This latest comic graph over at indexed is absolute genius:

graph showing that sleeping audience members increase proportional to the number of powerpoint slides

I just noticed Kottke’s year in cities post and figured that’s as good a way to sum up my year as anything. A lot of it seems a bit of a blur and I think a lot of that is down to the travel … and of course the wedding.

So here’s my list of cities I visited in 2006:
ABROAD:

  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Houston, TX, USA
  • Austin, TX, USA
  • Chicago, IL, USA
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Bucharest, Romania
  • Warsaw, Poland
  • Cincinnati, OH, USA

I also almost went to Russia, but let’s just say things got … lost and complicated.

UK:

  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne & Wear
  • Market Bosworth, Leicestershire
  • Bristol, Somerset
  • Bath, Avon
  • Weybridge, Surrey
  • Woking, Surrey
  • London
  • Leeds, Yorkshire
  • Tiverton, Devon

Unfortunately I didn’t get to make it home this year, although we’re hoping to make it back to South Africa in 2007.

Via Ping, I just discovered Kiva which seems an absolutely FANTASTIC idea to me. It’s an enabling site, allowing anyone in the world to provide small loans to specific entrepreneurs — the long tail of banking.

There are two reasons that I think this is fantastic: Firstly, it’s a LOAN. The entrepreneurs pay the money back, although obviously there is some risk that if their venture fails you won’t get your cash back. However, you can part-fund a loan and so it’s pretty easy to balance your risk by offering small loans to a number of people. Secondly, it’s NOT charity. Many people in developing countries are doing OK for themselves — they don’t need charity, but can benefit hugely from a no-interest loan. And if it’s money that first-worlders could happily give away, then everyone benefits.

Non-consumerist presents are all the rage this Xmas — from Alpaca packages to Terrapasses. I just wanted to encourage people to think about this option too — after all, at the end of the day it costs you nothing!