Category Archives: iCulture

Talk about information overload!


If your jaw doesn’t drop at least once during the next 5 minutes then (blows raspberries) to you.


“Innovation Insanity” brought to you by Trend Watching


Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a website where you could find out what were some emerging consumer trends? Where you could find out about the latest innovations, inventions and business ideas worldwide? That way, you could keep on top of what was happening in the world of consumers?

Well, guess what? There IS. It’s called Trend Watching, and it’s a website dedicated to following consumer trends. IncrEDibly interesting stuff, it is “one of the world’s leading consumer trends firms” and the best part is you can subscribe to their newsletter, updating you on what’s trending around the world. It’s an invaluable tool for anyone in business or communications or…well…any industry really. I suggest you sign up NOW for the monthly trend watching reports. You can do so here.

Innovation Insanity

This month’s newsletter was titled Innovation Insanity, based on the “most promising innovations” worldwide. The newsletter covered 67 incredible innovations. Some of them are such great ideas it’s hard not to sit there and think “faahhh…why didn’t I think of that?”

There are a couple of segments that are particularly trending when it comes to innovations: online consumerism and eco-friendly, sustainable and social causes. There are new websites popping up to help sift through the onslaught of information, new ways of donating to charities, new ways of showing support, new ways of doing just about anything. If anything, going through this list were certainly help get your creative juices flowing and maybe by the 67th one you’ll have your own little seeds forming. You can read the whole list here, but my personal top three favourites, counting down, are:

3. ATM machines which offer embedded charity with every withdrawal

Choose Change ATM

Created in the US, these ATMs allow the user to donate US$1 of their US$2 withdrawal fee to a NFP organisation of their choice. The big four in Oz had better watch out if these Choose Change ATMs make it over here; I’d rather my hard earned money go to a charity rather than a bank any day!

2. Transforming Rio’s slums through community driven art
This social cause, by Favela Painting project, is about transforming the slums of Rio de Janeiro “through large, community-driven murals” which also includes training and employment for local residents. Just look at the difference this beautiful and simple idea has made. I know that just giving it a coat of paint doesn’t hide the poverty but it sure does help brighten up the otherwise drab, ugly grey concrete buildings.

Favela Painting

1. A curated marketplace for self-published books
As an aspiring author this innovation tops my list of favourites. IndieReader is the book equivalent to Etsy and Foodzie, offering self-published, one of a kind, “handmade” books. Not to be confused with zines, these books are actually books. But don’t think that just anyone can get their books sold here; IndieReader is curated by a selection of well established editors, literary agents, publicists and “other assorted book lovers”, so that only the creme de la creme of independent and self-published authors get their work sold here. So, if you’re looking to go down the self-published path, or just want to read something that no one else has, start at IndieReader.

Websites I’m a-lovin’


Hiya! Today is a day for introductions. I will introduce you to a few websites and blogs I’ve recently discovered, and I hope you will grow to enjoy them as much as I am…


Yesterday I was properly introduced to Carly’s website weheartlife and I just heart it. I heart their philosophy of posting happy, positive moments and stories. And I completely agree; there is waaaay too much negative stuff going around! So, when Carly asked me to contribute photos I was totally flattered. So keep your eye out, and even if I wasn’t going to contribute I would tell you to keep your eye on it anyway, because it rocks!

Rebel Rebel

Rebel Rebel
Rebel Rebel is written by a chick I went to school with. In fact, the very one who introduced me to Hipstamatic (forEVER grateful!!) Although for some reason we never really spoke, maybe we should have because Abbie shares my fascination with all things vintage, retro and funky. Abbie’s blog seems dedicated to disco/retro, which I’m loving. Funky photos and images interspersed with a few vids, she keeps it short and sweet but definitely not boring!

And finally…

Free e-books!!

Project Gutenberg Australia
Try to look past the boring-as-hell website. It’s a site dedicated to FREE, that’s right, FREE e-books! Hello, literary wet dream! There are a HUGE number of classics just waiting for you to get your grubby little hands on. The only problem is it almost seems…sacrilegious to be reading these little gems on an iPhone…oh well, I’ll get over it.

Attention lovers of all things retro or photographic


Wee Man

I have a new toy!! Well not really, it’s a new addition to my favourite toy, which is my iPhone (and for those who don’t know why I love my iPhone perhaps you should head here first).

I discovered it through a chick I went to high school with who, to be honest, I haven’t spoken to since, but am friends with on Facebook. She had posted these AWESOME photos and I just HAD to know how she took them. Well, I was very excited to find out it was an iPhone app and of course, downloaded it straight away.

The app?


It’s an awesome app that lets you take analogue photos with your iPhone camera. For a mere $7.55 (got my bill today) you can download the whole package, which includes 8 films (some retro, some black and white, and some with the faded edges), 6 lenses and 6 flashes. You can mix and match, with or without flash, or give your phone a shake for random creations. From old school, faded, yellowish 60s to washed out 90s, or grainy black and white it has everything you could ever need to make retro photos. Of course, being on your iPhone the clarity isn’t great, but remember, photos back in the day often weren’t either!!

Somewhere in Spotswood

So here are a few of my favourite creations. But I warn you, if you’re anything like me don’t play with it when you need your phone. I’ve had to charge my phone 5 times in the last 3 days because it eats through the battery. But it is OH SO MUCH FUN!!!

** If click on the photo it will tell you what film, lens and flash I used**

On the way to Scienceworks

Small Man

My name is Mel and I’m addicted to…


*Update: by the time this blog was posted it was 0106 (that’s 1:06am to you non-military people)

Inspired by Kerri Sackville’s post on Mamamia I thought I’d take the plunge and admit to you all that I, too, am suffering from an addiction. As you can see (or not) I am sitting here at 0045 (that’s 12:45pm to you non-military people) blogging, when I should be in bed because my Small Lad (4yo) and Wee Lad (16mo) will wake me cheerfully at 0630 (that’s 6:30am to non-military peeps). But I am not, no I am not in bed, and why is that?

Because my name is Mel and I’m addicted to social networking.

Phew, that wasn’t so bad! (as in, I’m only twisting the tissue furiously in my hands rather than shredding it into tiny pieces).

I’ve been addicted, on and off now, for about 3 years, but lately it has got much worse. I took a 12 month break because it had become far too unhealthy, in that I was constantly composing 140 character thoughts in my head. After 12 months of virtual cold turkey I thought I’d broken my habit. Until about a fortnight ago. I tentatively rejoined the Twitter and blogging world after having been to a Williamstown Literary Festival session called Literary Blogging, with Lisa Dempster and Angela Meyer (of Literary Minded) and was inspired to get blogging again.

Big mistake.

Well, not really, because I do love to blog. And tweet. But now it has taken a shady turn. Now, I’m blogging in hopes of increasing my employability, as a way to market myself. And, to increase this employability/marketing scheme, I thought I’d join a few other social networking sites too. Now I obsessively check my stats, update my websites, and jump every time Tweet Deck makes that little tweeting noise.

I think I may have taken too big a leap, because here I am blogging when I should be sleeping. I update my Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook (actually, Facebook is crap now), and Then I blog. Then I read blogs. Then I go to bed and I dream blogs and photos and 140 character sentences.

But I don’t really have a problem, because I’m not, like, whoring myself or neglecting house or family duties (looks dodgily from side to side).

So there you have it. I am addicted to social networking. What’s your addiction?

Social Media Maestro


I am officially a social media maestro. Over the last couple of days I have been furiously researching all the different social media sites out there (and MY GOD there are many!). With a lot of (uknown) help form Carly, who is incredibly social media savvy, I have sussed out the top social media (I am going to call them SM now because “social media” is starting to sound weird) sites based on what I am using them for.

The first thing I needed to do was figure out what I wanted to use them for. Lots of people, namely younger Gen Y and Gen Z, just use them to share cool stuff. Being an old fart, in the older Gen Y segment, I’m using mine to get my messages out about who I am and what I do. Basically, it is for prospective employers. I want to tell people what it is that I do (and in case you haven’t quite got it yet, I’m a freelance writer, PR Consultant, photographer, crystal therapist and meditation facilitator). So since I want these different sites to reflect aspects of myself I want them to see, then I had to pick sites based on this fact.

So what did  I join?

LinkedIn is like a Facebook for the professional world. You list your specialties, where you’re employed, your education, and your skills, and begin networking with other people in whatever industry you’re interested in. This isn’t a site you join to make friends and share you goss with people. This is a site you want to keep strictly professional. (In fact, you shouldn’t ever put anything online that you wouldn’t want your prospective employer to see, but that’s a topic for another post).

Tumblr, which is a blogging site that works best for quick posts; photos, links, quotes, movie clips and the like. Good if I think of something I want to share on the spot. You know those incredibly insightful moments of clarity that you want to tell everyone, but there’s never anyone around? Yeah, me neither 😉

Flickr is a great website for photo sharing. Good if you have family overseas, or if you are overseas yourself, and want to share pics with them. But, if you’re like me, it’s also good for an online portfolio of photos you want to showcase.

Twitter micro-blogging website which is great for getting your blog out there, and for meeting people! (So glad it’s not lame to say that anymore!)

365Project is a photography project where you take one photo a year for, yep you guessed it, one year. It’s good for fine-tuning your photography skills, and the idea is to have a theme to help direct the project, rather than snapping willy nilly. My theme is From the Bowl. I have a small bowl with little cards, called master cards, that contain affirmations. An example is:

Honesty: I let down my ego defenses. My fears are behind me. As a master I am close enough to myself to be true to myself…to be real. And I am no longer afraid to be vulnerable. I have nothing to lose.

Each morning I pull one card out of the bowl, and it is through this card that I will focus my photograph for the day on. Difficult in that it will require putting fairly abstract concepts into photos. But I like to challenge myself.

Finally, the piece de resistance, my website, a lovely little website that brings all my social networking sites together on the one page for me to manage without getting vexed and perplexed, and for others to browse over without having to open five hundred million pages.

This world is definitely getting more and more complicated, and I’m trying like hell to keep up with all this new stuff. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.

Book nerd heaven: why I love my iPhone


We’re all friends here, so I can safely admit to you all why I got an iPhone without being ostracized for being a sheep. Aside from the fact that I was sick of never having any credit with my pre-paid account, I was extremely tempted to get an iPhone because of some of its features. When they first came out I had a very “meh” attitude towards it. But all of sudden, over the last fortnight or so, I was overwhelmed with a strong urge to get one. Why? Why the sudden change of heart?
Well, I figured it out. It was temptation of the possibility of having hundreds of books with me in my pocket at all times that did it. Yep, that’s right. I’m a MAJOR book nerd (in case you hadn’t figured that out already). And last night I made the best purchase of perhaps my entire life, and I bought an application that consisted of 165 old classic books for a measly $6. That’s right. $6.
Among this loooong list was a bunch of classics that I’d always wanted to read, but never got around to buying: Moby Dick, The Republic, Little Women, Wuthering Heights, A Tale of Two Cities, Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey, and many of Edgar Allen Poe’s works. As well as these “must reads”, there are heaps of childhood favourites: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, The Secret Garden, White Fang, Jungle Book, Anne of Green Gables and Gulliver’s Travels to name a few.
I was so excited that I stayed up until 2am this morning reading through the many titles, reading bits of the first pages, and generally just being rapt that I will not be lacking in something to read for a long, long time.
If you’re interested, the application is 150 Great Books and it is well worth the small change needed to buy.

To the people that have kept me sane…


To all the people on who have been keeping me sane during the day, when I would otherwise have no one to talk to but a three-year-old and a 5 month old: thank you. If it weren’t for you I would have lost my mind 8 weeks ago. I don’t deal well with being a SAHM at all. I need to be around people, need to be talking, need to be socialising, need to be stimulated. From intelligent conversation, to mundane banter, to good laughs, you guys have provided me with almost everything I need to keep sane…minus the face-to-face contact. I just realised today how much I appreciate you all when I saw nasty comments on Mia’s blog and just wanted to stick up for you all. It’s weird. Not 12 months ago I would have thought someone who made friends online a loser (I’m sorry, I just had that mindframe!) But now I’ve made friends with a group of people I’d be willing to fly interstate to catch up with- and it’s a nice feeling!
Thanks to: bugmum, KerriSackville, Mia Freedman (for your blog, who lead me to these brilliant people!), bellsg, numberchic, redhossy, taraschwarz, angelapinjuh, fender4eva, carly_grace, wite_wickah, Bern_Morely, CraigieMac, emjaystar, kateburge, AussieSoccermum, shonnyk, and overingtonc.

The Logies sucked, and the media should deal with it


The media has been having a field day, chastising the public about their awful, bitchy, mean comments over Twitter during the Logies. A couple of celebrity blogs, and a few news websites decided to mention all the nasty things that were being said as the Logies was broadcast. The words “bitching” and “cruel” and “mean” were thrown around a lot.

Do you know what I have to say about that? Deal with it. The public are fickle, and of course are going to voice their opinion if they think something is lame. Hell, if we didn’t voice our opinions, tv probably wouldn’t have changed in the last 20-odd years! And the thing is this: what on earth would we do with social media if we couldn’t talk about things that were happening in real time? That’s what HAPPENS when you give the masses a voice!

While there were very specific comments about Gretel Killeen being an awful host, with some cringe-worthy moments, I do need to ask this: does the host write their own script? If not, we should probably lay off bagging Gretel and call for the person who wrote the script to be fired. And if she did write her own, then I’m sorry, but she deserves the bagging. We don’t watch the Logies to see lame bits of acting (what was with that whole pretending to be shot and heaven bit? Do they think the audience is made up of children who like watching lame pantomimes with bad acting? )

These TV personalities do have feelings, yes we are well aware of this fact. But the television industry is NOT a nice one. The people can be awful, arrogant, demanding little pricks who think they should be treated like royalty. They snipe and bitch at one another about one another. The media is quick to criticize celebs when they put on an ounce of weight, or lose it, or have surgery done, or whatever. But god forbid the little people have a voice.

Good on Wil Anderson telling it like it was during the broadcast! I found his tweets much more entertaining than the show. My highlights of the Logies were Rove, Hughesy, Wil Anderson and Annie Lennox- REAL entertainment. I think the media should lay off paying out Wil Anderson for his brutally honest tweets. Insincerity is getting old and tired. We want honesty. We want the truth. We are not little children who need to be protected from the big, bad world. If something sucks, we will say so, and appreciate the honesty of everyone else who does the same.