Link Triage – Interesting & Fun

I had a lot more links than I realised. Less so now, but still.

My general feed-reader workflow (I use feedly) is to first skim my feed quickly for the headlines, book-marking whatever looks worth reading further than the headline. Then I go through a second pass where I only read the bookmarked items.

And then they stay bookmarked forever.

I have to see if I can build a workflow that puts things that were actually interesting after I read them into a third bucket so that all uninteresting links can disappear forever as I go along. Mainly so I don’t have to do this exercise ever again.

In the mean time, here are some of the “Interesting & Fun” links I came across in my triage. I have a few more buckets that I’ll throw into separate posts.

Enjoy…

Day 39 – Not Always Welcome

Today was going to be about photography, and it still is in a way, but not quite how I originally intended. Abbey had suggested she needed to visit a nursery for some trees, and in exchange for doing the driving I could take some pictures while there…

I started off hand-held around the place, wandering around with the camera around my neck and doing a great job taking pictures where people were either out-of-frame or completely out-of-focus.

A Roof without a Roof
A Roof without a Roof

Then I decided to walk back to the car and get the tripod I had packed to get some sharper shots for comparison. I sat down on the grass and took a few pictures outside of general view where there were no people. Then I moved back to the entrance road to take a shot along the row of signs along the way.

And then one of the staff walked out informing me reasonably politely that they didn’t want photography on their premises.

I hadn’t even considered this perspective, and I felt a bit silly.

Of course I packed up at that point. Private property, so their word goes in my mind, but it did prompt me to have a look at legalities here in Australia so next time I am better ready for the situation.

Legal Roo Says NO!
Legal Roo Says NO!

Resources I consulted:

On the face of it, it’s simple enough:

  • Photography in public places for non-commercial purposes is fine
  • Photography on private property for non-commercial purposes is fine provided you follow the instructions of the property owner
  • Commercial purposes: make sure you get a release from any people who are clearly identifiable in the shots

I will not try to dig down into the full nuance (see the links above for more of that), but while simple on the face of it, reality has many caveats:

  • Many places that may seem or feel public really aren’t… shopping plazas for example, or some parks even.
  • Commercial purposes may include more than you realise… as soon as you upload a picture to online services like Flickr that can count as commercial purposes. They assert relevant rights in their license agreement you probably clicked through without reading.
  • Taking pictures of people for non-commercial purposes is not restricted… there is no right to privacy in Australia that protects your image alone.
  • Number plates are actually not illegal to photograph… even so, I try to crop or blur them when they end up in my shots.
  • Without a police officer involved you cannot be asked to delete your images… more over, jail terms can apply to: threatening to damage your camera equipment, threatening violence, trying to prevent you contacting the police.

Do not take any of this as legal advice, because despite watching many episodes of LA Law, CSI and Boston Legal, I Am Not A Lawyer.

In almost all cases my personal sensibilities are more restrictive than what I have outlined above. But it’s interesting to note how different reality is from what many people might think the law says. Partially this may be a result of US-centric culture, which is definitely much more repressive surrounding these topics.

Regardless though…

My opinion is that it seems foolhardy in this day and age to believe that you can limit photographs getting taken. Most if not all people walk around all day with a camera in their pocket. Most if not all people are not aware of the legal details surrounding photography.

But also: most if not all people will feel uneasy about taking pictures you’d object to in the first place without you needing to ask.

Places to go Photographing

Note to self; take camera to the following locations when time and weather allow:

  • Penrith Lakes
  • Blackheath / the Blue Mountains
  • Sydney CBD
  • Parramatta ferry into the city
  • Cycling along the M7
  • Manly / Dee Why / Collaroy / Avalon
  • Cottage Point
  • The Botanic Gardens
  • Windsor / Maroota / Wisemans Ferry
  • Along Putty Road
  • Surrounds of Gosford
  • The Hunter Valley

Other suggestions?

Change of Plans

Originally, I was planning to use today for a digital clean-up instead of the usual physical one. I have favourited links going back almost 1000 days and I was planning to sift through them for the ones worth keeping so they are easier to find within the sea of data.

This was based on the dreary overcast day yesterday, seemingly promising an equally dreary weekend.

And then I got out of bed and looked out the window.

So, I guess I’ll be leaving the link clean-up for later while I figure out if there’s anywhere I can go be out in the sun and do something worthwhile with my day. Maybe the camera will come along, even though trying to take pictures in the harsh noon sun is clearly a bit no-no ๐Ÿ˜‰

Odd Game

The Binding of Isaac is really a bizarre game. In case you were wondering why the character looks like he does:

  • The eye-patch is “just because”
  • The evil grin is from the steroids I collected just a moment ago
  • The little price-tag on the left of his face is my 50% off coupon for treasure
  • The slug on his head is a “parasite” which splits his tears on contact (oh yes, I forgot to mention, my weapon is the tears of the little guy)
  • Barely visible behind the slug is a crown which gave me some treasure

Does any of this make sense? No, not really. It’s still fun to play though. I better go see what monster lies behind that skeleton gate on the left now.

Spotify Test

I just discovered that WordPress should know how to deal with Spotify URIs.

spotify:track:3rymykc7sICuNweZMsI76O

spotify:track:5auMzVHFr5Zfw6IbKarZ56

spotify:track:5Nau7PJEEEIIXAmEZSwsaE

spotify:track:1W0U2YjxyFeKCOail0Not6

spotify:track:7n1EpPnhRLeZYxRsNP7vqJ

spotify:track:2gDlUOowwhGCcGrZGkivzw

Let’s see if they actually play. The players look quite pretty with the album art included. I can’t play them in preview so I’ll just have to post this and hope for the best.

Addendum: Okay, apparently there is a known issue for some users getting an OAuth error when clicking the play button. And I’m one of the lucky ones for whom this happens… Oh joy.

I’ll refrain from posting songs I like until they actually start working ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 38 – Long Weekend

Today is the first day of the rest of my long weekend. I’d been meaning to take a few days off, but my work calendar just kept filling up. So when I saw a relatively clear Friday and Monday appear, I decided to book a 4 day weekend without any planning for what I was going to do.

So, I’m making it up as I go along.

I started today with a massage at 11. My back keeps knotting up apparently, unbeknownst to my brain. It may have something to do with not getting to the gym often enough. Which may have something to do with all the initiatives I’m trying to juggle at work, so maybe I need to take it a little easier with that as well when I get back on Tuesday.

Anyway, 45 minutes later, I am standing tall and loose and strolling to Michel’s for a coffee. It’s strange how gravity feels lighter after letting go of the weight. It’s obviously largely psychological, but no less effective for it.

You can see my next challenge in the header image.

Next, I shall be focusing considerable time and attention on my strawberry-jam scone, my coffee, and a few episodes of Breaking Bad.

Day 37 – FoM

Today I received one more late birthday present. It has apparently taken a slow trip by mail, and unfortunately it has turned up too late for me to make a booking over the long weekend I have created for myself because that would have suited so well.

I got a voucher for Face of Man which, as the image can attest to, is a “Grooming Lounge”, which makes it sound a little like I’m getting sent to get my coat shampooed and blow-dried. Actually, that’s really not too far from the truth, is it?

A Beautifully Designed Menu
A Beautifully Designed Menu

It came with a booklet which can only be described as a very glossy menu for the available services. Seen above is the page related to massage packages:

The Art of Escape

Leave your worries at the door…

Firstly, a Steam/Infra-red Sauna followed by a 50 minute Massage using warm scented oil and hot towels, then drift into a Regenerate Facial (50mins) to address your skin needs and let the full benefits of the massage take effect.
You’ll feel like you’re returning from holidays.

The design of the brochure has a very retro style about it and frankly looks quite classy. If I squint I can ignore the slightly odd use of capitalisation and inconsistent labelling of durations. Heck, who cares about the words anyway… it’s essentially license to lie about and do nothing for a couple of hours.

And the brochure makes for a great memento.

Day 36b – Sushi & 7 Wonders

I feel bad about the rushed post earlier, but between leaving work a little later than anticipated after getting stuck chatting to a co-worker, then going via Michel’s and only just making it in time for a coffee, and finally taking pictures of the moon for a place-holder, I was really in a screaming rush to get to Ken to celebrate Wednesday in the usual style.

The moon picture took a little more fiddling than I would have liked, because I actually edited two exposures together; one that showed the street scene well, and another that showed the detail on the face of the moon. I wanted to do a better job, but Paint.NET was just not doing the Photoshop trick quite as well as I had hoped.

Chopsticks
Chopsticks

It was again a small Wednesday; Sin, Cal and Jen have been piking on us for a while now. Just Abbey, Ken and myself. Normally we start Wednesday with cheese and drinks before we move on to dinner, but because dinner didn’t come to us tonight, we decided to start with dinner instead.

We had our brisk walk to the Sushi restaurant over discussions of impending holidays and unanticipated bunnies.

Menu with Sample Pictures
Menu with Sample Pictures

We had been to a different Sushi restaurant a few doors down some significant while back, but tonight was a new adventure. The menu was helpfully illustrated (see above), although that did make it harder to pick. There were too many delicious-looking choices available.

We decided to go with the share-for-the-table approach so that we could sample a broader choice of wares.

Edamame
Edamame

Salted peas are always a favourite. I think the ones we had in the other Sushi restaurant were actually a little better than these (in my opinion), but nonetheless… you can’t go too far wrong with these, unless you try to eat the peels as well as the contents.

Main Course
Main Course

Our main selection was a collection of Sushi and Sashimi… all good. That’s really all I can say about it. I’m not sure exactly what all the types of fish were, but they were all delicious and I’m sure that is the main point in this case.

I did suggest early on that we probably needed more. Abbey and Ken were sceptical on account of cheeses as-yet uneaten. In the end I convinced them that we needed at least one more dish, and the thin-sliced beef we got was very good as well.

I almost forgot to mention the sake. Ken reckons it’s not the best he ever had, but I don’t think I’ve had better myself. It was a bit hot though… I had to start pouring the flask wrapped in my napkin because it was burning my fingers. The first shot was really a little too hot, but the second shot was just right.

Cheese Platter
Cheese Platter

Normally I feel gorged by the time Wednesday is over… I always eat too much. Thanks to the warnings over dinner of impending cheese, I think I have avoided that trap this week.

The blue cheese we had was interestingly sharp and light… but it didn’t go at all with the fruit paste we had (apricot and pistachio). The brie was typically brie-ish?… briely?… The blueberries were a little tart but delicious. The strawberries were a little watery, but sweeter than I expected from the Coles special-of-the-day.

Kanonkop
Kanonkop

And then there was my victory wine from Peter… which was very delicious. We really need to make a point of sampling some more African wines. I’ll have to get some suggestions of labels to hunt down from Peter… *hint hint comment?*

The wine was quite potent though and I had just shared a large flask of Sake with Ken, so I really had to stop myself after a glass or two. Still had to drive home afterwards! The down-side of having Wednesday elsewhere.

And then… time for a game over tea…

First Wonder: Babylon
First Wonder: Babylon

7 Wonders is a pretty fast game for up to 7 players. Everyone gets a specific wonder at the start of the game with its own special abilities. Everyone gets a hand of 7 cards. Every turn you play a card from your hand and then pass the rest either left or right. A game takes about 30-45 minutes in my experience.

I started the first game with Babylon… the middle ability suggested I should try to collect scientific structures, and I really thought I was going well all the way through. Alas, KenAbbey pipped me at the post with his military victories.

Second Wonder: Olympia
Second Wonder: Olympia

The second game I started with Olympia. This time collecting civilian structures and military victories seemed the best approach. Alas, I should have pressed the military angle harder, because but for one loss to Ken in the second round I could have been the winner. Again Ken took the prize.

I really thought I had it in the bag when I gleefully deprived Ken of military options in the third round, and saw Abbey build a guild card that I was going to be able to copy for free and make more points on that she would.

I’m sure all that sounds like gibberish to anyone that doesn’t know the game, but let me assure you… it’s a lot of fun.

I don’t think 7 Wonders is on the list, but if you’re ever curious about less typical board games, I can really recommend the TableTop series on YouTube with Wil Wheaton as host. The premise of the show is that Wil invites friends over and shows you how these games play.

My personal recommendation for newcomers would be Ticket to Ride because it’s very easy to learn and the rounds play very quickly so you never sit around waiting for very long. (Unless you play with Ken, but that’s just how that goes)