Aussie Fountain Pen Friends on Facebook

A couple of months ago, the Fountain Pen Economist Dr Jonathon Deans (Web, Twitter), mentioned in passing how it might be nice if a local discussion group existed for Australian Fountain Pen enthusiasts. More recently on Twitter, he asked the question whether there were any Facebook groups for such people, with my response indicating there were none I was aware of, perhaps with the exception of the one he was about to start — which I said with tongue only half in cheek.

IMG_4823Since then, start it has, with the Fountain Pens Australia group now up and running on Facebook, with Jonathon and fellow fountain pen enthusiast Yagan Kiely (Instagram, Twitter) kicking things off.

Bear in mind that I had not yet taken the plunge into the land of Facebook at the time, having only recently created my profile with the intention of joining the FPA group. A big call, however one I believe will be well worth it. As I write this on a lazy Saturday afternoon, membership numbers have been steadily rising over the course of the day — very pleasing indeed.

What do I hope to get out of being involved in such a group? Much discussion and information sharing around one of my passions — fountain pens. I have seen the power of the internet and social media in disseminating such information through Twitter, Instagram, various pen blogs, and of course avenues such as The Pen Addict podcast.

A Facebook group such as this, with a local focus, is a fantastic opportunity to learn a whole lot more through discussion with like-minded individuals (most of whom are likely to have vastly more experience than myself), yet be sure the content remains highly relevant to the local market. Discussion has already been active in relation to the upcoming Melbourne Pen Show in November.

Although I’ve been writing here for a couple of years now, with a fair portion of content devoted to pens, I do still consider myself a beginner, with much still to learn about fountain pens. I’m fairly sure I’ll be doing more “learning” than “teaching” in such a group, however am very much looking forward to contributing what I can.

So if you are reading this in Australia, are on Facebook (or think it worth joining like myself), and are at all interested in fountain pens, please click this link and set about joining the Fountain Pens Australia group. Be part of what is bound to be a friendly and productive group discussion on a subject myself and many others derive a great amount of joy from.


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Aussie, Aussie, Aussie – Tech, Tech, Tech!

Aussie Thong
Anybody seen the other one?

Amongst the subscriptions to various industry and management/leadership newsletters that arrive in my inbox at work, one in particular caught my attention recently. A weekly newsletter from Verne Harnish, author of The Rockefeller Habits (adding value and growth to your company), contained a snippet with the following:

Atlassian Valued at US$3.5 Billion – congratulations to co-founders Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brooks – now billionaires on paper after launching the firm in 2002!!

A further link to this Wall Street Journal article then explains how Atlassian, an Australian firm which develops online collaboration tools for business, is now one of the worlds most valuable venture-backed companies. The focus of the article cites how the company, now with over 800 employees, has seen an average sales increase of over 40% annually for the past 5 years, has done so without employing a single salesperson. How? An exceptional product I expect.

You will also find more on this in the The Australian Financial Review.

Yes, dept4 is far from a business news site, though articles like this get me thinking about the talent Australia has in the tech world, on both large and smaller scales. Need a great Australian made and therefore very accurate weather app (available both on iOS and Android)? Look no further than the Shifty Jelly developed Pocket Weather Australia. Not surprisingly, the developers also make one of the most highly rated podcast apps on the App Store (again for iOS and Android) in Pocket Casts 4. You can listen to developer Russell Ivanovic discuss the challenges and successes of Shifty Jelly on this episode of the Podcast CMD+Space with Myke Hurley.

Although I am not a gamer in any sense of the word, most of you would know the games Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride, which were developed (amongst many other great games) just across town here in Brisbane by Halfbrick Studios.

Although I have highlighted only a small few here, there is no doubt about the quality of tech talent in Australia, nor the coverage on great sites like Reckoner (both web and podcast). Whilst it is a small few who will make their millions (or be valued in billions), there are countless others out there toiling away and demonstrating the immense talent in this sector of the country, all of whom are worthy of our acknowledgement, appreciation and encouragement.

My kids tinkering with the HTML on their Tumblr accounts? You never know.

Go little Aussies.

What’s Brewing #5 – Indonesian Aceh Gayo

Young boy in Guel dance, Gayo country, Aceh pr...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s nice to review a coffee produced “locally” here in the Asia-Pacific region. This Indonesian Aceh Gayo Gr1 Organic was originally roasted to go in my Three Bean blend (see What’s Brewing #4), however I was obviously keen to assess it as an origin in its own right. Living here in Australia, there are a number of smaller coffee producing countries in the region, however most of my experience has been with those originating in New Guinea. Lets see how this one stacks up.

(Right: Young boy in Guel dance, Gayo country, Aceh province, Sumatra, Indonesia)

The Whack

What: Indonesian Aceh Gayo Gr1 Organic

* Origin: Gayo Megah Berseri estate in the Central Aceh region of Sumatra
* Altitude: 1400–1600 metres
* Processing: Semi washed, sun dried
* Harvest: March 2013

How: Latte, Aeropress, V60

Assessment:
Dry Aroma – Probably best described as spicy/herby with floral notes, mingled with brown sugar

Latte – Does surprisingly well through milk. I would not say there is a lot of body, though definitely enough to give it some punch, carry through the chocolatey undertones and floral notes. Performed better than expected here.

Aeropress – Very well suited to this form of brewing, possibly even shading the V60 in allowing the herb and floral flavours to come to the fore. Made me think a little of dandelion. The only negative here is it probably lacks a little sweetness.

V60 – Smooth, very smooth. Shows more sweetness than the Aeropress however a little less of the herbal and floral notes. The medium body and a crisp finish make this a very enjoyable brew overall.

Conclusion; Know this:
Though assessed across the three methods above, you may note no Espresso. No conspiracy here, I have simply been playing with the V60 a little more (or a lot judging by the dwindling filters), having only purchased this a couple of weeks ago. I had high hopes for this variety given it is a “local”, and certainly was not disappointed. This is one of the best all rounders across the different brewing methods I have had in recent times, and would highly recommend this either on its own or in a [blend](What’s Brewing #4).

Overall rating: 4.5/5