I’m only the second most intelligent person in my home…

Actually, now that I think about it, the kids are pretty canny. Zoe’s doing really well in school, and reading a couple of years above her level, James is due to start school next year, and Luc is capable of breaking into anything that interests him. And their brains are growing, while mine is shrinking…

But at least I’m smarter than the cats. Except, well, they’ve got it pretty cushy, which is smart. And even the dumb one might be autistically brilliant, in that Rain Man kind of way. So I might drop down the list somewhat.

Still, I’m smarter than the chooks. I don’t peck at my own excrement, for a start.

In any case, no matter where I sit on the intelligence scale, my beloved and beautiful wife is currently Queen of the Braindom, especially as she just got herself a credit and distinction for two of her university assignments. It’s particularly notable, as she did this while simultaneously getting by on around three hours sleep, dealing with a sick husband and sick kids, and keeping the house running at the same time. I can’t compete with that kind of brainpower.

Hang on. She’s really pretty, too. And she bakes a mean cupcake. What exactly do I bring to the relationship?

Rubbing me up the wrong way…

I haven’t written a tech preview for a while, although I used to write tons of the things. Still, this one rather invited my particular (and, I’m told, cynical) writing talents:

Sony Vaio CS Series Preview: “Do we really need to point out the potential embarrassment when you show people that your laptop really “comes alive” when you stroke its “special area”?”

Yawning in the early afternoon

These late nights and long days are starting to take a toll. And with daylight savings just around the corner, that’s only going to get more marked.

Meanwhile, in a shock move, I wrote another Apple review, for GadgetGuy.com.au:

Apple iPod Touch 32GB (2nd Generation): “Apple hasn’t done anything strikingly wrong with the second generation Touch. At the same time, they haven’t done anything all that striking.”

There’s a wet and miserable looking Kookaburra outside…

No, really, there is. Well, there is if you’re looking out my dining room window, anyway. Your windows may vary.

Speaking of variance, what’s the least varied thing I could be writing about today? If you answered “Modem emulation on a VIC 20 RS-232 Port“, then you couldn’t be more wrong, and I’d suggest that you’ve been sniffing that glue stick for just a little bit too long. If, however, you answered “Apple”, then you’d be bang on the money. Firstly, at Gadgetguy.com.au:

iPod Nano 8GB (4th Generation): “The fourth generation iPod Nano shows Apple doing what it’s done with the iPod line for a very long time now – tweaking around the edges, rather than reinventing the whole thing each and every time.”

And then at PC Authority:

Mac Authority: Redefining Apple’s Genius: “Sometimes, Apple does stuff that could be defined as Genius. Sometimes, not so much. Alex Kidman dissects the iTunes 8 Genius feature.”

Don’t be stupid, don’t be ridiculous…

I’ve written some unusual game reviews in my time, but my latest effort, at Australian Macworld, might just containĀ  the strangest single paragraph yet:

“Racing Games: Kiss My Asphalt” :“Now, imagine, if you will, a washing machine. Now, imagine (and bear with me here) that your washing machine had a mouth and, for some improbable reason, genitals. And that, for some unfathomable reason, you were torturing those genitals with a rusty belt sander…”

My head still feels like it’s being kicked in by invisible Half-Orc Ninjas*

But once again, I’m working like a galley slave. Except with less rowing, sunburn, or hard tack to eat. The level of whipping seems to be on par, though. Here’s today’s effort, at APCMag.com:

Artweaver: Photoshop for the skint: “Well, it’s at least a better name than “Gimp””

* Those responsible for them being half-orcs know who they are. You’ll get yours. Just wait and see..


I have a really feral sinus headache. I’m declaring 2008 to be “Year Of Illness”.

One theory doing the traps is that all of Sydney’s colds, bugs, and other ailments are down to pilgrims at World Youth Day bringing in exotic bugs that the locals didn’t have immunities to. It certainly sounds (and feels) plausible to me, but at the same time, I can’t help but feel it has a slightly racist tinge — all those “unclean foreign types” and the need to give them “a swift wash in a bath full of Pine-O-Kleen” kind of thing…

Anyway, while I’ve been suffering, I’ve also been working. Either because I’m very dedicated, or very stupid.* In either case, this is now live at CNET.com.au:

Philips DCP951: “It’s not a cheap portable DVD player, but it is stylish and has a lot going for it.”

*Possibly both.

Report card time…

A little while back, my mother came across some papers of mine, which she duly handed over to my brother, and, in the fashion whereby he rotates around the planet roughly seven times annually, the time came about when he and I were in the same location, and he passed them on to me. For some reason, the thick envelope that they were placed within was posted from Italy to the CSIRO Pastoral Resources Lab in Armidale in 1986 — no, I have no idea why either — but within was a treasure trove of my old documents, including just about every school report I’d ever bought home. And they’re fascinating reading, especially because they date from an age when school teachers could, in fact, say what they thought about a pupil.

I prefer that approach to be honest, but I know there’s a lot of parents who can’t deal with the concept that little Henry might not be the sweetest apple of their eye, but instead a spitting, spoilt, illiterate thug with the manners of a pig and the body odour to match. Still, reading back, and with the notion, as Wordsworth put it, that the child is the father of the Man, reveals some interesting comments about Alex Kidman (junior edition). My current-day comments are italicised after each quote.

5th of July 1976:
Diptheria Injection, 0.5ml.

Which would explain why I’ve never had diptheria, I guess…

1979: (My Kindy year. Yeah, I’m that old)
Under a heading “Book work is neat and orderly” TICK
(not a trend that would continue)
“Alex appears to enjoy school and he is now playing with other children in the playground”
(What was I doing before “now”?)

Mathematics: “We are still having a few problems with number reversals!”
(Gee, I wonder where my kids get THAT from, then…)

Under a heading of “Is attentive in class”
“Is inclined to go off into a world of his own”
(Cool. I never knew I had a whole world of my own. Anyone want to buy some real estate?)

Certificate of Merit: “Outstanding Interest In Computer Work”
(Not presaging anything. Strangely, I also have a fragment of an ECG scan dated from 1983 in the pile.)

English: “He enjoyed his extension work, scripting and producing an excellent video”
(Strangely, I’ve still got this. And no, you can’t see it, and it’s most definitely not going up on YouTube)

Comments on Other Subjects: Art, Craft, Science, Music, PE
“Craft is usually approached from an unusual angle”
(perhaps a taller craft chair might have been in order)

English (tested, trivia fans, by the woman who sold my mother the house I was living in at the time):
“Alex has ability but tends to rush at his written work”
(My daughter does EXACTLY this. I should probably be more understanding…)

Physical Education: “Alex can be rude and disruptive in class”
(A bit of back history here: I can only think of two teachers throughout my schooling who I really, really hated. Oddly, I encountered both of them in 1987. This PE teacher was one of them, as unless you were built in the manner of the proverbial brick outhouse, he considered you were “slacking” constantly. Hated, hated, hated PE that year.)

English: “Alex is a very talented writer, but at times wastes his efforts in attempts at being humorous — I expect it is a phase that will pass…”
(Ah, Mr Craske. You were so, so wrong on that score. I do credit him, however, with really getting my English learning on track, and leading me to my writing career. I wonder what he’s up to now?)
Physical Education:“Alex is a very pleasant member of the group. His enthusiasm helps him to cope well with PE problems”
(See? It was just a git of a P.E. teacher at Armidale High… not me.)

Work Experience Report (this one is self written, at a time when I badly wanted to be a vet)“Day 4: Dog Castration. Quite a bit different to Cat Castration”
(A fine eye for detail in the young Kidman there, methinks)

2U History:

“Alex has a perceptive and analytical approach to evidence, and a subtle understanding of the conceptual tools of the historian”
(There was a time when I was headed with gusto towards the dusty halls of academia as a historian, but several years of University study in that discipline convinced me otherwise. In some ways a pity; I did rather well.)
(Also several certificates, one for acting in “After The Ball Is Over”, a play I’d completely forgotten about until I saw the certificate. And a blacklight show I remember being an awful lot of fun.)

I’m not sure what happened to both 1982 and 1992 (although I do still have my HSC certificates from 1992 somewhere. And 1990 was the year that I was schooled in both the UK and Australia, so it’s perhaps not surprising there are no reports from then in my possession.

Son, as your lawyer, I declare y’all are in a 12-piece bucket o’ trouble.

Why does Monday morning keep rolling around? Couldn’t it just, for once, keep itself to itself?

I guess if the LHC does go awry, it might well do, were that not largely poppycock. Oh well.

Recent illnesses have put me behind the self-promotion ball, something that needs correction right away. If not sooner. Except that, well, I’d need some kind of time machine to manage that kind of thing, and I’m somewhat lacking in that regard, consarn it. Consarn. There’s a word you don’t hear very much any more. Why, yes, I am rambling. On with the catchup show!

At Australian Macworld, I completely forgot to point out that I was recently a talking head:

Episode 36 — The Unhappy Episode: “MJCP croaks to Alek Kidman and Danny Gorog about future Macs and iPhones and whether touch screens will take off. Also: strategies for taking care of valuable media, getting out of a telco contract, and avoiding having your car nicked.”

(you could also subscribe via iTunes for iPod-delivered Alex style goodness. Apparently it’s what all the young people do these days.)

It seems I can’t escape the Apple beat for long, if at all. For example, at GadgetGuy.com.au:

iTunes 8: “It’s been a long wait in-between full versions of iTunes, and while iTunes 8 doesn’t really offer any truly revolutionary features, it’s still a fine music library manager. Just don’t get sucked into too many purchases from the Genius Sidebar.”

And to finally prove the theory, a pair of news articles for PC Authority. See if you can spot the recurring theme!

Apple releases iPhone 2.1, hackers release new pwnage tools: “Well, that didn’t take very long at all, did it? Jailbreak hacks are already here for iPhone 2.1, if you’re willing to risk it.”

Internode offers free WiFi for iPhone 3G users, but for how long? “Today’s Internode announcement that iPhone 3G users, on any network, are free to use their Wireless Hotspots, comes with a twist.”

I had the world’s quickest and strangest haircut yesterday…

As apparently my eyebrows were “Too antennae-like”. So, in the name of getting a nice headshot done, I had the world’s tiniest haircut on my eyebrows only. Who said my life wasn’t sometimes surreal?

At the same time, quality Alex writing is available for your enjoyment in print and online. Just yesterday I was trying to explain all my many and varied outlets to a lovely PR person*, and I suspect confusing her terribly. In the print world, I’m naturally enough in this month’s issue of Australian Macworld, where I discuss the true terrors of technology, and specifically why describing every new smartphone as an “iPhone Killer” is quite a dumb move. It’s not quite up there with “JesusPhone” in my least favourite terminology, but it’s certainly close.

Meanwhile, the October issue of PC User Magazine features my reviews of the Samsung i8, CorelWordPerfect Office X4 Standard and the Jabra SP700 for your enjoyment.

But wait! There’s still more!

The October issue of Australian Netguide is practically overflowing with Kidman-related goodness. If you take everything that I and the clone have written, it is in fact overflowing, but only in the good, environmentally friendly, drought-breaking way. I would say search out the stuff with an “Alex” in front of it, but the deputy editor is called Alex, just to confuse matters further. So, you’ll just have to hunt down the reviews and features with both an “Alex” and a “Kidman” in front of it. This month, that includes reviews of the i-Mate Jama 201, Nokia 5310, Nokia N95, Nokia N78, Palm Centro, LG KF510, LG KF750 Secret, LG KF600, Sony Ericsson W760, Sony Ericsson C902, Sony Ericsson K660, Sony Ericsson C702, Samsung SGH-U900T, Blackberry Curve and Apple iPhone 3G. And that’s just the phone feature! You’ll also find reviews with my byline of the Iomega Media Xporter, Netgear ReadyNAS Duo RND2150, Kodak AutoMagic CD-R, MobileMe, Altec Lansing T612 Speaker Dock, ABC iView, Corel WordPerfect Office X4 Standard, Whereis Everyone, Google Lively, Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian (PC), Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3), Ninja Gaiden II (Xbox 360) and Super Smash Bros Brawl (Wii). And, to top things off, the Broadband Directory to Australia’s best ISP deals.

But I’m not done yet. Although I probably should be. There’s also online contributions, which today both come courtesy of APCMag.com:

Phwoah: Sony unveils 25 megapixel DSLR: “Full frame, full-fat 24.6 megapixel sensor and a fully sick blow to your wallet await.”

Qantas to offer paperless iPhone 3G check-in: “Now you’ll really hate it if you lose your boarding pass…”

* Additional points awarded for donating to my daughter’s school fete. Under the right circumstances, I can be bought… sort of. PR People, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, email me!