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This is the future

In Technology on February 10, 2013 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , ,

I don’t know if you have heard of something called Ultra-Ever Dry but god damn do I gots to get me some of that.

Now after watching this video and all of its lovely industrial uses it made me think about what I would use it for. I mean this stuff is hydrophobic yeah? It’s scared of water or liquid and tells it to politely bugger off and thus it suddenly lifts itself well out of industrial and straight into consumer in my eyes.

Firstly, I want to coat my windows in this stuff. Not just my car windows although that would be the first thing I would do – no real need for window wipers any more – and second my windows in my apartment so I could always look out and see the world when it’s pissing down (of course all those songs and poems that talk about watching water pour down windows rather than bouncing off may seem outdated).

Next up I would coat my rashie and my beach shorts… can you imagine it? You walk out of the sea and boom you are pretty much dry!

I would suggest that coating your hair may be a bad idea you know cause you won’t ever be able to wash it again till it grows out.

I would coat my trenchoat, my work trousers and my work shoes. So whenever it rains I’ll never really get wet again apart from my hair.

Then I’d coat my football shirt and shorts so I don’t ever have to worry about it getting sweaty or wet when it rains. Now what next I hear you say?

Well I need to check if you can eat off it but if you can then I’m gonna suggest EVERY SINGLE THING IN MY KITCHEN!! Cause then cleaning will take all of thirty seconds. Rinse and clean. Boom!!

I’d love to hear your suggestions as to what you would coat with this crazy future stuff!!??

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My Cinema Rules

In Friends, Lessons, Life, Movies on February 9, 2013 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , , , , ,

I love this cinema. I love sitting down in a big cinema packed with people all enjoying the same flick. When I was a young lad my dad used to take me to the local ‘flea pit’ cinema in Dennistoun just outside of Glasgow city centre. The floor was sticky with the residue of sweet popcorn and the gloop of spilled Cola.

As I got older myself and my mates would go to the cinema every single Saturday morning and see two movies. We had a special P days.

Pictures, pool, pizza, pissed. I miss the P days.

But we always had our rules for the cinema. So here to continue my long, dull list of life rules are my cinema rules.

1. Stay away from the aisles, stay as close to the centre as is possible and keep the hell away from the first three rows – only people with extreme short sightedness should go there.

2. Food should be silent. Tacos? out! Crisps? out! (well unless you open the pack, silently retrieve one and then place it on your tongue to melt. Soft drinks are fine but never slurp that last little bit. The slurping is bad. This will take people out of the movie and into the bottom of your cup.

3. I tend to always book my tickets well in advance. Too many times in my life have I turned up at the cinema only to see that SOLD OUT flashing on the screen.

4. When I’m choosing my cinema I try to stay away from the beaten track and head on nights where I believe it will be quiet. Mondays, Wednesday and Sundays are my favourite nights. Friday is couple night and canoodling is rife and Saturday is date night where new relationships are formed by talking…in the cinema.

5. Which is where the next rule comes in. Talking. Shush. I believe you can talk during trailers and adverts. Hell talk as much as you want during the adverts mainly to sit there and go ‘I miss the Bacardi ad’ (the Scottish version but couldn’t find it). But as soon as that movie begins then its shush time. But I believe when that film starts I always shut up and enjoy.

6. Phones are similar to talking. I have no problems with checking Facebook or Twitter before the movie starts during trailers and ads but again don’t check it till the movie finishes. I hate seeing that flash of light when someone takes their phone out during the film.

7. Arrive on time – especially if it is pre-booked seating with allocated numbers. Look I get that people can be late but I always get there on time and get seated before the movie starts. I hate it when people stamp all over you to get to their seat after the film has started.

8. If I’m meeting my friends at the cinema and they have been kind enough to book tickets then I always get there with plenty of time. It’s pretty rude to turn up one minute to the movie starting leaving all your friends waiting on you and not in their seats. It’s even worse if the tickets don’t have allocated seating.

8. I always hit the gents before the movie and empty the old (and getting older) bladder. That way I don’t miss any of the movie and I also don’t annoy people by stepping over people.

9. I hate it when people kick the chair in front of them. It’s not nice on a plane and it’s not nice in the cinema. So don’t. Seriously. Just don’t do it.

Well there you have it My Cinema Rules for a pleasant, enjoyable night at the movies without irritating or annoying anyone around you and if we all follow these rules then everyone will have a very pleasant time at the pics.

The End

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My Train Rules

In Lessons, Life on February 7, 2013 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , , , ,

My train rules

I have the pleasure of commuting through Sydney on a daily basis. I even get to travel through the heart of the city and over the Harbour Bridge each day. Which makes it feel like you are on holiday (cause I’m from the other side of the world) that is until I get to work and I realize I’m at work and the holiday feeling slowly dissipates and the pops out of existence when I sit at my desk.

Like My Twitter Rules I also have a set of rules for traveling and today I’m going to write about some of my rules for surviving the daily commute on Sydney’s wonderful trains.

1. Buy a monthly or quarterly ticket on a Wednesday. Let’s not mess about here. Monday morning queues are crazy, the machine never works and people are jostling and annoyed. Buying a monthly in the middle of the week means I avoid queues and my life is quieter and easier. Plus they usually have the machine fixed by the Wednesday!

2. Plan your route and your place on the train but remember everyone else is doing this too so the key is to out-think them. I always check where the majority of exits are on my journey (as in when you get off the train where is closest exit). If there is one carriage that doesn’t line up well for any of them I’ll stick with it. Chances are I will get a nice comfy seat and won’t be bothered by people barging into me.

3. I always let people get off the train before I get on. It’s not rocket science. It’s not hard. My rule is don’t be a prick and don’t barge on. It’s rude and you will ruin people’s days and that’s not nice. It also stops me calling you a selfish bawbag.

4. Never break the fourth wall and talk to a pretend camera nearby. This freaks people out. Freaked out people on trains do tend to give you more room but this will also mean you will end up on someone’s Vine or Instagram looking silly.

5. If my train doesn’t have air-conditioning I stay next to the doors. The vents in the doors are pretty much the only way to get any breeze on a hot day. The tiny windows seem to have been designed to tell breezes that they are not wanted in this carriage. “Oh no bugger off breeze,” it says.

6. If I get a seat and it’s comfy and I’m sharing it with someone else I believe you shouldn’t move around too much or whip out a broadsheet newspaper. It’s not a paper to be read without two square miles of space around you.

7. I always get off my seat if someone looks like they need a rest or if they are: disabled, old, infirm, pregnant, a woman, a tired man, a blind person or done up in fancy dress.

8. If someone is being rude don’t be afraid to speak up especially if they are being rude to any of the above list. I’m more than happy to tell someone if they are being obnoxious. If you don’t want any hassle then I suggest moving to a different carriage or area.

9. I always keep my music of podcast at an acceptable level. Personal music should always be personal. Please don’t make me listen to your cover version of Aqua’s “I’m a Barbie Girl”.

10. Be tolerant of everyone especially tourists with bags. These people are visiting your city and you should always set an example and help them if you can. Today in fact I helped an elderly couple take their luggage off the train. They were very pleasant.

Just some of my train rules. If you have any others you want to add then add a comment below.

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My Twitter Rules

In Lessons, Life, Marketing, Media, Social Media, Technology on February 6, 2013 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , ,

Rules.

We all all live by them. We all have our own code.

Twitter.

It’s the second love of my life. It’s the communications platform I always dreamed of. It gives anyone the ability to talk to anyone else in this world as long as they have a Twitter account. Not once in the history of the world has this been possible. Yet here we are exchanging words across the globe with anyone and everyone.

I’ve been using Twitter for nearly five years. I don’t cheat the system. I don’t play the follow me and I’ll follow you game. But I do reply to nearly everyone who speaks to me – its only polite – and I do hunt out fun and interesting people to talk to because its what makes life interesting.

But you got to have rules and that’s where My Twitter Rules come in to play.

1. If I follow you and you send me an auto-DM then I’ll unfollow. It’s rude to think that because I’ve chosen to engage with you that you suddenly have the right to barge into my life and try to sell me something or direct me to your blog or your website. If it’s in your profile chances are I’ve already looked.

2. If you tweet more than five times in my timeline in less than a minute and it’s not a scream for help because you are in a dire situation the I’ll unfollow you. I follow you because I’m interested in you. I didn’t follow you to know the exact contents of your mind one a second by second basis.

3. I don’t read celebrity gossip. I don’t wait patiently every week to find out which celebrity has been knocked up, divorced, having an affair or simply put on some extra pounds. You know what? I simply don’t care. Everyone deserves their privacy and I’m not a fan of peering into people’s lives through an 800mm lens.

4. Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton. Retweet them and I unfollow. I have no desire to know anything about either of those two. Basically I suggest thinking about your followers before you retweet certain things. I always hover for a second and think about my followers before I retweet.

5. Quotes. If you think continually tweeting quotations is cool well that’s just swell however if I want to read quotes the I’ll head on over to one of the million quote pages on the web and read some.

6. Every week I try and find a few people I’ve not engaged with in a while or at all and see what they have to say and try to chat to them. Find something they have said I have found interesting and let them know.

7. If you have connected your account to a site that is sending DMs to me telling me ‘people are saying this about you and has a link’ I’ll DM you back and let you know. You may not know the account is sending on your behalf so it’s only right I let you know.

8. If I have just followed you and we haven’t interacted and you send me a DM asking me to subscribe to your YouTube channel or your blog you can be assured I won’t be visiting your site and I certainly won’t be following you any more.

9. I will block you if you are a troll. I have been abused a few times on Twitter (this one comes to mind!) and I simply won’t put up with you being an asshole. I’ll accept it a few times as you may be having a bad day but if you keep at it it’s block city

I guess they are my standard rules. I’ll probably come back and update when I think of others I use. If you have any rules I’d love to hear them.

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Nom Nom Nom with a side salad

In Food, Life on January 2, 2013 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , , ,

In 2012 I decided to get fit. I hit the gym, I drank protein shakes and I stayed away from fast food as best as I could and I cut my alcohol intake down but towards the end of November I re-tore my rotator cuff in my shoulder with a nasty 6mm tear.

I also discovered I have calcific tendinitis in my shoulder. I’ll need to get some cortisone injections soon and if they don’t destroy the calcium build ups then I may need some shoulder surgery to get rid of them.

My asthma has been slowly getting worse over the years although my lack of fitness was probably to blame for part of that.

So I decided not make any resolutions this year and simply get on with treating my body the same way I treat most of the material possessions I own.

Over the past few days I’ve watched some interesting documentaries including Food Matters followed by Hungry for Change and lastly with an Aussie documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.

Each of them has opened my eyes a little bit more each time to how badly I’ve been treating my body – alcohol doesn’t count cause that shit is awesome – but mostly with kebabs, processed foods, Maccas, the dirty bird and more.

So, the time has come for me to try something new and I’ll be publishing a lot more this year with this blog to kinda keep a record of how it all goes.

I’m gonna juice shit.

I’m gonna eat a bucket load of vegetables and fruit and cut soft drinks and fast good out of my diet (unless I’m slightly tipsy after a night out). I’ll also be cutting out some booze but not all but I’m gonna try and create a life with balance rather than looking at the scales tipped over on one side.

It should be fun but with 40 a couple of years away I figure it’s about time I actually did something about my body rather than pumping my lungs full of steroids to fight my asthma and rather than eating crap most of the time.

I fully intend to stop using my inhalers as much, get back to the gym when my shoulder heals and get fit for fitba (soccer) season.

So, feel free to give me any advice you have or encourage me or simply tell me to stop writing abut this stuff and go back to ranting about shit 🙂

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The story of Jack

In Friends, Lessons, Life on June 3, 2012 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , , ,

I guess this is a simple blog post about love. Love of family and love of a pet.

You see my cat Jack died yesterday. He was at my parents house back in Scotland and my mum phoned to tell me and I’ve been a bit of a mess this weekend because of it.

Never mind me though let me tell you his story…

24 years ago when I was in my teens my mum came home with her green cardigan in her hands.

It turned out my mum spotted something moving in the snow when she was out for a walk one day. A tiny little black and white ball of fluff. It was meowing quietly and lying next to his dead mother. She had been hit by a car and there he was lying next to her.

My mum took off her green cardigan and wrapped the little guy up in it.

She named him Jack after Jack Frost cause he was found in the snow.

We took great care in feeding and caring for him because he was so small. The vet gave us special stuff to give him to help him grow.
Our Springer Spaniel Cara was a loving dog and looked after the wee guy. She was incredibly gentle with him even when he was clawing and biting her.

Jack grew up into a chilled out, pretty lazy cat. He ate, he wandered and he slept. In his youth he would wander but never too far. Sometimes we’d see him a few streets away and occasionally in the field across the main road but he was a survivor. He was never hurt. He never cried and he always came home.

He was smart and gentle and nice to the other neighbour’s cats. Even the nasty ones. Two of the neighbour’s cats would sometimes come in and eat his food. He didn’t care. He didn’t complain. He just lay against the radiator cosy in the heat letting the world go by.

But the thing that made him the happiest was the green cardigan. He would walk around the house with the cardigan in his teeth dragging the rest of it between his legs. He went everywhere with it. He slept on it every night. Carried it around during the day. Ate his food with it in his eyesight.

He loved that green cardigan.

We always felt that he thought it was his mum. It was always with him and I guess it loved him unconditionally. That love plus the way we looked after him probably helped him reach the right old age of 24!

However, a blood clot on his spine meant a visit to the vet to be put down. The vet said the blood clot could happen at any age and apart from that he was in great health. He could have kept going if it wasn’t for that clot.

Poor wee old guy.

I’ll miss him.

Here he is getting his tummy rubbed by my big sister:

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The lone keyboard warrior

In Life, Social Media, Technology on February 10, 2012 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , ,

Last night I had a strange incident and normally I would leave it alone but not today.

While on Twitter I noticed someone saying that Australia’s NBN is already outdated. I wrote a small note back explaining they were incorrect.

And their response? The lovely gentleman (whose Twitter profile says: ‘Father of 5 kids, Loving Grandfather of 10 Grandchildren,and 2 Great Granddaughters. love to give heaps to Pollies and Poofters) said to me: ” Go and lick Gillards C*** out U commie Prick” (I’ve edited the swear word but they didn’t)

Yup. They seriously wrote that.

In four years of being on Twitter it’s the first time I’ve been visibly shocked by a tweet.

I never mentioned politics.

I never mentioned communism.

I never mentioned sex.

Oh yeah and I’m Scottish and not a citizen in Australia so I can’t even vote here!

Yet there they were attacking me for correcting them. Which brings me to the world of the lone keyboard warrior. I spend a lot of time online and more and more I’m seeing this kind of thing. I’m used to it on forums where long-term friendships and hatreds are born. I’ve even been a moderator on a gaming forum where daily abuse was the norm but Twitter – where people are more likely to use their own names – I’m noticing a marked increase in the attacks.

Maybe it’s because I’m spending a lot more time looking at certain issues which people are passionate about but even then the debate should be cordial and without personal attacks. But on Twitter the area I have noticed the most hatred and vitriol is from the political area. It seems that when people start talking about politics there are those online who revert to the most vile and disgusting abuse … but only behind their keyboards.

I’ve never really had the urge to troll nor attack people online. I’ve occasionally defended myself but I see online and offline as two worlds that have less and less of a gap between them and people at some point will have to stop being keyboard warriors and start realising that what they say online can and will have repercussions for them offline. If you wouldn’t say it to someone in a street then don’t say it online.

Have you had any dealing with any crazy keyboard warriors?

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Public Speaking

In Digital, Life, Social Media, Technology on December 1, 2011 by kiltforhire

If you met me and spoke to me at work or in a bar or randomly while waiting for a train you would assume me confident, out-going and very talkative. My father, genetically and informatively, gave me a tad of his charisma and I use it wisely – a bit like if I had The Force – however one of these days I will have to confront my fear of public speaking.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of being invited on the ABC’s Big Ideas show to take part in a debate on “Is the screen mightier than the sword?” and before the show I was absolutely bricking myself that I would freeze, swear, kick over the lectern or simply strip off my shirt shouting “I’m Spartacus”.

Thankfully I didn’t do any of those things. Well except from swear. I may have done that by accident. Oh and I may have also froze. And I did think about kicking the lectern when I said something totally and utterly dumb.

I don’t know where my fear comes from. I have acted on stage and never really got butterflies and always enjoyed it but there is something about public speaking that freaks me out.

I used social media examples as a way to prove the screen was indeed mightier than the sword and I believe that as technology increases we will enter a better world for all mankind. More communication is no bad thing.

But while talking at the event my hands were shaking so I grabbed on to the lectern to try and stabilise myself only to find it was a it wobbly – so if you do watch the program feel free to not think I’m drunk. I’m just sober and unstable. Not mentally unstable. Well maybe a little.

My throat dried up as I was speaking.

I blabbed on in my Scottish accent throwing words out as fast as that General Electrics M134 mini-gun in Predator shoots bullets. The one that Blane uses.

My timed nine minute speech was suddenly over in seven minutes.

Maybe it’s better to say less than more but what if you said more but in the less timeframe??

I didn’t know what to do. Do I stand there and keep making my point? Or do I walk away and run back to my seat crying Freedom!!

I did neither of course. I said thank you, looked sheepish and stealth’d back to my seat.

Doing the talk reminded me that I should stick to talking to small groups and generally hiding in the background rather than being the centre of attention. I don’t like it when people focus on me – maybe for fear they will see the real me? An over-weight, greying, stubbly, short Scotsman with a wonky eye.

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Some handy iPhone and iPad tips

In Lessons, Technology on October 10, 2011 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , , ,

These tips are current as of iOS4 and I’ll update them once I get access to the new operating system.

1. If you have scrolled down your contacts or while using an app or reading an article etc all you need to do is tap the top of the touch area of the phone to return to the top of the page (called the status area)

2. If you need to search the app or doc you are in on your phone simply pull down on most apps to bring up the search function

3. Hold down the .com button while using a web browser and it should give you a list of extra options including .au and others

4. Double tap the shift key till it goes lights up blue to gets caps lock. If not working go to settings > general > keyboard > caps-lock

5. Screenshot. Simply press the home button and the off button at the same time to take a pic of whatever you are looking at on the screen

6. You don’t have to type www when typing in web addresses

7. Double tap text on a webpage for the screen to fit to size on screen

8. If you use accents in your writing you can hold down any of these keys: e y u i o a s l z c n to get access to them

9. Also if you swipe up on the comma you get an inverted comma. Same with full stop key. If you swipe up you will get quotation marks

10. Tap and hold a link to get more options. Such as email, read on instapaper etc

11. If you have an image on a web page just hold down on the image and you will get some more options including saving the pic

12. If you use the Calculator app turn the phone sideways and it will give you a scientific calculator

13. Creating folders. Many people don’t seem to know this but if you hold your finger on an app till it shakes and then drag it onto another app then it will create a folder. You can name it whatever you want 🙂

14. You can sync all your notes and have them sent to whatever email account linked to your phone. Just click Settings > Notes > Default Account and it will automatically send to the account you choose including Gmail or MobileMe or simply store on your phone as usual

15. With your iPhone you can lock the orientation and stop it moving around by double clicking the home button and bringing up your multitasking dock. Swipe left rather than right to get to the iPod section and next to it should a lock button. If you have your iPad set to lock using the mute button as orientation then the mute button will appear next to to the iPod section on the multitasking bar

Hope this helps 🙂

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Apple Focus

In Digital, Lessons, Marketing, Media, Technology on October 10, 2011 by kiltforhire Tagged: , , , ,

I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about Apple since the death of Steve Jobs. He got me thinking about the meteoric rise of the company from it being months from collapse to where it sits today – a technological marvel and marketing maestro that seems to be ahead of the game against their competition.

It seems like many others have also been thinking about the company recently but one person’s comments really stood out to me – William Gibson.

Now there are obviously many people who have helped influence my life but both Steve Jobs and William Gibson are up there pretty much close to the top along with my parents, my Uncle Kenny and my best mates who I grew up with.

And I’ve spoken about Steve Jobs recently in my blog and what he meant to me.

William Gibson’s Neuromancer took me to a new world and made me see the future was cyberspace. I talked about it in school. I talked about it to everyone but no-one really understood what I was saying – this was late 80s remember and technology wasn’t as big as it is now.

And he recently spoke about Apple and why he has used their devices.

In an interview he said:

“I was never interested in getting any more intimate with whatever made my computer work. I wanted the most transparent interface possible; that is, that least required my personal attention. I wanted my personal attention to be elsewhere, focused on other things other than my computer. Design at that level kept me at Apple…”

And that sums up my relationship with Apple.

I love their equipment because it allows me to quickly pass through the fact I’m using a device and simply allows me to do what I need to do.

I have a number of friends who love to tinker with things, they want to know how things work and the majority of them are all Android users or PC users. They want to find out more about their devices and really dive deep into their software and what is possible with them – which is great but for me I want a device that lets me do my job as quickly and efficiently as possible without reminding me I’m using it.

Many Microsoft products drive me barmy because they have a habit of taking my attention away from what I’m doing (and I can be easily distracted at the best of times) and cause me to focus on the program and not what I’m using it for. I always felt that way with PC running Windows – and still do to be honest.

To me Apple computers remind me of my body (work with me here). I don’t stop to think about how I breathe I simply do. I don’t stop to think about how my muscles work and allow me to type it just simply happens. So my relationship with my body is the same as the one I have with my Apple – it exists and allows me to do what I need to do without thinking about all the stuff going on inside it.

And it was Jobs attention on getting the user-experience right that makes them so damn useful to me.