Monthly Archives: December 2006

Code Camp Oz 2007 Sidebar Gadget

One of the machines I am running here had the Windows Vista Countdown sidebar gadget from Donavan West, a Windows Live Development MVP over at

Anyway, I hacked his gadget so that it did a countdown for Code Camp Oz 2007, just download and install the gadget (removed) and look at my stunning graphical abilities.

Update: It was pointed out that the way I built this gadget was/is a violation of Donavan West’s copyright on the original Windows Vista Countdown gadget. I have therefore removed the gadget until I upload my own original work. I have also apologised to Donavan West publically and via e-mail.

I ask that if you have downloaded and installed the gadget that you now go ahead and remove it from your system. I will update this post in the future when a new one is available.


Goals 2007

Before Christmas I was having a conversation with Darren Nemkie about how he is looking at his goals for the next twelve months and through the discussion it became clear that I hadn’t been operating under a clearly defined set of goals for the past twelve months and I agreed that it would be a shame to coast along and do the same this year – so thanks to Darren for kicking me off on this goal setting journey. This post is all about the high level goals that I have set for myself this year and a little about the process I used to reach them.

Vision Setting

In the grand scheme of things a year is a very short period of time and if I just set years on a year-by-year basis I would run the risk of coast over a lifetime just as much as I coast over the course of a year. To help stop me doing that I decided that I needed to set myself a vision where I wanted to be in the future. I started by defining a simple vision twenty years out, then ten years, then five.

The idea is that the five and ten year visions represent realistic stepping stones to the twenty year vision and four years of of consecutive goal planning should get me to the first five year vision.

I won’t go into particulars but the visions outline briefly where I expect to be from a personal, financial and career perspective.

Goal Setting

With my visions set I was free to sit down and set some high level but specific goals for this year. Under each of the goals I’ve put down some sample actions that I’ll be trying to stick to (funny how the personal goals seem more like new years resolutions).

  • Personal and Family Goals for 2007
    • Lose weight and get healthier.
      • Go for a walk each day.
      • Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier.
      • Drink less coffee and tea (no more than 2 cups).
      • Eat a big breakfast and a light lunch.
    • Set aside more time just for myself.
      • Go swimming at least once a week.
      • Go to a cafe and read a book.
      • Record my thoughts when I take my walks.
    • Set aside time just for Nicola and I.
      • Go out together at least once a month.
    • Set aside time for the whole family.
      • Do more family activities on the weekend.
      • Go camping at least once every two months.
      • Get Bella involved in some weekend sports.
      • Get more involved in Bella day to day life.
    • Finalise unfinished business from 2006.
      • UPlift Project from TechEd
    • Take real holidays.
      • Don’t waste holidays in front of the laptop.
      • Set dates.
  • Financial Goals for 2007
    • Aggressively reduce the amount of negative debt we are carrying (that is debt that doesn’t earn a return).
      • Pay off one of the loans completely.
    • Increase the amount of positive debt we are carrying (that is debt that earns us value over time).
      • Arrange so that I derive financial benefit from one or more of the projects that I work on this year.
      • Take the first steps towards home ownership.
  • Career Goals for 2007
    • Work on getting two ventures up and running.
      • Take a leadership role in at least one venture.
      • Have a personal stake in at least one venture.
    • Actively seek customers who are doing exiting things with emerging technologies.
      • Directly approach customers with joint venture ideas using prototypes and designs as conversation starters.
    • Strengthen my network of contacts within Australia and Overseas across technical, business and academic disciplines.
      • Get in contact with people I have worked with in the past and let them know what I am up to and find out what they are doing.
    • Get more experienced at the business side of running a technology company.

That is a lot of stuff to stay focused on but there are some central themes there so I can kill a lot of birds with one stone. When I went for my walk today I started building out lists of tasks to support the goals and actions. I’m looking forward to the end of the year when I get to see how I went – its kind of like an annual Scrum meeting with myself 🙂

The good thing is by putting this stuff up here on my blog it increases the pressure but it also gives me a place that I can point people to when they question what I am doing or how I am behaving – but it also enables them to take me to task if I am not following through with what I have laid out here.


Explaining evolution to a four year old.

Evolution of Man

We have a bedtime ritual that involves me reading a story or some other book to Bella before she heads off to sleep. She has her own library of books and at Christmas we got her about dinosaurs, or at least that is what was on the front cover, the book itself contains quite a few more aspects of natural history than that.

Since Christmas day we have been reading a few pages of the book. Today we started reading through the various time periods starting off with the Pre-Cambrian. We came across the word evolution and Bella seemed a little bit confused so I tried explaining it to her.

I explained that over a very long time living things change and assuming that their environment is in constant flux and presenting new challenges, from generation to generation there are minor almost undetectable changes – for example, you (Bella) are a little bit different from Mummy and Daddy.

Without skipping a beat, Bella comes out with “Yeah, because you and Mummy can’t put your toes in your mouth”.

I’m not sure whether I should be sending her to study at a university, or enrolling her in stand-up comedy school.


Hail Storm in Canberra

We are getting treated to a pretty severe storm in Canberra at the moment. Up on the hill in Calwell we have a great view of the down pour. You see the centre of the storm, that is pretty much where we live.

A few minutes into the storm it started raining hailstones, and when I say raining I mean raining, like – instead of raindrops but with the same intensity. We managed to capture a few photos.

A river of hail running down a walkway in our back yard.

Hail building up like snow on steps in our backyard.

Bella asked me to go out and pick up some hail for her. I went and grabbed a handful (as you would snow) and put in a bowl for her to inspect. She thought it was very tasty!?!?!

I guess this pretty much cancels the fireworks that they had planned in Canberra tonight for new years eve (the wind is too strong for it to be safe, even though if the firework hit the ground I doubt the ground would be dry enough for it to strike up a blaze).


Twadget and Twitter

A few days ago Andrew Parsons reminded me about a Web 2.0 service called Twitter that both he and Frank Arrigo have been using. Basically you just keep sending it little status updates about what you are doing and it creates a log that you can share with your friends. Right now Frank is watching “You, Me & Dupree” and Andrew hasn’t updated for a while. Anyway, I like the idea of the service, its kind of like a community heartbeat but for me it was too much of a hassle to keep updating it via visiting the site and I was worried about the costs of the SMS-based updates.

Anyway – I thought that a Sidebar gadget would be a good idea but before creating my own I did a quick search to see if someone had already crated one – I found this (note the interesting domain name).