The Desire to Create. Genetically Expressed by The Feep

Honey laded Bee hives are very heavy.

An apiarist, or beekeeper, places dozens of bee hives, usually clustered on standard shipping palettes, near nectar laden sources. In Australia, this tends to be in the bush – near flowering Eucalypts. The resulting honey has a slightly smoky taste: but is the best in the world. Around 1980, my Dad started a small cash sideline of Beekeeping to supplement the wheat/sheep farming that the Eyre Peninsula property had sustained over 4 generations.

Country South Australia is a perfect location – especially on the fringes of a large reserve. You can place your hives on private property (with permission) and let the bees traverse into the reserve gathering the nectar. I see it as reaping from the government, albeit without damage (and in the case of plants, a benefit as the bees pollinate the trees).

The trouble with bush locations is that they are remote, unpaved and not accessible by normal palette lifting devices. In warehouses, weighed down forklifts shuttle around isles of concrete. In the bush, the isles are sandy loam or clay – and the shelves are very very tall native Australian trees.

My Dad purchased an old forklift and used this around the sheds for a time lifting and moving the heavy palettes of hives. This forklift did not travel well. You could not load or unload it from a truck; and the wheelbase and design were distinctly urban. Indoors. Definitely not for bush use.

Land rovers, on the other hand, were designed for off-road use. Four wheel drive; rugged, simple & when purchased second hand – cheap. Another benefit of a Land rover is that you can put the thing into neutral, attach it to a tow bar and go anywhere. Once in the bush – they were in their element.

Land Rovers, as built by Leyland, did not come with frontend palette loading equipment.

So, in a flash of brilliance, my Dad took the lifting part of the forklift & attached it to the front of a Land Rover. The Land Rover’s engine & radiator was slightly repositioned to permit the hydraulics to fit in the engine compartment. Extra counter-balanced weights were added to the rear of the Land Rover. The petrol tank was also moved.

What was born was the Feep. (short of Forklift Jeep)

The Feep

The above is the Feep. As I recall, and this is some 30 years ago now, the first coat of paint (John Deere green) was complete by my Dad. The accenting (John Deere) yellow & the name – as you can see on the vertical forklift saying “FEEP” was painted by myself.

To my knowledge, this is the word’s only Forklift Jeep – created by my Dad to help him lift & load heavy bee hives palettes in bushland.

The genetics of innovation & creation have passed down to another generation. Maybe not as practical as a Feep, but they are there.

On this topic, more to come in coming weeks.

Three Witches of the Australian Twittershpere

@stilgherrian, @kcarruthers and @nickhodge. Yes, we are all on Twitter, twittering to the Twitterati.

We were waiting for Pia Waugh, one of Australia’s leading Linux and Open source experts to show us the Art Deco Theatre.

Excellent photo taken in the main street of Yass, New South Wales by @ApostrophePong. More Photos on ‘pongs site.

Dear Viewers Using IE6

Dear Internet Explorer 6.0 (IE6) Users,

Only 20% of browsers in the world are still using IE6, and 22% of visitors to this site are still using IE6. IE6 is the work of the evil @basementcat. I strongly suggest you upgrade to Internet Explorer 7 or 8.

Why? Later browsers support more web sites, especially the many that are now written with Web Standards in mind. Sites designed with Web Standards render quicker as browsers do not have to magically interpret bad code.

Also, security. As Microsoft takes Internet security seriously, there are strong features in Internet Explorer 8 to stop nasty things happening.

So, please upgrade your browser.


Publicis Mojo accidental Spammer for Metamucil

Update, 3:20pm

Just off the phone to the Publicis. There are two issues here: one is the broken configuration of as the reply-to email address. A misconfiguration error.

Thanks to Publicis for reaching out and being honest; and starting to resolve the issue.

From earlier today:

  1. Potential source of the “follow”: I mention metamucil on twitter. No occurrences of this word on my blog until this particular posting. and others such have found the same issue with unsolicited email from the same sender, with similar contents.
  2. Up until this point, I have been a happy and regular user of said fibre supplement brand below. Note that this brand is owned by Proctor and Gamble. I am not going to link out to said product.
  3. The person that received this email is mentioned 5 times on my web site, and there is at least one link from my site to theirs (note: I have “xx”’d the name out below)
  4. The owner and publisher of this web site, Nick Hodge, in no way, explicitly nor implicitly gave permission for any brand: including Microsoft, to use to my blog as “trusted reference sell” nor source of email addresses. Reading Microsoft’s policy on Online Privacy, I am pretty sure that doing this style of “email harvest and reference social marketing” is highly wrong, and contravention of this policy is a serious offence.
  5. “Unsolicited email” is spam. Plain and simple.
  6. The content on my site is (cc) Attribution-Non-commerical Share-Australia 2.1, as per the link at the bottom of each page. I consider this spamming is a breach of my Terms and Conditions.
  7. Subsequently, I am very unhappy with Publicis Mojo. You do not get social media, you are a spammer. Of the worst kind.
  8. I am recommending the receiver of this email report both Proctor and Gamble, and Publicis Mojo as a Spammer as per the Spam Act (2003) and amendments
  9. It seems that the domain name “” might exist, however further research by an white-hat security expert:
    • *.ad is a top-level domain owned by Andorra, the country
    • would be a logical place for ‘publicismojo an advertising agency’ to register; or may be used for internal sites
    • if you send email to ‘’ the bounce back is from the same IP address as in the below spam example:
    • is Publicis Mojo in Australia (as per apnic)
    • robtex has some interesting details on this domain range
From: Blog Seeding <>
Date: 2008/12/9
Subject: For xx

Hi xx,

Sorry for the unsolicited email.

I was reading your blog and noticed you're particularly influential in the blogosphere.  
I even saw your blog reposted on

I'm working on behalf of Metamucil on their new Fibresure product and 
I was wondering if you would be receptive to us sending you a xmas gift pack? 
No obligations, of course! 🙂

Look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Publicis Mojo

Follow the Code: Microsoft and Open

The Register, certainly not the most pro-Microsoft web publication (note: sarcasm), today states: “Apple more closed than Microsoft”

Transitioning to Apple-bashing is a simple journalistic mechanism to attract eyeballs. I am going to ignore the anti-Apple sentiment.

The interesting statements are: “however, the Microsoft of today, while not totally reformed, is a lot more open and well behaved than it was, say, 10 years ago.”

One highlighted recent ‘negative’ on Microsoft is the OpenXML as an ISO specification.

Personally, I am a proponent of open file formats. Completely open specifications, no patent encumbrances, for all to implement read/write and change. It is very important that our descendants are able to read and write the digital files we are creating today. By publishing the file formats for our binary and XML out of Microsoft Office is an excellent start. ISO puts the format in the hands of the world.

Yesterday Microsoft released more toolkits for OpenXML support (including Java)and an OpenXML/ODF interop kits:

My advice is to not listen to the idle rhetoric of any vendor: watch the code and see what ships. That is the ultimate test.

Ray Ozzie: by Steven Levy


From Wired 16.12 “Ray Ozzie Wants to Push Microsoft Back Into Startup Mode”

“I think we’re going to take a lot of people by surprise” – Ray Ozzie, TechReady8

Steven witnessed Ray’s presentation at Microsoft’s internal TechReady8 conference: a rare treat for an outside journalist. What he saw was Ray Ozzie presenting at his finest.

Before joining Microsoft, I spoke to Mike Seyfang. One of my reasons for joining was to be a part of the Ray Ozzie smartness. In my first year inside the firewall, Ray Ozzie’s teams were very stealthy. Quiet.

At PDC late this year, Ray didn’t present quite as passionately (maybe not so scare the developer-centric audience) – but he started to publically show his vision for the future of computing.

Microsoft has moved from the “PC” centric model. This shift started with the hiring of Dave Cutler, one of the Digital architects of VAX/VMS. From his work at Microsoft came Windows NT. A server-grade operating system that arrived on mass consumer/business desktops 9 years later with Windows XP.

Windows NT, and its successors, did breed a family of robust server operating systems; and applications that moved Microsoft into the heart of the enterprise: the server room. This dramatically shifted Microsoft’s product strategy, and how it engaged with large organisations. No longer just the menacing PC on the desktop to an enterprise IT architecture, from soup to nuts. And the revenue followed.

In the midst of this shift from desktop to server room, Microsoft has seemed to ignore the Internet. standardised protocols, freedom of choice, open source, creative commons licensing, disruptive business models, loosely coupled applications. Microsoft only noticed when its enterprise-customer defensive wall was attacked. Like guerrilla attacks: the skirmishes were many, but the barbs were survivable. Revenue still flows.

Witness Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan (for the Greeks, British, USSR and Coalition) and Pictish-lands (for the Romans) : guerrilla warriors ultimately win.

Ray Ozzie is the navigator that is changing Microsoft’s course from within. The fleet of supertankers that is Microsoft cannot turn quickly: unless facing imminent death as Apple did in 1995/6, large organisations have a momentum that is difficult to unwind.

We are witnessing the same shift today with a move into the cloud. Simply put: the platform is a collection of loosely coupled devices connected by the internet. Not PCs on desks, nor servers in racks in every organisation around the world.

The IT company most effected by this change in platform is Microsoft.

Ozzie felt that after losing its antitrust case, Microsoft had tempered its bullying behavior. “This is a different company,” he now says. “It doesn’t feel evil; it doesn’t feel inconsistent with my core beliefs.”

The fleet is turning. Ozzie has navigating the direction. We’re off.

Cloud Follow-ups:


Fixing (quickly) for IE8

Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 has been released. The night before a big PR thing in Melbourne (Premier of Victoria, etc) and I decided to install it on my demo laptop. Brave, yet safe move.

What about this website?

Not so good. Something is broken somewhere. In the week before TechEd 2008 I don’t have time to completely diagnose and fix the wordpress template. So, sort of like welding it together for a few weeks until things die down – it is time for a simple fix.

How can you tell? See the “broken document” icon on the right of the URL: this indicates that the site has been designed for older browsers.

IE8 Fix


There are two potential fixes. One is to click on the broken icon, and Internet Explorer will revert to Internet Explorer 7 mode.

A smarter fix for this web site is a one-line change to my template (in my case, header.php for this template)

<meta http-equiv=“X-UA-Compatible” content=“IE=EmulateIE7” />


IE8 Fix


Refreshing the site, and magically it renders correctly, and there is no “broken” document icon.

IE8 Fix