Category Archives: photographs

Talk: Making Mobile Web Services That Don’t Suck

The second of my DroidCon India talks introduces developers of mobile apps with the difficulties of designing for mobile networks. It also contains a series of design ideas that developers can take back to their back-end development team, so that the APIs that they produce for accessing their services are less difficult to use in a mobile context.

Time Flies! (Adventures in the San Francisco Bay Area, part 1)

… When you’re completely distracted by all manner of things! So, as promised, here are a bunch of pretty photos of the things that I’ve done whilst here:

San Francisco   San Francisco
Wandered around San Francisco, looking at the awesome architecture…

Siphon Coffee at the Blue Bottle, San Francisco
Had fantastic coffee, brewed with SCIENCE^w SIPHONS! (Thanks to @bluebottlemint for that…)

San Francisco   King & 4th Caltrain Station
Caught the Caltrain between San Francisco and Mountain View far too many times.

Golden Gate Bridge   Golden Gate Bridge
Visited clichéd tourist attractions (actually, the bridge is pretty spectacular, and I’m very glad I went to have a look at it!)…

Other things not featuring photos:

  • Doing a cross-city trek to a Best Buy to purchase some Nexus S phones for friends back home.
  • Getting an Uber cab to pick us up from this Best Buy (LOL!). Actually, Ubers are pretty damn cool — it’s a mobile app used to hire private town cars (think private drivers for expensive hotels). The cars are all Lincolns (high-end sedans), and the service is incredibly convenient.

Since then I’ve been based in the lovely city of Mountain View, which appears to be the epicentre of much of the tech industry — it’s home to such notable companies as Mozilla and Google, and the coffee shops are full to the brim with people sporting laptops… and there’s ubiquitous free wireless internet provided thanks to Google. I’m spending a lot of my time at Red Rock Coffee, who I’m eternally grateful for, as they helped me to discover that the variety of espresso drink known as “Caffe Latte” in Australia is known as “Cappucino” over here [1]. They have an OK rotation of single origin espressi here, though they taste a bit over-roasted at times… it beats the crap out of everything else in the area though…

Downtown Mountain View
Downtown Mountain View, including Red Rock (on the right of the shot).

So that’s the short wrap-up of what I’ve been doing of lately. Hopefully I’ll have some more to report on in the next week or so. Or earlier. I’ve no idea.

Oh, and thanks to Paris Buttfield-Addison for showing me around the area, and also to Jon Manning, who occasionally emerged whenever Paris would let him ;)

Until the next post,


[1] Ordering a “Latte” here appears to get you three weak flat whites served in a bucket.

30 Days of Geek: 14 – Favourite Computer Conference

Oh. You probably won’t be surprised to hear this one, but the answer is the Australasian Free and Open Source Software Conference. I’ve been attending since Melbourne 2008, and have since “been” to Hobart in 2009 and travelled to Wellington to attend in 2010.

LCA is a great conference because it gives people in the broader FOSS-using community in Australia (people like me) the opportunity to meet the people who put together the software that we used on a day-to-day basis. It turns out that they’re an entirely friendly bunch of people, who are all too willing to share their experience: in 2008, Andrew Tridgell spent 20 minutes one-on-one with me explaining how a particularly awesome piece of code he’d written worked.

In 2010 I ran one of the short single-day conference streams (known as “miniconfs”), on the topic of Open Programming Languages. This was a fantastic opportunity to give back to the LCA community, and help bring more of the topics that I was interested in to LCA — we had a fantastic lineup of presenters, and the day went awesomely. I’m glad to have the opportunity to do this again: I’m running the Open Programming miniconf at LCA2011 in Brisbane, and along with my friend Peter Lyle, will be running the Research and Student Innovation Miniconf. Both of them are shaping up to be excellent miniconfs.

So yes, LCA is in Brisbane this January, and I thoroughly recommend you get along if you can!

DSCF1923.JPG 2009 -- Day 5
LCA2010 Speakers Dinner
LCA2010 Open Day

30 Days of Geek: Days 10 & 11

So yesterday I was in the air, and unable to do day 10’s post. Luckily they make enough sense combined to combine into a single post.

Picture, screenshot and specifications of your primary computer.

Apologies for the blurry photo. I’ve shown this one because it contains both of my primary computers.

The desktop is a generic Athlon 64×2 of some specification, with some RAM and some hard discs in them, it also has an nVidia (HRRRRRNGH) graphics card of some description to drive my two monitors — I honestly don’t care much beyond that, as it serves its purpose. It runs Debian “testing”. The keyboard is a Microsoft Natural Keyboard 4000 — I first used one of those during my internship at Google. I liked them so much that I bought one the moment I got home, and I haven’t looked back :)

The laptop is my general purpose on-the-road device. It’s a black MacBook from 2008, with an Intel Core Duo 2.4GHz in it. It also has RAM.

Favourite hacking environment – music, light, seating, etc

Turns out you’ve got all of the clues you need in there as well — the corner of my bedroom where my desk is serves as my primary hacking area. It’s softly-lit, and has plenty of working space when I can be bothered cleaning it up :D

As for music, well, it really depends on my mood whilst hacking on something — sometimes it’s nothing at all, but other times it’s something from my extremely esoteric and varietous music collection.

Oh, and if I get bored/stuck on a problem, I can always look out the window!

A Through-The-Windows Vista

Worldwide Photo Walk 2010 — This Saturday!

Around this time last year, I participated in the Hobart edition of the Worldwide Photo Walk. It was an excellent opportunity to meet other photographers from the area, to explore an area I’d never explored before, and to take photos of interesting things.

Well, the walk is on again this coming Saturday, operating in just about every major city in Australia (and in other countries as well). I seriously recommend getting along to your local walk: it’s a good opportunity to have fun with a camera and the experience is seriously rewarding.

If you’re interested, you can search and sign up for your local walk at the WWPW web site. The event is run by a Photoshop training company, I do recommend opting out of the marketing announcements they offer, as it’s quite high-volume across the year.

Worldwide Photo Walk -- Hobart

Worldwide Photo Walk 2009

I had the fortune yesterday to go on the Hobart edition of Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk 2009. The WWPW, in its second year, is an organised photo walk, with groups taking photos in 900 cities across the world. This year was the first time it had been run in Hobart, and was organised by local photographer Nigel Honey. The walk started in Molle Street, following the Hobart Rivulet to the Cascade Brewery, and back along Macquarie Street.

I used the day as an excuse to finally use my new ultrawide for an extended period of time, which I’ve been waiting for for over a month now: the difference in shots that an ultrawide affords you is incredible, the flipside is needing to spend far more time paying attention to composition and ensuring that the entire frame of the photograph is well-used (being selective about subjects is very difficult due to massive depth-of-field).

Perhaps the most interesting find of the day was an abandoned scrapyard in South Hobart near the Brewery, apparently a dumping ground for old cranes, and this is where my most interesting set of shots came from:

Worldwide Photo Walk -- Hobart

Light on Steel Beams

Worldwide Photo Walk -- Hobart

The Photo Walk should be happening again roughly this time next year, if you enjoy taking photos of things, events like this present a really good opportunity to improve your skills, learn tips and tricks from people with similar interests to you, and to explore places that you might not have considered visiting before. It’s certainly something I hope to do more regularly myself, in the not-too-distant future.

We interrupt your previously scheduled silence…

Ubuntu Cola, originally uploaded by Christopher Neugebauer.

To bring you a drink that shares its name with an operating system. Ubuntu Cola is a fair trade cola (so the Sugar and Cola farmers in Africa get paid fairly for their wares) that we found in Stockholm. It’s rather tasty too. If you’re in Europe, it’s worth going out and finding some — it stocks in the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Norway and Belgium.

(Actually useful writings to come later)

Wrest Point — Earth Hour 2009

Earth Hour was celebrated yesterday: buildings and households all around Hobart switched their lights off as a statement in favour of action on Global Warming.

This is Wrest Point Casino (Hobart’s tallest building) with its external lights switched off — though it would seem that some of the patrons of the hotel didn’t get the message.

New Camera (iei!)

So due to being fed up with my previous camera, I got myself a new Canon EOS 450D digital SLR camera last week, and needless to say, I’m really really quite impressed.

Snug Falls -- January 11, 2009

I’ve taken it out for a few test runs over the past week, and am really quite impressed with the results. To start out my lens collection, I’ve used some of my Dad’s old FD-mount lenses via use of an adaptor1 (including an f/3.3 200mm prime and an f/5.6 75-300mm zoom, for those of you who are at all interested), which has afforded some good opportunities for interesting photos:

UTAS Sundial

Tasman Bridge by Night

I’m really looking forward to LCA as an opportunity to give it a really thorough workout — I expect that I’ll take a ludicrous amount of photos as an opportunity to test the camera in more varied circumstances. More as they come!

[1]: Yes, I’m well aware of phographers’ disdain for using FD lenses on an EOS camera, currently I don’t care. When I get to the point where I need to, I will.