Book: From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology
I’ve been reading (author) John Dyer’s blog Don’t Eat the Fruit for a long while, and like his take on technology. He’s a Christian and works for a bible college in Dallas, and has written this book to explain his understanding of Christianity and technology at length. When the book was first released, it was free on Kindle, and I picked it up for free then, and have been reading it on the iPhone ever since.
The thesis of the book is that technology has a long history, and that every time a new technology is introduced that it shapes the way that people communicate. He advocates a reflective approach to technology – that as our approach to life is mediated by a different technology, that we think about what aspects of life the technology will impact.
It’s a thoughtful book, and worth reading if you’re looking for a framework to understand the changes that new technology introduces.
Book: Lead Generation for the Complex Sale: Boost the Quality and Quantity of Leads to Increase Your ROI
When I was first given this book, I didn’t understand all the terms in the title, and was having trouble understanding how it applied to my job. As it turns out, this was a highly relevant book; it talks about the process of building up a business relationship with people, on a large scale, with automated systems.
It goes step by step through the sales department and the marketing department, talks about how they can relate together better, and the concept of a “sale-ready lead” that will have a much higher conversion rate. It’s been a good book to read, as it seems to relate to a broad range of situations that I face in a range of situations.
DVD: This is Spinal Tap (Special Edition)
One of the most hyped movies of all time, this mockumentary was years ahead of its time. Telling the story of a metal band (one that has songs with some fairly graphic lyrics) with all their ups and downs, relational troubles, and references to other famous bands, this is played straight, and manages to be very funny in different ways.
It’s a funny, enjoyable movie, but for my money fails to live up to the incredible hype.
Movie: In Time
From the writer and director of Gattaca (a well-executed sci-fi film with Ethan Hawke from the late 90’s), the trailer for this film intrigued me, and so – with not many choices – I ended up seeing it on the big screen. Justin Timberlake (who seems to have made the move from pop-singer to actor fairly well) is headlining this film, with Amanda Siefried, Cilian Murphy and Olivia Wilde.
The premise of the film is introduced really quickly and effectively: everyone in the world is genetically engineered, and everyone is born with a “clock” on their arm that counts down a single year. The clock starts when you turn 25. You need to keep getting more time, as when your “clock” runs out, you will die.
It’s a not-too-subtle parable about the struggles between the class system: the characters are fairly 2-dimensional (with the occasionally more substantial moment), there are giant plot holes, it occasionally looks like a B-movie, and it’s probably half an hour too long, but for the most part, it does a good job of answering the promise of the trailer. There are some well-executed chase sequences, and listening to the dialogue where “time” expressions are inserted into figures of speech about money.
After I blogged the BBC Book Meme a friend loaned me a number of books I hand’t yet read. I remember starting this book years ago, but didn’t get very far. Judging by the amount of promiscuity in the novel (and some fairly graphic descriptions of same) it’s probably good that I waited to come back to it!
It took me a long time to get into this book: there are a lot of characters, and it takes a while to get going. It has an asynchronous timeline, and keeps returning to the same plot points from different points of view. It manages to inhabit a world of agonising bureaucracy but keep a better sense of humour than Kafka – even in the face of actual despair and suffering.
It’s a worthy member of the “greatest novel of the 20th century” club.
Schibello Coffee. Sydney Park, St Peters. Near a children’s playground, and next to a dog park, this is an outdoor spot with few parallels. You have the choice of sitting in the sun, or on the shade, there is plenty of scope for kids to run around, and a constant procession of (for the most part) well behaved dogs having the time of their lives.
Kiosk is the operative word – you won’t find tablecloths or fine cutlery here, but there’s a good range of treats for kids and grown-ups, and a steady supply of coffee.
Speaking of coffee – there’s no decaf grinder in sight – it’s quite well made: pleasant to look at, and pleasant tasting (if a little overfrothed on top).
Eureka Coffee. 1 Brown St, Newtown. Walking around in search of an ATM after emptying my wallet at Eveleigh markets, it was time for breakfast. I was heading back towards satellite espresso when I spotted this place – one I’d never been to before. Perhaps it was the stroller I was pushing, but I didn’t notice any signage, but just happened to glance in the window at the right time.
Step inside and you’re presented with a new-meets-old design. This building has a long history, and they’re keen to revel in it – the table numbers are attached to vintage pie tins. There’s the usual table-and-chair seating, plus a giant communal table and a broad variety of choices of pies (made on the premises – part of the kitchen can be seen when you’re standing at the counter). For breakfast, there’s really only one option: the breakfast pie has egg, chorizo, roasted tomatoes and boston beans and tasted fantastic – it certainly suggests good things about the non-breakfast pies (you can read more about the menu elsewhere)
Cutlery is available, but optional – there’s a written encouragement to eat the pie with your hands, rather than make your meal more formal: fair enough, but some napkins on the table would have been welcome!
Coffee is well made – they have a decaf grinder, and they take their coffee seriously, but I’m left thinking that the main drawcard here is going to be the food, not the drinks. If you have a craving for pie, head over and try them out!
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