Overclock your breakfast!

I was discussing with a friend of mine how much I enjoy breakfast when I make time to have it, so here’s my top tips for changing breakfast to the best meal of the day:

Make time to have it

You can’t have breakfast if you don’t allow yourself time to prepare and consume it, so allow yourself some time before you leave the house. You probably have a morning routine, so just make it part of that. If it means getting out of bed 20 minutes earlier than you normally do, then do it! Breakfast is worth it.

Mix and match ingredients for a taste sensation

One thing that will stop you wanting to have breakfast every day is it always tastes the same. Stock up on various breakfast cereals and toppings. I’m in New Zealand, so some of this stuff won’t be familiar to my overseas readers, but here’s what I like to have around. Important factors in choosing stuff: Must be tasty by itself, but must be reasonably healthy. Anything with added sugar should be avoided in large quantities, but is nice once in a while.

Bowl: You need to have a bowl that has high edges to prevent spillages, large enough to hold three Weet-bix, standing up on their side and still be covered in milk.

leetbixCereals: Lots of Weet-bix, and a box of Honey Puffs, Corn Flakes, Rice Bubbles, and a couple of Hubbards mueslis: one heavier oat-based muesli and one lighter corn-flake based muesli. In small amounts: Coco Pops

Toppings: Bananas, real-fruit yoghurt (buy in 1kg pottles), grapes, other kinds of fresh and dried fruit. Avoid fresh citrus fruit as it makes the milk curdle. In small amounts: Fruit-based ice-cream or plain yoghurt toppings (strawberry, kiwifruit, black forest, blackberry, but NOT chocolate, caramel). Avoid dairy food (the sweet creamy flavoured stuff that’s not yoghurt, e.g., Swiss Maid, Go-gurt, etc.)

Milk: Homogenised pasteurised Blue-top all the way. Why not low-fat or non-fat milks? Because it doesn’t taste as good. I’m all about the taste. And you do need some fat in your diet.

How to put these ingredients together:

Weet-bix (similar to Weetabix) is the staple of a bowl breakfast in New Zealand and Australia, so use this is a base. Two or three bricks. Because Weet-bix is quite absorbant, some people put hot water over these so they don’t use so much milk. It does result in a watered down taste, but this is an option. If you like large portions for breakfast, then just add more Weet-bix bricks. I put these in the bowl standing on their sides, not lying down or on their ends.

l33t cerealChoose one of your other, more flavourful cereals and ‘fill the gaps’ in your bowl with it. You could add two or even three different bits. Don’t over-do it though; the Weet-bix is the base, we’re adding the secondary cereals for flavour and texture because Weetbix, while lightly malted, isn’t the exactly the taste sensation we’re looking for.

Toppings: If you’re adding fruit today, put this on. If you’re doing yoghurt or another thicker-than-milk topping, add this. Then add the milk. You might not like watering down your yoghurt with milk, but trust me, it helps the flavourful yoghurt get into the Weet-bix. Don’t go overboard with any sugary ice-cream/yoghurt toppings — just add enough for flavour. If you don’t have yoghurt, fruit or toppings, and you’re desperate, you might put a teaspoon or two of sugar on the Weet-bix to make it a bit more interesting — but be aware, you may set yourself up for sugar-crashing easily before lunch time.

Now enjoy a flavourful and nutritious breakfast!

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…?

Fear the CSS Brace!

Today at WE05 was awesome: More visionary presentations, more hilarious photos!

After more legendary presentations from Molly, Eric and Derek, I attended the Ajax session by Tim Lucas. I found myself wanting a bit more, but it was still VERY good.

Lunch came around, so I caught a cab to Found Agency. I got to meet Zak, the guy I talked to on the phone just over a week ago. He showed me around his office in Bondi Junction, and gave me a very in-depth insight into the world of SEO and Pay-Per-Click marketing. Basically, there is OMG HUGE money to be made — seeing some of the Google Adsense windows brought it to life. He also described something called A-B Testing: serving up two identical ads going to slightly different convert pages, observing the difference that the slight difference made, and deciding to keep that change. Zak said that click through conversion can be increased phenomenally just by iterating through this every 1000 clickthroughs.

I also learnt that there are three types of “SEO” people: Super Affiliates (those who partner with a company who wants to sell something and enter into a huge referral rate in the hundreds of dollars per customer), Pay-Per-Click marketeers (those who manage their adwords and search terms they appear on) and Hybrid marketeers (those who do both).

I also learnt that Google doesn’t really like what some Super Affiliates are doing sometimes, and that the Super Affiliates are listening to what Google has to say, including the rel="nofollow" microformat. It becomes obvious to me that the ones comment-spamming blogs don’t really know what they are doing; shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to Google.

I spent so long talking to Zak that I was late for the 2:15pm sessions. I really wanted to see Cameron Adams’ Javascript and the DOM session too. Oh well, there’s always the podcasts.

Thank goodness I made it back in time to catch Tantek’s Microformats session — fascinating stuff. I guess I already knew about XFN and rel=”nofollow” but I didn’t know that these were called microformats. Yay for learning! 😉

Then Jeffrey Veen got up and did yet another PHENOMENAL session giving us all the boost we needed to go back to our jobs and do this stuff we’ve been learning about. I’m totally pumped. I’m gonna go out back and kick that tree.

For some reason, because I was that-guy-who-did-the-blog-donation-box-to-get-to-WE05, I was given a collectable WE05 belt pouch for a digital camera or iPod or the like. Sweet! Thanks people!

The WE05 afterparty was at The Pumphouse in Darling Harbour. Putting my Flickrazzi hat on, I caught some hilarious moments of the presenters on NVRAM and have put them up on Flickr for all to enjoy, namely Doug Bowman dancing, Eric, John Allsopp and Mark Harris doing the WWW, Derek Featherstone getting drawn into a pint, Tantek searching for Wifi at a dance club, and Eric giving Doug in his patented “CSS Brace”

Tantek tells me that I can probably go find many of the places where scenes from The Matrix were filmed here in Sydney; something I was hoping to do, but didn’t realise actually how easy it will be — 10 minutes of Google Searching apparently… hmm…

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here in Sydney. Will I be back for WE06? Heck yes!

Oh, and don’t forget to keep the middle of May 2006 free in your calendars — a web conference in New Zealand is being planned, and you will highly desire coming along… but more on that later… 😉

Woo We Woo WE05!

7:02am AEST (Sydney)
So seeing that the wifi at the conference is so utterly crap, and since my laptop weighs like a crapton, I figured since I got up so early this morning, and I don’t have to be at the conference till about 8:30, I’d come by a cybercafe and make post!

I haven’t gone far from Central Station in Sydney, but the fast food in Australia is of par standard. It’s nothing special, but it’s certainly edible. The food at the conference is great.

I uploaded the best photos I had from the conference onto Flickr last night via Telstra wifi from the comfort of my 6-share. My favorite has got to be Tantek and Eric Meyer staring each other down 🙂

There was an emergency evacuation yesterday. Apparently it’s the first almost-live podcast recording of a building evacuation! One of the guys from the conference was telling me he got a hilarious pic of Eric Meyer crouching outside the venue with his laptop out on his knees trying to get on Wifi! [photo]— can’t wait to see that on Flickr! Check out all the we05 photos on Flickr

All the talks yesterday were awesome. I especially liked Jeffrey Veen’s presentation on usability, Kelly Goto’s presentation on workflow in the agency, and Douglas Bowman’s visionary presentation reminding us that it’s only been 10 years and our art will most definetely look completly different in 10 years.

I’m really looking forward to the AJAX session, as well as Cameron Adams’ Javascript & DOM session. Tantek’s microformats session should be very interesting too.

I’m off to meet Found Agency today too. Probably around lunch time. We’ll see.