Given that mere popularity doesn’t reflect quality, here’s my personal selection of my best, timeless posts for 2008. Happy reading!
- Kruddiversary: The internet thanks you for 12 months of achieving nothing, my Crikey article looking at the first year of the Rudd government from an Internet geek’s perspective.
- Thailand’s political crisis: an introduction, though later pieces in The Economist are better than my amateur efforts.
- Journalism in a hyperconnected world.
- @KevinRuddPM stumbles into the Twitterverse, a Crikey article which includes links to the previous three essays I’d written about the PM’s entrance into modern social media.
- Gonzo Twitter 1: Saturday Evening in Newtown, my experiment in live-tweeting a descriptive essay and still one of the best things I’ve written all year.
- How Dell fixed my monitor order, which is being used by clever consultants as an example of how to use social media for quality customer service.
- Sunday Thoughts about Journalism, a rather lengthy essay with many links to background on the Death of Newspapers this year.
- Finally, The Shave, a rather wonderful film we made.
- The Great Firewall of China: how it works, how to bypass it.
- Note to “old media” journalists: adapt, or stfu! This piece triggered an entire wave of discussion and was quoted globally.
- Winter Solstice Meditation.
- Anzac Day Rememberings.
- ABC Playback: so this is the future of televisionâ€¦? Nope! A review of what’s now called ABC iView.
- There ain’t no shortcuts to professionally-managed IT.
- Remembering the Space Age: Arthur C Clarke dead at 90.
- Super Hornets are Go.
- Jason Calacanis and the Evil Cult of the Internet Start-up. I don’t really think Jason is evil, but I do worry about the self-centred anti-human attitude of many people connected with Internet start-ups.
- New national anthem: I am So an Aussie, when the Snarky Platypus and I created, yes, a new national anthem. Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!
- Is it really so wrong to mix business and politics (and religion)?
- Leaving room for elephants: a chat with David Attenborough, a personal fave since it harks back to an interesting time in my life. This is still one of the most enjoyable interviews I’ve done. Ever.
- Angry geeks: “Don’t waste money on internet filters”, one of many articles I posted about censorship, but which outlined the key issues way back in January.
- Post 801: Kill the Hallucinating Goldfish.
John Birmingham has followed up his highly-successful Axis of Time trilogy of military thrillers with another “ripper yarn” novel, Without Warning: America is Gone. It’s a good read, but not as good as it could be.
Like Axis of Time, which posited a 21st-century naval task force suddenly finding itself at the Battle of Midway and the final volume of which I reviewed earlier, Without Warning is alternative history. One the eve of the 2003 Iraq War, an unexplained energy field obliterates all human life across most of the United States. As the world realises the last remaining superpower is gone, the novel tracks the political and military conflicts which emerge through the eyes of characters ranging from a US general at Guantanamo Bay to a female assassin working undercover in France.
My perceptions of Without Warning are coloured by Katie Harris’ comment that my recent Gonzo Twitter effort was like Hemingway. I still haven’t read any Hemingway, but I’ve been thinking about writing styles. In a previous review I described William Gibson’s noir prose as “a richly textured cabernet merlot” in comparison with the “slab of VB” simplicity of Adrian d’HagÃ©’s action thriller. Birmingham’s writing is another slab of VB. It’s a fast, easy read without too many difficult words or complex metaphors to slow you down.
Continue reading “Review: “Without Warning” by John Birmingham”
I’ve always thought that my essays are my best work, even if I say so myself. I’ve done observationals before, like Saturday Night at The Duke and Burnt out sofa, burnt out life. But this one’s different.
As I walked home through Newtown last Saturday evening, I started sending little observational comments to my Twitter stream:
Actually still on Darlington Rd, a long-haired woman plays melancholy guitar on the terrace-house balcony as a currawong flops past.
As I moved into King Street, I kept going. As I went to Kelly’s On King for a beer, I kept going. I discovered that a rapt audience was watching my comments — although not everyone liked the volume of material. I suggested they use Twittersnooze to unfollow me for a while.
The 140-character limit imposes a certain staccato style which I quite like. I was chuffed to be compared with Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw and (especially) Hunter S Thompson!
Here, then, is my first attempt at Live Gonzo Twittering — as others decided to call it, though I’m not sure the label is quite right myself — across about 90 minutes last Saturday night. the only changes I’ve made have been to fix some typos. Is this the best way to present it after the fact? Enjoy!
Continue reading “Gonzo Twitter 1: Saturday Evening in Newtown”