Sunday, October 07, 2007

My boy

My son is one of my favorite topics lately - and I suspect for a long time to come. Now 7 months old - here's some pics.

The Chemical Brothers

Hmm.. I think I'll go to the Chemical Brothers in February.

Get a baby sitter, and a small posse together, and make a night of it.

I am not their biggest fan today but their music is a part of my history growing up in the mid 90's and early 2000's and so many good memories. Their big beat, techy electronica along with the big warehouse and venue trance (shame) parties of the day got me hooked on electronica. My musical taste may have changed (for the better) but I still love hearing the cheesy big tracks like Elektrobank, Hey Boy, Hey Girl and Block Rocking Beats.

I've never seen them live but their live shows are meant to be sick (am I too old to use that word :-) Seeing these videos on YouTube from Glastonbury earlier in the year has twisted my rubber arm.

There's 3 others in the series

Change of tack

I've decided to broaden the content of Web NZ to include some of my other interests. I'll still post on anything I find interesting in the online world, on YouTXT, Usability, what I'm up to professionally and New Zealanders doing cool things - like Dave ten Have and Ponoko making it to TechCrunch. And then, by all accounts making a big splash in a very big pond by getting named "..the most original idea.." by the review panel.

I admit, it took me a little while to get my head around what exactly Ponoko is or does but it is one of the most original ideas I have heard in a long time. In a world where most "new" web businesses are just different takes on existing ideas - done differently and occasionally better, Ponoko is a modern day example of "Kiwi Ingenuity" that sets the bar for NZ software companies. I have worked briefly with founder David ten Have (or Dave5) who was my boss at Trade NZ about 10+ years ago, and John Lewis from Intergen who is a kick-ass coder with serious business nous. They are both really smart guys and I wish Ponoko the best of luck.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Go TUANZ. Awesome promotion.

This is great example of a NZ organisation using YouTube to promote their cause.

Is it viral? Is it effective? I think so.

In the 10 minutes since I 1st saw it in the Google reader widget on my iGoogle home page, I have watched it, posted a comment on Rod Drury's blog, emailed it to one friend and am now adding it to my blog. I think so.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Career update

I've left Intergen and began contracting with Ferrit.

Intergen are a great company and I learned alot from my time there. I'm proud of the work I did while in the Auckland office and rate them as the best medium to large Microsoft development shop in NZ.

However, Life goes on...

By their own admission, the Ferrit website has plenty of room for improvement and I'm looking forward to the challenge over the coming months. They have a vision, a great team and resources which is a good start towards a successful project.

My SMS information service business YouTXT continues of course. Use of the free service continues to build slowly and we have had some success. Check out some case studies of how people are using it on the YouTXT blog. We have also had some serious interest in customised solutions. Hopefully I'll be able to announce something soon...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Finalist in FullCodePress competition

It seems I've been shortlisted as a finalist for the FullCodePress competition against Australia on the 18th August.

What is the FullCodePress? Officially, "...the brainchild of the people at Webstock and WIPA. In essence it’s a geek Olympics!" but to me it's more like the C4 48 hour film festival for websites.

I'm stoked to have made the final 3 - Fingers x'ed because the winner is drawn from the hat.

Monday, May 21, 2007

2007 Web 2.0 Award Winners Announced

SEOmoz has announced the winners of their annual Web 2.0 awards. Although there were a few surprises it was great to see Threadless recognised as the premier Web 2.0 retail site - something I've been saying for ages :-)
There were no kiwi sites there but it was great to see Grant Robinson get a mention for his truly addictive "Guess-the-Google"
It also made be stop and think that so many of these winning sites are part of (almost) everyday life on the web. Think about it -
  •, Digg - Social tagging / news
  • LinkedIn - isn't everyone?
  • YouTube
  • Google - iGoogle is my home page + Google Reader, Docs, Analytics, AdWords, Gmail and Blogger
  • Picasa organises my photos on my machine and online
  • LastFM is what i listen to at work (and it listens to me too)
  • And that's just for starters - there's many more that did not win awards such as TradeMe

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

YouTXT Blog up and running

The YouTXT Blog is up and running.

OK - It's only got 1 real post talking about some of the big brands using SMS Marketing in New Zealand - but it's a start...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Web 2.0 Twilight and Challenge

I just got back from Intergen's Twilight seminar on Web 2.0 and I've got to say I was impressed. John Lewis was an excellent presenter and made some interesting points and especially liked his 4 part "web 2.0 challenge" to all the attendees...

  1. Users front and centre
  2. Re-imagine your UI
  3. Free your data
  4. Getting better, the more people who use it

John works for Intergen as a whiz-bang producer in our creative team. Check out more of his wize words on his blog umamiblog

Check out the presentation

Or download the presentation as a PDF - You can also find presentation material from other Intergen Twilights here.

Lastly - if you're interested in taking up John's challenge - Intergen is prepared to help you for free. Contact me at work on

Sunday, April 15, 2007

YouTXT - Creating and Sharing Information by SMS

I’m pleased to announce that a new service that I’ve been working on has gone live! YouTXT is a service that brings TXT marketing to smaller organisations.

Some of the benefits to businesses:

  • Free to setup, no ongoing costs for the business
  • Easy to use site for managing TXT codes
  • Detailed reports on campagin effectiveness
  • Our success depends on your marketing success, we’re motivated to help you succeed!

If you are offering a service and would find benefit by allowing potential customers to TXT for more information then this would be a fantastic service for you. YouTXT is a small business that’s looking to help small businesses succeed by enabling this type of service to businesses that don’t have multi-national sized budgets for marketing. We really look forward to seeing how you guys use this service and I’m really excited about the prospects for some new features we’ve got planned.

More detail about how the service operates can be found on the site. If you would like to discuss with us about how this service could be adapted to your organisation please feel free to contact me.

My partners in this venture are the stars - JD from Mindscape, and top notch creative Sam Allen
Check it out here:

All the cool kids are doing it

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Usability Twilight - Part Two

The Intergen User Experience & Usability Twilight was great, and the most successful in terms of attendees that Intergen has ever hosted. Approximately 100 attendees came to the Grande Plaza in Auckland and feedback collected on the night was excellent.

Thanks to all the speakers who did a fantastic job...

Intergen have started a blog to continue the discussion - I'll let you know when the presentation materials are available.

Friday, March 09, 2007

UPA "Interactionary" Event

At the latest Usability Professionals Association meeting, I had the chance to team up with Sahilesh Manga, Blake Lough from Optimal Usability, and Sam Allen from Intergen in a "Interactionary Session". We had 10 minutes to solve a design problem revealed on the night and design a solution. You are judged on teamwork, process, user focus and the final design.

The problem was to design a dump truck remote control for a child - with a broken right arm. It was fun and I thought we kicked ass but unfortunately the judges didn't :-) We lost by 16 to 15 1/2 out of 20 to a Ninetend Wii like controller (which I hate to admit - was quite cool).

Anyways lot's of fun, and the UPA meetings are definitely worthwhile. If there's one in your neighbourhood I recommend you go check one out. You don't have to be a member to attend.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Dapper opens up the web

Dapper is one of the more interesting applications I've used in a while. It is pretty cool.

Essentially, Dapper lets you create an API for any website which you can use to access the content of your choice, without needing to use RSS or programming. Once you choose, group and tag the specific information you want on a web page, it is stored as XML and can be accessed programatically or transformed into many formats including HTML, RSS, Google Maps, Email Alerts and more.

Simple uses include creating an RSS feed for a site that doesn't have one. More advanced is the mash-up site Magg which aggregrates the "latest and greatest movies" (their words - not mine) from various websites including Google, YouTube, MySpace etc. I'm still waiting to see a more commercial use however....

I only tried it yesterday and the UI is reasonably intuitive but the process for creating a Dapper takes a couple of go's to get used to so if you want to try it out - start with the demo on the home page.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Usability Twilight - Part One

Intergen are hosting a Twilight session on Usability circa. March 15th (TBC) and it should be a good one.

I can't confirm all the speakers yet but it's likely to be 1 from a leading NZ website that is at the forefront of putting User Experience first, 1 from arguably the leading Usability Services company and of course the client endorsement from an Intergen project.

I'm assisting Sam Allen and Bryce Scanlen setup and run the Twilight, so if you want more information email me at work -

Watch this space...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Apple launches iPhone

So Apple has finally launched the iPhone... and what a phone it is!

Even though I've worked with Microsoft products, for Microsoft aligned companies and now for a Microsoft Gold Partner I am continually impressed by the innovation shown by Apple. From the iPod to the lovely new iMacs which are as close as a computer will get to a design classic Apple continually seem to be the 1st movers in user interface design, building products that people actually want, and doing really smart things with already existing technologies. The soft keyboard on the new iPhone is a classic example - touchscreens have been around for donkey's but by using it on the phone they have removed any constraints on the software placed by the hard keyboard. E.g. Too small, impossible to update. iPhone is all about the software.

Rod Drury has an interesting article on "Why Apple wins" with some great comments by his readers. He's even gone as far as buying some Apple shares which looks like a great investment!

Not to take the shine off the launch but it seems as if Apple didn't do everything in the right order and Cisco are suing them for Trademark infringement because they apparently acquired the Trademark for the "iPhone" name when they purchased Linksys. Here's the original iPhone - doesn't quite measure up does it...