Friday, January 05, 2007

Roy Blumenthal's 'Virtual Surf Report' rides the waves again with Jon Gericke on SAfm

Friday, 5 January 2007
If you've got the time, I've got the inclination!* World time clocks to keep you from second-guessing.

A bunch of tools to help you with your multinational time-management.

Firstly, there's the freeware/shareware application, Qlock. It sits on your desktop, and is hugely configurable. So you can see what time it is anywhere in the world. You can set alarms for any of those cities. And you can hide or show the clocks with a click of your mouse.

Next in the list is a site for people who don't have a need for a clock on their desktops 24/7. If you have an occasional need to check times, this is the place to go... This site also offers you a free widget to add to your blog... you can pop an analog or digital clock to your site.

And if you want to customise a countdown, and see the time displayed as days, hours, or seconds, head for As of this very second, I'll turn 50 years old in exactly... 382 363 170 seconds! Send me a birthday present. You've got time!

*Said the Leaning Tower of Piza to the Big Ben.


Thursday, 4 January 2007
The fine art of dusty car windows -- meet Scott Wade, dust artist extraordinaire

When I first came across the work of Scott Wade, I thought it was a prank. But a quick Google of his name yielded dozens of sites showing his work. He seems to be real!

He's an American artist who works in a particularly transitory medium... the dust on car windows.

He waits for dust to accumulate, and then hacks at it with paintbrushes and such to remove bits of dust to make masterpieces.


Wednesday, 3 January 2007
Toddler-friendly videos online that'll 'blow your baby's mind'

Jeremiah McNichols has a brilliant blog called 'Z Recommends'. Z is his two-and-a-half year old daughter. And the blog is about the stuff that she likes and loves in the world.

In this case, Jeremiah found animations by unusual or forgotten artists, and showed them to Z. And ranked them. Each artist gets a detailed description on the blog, and you can watch the videos yourself to make sure they're good for your kid.

Thanks to the editors of Drawn!, a blog 'devoted to illustration, art, cartooning and drawing'.


Tuesday, 2 January 2007
Track your progress and boost your success on 'Joe's Goals'

The second day of 2007, and you've probably got some New Year's resolutions that you're still committed to. Here's a free online tool to help you do the things you want to do. Joe's Goals is a website that let's you define your positive and negative goals, and then track your progress. When you do something towards a goal, you click on the goal. And the online software keeps count.

There's also a Joe's Logbook option, which is really a goal-tracking tool for a particular project.

For me, one of the best things about the site is that you can set it up to email you a reminder if you haven't updated your goals for a while. It really helps you to be mindful.


Monday, 1 January 2007
Resolved to get out of the rat race? Get some inspiration from 'Escape From Cubicle Nation'

Happy New Year! May it be filled with learning, loving, and laughing!

And if one of your resolutions is to remove yourself from a job you hate, and to get into the wonderful world of entrepreneurship, then Pamela Slim's 'Escape From Cubicle Nation' is the blog for you.

Crammed with resources, ideas, inspiration, and interviews with successful escapees, you'll certainly find it useful.

What's more, the comments threads form an amazing network of people all set on the same course. International networking for the new entrepreneur. An instant mentor network, if you like.


Friday, 29 December 2006
A free graphic novel online -- SHOOTING WAR -- my favourite read of 2006

Written by Anthony Lappé, drawn by Dan Goldman, SHOOTING WAR is a tangy, vicious, sexy, gritty, frighteningly-realistic depiction of a near future.

In this gripping graphic novel, the main character is a guy who, using the video camera on his phone, accidentally vid-blogs a bombing. He's then catapulted to fame by a tv network who gets hold of his footage. They make him an offer he can't refuse... to go to the Middle East and vid-blog the ongoing war there.

Beware... if you START reading this, you WILL spend several wonderful hours absorbed in the story!

Links: *Update: The original MP3 recording of the show was corrupted so badly that I was unable to open it. I did a search on the internet, and found a piece of freeware that completely solved the problem. It parsed through the corrupt file, removing the bad portions. What was left was about three-quarters of the material, so I just edited out the gaps, and worked it into a coherent podcast. The freeware is called JFileRecovery. Download it at:

Thursday, 28 December 2006
Two views of a superpower... the left-wing 'Huffington Post', and the (obviously) right-wing 'Right Wing News'

In the interests of transparency, I have to state up-front that I'm a leftie. So I'm biased in favour of leftie things. That said, I'm also very much a 'devil's advocate'. I'm MUCH more interested in a balanced, well-argued opinion than I am in a one-sided opinion. So... to today's Virtual Surf Report.

We're looking at two news sources covering politics in America.

I'm a fan of The Huffington Post, a left-wing journal that takes an in-depth look at many of the issues facing Americans today. I find their opinion pieces to be very cleanly written, well-researched, witty, and clever. When I finish reading one of their articles, I come away from it with the feeling that I'm not being fed some kind of propaganda angle.

I'm NOT a fan of Right Wing News, which is an online journal dedicated to 'Conservative News and Views'. I'm n ot a fan because I really just wish they would ARGUE their points sanely and rationally. I don't really get any sense of balance from their articles. I'm left with a feeling that I've been smacked over the head with a hunting rifle. They sneer at the left, instead of answering their concerns. However, it's deeply important to get acquainted with 'the other side'. Their fears are real. Their concerns are real. Just because they don't argue them well doesn't mean they should be dismissed.

Two fascinating reads. Enjoy being caught in the middle! And make up your own mind.

(And for some help in being able to make up your own mind, you might want to read an article from one of my favourite books on thought hygiene. The book is called STRAIGHT AND CROOKED THINKING by Robert H Thouless. It appears to be out of print, but the article on the web is the core of it. It's titled 'Thirty-eight Dishonest Tricks Which Are Commonly Used in Argument, With the Methods of Overcoming Them'. A must-read.)


Wednesday, 27 December 2006
The quirky humour (and marketing savvy) of GapingVoid

Hugh MacLeod's GapingVoid blog is one of those must-reads. His quirky business card cartoons are a treat, and you can insert a widget onto your website to feed them to your own viewers.

Read Hugh's blog if you want to:
  • Be more creative.
  • Become a better marketer.
  • Have wine and suits shoved down your throat via the eyeballs.
  • Laugh.
  • Groan.
  • Nod your head in agreement.
  • Change your mind.

Tuesday, 26 December 2006
Print a better present for yourself with Flickr and Creative Commons

Someone gave you a present you don't really WANT? Replace it with something that works for you!

Enter Flickr, the photo sharing site, in collaboration with Creative Commons. You can browse through around 26 million photos that are licensed under one of the Creative Commons variations that allows any user to download the photo, take it to their favourite photo printing outlet (where you would take your digital pics to be printed), and make an art print to adorn your walls (or even a t-shirt, if you're adventurous).


Monday, 25 December 2006
Change This

This is a site dedicated to challenging the way ideas are created and spread. In their words: 'We're on a mission to spread important ideas and change minds.'

On the site, you'll find free, downloadable manifestos on a whole host of topics. Here's their definition of a manifesto: 'It's an argument, a reasoned, rational call to action, supported by logic and facts.' My definition of their manifestos is this: 'Interesting, fascinating, entertaining, thought-provoking knowledge-snapshots.'

One of my favourite manifestos of the moment is The Power of the Marginal by Paul Graham. You'll find all sorts of useful topics too.


Every Christmas, Jon Gericke runs a midday special for two weeks, focussing on holiday fun. And I'm one of his regulars.

Every weekday for the two weeks from today, Monday 25 December through to Friday 5 January, the show runs from 12 noon till 1pm. The show is on SAfm, which can be found in South Africa on 104 to 107 fm, or on the web via streaming audio at Safm / Streaming Audio (hosted by Ant Farm).

I'll generally be on during the closing minutes of the show, cos Jon figures that we've had a long enough radio relationship (around 5 years or so, if my brain is estimating correctly) for him to cut me off fairly abruptly if he runs out of time. And he's right. I have no hassle with it. And anyway, I structure my chat with him in such a way that the important stuff is in the beginning, with embellishments coming in at the end. So I'm ready to shut my mouth at any time.

In this post, I'll give links every day to the sites I talk about.

I'll also be podcasting as many of my slots as I can... I recorded today's, but due to an 'operator error', only the first few seconds actually recorded. (Yes... I was the 'operator'. No idea what happened. It recorded five minutes of program BEFORE my bit. Then when I came on, it got jinxed. Blah.)

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