I’ve moved blogs

I’m not posting to this blog anymore. I’ll still be monitoring comments here, so I’ll be able to still provide sporadic responses and help.

For now, you can follow me on my main blog: camerontwigden.tumblr.com.



RIP Steve Jobs





My birthday is coming (I have a cunning plan!!)

Next week is my birthday (Friday 19th). I’m not saying that to get attention, but to utilise that attention. We live in a Social Media age, and everyone uses that media to wish ‘Happy Birthday’ to all those they haven’t spoken to in years.

I have a cunning plan:

Please feel free to wish me a Happy Birthday on twitter or facebook (or anywhere else for that matter), but please, if you do, consider making a donation to World Vision to support their African Appeal that is currently on (if you want to donate to the New Zealand branch – I’m a proud kiwi – the link is here).

The way I see it, if every well-wisher gave a one-off $5 donation, we could definitely help some kids.
Now, this is an honesty-box style arrangement. No one will know if you actually give or not, but I figure 30-40 tweets and 20-30 wall-posts starts to add up to a much nicer sum than $0 (and it’s a lot cheaper than actually buying me a present!!).

So, please, think about it, and give a little. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about them.

Been biting my tongue, now I vent

I’ve been biting my tongue for a while, but I really need to vent finally. This is not about world hunger, or curing AIDS, or anything earth-shattering, but in its own small way it could be world-changing.

My issue is drivers who don’t know how to be courteous – now I don’t mean drivers who aren’t courteous (they’re just [insert bad words here], but that’s another issue) – I’m referring to drivers who TRY to be courteous, but don’t understand what they’re doing.

Example in point:

I drive along a long stretch of road every morning, at one point there is a road that many cars from the opposite direction need to turn across us to get into. Courtesy means that we occassionally pause to let them in. I do this often myself but, in my [humble?] opinion, correctly. My method is to slow down slightly approx 1km earlier (I don’t brake, I just ease off the accelerator), by going 5kmh slower than the vehicle infront of me a gap of a hundred metres or so is created by the time I get there (see whinges 2 and 3 below for how other drivers stuff this up), which allows a few cars to cross over and go on their way. The muppets that don’t know how to be courteous cause issues because they keep up with the car infront until the intersection, then slam on their brakes to give way and “be courteous”.

The issues with this:

  1. slamming on your brakes in busy traffic is NEVER a good move if it can be helped, you’re begging to be rear-ended.
  2. whenever you stop in traffic, it creates a flow-on effect for (potentially) hours to come. Studies have shown that this is why traffic jams build up [trafficwaves.org, innovations-report.com, iopscience.iop.org, Traffic Wave on Wikipedia]. This is why I use the slow-down technique, so that the traffic behind me keeps flowing at all times (albeit slightly slower).
  3. by stopping suddenly to give way, the driver you are giving way to has no warning and cannot be possibly be prepared (also see Whinge #3, below).
Whinge #2:

When I’m slightly slower than the vehicle infront of me, and allow a gap to emerge, I am often tooted at and then overtaken by muppets that feel I am slowing them down. Now, (a) they only manage to get about 10 seconds closer to where they are going; (b), they eliminate any chance for the opposing traffic to progress further; and (c) the overtaking is not done in the safest location for such a maneouvre.

Whinge #3:

When you are waiting for a gap to cross the oncoming traffic, BE ALERT! All too often the driver of the vehicle at the head of the oncoming queue is not paying attention. You flash your lights at them and finally they notice after half the gap is gone; then they take an eternity to put their car in gear and actually move, often just as the gap has become too small for them to safely make it. A gap that could have accommodated 2 or 3 vehicles, has now been wasted.

It’s the same with merging, don’t stop to let them in, just allow a gap for them to fit; and merging drivers, keep your speed up to MATCH the speed of the traffic you wish to join. Making them stop to let you in CAUSES accidents, it does not prevent them.

Basically, what I’m saying to people is, THINK about what you are doing. There are consequences and ramifications beyond what you can see (ie behind you, and in 10 minutes’ time). You can still be courteous, but be thoughtful about how you are. If you prepare to be courteous, and slow down a little, one vehicle can make it across. If even half of drivers drove like this, we would only need to let one vehicle across each. At the end of the day, that one extra car in-front of you will not make you late to where you’re going. Hitting snooze a fourth time will; allowing 20 minutes for a 30 minute drive will; talking on your cellphone and missing your turn-off will.

Here’s a video of how the fight between “cheaters” and “blockers” causes an exit-lane backup. And then, how one driver can unclog the jam:

NO TEXTING! Alamo Drafthouse fights back (NSFW)

Warning: this is the uncensored version (ie NSFW) –

I made it into Google+…first impressions

Today I finally got into Google+ after trying to catch the invite windows. I’d been sitting on 2 invites since day one, but never managed to hit registration when it was unlocked. Today that all changed, and now I get to experience what other techies have been on about.

My first impressions:

  • UI – an emphatic +1. I’ve already changed my gmail theme to ‘Preview (dense)’ because I love the clean simplicity and minimalism; beyond that everything is beautiful and make excellent use of HTML5, CSS3, and all those other web goodies to provide a beautiful interface.
  • UX – again, an emphatic +1. Here, I would have to use the word ‘graceful’ to describe their use of HTML5, CSS3, et al to provide an exceptional user experience. Nothing is in your face about its activity; but the more you look, the more you see.
  • Circles – I like this implementation of what many are calling Facebook Groups. Other than the lovely way of implementing your groups, the UI provides for much better control and understanding of both your own Circles, as well as the Circles that you have been added to. +1 from me.
  • Hangouts – the hangouts interface is smooth. An intuitive, clean interface that doesn’t beg for lots of assistance. It just gets down and does what it’s meant to do. I’ll have to wait til I’m at a real computer (with a web-cam), but then I’m all up for some serious testing of this.
  • Chat – pretty much just the same as Gmail Chat from my first look. That said, gmail chat is a good IM client anyway, so all good.
  • Photos – again, the interface is well implemented. I’ll need to have a decent play over the next few days, but I can’t say I expect to be disappointed at all.

It’s pretty obvious that the word-of-mouth surrounding Google+ and the features it is offering forced Facebook’s hand and made them bring forward the “awesome announcement” that they were integrating Skype into their framework. However, it already makes them look like they’re playing catch-up to Google+; as XYZ said the other day: “they aren’t the first to integrate video calling with social, MySpace did it in 2007, but now it’s the right timing for the product”. Google+ seems to have opened the gate first, if only by a couple of days. Facebook is already having to justify why their implementation is better (“most people only want to use person-to-person”).

The converse is also true though, as it seems Google+ is already fast-forwarding their Beta schedule and allowing more and more invites to be cashed in. This is possibly in response to Facebook’s moves; or, it could just be a response to public demand and the quality performance of Google+ internally for Google. They would much rather offer a schedule of months, and deliver in days or weeks, than the other way around. This is afterall the Google who still had gmail in beta 5 years after launch, but had been fully open to the public for 2 and 1/2 years of that 5 years (Wikipedia).

I’m going to be having a dive into the features as much as possible this weekend, I can’t wait. Here’s a vid: