What happened to my 2016 NaNoWriMo novel?

Anyone observing my Twitter feed recently will have noticed that I haven’t tweeted about the NaNoWriMo challenge, where you try and write an entire novel of 50,000 words or more, since the middle of the month, when I hit the halfway mark. So what’s happened?
The short version: I’m no longer trying to finish writing the novel this month, but unlike some of my previous abandoned attempts, I do intend to finish the novel.
The longer version: by the time I reached the halfway mark, it had became evident that there were two factors that meant that this wasn’t necessarily going to work as a #NaNoWriMo novel.
(1) I’m really happy with the voice and tone I’ve developed for the narrator, but it’s slow work to write. Reaching the 1700 words I need each day and maintaining that tone has been a challenge. Even though this year I knew most of my plot in advance, any advantage from that has been more than offset by the speed with which I can actually write it. It’s not a matter of writer’s block; it just takes much longer than my usual writing speed.
(2) It has become evident from what I’ve written that this is not a story that’s going to be contained within 50,000 words. Based on where it’s at right now, I suspect it will need to be 80,000 words at least. That’s actually a more typical length for a novel, but there’s no way I would be able to hit that target in November, especially at the speed I’ve actually been writing.
I’m a purist: I don’t think you’ve done NaNoWriMo properly unless you actually complete the whole draft. In my mind, you can’t just have 50,000 words of an incomplete work and say you’ve finished the challenge. So it simply doesn’t make sense for me to treat this book as a NaNoWriMo project. It’s now just a project I’m continuing to work on.
When I’ve succeeded at NaNoWriMo, I’ve usually posted the first chapter or the blurb online (see my efforts from 2015, 2011 and 2010). I can’t do that here now, but I will when, eventually, I finish it. Not going to set myself a deadline for that just yet.

What’s the maximum score you can get in Yahtzee?

In the real world, any score above 300 is a good result in Yahtzee. But what’s the absolute maximum you can score? By my calculation, it’s 1,575.

Here’s the sequence of gameplay that generates that score. Remember that you score an additional 100 points for every Yahtzee (five numbers the same), and you can use that Yahtzee as a wild card for any other category (including ones where a Yahtzee wouldn’t technically be a result that fits, such as a straight).

Round Throw Score as Score Notes
1 5 x 6 Yahtzee 50 Any Yahtzee would do
2 5 x 1 1 105 100 bonus points for each additional Yahtzee
3 5 x 2 2 110
4 5 x 3 3 115
5 5 x 4 4 120
6 5 x 5 5 160 Includes 35 bonus points for >63 at top
7 5 x 6 6 130
8 5 x 6 3 of a kind 130 Maximum points with all sixes
9 5 x 6 4 of a kind 130 Maximum points with all sixes
10 5 x 6 Full house 125 Any Yahtzee would do
11 5 x 6 Small straight 130 Any Yahtzee would do
12 5 x 6 Large straight 140 Any Yahtzee would do
13 5 x 6 Chance 130 Maximum points with all sixes
Total 1,575
Average/round 121.2

What’s the probability of this happening? The chance of getting any one specific result in Yahtzee on a single throw is 1 in 7776. The chance of that happening 13 times in a row is 1 in 3.80042E+50, as Excel would put it. In other words, don’t hang round waiting.

The IKEA design that includes a nose ring

No, I’m not making that up. On Monday (5 September), the new IKEA SVÄRTAN range goes on sale in Australian stores. It’s a “limited edition” (an odd concept for IKEA, I know), produced as a collaboration between designer Martin Bergström and students from India’s National Institute of Fashion and Technology. While many Indian-themed collections focus on bright patterns and colours, this one has a darker and more windswept feel. Not necessarily going to match with all my more traditional IKEA stuff (I’m all about black, white and red in big blocks), but it looks quite impressive.

Svartan

Anyway, many of the metal bowl-shaped items have a hole in them, because (per the press kit) in traditional Indian production methods, that hole would be used so the bowl could hang up to dry after painting. And so (also per the press kit) “Martin decided to put a replica of his nose ring into the hole and made it part of the design itself”. I can’t decide whether this is a genuine selling point or not.

#Lizzies: All The 2016 IT Journalism Awards Winners (Updating Live)

It’s Lizzies time again! I’ll be updating this from around 7pm this evening to note the winners and highly commended for the 14th Annual MasterCard IT Journalism Awards as they’re announced. Many people have multiple nominations, so it will be a tight contest.

BEST DRESSED: Hannah Francis, Simon Sharwood/Angus Kidman (tie)

BEST NEW JOURNALIST

Winner: Ariel Bogle
Highly commended: Hayley Williams

Finalists
Alex Choros
Ariel Bogle
Asha Barbaschow
Brendon Foye
Chris Southcott
Harry Tucker
Hayley Williams
Joel Burgess
Lachlan Harman
Peter Gutierrez

BEST AUDIO PROGRAM

Winner: Download This Show
Highly commended: Risky Business

Nominees
Download This Show, Gadget Grill, Geeks Interrupted, Girt by CNET, Life & Technology, Lifehacker, Gizmodo and Kotaku Australia – Static, Daily Tech News Show, Risky Business, Tech Daily, Tech Guide, Two Blokes Talking Tech

BEST VIDEO PROGRAM

Winner: Good Game
Highly commended: Djuro Sen – 7 News

Nominees
ABC TV, CNET, CyberShack TV, Daniel Elias, Djuro Sen – Technology Editor 7 News, Dominic Sharoo / NitroWare.net, Gizmodo Australia, Good Game – ABC TV, Kotaku Australia, Lifehacker, Gizmodo and Kotaku Australia – Static, PoliTech (by Startup Daily)

BEST GAMING JOURNALIST

Winner: Mark Serrels
Highly commended: Lucy O’Brien

Finalists
Alex Walker
David Milner
James Cottee
Jeremy Ray
Krishan Sharma
Lucy O’Brien
Luke Reilly
Mark Serrels
Patrick Stafford
Richard Moss

BEST GAMING COVERAGE

Winner: Kotaku
Highly commended: IGN/Game Informer

Nominees
Digitally Downloaded, Fairfax Media, Game Informer, Good Game – ABC TV, IGN, Kotaku Australia, Lifehacker Australia, Official Xbox Magazine Australia, PC Gamer AU, Progress Bar

BEST PERSONAL TECHNOLOGY COVERAGE

Winner: CNET
Highly commended: Gizmodo

Nominees
CNET, CyberShack, Fairfax Media, Gizmodo Australia, iTWire.com, Lifehacker Australia, Tech Guide, Techradar, The Australian

BEST REVIEWER

Winner: Nick Broughall
Highly commended: Bennett Ring/Adam Turner

Finalists
Adam Turner
Alex Kidman
Alex Walker
Bennett Ring
Campbell Simpson
Chris Southcott
Krishan Sharma
Nic Healey
Nick Broughall
Stephen Lambrechts

BEST MAGAZINE

Winner: CRN
Highly commended: Choice

Nominees
APC, CHOICE, CRN, Game Informer, Hyper, Official Xbox Magazine Australia, PC PowerPlay, PC & Tech Authority, T3 Australia, TechLife

BEST NEWS JOURNALIST

Winner: Paul Smith
Highly commended: Mark Serrels

Finalists
Allie Coyne
David Swan
Hannah Francis
Krishan Sharma
Marc Fennell
Mark Serrels
Paris Cowan
Paul Smith
Renai LeMay
Ry Crozier

BEST CONSUMER TECH JOURNALIST

Winner: Chris Griffith
Highly commended: Krishan Sharma

Finalists
Alex Choros
Angus Kidman
Asha Barbaschow
Beau Donelly and Nick Toscano
Chris Griffith
Claire Reilly
Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
Krishan Sharma
Michelle Starr
Seamus Byrne

BEST INDEPENDENT MEDIA

Winner: Ausdroid
Highly commended: Stevivor

Nominees
Ausdroid, EFTM, Live Tech AU, NitroWare, Rocket Chainsaw, Stevivor, Tech Guide, Vooks, Women Love Tech

BEST TELECOMMUNICATIONS JOURNALIST

Winner: David Ramli
Highly commended: Geoff Long/Petroc Wilton

Finalists
Allie Coyne
Chris Pash
Claire Reilly
Corinne Reichert
David Ramli
Geoff Long
Hannah Francis
Josh Taylor
Petroc Wilton

BEST TECHNICAL JOURNALIST

Winner: Adam Turner
Highly commended: Jeremy Kirk

Finalists
Adam Turner
Alex Kidman
Angus Kidman
Chris Duckett
Darren Pauli
Geoff Long
Jeremy Kirk
Leigh D. Stark
Peter Zaluzny
Petroc Wilton

BEST COLUMNIST

Winner: David Milner
Highly commended: Angus Kidman

Finalists
Adam Turner
Alex Kidman
Angus Kidman
Chris Duckett
David Milner
Josh Taylor
Nick Ross
Patrick Avenell
Paul Smith
Renai LeMay
Simon Sharwood

BEST TECH INDUSTRY JOURNALIST

Winner: Caitlin Fitzsimmons
Highly commended: Luke Hopewell/Paul Smith

Finalists
Caitlin Fitzsimmons
Claire Connelly
David Swan
Gina Baldassarre
James Pinnell
Krishan Sharma
Luke Hopewell
Paul Smith
Simon Sharwood
Tony Yoo

BEST BUSINESS TECH JOURNALIST

Winner: Allie Coyne
Highly commended: Aimee Chanthadavong

Finalists
Aimee Chanthadavong
Allie Coyne
Chris Pash
Krishan Sharma
Paris Cowan
Paul Smith
Ry Crozier
Spandas Lui
Yolanda Redrup

BEST BUSINESS TECH COVERAGE

Winner: AFR
Highly commended: ITnews/Communications Day

Nominees
Business Insider, CIO NZ, Communications Day, iTnews, Lifehacker Australia, Startup Daily, The Australian, The Australian Financial Review, ZDNet

BEST MEDIA RELATIONS

Winner: Matthew Wu
Highly commended: Angela Coombes/Dan Chiappini

Finalists
Alya Fitzgibbon, Red Agency
Angela Coombes, NEC
Dan Chiappini, Blizzard
David Bass, Bass PR
Matthew Wu, Media & Capital Partners Chiapinni
Rudolf Wagenaar, Ogilvy

BEST WEBSITE

Winner: Kotaku
Highly commended: ABC Tech and Games/Itnews

Nominees
ABC Tech and Games, CIO NZ, CNET, CRN, CyberShack, Delimiter, Gizmodo Australia, IGN, iTnews, iTWire, Kotaku Australia, Lifehacker Australia, Mashable, PC Gamer, PC World, Startup Daily, Tech Guide, TechRadar, The Australian, ZDNet

BEST NEWS COVERAGE

Winner: Fairfax Media
Highly commended: Kotaku

Nominees
Communications Day, Download This Show, Fairfax Media, Gizmodo Australia, iTnews, Kotaku Australia, Stevivor, Techly, The Australian, The Australian Financial Review, ZDNet

BEST JOURNALIST (GOLD LIZZIE)
Winner: Paul Smith

BEST TITLE (GOLD LIZZIE)
Winner: Kotaku

Who has the most individual nominations in the 2016 Lizzies?

There are 66 individual journalists with nominations in the 2016 Lizzies (including me). You can read the full list on the Lizzies site. As I did last year, I thought it might be interesting to crunch the data and see who scored multiple finalist berths. Here’s the full list of everyone who achieved more than one finalist placing:

  • 6 finalist berths: Krishan Sharma
  • 4 finalist berths: Paul Smith
  • 3 finalist berths: Allie Coyne, Alex Kidman, Angus Kidman, Adam Turner
  • 2 finalist berths: Asha Barbaschow, Alex Choros, Paris Cowan, Ry Crozier, Chris Duckett, Hannah Francis, Renai LeMay, Geoff Long, David Millner, Chris Pash, Claire Reilly, Mark Serrels, Simon Sharwood, Chris Southcott, David Swan, Josh Taylor, Alex Walker, Petroc Wilton

Krishan is this year’s undisputed champion — well done mate! It’s a tribute to your versatility and skill as a freelancer.

In total 24 nominees (a bit over a third) have more than one individual nomination. I didn’t do a similar analysis for title awards because the list there is everyone who nominated themselves, not just those who made the shortlist after judging.

I will be live-blogging the results from the Lizzies ceremony, which kicks off at 1830 on Friday 13 May (five days from now, eek!). I’ll tweet out a link with the hashtag #lizzies on the day. See you then, whether in Lizzies-infested meatspace or online.

Wow, I’m actually a Lizzies finalist

I entered the Lizzies — more properly, the 14th Annual MasterCard IT Journalism Awards– this year, but I had no expectation of making any of the shortlists. Between evolving sites and changing jobs, I just didn’t do as much writing on tech topics.

So I’m surprised and delighted that I’m a finalist in three categories: Best Columnist, Best Technical Journalist and Best Consumer Tech Journalist. I’m defending the Best Columnist title from last year, and I’ve won Best Consumer Tech Journalist in previous years.

I don’t imagine I’ll win any of them this time around. The competition is formidable, including my brother Alex Kidman in the first two categories. But I’m looking forward to the night, and I’ll do a live blog of the results, just as I did last year.

These are the few words I said at my grandfather Fin’s funeral today

Truthfully, it’s hard to come up with something sensible to say about Fin. The first reason is that he was a man of few words. It seems wrong to offer hundreds of words in tribute to someone who thought just a few dozen words were more than enough for the remarkable occasion of his 100th birthday.

The second reason relates to that. Fin lived for over 100 years. He had a perspective that none of us are ever likely to match. How on earth are you supposed to sum up all that living, all that change, all those things that happened? It seems hard enough to live through it, let all alone try to capture it.

But somewhere in there is the clue. Fin made a success of his life because he always knew exactly who he was. In ten decades of living, he never let what other people thought get in the way of what he knew was the right thing to do at that moment. He had a certainty about his life that I can only envy.

And his life threw up a lot of challenges. Fin wasn’t even three months old when his father, George Kidman, passed away. George never saw his son; he was on the road for a droving job in Queensland when Fin was born in 1915.

I often think about that. However tough we might find Fin’s passing, we all had a good chunk of 100 years of him. He never even had 100 seconds with his own father.

Yet he had a loving family, always. From his mother, Isabella; to his aunts Kate and Sheila, absolute rocks of his young life; to his wives, his children, his grandchildren, his great-grandchildren, his in-laws, everyone along every branch. And he inspired that same devotion in others.

We knew he was there, always, in this house in Darlington, watering his garden, a man of routine. What had to be done was done.

Fin embraced certainty. He was always certain himself. And sometimes certainty meant doing things that other people might judge too difficult, too uncertain.

He was the first member of his family to go to university, but also the first to decide that wasn’t the right path for him. He married and had a child, but when that marriage faltered, he didn’t let 1950s morality trap him.

Nor did he let that stop him expanding his family when he married again. When new branches were added, he accepted that, accepted them, and kept going. There was no question, he was certain: that was the right thing to do.

So what’s the right thing to do today? To acknowledge a man who has been a huge part of all our lives; to celebrate all that he brought to us; and to recognise that even if he is no longer with us, his memories will live on with us forever. Of that much, even I am absolutely certain.

What I wrote today: A lot about Internet TV

My editor-in-chief job at finder means I write less than I have in previous roles, but it doesn’t mean I write nothing. Today was a particularly busy day on the news front: