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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Stumble on Baby Step #2

For every six hotels I stay at going forward, one will be like Hotel Gosford, and one will be comparable to the Bayview Hotel at Woy Woy, which I have just checked out of. Yet another will be like the Ocean Beach Hotel (Nightcap at Umina), my next step on the road, where I will still be staying in a pub, but at least I will have my own toilet. The Nightcap will be grade 3, while the Metro Mirage in Newport will be one step above, at level four. Hotel Gosford has been the grungiest of my hotels thus far, partly due to its location, as well as facilities and clientele. Bayview Hotel is just as cheap as Hotel Gosford, but has a friendlier vibe, and a sunnier outlook. That might be due to its location, and the demographics of the city. 

In Woy Woy the population is more gentrified, genteel, and geriatric. Local motorists stop for you when you are crossing the road, rather than beep their horn as in Gosford. There are a lot of zebra crossings... too many, in fact! I feel guilty holding up the traffic. My room was facing north, and directly opposite the Central Coast Ferries wharf on Brisbane Water, which is critical for my attempts to knock off the first two six baby steps out of the Central Coast. All things considered, it was quite cozy, though a little dated.

Afternoon sun in the standard Queen room at the Bayview Hotel (Australia, 2023)

The only problem was that there was no table nor chair, so I was forced to sit on the floor with my laptop resting on the side of the bed for my lessons for iTalki. And while sitting on the floor might be comfortable in Japan, where homes and hotels are often built around this discipline, Australian accommodation is not as accommodating. Carpets can be dusty and unhygienic, with none of the spring of your typical tatami mat. After a couple of hours of sitting crosslegged I would get sore legs, numb extremities, even muscular spasms. I assumed that I would get used to it eventually.

That said, I ticked off the first of the my baby steps easily enough. To be fair, I was suffering mild derealization upon arriving at Davistown, after talking to the boy with the toy brontosaurus on the boat, and the Elvis impersonator at the bus stop on Paringa Avenue, near the shops. In retrospect, my anxiety level seemed to be about 1.7 Distress Units (DU). After that early success, I was confident and complacent (which is always a dangerous combination). Unfortunately, the second baby step to Empire Bay on the other side of Cockle Channel didn't go so smoothly. It was a stormy day, and I had foolishly left my raincoat in the hotel, thinking that it wouldnt rain until evening. As soon as I arrived at the wharf, it started pelting down... (For the full report of my setback on the catamaran to Empire Bay, click here.)

Sunday, January 1, 2023

If Google Were Teal

How many Internet searches do you do in a typical day? During a busy session of teaching English online, I can rack up 100 queries, related to topics which my students have raised. One week I clocked in a whopping 360 searches, with terms ranging from "kiszona kapusta" to "Doctor Who time loops". They were all conducted on a single search engine (can you guess which one?)

We give an awful lot of personal data away just for the privilege of using their platforms. Don't get me wrong, I love Google -- they are generous with content creators. As a basic consumer the benefits are rather scant, however. Bing will reward you with points for choosing their machine, but they must be redeemed by shopping at the Microsoft Store. If you want to be paid in cold hard cash (well, in cryptocash at least!), Presearch is the only program out there. You can earn 0.1PRE per search, with a cap of 25 searches per day.

As of December 2022, that was worth US$0.81.

Of course, it is chump change but does add up, and it is better than earning nothing at all. More importantly, your PRE gives you voting and ownership rights and the ability to build a search engine that is for the people, by the people. A Teal organization, to be precise... (For more on the Presearch search engine and Ethereum token, click here.) 

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