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November 29, 2006

At last some forward thinking!

I've lamented the parlous state of wifi in Australia before - $10 an hour or much more in places like the Sydney International Airport, few hotspots of any description, whole airport terminals with no coverage, whole hotels with not even expensive ethernet web access. But news today that the NSW State Government is looking to provide free wifi in the Sydney CBD and other major areas by 2008. Excellent news indeed.

November 29, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

November 28, 2006

Web Directions North Affiliate Program

Want to come to Web Directions but maybe the budget's a bit tight? We've just made it a bit easier for you. We’ve created an opportunity for you to get yourself a free ticket, as well as hotel accomodation and places on the ski trip.

Join our affiliate program and get 4 people to sign up for the conference and we'll give you a free ticket for youself. And then for every additional 5 after this, we'll put you up for a night in the conference hotel, or give you a day of skiing and boarding at Blackcomb Whistler - up to you.

All you need to do is get your unique URL from us, and then you can spread the word in whatever way you think is right for you.

To get involved, all you need to do is send us your details via this page and we'll send you your unique affiliate URL.

Once you have the URL you can promote the conference however you like - and it's ok to get imaginitive with this. You can simply talk about the conference at your site, and use any of our badges.

Or, it’s absolutely OK to team up with 4 friends, use the URL to sign up, apply for the free ticket, then share the price of the 4 tickets between the 5 of you – this way you each pay just $716 – a 20% discount.

The combination of amazing speakers, fantastic location, and ofter hours events will make Web Directions North about as good as a conference can be. But the connections and friendships that you build there are what will make it even better. Start now with our affiliate program, and see you in Vancouver come February

November 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 26, 2006

paid intern opportunity - desktop app developer

As we get more and more busy here at westciv, and more diversified in our projects, I find myself with less time to lock myself away and develop. I've had a couple of really interesting projects sitting on my desktop for far to long, waiting to be finished - so we've decided to test the waters by looking for an intern developer. With the Australian University holidays about to begin, this would be a great oppotunity for someone motivated, hard working, and with good development skills to get some commercial experience, and work with a successful company. So if that's you, or sounds like someone you know, please get in touch. Ideally it will be someone in and around Sydney.

Western Civilisation pty. ltd. is a successful software developer, publisher of the leading Cascading Style Sheet development tool, Style Master, for Mac OS X and Windows, and the publishers of a series of widely acclaimed web development technology training courses. We are are looking for a desktop application developer to work on new projects in the web development tools space.

Westciv have a long track record in successful software publishing and development.
Until now, all development has been done by the principals of the company, but as the company has grown, and diversified, into training, publishing, and the Web Directions Conference series, the capacity to undertake new projects, and complete existing ones, has been significantly diminished.

At present, there is an alpha level application which is largely low level feature complete, which we hope to be able to finish with a competent desktop application developer in a reasonably short amount of time, as well as other projects in various stages of development.

The developer

Westciv is looking for a competent desktop application developer to complete a desktop based tool for both Mac OS X and Windows (XP and Vista), and possibly Linux

The successful applicant would have demonstrated experience with

  • Modern, object oriented, dynamic languages
  • Desktop application development - double clickable apps for Mac OS X and or Windows - experience with both platforms is very desirable, as is experience with Linux platforms
  • Exposure to RealBasic is desirable but not essential
Above all, the person we are looking for will be
  • smart
  • hard working
  • able to work independently
  • love learning, as well as taking responsibility

The role

The role is project based, and would suit a newly graduated student, or a motivated, high achieving student between years.
The project is planned for around 10 weeks, which makes it an ideal paid "intern" role over the summer break, but there is also the possibility that ongoing contract based work, or a more permanent role with the company.

The benefits

The role is contract based, with remuneration to be determined based on the applicant's experience.
Hardware and or software to complete the task will be provided as required.

This will be an opportunity to work with a successful Australian software development company, with well over ten thousand customers around the world. The developer would be exposed to a broad range of tasks associated with such an enterprise including

  • Software design and Development
  • Testing - including beta test program with hundreds of testers
  • Software marketing
  • Documentation
  • Working with third party contractors, including world renowned graphic designers
  • Working with a range of software and hardware tools, libraries

making it a very worthwhile role for gaining experience of a range of tasks associated with software development.

Interested applicants should email John Allsopp john@westciv.com, with a CV, and where possible links to or examples of work which demonstrates the required skills and aptitudes.

November 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 23, 2006

Summer in Australia

An Australian summer doesn't begin on December the 1st, or the summer solstice. It doesn't begin with the summer school holidays, or your first surf after winter, or the sound of the first cicadas (an insect much like cricket or locusts that chirp loudly in the warmer moths) or the first night you wake up and smell the smoke of distant bushfires so strong that you think the building next door might be on fire, or the first barbie (Barbeque) of the season.

No, an Aussie summer begns with the first ball of the first cricket test match. And it's an even better summer when once every four years the English team visit. This morning, at 11am Australian Eastern Summer Time, summer began.

And so far, it's going very nicely.

November 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

November 21, 2006

Enough of the negativity - Win Cool Stuff!

Right, it might be my extremely imminent 40th Birthday, or the fact that we've all been sick here in the last week, all three of us simulataneously, but anyway, all that is clearing, so time to get a bit positive on yo' ass (he says weirdly channeling Samual L. Jackson)

Soooo, here is some fun cool stuff.

Get creative and win a ticket to Web Directions North with Digital Web Magazine

Our very good friends over at Digital Web Magazine are giving away a ticket to the conference (including a post conference day skiing or snowboarding at Whistler), and two runner up prizes of a day's skiing or boarding at Whistler.

To win, submit your very own snowboard design! In the grand tradition of pro snowboarders and classic boardsmiths like Burton, Lib Tech, and Sims, we invite you to put your design skills into the most radical snowboard ever! Make it geeky, make it awesome, make it classic—whatever you want, it's your design. Not a designer? We've got an option for you. Take a photo of yourself on an improvised snowboard of your own invention. Sure, it might not be snow-legal, but it could work in a pinch. The more inventive, the better! Absolutely can't attend? Enter your design anyway - join the fun! Plus, we just might have some other prizes.

Entry details over at Digital Web - so check 'em out and start designing. - And here's a blank to get you started.

snowboard blank

November 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 20, 2006

Here we go again - FTA $%^&ing up Australian Intellectual Property Laws

Because the Australian economy is clearly being destroyed by an epidemic of copyright infringement (AKA Intellectual Property Theft, all depends on whom you ask), Australian's no doubt need a hastily cobbled together ((by whom?) piece of legislation rammed through the parliament in the dying days of the year, potentially criminalizing all kinds of barbaric activities such as singing "Happy Birthday" in public, while no one seems to give much of a crap.

Look, is it the Government's job to prop up aging monopolist industries with their chicken little scenarios for the end of civilisation if said government does not legislate against people's actual behavior? Past experiences with this fom of social engineering typcially has unforseen consequences. Like the entrenched Mafia in the US, a consequence of prohibition, abandoned nearly 80 years ago, or urban gangsterism, a function of the demand side criminalizing of in particular crack cocaine in the early 1980s (note we don't have yuppie gang wars, despite the ongoing epidemic use of cocaine among young urban professionals. More's the pity).

Seems that we have some genuinely civilisation threatening issues to address, that will probably impact the planet a tad more than people copying songs. But hey, governments gotta get their priorities straight.

Yet again, mainstream media ignores this ludicrous waste of effort, while the political opposition seems quite happy to let the government pass laws of little real value, that are so badly drafted that they criminalize all kind of far from illigitimate behavior.

And once more might I observe that my entire livelihood pretty much depends on people paying me to use the inutellectual property that my company creates, so supposedly this sort of crap is in my interest. But I know it's not. It just further creates a "moral economy" where people fel it is ok to copy say music from large corporations who behave in unethical unscrupulous ways. Be very careful what you wish for RIAA (particularly when you start playing the "starving artist" card).

People have copied music since it was possible. 200 years ago, musical references to and quotations of the works of other composers was considered the height of artistic achievement (heard of a guy called Beethoven?) (compare with sampling today, where what many, me included, consider legitimate artistic expression is legislated and litigated into the ground).
Music, like language, is a virus. Legislation, like DRM and other mechanisms to minimize copying (note to music guys in suits - playing music, whether digitally, analogue, humming, or strumming is copying) simply stops the virulance of its spread. You guys want the virus to spread - that's the easy part. Then you need to work out a way of making money from that - simply taxing the flow of bits through monopoly distribution channels doesn't cut it anymore - sorry, your customers have choices now - some of them legal (iTunes), some of them less so.

But getting the nanny state to bail you out by criminalizing the very behavior you want. Man, that is some dumb shit.

Welcome to the anti social.

November 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 12, 2006

OK, about that shark thing

I really should have remembered that Fonzie actually jumped the shark on water skis. Watch it now! (thanks to Brian Suda for the link. I think.)

November 12, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 11, 2006

I love a new meme

I love a meme, partcularly one which is not invented

Seems like I am not entirely the only one who thinks perhaps the whole Web2.0 thing might really be a bit tired.

November 11, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Fonzie is not only on the bike

He's mid air over a pool with a black cardboard triangle sticking up out of it.

November 11, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 10, 2006

Web 2.0 officially jumps shark

You know, this is going to sound awfully bitchy, and I really should keep my head pulled in, but I do feel I have some vested interest in all this. How come in 2 short years, "web 2.0" went from "The Web As Platform", "Harnessing Collective Intelligence", "Data is the Next Intel Inside" and other high minded ideals to a bunch of venture capitalists, investment bankers, old media execs along with a bunch of entrepreneurs pimping their two week old companies with bugger all revenues to show for them (but loads of Alexa action) to aforesaid execs, VCs and bankers with wallets full o' cash. Who said we learned a heap from bubble 1.0? Geez, I am almost nostalgic for hundred million dollar sock puppets, and online sandwich stores that could deliver a pastrami on rye anywhere in the world inside 15 mins for 10 bucks. Least back then no one pretended it wasn't all about the money, or that customers weren't really just a mechanism for cashing out and buying a sports car. And is it freudian that the url for the location for the epicenter of this world right now, the Web 2.0 conference is http://web2con.com?

Think I am exaggerating? Well, what do you make of the CEO of AOL introducing Lou Reed to the Web 2.0 conference crowd, who apparently don't even have the good grace to shut up or leave the room while one of the late 20th Centuries more interesting iconic figures plays a private set for you.

As Reed himself observed "Who would have thought it would come to this. I’d be playing at a cyberspace conference, brought here by AOL". Come now Lou, no one forced you! (well, as Krusty once observed "they drove a dump truck full of money up to my house, a man's not made of stone"). Clearly, craggy faced appearances to the contrary, nor is Lou Reed (and I don't know if he played "heroin, but he did play Sweet Jane".)

Look, I am not averse to people making money, or to business, or even caring less for Lou Reed. Afterall I've had a pretty reasonably successful web based software and publishing company for a decade (sure we do really boring old fashioned business like sell software to people for, you know, folding stuff, which they use to make themselves more productive and creative), and haven't ever owned a Lou Reed album. But that's not the point.

The excitement and enthusiasm among the web design and development community (you know, the people who got their hands dirty, and implemented technology, and ideas and stuff) a couple of years back about "web 2.0", was the sense that the term captured something new, exciting, interesting, promising going on, that went beyond simply the business, to a way of thinking about, and developing for people using the web. It was about tapping into the genius of the web as a network, as a medium, as a distribution mechanism.

That it's reduced to pimping online postit notes, or yet another blog search engine while analysts from investment banks tell us about the future of the web, well, as little Leyton (Leyton Hewitt to non Australians, that's what we call him down here) "COME ON".

OK, I've got that off my chest. You know the irony - early December I am speaking at two conferences in three days, on "what is Web 2.0", first at a Travel conference then a film/television conference (somehow I got to be the down under "what is web 2.0 guy"). And you know, there is still so much to be excited about. But it's hard when it feels like 1999 all over again (at least they could have got Prince eh?)

November 10, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack