Tag Archives: free



A little while ago, the insane Randall Munroe completed perhaps the biggest project on XKCD yet: Time, comic number 1190.

The XKCD blog post tells the entire story: 3,099 panels, drawn over a period from March to August. An epic project by any standard, and yet, not altogether unexpected from the inanity of Mr Munroe.

I’ve been working a lot over the past few weeks, and as much as fun as six days a week sounds (for my bank balance, maybe), I’ve come to the realisation that it leaves very little time for extra-curricular activities, the stuff that I want to do.

Yes, I’m talking about games.

When you work full time, there’s very little time for anything else. A normal work day involves getting up at 6:30 AM, writing and publishing the news, and by 8:30, I’m ready to go to work. I don’t get home until after 6 PM, at which point it’s time to get something to eat and start thinking about what I’m going to do with my evening. But I’ve barely started when, oops, it’s 10 PM, and now I have to go to bed so I can get enough sleep to function as a person (as opposed to a zombie) the next day.

I usually finish eating by around 7, which gives me three hours, give or take, to do everything I didn’t get to do during the day. I usually check a few websites, read some forums, go through my email, and trawl through some RSS feeds. You’ll note I don’t even consider things like gaming, writing, movie-watching, or anything like that. I usually watch an episode of something when I’m eating, but that’s about it.

I can sometimes get away with a few extra hours by putting off my bedtime until midnight, but missing out on sleep more than a few times a week puts a negative spin on things, and usually just results in falling asleep on the bus to and from work. Work is tiring enough without me also feeling tired from a lack of sleep on top of that.

When you work full-time, free time, or the lack thereof, is a real issue.

During my degree there were definitely times where I had too much time. I’d waste the day by taking naps, or not getting out of bed until after noon. I’d put off doing work until the very last minute, when I’d spend all-night working on some horrible requirements document or other fun deliverable, and spend the next day sleeping. If you’ve been a Uni student before, you can probably relate: you procrastinate the smallest of tasks only to spend a few sleepless nights working feverishly on whatever you were supposed to have worked on before the deadline was looming large. It was like that during my degree, too; I could afford to waste time, because there was plenty of it.

But now that I’m kind-of, sort-of, looking for work and filling in for someone who’s going on holiday at my current place of employment, there’s just not enough time. Or at least, I don’t seem to have enough of it free as I would like.

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The Trouble With “Free” →

And so once the basic business proposition is “this company will make the most amazing Web services available and give them away for free in order to sell you to advertisers,” plummeting levels of privacy become inevitable.

via The Trouble With “Free”.

Which means the only question becomes: how much do you value your privacy in a world that’s increasingly engaged with the free?

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting something for nothing as much as the next guy, and I’m more than happy to sacrifice a little privacy about things that aren’t really all that important (i.e. which might be the reason why those frequent shopper cards work so well, I mean, who really cares about who knows what products they buy at the supermarket?), but where does the line need to be drawn?

Legally get Windows 7 for free (or at a discount)

With many people wondering what the Windows 7 pricing will be and whether it will cost less, the same, or more than Vista, there are some ways you can legally get Windows 7 at a discount or even for free when the final version is ready later this year.

via Students: How to get Windows 7 legally at a discount or free.

Students only, I’m afraid. Keyword is legally here, people.

Summary of options:

  1. New computer. Well, duh.
  2. MSDNAA. Well, duh.
  3. Microsoft Dreamspark – your school has to be on the list, though.
  4. Don’t bother – you’re not in the US, Canada or Europe are you?

That’ll do, donkey. That’ll do.


Have I mentioned before how much I hate choosing new themes for my blog? Or for any website, for that matter…

It’s difficult because of three reasons:

  • It’s hard to find something that works for you. Being the admin of the blog, you know where it’s going. When you’re looking for a theme, you know exactly what you want – in the case of Benny Ling’s Bling, I wanted something that was simple but elegant – something that stood apart from the hundreds of other blogs out there.
  • Free is good. Unfortunately, being the poor student that I am, I don’t have much of a web budget – especially for things like WordPress themes. It’s like a wise man once said: “Pay peanuts, get monkeys”, as well as the age-old adage of “You get what you pay for”. Don’t get me wrong, though – I’d totally pay for a theme if I decided that it was going to work for me, assuming it is reasonably priced. US $50 is not my idea of reasonable.
  • Finding something that will require minimal tweaking is hard to do – especially when the theme is free to begin. It’s like the hardware and software problem – even though Microsoft make software that’s designed to work on every computer under the sun, sometimes it needs a little help. Apple, on the other hand, make both the hardware and the software – the result of which is that “it just works”.

With these three things in mind, I have managed to settle on Elegant Grunge, by Michael Tyson. I’ve had to compromise in some areas – while I haven’t given it a full test-run yet, I’m sure I’ll find something later on down the track that needs to be changed. So far so good, though – fingers crossed it stays that way.

UPDATE: No, I haven’t settled on Elegant Grunge. Instead, I’ve settled on Sator-ii, by Felipe Lavín. It’s got some pretty horrible CSS (no comments, c’mon), and has some funny spelling mistakes – but that’s okay, because I don’t think the creator is a native english speaker.

You may think I’m missing out something here – why don’t I just make my own theme? Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done – I’d have no idea where to start with a WordPress theme, let alone make a good one… Sure, I can hack my way around a CSS stylesheet, and I can diagnose and fix any formatting/styling issues with WordPress, but apart from that… Time constraints mean making my own them just isn’t feasible at this point in time. One of these days I probably should, but I’ll leave it to the experts for now. 🙂

Malaysia 2009 – Part V


So we were shopping at our local Econsave, and my cousins and I came across these wonderful things in the “killing insects and stuff” isle.

As you can probably tell from the pic, the Malaysians, they’re pretty serious about killing those mosquitoes.

Like, 800mL of pure mosquito-killing liquid serious.

Like, free Dettol hand-wash serious.

Like, RM15.90 serious (approx. AU $6.70).

Anyway, my counsins and I thought it was amusing, so I thought you might to.

But I guess it was one of those moments where you had to be there. Ah well.

The finer points of finding free images

Free—it’s my favourite* word. It’s probably the most popular word found in advertising to get you to buy something. But has free ever really meant free? The catch is usually that you have to buy something in order to get something else free. Or maybe you have to agree to give up your personal information, forever dooming you to junk mail, to get that free hotel stay in Vegas.

via The finer points of finding free images | Creative Notes | Macworld.

As a blogger, I’m constantly on the look out for free images that I can use in posts, to show other people, or just cause they’re free.

Sure, places like iStockPhoto.com are great – but really, it’s the internet. You can probably find most of those images for free somewhere else anyway.

For those of you after icons (for programs, etc) look no further than ICONLook (again, pun fully intended).

* edited to prevent Australian spelling shenanigans. Damn US blogs… 😛