If only the world of YouTube reviewers would learn the value of tested-in-the-field reviews. "I've been using this for a week and I give it five stars" is so dumb. I've used a pretty good phone screen protector from Gadgetshieldz for over six months now and here's my damn-sight-more-useful review.

My newish Nokia 8 needed protection. I buy devices for their aesthetics and function, so I hate covering them up with chunky cases, but I don't want them scratched to hell by being naked. I found some positive reviews for the Gadgetshieldz product in a few places (YouTube and XDA) and thought it was worth giving a go after discovering that the Nokia 8's screen was too curved for the usual tempered-glass screen-protector strategy.

screen protector with no marks
Gadgetshieldz screen protector after six months. All you see is the reflection of the wall; no scratches to be seen... almost.

...continue reading "Review: Gadgetshieldz phone screen protector is great until it isn’t"

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sample banknotes with colour changesUntil the release of the new $10 note a few months ago, I'd never really thought about the colour of banknotes. I guess all the countries I've visited (except the USA) have had adequately different notes. But Australia's new note tore up my complacency, as I discovered that I couldn't tell it apart from the newish $5 note unless looking at the actual images and numbers on it.
...continue reading "Banking blind: new Australian notes are useless for the colour-blind"

Some people love Airbnb. Some don't - though mostly you hear about disgruntled owners after their property has been trashed, rather than hearing about unhappy guests. That's a bit strange, given that sites like Tripadvisor and Booking.com are rich in descriptions of negative experiences at hotels. Can Airbnb accommodations really be so much better?

I've used Airbnb about six times around the globe. With one exception, I've never come away feeling like it was an awesome, flawless experience. There were often basic issues that (1) must have affected other guests, and (2) could easily have been avoided. ...continue reading "Only with reservations: Airbnb"

Taiwanese courts last week opened the way for same-sex marriage in Taiwan. Of the well-functioning democracies in East Asia and Oceania, that leaves Australia in the company of socially conservative Japan and South Korea as the only ones who still haven't managed to respect their LGBT+ citizens' rights. Australia remains a nation of mostly gutless foot-dragging politicians who rarely manage to do more than follow by example. ...continue reading "LGBT+: It’s (still) a great time to be straight"

Dolphin off Bruny Island

I've done many suitcases-worth of travelling, but there are only a few experiences which have really made it onto a notional worldwide-must-dos list. Taking a ride down the coast of South Bruny Island in Tasmania is one of them. ...continue reading "Bucket-list: Boat ride down Bruny Island, Tasmania"

Catharthic closure of my banking relationship *

So you've been a customer of a big bank for over 10 years, with a relatively smooth experience. Then you get a letter in the mail telling you that the account which you've been using for business for that period is "being used in breach of the terms of the account, because we have noticed that you are using it for business purposes". ...continue reading "Bastards: An experience with HSBC"

Don't forget the cream!

Some relevance-seekers at a NSW dairy lobby group called Dairy Connect have decided that consumers are "confused" by all the non-dairy applications of the word "milk" and such supposedly misleading marketing should be banned. Consumers need to be able to make an "informed decision". My brain hurts just trying to imagine the conversations, presumably behind closed doors (and perhaps with padded walls and straitjackets), that led to this silliness. ...continue reading "Lactose incontinent: Dairy industry claims “milk” is exclusively their word"