Kind of embarrassing, but until recently I had no idea how much of the world’s economy is based on coal from QLD. For example – Queensland exports half the world’s coking coal which is used to make steel. HALF! That means 50% of the world’s steel is manufactured with QLD coal. For the last year I’ve been working with a client who are coal mining consultants in QLD. They’ve been giving me an education. Mining – mostly coal, coal seam gas and bauxite with some oil shale and natural gas – makes up about 9% of the QLD economy. Meanwhile the cost of solar is dropping exponentially. I have to wonder what’s going to happen to the QLD economy over the next 20 years when coal becomes a dirty word and people are using solar-generated electricity to make steel instead.
My latest project is a secular (non-religious) documentary about the history behind Jesus and early Christianity. We’re going to interview a range of biblical scholars and academics to learn what they believe to be the HISTORY behind the story – leaving aside theology or faith, what happened? How did a fringe, Jewish personality cult from the backwaters of Middle East, end up taking over the Roman Empire? It’s a terrific and fascinating story. Check out our teaser video on Kickstarter for more information and support it if you can!
I just published a small book about my experience in podcasting and how my new business model works.
Over the last 12 years I’ve tried different ways to make an income from podcasting – from selling advertising to asking for donations – but over the last couple of years I’ve tried the premium subscription model and it’s worked far better than anything else. So much so, that our premium shows now bring in a six figure income (which I share with Ray, so I can’t retire to my yacht just yet). But pulling together the technical infrastructure to make the premium shows work wasn’t easy. It took my months of trial and error to work it out. So in this book, I share how (and why) I did it.
The hard truth is that 99.9% of podcasters aren’t going to make anything more than beer money out of advertising on their podcasts (until the advertising industry changes its mode). But I believe most podcasters *can* make a solid income from premium subscriptions *if* they get the model right.
If anyone wants a review copy, shoot me an email.
I recently co-wrote the first blog post / newsletter for my client Enable Advisory. They are a boutique consulting firm made up of senior executives from the coal mining and resource sector who provide mine planning and mine project management services (among other things).
Here’s the opening of the blog post, which tries to distill some lessons from the Challenger explosion and apply them to mine planning.
When the Challenger space shuttle exploded off the coast of Florida on January 28, 1986, Wayne Hale was head of the Propulsion Systems Section, Systems Division, Mission Operations, NASA. If you think you’ve experienced systems failure in your job, imagine if the entire event was being televised live around the world to hundreds of millions of people. Hale went on to become NASA Flight Director and Space Shuttle Program Manager and has recorded ten enduring lessons from his experience on how to avoid another Challenger-type incident. One of those lessons is that “a preoccupation with failure results in high reliability organizations.” He believes that dissension during the decision making process has tremendous value and that no dissension means the issue hasn’t been examined enough. Appoint devil’s advocates, he advises, and don’t let people remain silent – draw them out.
You can read the whole thing here.
I’ve been listening to a recent episode of Mac Power Users dedicated to Hazel. I fucking LOVE Hazel and it’s one of those tools that I love to tinker with (but try and limit how much time I sink into it). I’m always looking for new ways to use it and I guess it’s time I give back by sharing some more of my favourite rules.
This rule I created early in 2015 to archive files off of my Macbook Pro drive is still working great, albeit with a few minor tweaks. Macbook drives are pretty low on storage these days, and I deal in a lot of large audio files, so I need Hazel to keep a close eye on them and offload them onto USB drives about a month after I create them.
Photos and videos take up a lot of room too, so I use Hazel to take all of them that are a month old and archive them to Dropbox. That way I can pull them up on my phone or Mac whenever I need them, but they are out of the way.
BOOKS INTO EVERNOTE
For all of my history podcasts, I like to have text versions of my source books in Evernote so I can cut and paste as needed. So when I download a new Kindle book from Amazon, Hazel notices the new file (in the Kindle folder), and opens it in Calibre, when then converts the epub into a text file. Hazel then grabs the new text file (from the Calibre directory) and opens it in Evernote.
I use Stickies a lot to store bits of data I often need quickly – eg URLs for podcast feeds that people ask me for, Textexpander shortcuts, Macbook keyboard shortcuts, etc. But from time to time I want to do a clean install of OSX on my Mac and the Stickies database usually isn’t something I remember to backup, because it’s buried in the app directory. So I have Hazel take a daily backup of it for me and throw it into Dropbox.
Email me or leave a comment if you have cool Hazel rules to share.
A study by the Sunlight Foundation found that, between 2007 and 2012, 200 of America’s most politically active corporations spent a combined $5.8 billion on federal lobbying and campaign contributions. What they gave pales compared to what those same corporations got: $4.4 trillion (with a T) in federal business and support.
Since I bought my latest 13″ Macbook Pro with the minuscule on-board flash storage, I’ve had to build systems to offload large and/or old files onto external storage. But to make sure I always have access to those files even when I don’t have my Macbook or USB drives close at hand, I’ve got the current docs stored in Google Drive. Anything that’s six months old or older, is archived in Dropbox. So I need to search for them from time to time and I wanted Alfred to do that for me. For some reason Dropbox search isn’t built into Alfred’s web search features, so I built a custom search and now I’m sharing it with you.
Over at Motherlode (Brisbane’s hardest working marketing agency) we recently produced a couple of videos for our client Mobicon Systems to demonstrate why their “mini straddle carriers” are a more cost effective solution for handling shipping containers than the usual solutions like a reach stacker or a sidelift.
A great video can be a powerful marketing tool and I’m still surprised how few businesses seem to use them well.
A few weeks ago I took part in “International Podcast Day” and spent an hour talking live about my approach to making money with podcasting. You can listen to the archived recording here.
I was just scrolling through some old posts of mine and found this one from 2008 where I talk about the fastest supercomputer in the world at that time which was capable of 1.026 QIPS (quadrillion instructions per second aka 1 petaflop).
I predicted at the time that by 2012 we should have supercomputers running 16 QIPS / petaflops.
Well last year, 2014, China’s Tianhe-2 supercomputer was performing at 33.86 petaflops – double the 2012 prediction, which is right on track.
My 2008 post posited that the human brain was only capable of 10 petaflops – and it that’s true, it means that Tianhe-2 is running at 3x the speed of a human brain. It’s ability to use that processing power (eg its software) may not yet be as sophisticated as ours – but how long before they catch up?