Gaydar – i told you so

19 08 2010

it’s not often you’ll find me using the expression “i told you so”, but nearly a year and a half ago i had these harsh words for Gaydar – one of the largest ‘gay dating’ websites in the world – for sticking their head in the sand in the face of the ‘mobile revolution’ by charging a premium fee on top of their already-significant monthly/quarterly/etc paid membership fee, if you wanted access to a mobile-browser-optimised version of their website. wtf?

since then there’s been an explosion of ‘gay dating’ iPhone/iPad apps (they don’t like that term, they prefer ‘social networking’ – yeahwhatever) – most of them new, nimble upstarts with little to lose & everything to gain from ‘first mover’ opportunity – that’ve surely been eating into the big-boy’s revenue, particularly Grindr, who offer essentially the same basic service with the hugely engaging & useful ‘location awareness’ features, for free, or a few $/month for Push Notifications of messages & no ads.

well wadda ya know, Gaydar finally came out with an iPhone app a couple of months ago, and guess what? no premium fee to use it, over & above normal paid membership!  unfortunately version 1 was a pretty poor effort, but i guess the only way is up ;). (i haven’t looked at it since)

i’m aware that – another of the web-based ‘big boys’ – also have an iPhone app in the works, and are working through the agony of complying with Apple’s puritanical ‘decency’ conditions.

the question remains though, is this too little too late?  i estimate it’ll be 6+ months before Gaydar’s iPhone app will reach some reasonable level of useful maturity, and you still need to be a paid member, a price well above any of the iPhone newcomers.  Manhunt remain to be seen on the mobile.

have the new kids on the iPhone block (and other mobile platforms) stolen too much mindshare for the big-boys to recover their losses?  or will the big-boy’s superior established large-scale infrastructure & reliability be matched by an eventual maturing of their iApp offerings and leave the new kids in second place?


“depression – my story”, 1 year on.

11 08 2010

it’s not quite a year since i wrote “my story” for, but i’m feeling the urge to talk about this black dog thing again.  seems to be topical lately!

last October 09 i “woke up” and realised that the ground of life was rapidly rising to meet my slo-mo free-fall.  the consequences of 5 years of blocking out life in a haze of THC smoke loomed like a tsunami  SFX in Hollywood movie.  thus began a tumultuous process of getting my life back into sobriety, balance, positivity & connection.

i quit dope cold turkey, which was a huge step forward in clearing my head to re-engage with life.  curiously, this was easier than one might have expected, though i can’t really explain why.  i guess i’d been in the pot-hole-of-depression long enough to finally realise that nothing was going to change, until i changed.

i saw a psychologist for several months, turning over several of the rocks in my mental garden to see what scurried out.  i can see now there were significant contributors dating back at least 10-12 years (5-7 years before Dysthymia struck), all of which layered additively, like blankets over my life’s fire.  sometimes it’s helpful to simply become aware that specific factors in your past have had an impact you were previously unaware of, and sometimes you need to dissect things a little more.  that’s where a qualified psychologist can really help.  i may yet go back for more, if and when i feel the need to peel away some more layers of my onion.  the $80/session Medicare rebate certainly helped there, too!

getting back into my physical self has also been critical.  it’s hard to beat the natural high that comes from a mildly exhausting cardio or gym workout at least a few days each week, especially when it’s one of the first things i do in the day, it leaves me feeling good for the rest of the day, and helps with sleep, too.  sure, it’s hard to break old lazy habits and establish momentum, but i just take it one day at a time, and i don’t berate myself if i miss a day’s scheduled exercise.

having several friends who have used or currently use anti-depressants, i carefully weighed up that option for myself.  i believe they can be of tremendous benefit, even necessity, for some people.  but my gut instinct was that my issues were more – for want of a better word – situational & attitudinal than brain-biochemical, and thus far i’m not regretting that decision.  i’m also wary of the “life on ADs is ‘nice’. nice can kinda suck though” factor, as articulated so eloquently by my friend Richo.

and last but not least, there’s the people factor.  one of those ‘blankets’ over my life of the previous 5 years has been a major erosion of my ‘inner circle’ of friends for a bunch of reasons, leaving me feeling isolated and restless.  i don’t make friends easily or quickly, so it’s a slow process, but i’ve pushed myself to connect with new people, and reconnect with some ‘lapsed’ friends.  it makes a hell of a difference.  it’s nice to complain of not having enough hours in the day when the main reason (other than work) is time spent with friends, instead of time spent in the pot-hole-of-depression in front of the tv!

it’s an ongoing process, a work in progress, and some say that’ll always be so (i’m not so sure about that).  but it’s a state of mind so different to where i was only a year ago, it’s starting to feel like a receding memory.  my spiral upwards out of depression and the things that propel it bear a curious symmetry (equal but opposite) to the habits that dragged me down into it years ago.  i couldn’t have done it without the support & understanding of my friends & clients alike, a professional psychologist, and a huge bunch of awesomely inspirational people on Twitter :).