Work/Life Balance. I must get one of those.

You know that whole idea of a work/life balance? Right at the moment, mine’s so tilted it’s essentially a work/work balance with the life hanging onto an edge somewhere by the very tips of its fingers. In fact, I think I just heard it scream as it inevitably let go.

Inbetween running a household and running after three kids and supporting an overworked prac student (who happens to be the woman I love), I’m also writing. A lot.

From what could be called my regular assignments, there’s a MacTheMag blog entry:

MacTheBlog: A support issue: “It was at this point that I remembered the only other person I know of that readily identifies himself as a Genius. That would be Wile. E. Coyote, and I’m well aware of the success rate of his plans.”

At Geekspeak, musings on the use of a 1TB broadband plan:

Geekspeak: What can you do with 1TB of data? “What 1TB does buy you is a fair amount of security…”

At, even more iPhone 4 cases have been tested:

30 best and worst iPhone 4 cases: “It’s raining iPhone cases around here, so we’ve added more to our original story, bumping up the case count from 25 to 30. More choice is good, right?”

And that’s not getting on to the other big writing task for the week as I take up a guest editor role at Gizmodo Australia. In just two days, I’ve written the following stories:

Breakfast Wrap: Best Of The Weekend
Vodafone/Three Pump Up Contract Data Caps
Telstra Unveils Ultimate Wireless USB
Get Your Kicks (On Your Wave) On Route 66
The Best Free WiFi Is Fast Free WiFi
Breakfast Wrap: Best Of Monday Night
Internode Fetches IPTV For Early Adopters
Even Apple’s Making The iPod Refresh Obvious Now
Confirmed: Xbox Live Price Increase Isn’t Coming Nov 1
Is This The Ugliest iPad Stand Ever?
Nice Power Brick. But Will It Fly?

And it’s still only Tuesday. The week is still young, even if I’m not.

How busy are bees, anyway?

Lazy little stinging sods. I mean, all they do is hang around pretty flowers all day, only stopping for a bit of a dance when they feel like it. Compared to which, I’m slaving away on all sorts of projects tirelessly. Except that I’m somehow really tired.

Right now, you can read my review of the Clickfree C2 at

Clickfree C2: “The Clickfree C2 offers simple backup for PC or Mac, although regrettably not both.”

And then next week… I’m going to be a very busy little freelancer indeed, as I drag out my editor’s hat from its dusty corner of the office. It’s been more than five years since I had any kind of title with “editor” in it (back when I used to be the editor at CNET, as distinct from a contributor to it), but next week, for a strictly limited season, I’m doing a guest editor gig at, while Nick Broughall is overseas. As such, I probably won’t update this blog all that much during that time.

And after that, it gets even busier. Sometimes, it might be easier being a bee.

Get faster broadband now!

Just send $10,000 in unmarked bills to…

No, it’s not that sort of scam. In fact, I’ve been so busy, I haven’t even had time to sort out what kind of scam I should run.

Instead, an article detailing some simple tips to get the most speed from your broadband connection, live now at Common sense to some, rare mystical wisdom to others.

How to speed up your internet connection: “How can you make the connection you’ve got right now work that little bit faster? We can’t provide a magic bullet, either software or hardware to make everyone’s connections quicker, but we can provide some tips that may help speed up individual connections.”

Although I do like the fact that somebody’s already added a step #11: “11. Go to Tasmania for some NBN goodness.”

Travel all over the countryside, ask…

If you have that jingle going through your head now, my evil work here is done.

Well, not quite. But it is quite apt to describe today’s output. First up, at Hydrapinion, a discussion about why GPS “voices” are so rubbish:

Hydrapinion: What’s so hard about being able to speak, proper, like? “Thirty years ago, mechanical voices were struggling to get to the enunciation level of Daleks, and it seems as though we haven’t progressed much from there.”

And then at, a DAB+ review partially inspired by the B52’s:

Grundig Roam portable DAB+ radio: “As a portable DAB+ unit the Roam works well. Stop roaming and connect it up to speakers, however, and the story is quite different…”

Dropping clangers and dropping rubbish

A couple of columns to keep the week ticking along. First of all, at MacTheMag, I cover the tricky area of predictions by way of a beloved British children’s TV show:

MacTheBlog: Dropping iClangers: “Somewhere in my office, there’s a Clanger that I’ve dropped. He’s gorgeous, with his little pink nose and strange honking noises.”

Then at Geekspeak, I’ve taken a look at the BBC’s Dimensions portal:

Geekspeak: Getting A Web Perspective: “What really grabbed my attention were the disaster superimpositions. It’s all too easy to forget about a crisis when it’s a thirty second news spot and the camera only focuses on a couple of people.”

25 best and worst iPhone 4 cases

Sometimes, you see, the subject lines speak for themselves. After much testing, snagging, dropping, bouncing and learning valuable lessons about screen protectors along the way, my comparative review of iPhone 4 cases is live at

25 best and worst iPhone 4 cases: “Apple can’t make iPhone 4 units fast enough to satisfy demand, even with woeful stories of antenna problems and the potential of a smashed phone. To get the most from your iPhone, it’s pretty clear you need to pop it into a case or protective screen of some sort.”

Another day, another 3G WiFi Mobile Router

Pretty soon, these things are going to start turning up in cereal boxes. I wonder if it’s possible to enrich a router with niacin?

While you ponder that, I’ve reviewed another 3G WiFi Mobile Router over at

AximCom MR-102N: “AximCom’s unlocked mobile Wi-Fi router has a mix of good points and frustrating issues. If you’re after a decent performer it’s worth a look, but it’s stretching the definition of portable pretty badly.”

The one in which I go insane, and so does a major ISP

I was actually going to take today off as a sick day. Dropped everyone in at their respective places of work and education, and headed home to spend the day in bed getting better. But then the phone rang. Again and again. Couriers started turning up, and it became clear that my plans to recover would have to be put on hold, as would recovery. It’s enough to drive a man mad.

Which is a clunky but effective segue into this week’s Hydrapinion column, which is all about screen protectors:

Hydrapinion: The complete lunatic’s guide to putting on a screen protector: “In the interests of preserving the sanity of future screen protector applicators, I’ve assembled this handy how-to-checklist.”

I can’t explicitly say that iiNet’s gone insane. For a start, the company can afford really fancy lawyers. But I can imagine an iiNet advertising campaign shouting about KERAZY VALUES! in a distinctive Irish lilt after today’s announcement of new broadband plans, which forms the basis of my weekly broadband value column at PC Authority:

iiNet rejigs plan values, announces first 1TB download plan: “The ISP price war we’ve alluded to previously? It’s well and truly on. iiNet today announced the first plan in Australia to offer a combined 1TB of downloads.”

iPad competitors and Mac malware

Tuesday’s child is apparently full of grace. I wonder if anyone asked grace about this curious arrangement?

In any case, Tuesday brings with it a host of very  Apple-centric material, which makes sense when you realise I’ve written it all for MacTheMag. First of all, my weekly blog column looks at the tricky issue of competitors in the iPad space:

MacTheBlog:Where are the good iPad competitors? “It’s been more than six months since the iPad was unveiled to the world. Where on earth are the alternative tablets?”

Then I put on my virus-resistant reviewer’s pith helmet and test out Mac AV software:

BitDefender Antivirus for Mac: “AntiVirus for Mac is a contentious issue, but packages that work as poorly at BitDefender currently does will not change the status quo.”

I have the power! (but not the money)

Monday kicks off with another opinion column/blog and another review.

First up, my regular Geekspeak column casts an eye over what it is we’ve been spending our tech dollars on in the past quarter:

Geekspeak: What are you spending your tech dollars on? “The theory goes that we’re not going out to restaurants or clubs anywhere near as much, but instead concentrating our limited budgets on bigger TVs, more internet connected devices and items that might hold a little more value than a bowl of pasta or glass of beer.”

Then at MacTheReviews, the latest in a long line of promising-the-world Homeplug devices gets plugged in:

Belkin Powerline HD Dual Pack: “Cheaper than tearing up the floorboards to put in dedicated wiring and more reliable than wireless. The only thing not to like about the Powerline HD product is the size of the plugs and the price.”