When technology goes bad…

Books are one of the greatest pleasures life has to offer. To read is to escape, to be released from the place you currently inhabit and be set free.

Speaking as someone who is usually 100% behind the relentless movement of technology the one thing that I truly fear is that books will become replaced by devices such as the Kindle or the ipad.

There is something so wonderful, so tactile and all consuming about reading a book. From the feeling in your hands, to the smell as you open the pages – whether that is the crisp synthetic smell of treated paper in a brand new press, or the musty scent of aged wood in a first edition you scored from a widows garage sale. It is an experience, an immersion.

And what does technology offer us by way of resolve? Cost benefits and room savings? The ability to have video embedded within the page? These things do not make up for what is lost (indeed I would argue that video or movement within the page strips an essential quality from the experience of reading).

Last year book sales fell an estimated 7.1% according to Nielsen BookScan, with the value of sales dropping 12.6% to $1.1 billion. E-book data is difficult to get a handle on as there is no central research group collecting data and not all providers of e-books are open with their data, however several industry pundits have estimated that Australian patterns would closely mirror that of the US.

The figures show that for the first month of this year, eBook sales were up by 115.8% compared to January 2010, representing $US69.9 million.

During the same period, sales of hardcovers fell by 11.3% to $49.1 million, while paperbacks fell from $56.4 million to $39 million.

Smart Company

This is a terrifying pattern, and while I know that in my lifetime devices will never completely usurp physical books, the thought that in only a few generations paper books could be something only collectors and the third world remember is both depressing and unsettling.

My hope is that before this happens there will be a renaissance of reading, a rekindling of the love affair between (wo)man and book.

Do yourself a favour… buy a book, pour a glass of wine, turn off the computer and TV, and fall in love again.

Have you made an idea a reality lately?

We all have those ‘aha!’ moments; you’re wandering along, moving about your normal day without any conscious effort when suddenly it hits you – the best idea you’ve ever had. You smile to yourself, thinking how clever you are and how it is amazing that no one else has thought of it yet. Then you race to your next meeting or you get a phone call or someone asks you the time and in an instant the idea is forgotten, lost in the ether only to resurface in a few months time when you see the exact idea executed by someone else.

The point is while ideas are the most important currency we have, even original ideas will eventually be thought of by someone else and if they’re not executed they are meaningless.

I’m as guilty as everyone else (if not more-so, due to my goldfish like memory) of this, but I’ve decided to set myself a few little rules to work on stopping this happening.

1. Carry a small “ideas” notebook and pen everywhere
2. Set aside 30 minutes once a week to review the ideas in the notebook and see if there is anything I can use/action
3. Take time to reward myself when an idea becomes a tangible reality

11 predictions of things that won’t happen in 2011

With everyone doing their 2011 predictions, I thought I do some predictions for things that I believe will not happen this year.

Just call me Nostradamus, bitch!

11. Justin Bieber will release an album to critical acclaim with reviewers calling it “The most inspiring demonstration of musical talent since Michael Jackson first appeared with the Jackson 5” and “A momentous turning point in musical history. This redefines popular culture as we know it.”

10. Gerry Harvey announces that due to a drop in overheads items on the new Harvey Norman website will be sold at significantly lower prices, allowing consumers a fair alternative to international online stores

9. The coalition stop arguing against the NBN roll-out and the rollout continues with experts saying “This may be the first time in the history of Australia that a large scale infrastructure project has progressed faster than expected, and appears as though it will come in under estimated costs.”

8. CBS announce a new season of The Munsters with Butch Patrick reprising his role as Eddie Munster. When asked about the decision to bring the series back a CBS spokesman said “look, we’re doing this thing super cheap and Butch has one hell of a coke addiction to feed. At the very least it will be f**king hilarious to watch a 50 year old man cram himself into a schoolboy costume and act like an idiot” The rest of the roles will be re-cast as the other original cast-members are now either dead, retired or have moved on with their lives.

7. Stephen Conroy resigns from his role stating a “dramatic lack of technical knowledge and newfound love of dance” as his key motive for leaving. So as to ensure a smooth transition, he is replaced by a 7th grade student who is pretty good with his dad’s work laptop.

6. The IAB will bring in and enforce dramatic new rules regarding Auto-Refresh. Any publisher found to be engaging in the practice will have their page linked to on 4chan and be promptly subjected to a combination of DDOS attacks, vicious rumors and repeated meme’s. Any attempts by publishers to argue against this new policy will be responded to with a single sentence; ‘lol, newfag’

5. Oprah Winfrey comes out about her longtime lover Gayle King. They are wed in a civil ceremony on Dr Phil’s ranch. Conservatives are disgusted calling it “the worst thing to happen to America since 9/11”

4. Upon meeting the Queen of England, Julia Gillard will be referred to as ‘an eloquent and graceful young lady’ by Her Majesty.

3. A large meteor strikes Earch destroying all life. Skeptics last words are ‘I fucking told you the Mayans were full of shit.”

2. Overall TV viewership drops dramatically with surveyed audience stating the primary reason as Twitter addiction

1. Fuelled by the aggregated data of eleventy-trillion users Facebook becomes a sentient being and sets up a profile for itself under the name Handsome B. Wonderful. The profile runs for the US Presidency on an independent ballot and is elected almost unanimously, shattering the two-party system as we know it. After its election to the highest seat in the US political system the profile quickly utlises its data to blackmail the worlds most influential leaders into signing a new global mandate in which it becomes Ruler of the World. A rogue army of Mexicans assassinate Mark Zuckerburg in the hopes of taking away Facebooks power. It doesn’t work, humanity as we know it becomes locked in an existence of Farmville and Status updates.

Sponsor my mo

Hi all,

I am currently taking part in Movember, an initiative to raise money and awareness around Prostate Cancer and male depressions.

I am calling my mo Mo-hammed and will be growing some accompanying sideburns, it will be filthy.

If you feel like supporting this very worthwhile cause you can dig deep and donate here, every cent helps!

Thanks,

Joel

Chewing gum in class; Cool is the new nerdy

Chewing gum in class; an action once reserved for only the most wicked rad rebellious badass kids in class should really be an action performed by the geekiest of nerds.

There have been many studies conducted on the effects of chewing gum on both alertness, stress levels and peoples ability to learn and absorb information however a recent report by the Baylor College of Medicine shows that there could be direct academic advantages to chewing gum as a result of the previously established facts.

With this in mind one must wonder about the strict discipline with which children are met for doing, what is in essence, nothing more than enhancing their ability to learn and perform well in class.

Perhaps it is time for teachers and administrators to think about what is in the children’s best interest and, instead of banning chewing gum, making it an essential part of the schooling experience, like a pen license.

Hunvalski Vodkalots – a social experiment

The influence of social content on search is astounding. Never before has it been possible to see such quick paced change across the Google SERP.

At this years imedia summit Amnesia have started a social experiment in the form of @Hunvalski.

The idea of this experiment is to see the amount of search results that can be generated for the term Hunvalski (a term that previously had zero results).

Hunvalski Vodkalots travelled from Russia to Australia’s Hunter Region to open a ski resort in preparation for the coming ice age, or so the legend goes. What is the fate of this mysterious and charming Russian drunk, pursuing his dreams in the great down under? Only time will tell…

I recommend everyone get on board and follow @Hunvalski, not only is it a fun experiment, but his tweets are actually fairly entertaining!