Monthly Archives: January 2008

★ Back Home

I go away for a long weekend with my fiance and this is what I come back to;

  • 300+ rss updates in Google Reader
  • 250 actual emails, plus 300 or so spam
  • 4 blog posts that didn’t publish
  • 30 articles to publish on IWTB blog

I was expecting to come back to a chock-a-block full RSS Reader but 300+ is a bit much, damn all you bloggers for not taking the weekend off as well. So far I’ve made my way through 175 of them, that is to say I skimmed through that many and didn’t find anything that needed more than a ‘glance read’.

One thing that did suprise me a little was that even though nothing was published all weekend I actually gained a couple of RSS subscribers, and stats wise my daily traffic didn’t dip at all. In the past I would’ve expected to lose subscribers and the daily hits to drop next to zero.

Anyway, bear with me for a couple of hours while I try to work out why those articles didn’t get published, and while I edit some photos and write a blog on our long weekend.

In the meantime, why not subscribe to my rss feed so that you get my updates sent straight to you!

★ Back Home

I go away for a long weekend with my fiance and this is what I come back to;

  • 300+ rss updates in Google Reader
  • 250 actual emails, plus 300 or so spam
  • 4 blog posts that didn’t publish
  • 30 articles to publish on IWTB blog

I was expecting to come back to a chock-a-block full RSS Reader but 300+ is a bit much, damn all you bloggers for not taking the weekend off as well. So far I’ve made my way through 175 of them, that is to say I skimmed through that many and didn’t find anything that needed more than a ‘glance read’.

One thing that did suprise me a little was that even though nothing was published all weekend I actually gained a couple of RSS subscribers, and stats wise my daily traffic didn’t dip at all. In the past I would’ve expected to lose subscribers and the daily hits to drop next to zero.

Anyway, bear with me for a couple of hours while I try to work out why those articles didn’t get published, and while I edit some photos and write a blog on our long weekend.

In the meantime, why not subscribe to my rss feed so that you get my updates sent straight to you!

★ Dodge Nitro – Test Drive

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was looking for a new car and that the shortlist was a Dodge Nitro, Jeep Wrangler 4 door, VW Golf GT and Subaru Forester. Well I’ve all but dropped the Golf from the list because of it’s size, not the actual car or interior size but it’s driving size. I just dont think I can go that small of a vehicle in traffic.

Anyway, today I started test driving the cars I’ve shortlisted and first up was the Dodge Nitro.

I went on in to Kloster Dodge, who also happen to sell Jeep Wranglers, and booked myself a test drive. We went over all the specifics of the Dodge Nitro specifically the indicators being on the opposite side as it was an American vehicle, apart from that it had all the standard things like electric mirrors, electric windows, etc.

When I first got in the Nitro I found that seating position a little too laid back for a 4WD, however after a bunch of stuffing around with the seat controls I got it all setup right for me.

The interior is quite nice and well laid out, the CD player controls are within easy reach and the stereo has an input jack so I can plug in my iPod Touch without a problem.

The steering column has all the height and reach adjustments that come in most vehicles these days, the instrument panel is large and easy to read and while the indicators are on the wrong side, compared to my Mazda Tribute, I’m sure I’ll get used to them quickly.

Driving wise the Nitro has a very solid stance on the road and to my suprise it actually corners quite well, normally vehicles like this have a load of body roll from being a little top heavy but I must admit it handled a whole lot better than the Tribute.

The other BIG feature for me is that the Nitro is available with a diesel engine. Currently my Mazda Tribute is gulping down petrol and is costing a fortune to run, I get around 400km out of a 60L tank which costs me about $80.00 to fill up, so hopefully moving over to diesel will reduce my weekly running costs by a solid percentage.

After driving the Dodge Nitro I was almost ready to buy one on the spot, till I spoke to the salesman and was informed of the ’08 price increase of around 10% ie. $4000. They ‘think’ they can get me an ’07 plated one, but no guarantee that I’ll get one of the colours I prefer.

The other problem is that it does go over my initial budget of $40,000, with an on-road cost of around $44,000. I’ve done some quick price checking and it seems that diesel vehicles do cost more than their petrol version across the board, so now it’s time to work out how much I actually spend on fuel per annum and see if it out-weighs the cost of going diesel from the outset.

Stay tuned for updates!

★ Dodge Nitro – Test Drive

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was looking for a new car and that the shortlist was a Dodge Nitro, Jeep Wrangler 4 door, VW Golf GT and Subaru Forester. Well I’ve all but dropped the Golf from the list because of it’s size, not the actual car or interior size but it’s driving size. I just dont think I can go that small of a vehicle in traffic.

Anyway, today I started test driving the cars I’ve shortlisted and first up was the Dodge Nitro.

I went on in to Kloster Dodge, who also happen to sell Jeep Wranglers, and booked myself a test drive. We went over all the specifics of the Dodge Nitro specifically the indicators being on the opposite side as it was an American vehicle, apart from that it had all the standard things like electric mirrors, electric windows, etc.

When I first got in the Nitro I found that seating position a little too laid back for a 4WD, however after a bunch of stuffing around with the seat controls I got it all setup right for me.

The interior is quite nice and well laid out, the CD player controls are within easy reach and the stereo has an input jack so I can plug in my iPod Touch without a problem.

The steering column has all the height and reach adjustments that come in most vehicles these days, the instrument panel is large and easy to read and while the indicators are on the wrong side, compared to my Mazda Tribute, I’m sure I’ll get used to them quickly.

Driving wise the Nitro has a very solid stance on the road and to my suprise it actually corners quite well, normally vehicles like this have a load of body roll from being a little top heavy but I must admit it handled a whole lot better than the Tribute.

The other BIG feature for me is that the Nitro is available with a diesel engine. Currently my Mazda Tribute is gulping down petrol and is costing a fortune to run, I get around 400km out of a 60L tank which costs me about $80.00 to fill up, so hopefully moving over to diesel will reduce my weekly running costs by a solid percentage.

After driving the Dodge Nitro I was almost ready to buy one on the spot, till I spoke to the salesman and was informed of the ’08 price increase of around 10% ie. $4000. They ‘think’ they can get me an ’07 plated one, but no guarantee that I’ll get one of the colours I prefer.

The other problem is that it does go over my initial budget of $40,000, with an on-road cost of around $44,000. I’ve done some quick price checking and it seems that diesel vehicles do cost more than their petrol version across the board, so now it’s time to work out how much I actually spend on fuel per annum and see if it out-weighs the cost of going diesel from the outset.

Stay tuned for updates!

★ Working from home – Motivation and Accountability?

While I’ve been on long service leave from my 9-5 job I’ve been putting more and more effort into this blog and trying to grow a steady income from it. So far the success has been small, revenue wise, however there has been a noticeable increase over the past 3 weeks.

I’m not going to bore you with all the details on how I’ve done this, but what I would like to focus on is how I’ve gotten into the frame of mind to do this, because it’s not easy to get up and be motivated to write every day, particularly because I am on holidays.

So here’s a few tips on what I’ve done, hopefully there might be something here that you can use.

Develop A Routine!

Yes I’m on holidays and dont have to strictly follow any set daily format, however to stay on top of what I was trying to achieve I’ve made sure I get up in the morning at the same time I would’ve been if I was going to the office. I made sure I’m eating a good breakfast, showering and dressing as if I was going to work even if I’m only putting on shorts and a t-shirt.

During the day I try to take my normal coffee breaks as I would’ve in the office, and I’ll break the day up into different parts so that I have different tasks to complete for the different projects that I’m doing.

Write To-Do Lists!

Over breakfast, coffee, while stopped at traffic lights, etc. I have little brainstorming sessions to try and come up with new blog articles, photo shoot setups, presentations, marketing ideas, etc. so I carry a notebook on me most of the day now so that I can write these things down. Another thing I use this notebook for is writing To-Do lists of things I need to get done that day, week, or month.

Using this notebook and the To-Do lists means that I dont forget ideas when once I’ve had them, also it means that things that need to get done actually get done!

Set Deadlines!

Ok so you’re carrying around a cool looking moleskin notebook and you’re scribbling in it all the time, but all it amounts to is a notepad full of writing. Chances are you haven’t given yourself a deadline to work toward.

I set deadlines for the littlest things I do, be it as menial as doing the washing up to things like working on a marketing plan or revising a business direction. It’s also important to set realistic deadlines as well, there’s no point in saying that you’ll have a website completely overhauled in 2 days when most likely it will take you that amount of time to work on just the logo.

Make Sure You’re Accountable!

What’s the point in setting the deadline if there’s no one to make sure you’re making them? Not much at all, so what you need to do is find a way of becoming accountable for achieving or not achieving a set deadline. I’ve found in the past that I’d set a deadline, wouldn’t make it so I would either let it slide or just not complete the task at all.

Now days what I’ll do is tell my partner Cath what I’m going to do, or tell the people on my blog what I’m going to do, or even tell my friends on Twitter / Facebook / Myspace what I’m gonig to do. Usually someone will chase me up for not doing it, and often they’ll give you a bit of a stir which in turn motivates me to get the task done.

Reward Yourself!

At the end of the day you’ve wiped your To-Do list clean, everything is done and you’re feeling pretty good for completing it all, well you should reward yourself so that when tomorrow comes you’re going to be motivated again.

I like to reward myself with a trip down to the driving range to hit some golf balls, it’s also stress relieving if you’ve had to work extra hard. If it’s too wet for golf I’ll go grab a movie I’ve been wanting to see, or I’ll watch something I’ve recorded from tv, or if all else fails I’ll go surf through some of my favourite bookmarks in firefox.

Whatever your thing is that you like to do, if you’ve achieved all your goals today then take some ‘relax’ time.

Hopefully there is something in here that will help you work better from home, whether it be your daily chores you have to do through to actually walking away from your 9-5 office job and taking the plunge into running your own business from home.

I’d like to hear from you now, what do you do to get motivate and stay motivated? What drives you and your ambition?

★ Working from home – Motivation and Accountability?

While I’ve been on long service leave from my 9-5 job I’ve been putting more and more effort into this blog and trying to grow a steady income from it. So far the success has been small, revenue wise, however there has been a noticeable increase over the past 3 weeks.

I’m not going to bore you with all the details on how I’ve done this, but what I would like to focus on is how I’ve gotten into the frame of mind to do this, because it’s not easy to get up and be motivated to write every day, particularly because I am on holidays.

So here’s a few tips on what I’ve done, hopefully there might be something here that you can use.

Develop A Routine!

Yes I’m on holidays and dont have to strictly follow any set daily format, however to stay on top of what I was trying to achieve I’ve made sure I get up in the morning at the same time I would’ve been if I was going to the office. I made sure I’m eating a good breakfast, showering and dressing as if I was going to work even if I’m only putting on shorts and a t-shirt.

During the day I try to take my normal coffee breaks as I would’ve in the office, and I’ll break the day up into different parts so that I have different tasks to complete for the different projects that I’m doing.

Write To-Do Lists!

Over breakfast, coffee, while stopped at traffic lights, etc. I have little brainstorming sessions to try and come up with new blog articles, photo shoot setups, presentations, marketing ideas, etc. so I carry a notebook on me most of the day now so that I can write these things down. Another thing I use this notebook for is writing To-Do lists of things I need to get done that day, week, or month.

Using this notebook and the To-Do lists means that I dont forget ideas when once I’ve had them, also it means that things that need to get done actually get done!

Set Deadlines!

Ok so you’re carrying around a cool looking moleskin notebook and you’re scribbling in it all the time, but all it amounts to is a notepad full of writing. Chances are you haven’t given yourself a deadline to work toward.

I set deadlines for the littlest things I do, be it as menial as doing the washing up to things like working on a marketing plan or revising a business direction. It’s also important to set realistic deadlines as well, there’s no point in saying that you’ll have a website completely overhauled in 2 days when most likely it will take you that amount of time to work on just the logo.

Make Sure You’re Accountable!

What’s the point in setting the deadline if there’s no one to make sure you’re making them? Not much at all, so what you need to do is find a way of becoming accountable for achieving or not achieving a set deadline. I’ve found in the past that I’d set a deadline, wouldn’t make it so I would either let it slide or just not complete the task at all.

Now days what I’ll do is tell my partner Cath what I’m going to do, or tell the people on my blog what I’m going to do, or even tell my friends on Twitter / Facebook / Myspace what I’m gonig to do. Usually someone will chase me up for not doing it, and often they’ll give you a bit of a stir which in turn motivates me to get the task done.

Reward Yourself!

At the end of the day you’ve wiped your To-Do list clean, everything is done and you’re feeling pretty good for completing it all, well you should reward yourself so that when tomorrow comes you’re going to be motivated again.

I like to reward myself with a trip down to the driving range to hit some golf balls, it’s also stress relieving if you’ve had to work extra hard. If it’s too wet for golf I’ll go grab a movie I’ve been wanting to see, or I’ll watch something I’ve recorded from tv, or if all else fails I’ll go surf through some of my favourite bookmarks in firefox.

Whatever your thing is that you like to do, if you’ve achieved all your goals today then take some ‘relax’ time.

Hopefully there is something in here that will help you work better from home, whether it be your daily chores you have to do through to actually walking away from your 9-5 office job and taking the plunge into running your own business from home.

I’d like to hear from you now, what do you do to get motivate and stay motivated? What drives you and your ambition?

★ No More Energy Drinks!

Well today is the first day of the new me, well atleast the less ‘unnaturally energized’ version of me.

Hi my name is Matt and I’m addicted to energy drinks, Red Bull, Rockstar, Monster, Mother, V, you name it and I’ve drunk it at some stage.

Actually I’m not addicted to them but my better half has suggested that I shouldn’t drink so many of them and she’s probably right so as of today I’m 100% Ginseng, Guarana, and Taurine free! Hopefully no late nights coding and surfing the net because I cant sleep, fingers crossed anyway.

Anyway, I need to finish a couple of other articles up but figured I should write this one first seeing as it’s so short and sweet, and I didn’t blog anything over the weekend for the first time in a long time.

★ No More Energy Drinks!

Well today is the first day of the new me, well atleast the less ‘unnaturally energized’ version of me.

Hi my name is Matt and I’m addicted to energy drinks, Red Bull, Rockstar, Monster, Mother, V, you name it and I’ve drunk it at some stage.

Actually I’m not addicted to them but my better half has suggested that I shouldn’t drink so many of them and she’s probably right so as of today I’m 100% Ginseng, Guarana, and Taurine free! Hopefully no late nights coding and surfing the net because I cant sleep, fingers crossed anyway.

Anyway, I need to finish a couple of other articles up but figured I should write this one first seeing as it’s so short and sweet, and I didn’t blog anything over the weekend for the first time in a long time.

★ Playing catch up

For the first time in a long time I ignored the callings of my computer all weekend, it was actually quite good.

We had a wedding on Friday afternoon, then another one on Saturday which went till some time past midnight, and Sunday was spent doing pretty well nothing.

Anyway, this will be a super short blog this morning as I have 200 plus emails to wade through and about 400 something updates in Google Reader…plus I need some breakfast and a coffee..

Talk to you this afternoon, take it easy.

★ Playing catch up

For the first time in a long time I ignored the callings of my computer all weekend, it was actually quite good.

We had a wedding on Friday afternoon, then another one on Saturday which went till some time past midnight, and Sunday was spent doing pretty well nothing.

Anyway, this will be a super short blog this morning as I have 200 plus emails to wade through and about 400 something updates in Google Reader…plus I need some breakfast and a coffee..

Talk to you this afternoon, take it easy.

★ Big Brother Down Under – part II

My post the other day criticizing the Australian Government’s decision to filter all incoming internet content in an ‘opt out’ system seemed to get quite a lot of hits, around 500 odd actually. Normally my traffic is around the 200 – 250 mark but something about that post brought in quite a bit of extra traffic, probably because it’s just a bit of a restriction on our freedom of speech..who knows…hrmm
Continue reading

★ Big Brother Down Under – part II

My post the other day criticizing the Australian Government’s decision to filter all incoming internet content in an ‘opt out’ system seemed to get quite a lot of hits, around 500 odd actually. Normally my traffic is around the 200 – 250 mark but something about that post brought in quite a bit of extra traffic, probably because it’s just a bit of a restriction on our freedom of speech..who knows…hrmm
Continue reading

★ Big Brother Down Under?

There’s been a couple of news articles here in Australia which have really caught my attention in the last week or two. Both are quite topical in this age of freedom of speech and the government ‘spying’ on and or monitoring our activities as citizens, and to be frank they’ve gotten me a little angry.

Let’s get the first one out of the way.

Last year the Howard government spent some 85 million dollars on providing content filtering software to Australian households in an attempt to protect our children for ‘the evils of the internet’. Now don’t get me wrong I believe that the security of our children should be top priority however I think that the way that the government has previously gone about it was poorly done and to be honest I believe a lot of the responsibility should come back on to the parents and how they’re teaching their children to interact with the world.

Well the Labor Government agrees with my opinion that the Howard government did it incorrectly as well, they’ve since come up with their own ‘solution’ which they’ve dubbed ‘Clean Feeds’. Basically these ‘clean feeds’ mean that the content that you are viewing on the internet would have to be approved through a filtering system on your ISP’s servers before it hits your web browser…hrmm tell me I’m wrong here but wont this slow down the already woeful speed of adsl in Australia, not to mention the unfortunate people who live outside of areas that have adsl available to them and are still on dialup?

Another area that will be effected is the freedom of speech and information in Australia. What’s to stop the government from filtering out content such as this that speaks out against such a system, not a lot I’d say. Just like I can add a ‘competitive ad filter’ on my Google Adsense account to stop the display of an advertisement that I dont feel is appropriate for my blogs audience, so could the Labor Government to stop any anti-government movement..Australia or North Korea??

Telecommunications Minister Stephen Conroy has been quoted as saying;

“Labor makes no apologies to those that argue that any regulation of the internet is like going down the Chinese road,” he said. “If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree.”

In my opinion the Minister is using this child pornography tag as a scare tactic so that it becomes easier for the Labor Government to get this legislation through without losing too much face on the issue of freedom of speech.

Again I’d like to know where are the parents while their children are surfing the internet? Why are you not keeping an eye on what your children are doing? Why are you not educating them on right and wrong? Sure curiosity normally gets the better of kids, and I’ll admit sneaking a mate’s dad’s hustler magazine down to the shack we used to hang out at when we were kids, but if you’ve taught your kids about right and wrong, respecting other people, and have generally taken an interest in their activities then in most circumstances your kids will grow up to become good respectable people.

Back to the ‘clean feeds’ issue. Well it turns out that this ‘service’ that will be provided by your local friendly ISP will be an ‘opt out’ service as opposed to an ‘opt in’ service, so what does that actually mean? Everyone who has an account with an Internet Service Provider in Australia, be it Optus, Bigpond, whoever, will be automatically subscribed to this service. If you do not want this filtering on your service you will have to ring your ISP and tell them that you would like the ‘clean feed’ filtering removed from your account and you will have to answer a questionaire, which will no doubt be entered into a database which the government will no doubt have access to…hrmmm sounds sketchy to me?

Techcrunch have their own say on the subject here, and you can read the Labor’s Plan for Cyber-Safety by downloading their pdf here.

There’s also this fantastic ‘propaganda‘ video here on You Tube.

★ Big Brother Down Under?

There’s been a couple of news articles here in Australia which have really caught my attention in the last week or two. Both are quite topical in this age of freedom of speech and the government ‘spying’ on and or monitoring our activities as citizens, and to be frank they’ve gotten me a little angry.

Let’s get the first one out of the way.

Last year the Howard government spent some 85 million dollars on providing content filtering software to Australian households in an attempt to protect our children for ‘the evils of the internet’. Now don’t get me wrong I believe that the security of our children should be top priority however I think that the way that the government has previously gone about it was poorly done and to be honest I believe a lot of the responsibility should come back on to the parents and how they’re teaching their children to interact with the world.

Well the Labor Government agrees with my opinion that the Howard government did it incorrectly as well, they’ve since come up with their own ‘solution’ which they’ve dubbed ‘Clean Feeds’. Basically these ‘clean feeds’ mean that the content that you are viewing on the internet would have to be approved through a filtering system on your ISP’s servers before it hits your web browser…hrmm tell me I’m wrong here but wont this slow down the already woeful speed of adsl in Australia, not to mention the unfortunate people who live outside of areas that have adsl available to them and are still on dialup?

Another area that will be effected is the freedom of speech and information in Australia. What’s to stop the government from filtering out content such as this that speaks out against such a system, not a lot I’d say. Just like I can add a ‘competitive ad filter’ on my Google Adsense account to stop the display of an advertisement that I dont feel is appropriate for my blogs audience, so could the Labor Government to stop any anti-government movement..Australia or North Korea??

Telecommunications Minister Stephen Conroy has been quoted as saying;

“Labor makes no apologies to those that argue that any regulation of the internet is like going down the Chinese road,” he said. “If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree.”

In my opinion the Minister is using this child pornography tag as a scare tactic so that it becomes easier for the Labor Government to get this legislation through without losing too much face on the issue of freedom of speech.

Again I’d like to know where are the parents while their children are surfing the internet? Why are you not keeping an eye on what your children are doing? Why are you not educating them on right and wrong? Sure curiosity normally gets the better of kids, and I’ll admit sneaking a mate’s dad’s hustler magazine down to the shack we used to hang out at when we were kids, but if you’ve taught your kids about right and wrong, respecting other people, and have generally taken an interest in their activities then in most circumstances your kids will grow up to become good respectable people.

Back to the ‘clean feeds’ issue. Well it turns out that this ‘service’ that will be provided by your local friendly ISP will be an ‘opt out’ service as opposed to an ‘opt in’ service, so what does that actually mean? Everyone who has an account with an Internet Service Provider in Australia, be it Optus, Bigpond, whoever, will be automatically subscribed to this service. If you do not want this filtering on your service you will have to ring your ISP and tell them that you would like the ‘clean feed’ filtering removed from your account and you will have to answer a questionaire, which will no doubt be entered into a database which the government will no doubt have access to…hrmmm sounds sketchy to me?

Techcrunch have their own say on the subject here, and you can read the Labor’s Plan for Cyber-Safety by downloading their pdf here.

There’s also this fantastic ‘propaganda‘ video here on You Tube.

★ FOZI Tripod

We got sent one of these FOZI Tripods a while ago, and we raved about the idea and execution as one of the best designed products we’d ever seen. Well now the company who manufactures them has setup reseller packs so we figured it was time to bring it back to your attention.

The reseller pack includes a laminated A4 colour product information sheet, 13 PINK FOZI Tripods, 12 BLACK FOZI Tripods (each in an individual sealed bag, with product description tag) and a white 2 part box which can also be used for presentation display. The price is in Australian Dollars (AUD) and includes INTERNATIONAL AIRMAIL DELIVERY to USA, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand and European Union countries, and insurance.

You can order them over in the Timetale Shop now.

★ FOZI Tripod

We got sent one of these FOZI Tripods a while ago, and we raved about the idea and execution as one of the best designed products we’d ever seen. Well now the company who manufactures them has setup reseller packs so we figured it was time to bring it back to your attention.

The reseller pack includes a laminated A4 colour product information sheet, 13 PINK FOZI Tripods, 12 BLACK FOZI Tripods (each in an individual sealed bag, with product description tag) and a white 2 part box which can also be used for presentation display. The price is in Australian Dollars (AUD) and includes INTERNATIONAL AIRMAIL DELIVERY to USA, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand and European Union countries, and insurance.

You can order them over in the Timetale Shop now.