Tag, I’m it.

Gee, thanks Tim. You know, with all the big names who’ve been part of this meme, I never reckoned that I’d get tagged. I suck at tag. In fact, that’s the first of five things you never knew about me:

  1. I sucked at tag. Primary school was pretty hellish for me — I was unfit, I had no friends, and I could never catch anyone. It’s a part of my life that I like to forget. Because I had no-one who liked me or understood me (my parents admit to not really understanding me and my interests when I was young) I turned to reading books and learning. If I had to pick someone who I think understood me when I was young, I’d probably have to say my grandmother on my mother’s side, Lois, who unfortunately passed away while I was at Intermediate, or just starting, I can’t remember. She would buy books for me all the time, and it was her who I credit for getting me into computers and specifically programming. An Osbourne book on Basic for various computers like the Commodore 64 and the TRS-80, and the really simple game listings within it. I would spend hours staring at that code, trying to figure out what the game would do. I wouldn’t get any kind of computer until after she passed away, and then it was a 286 and no-one told me where GW-Basic was.

    Gosh, there’s a bit there. Does that count as only one?

  2. I love computer games, but in reality, I’m not a hardcore gamer. I like the games that I can pick up, play for 15 minutes, and then put to one side. To this end, I rarely finish a game. A mild case of ADD? It’s certainly not AD&D 😉 I can count on one hand the games I’ve clocked without cheats:
    • Half-Life (PC)
    • Half-Life 2 (PC)
    • Half-Life 2: Episode 1 (PC) (but that barely counts)
    • Phoenix Wright (Nintendo DS) (but it’s mostly trial-and-error. Heh, trial, law game)
    • Doukutsu Monogatari (aka Cave Story) (PC)

    Yet recently I’ve bought so many DS and GBA games for my Nintendo DS Lite, and haven’t clocked any others

  3. I’m not allergic to anything, but I have had cancer. I have a giant scar on my back from where they removed a melanoma (skin cancer). Luckily it came back from the labs that it hadn’t spread, but I can’t give blood anymore. If they’d let me, I’d go every six months. So if you’re reading this, and you are able to give blood, you should go do it — it helps so many people out there, and only inconveniences you for a few hours; heck, most workplaces will let you go give blood on work time!
  4. When I want to chill out, the forest is my chill out space. I love to just go somewhere and listen, relax. Rivers are also very awesome. I was baby sitting a couple of my mum’s friend’s kids for the weekend one time in the middle of summer, and they had some really large inner tubes, so we took them out on the river out the back of their house, and had a ball and we all got so tired, we walked back, packed stuff away, and we all fell asleep in the lounge where we were sitting, totally unexpectedly. It was probably the quietest they ever were!
  5. I like chiptunes. Music made on old retro hardware that sounds like it could have come out of an old GameBoy or C64. I especially like the stuff that comes out of 8bitpeoples
  6. Bonus Fact: I don’t like peas. But that said, they are tolerable when mixed with other vegetables. But by themselves, blargh.

Bob Brown (Confessions of a Guru), Hamish MacEwan (self titled), Hillary (Kiwirose in Canada), Dan Milward (Mind of Mufasa) (fix your feeds, they’re broken), and Unbounded (self-titled), even though Unbounded is the kind of guy who would abhor this kinda meme; TAG – You’re it!

Google Maps now higher-res than Zoomin, smaps

After a little discussion about Trade Me and their new smaps online map system (which seems to be powered by the same engine ZoomIn is using, but with no satellite imagery), I took another look at Google Maps and their aerial photography of Wellington.

Turns out Google Maps is now higher resolution than smaps or ZoomIn. You can get down to the level where cars are blobs of pixels. Also, Google Maps has more up to date photography — you can see the work on the Inner City Bypass (same location on ZoomIn, smaps).

To be honest, I’m glad that we’ve finally got some decent competition in New Zealand’s online maps — Wises was sucking ass ever since I saw the original ‘ajax map’ maps.search.ch from Switzerland — long before Google Maps was around.

Late night conversation-friendly cafés in Wellington

Tim Haines is looking for quiet cafés/meeting spaces:

I’m looking for a quiet cafe/meeting place where we can find a bit of space, hang out for the whole afternoon, buy good coffee (to enjoy AND compensate the cafe), and use Cafenet. Of particular interest is being a few meters away from anyone else – so it’s not noisy, and you won’t be easily overheard.

He mentions Olive Café, and while I haven’t been there, walking past it, it doesn’t feel gritty enough for me 😉

A great meeting place I enjoy regularly is Katipo Café, which is upstairs from the 1-2-3 Dollar shop on Willis St, near New World Metro. It has good food, decent coffee, and my style of music — but not so loud you can’t hear the person next to you, unlike Espressoholic

Espressoholic has CaféNet, but it’s WAY too loud there at times, especially when it’s packed. It’s good for working by yourself though.

Unfortunately, they don’t have CaféNet at Katipo, but if you can get a seat near the window, you can get enough of a signal from somewhere near by.

From my point of view, quiet cafés in Wellington, especially those that are open late night, are far and few between.

A thought that has crossed my mind is there is definetely a niche for a quiet designer/geek café in Wellington. It might focus on CaféNet and good coffee and food, but also be a venue for public geek meetups and seminars: have a projector and sound setup, recording speeches and putting them up on the café’s podcast…?

Do the Famine!

Sponsor me for the Famine!The 40 Hour Famine is on this weekend, so I’m gonna join with my youth group and do the whole 40 hours without food and without technology. No eating, internet, phone, ipod, or psp. I might watch a movie, or read a book or three. And I might take some photos with my digital camera for proof.

And hey, you can help! I need people to sponsor me to make it all worthwhile. This year’s famine is about stopping child labour. For every $300 raised through the famine, World Vision will help a family in India to start a business so they can support themselves without needing their children to work in bonded labour.

And I’ve discovered that you can even sponsor me online! World Vision have set up a system that lets Faminers register their famine books online and get people to sponsor them online! It’s pretty neat.

So you can go pledge your sponsorship of me here:

https://secure.famine.org.nz/glutnix/

Even if you only give NZD$2, that little part will go towards helping children from more than twelve countries worldwide. $10 will provide a family of five with a health checkup and basic medical supplies in India. $150 will provide seeds for one Tanzania primary school so they can provide daily meals for their students for a year!

It all adds up! Sponsor me and help change the world!