In 1986, history class 9H1 at Armidale High School had to make a video with a bushranger theme, so we chose Alexander Pearce, the Tasmanian cannibal. But why focus on cannibals when you can also stage a Dynasty-style fight between two whores called Linda Lovelips and Camel Tits? For the first time in 30 years, here’s the trailer for this epic video project, which we gave the ludicrous title of The Hunger Of The Desperate and graced with some terrible acting, editing and special effects. I might put the full version up at some stage . . .
18 years ago, I collaborated with four colleagues to write a ridiculous online serial novel, Eye Of The Tigress. This year, I decided it would be interesting to collate the chapters and make it available as a Kindle ebook on Amazon.
This turns out to be a fairly straightforward process, except for one detail. My original plan had been to make the ebook free; after all, I wasn’t the only author. I’d seen plenty of free Kindle titles around, so that seemed straightforward. But it wasn’t until I had actually uploaded the formatted text that I discovered Amazon won’t let you initially set the price of your book as free. The minimum is US$0.99. If your title ends up free on rival stores, then it may end up being free on Amazon as a result of price matching, but you can’t make that decision easily yourself.
I wasn’t keen to set up a bunch more accounts with other publishing platforms just to achieve that, so in the end I went with the minimum price. In the (highly unlikely) event that anyone does actually buy a copy, I will donate all the proceeds to Medecins Sans Frontieres. If you’re tempted, here’s the link on Amazon. And special thanks to my brother Alex Kidman for proofing and editing.
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.
Florence Henderson, forever famous as Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch, has died at the age of 82. She did a tour of Australia four years ago to promote tomato paste (I kid you not), a sprightly 78-year-old offering cooking tips, and I shot the above video at the Sydney media briefing.
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).
|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|
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.
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.
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.
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
BEST AUDIO PROGRAM
Winner: Download This Show
Highly commended: Risky Business
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
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
BEST GAMING COVERAGE
Highly commended: IGN/Game Informer
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
Highly commended: Gizmodo
CNET, CyberShack, Fairfax Media, Gizmodo Australia, iTWire.com, Lifehacker Australia, Tech Guide, Techradar, The Australian
Winner: Nick Broughall
Highly commended: Bennett Ring/Adam Turner
Highly commended: Choice
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
BEST CONSUMER TECH JOURNALIST
Winner: Chris Griffith
Highly commended: Krishan Sharma
Beau Donelly and Nick Toscano
BEST INDEPENDENT MEDIA
Highly commended: Stevivor
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
BEST TECHNICAL JOURNALIST
Winner: Adam Turner
Highly commended: Jeremy Kirk
Leigh D. Stark
Winner: David Milner
Highly commended: Angus Kidman
BEST TECH INDUSTRY JOURNALIST
Winner: Caitlin Fitzsimmons
Highly commended: Luke Hopewell/Paul Smith
BEST BUSINESS TECH JOURNALIST
Winner: Allie Coyne
Highly commended: Aimee Chanthadavong
BEST BUSINESS TECH COVERAGE
Highly commended: ITnews/Communications Day
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
Alya Fitzgibbon, Red Agency
Angela Coombes, NEC
Dan Chiappini, Blizzard
David Bass, Bass PR
Matthew Wu, Media & Capital Partners Chiapinni
Rudolf Wagenaar, Ogilvy
Highly commended: ABC Tech and Games/Itnews
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
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)
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.
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.