potential

From My Armchair: 4 August 2012


At the BookShelf

I am into my last days of annual leave, so it is doubtful I’ll be able to read anywhere near as much as I have this last week. I’ll probably have the Kindle out at lunch for a bit, so I’ll still be getting some reading in even while I’m at work. The Kindle has certainly made it a lot easier to have good reading material available no matter where I am. Loving the Kindle.

 

Social Networks, Web Applications & Other Tools

Not a lot has happened with the social networks in the book/reading niche over this last week, except that I have been updating Goodreads on a regular basis as to what I am reading, progress and cataloguing the books as I go.

I did do a quick addition to Quotista, which has a lot of potential but doesn’t appear to be being developed any further, which is…

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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

Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) Browser Game: Land of Destiny


And I’m back (again – I know). For the next couple of days I’ll be posting links to various browser games that I’ve been indulging in (or perhaps, wasting time in). I’m not so much into the shoot-em up type games and/or the SciFi/Fantasy type games that are so popular these days. For some reason I’m not big on all of the Facebook games either – probably because my news feed is full of them (which I block by the way). Anyhow, there will be a few games that I have started to play a bit over the next couple of days.

Land of Destiny is a Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) browser game. It is a Real Time Strategy (RTS) game in which you are up against thousands of other players building online villages at various levels of development. The game is set in Roman Times and your objective is to quickly build a village and then participate in defensive/offensive strategy/battles. Not only is it necessary to be aware of potential attackers, you also need to contend with the weather (the season changes on a weekly basis and each day the weather can be different). Of course there is a lot more detail to the game than that.

The current online world is coming to an end in early July 2011, so a fresh start is just around the corner. I am using the remaining time to learn the game and develop my strategies for the new gaming world when it arrives.

Play the Game at:
http://www.landofdestiny.com/

 

Save the Words


Save the Words is an interesting little site set up by the Oxford Dictionary. It is all about saving words that are no longer used much these days by encouraging members of the site to use them each day. Worth a look – and join as I have to save the English language. The site has a lot more potential and it will be interesting to see if it is developed any further.

http://www.savethewords.org/

Quotista: Sharing Quotes Social Network


I am looking for a web application that will allow me to store quotations online, that will allow me to search the database, allow me to share quotes, etc. I haven’t really been able to find the application that is just what I’m looking for, but Quotista seems to be the closest to what I’m looking for. I have joined the Quotista network and will begin experimenting with it. It certainly has a lot of potential and is still only in beta development, so I’m sure it will continue to improve. It is already a pretty good site.

http://www.quotista.com/

Spruz – Create and Grow Your Own Social Network


After being through the dramas that occurred at Ning and now Grou.ps (see yesterday’s post), I have now moved by social networking activities over to Spruz. I did think that Grou.ps had a lot of potential, but having abandoned that platform I am trying out the Spruz platform. So far I am impressed. I think some of the themes could do with some work and the one I am using is fairly average I guess, but it does the job. Maybe I can tinker with it some more when I have a bit more time.

Without doubt I’d have to say that the platform at Spruz is far more stable and the outfit far more professional than what I was used to over at Grou.ps. So in short, thus far Spruz has my endorsement.

http://www.spruz.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/

SWOOPING BIRDS


 

It was the official first day of Spring here in Australia. However, Spring has really been with us here for quite some weeks now, given the very warm days and bushfires we have already experienced. In fact August 2009 was the hottest on record.

plovers and chicks Given that it is Spring it is time for a new season of new growth in the gardens and of new birth in the surrounding wildlife here in Tea Gardens (though it isn’t that clear cut obviously) and there is plenty of wildlife here.

On the way home from work today I was swooped by a Magpie – several times. The Magpie does this in its breeding season to drive off potential threats to its nest and young. Recently I have also been savagely swooped by the local plovers, which attack with even more ferocity than the Magpie.

The plovers had been defending their nest for some weeks prior to their eggs hatching. Their nest was beside the artificial lake in the centre of the village where I work at Tea Gardens Grange. The nest is just a small spot on the ground on which the eggs are laid. In this case their were four. They seemed to sit on the eggs for between 4 and 6 weeks before the young were hatched – swooping the entire time if you ventured too close, as well as making plenty of noise. One of the adults sometimes seemed to pretend to have a bad leg as it hobbled away from the nest in an attempt to get any threats to follow it.

At the moment there are two remaining chicks that are growing fairly rapidly now. The parents are still defending their young with menace.