Connecting to Make a Difference

It has been three days of absolute pleasure in Adelaide.

dulwich oak

Firstly, a big shout out and major thanks to Mike, Mandy, Jamie and Jemma Seyfang for their hospitality and recording studio (which doubled as my late night work area and sleep area) for three days.  Oh, and happy birthday Jemma. Getting out of the hotel room shenanigans and living with real people made the difference on this trip.

mandy & mike

It also gave Uncle Mike and I to discuss the day’s events in depth, explore ideas and suggest directions. I must deeply thank Uncle Mike for his suggestions on improvements to “The Geek Stories”. Having Australia’s premiere Social Networking thinker at your beck and call night and day, making you cups of tea, is a rare experience.  The value is inmeasurable.

with immanuel headmaster

Secondly, a major thanks to my video subjects: Dave “Lifekludger” Wallace, Mike “Fang” Seyfang, Kevin Richardson, Glenn Butcher and Kinglsey Foreman. Unlike last Friday, I purposely spread the video capturing over three days to ensure I was on the ball through all interviews.

dave and mike

Oh, and I rang Robert Scoble after he Twittered he was bored on his way south from Petaluma to his home. That’s California.  Connections and wiring brings us together in strange ways.

Connections. This social networking thing is about connections. Using them to produce value greater than the sum of the parts. A common theme emerging from all my interviews is that either for life (Lifekludger), learning (Kevin) or entertainment (Glenn) humans value connections. Making them, and reinforcing linkages.

munge brother uncle tim

With Munge Brother, Uncle Tim Kleemann, we explored this from a business perspective. Tim owns NextByte, and originally hired me way back when I was a pimply kid in 1985. To Tim I owe gratitude for the 21+ years in this crazy industry.

These human traits of wanting connectedness extend to our kids, too. They have strong social networks that extend into the digital world, and outside of school in the home and on the proverbial bus – and the lines between school and home are becoming equally as blurred as work and home. Presence via Messenger; publicity via MySpace and YouTube. All around are connections. Both visible and invisible.

Uncle Mike is exploring some of the learning aspects to these social networks through his work with; Dave experiences this everyday in his extraordinary life.

Ensuring Parents and Teachers understand the environment of social networking in all its forms is the major challenge for technology companies working in this space: Microsoft, Google or whomever. I think the time is ripe for a major model change in the way educators think about online access, and the skills kids are going to need to survive in a smaller, greater connected and information rich world.

Returning to Immanuel to speak to Kevin, I learnt many things. I did not expect this as an old scholar. One learning was that I owe Noel Volk and Greg Sharp a major thankyou. In my school years there was a concious effort to install computers into the school and use these as a part of education. This effort lead me into this industry I now find myself. Money was siphoned off other projects into this some 22 years ago. Like the Angle Park Computer Centre, Abefoyle Park project and others – the product of these efforts have not gone to waste. So thanks.

interode central

Internode is a connection company; the interview with Glenn and Kingsley will air sometime next week. Australian gamers know Internode as the best gaming network, and service, around. You can feel their passion for games; a passion that extends from the MD of Internode, Simon Hackett.

late night edit geek

I feel that getting people’s stories told, and out there for all to see is important. Geek Stories or not, the connection potential is huge.

Send in your story, and let’s go make a difference.

A Day in The Life of a Professional Geek…

4:00am AEDST – alarm, alarm, alarm. Snooze for 5 minutes, then up and check the laptop in the midst of uploading an episode of “The Geek Stories” to Redmond. Failed. Bugger, not happy Jan.  Must find a more efficient way to get these videos posted faster. Sometimes it might just be easier to Blip.TV these suckers.

4:30am AEDST – showered, shaved and in SCRLTT to airport. Missed tunnel entrace, had to divert through Harris Street and Redfern to Sydney Airport. Park, checkin. Strange looks from be-suited and en-tied men wondering why someone would proudly wear a “geek” T-shirt. Smile, and I walk on.

5:15am AEDST – checked in, waiting to board 737-400 for a 1:10m flight to Brisbane Airport. Sleep, breakfast, sleep whilst eating breakfast on the flight.

6:30am AEST – Same longitude, different time zone. Yes, an hour has been lost in this timeline due to the cows in Queensland going off their milk. Long story. Wiki the answer why.


7:15am – in a small hire car (small 4-cylinder, manual transmission Toyota – closest thing to a MINI and the cheapest on Avis’ books) driving down M1 to north of the Gold Coast. Over Gateway (AU$2.50) with a friendly lady taking my money. Roar down freeway past Dreamworld, Movieworld and mortgageworld.

footage review

8:45am – Alive Technology video shoot with Bruce + team. Approx 25 minutes of footage shot; excellent gadgets! Bruce wants a “geek” t-shirt. Frankarr may trade for Mambo shirt 🙂 People have now seen “The Geek Stories” so know what to expect. Heart rate 83bpm with blood oxygen of 97%. I want one of these just for the geek factor alone.

10:00am – back in hire car to Margaret Street, CBD of Brisbane. Roar up the freeway and redline the Toyota to see how fast it can go in second gear. Sorry Avis.

11:30am – Joel, John, Wayne and Joseph all waiting for me for interview. Takes a few minutes to set the scene and for me to attempt to show I might be an OK guy. Feel a little like a storm trooper at a Star Trek convention, but that soon wears off and we get into it. 3 video shoots and at least 1.1 hours of footage. Parallel processors, transactional memory, CLR, compiler lore and incantations. Oh, there are some excellent geek stories here!

1:45pm – lunch with Wayne and John in very fast Chinese restaurant; just like Singapore – even the weather! Discuss more of John’s history with Compilers, Microsoft CLR, PDP-8s, XOR and life in general. Tuscany, riding bikes up hills and stuff.

2:30pm – on return to QUT, discuss with John why people are not going into IT as a profession. Are we turning into a nation of miners and shopkeepers?

3:00pm – more video with Andrew Smith of Studio Solutions in Milton off Coronation Drive. Makes excellent coffee and revives me for rest of the day. Watch video promo for Cairns airport. Andrew tries to rope me in to help with a friend moving house. Politely explain my back isn’t what it used to be, and continue on with interview.

4:00pm – back in the Toyota negotiating football traffic around Suncorp statium, car accidents and general Friday afternoon CBD madness experienced in any city. Toyota airconditioning gets a blasting in 30degC Brisvegas weather.

5:15pm – explain to Berno on mobile why his video is in limbo (check 4:00am entry)

5:20pm – check footage from the day (2 hours in total) and decide what to put where, in generally what order. Sleepygeek. Two comments on checkin about “geek” t-shirt and Microsoft. Brand name recognition cool.

sleepygeek with apcmag

6:00pm – Disconnected from everything for a day is cool. The world could have exploded and I wouldn’t know!

sleepygeek on a plane

6:30pm – board flight to Sydney. 737-800 packed to the gills.

9:05pm – land Sydney. Sydney is 31degC, warmer and certainly more humid than Brisbane: this is not normal for the southern hemisphere

happy scrltt

10:00pm – after negotiating the heavy Friday night traffic out of Sydney domestic, arrive home to a happy family and inquisitive cats.

General Notes

Camera has worked flawlessly. Microphone used today was the gun/zoom mic.

Thanks to Charles Sterling for Alive Technology and Joseph leads for interviews.

Yes, I will be returning to SE Queensland in near future for more video capturing and footage. Next time I go interstate for “The Geek Stories”, I’ll take a little more time and spread a busy day into two so I can really speak to people rather than seagull in.

Blur of Weeks Past, Two Trips

The blur of the last couple of weeks has been intense. New people, new locations, new situations and thinking in a way that I frankly had left behind many years go.

Whilst these weeks have been productive from a pure output perspective, and I think that work-life is sorta in balance: there is still a hole where technology once fit.

Tomorrow I have a quick day trip to Brisbane to capture 4 stories; and then another quick trip to Adelaide to capture at least 4 stories. Sometimes its tough to get the “Microsoft connection” with these stories: especially a new one in the pipeline about online communities and social networking. There are probably some bean counters somewhere adding up the $2.50 of time it cost and $30.00 for breakfast wondering where’s the business case. You know, meh. 

So, like all things in life, unless I do something about filling this gap: it ain’t gonna happen. Time to allocate some days to learning something new and feeling good. Some me-geek-time.