It's time for round-two of a bunch of random stuff that's slightly-interesting-but-not-interesting-enough-for-a-full-post.

  • I'm sitting on a new office chair that's called a Swopper that I got second-hand as a Christmas gift from my dear wife, and it's bouncy and fun to sit on.

    I read an article somewhere that said active chairs encourage you to move more and put weight on your legs and fill that niche between standing desks and vanilla sitting. What I was finding with my fancy-schmancy office chair was that I was cutting circulation in my legs, my butt was always sore, and I just felt bad after sitting for a day of work. While the Swopper has some problems of it's own, I'm definitely feeling more active while using it, and (surprisingly) I have sore core muscles after using it, like I've done a couple of situps.

    I'll get back to you if my opinion changes, the main downside is that it seems wildly over priced if you buy it new.

  • We took a family holiday to Buninyong to visit my sister, and went with my brother's family and my mum. It's the first big family holiday I've been on with my mum and brother and sister since well before I got married, and it was a lot of fun to just hang out with them all.

  • We took the opportunity to go to Sovereign Hill, which I visited once when I was a boy, and I remembered why I thought it was so dull when I was a kid. It's fascinating, but not very hands-on for children, but we spent a good hour panning for gold, so the kids will have some good memories I hope.

  • We stepped up our new car plan before we went so we'd have a bigger car to squash the kids into before we drove over the border. I've said goodbye to the beautifully cheap-to-run Prius that has done me well for the last five years, and purchased a second hand Holden Commodore wagon. The running costs are higher, but my daughter can now fit in the back seat again. Plus other men are no longer threatened by the care-free way I drove my smaller, lower-emission car.

  • Australia is on fire. Well, parts of it are. Important parts that have people in them. It's forced a lot of them to uproot, and has a lot of people very cross that successive governments have done so little to address climate change. I donned a cap of political apathy after the country decided that just because Tony Abbott was no longer the public face of the Liberal party it meant that they were probably the best party we had. I pulled the cap lower and raised my collar after the country decided a second time that a party who is very clearly uninterested in tackling the biggest issues we're leaving to our kids was their best hope for a bigger tax rebate. These fires would be just as bad if anyone else was in charge, but maybe if we'd given enough of a shit 10 years ago we might have actually been in the middle of trying to do something now.

  • I'm still trying to find somewhere online that can scratch that itch that Reddit used to fill. I'm still resolute that I'm not returning, but I don't have anywhere to find new things to read, and nowhere to participate in discussion. I've been using Hacker News, but as much as I like to think of myself as a “hacker”, only about 20% of posts there interest me, and I've almost never felt the desire to contribute to the discussion. In the last two days I've discovered Lobste.rs, Hubski, and Tildes. Lobste.rs and Tildes are invite-only, while Hubski is open for registrations.

    Lobste.rs is even more niche than Hacker News, but I love the technical design decisions they've made. If I wanted to make a similar site, the Lobste.rs source would be an excellent starting point.

    Hubski is less niche, but despite the open registration seems to have far less activity. As an example: as at time of writing, the fourth article down is about the impeachment of Donald Trump, posted 23 days earlier. It's big news, and it's off the back of the Christmas break, but I'd expect more recent news than that on the front page of a news aggregator. The discussion on it is thoughtful though a little sparse, so the community is definitely not the sort of people who left Reddit for Voat, but with so little happening, there's not a lot of reason to stick around and see if it's worth it.

    I've settled on giving Tildes a try for a week. Their community is big enough that I keep seeing new stuff on the front page, even across the space of a single day. The diversity of discussion is also much better than HN or Lobste.rs, and I've found myself with actual things to say while reading some threads (although I can't do so yet). And although I don't like using it for webpages - it's much better for a text editor or terminal - the fact that they offer Solarized Dark as one of the out-of-the-box color schemes means that someone there understands sophistication.

  • In the process of trying out Lobste.rs I have also installed WeeChat for IRC. I love the idea of IRC, but I've never found myself in a room where I've wanted to say anything. Can anyone suggest a good room for IRC newbies to just hang out in and chat with nice people? Leave a comment below, or chat in Keybase, Discord, or directly with me on the aus.social Mastodon instance. I'd set up a Geekorium IRC channel but from what I can gather, I'd need a server that's amenable to randos making channels.

So that's me for another four months - still trying half-hearted-ly to push air through the blue lips of this website.