news bits

this i find disturbing

In the past 24 hours I've experienced two things at work that worry me:

  1. Having to - no kidding - tell someone how to find Google to do a web search. As opposed to using our site's "site search" feature, which - I can only assume - this person previously thought was searching the entire web and miraculously only giving results about our own site. Even worse is that I had to explain it twice over. You know how Google gives out site searches and has a "Search This Site / Search the Web" option? Now I know who needs that. It's the first time in my life I honestly considered recommending AOL to someone. "You're not ready for the web. There's a company that wants you... they've found your people."
  2. A request for information about our heading font. "What's so weird about that?" you say... the heading typeface is Impact. The request came from a third year student AT THE COLLEGE OF ART. What the hell kind of "art student" cannot pick Impact from 100 paces?? Fuck me. At least they picked the fact that the body text is Arial*.

* ...and nobody email me about using Arial, I didn't pick it.

the magic words

took my car into the insurance assessment place this morning and heard what i now consider to be magic words: "that will buff out". considering a piece of plywood slammed into the car at 100km/h it's incredible that there was no panel damage. what i thought were gouges in the paint turned out to be big swipes of wood embedded in the top layer of the glaze. there is some scratch damage on the pillar, but with some work it'll barely be noticeable.

of course i did feel like a doofus, but compared with a $400 excess, feeling like a doofus for a few minutes is a pretty affordable price. the car does still need to be polished/detailed to fix it properly, but i'm pretty sure i can get that done for less than $400 :)

now i have Crazy Watto stuck in my head: "is nothing! just a scratch! we can paint it over, buff it out ehhh!!"

a rare journal style post

What the hell, here's some stuff that's going on in my life... good and bad:

  • + EB sale allowed me to pick up Ratchet & Clank 2 and Ghost Recon quite cheap. Can't get GR Gold Edition though; and EB staff should be shot for their attitude if you ask about a game/expansion that's been out for more than 3 months - fuck you, kids.
  • +/- Am yet to play R&C2 since I let L go first this time :) She watched too much Ratchet 1 to feel like playing it herself.
  • + Finally paid off the only human I owed money to. Now only owe the faceless bank. My financial plan is long and boring, but proceeding.
  • - Car got collected by a piece of plywood on the freeway. Assessment on Wednesday but considering it took paint off five different panels it looks like $400 excess to come out of my budget somewhere. Damage is hopefully only superficial, but it's bad enough that it can't just be buffed out and it certainly can't be left as-is. Knowing my luck the impact destroyed an engine sensor or something. But honestly just thanking the good luck which saw the wood hit a pillar and not the windscreen.
  • +/- Found a decent digital photography mag, Australian Digital Photography or something. Only the first issue, but the production value is much better than most of the other offerings, which are barely better than junk mail. Downside is finding myself drooling over the digital SLR reviews. Mmmmm, Canon D1/D10/D300...
  • -/+ Having trouble getting good closeup/macro shots out of my digital camera. Positive side is I can probably sort that out a) with practice, b) by using a tripod and c) purchasing the addon lense. Besides, what do I expect from a (relatively) cheap digicam? :)
  • + After the success of the first one, more photo missions are now being planned. Basic idea is to pick some potentially photogenic location and go shoot lots of pics.
  • - The wonder of the net had me keenly aware that I'd rather have been in Sydney on Saturday, for vortex. That said, we will go back to Sydney; just a matter of saving some cash. It's just a pity that Brisbane's scene is so fucked.

Well that was surely boring for you all. We now return to regularly-scheduled flame-throwing.

news bits

  • | Mobile phones cut sperm count (June 28, 2004): Unlike previous studies, the researchers believe mobile phones may cause damage while in stand-by mode, when mobiles are not in use but still make regular transmission to maintain contact with radio towers. Eventually someone in the US will start the mother of all class actions over this. That aside, it seems no matter how you carry/use mobiles they are harmful. Either the phones have to be properly shielded (which they should have been in the first place) or we come up with a totally new system.
  • | Baby bonus 'won't be wasted' (June 28, 2004). This pisses me off - if you decide to give out a wad of cash, you do NOT get to tell people how to spend it. If you want to control it, give out vouchers or specific rebates.
  • | Latham vows ads crackdown (June 28, 2004): Political parties - not taxpayers - should foot the bill for government advertising that was really blatant propaganda, Mark Latham said yesterday. I'd settle for forcing lower rotation of ads - I do not need to have the Medicare ads in my face ten times during one TV show. I got the message the first time (for me that was "you don't breed? FUCK YOU! hahahah! hope you don't get sick, sukkah!"). / PM dismisses Latham's advertising 'stunt'. 28/06/2004. ABC News Online. Well of course he does. He's tried to dismiss pretty much everything Latham has said as a "stunt". He needs to come up with a new insult. Besides that, he could never admit that the Medicare ads are nothing more than a pre-election sales pitch.
  • How do you like my necktie, ladies and germs - National - Neck ties are usually considered the mark of a professional, but Israeli researchers have labelled them 'fomites' - objects capable of transmitting disease from one individual to another. Yet more evidence that TIES ARE EVIL.
  • Shops fear cutting edge of year-round sales - National - Ross Honeywill, director of the Centre for Customer Strategy, a consumer research company, said the sales were a response to Myer in particular. ... He cautioned that consumers would get used to discount prices and stop paying the retail price. Well fucking DUH. People don't actually like paying huge prices, strangely enough. People do realise that standard retail prices are hugely inflated by every person having their cut; plus tax, tax and more tax. Remember those cost offsets that GST was supposed to attract? All bullshit.
  • Housing eats up 40% of income - National - First home buyers who have bought in the past three years are paying an average of almost 40 per cent of their income in loan repayments - a third more than in 1998. ... The findings add weight to concerns that a generation is being locked out of the housing market after the boom which has doubled house prices nationally since 1996.
  • 'Fahrenheit 9/11' tops North American box office. 28/06/2004. ABC News Online

introduce your freakin' self

Dilbert | 2004.06.27. I forget names. I remember people, but I forget names. So I end up in that situation a lot... and frankly, I'm sick of people who can't cope with that.

Best thing is when I really do remember the person (which is usually the case). I once had someone get a little offended because I couldn't remember her name when called on to introduce her to someone else at a party. So I rattled off the exact time and place we met (some other party); where and what she studied; mentioned a pet hate of hers and some other thing we'd talked about. "...but I have a mental block on your name. Sorry." She blinked and told me her name. Funny thing is I'm pretty sure the only thing she remembered was my name.

The other problem I have is a near-total inability to remember someone's name if they have the same name as me. People find that weird by oddly enough they can accept it much more easily :)

...the look on a mac head's face? priceless

How I PC'd an Apple G5:

My in box went from 1% to 100% in 2 days (1300 messages). So many people were pointing out what a stupid thing to do, so many people were telling me of feeling sick, some even said they cried. I felt bad for those people.


ED NOTE: What fascinates me is the overwhelming reaction among the Apple community. I have read about the zeal among Mac users, but the reaction to this story is a real eye-opener.

I would have thought people would have got over this sort of thing after the whole Macquarium thing. Apparently not :)

the gmail plot thickens

Check the update below...

I just got my first piece of spam into my Gmail account. Now this is interesting, since I have not put that address into any form of publically-accessible resource. I haven't used it for any forms, or posted on a public board or anything at all like that.

Why is it so interesting? It's a message advertising MSN. Yep, Microsoft's shit-arse messenger system.

Why is it really interesting? The only systems I've sent email to other than Gmail are my own workplace, a third-party ISP, and ...wait for it... Hotmail. I've sent invites and a test email to Hotmail (which is an MSN service, for those who don't realise it).

So, send email to Hotmail from Gmail... get MSN spam!

The email came from another Gmail account which I don't recognise and I've just confirmed isn't one of the people I've invited. I do use MSN (yech, blah) since some of my friends won't go over to ICQ. But that has no connection with my Gmail account - I had to sign up with Hotmail (yech, blah) to get MSN (yech, blah) working.

I have reported it as spam. On a lighter note, Gmail's spam-handling method is really quick and easy!

Update 2004.07.05

Retraction... turns out this was an innocent mistake, someone trying to get a hold of a mate with a very similar nick. My mistake!

Guess I'm just a little bit too ready to think the worst of MSN. No wait, I still think the worst of MSN. This just wasn't it.... :)

news bits

and now a spot of howard bashing

Nicked from blackbishop:

A lobbyist, on his way home from work in Canberra traffic came to a dead halt and thought to himself, 'Wow, this seems worse than usual'.

He noticed a police officer walking between the lines of stopped cars, so he rolled down his window and asked, 'Officer, what's the hold-up?'

The cop replied, 'The Prime Minister is depressed, so he stopped his motorcade and is threatening to douse himself with petrol and set himself on fire. He says no one believes his stories about why we went to war in Iraq, or the connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda, or that his tax cuts will help anyone except his wealthy friends. So we're taking up a collection for him.'

The lobbyist asks, 'How much have you got so far?'

The officer replies, 'About 50 litres, but a lot of people are still siphoning.'

google australia? they could start by answering their damn phone

Google reveals its caring side - Next - Search engine giant Google is preparing to publicly release some of its underlying software code only months before it undertakes a multibillion-dollar stock-exchange float. The revelation comes as Google considers Melbourne for the home of a regional research and development centre in an effort to triple its global workforce over the next 12 months. It's fantastic that Google is thinking of expanding into Australia; which is quite the opposite impression I got after I tried to contact their Sydney office a while back. The phone just rang out. Plus, you can't purchase the Google search appliance here at the moment. Hopefully that would change too.

news bits

  • Private space travel becomes a reality. 22/06/2004. ABC News Online: The first privately financed manned craft to enter space, SpaceShipOne, has returned to earth in California after completing its historic flight. ... The flight marked the first time that a non-government spacecraft reached the altitude considered to be the boundary between earth's atmosphere and outer space. The future finally starts to arrive, yet most TV media outlets used this as their "little whacky story at the end of the news".
  • | Court battle over bundling ads (June 23, 2004): Telecoms giants Telstra and Optus clashed in the Federal Court yesterday ... Legal action is a common tactic used in the highly competitive market, as the players try to stymie each other's attempts to promote their services. This country's courts are backed up for years, yet it can be used as a business tool by large firms like this.
  • | Fenech vows revenge from the grave (June 23, 2004): A defiant Jeff Fenech will seek revenge from the grave if a Sydney gang carries out its threat to kill him. ... Fenech urged his would-be killers to accept that he had not helped police investigate the crime gang being blamed for the intimidation. I'm sure the Police just love counter-threats like that, but then I have no idea how I'd cope with that sort of situation.
  • Crash goes that computer museum - National - But just 10 years after its formation by a group of academics, consultants and other information technology enthusiasts, the Australian Computer Museum Society is poised to press the 'Delete' button, consigning itself to extinction and more than 100 tonnes of IT heritage to the rubbish skip. It's not easy to preserve modern history - people don't tend to think that way until something is "old". Often it's too late by then. Certainly with computer gear it will be too late since people just don't keep old computers.
  • PM unfurls his patriotic school agenda - National - Schools will need to provide functioning flagpoles and fly the Australian flag if they want access to $31 billion in funding, the Prime Minister, John Howard, warned yesterday. Next up, a ban on the word "multicultural" and a refusal to allow non-citizens access to education, health or electricity. Seriously, linking flagpoles to funding?? What shit. They're schools, not military bases. / Flagpole fundraising takes sweet revenge on parents - National - Catch 22: how to pay for a flagpole without diverting funds from play equipment, and making the kids less fit; or scoffing more bloody Freddoes, making everyone more fat. I wonder how well you could fund-raise with carrot sticks. Actually I do recall one fund raiser for an organisation I was involved with as a kid... they bought a huge crate of Granny Smith apples and sold them off at fund raiser prices. It was actually really successful.
  • ALP members defend backflip over PBS. 23/06/2004. ABC News Online: After two years of resistance, the Labor Party says it will now support Government legislation to allow the cost of subsidised medicines to rise by 30 per cent. I just knew those condescending TV ads with Dr James Wright were a precursor to a price hike. "Hi, I've been set up to put the blame on you lot who actually use the medicine...!"
  • 'Fahrenheit 9/11' R rating appeal fails. 23/06/2004. ABC News Online: Distributors for Michael Moore's anti-Bush documentary Fahrenheit 9/11have failed to overturn an R rating for the film but would release it in more than 850 theaters this week amid what appears to be growing audience interest.

hotmail and yahoo sabotage users' email

Slashdot | Hotmail Blocks Gmail Emails (and Invites): Emails and invitations sent to Hotmail from Gmail accounts do not bounce, but nor do they arrive in the recipient's Inbox - they vanish mysteriously into the aether. ... It's already well-documented that Yahoo moves Gmail invites into the Bulk Mail folder.

What this means for Hotmail and Yahoo users is that your email has been sabotaged. You do not get all the email sent to you; all you get is the email that Hotmail/Yahoo deem suitable for your eyes. They're playing free and easy with your email. I hope you didn't get a job offer via a Gmail account....

While it's not surprising that these companies are unethical, it is surprising that they are willing to actively sabotage the very service they provide. Hotmail and Yahoo users can never again trust their email, since it's clear that the service provider will delete any email they feel like deleting.

Update - 2004.06.23

A quick test shows that Hotmail filters Gmail emails (which would include Gmail invites) straight into "junk". I'm not surprised, but it's depressing to see just how morally bereft Microsoft really is.


Or perhaps that should be meta-blogging? Anyways... linkfrenzy: LinkFrenzy SoupSpecial, including a link to Hitler artwork (he was an art student before he became leader of the third reich, remember?). I don't know what to think when I look at Hitler's artwork. I essentially can't get past what I know about the artist. Subconsciously I think I refuse to consider their artistic merit. Which is interesting. High school history books always talk about his time in Vienna, but I don't recall any books including one of his artworks. Probably not such a bad idea given that the average mind of a high school student isn't really ready for that sort of moral exploration.

a comment on comments

i've opened up the comment system to accept non-blogger users' comments (it defaults to blogger users only). i guess we'll see if i get comment spam.

for lj users... please note that i don't get notifications if you comment on the lj feed. i do get notification if you click through and comment on the blog itself. so if i don't reply to an lj comment, it's almost certainly because i just didn't see it - nothing more :)

Netcraft: Akamai Attack Highlights Threat From Bot Networks

Reading Netcraft while my remote access struggles to load another email.... it's like wading through treacle, honestly (well, not that i've ever waded through treacle, but you get the picture).

Netcraft: Akamai Attack Highlights Threat From Bot Networks: Akamai today offered more details on a distributed denial of service attack by a large network of 'zombie' machines that bogged down its DNS system for several hours. ... Comcast and other cable modem networks are problematic because their customers are typically home users with fast connections, modest security skills and static IP addresses. [S]ubscribers are often unaware their machine has been compromised.

Gives more details on the attack which caused the Microsoft/Google/Yahoo outage the other day; and also discusses how these attacks are made possible (at least in part) by trojans etc. I know people who fit the profile exactly - user with broadband who has trouble protecting their machine. It can feel like a full-time job sometimes; when you're updating your antivirus software, windows update and a couple of adware killers a couple of times a week just to keep up..!

another view on compulsory voting

i touched on this issue a couple of days back... apparently plenty of people are thinking and writing about it: | Don't vote, you'll only encourage them!

it's hard to ignore the points raised in the article: why would you want poorly informed, unmotivated people to vote at all? a large proportion of the populace don't know the first thing about who or what they are voting for. they don't make any attempt to think; or even just keep track of which pre-election promises actually come true.

one reason to make these people vote is... if you make all of these people vote, then their poorly informed vote is just one of however many. even if they are spurred into voting one way or another by a weak argument, it doesn't mean that a relatively small number of idiots can force the outcome.

it's pretty damn harsh to actively dilute the worth of a single vote; but think of it this way: would you rather give a knee-jerk idiot/bigot/etc voter a proportionately higher say in an election? or would you rather limit the power of lobby groups to mobilize a mindless army of idiot voters? ...well, ok. i'd rather have a group of intelligent, informed voters. but that doesn't seem likely.

as for the point that refusing to vote would send a message to the pollies... well, if you are not a potential vote; as if they would care about your opinion! personally i think it would be better to have a kind of formal-informal vote. as in, the ability to formally refuse to vote for any candidate. sure, we can enter an invalid vote; but that is counted together with votes which were actually screwed up. to put it another way: an informed, purposeful, protest-based "informal" vote is counted the same way as a vote by someone too stupid to even fill in the form correctly.

i can imagine plenty of electorates could record a very high level of protest vote. that might shake things up a bit... if you couldn't get a result without 50%+ of the voters actually casting a supporting vote, they might work a bit harder. plus i think it would appeal to australians to be able to tell the parties to go find someone worth voting for :) even being able to specify that none of your preferences should go to another candidate would help. i know voting is mostly about who you put last (as observed by Andrew Denton)... but when you only have two options that is also the person you put second.

democracy: it's not great, it just sucks a bit less than other systems.

boing boing

Wrigley Australia = teasing bastards

Wrigley Corporate Australia & New Zealand: Why is Big Red not available in Australia & New Zealand? Big Red is not on sale in Australia & New Zealand on a continual basis. We have made formulation changes to the Big Red product made in the USA and will from time to time, release limited stocks to satisfy consumer demand. Continue to review this website for release dates.

Fuckers. I declare you guilty of cuntishness; for which you should be tied in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds.*

Just sell the damned gum, ok? Don't put little tease batches out there to get a cinnamon fan's hopes up :(

* Credit to KinslayeR for that line.

news bits

news bits

to evict john howard, sms 0401-GET-FKD

Here each individual is interested not only in his own affairs but in the affairs of the state as well... we do not say that a man who takes no interest in politics is a man who minds his own business; we say that he has no business here at all. - Pericles on Athenian Democracy.

The Australian: Minority who care are polls apart [June 15, 2004], discussing flaws in polling questions and general voter apathy (kept in check only via compulsory voting):

[I]n recent years there has been a decreasing enthusiasm and an increasing indifference to the whole business of electing governments, state or federal. Should Howard fall over the line, it will not be a consequence of euphoria. The ingredients may well include fatalism, irritation, even anger, while a vote for Latham might be cast in irritability as much as inspiration.

There is far more involvement in the Melbourne Cup or a record-breaking swim by Ian Thorpe, or even the outcome of Big Brother. Increasingly, people express their dwindling political involvement through activities other than party politics, which they understandably view with growing contempt. So they'll sign up for environmental groups or single-issue organisations. Alternatively, they simply drop out and go shopping. They disassociate. Qualitative researcher Hugh Mackay has been saying it for years: we're living in an era of detachment. Take away compulsory voting and the crisis can be seen vividly.

See also: comments at Belegdel: I've been asked...

Factors which must be considered:

  • Only two major parties and neither one is good. Alternatives like the Greens, Democrats* or independents are not even available in many electorates.
  • Traditional Holden vs. Ford style voting; where your parents always voted for one party no matter what; and their parents before them etc; so you always vote for that party no matter what. Similar to the way Australians almost always vote No in referendums. It's not based on anything other than unquestioning tradition and resistence to change.
  • Even if you support an alternative, there is the FUD factor from the big two parties: "a vote for anyone else is a wasted vote". Although this is clearly bullshit, your average bonehead is so easily swayed by flawed argument that they just along with it. Doesn't matter to them that it's their democratic right - responsibility even - to vote according to their real wishes.
  • Sheer, uncomplicated, bone-idle laziness; as well as an increasing level of "it's all about me" self-absorption. Voting is too much like work - people resent giving up their weekend time to go and vote. If voting wasn't compulsory they simply wouldn't; not because they have an objection or don't like the options... but because they are too fucking lazy or self-absorbed to go and do it. They'll vote on reality TV because they can do it via SMS without shifting off the couch.
  • Non-compulsory voting allows relatively small lobby groups to control/sway the outcome of elections, by motivating their relatively-passionate membership to vote a certain way.

* Damn stupid self-destroying Democrats. They had a strong, popular leader who appealed to young voters (most of whom actively wanted an alternative to Lib/Lab) and were poised to become a serious third player... then internal politics decimated them and they all but disappeared. I rate that single event as the single biggest tragedy for Australian politics in the last 8 years.

please stop the stupid people breeding

Hot on the heels of this morning's Wonder of Copy Crippling post: | Blank CD levy could 'pay artists' (June 15, 2004). Please, please, please can we make this stupid fucking idea go away. Blank CDs are used for many things, music being just one. Why the fuck should the record industry get money from me so that I can back up my digital photos and other data?

Besides that, if you believe that artists will get a single cent out of the deal; you shouldn't be allowed out of the house without adult supervision.

ronald reagan was a total loony | Old Mother Reagan:

I?m not out to write a character assassination of Ronald Reagan today; the babbling old bastard is dead now, and there?s no point at flinging any more shit at his memory than his own actions dictated. Reaganomics. Iran-Contra. Star Wars. $3 trillion dollars of deficit spent shoring up the Cold War.


He was a warmongering fuckhead who played as many sides as he possibly could?and then lied about it to the American people and got away with it, mainly because most of us didn?t think he was bright enough to have actually been so devious. After all, no intelligent human could have come up with Reaganomics.

A worthy rant.

fuck you, EMI

I made the mistake of bringing an EMI CD to work today. I mainly brought it in to lend it to a co-worker who was thinking of purchasing that album and wanted to listen to it first (like you can in record shops, but without a sound system competing with the shitty headphones). It appears that we cannot listen to it without installing EMI's own software on our machines - a shitty player and who knows what the fuck else (would you trust them?). The results:

  1. I can't listen to my CD at work.
  2. The co-worker hasn't heard the CD and is peeved at EMI; and now won't be buying the album no matter what. If he can't listen to it at work and/or whack it on his iPod... it's no use to him.
  3. Another co-worker wasn't even game to *try* the CD since he uses a Mac.

Result: one sale lost immediately; I'm wondering why I'd ever buy anything from EMI again; and nobody is listening to music.

This is hardly a new issue; but it has finally hit me directly - I guess I've just been lucky enough not to buy any copy-crippled CDs up until now. What's really galling is the fact that the technology is supposed to prevent copying the CD; but what it accomplishes is preventing legit customers listening to legit CDs. If this was a pirate CD there would be no problem - to put it another way: if I hadn't done the right thing, I'd be listening to the CD right now.

Update 2004.06.20:

This post has been mentioned over at Zenarchery: EMI CDs won't play on computers w/o software? ...and I thought I should add some info to the existing post.

The CD does claim to work on Macs (OS 8.6+); however said workmate was too worried by cases of Mac CD drives getting screwed up by dodgy copy protection attempts. Not to mention he wouldn't want to install EMI's software either.

Of course, it wouldn't help anyone running Linux. Or Solaris. Or Mac OS 7. Or anyone who is totally barred from installing so much as a plugin on their work machine, like my girlfriend (her machine is locked down very tight and even gets scanned daily for MP3 files).

news bits

  • Akamai goes postal, kills Microsoft, Symantec, Google, Apple, Lycos... | The Register: From around 1.30pm, the Internet domain that Akamai uses to host content - - disappeared and only reappeared at 3.30pm. Because a huge number of websites run through the Akamai site - including the world's four biggest,,, and - when Akamai went down, so did they. That's right, Google has downtime like anything else :)
  • Tussle looming over Saddam handover - After Saddam - US President George W Bush insisted today he must have assurances that Saddam Hussein will stay in jail and not return to power before releasing him to Iraq's interim government, refusing to commit to the June 30 timetable envisioned by Iraq's new prime minister.
  • First mobile phone virus identified - World - [The virus] appears to have been developed by an international group of hackers called 29A, who specialise in creating viruses which try to show 'that no technology is reliable and safe from their attacks'.
  • Blaming the barman is out: court - National - Getting drunk and blaming the barman for an injury you suffered on the way home got much harder yesterday when the High Court said it was time people accepted responsibility for their actions. This case in particular should have been thrown out instantly. Yes, the venue has responsibilities; but there are limits to that.
  • | Budget spending goes into overdrive (June 16, 2004): An unprecedented Budget surplus of more than $2.3 billion will enable the Beattie Government to fast-track new roads, railways and powerlines to cope with the southeast Queensland population boom.
  • FOX SPORTS | League | QRL rule ref: Gould (June 16, 2004): NSW coach Phil Gould has made the bizarre accusation that the Queensland Rugby League has pressured referee Sean Hampstead before tonight's second State of Origin match in Brisbane. ... Gould then walked away from the press huddle in a huff. Gould apparently didn't make a big enough dickhead of himself before game one. Frankly if anyone should complain about biased referees it's Queensland (and the Broncos, outside Origin) - nobody south of the border can claim they're disadvantaged. Maybe they're just sore since Bill I-Hate-Queenslanders Harrigan retired. Besides all that - is Gould saying his players can't count up to ten?

news bits

  • | Maccas bid to win hearts (June 15, 2004): 'Doctors told [Spurlock] to stop after three weeks. I would have told him to stop after one day,' [McDonald's Australia CEO Guy Russo] said. ... But he dismissed notions that McDonald's should be treated as a 'special treat', describing it is 'a legitimate meal'. Doublethink in action! It's a good meal, but you shouldn't eat it all the time... He set out to overeat, by eating our 'legitimate meals'... McShit! It's not a surprise that the guy got sick; it's just that he has publically called out McDonalds on their claims that they sell 'good food'.
  • Govt releases new energy strategy. 15/06/2004. ABC News Online: The centrepiece is a $500 million fund to encourage the private sector to put $1 billion into research for new technology. Funny how this turns up within days of Labour signing up Peter Garrett.
  • US to hand Saddam over 'within fortnight'. 15/06/2004. ABC News Online: Iraq's interim Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, says the United States will hand former president Saddam Hussein over to his new Government for trial within two weeks. It's going to be interesting to see how they deal with Hussein.
  • German hate mail spam attack stuns experts | The Register. To be honest, the only shocking/stunning thing about this is how long it has taken for a hate group to make serious use of spam/virus attacks.
  • Self-cleaning clothes - Science - Scientists may have found an answer to the prayers of every lazy person - clothes that clean themselves. ... The clothes simply need to be exposed to sunlight for the cleaning process to begin.

boing boing

  • Turn your PC into a Mac - Features - Engadget - Here's an interesting thought: skin up a PC like this, then do a kind of Macintosh Turing Test (eg. set up generic inputs and not let the user see the hardware). Bet you anything the majority of Mac users couldn't tell the fucking difference. So why do I find that interesting? Well it'd certainly throw a nice counterpoint to the claim that Macs are intrinsically better; and more than just "prettier" than PCs :)
  • A Simple Plan - Virus-proof your PC in 20 minutes, for free. By Paul Boutin [Windows PC, that is]. Oh I just love misleading headlines like that one; but then it makes sense when you realise that MSN is part of the hosting URL. These three steps are NOT going to virus-proof your machine; the author even realises it. Worse still, it claims to do it for free when the article recommends two different software purchases. It hides three steps inside one step; so it should be: make your computer virus-resistant in an hour or two for a little bit of money. Alternatively Boutin could have recommended some free solutions like ZoneAlarm firewall and AVG antivirus. Then it would have been free. The moral of the story: never mistake Microsoft/MSN for a news source.

news bits

  • Labor to fast-track Garrett's membership. 11/06/2004. ABC News Online, includes more discussion on the whole electoral role issue. Good to see the Liberals harping on that; scoring the cheapest possible political points. Garrett's passion and commitment cannot be questioned over a mistake like this - shit, if he wasn't on the roll, why the hell was he given ballot forms? The AEC could take a little responsibility here. Oh wait, bureaucracy never accepts responsibility, what am I thinking.
  • | Latham 'indifferent to US alliance' (June 11, 2004): PRIME Minister John Howard today accused Opposition Leader Mark Latham of an indifference to the alliance with the US which would cause problems for Australia if he became prime minister. Latham really did sum Howard up when he called him an "arse-licker".
  • | Smoking 'keeps the poor happy' (June 11, 2004): BRITISH Health Secretary John Reid sparked outrage yesterday when he claimed that smoking was the 'only enjoyment' for the nation's poor and they should be allowed to continue without interference from the middle class.
  • Mice chewing competition outrages RSPCA. 11/06/2004. ABC News Online. That is disgusting.
  • | Rico's bordering on human (June 11, 2004): German researchers have found a border collie named Rico who understands more than 200 words and can learn new ones as quickly as many children. Border collies are the best dogs :)
  • FOX SPORTS | League | Origin decimates Penrith (June 11, 2004): The Panthers have confirmed their status as a heavyweight team in the most unwanted way as they have been severely disrupted by State of Origin commitments and injuries, in particular to their backline. It is the same problem the Brisbane Broncos have always had to endure. Good to see some other team sharing the Origin experience there ;) I wonder if the NRL will take notice now that it's a NSW clubs having trouble. After all, they haven't given a toss for the last few years when it was just those nasty Broncos with injury problems.
  • Audi RSQ Concept - This is the first time that Audi has developed a car specifically for a major Hollywood motion picture [I, ROBOT] ... With this project Audi opens up a new chapter in product placement. Previously, the brand with the four rings has always supplied volume-production cars to movie productions.

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just how far can you go with accessibility?

Juicy Studio: WCAG and the Myth of Accessibility ... still digesting this. It's a topic I've seen/considered before. It's a very tough one; but my overall thought is that people with cognitive disabilities probably require a different kind of support. I'm not convinced that web developers can cater to literally everyone - the cognitive disabilities issue really crosses over to a content issue, rather than a technical issue.


At any rate, I'd hardly call accessibility a "myth" just because it's not perfect yet. Not so long ago, nobody appeared to give a shit about anyone other than fully mobile, fully sighted users. Mr Leitch would do well to reign in his high-horse tone.

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the shield of blind faith

Mac using coworker sent this to me: MacAddict Forums X :: View topic - What does your mac do that is amazing to your PC friends?? Good to see that the Mac converted still preach the same tired crap to each other. The tremendous superiority complex of some of these users! Most ironic is the guy who blows off PC users for not knowing about Mac features; then lists a stack of Mac features which the PC has also had for years.

Basically once people get into Macs they seem to buy into all the FUD-style arguments which Mac diehards spout to justify spending another $5k on the latest and greatest Mac. For example: Macs are better, look at all this eye candy! Personally I turn all that shit off; and the Genie effect makes me seasick. Or the old classic: check out how fast my dual processer G5 with gigs of RAM can open this file! If I'd bought the latest, greatest maxed out system last week I'd fucking hope it was fast! :) Oh and finally... PCs have had dual monitor capability for years. Get over it, Macheads.

Mac: don't think. Just trust the sales guy.

Here's a thing: your Mac will crash eventually... just like any other computer, Mac or PC. Neither platform is inherently superior; and Macs are no more "intuitive" than a PC. You have to learn how to use both.

I think Mac users wouldn't bother me if they could accept that they're not better, just prettier :)

one remote to find them all

Remote Control Anarchy (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox): The six remote controls required for a simple home theater illustrate the problems caused by complexity and inconsistency in user interfaces. My pet peeve: we bought the same brand TV and VCR. I can control everything from one remote, except for one single - but critical - function. Volume I think it was. Hence I have to use two. Not just that, but I have to use the annoying ugly one 99% of the time and the nice one barely sees the light of day.

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  • | Superbug stronger than antibiotics (June 7, 2004): Dr Munckhof said it represented a 'wake-up call' on antibiotic resistance. Ronan Murray, an infectious diseases specialist at Royal Perth Hospital, said the 'Armageddon scenario' of infections not responding to a whole range of antibiotics was 'still a way off', but he described the growth of drug-resistant bacteria as 'very worrying'. We're all gonna die.
  • | Latham wooing Peter Garrett's passion (June 7, 2004): Garrett, who last year refused an overture to run as Greens candidate, was silent on the speculation. A spokesman said he was 'considering his options'.
  • Iliad cut back for text generation - World - The 'translation' of the first five of the 24 Iliad books condenses 37,000 words to 32 lines of mobile telephone text message language, with sad and smiley faces and love hearts. Ahh hell, it's as close as those illiterate young pups will ever come to reading a classic.... oh wait, I haven't read that monster either :)
  • Reality TV fades to comedy and scalpel drama - TvRadio - : Australia's commercial networks are casting around for ways to slow the audience drift from television. Apparently "stop broadcasting mind-numbing crap" is a concept that's just too hard for them to grasp.


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recursives r'us'r'us'r'us....

The problem here is they are both right.

Zeldman laments the state of the web; in his opinion, on his site. Glassdog snipes back; in their own opinion, on their own site.

See... I don't agree that Zeldman had the control to make the web what he wanted. The 14yo girls have, like, filled it with, like, utter crap. But I do think it's funny that he complains that Glassdog turned in a blog, like his own site. But Glassdog's opinion that Zeldman has no useful content is just as ironic... and so it goes around in circles.

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boing boing

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  • Roche sentence inadequate, says Jewish leader - Anti-Terror Watch - Melbourne businessman and Jewish community leader Joe Gutnick said today he was disappointed with the sentence given to convicted terrorist Jack Roche. Roche, 50, was sentenced in Perth District Court yesterday to nine years in jail, with a non-parole period of four and a half years.
  • Newspapers adopt compact editions to woo back readers. 02/06/2004. ABC News Online. Broadsheets may be considered superior and more trustworthy, but the fact is the format is a pain in the arse to read.
  • | Holden pulls plug on car maker (June 2, 2004): HOLDEN yesterday killed off the Daewoo brand in Australia. I wonder if we'll eventually get down to just a few big brands; considering most of the cars on the road come from the same handful of parent companies... well, probably not actually. 90% of marketing etc is based on factors entirely separate from the actual product. The separate franchises give the illusion of different manufacturers, which we all like.
  • | Be on time, Jetstar flyers warned (June 2, 2004): JETSTAR might be trumpeting itself as Australia's new cheap and cheerful airline - but you need to be on time for check-in. Those not at the counter before the 30-minute pre-flight cut-off are likely to have the smile wiped from their faces as they are stopped from boarding and forfeit their cash. Note at the counter, not in the lineup for however many check-in clerks they have running at the time. So their own service levels could see passengers lose their flight. Late or not, Australians will invoke the "fair go" ideal and switch to Virgin; who at least give you a fighting chance of getting on board :)
  • Outsourced IT staff fingered porn stash banker | The Register : Porn-surfing bank supremo Michael Soden was caught with his browser down last week by the very same staff he outsourced to HP at the start of his reign at the Bank of Ireland. See - don't outsource!
  • Scare flares over fire retardant in polar bears - World - Chemicals widely used as flame retardants in homes have been discovered in Arctic polar bears and birds, and could pose a health hazard, Norwegian scientists say. Those damn polar bears just won't friggin' burn. More seriously though, this stuff is worrying. Apparently we all contain traces of Scotchguard waterproofing these days. 3M has quietly sold the brand off... coincidence?
  • FOX SPORTS | League | Willie asks to take drugs (June 2, 2004): Mason will know within a fortnight whether he can take [Ritalin] to treat an attention deficit disorder. I had wondered what they would do; since nobody seems to have a better way to treat ADHD than using amphetamines.

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