Tag Archives: first_post

Move along now.

A wee while ago Twitter bought Posterous. There was uncertainty at the time about what this would mean – for the service, for the existing blogs hosted by Posterous, for the people behind its development and whether that was the cue to jump ship. I stuck around, partly through inertia and partly because I figured that the import/export tools to make a clean transfer to an alternative would only get better as time went by.

The situation took on a new urgency a week ago when it was announced that Posterous was about to disappear. So the last week has been an interesting mix of experimentation, discussion, play and progress. Having started the old blog with my own domain name I’ve transferred that across too and am now happy enough to start posting in the new blog and driving a little traffic that way.

My new blog is a self-hosted WordPress.org affair and my key to getting it there was to go via WordPress.com (which is the WordPress-hosted version). At first I wanted to go direct from Posterous to .org, but there wasn’t a native import tool available. Third party tools were there to try, but they didn’t cut it. WordPress.com does have its own importer though, so I created a free space there, imported from Posterous, then went from there to my desired self-hosted site. Some bits of formatting have gone awry and it doesn’t seem to handle photos as well as Posterous (in galleries), but the posts are there and available for editing. What’s very satisfying is that the metadata has come too, primarily the tags and some other stats – this includes the posts keeping their original date of posting. Remarkably the links I’ve sent out since starting the blog appear to still work, redirecting to the new site.

I’m now open to ideas on how best to progress from here, what to add to the space and what to take away. The possibilities are clearly much broader than they ever were with Posterous, so I’ve come of age… or at least I’m found a place at the grown ups table even if I don’t recognise half the food on my plate.

Tea’s up.

A few years ago, when I was young and carefree, I contributed to a blog managed by my good friend Richard. My postings were rare, sporadic and rarely touched the standard he set on an almost daily basis. I urge you to have a look, it’s called The Tech Horn.

One article I compiled in May 2008, a mere piece of whimsy, was a statement of my deeply held feelings at the time towards tea drinking. Those feelings haven’t really changed if truth be told, although I recognise that I’m somewhat in the minority – please don’t judge me too harshly on this.

The image is of a metal plate purchased yesterday on Edinburgh’s Cockburn Street: I’m looking for somewhere suitable to hang it.

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Media Release (AnTea 2008.05.19)

TEA IDENTIFIED AS SYMBOL OF IMPERIALIST YOKE: CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED TO THROW OFF AUSTRALIA’S NATIONAL SHACKLES

Australian National Tea Eradication Assembly
Canberra / Monday 19 May, 2008

Australian academics have announced preliminary findings from a multi-disciplinary study into the effects of tea drinking on the nation’s society and culture. Long considered a staple of community interaction, this research turns many preconceptions on their head in a clash between common sense and proper work that took lots of effort.

When asked to choose from a list of possible emotions, the majority of tea drinkers claimed the beverage produced feelings of ‘warmth’, ‘comfort’ and ‘tastiness’. The fourth option, ‘giddiness’, was a distant fourth except among stereotypical Dutch contributors.

In an open question, the survey also asked respondents to say what they felt tea had brought to Australian culture since its introduction by Kerry Packer in 1987 to celebrate Fremantle’s hosting of the America’s Cup. Younger people liken tea to familiar experiences that they can share with friends and family. Examples include:
  • soap operas
  • sports team
  • family pets
  • family holidays
  • book clubs
  • breakfast cereal
  • warm hugs

Older respondents displayed typical symptoms of those for whom tea is a relatively recent introduction to their lives. They remember an older, more primitive Australia, with tea linked to:
  • corrupt politicians
  • Ned Kelly (‘he put one over on the English’)
  • losing family members to spiders and sharks
  • nearly losing family members to sharks
  • whatever it was we used to drink

Both of these symptoms were said to be worrying, according to lead scientist Rev. Prof. Michael A. Fiest. In a statement to accompany the preliminary report’s publication he said: ‘Hopefully our work will begin the process of turning people away from tea drinking. We have consulted widely through this great nation’s communities, educational establishments, politics and some trendy coffee shops – now is the time for politicians to act.’

Key findings from the report include some damning indictments on today’s tea drinkers, revealing for the firsttime that:
  • making tea is a waste of time: your time, my time, everyone’s time
  • water is much nicer and easier to prepare
  • with less paraphernalia and expense
  • and washing up
  • remembering to offer tea when people come round is a drag; it’s better to turn down the offer when you’re at their house so you’re not obliged to do the same when they come round
  • paradoxically, making tea is far too easy for folk in coffee shops to make: it’s just adding hot water to a cup with a tea bag in, better to have some hot chocolate
  • these findings are not just restricted to tea – coffee’s not even very tasty
  • leaving tea to go cold is an unfortunate, yet inevitable by-product of making the drink on a regular basis – the results are still going to be disappointing
  • some people get the shakes after drinking tea, which isn’t helpful or funny
  • Earl Grey tastes of flowers
  • if you’re the one doing the washing up, what are you supposed to do with a tea bag left in the cup when it’s soaking wet and your hands are covered in bubbles?

The most damning part of the report concerns the role of the United Kingdom government in forcing tea on Australian society. A clause in the Commonwealth of Australia legislation, enacted on 1 January 1901, demanded that Australia’s states and territories support the work of the Honourable East India Company. A quirk of British bureaucracy meant that the Company’s name could be used during the lifetime of Queen Victoria, who signed the death notice of the spice importer in 1858. Had she died 22 days earlier, and thus predated Federation, the clause would have been scrubbed from the legislation.

Instead, the British government placed pressure on Packer to introduce tea to the country, tying a nation to its addictive effects. Asked if this was similar to the Opium Wars of the 19th century, Rev. Prof. Fiest said that was ‘taking it a bit far’,
it was more like ‘British tea suppliers crashing our party and selling us stuff that’s actually turned out to be quite popular’.

A representative from the Western Australian government said it was deeply regrettable that the memory of the America’s Cup should be sullied in this way: ‘Just as we use Vegemite to fight the Brits and their awful Marmite, so we shall take on their tea culture!’ No further details were available on what might be pitted against UK tea, although declining capacity in the country’s river system suggests a dramatic response is not far away. Experts have suggested it may coincide with publication of the full report.

For further information, contact Crystal Tips: ct@notformethanksnotlikely.com.au

Message ends
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Progress of sorts

How do people choose a name for their blog? ??Surely it’s a recipe for procrastination as enticing as selecting just the right font for a report, or revising the best way to organise a bookshelf for maximum visitor-appreciation. ??(Just me?)

I’ve tried to be too clever with my title: A snowflake’s progress. ??It’s supposed to conjure up ideas of a snowflake having about as much chance of surviving a very hot ‘hell’ type place as I’ve got of getting through a PhD in one piece; but rather than just say that I’ve also referenced William Hogarth’s infamous series of paintings from 18th century London: A Rake’s Progress. ??The rake’s fortunes decline through the eight panels, through the heady days of wealth and splendour to the depths of prison and Bedlam. ??The PhD journey is therefore laid out before me – the snowflake who prevails, but only by ruinously sacrificing health and sanity in the process. ??I believe this to be the standard route.

And a quotation from Voltaire, again from the 18th century. ??He puts the individual amongst the crowd, apparently helpless to affect the passage of destructive force which sweeps them all along. ??I know not whether Voltaire gives the humble snowflake the wit and the power to affect the avalanche, and he makes no comment in this snippet of what lies in its path. ??Suffice it to say that I think there’s enough in that quotation to link people, crowds, events and networking – enough to tack my own rough scratchings onto the back of it.

A snowflake’s chance

What chance being able to plan, manage, research and write a PhD? It is my intention to find out, with some posts along the way to create an archive of the journey, the progress made and the lessons learnt. From such a small post many more will follow – this will become the hub around which my PhD is documented and archived.

First things first: getting used to the software…