My Geek Origin Story

As Microsoft TechEd 2011 is fast approaching & Delic8genius has made a call-out to the Australian community “What is your Geek Origin Story

So, it’s time for me to document My Geek Origin Story

My first geek obsession started with cats. Or, as we now call them, kittehs. Quiet companions on the Autistic scale, kittehs added their warm furry friendliness to my pursuits – and were always more accommodating than humans. Therefore, I classify kittehs as a key moment in my geek origins.
Along with kittehs in this photo are the collection of Airfix and Revell models. The history of World War 2, and the making of model aeroplanes was a rather unique pursuit in the middle of rural Eyre Peninsula. But I loved it. Oh, that and LEGO.

After being introduced to an Apple ][, on loan to our school from Angle Park Computing Centre, by a prescient Maths & Science Teacher: Mr Peter Stewart,  I was hooked. From this early access, I also played with a TI programmable calculator and CP/M based Osborne 1.

My Dad, sensing my inability to become the 5th generation owner of the farm, purchased a TRS-80 Model I. Oh wow, the fun I had with that computer was amazing.

I owe Mr Peter Stewart and my Dad a great debt.

Note on Angle Park Computer Centre: many South Australian Geeks of my generation began thanks to Angle Park Computer Centre. Stilgherrian, Frank Falco, Simon Hackett and David Newell to name four. Being a country kid, we relied on loaners.

More cats: this time Bindi; with our/my first Macintosh: a 128K Macintosh. One of the first in South Australia: so first, it only came with a 110V power board!

Thanks to Tim Kleemann from Random Access (later owner of Next Byte) – this Macintosh opened the door on a career & a love of Apple.

Taken sometime in 1984 or 1985, this is me at my Macintosh. A harbinger of the next 13 years in the IT industry.
Random Access, Adelaide. 1987. This is me at my desk, working away at some Macintosh things. Thanks to Tim Kleemann, Trevor Starke & Adrian van den Bok – and many others – I worked here happily doing Mac things.

TechEd 2008, Blogger’s Lunch Thursday 4th September

“Discussion: Are Social Networks the New User Groups?”

An ever popular feature of Tech Ed is the Blogger’s Lunch and this year should be no exception. Hosted by Roger Lawrence, Evangelism Manager at Microsoft Australia, this years Blogger’s Lunch will debate the proposition that Social Networks are the new User Groups. Make sure you add the Blogger’s lunch in your schedule builder and make your opinion count.

Topic: “Are Social Networks the new User Groups” hosted by Roger Lawrence

Panelists For: Deeps de Silva

Panelists Against: Andrew Coates

Date: Thursday , 4 September
Time: 1:00pm– 1:50pm (lunch available in foyer from 12.30pm)
Venue: Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour

Room: Bayside Terrace, Level 2

Cost: complimentary for Tech Ed Delegates (limited seats available)

Windows Mobile 6, Treo 750 and Telstra

Thanks to some good friends I met at TechEd last week, I’ve received and installed a build of Windows Mobile 6 on my trusty Treo 750.  Long Zheng talked about this last week.

After a few minutes of resetup (yes, I did have a data backup) my phone has leapt into 2007.

The Treo 750 UI feels faster and more responsibe. Which is a way cool thing. Thanks Palm!

TechEd 2007. Good luck, Frankarr!

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Bye, bye Mr Developer Guy.

bye bye mr developer guy
bye bye mr developer guy
. Nigel Watson, Finula Crowe and David Safjar surprised and rocked out TechEd with this catchy ditty.

Frank Arrigo, a stalwart of Microsoft Australia is leaving for Microsoft HQ. He’s been kicked upstairs. He’s going to subvert a different hierarchy. Australia’s loss, Microsoft’s gain.  Don’t panic! We have yet to see the full impact of Frank Arrigo on Microsoft. Redmond doesn’t know what it’s imported.

Personally, I am not sad at all. Frankarr and his family is ready for this, and he’s going to have a blast. Frank is still “with us”, just in a different timezone and headzone.

Delic8genius and Andrew Parsons created a wiki:

A one minute video with various people using a single word describing what Frank Arrigo means to them was used a the closing keynote. A labour of love, this single minute took at least 12 hours to create. Including writing the music. It’s been too long between music for me.

So, good luck to all the Arrigo-nauts. Australia will quietly wait here in the clear light of the south Pacific, underneath the Southern Cross for your return.

Adam Lindsay (Mr LOLCODE) on LOLCODE at TechEd

Adam Lindsay, the guru who had the genius idea of LOLCODE and its BDFL (see another esoteric language, Python for a definition of BFDL) has found out about Microsoft’s plan to take over the world with LOLCODE.

I can has video of this event, and will be encoding and uploading somewhere within a week or so.

Joel Pobar is one of those Australian .Net/C#/CLR gurus, and I am eternally grateful for his assistance and added weight in my presentation.

Next week at WebJam in Perth I’ll also be presenting LOLCODE, and For the LOLz.

The more people that get involved, the greater chance we have a language across all environments: not just Microsoft’s.

It’s time for me to de-lurk from the forums and actively help the community make a language. LOL.

BTW @atl, we had fun and lots of LOLZ.


Disclaimer: this is just for LOLZ.

Video thumbnail. Click to play
Click To Play

  1. For further reference on LOLCATS: I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER 
  3. To deconstruct and see the history of LOLCATS: Anil Dash
  4. The obvious wikipedia entry for LOLCATS
  5. LOLCATS takes the memes of the internet, standardizes them with funny pictures of cats. As LOLCATS is mainstream (ref:,23599,21988724-2,00.html and ref: Oh Noes!
  6. LOLCODE: taking the language: syntax, grammar, vocabulary – but more importantly the memes of LOLCATS into an esoteric programming language Other esoteric programming languages include Var’aq, INTERCAL, and Omgrofl
  7. Mitch Denny theory: we’ll communicate in shortened phrases and memes as common understandings. eg: Star Trek:TNG episode: Darmok. Note Mitch Denny is Star Wars, not Star Trek – so this reference may be lost on Mitch.
  8. Examples:
    Stage 1:
    Stage 3: Seems that the language direction is dynamic, more like Javascript than C# 2.0 (eg: BUKKITS as arrays and slots; like )
  9. : compiles down to IL. Really big thanks to Joel Pobar for his expert comments and advice for all on LOLCODE.Net
  10. LOLCODE Specification is presently at 1.2 with lively discussion in the forums on lolcode. And an example of the community creating a language.

TechEd 2007: Web 2.0 Panel, Blogger’s Lunch


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(attendance: 50 100 people, thanks Cathy for doing a correct count from the back of room!)

Philip Sim, CEO, Media Connect (blog squash) stop here for web 2.0 reality check. hates the word web 2.0. totally polemic to what the web is about, internet; fix bugs. Online news/SNS/blogging/SaaS. None of this stuff is new. A rebirth in pastel veneer.

Darren Niemke, readify. manages professional development. how to capture attention etc from enterprise. dood

Des Walsh, business coach. enjoyment of blogging/social media space. started blogging as another coach as a method of marketing. thinking home business. Post blogging from a business person’s pov. linkedin bloggers. here because of twitter.

Jane O’Connell director products and strategy at ninemsn. how balance content generated by audience vs. professionally?

Michael Platt Director, MS Corporate, WebApp Architecture.

Question 1. do you see the value of blogging? is there a real value

Philip Value of blogging, depending how much time you put into it. blogging is the best form of social networking. business communicating your cred/authority on a particular topic

Darren: access to people within MS; can hear thoughts from people who you not previous have access to. more knowledge, thoughts, opinions. bloggersphere can have conversations. swarm manner, swarms over a problem, solves it, and moves on

Des: connect with people overseas business (books) and other opportunities. People know more about me. small business: lincoln signmaking business; $350k, 10% from blog 2005

Jane: in mass audience; niche, passion, like minded community. MSM, larger issues. Pull out a sentiment. Breaking stories, story after story.

Michael: diary resume, jobs. people look at what people. thousands of MS bloggers to make the company more transparent. we are a bunch of people. a personal view of the company, and feedback to reduce stupid decisions. MS more intouch with customers due to blogging and the two way conversation.  Lots more ways to get input from the field and customers/reality.

Question 2:; floods of posts/twitters/feeds/email information mgmt deal with it?

Philip: no time to twitter. sceptical, as its a time sap rather time approval. twitter improve business by 10% will start to twitter

Darren: twitter/facebook/web2 tools as knowledge worker 2.0 use when need to. choose right tools.

Des: sometimes overwhealmed. Bunnings example, choosing the right tools. facebook at the moment. facebook as basic communications tool.

Michael: remember, haven’t got to the end road. focusing in on areas. new tools to find what you want. (nb: go particls). Only begun to scratch the surface of searching. the thing beyond search.

Comment: editor/condenses it, good writers (Stephen Withers)

Question 3: censorship? lowest common denominator

Jane: issues in related to world as a publisher, rather than free for all (exposure) can’t just put everything up there. web provides a platform for lunatics

Michael: problem with people “blog smart”. don’t be stupid. no censorship. sorta works. internal self-jumping. mopping up the little puddles are around. when people leave, then comments/blogging. inter-company issues. find out what happens, lead rather than follow.

Comment4: rodney, blog scooped journalist. Corp blogs as method of gaining the upper hand.

Question 4: journalism vs. bloggers. blogger expert in field vs journalist. responsibility of journalist.  where is the line.

Jane: a blog is a stream of conciousness, conversation. “reality tv” contrived. vs. structured, radio, print. role for both. eg: news coverage. local phone cameras, etc. floods, 90 photos submitted from “punters” to roof level: cameramen couldn’t get through. 200,000 people viewed images.

Philip: distinction is not useful: bloggers, professionals vs amateurs. Doing it as a job, certain level of responsibility.

Des: read something from a journalist, no comment button. same in corporate field. workshop with conservative financial company. you are going to get left behind. people have an entitlement to interact with companies. as a consumer, not my responsibility you need comment.

Jane: can figure out what resonates: how do you know? blogging it helps, has feedback

Question 5: is that app you are buidling web 2.0 compatible.

Frank: five people, six definitions

Philip: web 2.0 is about a period in time, not a product. tipping point broadband, privacy changes, advertising.

Darren: “web 2.0 sites” based on name generation. A web2 site can be picked as its exciting. emotional connection. (Phil hurrumph) user experience element (delic8genius now owes frankarr a beer)

Des: business owners can create, make it easier, without great cost, encourage with their customers. more transparency

Jane: stuff that helps you use the web better

Michael: journey we are going online. Web x.0 is silly; a new way of using technology and building it into their lives; social aspect. IP law struggles with the new way of interacting.

Question 6: privacy, journos go to jail for protecting sources; how do you become a anonymous blogger. point at which lunatics and reality. 

Des: people have a comment anonymously. some people will spend lots of money finding source, depending on how much money you’ve got. Are legal constraints

Philip: myspace/facebook. free business : dirt files, blackmailing them. massive privacy backlast, blackmail as a mechanism of money making (badly)

Question 7: the law and blogging. blogging union

Michael: may see unionisation of blogging. the law, in another country how can you prosecuted for that. lot of changes in the legal system to follow.

Frank: calls it a day, time over. 

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TechEd 2007: Started!

It’s been a long day: coordinating and uploading stuff. Watching the world register and flow into the Gold Coast version of TechEd 2007. Wall painting. Tears of joy and new friends made.

There are lots of people here. Lots. Some even recognise me. From being NickElvis at WebJam in Melbourne. Ooops.

And at the back of the exhibition hall, it is the great calamari hunt.

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Had a quick chat to Long Zheng. Saw Will Hughes. Bronwen and John. Spruiked for Virtual TechEd.

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Neville with his 3D “nighttime geek shed project” Breeze Designer that now emits Silverlight 3D objects:

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