improving

Blackbutt Reserve


Since I was unable to visit Gap Creek Falls the other day, I decided I might pop in to have a look at the new animal enclosures at Blackbutt Reserve near Newcastle. I will say straight off the bat that I do have something of a prejudice against Blackbutt Reserve, as I see the place as nothing like a natural bush setting, it being far too ‘corrupted’ by human activity, weeds and the like. Having said that it is a good place for a family or group outing/event. It certainly has its place, but it is not a true nature reserve (in my opinion).

Visitor Centre

ABOVE: Visitor Centre

I do think that some well designed animal and bird enclosures at Blackbutt could lift the value of the reserve dramatically and make it a really great place for families, especially young families. There are opportunities for educational visits for kids, possible environmental activities and the like there. So the potential is certainly there for Blackbutt.

The enclosures of my youth are giving way to those that are much better and up to a more modern standard, which is great to see. Certainly the improvements I saw are great and some of them are outstanding. The Quoll enclosure, with nocturnal habitat viewing was brilliant. Some of the other enclosures are getting there also, though I was disappointed with the size of some of the aviaries and poor vegetation choices they appeared to have. They didn’t look to great for the birds, which I think is not a good look. Still, they are a major improvement on what had been there before.

Some of the other enclosures for snakes and amphibians were really good also I have to say and overall the place is going ahead and improving all of the time. So I think it has a place into the future, if it can continue to improve along the way. Just some thoughts…

Modern Enclosures Koala

ABOVE LEFT: Modern Enclosures  ABOVE RIGHT: Koala BELOW: Nocturnal Quoll Enclosure

Nocturnal Quoll Enclosure

BookYap: Book Recomendations


I am about to start using a new web application called BookYap. Put simply, BookYap is an application that recommends books based on criteria you enter. There are over 650 000 books in its database, so chances are it will find a book for you.

You can search for a book by using keywords or the filters it has available (based on personality types). By becoming a registered user, the application learns more and more about you and your reading habits, improving the recommendations it makes for you.

Books appear with thumbnails of their covers and book ratings. A brief description appears by hovering over the thumbnail. You are able to interact with the application and associated community by sharing books you have read and your reviews of them. There is connectivity with both Facebook and Twitter also.

You are also able to add books to a reading wishlist if you like. Books can be purchased from Amazon when you choose a book to read.

Visit BookYap at:
http://bookyap.com/

 

Grou.ps – Free, but Not Really


I haven’t posted for a few days on this Blog. Reason? I have been busy deactivating social networks and deleting information I have stored on the Grou.ps platform. I have also been advising members in these communities to do the same.

I was once an advocate for Grou.ps, despite the many problems that existed there, sure that the service was improving and there was great potential in the platform. Now I feel that I have been betrayed by a platform I defended and pushed. Why do I feel this? The service has decided to go premium – though there is a free option also. However, the free option removes the privacy and moderation that owners of Grou.ps communities were assured of. You can just imagine what will happen with spam and privacy under these circumstances. Added to that, the platform is plagued with performance issues and seemingly full of bugs (at least that has been my experience and that of many others in the support forums).

I will not be supporting Grou.ps and longer and withdraw all of my endorsements of their product. As someone in the support forum said, they don’t mind paying for a service that works. Neither do I, but there is also the issue of the bad taste left in my mouth as a result of the way Grou.ps has ‘betrayed’ their loyal members and users.

http://grou.ps/