Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Can you turbo it?

This just in from:
Black holes are the most fuel-efficient engines in the universe, researchers say.

The most fuel efficient eh? Sounds great- though harnessing all that power and then getting it to the ground that might prove a bit tough.
Even if you could get a black hole engine in you car or bike- what are repercussions in the event of an accident?
"In News just to hand, the city of Adelaide has been compresses into an area the size of a golf ball following a minor accident between a scooter and a car. Astrophysicists were on the scene but failed to establish a cause for the accident. The accident has caused approximately 3-5 billion dollars worth of improvements..."

Yeah, I can see that perhaps the black hole engine thing might not be a winner in the marketing stakes. The threat of an event horizon/singularity or other cataclysmic event would kinda ride over whether it comes with Ipod connectors, curtain airbags etc.
posted by thr at 3:01 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Business as usual

As I begin to create the template and content for ThomasrDotOrg. The old template is gone for the moment.

Business as usual...
posted by thr at 7:27 pm 0 comments links to this post

Mobile blog from IKEA

Bored out of my mind, I follow mother and fiance from shop to shop looking for the right shoes to go with the dress she bought to wear at lil bro's wedding in New York next month. I'm supposed to be making a speech of sorts, so my clothing is the least of my concerns.

Rachel is cross that I am bored, and when she asked me a moment ago who I was texting, only to be told I was blogging via my mobile, she got grumpy- it's as if I have to be miserable for this to be a successful mission.

The whole thing is pissing me off. The circle work while parking, the incessant prattle, the blank looks on the faces of everyone. Now for the damn kicker- we are in Ikea. God help me.
posted by thr at 2:03 pm 3 comments links to this post

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Rubber side up!

Going to give Mr Adam "Krusty" Fergusson a bell today. I had finished a story on him and his pre season, only to have him "hit" fellow Supersport rider Judd Greedy's crashed bike and come off second best.

So, hoping Krusty is not too bad (hospital reports were favourable) and he's fit n well in time for race two of the season.

I'm wondering if there's a "Krusty's recovery" article in there somewhere...*

*not really. I just hope he's too well for anything like that.

posted by thr at 10:15 am 0 comments links to this post

Monday, April 10, 2006

Coming soon!!

I'm pleased, excited and a little bit concerned about a new venture I am launching:

ThomasrDotOrg it's up!!

I just realised that I was doing a fair bit of more professional work (amazingly enough) and realised that I A/ Needed a non @hotmail or @gmail email address to show I meant business. B/ While investigating getting my own domain for email, I found out that hosting my blog etc was pretty cheap for a year, so I decided to take the plunge. I'm designing the new site at the moment. It's pretty minimalist in terms
of design- I will go high tech OTT (Over The Top) at a later date- initially I just want to get it up and happening.

What I will have
Proposed areas:
1/ About- What is says- about me. Short professional-ish.
2/ Blog- This shite- will be using blogger as before, but reformatted for new look n feel.
3/ Articles- I've got a few about to be published, so I can start showing off as I head towards double figures :P
4/ 'Ventures- here's where I will collate my:
- Adventures. Holidays, days out, foolish things etc.
- Ventures. Projects- coming short films, podcasts, interviews and so on.
- Other blogs: Fattest fatties, Mad Max II remake etc.
5/ Vids. Video content from articles, trips, fun, movies, remakes, machinima, etc
6/ Pics. I'm getting a whizz bang SLR digital camera and am moving towards taking more of my own pictures as I will A/ make more money B/ maintain full creative control of my work. This area will be where I put the pics that don't get used or other pics of interest that are not for general publication.
7/ Links. resources, blogs, sites of interest. Very 1997...
8/ Contact. How to get in touch with me. Or how to avoid me.

So there you have it. ThomasrDotOrg (as it will be branded) is launching before the end of the month.
posted by thr at 12:58 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Stoner gets pole!

Holy CrAp- Casey Stoner- in his second race in MotoGp- has claimed his maiden pole! Second youngest ever. I am speechless!

The Official MotoGP Website
posted by thr at 4:03 am 0 comments links to this post

Friday, April 07, 2006

Some news just to hand...

I received a phonecall from an Australian Superbike rider who was on the road to Eastern Creek for round one of the Australian Superbike Championship.
He was evidently bored as hell and wanted the monkey boy (me) to entertain him. I asked him if he wanted to play golf after easter (yes), take Tara Moss for a superbike lesson (long story, but yes) and perhaps come for a ride with me and Ms Fits. He said a certain YES to that.
Now Fits has no choice- I have the BEST rider in AUSTRALIA agreeing to take her for a spin as well as me.
This has to happen, and happen soon.

posted by thr at 4:41 pm 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


The irrepressible Ms Fits, AKA HollyC has been offered a wonderful opportunity- the opportunity to join me on the wonderful (and safe!) Speed Triple (from Triumph)

So far:
  • She's accepted
  • She's ducked out
  • Gone away
  • Said yes again
  • Sought advice
  • Declined
  • Put it to a vote
So today's blogging is all about why she should go.

1/ I've never crashed.
Apart from the fall overs when Rachel and I went on our trip- in deep sand, at 5 km/h, I've never crashed a bike on the road. I've had moments (on my own NEVER, with a pillion) and gone close, but never laid it down.

2/ I have awesome hazard awareness.
I've ridden a bike in traffic; to and from work for many years. I haev never had a car do something unexpected. Illegal, stupid, mindless, crappy, fucked up, nutty, inane, malicious, nasty, lame, ghey ALL THAT- but never unexpected. I can see things before they happen. Like Darth Vader.

3/ I do not have a death wish.
Despite a penchant for dangerous things, or rather a penchant for things that happen to be dangerous, I do not seek to risk my life. I don't like skydiving, bungie jumping etc as they are simply life risking things without skill required. If the thrill you seek is a a near death experience- then take "heroic" doses of heroin.

4/ Riding on a bike is fucking amazing.
With the "death related" things out of the way, let's talk fun. A gentle (ie at or below the speed limit) cruise throught the hills or along the seaside road can be the most tranquil, yet intense experience you can have. A long sweeping turn at speed clears your mind and teaches you how to focus. Leaning into turns, the wind, the noise. It's pretty real. (gag all you like, it's true)

5/ I don't set out to scare people.
It's not my intention to scare people off a bike- it's to give them the insight into what it is they have been missing out on for all these years. I let my pillions set their comfortable level of intensity and pace- then occasionally give it a squirt. Or show that two wheels can be fun, one wheel fun-er-er.

Where we are going
After collecting Fits from her north of the Yarra abode and dressing her in a mix of fibreglass, kevlar, gore-tex, leather and so on; we'll cruise out on the eastern freeway to its end. We'll then twist and turn our way (no more than 60km/h) to Warrandyte. Then wind it up on the 80km/h roads to St Andrews.
Then we'll hit it a bit on the crazy, slow, twisty roads to Kinglake.
Then the faster sweepers and mixed tighter stuff to Healesville. Lunch.
At this point we'll either:
  • Go back the way we came
  • Go the Black Spur/Reefton Spur combo to Warburton then home
  • Go straight home
  • Drop Fits off at the bus stop with sick bag

It's an adventure, Fits. on ya hop. Throw a leg over.

See a scary video:
posted by thr at 6:52 pm 4 comments links to this post

Monday, April 03, 2006

Rupert Murdoch shows me the way forward..

As some occasional readers of this blog would know, I'm a fan of short videos to go with my written stories for magazines.

I see this as the inevitable convergence of technologies and a way to keep print relevant while value adding. Conversely, web traffic and content can drive print sales.

The Bulletin in February 2006 (I picked it up at work- hence the "delay") had an interview between Rupert Murdock and Newsweek's Johnnie L Roberts
Roberts: The age of video downloads seems to have arrived with surprising abruptness. Were you and fellow media moguls caught flat footed?
MURDOCH: Most newspaper companies still have their heads in the sand, but other media companies are aggressive. And there are completely new start-up companies. There is a great pace of development, which is very exciting. At News Corp., we have been developing online extensions of traditional media for the last few years. What's happened now? We're seeing the spread of broadband. In the world today, only 190 million homes can receive broadband. That's going to go up in the next 10 to 20 years to at least 3 billion homes. We're just now at the very beginning of the shift to new media.

I think this shows some insight (as you would bloody hope!) into where the future lies: "extension of traditional media" At the moment this is clearly offering multimedia content that partners existing traditional content. In the context of what I want to do with my "career": offer compelling multimedia content for editors. This means developing systems and methods that provide the content as easily as sitting down at a typewriter 20 years ago. Or at least as close to!

Methodologies (What I already do:)
  • Using video camera (hand held) with microphone to record interviews with the subject. This can then be cut for the video or transcribed for the written interview. I've cut down on the crap that doesn't get used and have a shot list in my head.
  • Taking my own pictures. I'm no pro, but the pics I take require not pro skillz man! They are fillers (break out pics) and stills for the video (helps for cut-aways and to reduce bandwidth use
  • Finding two angles. The text component is a more traditional straight story, where the video is a "me me me" angle. I think about both angles while I am in the middle of the story.
One step beyond:
Obviously I am a subscriber to the gonzo school of journalism. Live the story, be a part of it- for the video part of it anyway. This may seem like an egotistical way to do a story- but I think that misses the point. The video components are especially about, for and by an ordinary bloke/rider. Positioning self in the story gives the watcher the chance to be in the same spot- in the story. And this makes it all the more compelling. It also prevents "doubling up", where once you've seen the video, you don't have to read the mag. This would not only undermine the process, it would also take away the value adding nature of the partner video!

Soon, I will offer RSS feeds for my videos. This will only really help the "cult of Tom" as the RSS will only send out my work- no matter what the magazine. This may be a problem for editors, but frankly it's their problem. If I produce compelling content, then put me on a retainer and stop me diverting content to competitors (It would have to be a lotta $$'s!).

The bit where I tell the editors how to go about their business, while admitting I may be wrong or too early.

The following things are the bare minimum for survival and growth:
  • Acknowledge the need to build online loyalty to your brand and that you will be able to lever this loyalty and SELL UNITS!
  • Do more than pay lip service"We have a website fer chrissakes"- "...not updated for 6 months!" This means logging in everyday, running a mag blog: "we're off on a bike test tomorrow to Easter Creek! Will be out in May's edition" , reply to postings on your (compulsory) forum and updating little bits of content. Share the load about, but make sure there is a daily update at worst!
  • Be open to new media streams. The number of times I've heard editors and production staff say "ohhh that's in the too hard basket". It's not. It's simple, you just have to wade in and have a go.
  • Release your video content as a DVD with your annual/end of year bumper mag.

I'm happy to be a little bit wrong or a lot wrong on this, but I'd be loathe to bet against me. If you work for a magazine that has a focus that includes technology (like cutting edge bikes) and then eschew technology (via a crap/non existent/ never updated website)- what's the plan, man?
till later,


Here's an example of the above in action
The Article pages: [1] [2] [3]
The Video
posted by thr at 3:40 pm 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Musings on a Wednesday

I'm posting via my new Gmail account,
Yes, I've finally accepted one of the many Gmail invites sent to me of late. Two and a half gigs of storage sounded great. The interface is pretty intuitive- probably notso great for the technically competent (too many "set in our ways" issues), but probably fantastic for the novice or first time user.
I'm off to the F1s tomorrow thru Sunday.
The circus is in town again- just a week after the Commonwelath games closed. I've got a few articles on the go for this event- though if F1 is a circus, I'm only reporting on sideshow alley!
I'm doing stuff on:
1/ Shawn Giles. Oz superbike multi time champion. He's in a tin top racing for the first time. Look out! [video story]
2/ Carey Hart. Freestyle MXer and racer, he's probably more famous for marring pop star Pink. Not in my world, I still remember seeing his world first back flip in competition and his (and the crowd's) reaction afterward. Incredible. I suspect he'll win... or crash. Or crash while winning. [article and video story]
3/ Allan Morrisson. My top pick for Australian (road) stunt rider. He's got an arsenal of stunts and moves, a new Kawasaki 636 and he'll be carrying my helmet/bike cam. [article and video story]
Friday is the best day IMHO- lots of racing and qualifying and smallest crowd.
My workmate doesn't know who I am
I'm saving a Big Telecommunications company from themselves. Sort of. That's not the issue- the guy next to me is part human, part goldfish. Lovely bloke, but everyday he asks me my name and then says "I'm hopeless with names" Ohhh that gets my goat. Am I that insignificant/unimpressive that I can't get ONE GUY who sits next to me ALL FREAKING DAY to remember my name? I even wrote my name on a yellow post it note with an arrow pointing towards me. He saw it and tried to work out if it was a reminder to himself. Kerrrist.
posted by thr at 8:51 pm 1 comments links to this post