Wouldn’t it be good to be in your shoes

A couple more reviews for CNET.com.au:

Seagate FreeAgent Go Portable Drive 320GB: “Seagate’s updated FreeAgent Go is slim, attractive and offers a good mix of features and speed.”

Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme 1TB: “We were cautious about anything that’s labelled as “Xtreme” — on the not inconceivable grounds that they might also be “Rad”, “To The Maxx” or, for that matter, “Totally Grody”…”

Life’s strange little coincidences…

Two oddities from the past two days…

Firstly, the second and third donations to my Mo’ campaign have landed… and they’re both from people called John. I won’t bore you with the donation details again. Well, at least not today.

Secondly, I was helping my daughter read through a book (as part of helping her class with reading duties, a most enjoyable Tuesday morning activity) when I noticed that the author shared the same name as the woman who lived opposite me when I was growing up, one Wendy Blaxland by name. Could be a coincidence, of course…

Woo-hoo! First donation!

And I haven’t even grown a single hair as yet. The first donation has landed in the donation bucket for my Movember fund, with huge thanks to the awesome Jo. Who, just in case it wasn’t clear, is now officially awesome.*

Ah, I hear you thinking (I have very sensitive ears) — how can I join this exclusive club of Mo’ Donators?

To sponsor my Mo you can either:

Click this link:

and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account, or

Write a cheque payable to ‘Movember Foundation’, referencing my Registration Number 1475081 and mail it to:
Movember Foundation
PO Box 292
Prahran VIC 3181

Those who see me in person are welcome to throw money my way.

Remember, all donations over $2 are tax deductible.

* Jo’s awesome certificate willl land in the mail as soon as I’ve had time to design, draw, print and post it. Or, I could just blog about how awesome she is. Hey, that’s a great idea!

You just keep on trying ’till you run out of cake…

A 2007 Internet Meme and a song lyric, all in one. Neat. Albeit a touch dated…

Also neat is catching up on my published work, especially at CNET.com.au, where there’s been a practical tsunami of Alex work. Observe at your leisure:

Microsoft Explorer Mini Mouse: “We even experimentally ran it over the base of a custard tart, and while that was physically tricky to do, the Explorer Mini kept up admirably…”

Linksys Ultra Rangeplus Simultaneous Dual-N Band Wireless Router WRT610N: “There’s a bit in every B-grade science fiction movie when the heroes think they’ve taken down the evil invader’s UFO…”

NEC Versa E6510-2505DR: “The E6510 looks the part of a serious business laptop, but there’s a more fun exterior lurking within — at least for as long as the battery holds out…”

NEC Versa P9210-2500DR: “The P9210 is a frustrating mix of elements that we really liked, and elements that were just plain frustrating…”

This was a triumph. I’m making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.

I spent quite a bit of time at my daughter’s school fete on Saturday, watching the school raise much-needed funds for a new technology centre, and dipping a touch into my wallet in the process. I really can’t complain — a 50c German copy of the rather excellent Carcasssonne made not just my day, but my entire week.

Well, it would have been the highlight of my week, had it not been for the overall success of the fete itself,, And some of that comes back to the immense generosity of some of the companies that came on board with donations to the school, which were used variously for silent auctions, raffles and the chocolate wheel. Which had no chocolate, but was at least wheel shaped. In no particular order, though, I’ve got to thank:

Motorola, Symantec, Seagate, Plantronics, Sega, Acronis, Lexmark, Lexar and Microsoft Xbox

For their donations to the fete. And, of course, their wonderful, wonderful PR people, who made it all happen. Thankyou (again, in no particular order) to Claire, Vida, Anna, Scott, Rebecca, Kya, Pru and Jessie. You all deserve a pay rise, in my opinion. In fact, a double pay rise.

Not that I can make that happen, you understand, but it’s certainly got my stamp of approval.

Things are about to get hairy… real hairy…

Those of you who know me know that I’ve grown beards, on and off, for about the last ten years or so. Goatees, largely.

Those of you who know me well also know that I’ve struggled, on and off, with depression.. for about the last twenty years or so. Low on the laugh factor, largely.

So why not mix the two?

Wow. That’s a really, really bad segue, even by my standards. But, still, go with it I must. And that’s the segue I’ve got to move onto the fact that I’ve registered for Movember this year. I’ve never just specifically grown a moustache before… the results could be interesting. But this isn’t just an exercise in hirsuteness, oh no. It’s also a fundraising effort for men’s health issues, including depression. See — I told you there was a link. As such, I’ll be seeking YOUR sponsorship dollars throughout November… and posting possibly disturbing pictures of my upper lip on a semi-regular basis. Or not, if somebody pays me not to.

To sponsor my Mo you can either:

Click this link:

and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account, or

Write a cheque payable to ‘Movember Foundation’, referencing my Registration Number 1475081 and mail it to:
Movember Foundation
PO Box 292
Prahran VIC 3181

Those who see me in person are welcome to throw money my way.

Remember, all donations over $2 are tax deductible.

It’s a beautiful day… the sun is shining… I feel good… and no-one’s gonna stop me now…

Well, the first two statements are pretty much bald faced lies. The latter ones are looking pretty shaky too. Then again, Freddie Mercury was never particularly known for his extremely forward-looking weather forecasting abilities, now was he?

And that ties in (albeit rather tenuously) to today’s Mac Blog at PC Authority, which is all about financial predictions, forecasts and results. Plus, I get to talk about the blue smoke escaping from products when they die.

Mac Authority: Apple: We’re in the money! “Apple’s earning reports indicate that Steve Jobs isn’t going to go broke any time soon. But it’s what’s in-between the lines that’s most interesting. Alex Kidman dons his financial cap once again.”

But I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more…

What a daft lyric. I mean, it’s all very inspiring and all, and I’m sure given the Proclaimers’ generally energetic walking style that it’s highly aerobic to boot… but then the 1,000 mile trek just to fall over? She’s going to take one look at the sweaty, unconscious mess in front of her, and then go off with the smarmy looking guy in the leather jacket instead, guys…

All of this has no bearing on my writing work, however. That was what you were here for, right?

Well, in a predicably Apple-y way, there’s this at PC Authority:

First Look: The New Apple Macbook: “Is Apple good at design? Usabilty? Both or neither? Also, where has all the Firewire gone? Alex Kidman has been testing Apple’s new Macbook and gives his first impressions.”

And then this news piece, with nothing to do with Apple, at APCMag.com:

Samsung announces the 7.9mm TV: “Time to throw away that existing LCD or Plasma — it’s a chunky beast. Or at least, that seems to be what Samsung, Sony and Philips are thinking.”

Keep smiling, keep shining, knowing you can always count on me for sure…

Sure, Dionne Warwick might sing that… but when it comes time to clean round the back of the toilet, where is she? Nowhere to be seen, that’s for sure!

Meanwhile, the November issue of Australian Personal Computer, with its very yellow cover*, landed in my letterbox a few minutes ago. Unless I’m very much mistaken, it’s the first issue with something of mine in print since late 2001, when a review of MechCommander II graced its pages.

I’ve been writing online for APCMag.com for a while, but a brief news piece I wrote about Sony’s very attractive (and very expensive!) 25 Megapixel Alpha 900 camera made the news pages, based on an initial Web report I wrote. Presuming my mail delivery person didn’t break into the APC offices to steal me a copy — which, let’s face it, seems unlikely — it should be on newsagency shelves now.

* Yellow, is, apparently, an attractive colour that entices consumers to buy… and, as an ad sales type once tried to convince me, this is why Symantec have yellow boxes for all their consumer AV products, and why McDonald’s uses yellow extensively. Then again, McDonald’s also utilises a very creepy clown to sell its alleged “food”, so perhaps the use of yellow is just some kind of smokescreen…

An… interesting fortnight.

(warning: Personal content ahead. I’ll get back to rabid article self-pimpage another day)
Interesting times abound at Kidman HQ, especially over the last two weeks. My beloved wife has had a two week prac placement at a local pre-school, which means I’ve jumped back into the role of being a stay at home daddy during the day and working person at night.

Actually, work has permeated the house in a way that it normally doesn’t, thanks to the fact that Di’s been doing all her observations and lesson plans each evening; as a result she’s been working roughly 19 hour days.. for a fortnight. She’s kinda tired, and so am I.

Still, while there have been challenges in the past two weeks (especially as the first week was also still in school holidays, meaning not only could we not go anywhere particular, we also had three kids at home), what really surprised me was how much (in a way) I missed it. I’ve been working flat out these last six months to make ends meet (tricky in these interesting financial times, and even moreso with three kids), and not had a whole heap of “family time”. Having to keep 2-3 kids happy over a fortnight… and run a house… and write… has been hard at times, but also massively rewarding. I’ve spent fun time with all three kids, and made some important decisions for their future as a result….

Except for the whole Mr 4. school decision. That one’s doing its best sword of damocles to my head right at the moment, in agonising fashion. Nobody ever said being a parent was without its stresses, right?