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Why I don’t have an iPad yet

How are you guys? Long time no see… I’ve been so busy with real world stuff that I haven’t had much chance to blog. Don’t worry though; I’m still jotting notes and adding to my ever-increasing list of draft posts faster than I’ll ever be able to clear them.

Alright. Let’s talk about monopolies.

I’ve been thinking at great length about buying an iPad. So much thinking, in fact, that after 3 generations I still haven’t bought one yet. I’ve bought an iPad for each of my three sets of parents but not myself. In theory it should’ve been a no-brainer after Apple released the New iPad with the retina display. After all, that was the one feature I’d been eagerly waiting for. I already own an iPhone and Macbook Air, and spent copious amounts of time and money accruing apps and content through iTunes and the Mac App Store so it’s not like I haven’t already sold my soul to the cult of Jobs.

But therein lies the problem. I feel like I’ve unwittingly invested too heavily into the Apple ecosystem without proper consideration, and I’m wondering whether I’m putting all my eggs into one basket.

Let me back up a bit and explain what I mean by the Apple ecosystem – I’m not just talking about owning a bunch of iDevices. Those are just a variety of different-sized windows into the content world that Apple has built. Media (music, movies, games, etc.) isn’t what it used to be. CDs are likely to be the last of its kind, a brand-agnostic platform that can be played on hardware manufactured by any company (most likely Sony, who we’ll come back to in a bit). Today, when you buy something from iTunes, you’re no longer receiving a physical product, but buying into the company. Sure, progress in the area of digital rights means that you can get a file in a standard format, without restrictive Digital Rights Management (DRM) schemes so that can be played on devices from other manufacturers, but ultimately if you accidentally lose the file, you’ll go back to Apple – why would you pay for a replacement copy when you’ve essentially purchased a life-long right to it so long as you keep using their system! How is this a bad thing, you say?

It’s that old saying: the medium is the message.

We think we’re buying songs, movies and games, but really, the content itself is free (another topic that I hope to cover in depth in a future post) and the money that you pay goes entirely towards building the ecosystem through which it is distributed. The money that artists and developers receive isn’t payment for their intellectual property – it’s a commission, albeit a fairly large one, for helping Apple to sell their platform.

Taken to its logical conclusion, Apple’s success reduces choice. The bigger they get, the harder it becomes for anybody to compete with them. Like the banks, Apple too will become “too big to fail”.

In all seriousness – and this has nothing to do with my being a member of one of their social media marketing groups – Sony is the only company in the world with interests in the critical parts of the content ecosystem to be able to take Apple on. The reason why they’re struggling is because they haven’t been able to corral their offerings to deliver a consistent customer experience. Both Google and Microsoft lack coverage in the consumer electronics space, and must partner with other companies such as Samsung and Nokia to even be in the game. Likewise for content – merely providing a conduit (marketplace) for content to be sold is nowhere near the same as being able to offer an integrated multi-device platform (both Apple and Sony), or actually owning the content (Sony).

Content is the lifeblood of devices, and with each additional device I buy (i.e. the New iPad), the more I must invest into buying content from Apple to make that purchase worthwhile. I’m not so loaded that I can afford to buy the same content through both iTunes as well as Sony’s ecosystem (in order to be able to watch shows on TV through my PS3). If I buy the iPad, then I’ll be more inclined to also buy an Apple TV so that I can watch iTunes video content on TV.

Hehe… given the above, can you imagine what kind of buyer’s remorse I’ll suffer after buying an iPad? And that’s why I don’t have one yet.

Idea: artistic feature for Pitt Street Mall

Pair of tits

Who wouldn’t want such a lovely pair of tits to grace our mall?

Pitt Street Mall is arguably Sydney CBD’s most popular spot for getting together. Yet in spite of the recent penetration of new and exotic foreign brands such as Zara, it still lacks a certain… sex appeal. To get to the point, what it needs is a defining feature, a landmark like the Maniquin Pis in Brussels, Belgium or the Malls Balls in Rundle Mall, Adelaide, which the people of Sydney can grab a hold of – from ‘bra boys to the blue mountains folk, and to help this great city keep abreast of trends in urban design.

Here’s the idea: Pitt’s Tits – a bronze sculpture featuring two small birds.

You’re probably wondering “why tits?” After all, they’re usually found in the Northern parts, and down here we’re more preoccupied with issues like whether Tasmania should be a bush or not (referring of course, to the very serious issue of deforestation).

But of course, Australia is a former-British colony, thus many self-professed “true blue Aussies” will have parents, grandparents and even great grandparents that miss the beautiful tits of their youth. Not to mention our immigrants – even though they might have come to love Aussie birds, still miss the tits back home.

And then there’s the Strine saying “useless as tits on a bull” – which obviously refers to how useless these birds would be in that situation because they mostly eat caterpillers, seeds and nuts – unlike the parasite eating oxpeckers, which would actually help by eating the fleas and other parasites, which just goes to show, even in language, tits are always on our minds and on the tips of our tongues.

But back to the idea, Wikipedia says that tits “are noisy and social birds” which makes a nice pair all the better as a symbol attracting attention, and even eye-catching, as long as they’re sufficiently large so that it draws your attention to them even in the midst of a crowd.

Despite how great this idea is, I’m sure there will be start opposition from those who would much prefer a local bird, and suggest instead an Abbott’s Booby, native to Christmas Island. However, this country’s already got an abundance of boobies from Abbott, which is why that thought can and should be summarily dismissed.

You’d be a fool to not like this idea.

Fuck you, evolution!

Last week I posted the list of drafts I’d accumulated all these years and asked you to pick which ones you’d like to see. A couple of you requested “Fuck you, evolution!” which hardly surprising given the provocative title, but going back and reading what I wrote, I remembered why I hadn’t posted it before – it was supposed to be an announcement (about what, precisely, should be clear soon if you haven’t already guessed).

Seeing as it’s been over 6 months since I first started writing this post (I ended up publishing this instead), and who-knows-how-long until it will finally need to be called upon again, I figure I might as well tweak it a bit and publish now, and think of something else clever when the time comes.

—-

If it were left up to nature, I should have died a long time ago:

  • I developed an unknown and undiagnosable ailment at a very young age which causes me to cough incessantly. The doctors at the time said that my lung capacity was reduced because of it but I’ve managed to live a completely ordinary life in spite of it – albeit I’m not the fittest nor most athletic person you might know.
  • I developed myopia – more commonly known as short-sightedness – at a relatively early age. I spent several years sitting right at the front of the class, not because I was so eager to learn, but so that I could see the blackboard because I didn’t know any better. It wasn’t until my violin teacher, Mr. Russell, noticed that I seemed to be leaning in to the music stand probably more than an ordinary kid should, and mentioned it to my parents, that I finally got glasses. If I was living in the era of the natural jungle rather than the urban jungle, I would’ve been eaten by a wild animal a long time ago.
  • More recently, I discovered that I have psoriasis, and on top of that, psoriatic arthritis. My skin does weird things in weird places, and my joints are in constant and incurable pain. I use steroidal creams for the external stuff and take anti-inflammatory drugs for the latter – and will do for the rest of my life. Without them my body will destroy itself.

Yet I have survived long enough to procreate, and with the middle fingers of both hands pointed firmly upwards at the process of natural selection, Jenny and I will hopefully overcome the false starts of last year and conceive soon. Realistically speaking, it is entirely possible that our child will inherit some or all of the traits I described above thanks to genetics, plain and simple. But he or she will grow up in an era where modern medicine will likely render the symptoms irrelevant – even as I use the rudimentary versions of those techniques to make my life tolerably liveable today.

So regardless of the specifics of how we came to be, science has killed evolution dead in its tracks. Survive and adapt to that, muthafuckaaaaaaaaa…

Incompletent

Lots of ideas

Daggy stock photograph courtesy of a bunch of expiring credits on iStockPhoto that needed spending

Jenny was off sick today, and with nothing better to do she decided to catch up on reading my blog posts. While we were talking about what she thought of the things I’d written, I took a quick inventory and counted no fewer than 72 draft posts – thoughts that I’ve jotted down here and there as they occur to me, but have yet to find time to mold into coherent forms suitable for publishing. Here they are in reverse chronological order:

The future of retail
Copywrong
A-theist
Poll: what should I study?
The human animal
The future of journalism
Partially formed
Truth vs. Justice
Fuck you, evolution!
Fear of taxes is taxing peoples’ intelligence
Am I a Mac or a PC
Idea: no claim bonus for health insurance
Hatred
Being rich
The hoo-ha over social media
Idea: open source shop
Personal Search Optimisation
Idea: retail
Idea: transforming forms
Idea: kilometre counter
Cheevos!
The Public Spirit
I’m not really here
Government by statistics
The loss of innocence
Review
Accountability on the Internet
Oh no! Won’t somebody save us!
The future is Web? I hope not!
Brand me
A friendly bunch, you lot
Internet predictions
The future is free
Ready to get your game on?
Leaders – the ultimate editors
Why communities?
Ideological veganism
You’re wrong.
Just in time
Social media and the environment
Adam and Eve’s nakedness
Simplicity
Technology and the erosion of society
Beyond reason
Anti-consumerism
One man can’t make a difference
People of the book
Sacrificial giving
Making the impossible possible
Random thoughts about God
The Internet of the future
The world is getting more complicated
Train your brain
Court of law
In search of a passion
Jesus
The morality of atheism
Privilege
Banging our heads against the wall
Superheroes or stuperheroes?
And then what?
Selfish or selfless?
How to write
When it’s too hard
Not knowing
Unfunny
Stupidification
I’m feeling social
Editing vs. writing
Story nouveau
Narrative structures
Integrity of character

What’s interesting about this list is that you can discern from it the various epochs that cyberseraphic has been through – and hence what I was thinking – a lot better than the final list of published posts. From the oldest drafts a few years ago when I was heavily into the mechanism of writing and thoughts about characters and plots occupied my brain, the period where I explored the duality of my Christian and atheist beliefs meant to me, a phase wondering about the implications and impact of technology on society, through to the most recent posts demonstrating a sliver of interest in socio-political matters – there are thousands of words buried behind those titles, many probably past their used-by date.

Any of them in particular pique your interest? I’ll consider giving priority to the ones that get the most response.

HC SVNT DRACONES

Not only has the Gregorian new year all but disappeared from sight in the rear view mirror, the recent Lunar new year is also fast fading away. As I look back (belatedly) on the previous year, I think it’s fair to say that 2011 was an annus horribilus for me and Jenny. If you noticed that we were flying under the radar a little more than usual, it was probably due to one of these reasons:

  • We suffered 2 miscarriages (without intending to trivialise the experience of others who have been through it, neither of ours were the “simple” kind that happens quietly behind closed doors, leaving everybody not in the loop oblivious to what happened. We required surgical intervention both times, meaning time off work.)
  • I was made redundant from a job that I’d been in for almost a decade, and spent 3 months unemployed, doing a lot of career-related soul searching
  • I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, an ongoing condition related to my psoriasis, which negatively affects my physical abilities

Then there’s Jenny’s mum having open heart surgery, and a host of lesser incidents including one where Jenny learnt a valuable lesson on the very real dangers of -literally- kicking my ass, and a computer hard drive failure that would have been catastrophic but for the fact that most of my data now lives in The Cloud.

We also had some “near misses” such as: the Queensland floods – our investment properties were unaffected, but the flood waters stopped just up the road from where they are located (yeah, such a first world problem, I know).

And it seemed the rest of the world too, was being oppressed. Fortunately, we were very glad to learn that friends and family in Japan and New Zealand were not directly impacted by the earthquakes that rocked those countries, but still saddened by the many lives lost in those tragedies. Then of course there’s the continuing turmoil on the global financial markets.

So bruised and battered, we came into this year with the greatest of hope and expectation that things could only get better. And wow, what a start to the year! We spent a week away with our closest friends in a rented beach house in Anna Bay – the weather was absolutely perfect. Then during the trip I learned that I’d won a Sony Tablet S from the Sony (X) club. And we’re still only in January.

We’ve got big plans in store for this year, including a move (hopefully into a place of our own – fingers crossed). Hope to share more (and more often) with you right here, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, here are a few photos from the Anna Bay holiday.

Paradise on Birubi beach house

"Paradise on Birubi" - the house where we stayed. 5 bedrooms, 2 stories and rooftop access. Asking price: $1.65m

Praven serving up his curry

We had a great feast every single night - this one was Praven's superb Lamb curry. Yum!

A praying mantis

An unexpected visitor

Crashing waves

Leanne, Jenny and Tina playing around in the waves

A rock formation

Who you lookin' at? *grumble grumble*

Sunset over the water

We saw some spectacular sunsets over the beach

Sunset with silhouetted figures

Another amazing sunset. (EDIT: oops, I think this one was sunrise!)

Caesar holding a Port Jackson Shark

I caught a fish! Well, a Port Jackson shark actually. Oh, and it was actually Juan that did all the hard work, setting up the rod, hooking it, etc. he just kindly let me reel it in. He'd caught one that was even bigger the night before. We threw them both back in, thinking that they were endangered, but turns out they're not. Wouldn't have been all that good eating anyway - we were hoping for Salmon. Juan did catch a decent sized Taylor the night before we left.

Monkey toys arranged in a pattern

I couldn't resist... there were so many kids, and so many toys!

Birubi Beach

I suppose I couldn't get away with not showing a beach shot from a beach holiday (there's lots, but didn't want to post potentially "unflattering" pics of my friends without their permission). In the foreground is Birubi Beach, walking distance from where we were staying. In the distance is Stockton Beach, where I had my bucks - ah, the memories...

 



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