Tag Archives: Sydney

fundraising for the Black Dog Institute

Just sent out a huge batch of emails to friends asking them to part with their hard earned dollars in support of my ride next month. Copy reproduced below. If you are reading this and are of a generous spirit, feel free to forward it to any kind, generous soul you may know.

Thanks in advance.


Hello friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances

In case I have not yet mentioned it, I will be cycling from Sydney to Dubbo, Oct 14-16, over the Blue Mountains, raising funds for the Black Dog Institute. As I will be cycling 135km, 170km, and 115 km over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I was hoping you would consider sponsoring me on this ride. I will be financing my own travel, food, accommodation and support so that every dollar you contribute will go directly to the Institute.

The Black Dog Institute is a not-for-profit, educational, research, clinical and community-oriented facility offering specialist expertise in depression and bipolar disorder. The Institute’s mission is to advance the understanding, diagnosis and management of the mood disorders by continuously raising clinical, research, education and training standards. In so doing, the Institute aims to improve the lives of those affected – and in turn – the lives of their families and friends.

One out of every 5 Australians will experience some sort of mental health issue every year, three out of every ten will be seriously affected. Depression alone is predicted to be one of the worlds largest health problems by 2020.

The Institute’s activities include:

  • Supported clinics: Depression Clinic, Bipolar Disorders Clinic and Perinatal Mental Health Clinic
  • Research into mood disorders
  • Professional education and training
  • Community programs

So if you can spare a few dollars, please consider sponsoring my ride or if not, consider forwarding this email to people whom you think might be interested in supporting this very worthwhile cause.

my blog:


The Black Dog Institute:

The route we’re taking:

More pairs in the street

Bopping along this morning, I decided that Femi Kuti is great marching-to-work-at-a-nice-pace music. So intent on the music, I almost failed to notice there’s a great pair of shoes against a bright yellow wall. Used Instagram to dilute the intense colours a bit. This is all part of the abandoned shoes project.

Hope you like.

community and coding fun at WordCamp Australia, day 2

WordCamp Australia day2

After a great day at Word Camp Australia, my personal highlight of day two was definitely Harley Alexander of Baffle! inc who gave a fun and entertaining presentation on a simple but complex (yes, I just wrote that!) concept, WP_Query versus Query_posts.

The great thing for me was that he is 15, has been using WordPress since he was 12, and has several tutorials and tips on his blog and a forthcoming book, How to Be a Rockstar WordPress Designer.

His significant height belied his modest age, and his comfort and confidence with talking about coding issues made his presentation very charming. I liked that he was teaching his teachers about WordPress as well as that his teachers were confident enough to let him do so.

Once again, a committed, interested and passionate disseminator who will definitely go far if he manages to not let the attention get to his head. I look forward to reading more of his stuff as well as his book, when WP2.7 actually ships so he can complete the screen grabs.

The second great thing today was the formalising of the WordCamp Association Australia and its’ committee which I hope to support once I get this little matter of gainful employments sorted. (offers and introductions, both contract and permanent, welcome!) I have a 2 week gig till Christmas so looking to line up some work for the new year.

Saying that, it was definitely not just these few people who impressed me, it was everyone, with their own individual passions driving their creative and business ideas, who floated my boat. Thanks everyone; rom the presenters to the Twitter backchannel chatter, loved it!.

Shattered, neighbours’ late night kitchen renovations kept me up all night, going home probably. Thanks everyone! Now to go home and shave this effing ‘tache off so I can kiss my missus proper-like!

barCampSydney4, fragrantly remarkable day at U of NSW

Sydney is one of those cities that carries its own perfume, one you get a whiff of from open bus windows, moments stuck in traffic jams, or just walking down the street. It is the unmistakeable scent of gum trees, the eucalypt sweet-citrus that is as much a part of the city as the Harbour Bridge or the Opera House.

I thought about this as I got my coffee with @neilphillips the morning of barCamp Sydney 4, hosted at the Roundhouse, University of New South Wales, my partner’s alma mater, and wondered how I got to this place, something I regularly do since migrating here only a few weeks ago.

I already noted, I’m sure, how friendly and open I find this city, and it was very evident at BarCamp, where even passionate and aggressive debate was accompanied by true camaraderie and mutual respect. This was my first barCamp, 160 people concentrated in a strangely cat-litter scented music/meeting venue, and I am definitely going to the next one, and definitely presenting something having gotten over my initial shyness and wariness.

For those not in the know, barCamp is a unique type of dedicated conference focussing on web applications, open source platforms and next generation web environments, roughly speaking. I was attracted to it as it is a real User Generated Content (UGC) environment, where you show up and add your topic of interest, what you want to lead a discussion or presentation on, to a schedule board first thing in the morning, or even hijack a rebuttal space later in the day, as happened in the Roll your own / Don’t roll your own CMS debate I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s open to whomever adds their name to the wiki roll call, fantastically dynamic, and thoroughly free to boot! There is some sponsorship but corporate presentations are not permitted and, it is a participatory, not spectator environment.

I enjoyed the entire day, but had to mention some highlights. (great pictures by JJ Halans available on flickr) There are hashtags feeds at #bcs4 and #barcampsydney for those interested in the copious chatter.

The speed networking was very helpful to this new soul trying to meet like-minded people in my industry, everyone friendly and open and engaged. Then the “Why it make sense to create your own CMS” session from Tom Voirol (as well as the impassioned rebuttal from Plone and Drupal experts) and Mick Liubinskas from Pollenizer talking about focus was gratifying to hear. Journo Katherine Small’s talk on how to get media attention (hope she distributes her presentation online!) and Scott Drummond’s discussion, “WTF is a Community Manager” were well presented, inspiring and enlightening. The passions around Dave Field’s presentation on “HCI failure” showed real insight and cross-platform passion.

And that was all before lunch! (hope to post a picture here once I debug my image upload issues with WordPress). in the meantime check out these two pictures of me: http://www.flickr.com/photos/halans/3030931432/in/set-72157609079396406/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/halans/3031460988/in/set-72157609079396406/ from JJ Halans. Yes, it is a truly frightful Movember I’m sporting. Also found a pic on ZDNet’s bootstrappr site if you’re interested.

The afternoon session contained a great talk about the OLPC project from Pia Waugh and what is in the damned thing, both hardware and software, as well as availability and upcoming deployments in Australia. Calling it a collaboration and education tool is about right. There was show-stopping mind-hacking session, A.K.A hypnotism, from Melinda Hall @headwellred that, among other things, showed us that it doesn’t have to be digital to be both fascinating and powerful. Nic Hodges led an interesting talk about idea generation and as the late afternoon fast approached, we wound up with an open discussion on how to battle the government’s desire to implement an unworkable, expensive, ill-considered blanket content filter across all Australian ISPs. It sounds like there is now a URL: banthisurl.com and some real activity around it. It was discussed that talking about #nocleanfeed wasn’t helping and we need to speak to non-techie people about it, not the “preaching to the converted” we now have.

So now it’s back to networking and job-hunting, looking for dynamic companies who might be interested in, in conversations about strategy, User centred design, end-to-end iterative project planning and management, future-focussed website creation and good places to have coffee. Hope to see some of you at WordCamp Sydney at the end of the month and please try to remember I am fundraising for Movember, raising awareness about men’s health issues like Prostate cancer and Depression, so your generous donation will be very appreciated and help justify me having to grow this ludicrous ‘tash.

Now off for a cycle round Sydney Park to clear my head and recirculate the blood round these laptop bearing knees.

My First STUB

Had a lovely social in The Beresford Hotel in Sydney Wed night, thanks to a tip-off from the lads at Happener, with some charming ad interesting bods. I really love this friendly city and the open warm connections it is possible to make here. Anyway, the group is called a STUB, is for Sydney twitterers and is a great way to place-a-face with the people we exchange messages with through Twitter on a daily basis. if you’re in Sydney, and you tweet, consider following @STUB, who also have a site with more info.

Read about it from ShiftedPixel‘s blog with pics included.

UX minds, futurists, start-up supporters, coders and recruiters, social networking tarts and generally switched on and locked-in people, not to mention a gerat discussion about fancy-shmancy Italian cooking. Thanks, mish!

Through the STUB (Sydney Twitter Underground Brigade BTW) I found out about BarCamp Sydney and am talking about Wordcamp Australia and hope to attend another webby meet shortly. There is plenty to get stuck into here but the next week will be catching up on exiting remote work for London, a new office space in Surry Hills, clearing out the garden (who thought planting bamboo was a good idea? 6ft in 2 weeks! ick!), follow up meetings with a few agencies and hopefully a steak ‘n’ beer with some mates, and a Laksa with my lovely (thanks for the recommendation Nick).

Now where’s that cat collar??? Mrow?

Strange fruit

Nothing posted for months and now two in one week. Deluge!

I wanted to post about the strange fruit I noticed in the park across the road from me, on my way back from the grocers something glinty caught my eye.

Strange fruit dangling from a fig tree

Can you see what it is yet? let me get closer:

something glinty dangling from the fig tree in Camperdown Rest Park, Newtown

I know you know what it is, let me zoom in a bit….

Strange friuit indeed

Someone got busy after the pubs shut! I love these guerrilla artists!