my domain…finally

snail.wsMany, many, many moons ago I bought my own domain – .ws as Western Samoa was the only domain where I could get “snail” :) In fact I first acquired that domain in December 2004 when I handcoded my blog on my ISP’s server. As is not unusual for me, I never set it up entirely properly and it functioned primarily as a forwarding address…and has done so for 12 years. Once you got to the destination address, the disappeared from the address bar and the current page was shown: in the old days that was on zipworld, and for the last 9 years it has pointed to

As far back as 12 December, 2004 I was looking at setting up the domain properly. I revisited that desire 7 years ago on 16 January 2009 and still didn’t quite get round to it. Part of the reason is that I always meant to get my own server through one of the various hosting companies. Many are relatively cheap costing around $100 or so per year. I figured once I had the server, I could set up the domain properly, and have my blog as one of the sections. I explored hosting options on several occasions, found good options and never quite got round to biting the bullet.

I’ve been using as my platform for nearly 9 years and have never paid for an account, existing well enough on the free account. I’ve been very happy sitting here and it’s felt a wee bit rude not paying them for it. I happened to be looking at their account options the other day and it’s only US$99/year to move to a proper account, which would include being able to map my domain properly. I may yet get round to setting up a proper server, but wordpress has clearly been fine for  a long time. It all ended up being very easy:

  • paid wordpress US$99 (AUD$136)
  • added wordpress’s 3 name servers to my domain on GoDaddy
  • set as my primary domain on
  • wait a couple of hours

I finally have properly mapped to my wordpress account…only took 12 years :-)

#blogjune is still going


picture of authorI think that’s how I normally start my annual attempt at blogging throughout the month of June. It’s rare for me to make it through all of June blogging every day. My #blogjune stats so far:

  • 2010 -34 posts
  • 2011 – 24 posts
  • 2012 – 23 posts
  • 2013 – 4 posts
  • 2014 – 30 posts
  • 2015 – 14 posts

My non June blogging continues to be erratic and infrequent. For a while there it was rapidly approaching quarterly. I was recently revisiting one of my old, old blogs and trying to get a sense of how I managed to post so much. All I can say is that it was a different time: perhaps I had more time and some of it was in that sense of moving from an annotated bunch of links to informal bits and pieces to occasional thought out pieces.

I have managed to increase the tempo a little of late, writing 3 posts in April; leaping to 7 in May. In fact as June drew closer I was unsure whether to continue blogging in May in order to maintain momentum or start saving stuff for June in case I run out of puff. I was in the right sort of mood last night so I sat and wrote 3 posts and they’re ready to go. June is filmfest month which will provide some useful fodder. Books, I can always blog about books.

The two challenges for me, as always, are lasting to the end of June and continuing on after.

sciffy bits

I started #blogjune with high hopes of a daily whinge and occasional rant.  I started well enough but then got caught up writing another response about blogging relevancy in response to conversations about blogging as a thing. It was mostly finished in one hit, with good stats on the “golden age” of lib blogging, it just needed a paragraph or two more. As per my usual practice, I had to put it off because life, then procrastination, thus it became a bottleneck and nothing else got blogged. It still sits unfinished and the conversation has moved on though I think it’s still useful to point out that I was whining about my own erratic and infrequent blogging back in 2001 :-)

So sciffy stuff. Con posted an article on 10 SF books that people pretend to have read. Of the list, somewhat surprisingly, I’ve read 4. Top X lists can be interesting beasts, and Con commented that such lists can be good for finding authors you haven’t heard of. I blogged a list of top 100 SF novels in 2012 of which I’d read 32 with plans to read more. 3 years later, I think I’ve only read one or two more. Oops. Both lists have good stuff and I should read more of them. Some books are in common to both lists.

I have however been reading lots of stuff that doesn’t appear on top X lists…or perhaps I’m looking at the wrong lists. I decided to re-read all the Raymond Feist novels…which ended up being a wee bit exhausting and I eventually gave up around Book 15. I’m now re-reading the Vorkosigan Saga and on to book 4. Perhaps I should be looking at fantasy lists, though of course the real answer is the lists themselves shouldn’t matter beyond Con’s original point to find new stuff to read.

The reason I’ve been re-reading series’ stuff is that my other reading had slowed for a while and it’s nice to be able to steadily chunk through novel after novel. Lying in bed reading novels rather than playing handheld games or reading endless article feeds. Revisiting old friends and stories has been fun too and it’s nice to discover that the writing still sucks me in. Have been meaning to re-read Dune too, though I think I’ll do it as a standalone.

a little tidying

Haven’t done much coding in the last month which is problematic as I should do stuff every week in order to avoid skill rustiness, not to mention learning new stuff. A few weeks prior to christmas, there was a lightning storm and the house got hit by a power surge which killed off the PS3, PS4, 55″ TV, DVD player, and router. All the fun stuff. I did have basic surge protection via cheap powerboards but it clearly wasn’t effective. I hadn’t managed to transfer my house insurance to the new house so we weren’t technically covered. However NRMA (with whom I have contents insurance) informed me that they have a 60 day grace period when moving house and were happy to backdate it to cover the lost equipment though I needed to get quotes.

This proved tricky for the playstations and at times frustrating. Thanks to instructions online, I was able to remove the game discs from each of the dead consoles. I have managed to find someone who can repair the PS3 and I’ll follow up with them in the next few weeks. The PS4 proved harder and after a frustrating hunt, it turns out that the EB Games store I bought it from were happy to exchange it for a new machine as it was covered under their own 12 month policy. The TV will cost about $300 to fix and the electrician is waiting for a part to arrive. The router only needed a new power cable which cost all of $5. The DVD player was over a decade old so I’m not going to worry about claiming that and we’ve instead bought a PVR that can handle DVD/Bluray.

However the main pain point with the dead consoles has been the loss of the save files including 300 hours of Skyrim on the PS3. I remain hopeful that the PS3 can be fixed and may just need a new power supply. It is possible to backup the save files to an external hard drive but not easily from a dead machine. I suspect it would be more efficient to get an annual subscription to Playstation Plus ($70/yr) and backup the save files to my account on the playstation network automatically.

I have since bought heavy duty surge protection powerboards from Belkin and have all the gear running off them now. These boards include guarantees to replace all connected equipment if they fail. I have finally set up my mac and QNAP NAS in the new home too. I’ve also done full backups of my mac pro and windows laptop. That’s the first time I’ve been able to backup the laptop in over 12 months so I’m feeling rather relieved. The NAS is set up as RAID 5 which means that one of the four discs (each disc can hold 3 terabytes) can fail without affecting the backup. I will eventually back up the backup to 2 external drives, one of which will be kept elsewhere in the house and the other at work. I will probably refresh these on a monthly basis.

While the laptop has become my primary day to day device and my email archive, I suspect I’ll continue to use the mac pro for managing my photos and playing with code. It’s an older machine dating back to 2006 and doesn’t support the last couple of OS releases from apple. However, it still has a lot of grunt and I daresay will remain a viable machine for years to come. In addition to backups, the NAS holds most of my photos as well as my itunes library. However I need to do some more work on configuring it to suit the family rather than just me :-) Eventually, I want everyone to be able to use it as a home server with varying degrees of access.

end of june

Here we are, the end of June and thankfully not quite the end of days. I just did a quick tally of my performance over the years for #blogjune:

  • 2010 – 34 posts
  • 2011 – 24 posts
  • 2012 – 23 posts
  • 2013 – 4 posts!
  • 2014 – 29 including this one

Hmmm…I think I’ll try and squeeze out another shelf by shelf tonight to make the 30. The first #blogjune, in 2010, was pretty special but they’ve all been fun, and last year was just the wrong sort of year for me.

It’s nice to go back and read my summary post from 2010 and realise so much of what I said still applies today…but different. In those days, folk tended to comment directly on posts whereas these days, there’s a mix of routes. Some will like a post, some will comment on the post, some will engage via twitter or facebook.

I haven’t been as engaged myself in commenting on other people’s stuff though. I wonder if that reflects that outside of June, I am blogging little and barely reading blogs. In 2010, I voraciously read everything, and had done so for years. The last few years I seem to read a lot less; the last year or so I have been somewhat absent while dealing with life stuff. I’ve gone through a period of massive change regarding how I deal with online spaces. I no longer spend all my evenings at the computer at home; I have other people in my life now, and do other things.

I have discovered that there are activities beyond the screen…I even play board games. Often! I’ll blog another day on that one. Speaking of which, I managed to start #blogjune with something of a blogging plan in evernote, to which I added ideas as I thought of them. A bunch of those ideas are as yet unwritten. Hopefully I can continue to blog, though in not quite so hectic fashion. My experience from previous years informs me that I shouldn’t be too optimistic about future blogging practices.

The shelf by shelf posts will continue as they’ve been good for me, and a way of developing a visual record of what I have. It’s been fun revisiting shelves and remembering things; recording old anecdotes on connections and histories and memories. I don’t live in that space as much as I used to and I miss my books the most.

where was i in 2005

On the radio the other day, they were asking the question “what were you doing in 2005”. I suspect there was a sportsball connection but was still intrigued by the question. Normally I’m not much good at answering such questions, never really had the memory for it. Oddly, I do remember mum dragging me out of bed in the early 80s to watch Australia win the America’s Cup for the first time.

2005 was an insane year for me, not only that I had to delve into the old, handcoded version of my blog to look for specific posts. This in turn reminded me of the days when not only did I manage to blog every month, I usually blogged at least once a week. 2005 started badly with the unexpected death of my father. My mum came close to death for a while there too and spent several months in hospital including a couple of bouts of back surgery.

I think I summed up the year best, with a post I made late on Christmas night. I’m tempted to repost the content here but think it remains best in situ so to speak. So much bad stuff so much good stuff…I presented my first paper in the big auditorium for VALA 2006, which I think was also one of the first papers on social media in libraries in the country – though it was mostly just an introduction to what was going on elsewhere in the world. At the end of 2006, we successfully hosted the New Librarians’ Symposium, the committee of which I’d joined a few days after dad died.

Since 2005, I have done so many things, been to so many places and met so many people. 2005 was something of a watershed for me.

snail i am

snail. A name I call myself…I’lll stop there lest I sing out loud.

I realised on Sunday that it’s probably been 25 years since I started calling myself snail, initially online and later offline. I think I started using it in 1989 and I’ve been online since I discovered electronic bulletin boards (Adventurer’s Realm, Viatel) in 1984…connecting via the wonderful tones of the 1200/75 baud modem that plugged into the cartridge port of my Commodore 64.

I tend to prefer being called “snail” in person though some prefer to use my real name “Sean”. At work, I’ve always defaulted to “Sean” but occasionally wonder whether it’s something I should, or could, change. I remain ever flexible.

snail and snailThere’s big restructures at work (State Library of NSW) and I have recently had to apply for my own position; or rather an updated version of my position. In happy news I have made it through and as of Friday, my job title will change from “Online & Licensing Librarian” to “Online Resources Specialist Librarian”. I first got this job 2 years ago and I s’pose it’s something of an affirming experience that I have been successful in retaining it.

I first worked as a contractor for SLNSW around 10-12 years ago and while I did and learnt lots, always felt I hadn’t quite got the hang of the place. I seem to be doing better this time round, some of the time at least. I used to travel around NSW training librarians in how to search online. In the intervening years, I was an electronic solutions consultant on the vendor side. Best job I ever had and I loved it much. 7 years was enough and a good time to move on. Prior to that I was part of the reference team at Bankstown Public Library and have also worked in the NSW Parliamentary Library and a big law firm.

I’ve been blogging on one platform or another (previous versions were handcoded) for more years than I can remember and my posting has become, #blogjune aside, increasingly erratic. That’s ok, it’s still my space; I have other spaces too.


Oops, #blogjune has been running for 4 days and I’m already well behind. As I’ve commented previously, my mojo has been missing in action this year. I don’t want to speak too soon but there are signs that it may be flickering back into existence. In the last month or so I have managed to not only start but finish a book and start a second. I have read the final True Blood novel and made good progress with the third Sandman Slim.

My approach to work has also picked up and I’m feeling a stronger sense of ownership. I’m also approaching my 12 month anniversary. The last few days have been ticking over nicely and dare I say it, have had a nice buzz.

I have no idea whether I can manage to keep up the blogging in June, especially as I’m only up to “G” of April’s daily #atozchallenge.

We shall see.

the times

I seem to be in an awkward spot mentally; I’m finding that my ability to think on the go is somewhat hampered. Initially I wondered if it was perhaps echoes of a year ago as I’ve changed jobs yet again. But that doesn’t really resolve it. I am admittedly, in even more desperate need of a holiday than I was a year ago, at least in part because job changes (2 in 12 months) preclude serious holiday time – it’s ok, I have a month off Oct/Nov and I’m going to Borneo with a mate. Can’t wait!

The last job change was within the same library which meant I could have a decent holiday this year and use my accrued leave. Last year, my accrued leave was paid out when I changed from vendor-side to library-side. This year, I have 4 weeks up my sleeve that I’m gonna use :-) So yes, I’m exhausted but things are being done to resolve it.

The other big thing going on at the moment is that I am finally, at long bloody last, about to get all my tax returns done. I have an appointment with an accountant on Wednesday to get 7 years worth of tax returns done ie I don’t think I’ve done a tax return since my dad died. That was a very painful year or two, and so many things went out the window as it were. Once you get a couple of returns behind, it just gets harder. So too, it means revisiting a painful time in my life in order to get the documentation for those initial tax returns. Me being me, I just kept putting it off…I am the king of procrastination.

Last week, knowing that I had the appointment this week, set aside Sunday for doing the paperwork. based on past experience I would have spent the weekend angsting and getting nothing done til the night before the appointment.

I somehow managed to second guess myself and did the paperwork hunt on Saturday :-D

And it was easy and there was no pain…or so I thought. The reality I suspect explains my current awkwardness and inability to think. Secondguessing has done wonders and means the paperwork is ready. But I’m not going to escape the sadness and that’s ok, I knew that’d be there and it’s healthy. What I have achieved is getting the necessary work done before the sads hit…and that is rather an amazing victory…I’m staggered to be honest :)

bits of blogs

I gotta say, my blog reading has died off lots in recent years, nevermind my own blogging. So far for #blogjune I have barely looked at other posts in other spots. Hopefully once filmfest is over I’ll pickup on the June posts at least. I have a few hundred blogs in my reader (currently using bloglines – though they’ve just stuffed up my reading history again) but of those, I’m only paying attention to a few on any sort of regular basis:

There’s a few others as well, other friends, and some tech sites. I should make it clear that these are blogs I look at when I pop into my reader. I’m still reading lots of blog articles as folk tweet them and reference them.

I think the issue is more a case of being reluctant to fire up a reader rather than necessarily reading a lot less blogs. It may also relate to the fact that I no longer have a single computer where I would have a desktop reader installed. I find the web based readers a little clunky for my taste. Computer-wise I still feel a little dislocated, I’ve not quite found a home to settle in yet. After 7 years with a laptop that went everywhere with me, I now have:

  • a desktop computer at home
  • a desktop computer at work
  • a smartphone
  • a tablet

It seems not so much an issue of sharing information across devices so much as establishing some sort of cohesive tech home that encompasses all the spots I am. Currently, the way I do things on the computer at home is different to the way I do things  on the computer at work, and again the phone etc. Obviously, I’m not a mobile/remote worker anymore and that’s an adjustment I continue to make. There aren’t any easy solutions here other than to say that my needs are somewhat different to what they were a year ago.

This post started out as an echo to Kate’s recent post, but as always I seem to have gone for a wander.