habit.

These days the only magazines I regularly read are the Fortune and Time magazines that my local cafe has (they also have 2-3 other magazines I don’t follow plus the local paper). In fact since I have a choice of about a dozen cafes I can eat lunch at one of the reasons I choose that cafe is their magazine selection.

It occurs to me that reading matter is a big part of the cafe experience for some people, however investing in them is a big expense for cafe owners. So my idea is that customers could pay directly for magazines in the local cafe. One possible way would be to have a subscription, I pay say $5 per week and I am allowed to read the magazines that are on offer. I can also vote to help decide what magazines the cafe should subscribe to (I’d suggest STV for any fellow voting geeks out there). Casual readers might pay a $2 pass with their order.

Any resemblance to the Diogenes Club is not entirely accidental



Sunday, April 21st, 2013

During the manhunt for the Boston marathon bombers I did this little tweet:

Manhunt Tweet

It feels very weird to get 1200 retweets (plus a bunch manual retweets and other copies). Of course I didn’t spot the typo till after I sent it :)

Links: 8bit T2, IQ, Baby names, Low Power computers

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Gather 2012: Middle Session

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Making infographics that don’t suck – Mike Mike Dickison

  • Didn’t have a chance to take notes cause it was so full I couldn’t sit down

Gather on mass – featuring Rowan Simpson, Karl von Randow and Penny Hagen

Rowan Simpsons
  • Developers + designers + dictators
  • Poster Boy Dictator = Steve Jobs
  • change made by people: who care, have authority, take responsibility
  • Careful about words they use – Don’t use “they” , careful how you describe colleges, other teams, “the business”
  • Domestics – members of cycling team supporting head rider
  • Focus – we all know it is good but it is uncommon.
  • Opposite of focus – Don’t get bored, don’t flail
  • You don’t have to invent you just have to leverage these and execute
  • Innovation just one action, execution requires you to keep going though many steps
  • MVP – whatever you can sell
  • Sales – How will overcome your obscurity?
  • Be a polymath – what else are you good at? where is the intersection?
Karl van Randow
  • Focus on design – how it looks and how it works
  • “NASCAR fans” – generic term for customers
  • Team in NZ, USA and Europe. ichat and skype
  • Camera+
  • Changed from “shoot and share” to “post-processing app”
  • Lots of mockups, iterative design
  • Initial startup page had animated viewfinder, launched with but removed after 6 months
  • Custom typeface, skewed thumbnails, etc makes app feel unique
  • Release to correspond with WWDC keynote, competition to give away $10k of camera gear. Lots of public charts of sales ( with nice infographics) to attract attention
Penny Hagen
  • Design in the Wild.
  • Iterative, largely private within company/studio at the start
  • Few users at the start in house, but only a few testers.
  • Beat blurs private/public
  • Crowd sourcing – get ideas from public – cars, nightclubs, ACC ideas
  • Open Design – Normal process but all phases open to public and takes input from public – eg Drupal website redesign ( 1600 people participated )
  • Emergent Design – Initial design and then evolve final design from there. Patchwork prototyping ( start with existing software product and patch )
  • DIY Design – Ponoko – Build a platform and let end users design
  • Constant Design – ongoing conversations
  • Potential / Challenges = mass distributed participation – transparency – everyone becomes a design
  • Questions – who, how, why? – who owns ideas/IP? – who decides what is good/right – what tools? – what is designers roles? – why aren’t more people doing it?

Gather 2012: Morning

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Automating things – Mal Curtis

babushka –

  • nested dependencies.
  • useful to define what software you need on a system as well as configuration
  • similar to puppet and chef
  • each dependency has a url to grab it from and a .app which list install defaults, configs, dependencies,
  • server config just has a bunch of dependencies listed
Vagrant –
  • Automate process of creating virtual machines
  • Runs program like babushka once machine is live
  • Code deployment
  • Continuous integration
  • hard to setup – look at “go ci” instead perhaps

Powering a Mt Eden Cafe – Nate Dunn

  • Tuihana Cafe in Mt Eden Rd
  • Runs 3bits design setup
  • Highly competative industry
  • Tight margins
  • Advertising doesn’t work very well
Get the basics right
  • Clean, bright warn environment
  • extraordinary staff and passionate staff
  • Great coffee and food with plenty of choices ( but not too many options )
  • Look after your regular customers
Clever Technology
  • eftpos over broadband, with nfc
  • naked DSL and VOIP – phone lines expensive, no need to dialup always on, have to have broadband for Free Wifi anyway, VOIP really cheap and works whereever you are
  • coffee ordering via sms, email, twitter. Twitter DM -> Custom Windows App, 2N cellular gateway on vodafone prepay -> nice printout + reply with confirmation of email/sms/twitter. SMS is most popular method. Inspired by subway’s system. Commercial SMS gateways too expensive at their scale just $10/month for prepay acct.
  • Learnt – word numbers not important, customers don’t read messages, some will register & never use, novelty for most, must-have for core group
  • NFC – visa paywave + mastercard paypass – quickest way to pay. Few people have cards or know how to use
  • Snapper not supported since they are with eftposnz and didn’t work with paymark eftpos provider
  • Free Wifi – expected by most customers, just works having codes too complicated, rate/protocol/time limited . Extremely rate limited on all ports except 80/443 , time limit to 1h. Seperate SSds for customers and staff. Powered by mikrotik
  • Google Alerts – looks for reviews anywhere, all sites. Put all reviews on our feedback page. Have a unique name so easy to find.
  • foursquare – not heavily used, has 2 offers but rarely redeemed
  • Only 150 followers, broadcast platform. DM ordering only used by a few
  • Facebook – most customers on it, best bang for a buck advertising, good analytics. Take the good and the bad facebook posts. More people will see facebook post and come in than will like.
  • custom facebook app checks twitter feed every 10 minutes and posts ( grabs photos off yfrog if linked ). People see posts of food and come in to buy
  • Blog – facebook don’t like pulling RSS feed so have custom app to pull facebook notes and post to blog

Official Information Act requests –

  • Need to be specific
  • Ombudsman office a bit slow. Some problems with lack of “case law” from them
  • Charges usually not a problem
  • Over 3000 government bodies listed, around 2000 of them schools
  • Bulk questions are discouraged, limits, has been abused overseas
  • Even the GCSB respond to OIA requests
  • Police and some govt departments require requests directly
  • Information include Police interrogation manuals!

Links: Zombies & paperwork, R2-D2, Taxi Dancers, Genetics

Friday, June 29th, 2012
  1. A New Sith, or Revenge of the Hope – Were R2-D2 and Chewie really running the Rebel Alliance?
  2. Hunting down my son’s killer – 3 years tracking a genetic disorder.
  3. Post-apocalyptic bureaucracies – The challenges  of handling a Zombie epidemic in today’s society. The post is a satire on the handling of the Christchurch earthquakes.
  4. Taxi dance hall – Fascinating history of “pay per dance” venues

Links: CS, Criaglist Spam, Bread-and-Marge, housing

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
  1. Let’s Not Call It “Computer Science” If We Really Mean “Computer Programming” – Is Computer Science teaching the wrong thing instead of the stuff that people will actually need.
  2. Popular Craigslist Spam Tactics for Profit (and for Evil) – Examples of scams common on Craigslist (and sometimes elsewhere) with who is behind them
  3. Not by Bread-and-Marg Alone – How the food of the poor has evolved or devolved over the last 150 years.
  4. Finding Space (video) – An episode from the Canadian show “The National” on the evolution of housing. Focus on tiny apartments and laneway houses on existing properties. The main guy (starting 1 minute in)  in the 1st story has such a cute accent.

Links: Chimneys, Fashion, Space Power and Tom Bombadil

Friday, June 15th, 2012
  1. Why I wear the same thing every day, and what I wear. – There article doesn’t actually have a photo of the author in her outfits but here is one.
  2. Fred Dibnah laddering a chimney (part 1) – Video of Steeplejack Fred Dibnah showing how he climbs a [industrial] chimney.
  3. Do the math: Space-Based Solar Power – The extra output of space-based solar power doesn’t appear to outweigh the extra costs.
  4. Oldest and Fatherless: The Terrible Secret of Tom Bombadil – probably for Lord of the Rings fans only.

Links: Slums, NZ IPOs, Columbia, NY Traffic

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
  1. The Classic Slum – an extended review and summary of the book of the same name by Robert Roberts. It is about the English slum that Roberts grew up in the early 1900s.
  2. IPOing in NZ – notes from the NZX and Xero presentation – Summary by Lance Wiggs of a presentation by Xero CEO Rod Drury. The slides are also linked.
  3. Ungridlocked – What happened when New York closed traffic in Time and Herald Squares.
  4. Columbia’s Last FlightThe inside story of the investigation—and the catastrophe it laid bare (2003)