Tram Town
Saturday, January 31, 2004
Category: Departed - John Daly
Presumably unconvinced to the end. I have been a regular visitor to his website for some time now. Sympathy to the Daly family. I sincerely hope Rachel et al can keep the website going.

Friday, January 30, 2004
Category: Tram Town
I personally can't wait for Semi to post about the Jim Cairns family auction of his belongings (including the 1974 Volvo and the card table he sold the books from at local Melbourne markets). I reckon it'll be a cracker! (Just heard on the radio, no link found as yet).

Category: Fillums
This had slipped in under my RADAR at least.

Category: Automotive Technology
A Fascinating web page devoted to pictures of old prototype cars.

Thursday, January 29, 2004
Category: Amish Technology
Oh Good, just what I need, something else that I don't understand.

Category: Values
Three cheers! Andrew Bolt is back after what appears to have been a six week break. In today's dump he concentrates on the left response to the Prime Minister's comments about teaching "values" in schools (whatever the hell "values" means). He "quotes" the government report, which the SSS summarised with the headline "Schools study contradicts PM's stance", thus...
It says values were "a distinct part of the curriculum during the late 19th and early 20th centuries", but since then "values education has been largely neglected", and "teachers appear not to have received adequate preparation, to reflect critically, on their role as values educators".
I certainly couldn't find any mention of this while taking the lazy option of looking at the executive summary. In fact the best I could get from it was that they asked a bunch of schools if they would like a grant in return for making some waffly statement about generally good valuesish kind of things. From what I could gather, most of the schools took the dough and asked for more. No surprises there. So I had to go for 861K, 259 page full report.
It's there alright. And this as well...
Other than these earlier attempts to incorporate the specific teaching of values, in Australia values education has been largely neglected, or seen to form a limited part of other subjects, notably social education (Johnson 2002).
Not quite what you would you would expect to find given the SSS's headline.
Regardless, the report was pretty empty, so was the PM's statement, so were the unions' responses. The word "values" was applied in this case because it was impossible to pin it down in any useful way. As The Professor says: "No doubt about it, Howard is genius. Once the mainstream left works itself into a froth in defence of the status quo, Latham's hopes of reclaiming the aspirational electorate will vanish."

Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Category: 404
Years ago on memepool I encountered the 404 research lab. This 404 is interesting for its 4 significant figure accuracy. Warning, it may not last long.

Category: Audio
The B-Control Audio BCA2000 looks ugly and a bit underdone compared with, say, a US428, but having Behringer in this field will bring about some great price mangling.

Category: Audio
A Mackie Onyx 1220 with a 1394 card looks like a nice thing as part of a small DAW. Probably street $A2k is my guess.

Category: Idiots
Here's one. Although I can see the funny side but.

Category: Apple
Fascinating Macintosh History Site.

Category: April 1
Frontpage is usually serious but I cannot believe that this is really true.
A course listed in Indiana University’s Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department entitled “Threats, Violence & Work Safety,” is being offered for the third time this semester at the university.
However, instead of it being a course on workplace safety--and how to prevent and avoid violence on the job--much of the course material last semester covered a history of the Middle East.
I eagerly await a follow-up where the woman teaching the course is surprised that her material is considered inappropriate.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Category: Audio (Updated)
Maybe even I can sing now!
Stupid, stupid me!! Semi had already got this covered way back when. Oops!

Monday, January 26, 2004
Category: Wind
An article in the Telegraph (UK) that suggests wind farms are causing health problems for people who live near them.
Dr Harry said that low-frequency noise - which was used as an instrument of torture by the Germans during the Second World War because it induced headaches and anxiety attacks - could disturb rest and sleep at even very low levels.

Category: WMDs
Melanie Phillips has taken some UK rags to task for misreporting David Kay's comments and report as head of the Iraq Survey Group. No WMDs? That's not what he said...
"We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons," he said. "But we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD programme. Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved."
and, Phillips notes,
David Kay said in his interim report he had uncovered a network of clandestine biological warfare programmes which Saddam had gone to huge efforts to keep secret.
[shot of Semi Googling to the source] In the statement on the interim progress report that David Kay made on October 2 last year,
Iraq's WMD programs spanned more than two decades, involved thousands of people, billions of dollars, and were elaborately shielded by security and deception operations that continued even beyond the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
There's no point me quoting anymore of the report, just read the whole thing. When you have done so, I defy you to come to the same, simplistic "No WMDs" conclusion that our friends in the press came to.
Just for the record, I have to say that I do NOT believe WMDs were necessary for the war to be justified.

Sunday, January 25, 2004
Category: Apple
Have you got a Rear View Mirror for a T613? sounds like a fair trade!

Category: France
FrontPage has a fascinating article providing some depth on the issue of wearing religious head-dress in French schools. Well worth the read if, like me, you have been wondering why the ban would even be considered.

Saturday, January 24, 2004
Category: "miserable failure"
On the same day as the SSS reports the miserable failure Google bomb of 7 weeks ago, guess who goes to the top of the Google "miserable failure" search. And two of the other top four are Hillary and that peanut Carter. That feels good!

Category: Fillums
Cheaper by the Dozen is nowhere near as bad as some of the crits would have you believe. Judging by the crowd up at Airport West this afternoon, when I saw it, and the box office receipts numbers for the last month or so, it maximises Bums-On-Seats as well as the more difficult technical award Booms-In-Shot - right from the get-go.
In fact a Google search on "microphone cheaper dozen" is a goldmine of comments.
In eye-candy terms, with Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Tom Welling, Piper Perabo, and Hilary Duff, there's something for everyone from 8 to 80. Of course, these people bring enough acting cred, which is clearly visible on screen (just below the microphones usually), to make it work despite the $zero post-production budget. I'm sure that with a little bit more effort at the edit stage and a few more minutes of screen time, this could have been a really good movie rather than a bearable peice of fluff that the kids loved.
Just One Guy's Opinion.

Category: Nails...
...in Kyoto's coffin. Yes, even more of them, this time from the San Francisco Chronicle. In this case, most of the Democratic nominees have distanced themselves for one reason or another. Hat tip to Envirospin Watch.

Category: Culture
I know I should be able to think of a witty cultural reference but frankly I can't at the moment.

Friday, January 23, 2004
Category: Web
This reminds me a bit of this but I'm really looking forward to this. Semi will probably disagree.

Category: Trademarks
Oh Bugger! I'm always getting pillows and computers mixed up. This must be why.

Thursday, January 22, 2004
Category: History
I didn't see this article about terra nullius in the Bulletin during the year. I wish I had. It is necessary reading. Pointed at by ABCWatch. I am glad the Uncle is back on the job after a break for the solstace celebrations.

Category: Older Technology
Nice Grab Bag and not an Apple product to be found.

Category: Technology

Category: Education
Stanley Gudgeon has a few words to say about the Mean Spirited Jackass's take on public schools in Australia.
No doubt about it, Howard is genius. Once the mainstream left works itself into a froth in defence of the status quo, Latham's hopes of reclaiming the aspirational electorate will vanish.
He follows this up with a critique on an "intellectual"'s cut on non-girls in schools who have to "change". As the Professor says: "It's a hoot, the whole thing, so read every loopy word". Great reading!

Category: Yartz
Black Jack McEwen's name was not mentioned in this article quoting "housewife" Robyn Nevin. Every other PM since the war is mentioned and apparently all have provided significant support for "sensitive people expressing emotions" except mean-spirited little jackass John Howard and his hero Pig-Iron Bob. Perhaps she should take up history teaching at an elite level.
I am going to make up a list of actors who I don't despise... here we go: Mail your suggestions to TramTown. Thanks to Slatts (who also noted the article about Robin Nevin) for a couple of suggestions, but the list isn't expanding at any sort of surprising rate! There's not many of them.
UPDATE: Joan Collins added to the list!
UPUPDATE: Vincent Gallo gets a provisional guernsey!
UPUPUPDATE: For funding the avoidance of a Kerry presidency, Kelsey Grammer.
UPUPUPUPDATE 24dec2004: Tim Blair is doing a Tribute to Tim Blair 2004 over at his site at the moment. I must have missed a reference to Dan Aykroyd in February. It seems he was on Dubya. He will be undespised until his return to the Dark Side™ in 2008.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Category: Politics
In an article about sexuality in Islamic society, The Gnuhunter pointed me at a couple of really interesting articles by Karen Green, and Paul Sheehan. I learnt quite a bit from both of them.

Category: Off-by-one
I ususally look at the "State" section of the online Herald-Sun. Look down at the bottom, an article from the 17th of December has been sitting there for the last month or so. I'm guessing that the page generating software has an off-by-one error somewhere. Do you care?

Category: Unbelievable
I don't care which section of the Hun this article about one of the Williams lassies' choice of outfits at the Aussie open yesterday appeared in, it's unbelievably shallow. Her opponent wore "a scarlet red two-piece crop top and cheeky shorts with a pair of hot-pink-toed trainers". Who won? well, Venus "won the classic style honours", "but Williams's Wimbledon whites paled by comparison to the outfit of blonde showstopper Ashley Harkleroad, her opponent".

Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Category: April 1
A new category because sometimes, much as I would like to, I just can't believe everything I read on the internet. Here's hoping it's for real!

Category: Copyright Infringement
Just plain silly.

Sunday, January 18, 2004
Category: Theatre
[ I promise to stop blogging and go get a life soon but his is a great little article ] Talking Culture with Tom Stoppard - I wish I could have been there, it sound like an absolute cracker of a night.

Category: NGVI
The saga continues... The SSS provides more "information" including the likes of "There's not much point speculating at this stage."

Category: Passive Smoking
According to Joy McKean, her recently dead husband, who smoked until he was 56, actually died from passive smoking. Passive smoke makes me feel ill. I can't go to a pub to see a band because I know I will feel sick the next morning. But...if you smoke until you're 56 and then claim your lung cancer was due to passive smoke, I think you are drawing a pretty long bow.

Category: BigPond
So I missed the announcement last Thursday that BigPond has established an online music store with Digital Rights Management using the Windows Media Player technology. This technology "stops" you from listening to the downloaded music on your iPod, it also limits the number of times the music can be burned onto a CD to three. I can think of at least three ways around these limitations but to publish them here would probably be very naughty.
I was about to download a song until I discovered that as a broadband user I can not have them billed to my broadband account:
BigPond Dial-Up customers - Use your existing BigPond log-in to access the BigPond Music Download service.
BigPond Broadband customers - If you wish to download tracks from the BigPond Music Store you must have a secondary billing method established.
Click here to set up your preferred payment options.
Please note: Your Broadband bill number can not be used for Additional Services. [ my emphasis ]
It seems that this is true for all of BP's Additional Services, amongst them Spam filtering and Firewalling. I'm willing to bet that this is related to another great bugbear of Broadband customers: the inability to pay your bill using BPay. I have heard from a number of people who have queried this limitation and they have had numerous responses ranging from ignorance to "sometime soon".
If any of our many, many readers know why this limitation exists, please let us know, in the meantime I guess Broadband customers will just continue to use traditional methods of music acquisition.

Saturday, January 17, 2004
Category: Names
I was driving through Brunswick today on my way to an eventually aborted supermarket shopping expedition and I noticed what I considered to be an unusual street name: "Cocoa Jackson Lane". It's in recent Melway's so it's not just some clown putting up a street sign unilaterally. I had to find out what it was all about.
Google failed me.
As it happened, my mother (70-something) was down in Paynesville visiting her sister (80-something). Both were raised in Brunswick in a milk bar next to the town hall so I thought they might have some idea who CJ might be. Before the GSM-connected mobile link to my mother crapped-out, I had drawn a blank.
I decided to try Mooter, a search engine that I found and mentioned here. It came up with the goods very effectively. The lane was named, with sensible deference but eventual dismissal of political correctness, by the council during a "close personal friend" of mine's mayoralty. It was named for the nickname of a boxer from the West Indies called Fred James who settled in Brunswick in 1930.
When my mum rang back I asked if she or hers knew of Fred James, the sister said "Oh yes, of course!".
Oh, and BTW, I suspect Robert Larocca will end up with a guernsey in Canberra eventually. You heard it here first.

Category: Western Values
Some views from the participants in the LOTR pitchers including a particularly resonant one from the bloke who played Gimli, John Rhys-Davies. You will need to read though to the end but I think it is well worth the effort.
I stumbled across this stuff at Little Green Footballs. I stumble across a lot of interesting stuff there.
Q. Where does the name “little green footballs” come from?
A. Charles ain’t telling…

Category: NGVI
I wish I could say that I was breaking news but I'm not. Given our recent commentary on the NGVI, though, I had to point out that they've mislaid and broken some stuff. From the descriptions most of it was just art. The interesting bit is that they bring back the memory of the Bolte portrait incident and that was more than just art, it was very ugly art involving some seriously unattractive people.

Category: Labelling
In mid-2002, Yamaha produced the CRWF1 burner which could burn images, including track titles, onto the unused outer portion of a disk using a technology that they called DiscT@2. What I saw of them looked terrific and I had decided what my next burner would be. Unfortunately, Yamaha went out of the CDR game in February 2003. Given what Tom's Hardware Guide said of the CRWF1 and Yamaha in general ("proves how good Yamaha really is at making CD recorders"), this seems to be a bit of a shame.
DiscT@2 was mentioned in the article DB pointed at but was considered uninteresting for specious reasons, IMHO.
DiscT@2 is dead, will LightScribe fly? At a dime more per disc (if they really come in that cheaply) my buy price is up 33% and I would use the labelling on one disk in ten. $US10 extra per drive? When they make it to volume! And how much will the software cost? I would prefer DiscT@2 with some decent software if that choice was available to me.
Fly or plummet? I say plummet.

Category: MP3 Players
Hmmm, Sony enters the game. Hmmm (again) so what?

Category: Apple
Nice article on GarageBand.

Category: Umm, CD Labeling? (sorry!)
This is sorta cool.

Category: Old Telly
They've found another Dr Who episode, FWIW.

Category: Segue
OK, Tight Arse, build your own.

Category: Science
Al Gore made a speech on Thursday in New York that might have been better attended if it had not been 12°F (-11°C). The topic? Global Warming! Fortunately "MoveOn.org, the activist group sponsoring the event, was broadcasting it on its website so [people] could watch it at home. Thank you Al Gore for inventing the Internet!".

Friday, January 16, 2004
Category: Murder
Melanie Phillips talks about a shooting and observes that "Miss Marple wouldn't have been seen dead in a plot like this". Melanie Phillips' blog is one of the best IMHO.

Category: Mars
In today's Oz, Frank Devine tells us he would willingly (along with one or two others) fund the Mars project. He quotes Lawrence Krauss, thus: "If we are going to send human beings into space, we must recognise that we are doing it for adventure and to fulfil a human yearning to directly explore where no one has gone before." That about says it and it's a lot of dough for a wee adventure.
The source of the quote is a very interesting read.

Thursday, January 15, 2004
Category: Segue
As was the Palm to the Newton, so is the Q to the Segway.
UPDATE. In the same vein, this may sound familiar to MacOS-X users:
WinExposé allows you to immediately view and select from all the windows running on your computer, just those of the active application, or to minimise all windows and display a clear desktop.

Category: WMDs
I must have missed this about six months ago. Bill Clinton rang up Larry King Live. His comments were reported thus:
Clinton also said Tuesday night that at the end of his term, there was "a substantial amount of biological and chemical material unaccounted for " in Iraq.
"So I thought it was prudent for the president to go to the U.N. and for the U.N. to say, 'You got to let these inspectors in, and this time if you don't cooperate the penalty could be regime change, not just continued sanctions."

Category: Neutered
Who knew? North Korea has a missile test facility called No-dong. The missiles that were developed there are the No-dong 1 and the No-dong 2. Snicker, snicker.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Category: Wind
"Environmentalists sue wind energy companies over bird kills in California". Pointed out by Junk Science.

Category: Mars
Dubya still hasn't spoken in re his major space exploration plans but this from Reuters:
Officials said he would set a goal of returning to the moon by the middle of the next decade and establishing a human presence there as a stepping stone to an eventual manned mission to Mars.
Lends some support to my suggestion...
My guess is he will promise the moon and then hint at Mars

Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Category: Qantas
Sam Ward is currently not feeling lucky in the Qantas caper on Google so we have linked to him. There's always time for a useless gesture!

Monday, January 12, 2004
Category: Dubya
I had a "Duhh!" moment this morning watching the news of the discovery that Dubya had some expectations of war with Iraq before 9/11. It came as no surprise to me particularly given the timeline documented here. In customary form, Glenn Reynolds makes the point way more lucidly than my single "Duhh!".

Category: Kyoto
Kyoto's coffin must be mainly made up of nails by now. But here's another one anyway. Three cheers for the Australian Government!

Category: Native Bears
Can somebody tell me why we need to provide contraception for koalas? Surely if there are too many of them they will die out. How can their futures be any more solid as a result of artificial sterilisation of their population by some do-gooding clown in a green shirt?

Sunday, January 11, 2004
Category: Qualia
Qualia appears to be a new product range from Sony but it's all a bit impenetrable. Qualia 000 appears to be a flash presentation about the colour red and how important it will be to the future of Sony. The Qualia 016 is a very small digital camera with a price tag of $US3980. As of December 12 last year, all of 133 had been sold over the course of roughly six months.
The other different, but closely related, Qualia are those described by Ken Mogi who says:
Despite the great advances in neuroscience, we are still at the alchemist's phase when it comes to the essential question: what are the first principles which makes it necessary that our subjective experiences accompany the physical processes in the brain? We may laugh at the alchemists' ignorance with the benefit of the hindsight, but our future descendants might laugh at the ignorance of our present time on the origin of consciousness as well.
I think that is a pretty reasonable view, but this:
The concept of qualia describes the unique properties that accompany our senses. It is an essential concept when we try to understand the principle that bridges the neural firings in our brain and our perception. The idea of qualia is also of crucial importance when we try to study the functions of the brain from an objective point of view. Qualia must be part of the mathematical formulation of information we use to understand the function of the brain.
makes me feel like a drunk, stoned sixth-former on a beach at midnight. I suspect Ken Mogi might be an intellectual because I can't understand a word he says.
More to come as we come to understand Qualia more become more baffled by Qualia.

Category: Mars
I have marvelled at the successes (while being horrified by the budgets) of various space programs but I cannot get with the idea of a manned Mars mission. I remember while watching television coverage of the lunar business in 1969 we were told Mars was ten years out. It has remained so ever since and will continue so for many years. So here's the big statement... It will not happen in my lifetime! (I am 44) Here's why...
  • Just getting back to the moon will cost so much it will scare future presidents
  • The technological capabilities will be strained because the length of the trip means all risks are amplified many fold
  • There is no-one to "beat" to Mars as there was to the moon
  • Accidents on the ISS and the moon in the next ten years will put the public offside
  • The length of the trip dilutes propaganda (and related upside) opportunities substantially
  • The scientific opportunities of having humans there are simply not compelling given current droid technology
  • Current movie making technology makes films that look much better than the real thing, again diluting propaganda opportunities
  • The pressure on the US to kick-start ailing economies around the world (by various means, including war) will divert attention and funds from any martian escapades
  • Dubya hasn't even spoken yet! My guess is he will promise the moon and then hint at Mars
Just One Guy's Opinion.

Saturday, January 10, 2004
Category: Music
I came across an article about second albums in the SSS this morning. It is quite an interesting piece of work which was sourced from the Grauniad. It is ostensibly about the Strokes' second album Room on Fire but discusses Difficult Second Album Syndrome at some length.
I was surprised to see
Essentially, Room on Fire has bombed: it's languishing at number 80 on the ARIA charts. The Strokes might find it hard to regain their confidence.
as the tag for the article given that it came from the UK; why the hell would anyone on the other side of the world give a damn about the ARIA charts? And why were they talking at such length about a "new" album that I have had for months? (I am a fan BTW)
[ shot of Semi on a virtual trot over to the Grauniad archives ]
The original article was written in September last year, it made no mention of the ARIA charts, it was roughly twice as long, it was a much more satisfying read (because it was complete), and it had some useful off-site links. It appears the SSS was keen to look topical given the Strokes impending gigs in Melbourne and was quite happy to provide some mangled, dated nonsense.

I'm sure this sort of thing is happening all the time in the newspaper world; I am an outsider. We would never have been able find out that it was happening before the information super highway (© Al Gore) came along. I guess I'll just go to the source from now on. I just wish they'd put the source at the top of the article rather than the bottom.

Friday, January 09, 2004
Category: Journalism
Girl pimped to pay mobile bill, I bet the subbies over at the SMH thought that would be a nice titillating Strange but Odd Spot World item. But where did it happen? A minor hint based on the declared currency of the bill would suggest somewhere in the US. All other non-titillatory details remain a complete mystery. How many of the five W's are missing here?

Category: Space TFF
Oh No! It couldn't be a (US) election year could it? Look over there children, it's a hoary, old chestnut.
Be sorta cool if it comes off though.

Category: Media
I was on the (what does Semi call it?) "Spencer Street Soviet" web site today and discovered that the "most read" story was this! Now normally it would have been Russell or Nicole or some tits-n-bums story but SCO? Oh! The (Melbourne) Age has been slashdotted!

Category: Apple/Technology
By Jingo! It's a bloody funny old tech world!

Thursday, January 08, 2004
Category: iPod
Even I'm getting a bit sick of this kinda stuff but I'm also not that bigga fan of LOTR -- too bloody long I reckon. Might watch it on DVD when I've got a month or two to spare but.

Category: Norman Gunston/Gold Logie
Vote Early. Vote Often.

Category: Television
While writing the previous article, I struggled in spelling SHEMOZZLE. Thinking it was in the Laverne and Shirley theme I got Google on the job and found some interesting stuff, but not SHEMOZZLE...
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight,
Schlimiel, schlimazel, hasenpfeffer, incorporated
ask.yahoo.com provides a little detail on what that all means.
If you can't find interesting stuff on Laverne and Shirley, you need to take a Google 101 class but I will point you at a site I stumbled across on my journey which asks Who Would You Kill?

Category: iPod--
Steve Jobs was, by all accounts, quite excited when he was announcing the details of the new miniPod. It's chief virtue, apparently, is that it is smaller... in every respect. The screen is virtually unreadable, it is physically able to slip down between the cushions on a sofa, its price is all of 20% less than its predecessor, and, most remarkably, its capacity as a firewire disk drive is half that of its predecessor. Our good friends at BusinessWeek Online noticed all of this and more...
Less music in a device marginally smaller at about the same price. Get it? I didn't, and few others will, either. In fact, while I was watching Jobs give his spiel, my mind replayed the infamous scene from the cult classic mockumentary Spinal Tap where the dim rock band tries to explain that dials on their amplifiers go to 11 -- and that's what makes them louder. I was left with the same sense of befuddlement after watching Jobs show off the smaller but much wimpier miniPod.
Indeed, the miniPod is likely to win some design awards and deservedly so -- just like the Cube. But shrinking the form factor and the capacity without a corresponding shrinkage in price will put Apple's fetish product street cred to the test. That could lead to disappointing sales.
To be fair, it does pass the Diana Fisher test in that it comes in five different colours. My bet is that they repeat the original iMac shemozzle and force retailers to place orders in batches of five - one of each colour. eBay will go ballistic with aesthetes playing the colour arbitrage.

You may now return to your regular Jobs Arse Licking... (I was inspired by Mark Latham there!)

Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Category: Institutions
Henny Youngman died in 1998 at the age of 91. He was one of the best one-liner comedians in the game. He definitely said: "I told the doctor I broke my leg in two places. He told me to quit going to those places", and "I take my wife everywhere, but she keeps finding her way home". I'm pretty damned sure he also said "Marriage is a fine institution, if you don't mind living in an institution". This brings me to Britney Spears' recent behaviour which has been best documented by one of the great internet sites, The Smoking Gun.
Backflip... Comedians' quotations don't come much better than Bob Monkhouse's "They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian, they're not laughing now". Bob passed away on 29th December 2003. And just in case you didn't notice, he played two roles in Thunderbirds Are Go.

Category: Audio
Logic Platinum 7? Maybe not.

Category: Norman Gunston/Gold Logie
Bugger! No one's nominated us yet! (Not surprised really, well, there was Semi breaking the NGVI story I suppose).

Category: Apple
Hmm, Currently 9.3 active Mac OS X users , seems a little high to me! (Time Critical typo I suspect)

Category: Fillums (well sort of...)
I'd love to know what Ridley thinks of this.

Category: Technology
Oh Good! A PC in the Rubik's Cube configuration.

Category: Engineers
More of the NGVI's glass panels "could shatter" - more "information" from the experts. It took just shy of a week for our intrepid daily newspapers to discover something afoot and then they both claimed that their probing investigations caused the outing of the gallery.
Yesterday in the Spencer Street Soviet:
But it was not until yesterday - after inquiries from The Age - that the gallery released a statement detailing what had happened and confirming the closure of seven of its 30 gallery spaces.
And today in the Hun:
Officials only revealed the problem to the public after inquiries by the Herald Sun on Monday.
You heard it here first... only after inquiries by TramTown at the "Information Desk".

Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Category: Search Engines
Hey Semi! Here's another one.

Category: Dubya Humour
Whilst I'd heard this (Warning! Real Audio stream) before on the radio I hadn't come across it online until now.

Category: Radio
Whilst listening to Radio 1/3LO/774 this morning it got me thinking about all of the old call signs that now no longer exist. Although a good read I'm not sure I fully believe all of this.

Monday, January 05, 2004
Category: Art
We visited the increasingly inappropriately named National Gallery of Victoria - International in StKilda Road today. Much of it was "Closed for Engineering Tests" and I had to spend a little time to find out what that meant. A security guard, appropriately intent on not letting us through into the closed space, said he was not allowed to say what "Engineering Tests" were taking place but they might be able to tell me at the "Information Desk" (lots of quotes here because I am truly not sure that the words in quotes have their usual meanings). At the "Information Desk". I asked about the "Engineering Tests" and was told that it couldn't be plainer, engineering tests were taking place. "Engineering Tests" seemed to tell me everything and nothing so I continued, is it that parts of the new refurbishment are still not completed? She hesitated and then abruptly said something to the effect that the glass ceilings were being tested. I wondered why the signs didn't just read "Temporarily Closed". She said people like to have a reason for the closure. My best interpretation of "Engineering Tests" following my acquisition of "Information" is that things are falling out of the newly constructed ceiling. You don't get a lot for $168mill these days.
On the 12th of June (last year), Arts Minister Mary Delahunty (who was, incidentally, a terrific news reader) informed us that the NGV would have "a total of 18,500 square metres of exhibition space, more than double the original space". On the Major Projects web site, this: "redevelopment began in 1997 and will increase exhibition space by 25 per cent", but they say it is only a $160mill spend. Perhaps the state government managed through some magic to throw an extra $8mill (that might have gone to our supposedly beleaguered hospitals) into the kick and created TARDIS-like space. It makes no never-you-mind anyway because it's closed... for "Engineering Tests".
Just in case it matters, Blue Poles: Number 11, 1952 is big, there's still a bloody lot of crockery about the joint, and Picasso's magnificent Weeping Woman (not this one, or this one, maybe they all wept when they saw his pictures) looks none-the-worse for its holiday at Spencer Street (if you do go to that link you must scroll down to the B. A. Santamaria quote). Oh, and the Magritte next to it would have been worth the visit on its own. But $168mill is a lot to spend to drop a few arts about for folk to have a perve when the precursor seemed to do the job admirably.
UPDATE: My intuition was correct... in The Age, this ironic observation:
Also closed is a multi-media survey of the career of Italian architect and designer Mario Bellini, the principal architect for the building's $168 million redevelopment.
And in the Hun, less detail but more to the point as would be expected.

Sunday, January 04, 2004
Category: Space TFF
It’s a god-awful small affair, to the girl with the mousy hair. (Although I think it's been "slashdotted" at the moment!)

Saturday, January 03, 2004
Category: Politics
At FrontPage magazine, a blog entry by David Horowitz (long-time civil rights activist) about the number of people starved to death by "progressives" in the last century or so.

Category: Fat
Stephen Romei wrote an apalling article for the Weekend Australian entitled "Tummy tax to tackle the fat of the land". His attitude is symptomatic of what makes the left so unattractive to the majority: he is certain that he knows what is best for everybody else. He'd squeal like a stuck pig if anyone suggested taxing stupidity and, as would undoubtably happen, he ended up on the top rate.
I guess I would end up on the top rate as well because, try as I might, I can't see how premature death provides anything other than relief for our supposedly beleaguered health system.
Wait! I've just worked it out. Phillip Adams appears to be on holidays so the editors felt they needed to beef up their percentage of lefty nonsense. They really should have put a warning on the article - Beware! This article contains unhealthily large amounts of pink fat.

Friday, January 02, 2004
Category: Music
An Enormous Brain pointed me at Ball Droppings...
BallDroppings uses physics simulation of elastic masses to make a controlled metaphysical musical system with simple rules that mimic nature.
Download and play... NOW!

Thursday, January 01, 2004
Category: Politics
I have spent some time today reading most of the material on the website Y Ted K.com. I found it fascinating and was reminded of the gag about Teddy Kennedy whereby, on being asked by a reporter how he would deal with a particular event if it arose, he replied "I'll drive off that bridge when I come to it.".

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