Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Share and Share Alike 

Judith sent me a media release about Spare Parts Puppet Theatre's production of Tim Winton's Blueback. Is that reason enough to have kids? Maybe I could borrow one.

Tim sent me New International's Free Trade Catalogue. I like the idea of organic cotton bed sheets but I can only afford Ceylon Green Tea. Which is lucky, because I have bed sheets and I'm fast running out of green tea.

Thanks guys!

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Monday, August 29, 2005

Not Extending Herself 

I've decided not to go to Perth until the weekend, so I'll be missing the WA Blog Award Nite. I might buy a feather boa anyway. You never know when I might need one at short notice. I'm attending a friend's wedding on Sunday in the city and five nights away is a few too many.

I still don't know if I'll need to travel to Perth this month for more dental appointments. A friend suggested I might shrivel up before this dental work is finished. Thank you, dear friend.

I'm off to the pool tomorrow. Another opportunity to get shrivelled. At least I'll be fit. Ish.

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Deanne Direct 

I'm taking a more direct approach with my communication. No more wondering how people will take this, that or the other. No more enthusing before I've decided I'm enthused. No more waiting till the time feels right to correspond.

So far, so good. The Prime Minister should already have my e-mail.

I'm sure as soon as he reads it Australia will be doing its bit to Make Poverty History. You can e-mail the Prime Minister too. Be direct! The people at Make Poverty History also recommend that you be polite.

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Dotty Designs 

Did you know that women prefer sites that are designed by women? Or that men prefer sites designed by men? Misbehaving.net, a blog about women and technology, directed me to a CNN article about British research into gender differences and Web design.


Women seemed to like pages with more color in the background and typeface. Women also favored informal rather than posed pictures.

Men responded better to dark colors and straight, horizontal lines across a page. They also were more pleased by a three-dimensional look and images of "self-propelling" rather than stationary objects.
'Study: Web site's appearance matters', CNN, 11 August 2005.


What are 'self-propelling' objects? Cars? Horses? UFOs? My male visitors will have to be happy with horizontal lines and a dark background. I wonder whether the research will cause a greater demand for women designers. But not dark-background, horizontal-line, self-propelled kind of female Web designer.

In a different study by the same researchers, which looked at angling and beauty Web sites, they found that the majority of design teams consisted predominantly of men, regardless of the market.


Explained Gloria [Moss, Research fellow at the University of Glamorgan Business School], "The beauty and angling industries have very polarised markets. You might expect the differing natures of these markets to produce different kinds of websites, but in fact our study shows that they are remarkably similar. They are both modelled on the male aesthetic."
'Key Website Research Highlights Gender Bias' (University of Glamorgan press release, 17 August 2005.


Yibbida, yibbidah. Here's a few associations you don't want to make (other than beauty and fishing):

  • Moisturiser and horizontal lines.

  • Tampons and self-propelling objects.

  • New fashion knits and formal photography.



There's a purple 'dotted' border surrounding this paragraph. Did you know that purple dots are shown in Internet Explorer but that purple squares are shown in Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox and Opera? Gender bias, for sure!


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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Tabbed Out 

Anything out of sight is often out of mind with me, which is a bummer considering that quite a lot of what should be in my mind is out of sight. I don't even browse my own bookmarks. Once I bookmark a page, there's a good chance I'll never visit again.

So instead of bookmarking Web sites I don't want to forget, I leave open the tabbed window in which they're displayed before closing Opera. Opera then re-opens all of these windows and reloads the Web sites. A great plan! If only I visited those sites that next day instead of just 'visiting' them for days on end. Today I'm blogging one of those sites so that I can safely close the tabbed window.

Bruce Lawson is a member of the Web Standards Project?s Accessibility Task Force and his blog occasionally covers accessibility-related topics. A recent example is 'WordPress accessibility hacks.' If I change the way I blog, I'm likely to use WordPress, so it's handy to know that someone's thinking about how accessible it is.

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Not Blogging, Spring Cleaning 

I know it's not spring yet but August brings both boronia and wet days. Our house is filled with the scent of a small sprig of boronia picked at an undisclosed location. The weather's too awful to go outside, hence the spring cleaning.

After writing my list of five blogs new to me, Shai Coggins from EWriteLife wrote to say thanks for the link. Shai's from Adelaide and is the Web Logs Guide @ About.com.

Then Glen Bracegirdle wrote from Melbourne to let me know that the links at the bottom of Temporal Island didn't work, including the link labelled 'Help.' Ooops. Glen has three blogs - I could have saved myself some time with my five-blog list if he'd written a day earlier. Accessibility and software reviews are posted at his site, GB.net and you might also check out Glen's Tech Blog.

Then Bret wrote and asked if my comments are turned off. Ooops. Again. Lucky I have visitors or I'd never have any visitors. Bret also mentioned Skribe and ToxicPurity's blog One Dog Said To Another. There I read about Overheard in New York, which made me laugh.

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Monday, August 15, 2005

Investigative Blogging - Quick and Cheap - Get What You Pay For 

An Arizona woman studying journalism e-mailed me today, seeking information about an Australian investigative journalist called "Bob Bottoms." Not knowing nearly enough about Australian investigative journalism, I wondered if a) she was joking, or b) the article she'd read about the guy was a joke. I couldn't write back without finding out, so now I know that Bob Bottom is a Queensland-based investigative journalist most well-known for stories on organised crime and corruption.

Liz Minchin's article 'Digging in the Dirt: Investigative Journalism in Australia from the 1950s to 2000' at the 4 Corners 40th Year Web site gave me some useful background information.

I always learn something after people write to me with questions. This is because I never know the answers. Why people choose to write to me, I'm sometimes not sure. But I'm often glad they do.

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Office Duckling 

There's a duckling in my office tonight. Erin and Rod spotted it by the side of the road on their way for a surf. They searched around for the other ducklings and their mother but our duckling was all alone. We're not sure what to feed it exactly, we have the heater on and we've given it water. We think it's about a week old, its wings aren't fully-formed. I hope I have a duckling to share my office with tomorrow.
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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Request Accessible Blogging In Blogger User Survey 

Blogger's conducting a user survey. For months, perhaps years, I've wanted to write to them about the accessibility of Blogger and Blogger-generated blogs. Today I let them know via the comments section of the survey.

If you're a Blogger user and believe that blogging should be available to anyone and everyone with an opinion or an urge to write, then please complete the survey and suggest that Blogger be improved by becoming more accessible.

If you'd like more information about the current accessibility of Blogger and the blogosphere, please read 'Is Blogging Accessible to People with Vision Loss? The American Foundation for the Blind Answers.'

If you're concerned that visitors using adaptive technology may be having problems accessing your blog, 'How to Make Your Blog Accessible to Blind Readers: Quick Tips for Bloggers' by the AFB may help.

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Friday, August 12, 2005

Blog Day Listless 

The WA Blog Award Nite coincides with Blog Day. I need to discover five new blogs and bring the urls along on the night (if I'm able to go). For practice, and in case I don't have time later, here are five blogs that are new to me. Finding blogs is harder than I thought, at least it is without going to blogs I know and checking out blogrolls. Searching from scratch is awful.


  • eWriteLife.com by Shai Coggins. Writing exercises and quotes. I could probably find more blogs on writing, I know.

  • An Australian artist in Thailand, by Jeremy Holton, an Australian living in Thailand. The last entry is dated 8 June 2005 but I enjoyed reading about life in a Thai village, especially a story about taking a new 4X4 to be blessed by a monk.

  • Ponderance by Tama Leaver in Perth and about media and the Web and blogging. I can't bring Tama's url along to the Blog Award Nite because there's a good chance she'll he'll be there. Ponderance makes the list because it's new to me!

  • Gerard Goggin An Australian blogging media research. I came across his blog at a site listing blogs relevant to disability. Until this blog I hadn't heard the term 'blogging practice' and it kinda made me laugh.

  • Stack Not sure who writes this (it's late and I can't see) but it's about books and it's Australian.



Urgh, I think I need to find an easier way to find new blogs. And I could probably make it easier for people to find me.

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Blog On Down! 

Glitz, glamour, wardrobe mishaps... Imagine the spectacle to behold at the Brass Monkey on August 31st when WA bloggers come out for the Blog Awards Nite.

Bloggers are asked to nominate a random WA blog (or their own) in a category of their own invention. Mine could perhaps be nominated Most Southwesterly Blog, provided the decision makers aren't too concerned that any one of the thousand people living between here and the lighthouse might also have a blog.

Other categories in which Temporal Island could be nominated include Blog Most Edited Without Improvement (hard to prove) and Blog Causing Blogger To Wonder Why Most Often (difficult to measure).

I hope I can go!

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

On For Dumbleyung and Old 

Lake Dumbleyung has water in it - for the first time in 10 years. The water skiers' clubhouse fell down in the same weather that brought the rains.

Friends of mine are visiting WA in September and, because they might sightsee in Hyden and Albany, I suggested they check out the lake on the way through. Of course I mentioned that Donald Campbell broke the world land speed record there in 1964. They suggested I look into it.

Lake Dumbleyung is in the Shire of Dumbleyung. According to the shire, the name could be derived from the Aboriginal word 'Dambeling', "meaning large lake or sea." Another possible origin, according to an informative article in the Sydney Morning Herald, is 'dumbung', "which either meant a native pear tree or an Aboriginal game played with bent sticks and a hard piece of fruit."

Now there's a game I'd like to play.

The lake isn't likely to overflow but if it did (according to that same SMH article) all that salty goodness would be coming my way:


In the years when it overflows the water takes a course through the Wagin Lakes into the Beaufort River, thence the Blackwood and into the sea at Augusta.
'Dumbleyung', Sydney Morning Herald, 8 February 2005.


To celebrate the filling of the lake, a sailing weekend is organised for the long weekend of 24 - 26 September. If you're keen to attend, Yachting WA has all the details. If I had a tent and a willing companion, I'd be there!

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Monday, August 08, 2005

Aussie Science Alerts 

Science Alert provides media releases from Australian scientific research organisations. If you're looking for local story ideas, inspiration for your science fiction fantasies or just like to be up-to-date on current innovations, check it out.
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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Take Me As You Please 

Everytime I hear Dr Phil tell someone how his own life is workin' for him, I can't help but imagine it falling apart. A personal life in the public eye - kinda risky isn't it? Especially if you take on the role of 'good example.'

Both West Coast Eagle Chris Judd and model Megan Gale were reported in The West last week as not wanting to be seen as role models. I think it's hard enough to do what you think is right for yourself, without needing to consider thousands of unknown fans. Or without expecting to influence them.

I do admire people that can write honestly and publicly about their personal situations. Writing honestly may lead to more honest discussion. It reminds us that we're not alone and it reminds us that not everyone lives as we do. But today I wondered why Liz Jones told us so much in 'I think we need to talk ...' (The Guardian, 6 August 2005). She's wondering too:


Why do I write about my life? I had never meant to. My column started out as a lighthearted look at single life in London, with all its rituals, dating fiascos and beauty treatments. I didn't know it was going to become a dissection of our relationship as it disintegrated over time. Once I started, it was hard to stop. The worst part, or the best part, I don't know, is that having a weekly deadline crystallises things; I will often force an issue, push him for an answer, because I have a deadline.


Yikes. It can happen that easily. Writers/bloggers beware.

And prepare for book deals! Liz Jones' Diary: How One Single Girl Got Married comes out in September. If the article's representative of the book, I can't imagine a more frustrating, disempowering read. Already I'm thinking You told him what?! How did he take it? Oh no, how awful! and Have you taken a look at yourself?

Nasty of me, I feel, and a little hypocritical. But there it is for everyone to comment upon.

P.S. Jones mentions that she wore a 'cream made-to-measure Robinson Valentine trouser suit' to her wedding. I thought I had few expectations of how I might like to be wed - turns out I'm not keen on doing it while wearing anything with legs. If I change my mind, I hope you don't read about it here.

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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Writing Blogs and Writing Chats 

Jackie Hosking explores the pros and cons of blogging for writers in 'To blog or not to blog' at Writing4SuccessClub.com. Jackie talks to members of the Australian Writers Online Yahoo! Group and includes links to members' blogs, including mine. Thanks Jackie!

Tomorrow I'm hoping to go along to the EditZone chat room to meet author Karen Miller. Karen's novel The Innocent Mage is in the shops as of this month. You can read a sample from the novel at her Web site.

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Friday, August 05, 2005

Dark and Delicious 

It's addictive, it's dark and it's good for me.


Not just any chocolate, and always in moderation, said Mary Engler, a professor of physiological nursing at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Nursing. But her new study does find that biting into the right stuff can make arteries expand, increasing blood flow and thus reducing cardiovascular risk.
'Chocolate Can Keep Cardiovascular System in Shape' (HealthDayNews via Health Scout, 1 June 2005).


Thanks to Judith for the tip! If you want your chocolate dark and milk-free, check out the vegan chocolates listed at Vegetarian Network Victoria.

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Whale Watching 

Aaron at urban creature asks if non-vegetarian's arguments against whaling are hypocritical ('Wailing about Whaling', 25 July 2005).

I agree that some arguments against Japan's stance on whaling are hypocritical. However, most arguments concern the environment and not ethics. A friend recently argued against Japanese krill fishing because whales feed on it. The baby prawns I'd served with Singapore noodles reminded him of the issue. Next time I'll skip the prawns but keep the vegies and bacon.

I live in a town where whales attract winter tourists. A town proud of its efforts during a beaching in the mid-eighties and not far from Busselton, where over 100 beached whales were returned to the water this year. Protecting (and saving) whales is now part of our culture and our identity. Is it hypocritical to argue against whaling to conserve our own cultural values?

A few days ago I heard that a whale, her calf and a large shark were sighted in the bay. I don't know how they interacted. There are times to look away and there are times to watch more closely. I hope to watch more closely.

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Thursday, August 04, 2005

For All You Humans 

The Creative Commons Deed for the licence I'm considering is human-readable - "a human-readable summary of the Legal Code (the full license)."

The Legal Code is human-readable too, provided you can read and understand English. Why don't they write that the deed is a plain English summary?

And is there any reason not to give my licence jurisdiction as 'Australia' rather than 'General'?

Anyone know where I can get a freeware lawyer?

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Sidebars and Satellites 

Benjamin Solah has written to tell me of his new domain name, BenjaminSolah.com. Benjamin's from Sydney and writes horror-filled short stories when he's not commenting on Australian and international politics. I've added a link to Benjamin's blog in my sidebar, along with links to Not The West and Papertrap.net.

Mark at Papertrap is keen to have any Sydney bloggers turn up to the next Sydney blogger meet up. I'm not likely to be in Newtown any time soon (not that I wouldn't like to be), so I checked when our next Perth meet up happens. And guess what? Our meet up coincides with United Weblogger Meetup Day. We'll be meeting on the same day as ten other groups, only I guess we'll only meet at the same time as the Singaporean blogger crew. All I need to do now is organise to be in Northbridge on a Wednesday night. It's happened before!

I've also made a few changes to my personal page, Dee's, including a link to andrewrenaut.net - home of my friend (you guessed it) Andrew Renaut. Andrew's obligingly uploaded a satellite photo of sunny Augusta courtesy Google Earth so that the less technologically endowed (that would be me) can have a look. I live on the left of the inlet, in a house, which you can't see.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Ping Pong, Anyone? 

Plenty of Australian drama on telly tonight. Plenty of it happening around our place too. Funny how right in the middle of it all there's still a call to come play table tennis.
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