Smile When You See This Blue Car Go By

28 11 2007

google car

You may not want to be caught in photos like the folks in the inset pictures! 

In my Being There presentations I demo-ed Google Maps Street View with some map photo viewsfrom downtown Phoenix… look out Australia, as the camera rigged cars are cruising your streets!

Take extra-special care of your appearance when walking around Australian capital city streets this summer, as one nose pick or bum scratch could be immortalised on Google Maps forever.

Google-branded cars with roof-mounted cameras have just begun traversing our streets, taking highly detailed panoramic street-level photos for a new Maps feature called Street View.

Once the photos go up next year, Google Maps users will be able to explore the country at ground-level for the first time with little more than a computer and an internet connection.

Google’s candid camera snaps Australia…


10 11 2007

CogDogFlu Decimates Aussies — originally uploaded to flickr by cogdogblog

News story submitted to us by Lindy McKeown (her health status is undetermined at this time).

Hey, I am sorry! And I am still coughing!

Created by the Newspaper Clipping Generator

Or as they are calling it, “CogDogWog”

It’s Good to Be Home with the Pups

30 10 2007

It’s Good to Be Home with the Pups — originally uploaded to flickr by cogdogblog

Dorothy was more than right, there is no place like home, as confirmed yesterday when I finally landed in sunny warm Phoenix (over 90F) and my wife was there to meet me at the airport.

And my pups, Cadu (black lab) and Fresa (beagle) were ectstatic even though they did not even get any prezzies.

I thought about listing all the people I wanted to thank for this tremendous opportunity, and then realized it would take about 5 hours to comb through my notes and list them all- so consider this a blanket THANK YOU to the entire nation of Australia (except the one person who sneezed on the plane to Tasmania and gave me this cold), especially those who coordinated my trip, came to my presentations, and I include now in my circle of colleagues and friends– and especially the hikers:

Three Hikers

And one more for the blog-rific Sue Waters who posted a rather comprehensive blog post summarizing my visit.

This is likely and should be the last blog post here, so if for some strange reason you want to follow my tracks, my blog attention returns to my regular hangout at

G’Day! Giddyup! Adios!


28 10 2007

The Bridge — originally uploaded to flickr by cogdogblog


Each of these last days I blog about it being the best highlight of the trip. I think this morning now wins. Westley offered to take me “on the water for a view few others will see” – we rowed under the Sydney Harbour Bridge in his kayak, and it was truly gloriously amazing.

It did call for a 4:30 wake up call (actually that never came, but my alarm watch never fails) and a cab driver who did not know the streets and without his glasses, could not read the map, but we got to Westley’s house fine.

The rowing trip was about an hour out and back as we went under the bridge, out to the PM’s pad on the water and back.

Amazing would be an understatement.

We grabbed breakfast, got a fast tour of Wesley’s MLC school and chatted with an amazing teacher there. I’d been away from a classroom for so long, and was amazed to see all these kids sprawled out with laptops doing their research. School has changed since my time there, thankfully.

Then it was a buzz over to University of Sydney for a meeting Angela Thomas and colleagues on a SL teen project, then zip to the airport.

All in all, I now have this bridge image as the symbol for this trip, as I feel like I have this solid connection between where I am and my new colleagues and friends here in Australia.

It’s a solid and a beautiful bridge, indeed.

G’Day, Aussies, I am going home!

Just 8 hours later on my flight back to the states, I flew over the scene:
Harbour View

Big Wide Blue Mountains

28 10 2007

Blue Mountain Panorama — originally uploaded to flickr by cogdogblog

Today was a day that for this long trip was the goal at the finish line. Sean Fitzgerald offered (and came thrugh in a big way) to coordinate a day trip hike into the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. We tossed together a plan in a wiki (zero emails).

Sean, Jo, Bruce, and I met at Sydney’s Central Railway, and Westley joined us two stops later. Along the train route, the city ever so slowly gives way to some more open-ness, then softly climbs into the sandstone hills, and then morphs to the multiple waves of tree covered mountain ridges.

It was 2 hours on the train to get to Katoomba, and the time flew among our conversations. We walked through town to get to the Echo Point overlook (encrusted with bus loads of camera toting tourists). The photo above is actually 4 run together into a panorama with a program called AutoStitch (one of the few things I will jump into Windows to use).

At this spot we met up with Robyn and Stephan, who had rode their motorcycle up the hill.

Me and My Friends in the Blue Mountains

Sean, Bruce, Westley, and I opted for the hike down the stairs (like 1000 of them?) around the base of the Three Sisters, and across the forest about halfway down the seemingly bottomless opening. Trying to capture the sense, scale of this forest in photos got to be futile. Along the way, Westley asked us to record some audio with him, so as geeks on a hike, there we were with his ipod/recorder chatting about Second Life with birds calling and the waterfall gurgling. Look for the podcast eventually to be on Westley’s iThought blog (how is that for pressure to edit?)

We got to a point where it looked like the next trail up was yet another hour walk, so we did the logical thing and opted to ride out on the tram so we could get to town and find a pub. At the top, we still had 45 minutes of walk along the cliff top trail to return to our starting point. Just as the rain began to come down.

We caught up with the rest of the crew in town, and enjoyed camaraderie, food, and drink. And bonus! Alex stopped by as this was on his commute from Orange to Sydney:

Chilling Over Food

Then it was another two hour train ride down the hill.

All in all, this was a great way to almost close out this trip. I’ve known all of these folks by web. twitter, Second Life, and all is now enriched having the real life experiences. In fact, I am thinking these distinctions of “First Life/Real Life, Second Life” are less meaningful as we live in a fluid continuum between them, they are not separate lives at all.

So.. all that left is to wake up at 4:30 so I can join Westley for a paddle around Sydney Harbor, one more meeting at the University of Sydney, and then get on the big old jet airliner.

The Icing on the Cake of a Trip

27 10 2007

A Great Dinner Party in Newtown — originally uploaded to flickr by cogdogblog

These two weeks circling the island of Australia have been fantastic, but I’d be lying if I said I was not dog happy relieved to be finished the “official” parts- now I am on to my last bits of time here, designated by the code F-U-N.

Before leaving Brisbane this morning, I got to catch up for coffee with my old friend from Director Days (going back to Macromedia’s UCON in 1996). By the way, there were at least three folks who mentioned the old Director Web site that was my focus and obsession in the 1990s (its been more than 2 years since being updated, but still there- Colen, please don’t bust up the old Maricopa URLs!).

Dorian is a top Flash developer, creating, of all things, online poker games. I am hoping his company is not involved with the ones that comment spam blogs.

But wait, there was time for another breakfast meetup with Mark from University of Queenstown, eating at a cafe bearing an Eifel tower. And Mark kindly offered to drive me to the airport, and deftly managed to get me there in that 5 minute window before they stop checking people in. Nope, I was not sweating. Nope.

So it was back to Sydney, where I got to meet up with friend and colleague Angela Thomas and we went over to the shops near Fox Studios to meet up with more colleagues- HeyJude! I got to meet a great blogger plus more colleagues Wesley and Lynette. We chilled out at the movies and then Wesley provided this fab walking tour of Newtown, the funky (not trendy) hip hub of Sydney with stops at pubs, walls, and a great dinner at Cafe C.

A fab day, just a fab day. It’s time to get some rest for tomorrow’s hiking trip to the Blue Mountains.

And to answer your twitter question, HeyJude- I run late hours on pure adrenaline and the thrill of web goodness. I never run out of things on the web to inspire and generate energy. Someday I might actually see some of the nasties things the doomsayers and firewallers harp on, but so far, I se much more good than evil. By orders of magnitude.

Blue Mountain Hike- Meet Us At the Station

25 10 2007

In a fiat of executive decision making (that would be Sean’s) the hike for this Sunday has been decided as the one near Katoomba. This is scheduled for Sunday, Oct 28- We plan to be leaving Central Station at 9.18am. We can meet under the big clock on the country platform (upstairs) around 9.00am. Here is the train route if you would like to pick it up along the way –

I am looking forward to this time of unwinding and hanging out with people to talk about… whatever comes up. I am more than happy not to talk about witter, or Second Life or Web 2.0 or …. Or we can, that’s the beauty of just being with people.

Look for the details and add your name to the Bliue Mountain Walk with Alan wiki

See you at the station