Telfast - now with 50% more air!

So the other day I ran out of Telfast (a particular type of antihistamine drug) and so I went to the chemist to get some more. Upon finding the box I immediately realised that it was noticeably larger than my previous one. I was surprised that a company would decide to increase the size of a their packaging without increasing the size or quantity of the product it contains. I suspect this change is to do with some brand repositioning within it’s owning company, Sanofi-Aventis, or maybe a change in where it’s packaged....

28 October 2008 · Caleb Brown

No junk mail for anyone?

So while I was carrying out my daily dump-the-junk-mail routine I considered for the umpteenth time buying a ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker for the mailbox. Then I wondered: what would happen if ‘No Junk Mail’ stickers were delivered with the junk mail? What would happen if they were mailed out en masse to every home in Sydney? It struck me that such a stunt could be very disruptive. Assuming a majority of people apply the sticker, it could drive the companies that are responsible for distributing the material out of business. It would mean more teenagers hunting employment at the local department store. And they wouldn’t be able to employ them due to the drop in income from a smaller distribution of their catalogs. The upside to this is that families would be less inclined to buy things that don’t actually need, but all this would probably result in an increase in prices as retailers try and make ends meet. The only real winner in the end would probably be the environment. ...

23 October 2008 · Caleb Brown

Unsafe Zebra Crossings

Ever noticed how the white road markings are really slippery when wet? I remember discovering how slippery they can get when riding my bike to school in the wet. I would always ride along the bike track that had a single white line running down the centre of it. One day, as I was ascending the one significant hill on the trip to school, my tyres touch the line as I applied power to the wheels through the peddles. I soon found I was struggling to stay on as I contended with the sudden loss of friction, which was quite a surprise. I don’t ride my bike much nowadays, but I still experience the slipperiness as I take off from the traffic lights in my car and feel the wheels start spinning as they try to accelerate over the wet line. The irony of all this is that zebra crossings are painted out of the same stuff. The same slippery-when-wet concoction that my bike tyres slip on and my car wheels spin on also makes it hard for pedestrians with certain types of shoes (like uggboots) to stay upright on. So much for being the safe place to cross the road.

22 October 2008 · Caleb Brown

The first 20 books

It’s week 22 of 2008 and I’m well into my reading challenge. So far I am on track to hit 48 having completed 20 books so far. Finally, as promised a number of weeks ago, here is the list so far… ...

27 May 2008 · Caleb Brown


Just thought I’d put out a gratuitous plug for TechWorld - a website we’ve just pushed live at work. For those who don’t know I work for IDG Communications (think PC World or ComputerWorld - tech media) and I’ve been working on this site for a little while now so I’m very happy to have it going live. Included on the site is a blog that I contribute to. That is where I plan on geeking out on things that are Tech and Programming related, so if you’re interested in that sort of thing check it out.

26 May 2008 · Caleb Brown

Complete list of Facebook Chat Emoticons

While playing with Facebook Chat I wondered if it supported emoticons. Turns out it does. But when I tried the >:-) emoticon (a ‘devil’) and saw it printed as boring text, I wondered, “what smilies does facebook actually support?” So with the help of Safari and some javascript hacking I present to you a complete list of facebook emoticons. smile :-) :) :] =) frown :-( :( :[ =( tongue :-P :P :-p :p =P grin :-D :D =D gasp :-O :O :-o :o wink ;-) ;) glasses 8-) 8) B-) B) sunglasses 8-| 8| B-| B| grumpy >:( >:-( unsure :/ :-/ :\ :-\ cry :’( devil 3:) 3:-) angel O:) O:-) kiss :-* :* heart <3 kiki ^_^ squint -_- confused o....

23 April 2008 · Caleb Brown

Never gonna give you up

Just saw this awesome interview with Rick Astley on the LA Times where he comments on the “rickrolling” internet meme he is at the centre of. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept of “rickrolling” check out this enlightening introductory article explaining what it is.

27 March 2008 · Caleb Brown

Music link fest

I love music and the internet has certainly fostered that love. No longer do I have to depend just on the radio, friendly recommendations and music-store-serendipity to find music I might like. With the Internet I can now pull up an artist’s bio, scan through a complete discography, sample their music, listen to similar artists, and then buy the single song I was looking for. So I thought I’d share some of the sites that I’ve found and use regularly (see below). You probably know some of them already, but if I missed one, leave it in the comments. ...

23 March 2008 · Caleb Brown

Reading Challenge

I started work late last year for a company based in St Leonards. This means everyday I spend over an hour each direction in transit as I travel to and from home in Sutherland. This now affords me a very significant amount of time disconnected from the Internet and somewhat alone. Now instead of frittering away such time studying the many details of the scenery passing by the carriage window, I have decided instead to spend it reading. Real books that is, not magazines nor MX. It is one of my resolutions this year to spend more money on books than DVDs and CDs, and more time reading than watching television. Therefore my goal is to complete 48 books in 12 months (i.e. 4 a month). A book generally counts if it has more than 75 pages with a standard word density per page - so no children’s books or comics. There is no limitation on genre which means all topics and styles are readable. The primary reason for this undertaking, apart from occupying my train time, is to stimulate my mind. Reading a book requires a mental investment far beyond that demanded by TV and the internet. It forces you to participate in ways like grappling with the author’s reasoning, or through the images evoked in the imagination, or also through the comprehension of new knowledge or a new paradigm. It’s impossible to passively read a book and so I’m hoping to have mind broadened. Another reason is that I am no longer content to leave culture defining literature unread. Many times I have been told of a book worth reading but only got so far as thinking I should read it. No more. If a book is worth reading I am determined to read it. So that is the challenge. Right now I have completed 6 books and am about to complete the 7th. Only 41 to go.

19 February 2008 · Caleb Brown

Photo bonanza

I’ve been doing some photo uploading. Kim Mansfield’s farewell at Coledale a couple of weeks ago: Dragon boat racing, which my flatmate James was competing in:

18 February 2008 · Caleb Brown