Tram Town
Thursday, March 31, 2005
Category: Decadic
Semi coulda used this in Beechworth.

Category: Telly
Semi mentioned that I should've blogged this. I saw it in the TTT a coupla' days back. Didn't everyone?

Category: Important
Actors are important. We need to know their opinions. Sometimes they are even right!
Hollywood beauty ANGELINA JOLIE is opposed to the idea of U2 frontman BONO becoming the new WORLD BANK boss

Category: Linux
AEB pointed me at this had-to-happen moment...
Installing Linux on a Dead Badger: User's Notes

Category: Actress
I had never heard of Helen Twelvetrees until this picture appeared in the Bulletin's latest historical picture gallery. Twelvetrees is a magnificent name.

Category: Optical Illusion
(or does it just look like one?) I can see clearly now.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Category: Culture/Audio
Silent Disco.

Category: Art
Some of these snaps are kinda cool. I'd like to learn more about this stuff.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Category: Art (I Guess)
I don't understand this. I came across it on B2. I either need to get out more or learn more (or maybe neither, I'm not sure).

Category: Apple
It's sorta interesting to read one of Big Blues' takes on the MacMidget.

Monday, March 28, 2005
Category: Blogging
I placed Darlene Taylor into the Pool Room on Saturday morning. Later that day she announced that she was stopping blogging. Coincidence?

Category: Blogging
I placed Darlene Taylor into the Pool Room on Saturday morning. Later that day she announced that she was stopping blogging. Coincidence?

Category: Water
Andrew Leigh seems like a sensible sort of a bloke. He suggests that we should pay for the water we use. What extraordinary insight this man has. It's not often we get such common sense coming from academia.

Sunday, March 27, 2005
Category: Recently Dead Celebrities
Vale Jim Callaghan.
Now, Semi might be able to help me here. When I had a show on RRR, (radio that rolls off your tongue) many, many years back we (not Semi, but he helped) had a "punky/indie/whatever" kinda show (we are talking early 80's after all). Now one of the songs had the lyrics:
"Jim Jim Jim so handsome and slim
He was a Man among men"
and the chorus went "Jim Callaghan, Jim Callaghan, Jim Callaghan etcetera".
What the heck was the bloody song?
Vale, nonetheless.

Category: Blogs
Shelly on the Telly shows a bit of promise though I don't think I've seen any of the shows on her top ten list. I will be looking out for The Shield.
I'd rather win a Logie than a Walkley.
You tell 'em Shelly!

Category: Sound
Hey DB, Macs Cue looks like an interesting $20 shareware product for the les dominant platform. Shame about this: "Sound output is sent to the default sound output device" but maybe it'll be fixed in future release.

Category: Water
We saw the Thomson dam last week and crossed many of the great rivers of Gippsland. The rivers were all just about bursting their banks so they are not currently starved of flow. Perhaps that is just a seasonal thing. Looking at the Thomson dam, it sure as heck looks, based on vegetation, as if it has never been much higher than it is at the moment but I have struggled to find historical data, maybe it will never fill up.
The level at the Thomson is important when looking at the regularly published water storage levels. We are currently deemed to be 57% full. [shot of Semi running off to his spreadsheet][shot of Semi coming back] If we take the Thomson out of the equation completely, we would be at 68%. If we include the Thomson declaring its current level to be "full", we could consider ourselves to be at 80% of capacity.
Now it is dishonest of me to say the 80% figure could be realistic if we are to believe that levels in 1997 were at 80%. That would imply [spreadsheet gag repeated] that the Thomson in mid 1997 would have had to have been at a minimum of 67% full as opposed to 50% full at the moment (I could send you the spreadsheet if you wanted).
Note that the calculated 67% level is a minimum and it assumes that all of the other dams were chocka (not likely!). The problem here is that we must have dropped the level of the Thomson by at least 20% of its capacity and 30% of its actual storage since late 1997. How is it that over the period from 1982 when the dam started to fill until 1997 our net usage of Thomson water was -700 gigalitres and our net usage 1998 to 2004 was +300 gigalitres (2004-2005 so far is -100 interestingly). That is more alarming even than the state government makes out. They says it's caused by an eight year drought but Warwick Hughes has data and a picture that suggests otherwise. I don't know what to think.
I am constantly reminded in all of this Victorian water business of the scenes from Chinatown where water is deliberately let to run away for political reasons. I reckon we need to get J. J. Gittes on the job here in Melbourne. He might be able to find if the recent volatility in storage is due to the fact that "around 54% [of outflow] has been released for maintaining environmental flows and supplying irrigation areas downstream". It all looks like an attempt to implement the seriously flawed Green Religion notion of Eden.
UPDATE: I was way too cynical in this post. The Thomson has quite recently been full as noted here.

Category: Health
If this story is mainly factual and complete, there is a lot to answer to in the Queensland hospital system.

Category: Cinema
We went to the pitchers yesterday to see Robots at the IMAX. Others have criticised the story of being a bit light on but I think it was punctuated with enough very funny gag sequences so that this was of very little consequence. The only plot bit that I couldn't get with was that [SPOILER ALERT] Bigweld's motivation for changing his mind toward the end wasn't very clear. [UNALERT]
I thought all of the voicing was terrific particularly Mel Brooks' and Amanda Bynes' characters. Some reviews say Ewan McGregor was a bit flat but I say hello! that was the character.
Sound was really nice but completely lacked any dynamic edge. In these magnificent animated flicks of the new century the animators are more than happy to throw away a sight gag but never allow themselves to throw away a sound gag (IMHO). Surround stuff was very good.
The world created by the animators was fantastic and probably even more so at the IMAX (I can't compare having not seen the regular cinema version). Am I the only one, though, who thinks that they either need more motion blur or a higher frame rate. Any time there was a large amount of movement the motion became stepwise. Also, there were quite a few places where we could see jaggies. Perhaps both of these problems are artefacts of the special rendering for the IMAX not being optimal. My understanding is that individual frames appear on the screen for a bit longer with IMAX than regular projectors and an adjustment for motion blur would probably have to be made; maybe it wasn't. BTW the rendering certainly seemed to be using the full screen of the IMAX 10:7 aspect ratio.
9.0/10.0 Would have been ten if I had not been distracted a few times by the technology.

Saturday, March 26, 2005
Category: mp3 Players
I'd already thought as much but it's good to have a re-assurance. That Apple stuff is Rubbish!

Category: Advertising
This Jingle popped spontaneously into my head this morning -- that's sad.

Category: Apple
Last week I got a new PB G4 12 and am generally pretty happy with it (much faster than old one). Next week if I get a chance I'm gonna play around with some of this stuff. (Whacking the 'puter to jump to next iTunes track or to get 'mail is sorta cool)

Category: Paternity
Darlene Taylor (who has been placed into the Pool Room at right) pointed me at an article by Janet Albrechtson which I missed (probably due to that Beechworth motel). It is, generally, about paternity issues and, in particular, a case where a man is clearly not the father of two children whom he is deemed resposible for. Me, I'm not quite sure where I stand. Well worth the read, IMHO.

Category: Technology
Joke-e-oke! Because Karaoke is soooooo 1990's.

Category: Alarming
When the alarm clock goes off and the snooze button is pressed, Clocky will roll off the bedside table and wheel away, bumping mindlessly into objects on the floor until it eventually finds a spot to rest. Minutes later, when the alarm sounds again, the sleeper must get up out of bed and search for Clocky. This ensures that the person is fully awake before turning it off. Small wheels that are concealed by Clocky's shag enable it to move and reposition itself, and an internal processor helps it find a new hiding spot every day. (What'll they think of next?)

Category: Back
...on broadband once again after a trip which took in the Thomson dam, Walhalla, the Tarra Bulga national park, Yarram (nothing happening here, citizens, move along), Woodside, Paynesville, Lakes, Nungurner, Metung, Omeo, Dinner Plain, Hotham, Beechworth, Glenrowan and Shepparton. In summary: water, tree ferns, boats, hills, and Ned bloody Kelly.
AAMOI, the motel in Beechworth used decadic dialing, so, no connection! Won't be going there again.

Thursday, March 24, 2005
Category: Idiocy
10% actually buy stuff they've been spammed on. One third have actually clicked through! Idiots!

Category: Web
Looks like my US dollar bill has been nowhere. Wanna know how I know?Where's George?

Monday, March 21, 2005
Category: Musical Theatre
I can probably wear Mamma Mia (in fact, I saw the original production and didn't hate it). But there seems to be an increasingly annoying trend in adapting successful(!) fillums/culture into musical theatre. What's going on here?
Monty Python, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Wilson et al, Waters?, Alcott? and Rubbish!
Oh, I can see it now - "The Exorcist, The Musical" (I'm gonna spin this head right offa the bed).

Sunday, March 20, 2005
Category: DB
Back in the Home of the Good and the Land of the Broad(band). More to follow.

Saturday, March 19, 2005
Category: Bris Vegas
Andrew Bolt made me aware of this magnificent effort of Peter Beattie's. Read it and laugh!

Friday, March 18, 2005
Category: You can't win
Tim Blair made an offhand reference to Capability Brown in a post about the increasingly irrelevant Paul McGeough thus:
There’s more hedging going on here than Capability Brown achieved in his entire life.
The link in there refers to a short bio of Lancelot "Capability" Brown who was probably the greatest English landscape garden designer ever. So successful was he that...
Brown has been criticized, with some justification, for destroying the works of previous generations of gardeners to create his landscapes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Category: Mobile
Another possible breakthrough in rechargeable batteries is reported in a recent New Scientist.
New types of battery are badly needed. Nokia's chief technologist Yrjö Neuvo warned last year that batteries are failing to keep up with the demands of the increasingly energy-draining features being crammed into mobile devices.
Yrjö, dude, it's not just increasingly energy-draining features that are the problem. You guys don't understand, the battery's behaviour is the worst thing about even the most simple mobile phones. Roll on the new technology.

The Currency Lad found an interesting article about the mayor of Las Vegas. Apparently he told a class of fourth graders that he likes to drink gin.
Asked by a reporter if he had a drinking problem, Goodman answered, "Oh, absolutely not. I love to drink."
Apparently he hosts regular "Martinis with the Mayor" events. I like this man.

Category: Science Nonsense
A substance has been detected in food and it has a scientific name. If we had evidence of it being a carcinogen we would likely reduce our intake of the foods that the substance was found in. Since we have no evidence we should do what? Easy stop eating those foods because we should be eating more fruit and veggies. So why mention the substance with the scary name? This post is more coherent than the article!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Category: Defence
[Army chief Lieutenant-General] Peter Leahy said it was unlikely his troops would be used to defend mainland Australia from an invading force.
What are they going to do wave welcoming placards?

Category: Mathematics Arithmetic Common Sense
Speaking of gorillas, this bloke has got a bit to say about another great ape, the orang utan.
There were 6000 orang-utans left in Indonesia and 1000 were dying each year.
"Most of the great ape population will be gone within our lifetime," he said.
Looks like expected life expectancy for most of us is six years. I hope that's not true.
The main point of the article would appeal to Auffers, it seems that they are destroying forest habitat the size of Russia every six months to make picture frames.

Category: Science
There's something a bit cheap about casino operators complaining about people being able to win. In this case the claims seem seriously far-fetched:
Four years ago detectives arrested Hungarian tourist Laszlo Sendor Kovacs after he won large bets at Sydney's Star City casino roulette wheel.
Casino security became suspicious of the 59-year-old gambler tapping his right foot under table 9.
Police questioned Mr Kovacs and found a Maxwell Smart-style microcomputer hidden in the sole of his scuffed shoe.
With a toe tap, a computer in the shoe sent a voice-synthesised message to an earpiece telling him the wheel's speed. This allegedly helped calculate the number.
Police found $74,184 in cash and chips on Mr Kovacs, including $10,000 in his underpants.
Ten gorillas in your underpants? I hope they were high denomination chips.
My take on the device is that if they can use something like this to determine what number is going to come up I could almost believe that academic goons could model climate to some extent.
This article is surely more evidence of the Hun making an early start on their April Fool's Day Special Edition.

Sunday, March 13, 2005
Category: Screwy
DB, the copyright on that Screwy Chewy page is 2004, can that be right?
UPDATE: Actually I think it should be called the Chewy Chuna
UPUPDATE: The shuffle aspect could interact painfully with the voice recording. When you get back to your office and decide to type up your notes, how long do you have to wait before that track is played? You might end up accidentally typing the lyrics to a Leonard Cohen song and that can't be good.

Category: Charity
Now this is a worthy cause: savetoby.com. A bloke's going to kill his rabbit and eat it if he doesn't get "donations" to the value of $50,000 before June 30. He's already up to $18,462.12! The internet is a kooky old place, huh?

Category: mp3
Oh, look! It's one of those iPod Chewies. But hang on, this is some kind of Screwy Chewie!

Category: Journalism (bad)
The Hun gives Tania Buckley the opportunity to advertise a sale at her shoe store.

Category: mp3 Players
Another iPod Killer? Oh, sorry, it's a Virgin Killer, my mistake.

Saturday, March 12, 2005
Category: Recently dead...
Vale Dave Allen. I certainly loved his telly show during the '70s though some of the sketches dragged on a bit beyond the obvious tag. This article in h2g2 - the unconventional Guide to Life, the Universe and Everything, is well worth the read.

Category: Fatwa
Good news from Spain:
SPAIN'S leading Islamic body has issued a religious order declaring Osama bin Laden to have forsaken Islam by backing attacks such as the Madrid train bombings a year ago

Category: DB
Oh No! Stuck at the end of a 28.8 dial-up connection in Fremantle. I might be out for a bit. Although I am hoping to get here on Monday.

Category: AFD
This story is horrifying. A man gets off a murder rap because the evidence is far too convincing to put before a jury. Something must be done!

Category: DVD
Apple have put their hat in the Blu-Ray ring according to this rather nicely worded item in the Inquirer. The Cappuccino reference took me a few moments to "get".
The jury is still out on which format will win, but having Job's Mob and its trusted band of religious loonies on your side is always going to strengthen your arm.

Friday, March 11, 2005
Category: Littachuh
The Remarkable Resurrection of Lazaros X is written by a bloke my sister went to school with. Read about it in this Age review.
He writes about a Brunswick of busted Holden Hydromatics, corner shops selling the Sporting Globe, outdoor dunnies, and pubs where anyone looking to pick a fight would be eagerly accommodated.
It is "a Brunswick" that I only barely remember bits of and one that my mother grew up in (she loved the book, by the way). It is beautifully written in clear, precise English. It is a very satisfying read.

9.5/10 - I won't be really satisfied until he writes a sequel about the rest of his life and manages to make it as magical as this story. Write on, Les Terry

Category: AFD
It is really starting to look as if April Fool's Day has come early this year. From the Hun...
A VAN, filled with inflatable bladders and bags of wheat, has been recovered from the sea off the Adelaide coastline.

Category: AFD
April Fool's day is on the way and Liam Houlihan of the Hun has been practising by concocting a bizarre story about loser cricket teams. Read it for a laugh.

Thursday, March 10, 2005
Category: Apple
I'd been intending to blog about AMS & I2C for the last coupla' days. Despite what the article says I think the technology was patented by IBM a coupla' years back. What is a bit fascinating but is how the fruit lovers have subverted the dominant paradigm to do stuff like this and this.Thanks Stephen for pointing me to such a nice technical article on the subject.

Category: mp3
Another iPod Killer? Oh, sorry, it's a Virgin Killer, my mistake.

Category: Journalism
In this article in the Hun, much is made of Geoff Clark's alleged theft of a footy jumper worn by Nicky Winmar. The article seems fairly thorough and presents the facts without being judgemental. However, after over 300 relevant words, the final paragraph is:
Former Premier Jeff Kennett came under fire when a portrait of Henry Bolte, owned by the National Gallery of Victoria, was found in his house.
Kennett, having been alerted to the fact that the painting belonged to the NGV, returned it and apologised: "I can only say I am obviously sorry for what has occurred, but it was a genuine mistake, and as soon as it was brought to my attention it was returned''. How does this relate to the Geoff Clark case? Same (similar) first name, perhaps?
UPDATE: There is some doubt about the authenticity of the jumper. There is no mention of the authenticity of the picture of Sir Henry Bolte.

Category: Advertising
I don't get into the city as much as I used to so I hadn't seen the Worlds Biggest Chewie Ad (Semi probably has but).

Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Category: Feminism
I support binge drinking as a statement of post--feminist empowerment! Heck! It amused me.

Category: Spelling
I've only just noticed that I have (pretty consistantly) been mis-spelling "Category". Jeez I'm stupid.

Category: mp3
Sony announce the WalkChewie only it has longer battery life, a small display and looks like some models have an FM Tuner. Go Sony, I guess.

Category: Audio
Bluetooth Cassette Adaptor. That's sorta cool!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Category: Radio
Tonight's PM had an article about the 104-year-old woman who could not get a temporary visa. They spent about 5 minutes allowing all and sundry to slag off Amanda Vanstone because the woman was denied a visa. They finished with a low key statement to the effect that they had contacted Vanstone's office and the issue would be dealt with immediately and the woman would not have to leave the country.
Transcript hopefully available tomorrow.
Disgusting journalism, particularly considering that Amanda Vanstone has said unequivocally before now that this woman would not be "deported":
Senator Vanstone said she would take up the case with immigration officials.
"There are many, many cases which obviously require ministerial intervention of a humanitarian nature, and I wish sometimes we could tell you all about them," Senator Vanstone told the National Press Club.
"You should be assured that this file will be looked at in that context."
Senator Vanstone said while Mrs Hu's case had been raised with her by Chinese consular officials she would not prejudge the case before examining Mrs Hu's file.
The main issue seems to be the woman's access to Medicare but the MSM doesn't want to cover that.
UPPDATE: Now the transcript of the PM report is available. It contains nearly 700 words which imply that the current government are heartless bums and then:
And the Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone was unavailable for comment but her spokesman says that bridging visas will be made available to ensure that 104-year-old Mrs Hu will not be deported.

Category: Radio
Just to make himself an even more worthless member of society, Peter Clarke has quit the ABC to become an academic. It doesn't say who is taking over The Wonderful Show on Sunday mornings.
I'm a bit surprised DB hadn't noted this as PC was one of his favourite broadcasters.

Catagory: GOOG
No Semi, it was never called Shylock (some folks called it Sheerluck) but Sherlock was a great thang introduced around 1997 that allowed users to search local drives, network servers, and the Internet all at the same time regardless of where the content lived. It (I think) was one of the first metadata search engines (although I have fond memories of early versions of Copernic as well (but it never ran on a Mac, but). The current incarnation is Sherlock 3 I believe.

Catagory: Journalism
Looks like Semi and I will never get our press credentials now that Apple appears to have succeeded where Richard Nixon failed.

Category: GOOG
GOOG is the NASDAQ ticker symbol for Google. Useful fact, that. The extraordinary news from Goog is that they have moved something out of beta. The desktop search is now considered a real one! This from the article:
Jonathan Spira of Basex told TechNewsWorld that Google is eager to keep its competition, particularly Microsoft, from establishing mind and market share in desktop search. Microsoft has indicated it plans to include combined Internet and desktop search in Longhorn, its next-generation Windows operating system.
I may be wrong but I understood that this stuff doesn't differ dramatically from that Shylock thing that the Macintosh has had forever. Is that right, DB? Could Microsoft and the GOOG both be claiming credit for the horseless carriage?

Monday, March 07, 2005
Catagory: Technology
Hey, Cat! Is that prey in your mouth or are you just pleased to see me?

Category: Math
LINA and Kon Avramidis reckon they changed up to 8000 nappies in the first year of having their triplets.
Let's see... 8,000 dvided by 3 (triplets) divided by 365 gives just shy of eight nappies a day on average. Surely that's too much. What was she feeding them???

Sunday, March 06, 2005
Category: Ejacashun
Slatts points out a program somewhere on Foxtel (must do my best to find it) that suggests that a disciplined approach to the three R's is quite effective educationally. No great surprise here, move along citizens.

Saturday, March 05, 2005
Category: Space TFF
The problem with identical twins is that sometimes you just can't work out which is which. (Which, let's face it, was basically the key premise in this show)

Catagory: Ep. III/xPod
Oh look! It's a Star Wars: Episode III iPod cover! What'll they think of next.

Catagory: Music
All this scratching is making me itch.(Shades of the Theremin for my money)

Friday, March 04, 2005
Category: Anti-siphoning
The anti-siphoning laws make very little sense to me. I would have thought that, if laws were needed, the right result may have been achieved by government insisting that broadcast and cable rights are separately negotiable rights. After all the two broadcasting mechanisms have completely different customers. In the case of free-to-air the customer is the advertiser, we, the viewers, are the product. In the case of cable content providers we are the customer (a much better relationship for maximising our results).
Whatever, the idiotic binds we get into when commercial FTA providers are not interested in the protected rights and, as a result, the sports can't be shown on cable should ring pretty loud alarm bells in the ears of our seemingly deaf minsters for telecommunication.
So where does the SBS sit in all of this given that they have paid $1.2m for the rights to broadcast the cricket. Read the Bolta's take on this but if you can't be bothered, this final paragraph tells a lot of the story:
As for the Government, it loves to see the SBS screen free cricket rather than Leftist tirades. And how sweet it is for us conservatives to see SBS itself – the multicultural icon – quietly assimilate, without even a struggle or cry of basta!
Basta for those as ignorant as me translates from Spanish and Portuguese as "it is enough" and from Italian as "enough". I had to look it up.

Thursday, March 03, 2005
Category: Zippo
The travelling habits of many close to this blog could be severely affected by the US department of trasport ban on Zippo lighters.

Category: Bridge
Bracksy has made some astounding observations about our Westgate bridge. This is a bridge that:
is exposed to the elements, that crosses a river, that crosses the bay as well and also has significant exposure to weather
The bay? You'd reckon that Bracksy would know a little of the geography of the region given that he is the local member on one end of the bridge but he sure seems to be lacking something here.
Also, "exposed to the elements" and "having significant exposure to weather" seems unnecessarily redundant.
This all on the back of the leading paragraph:
PREMIER Steve Bracks has defended the safety of Melbourne's West Gate Bridge after maintenance checks identified structural problems, including cracking, corrosion and buckling.
What do you expect of a bridge that has had its toll removed?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Catagory: Retro
It's a very cool time waster,Tales of Future Past. So complete it has its' own Thunderbirds section.

Category: SMH
On a comments page for the Sydney Morning Herald, one of the entries is signed thus:
Julie Dodd (please only display Julie)
Thanks to Tim Blair for pointing at this one.

Category: Theatre Politics Lame-brainedness
Tony Blair will be shaking at the knees; Harold Pinter is giving up his career as a playwright in order to write poems and make speeches that are political. No great loss to the theatre world here.

Catagory: xPod
Inside the chewie!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Category: Hollywood
Some billboards in Hollywood fairly close to where the Oscar presentation was held thank the Hollywood loudmouths for pushing the electorate in the direction of W.

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