Thursday, April 24, 2008

Media and the Chinese

Would anyone really be surprised about this happening, after all the Chinese Ambassador has said? I almost wonder why he hasn't been told to front up at The Lodge and asked to explain him(them)self(ves).

In the meantime, what's with The Australian full-stop? Have they had feelings on inadequacy, and started drifting further right in response to them telling themselves that because the Labor Party won, we're going left. That's evil, obviously. Can't have and dissent of opinion. For example, a reasonable suggestion on a News Ltd's "blogger"'s entry treated very weirdly.

Ok, it's a bit of a draw to compare the two. But really. The opinion pieces posted on the website seem that they're raging, raging against the dying of the... er, light. Yeah. 'Cos obviously, with all this loving, caring, LEFT-leaning crazy 2020 summit stuff, someone's got to "provide balance".

And I haven't posted for a while. Sorry Soupie.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Reading emails

Oh, no. Not you reading your emails, but your boss!

So they're going to have someone wasting their time reading your email. It's all asking for trouble. I'm not particularly up in arms about them reading your email - it's work time, it's work email, you've probably got the company name, address, etc in the footer as a signature. If you're using it for non-work purposes, I wonder if it could be construed as misrepresenting the company.

And if you don't use a private email account for private communication (and there is a few providers around), you're a bit naive. You don't live at work, so why should you have a permanent and private address at work?

My actual issue with this is that the Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, thinks that this will help the nation's security:
He has said a hack attack in Estonia using "botnet" viruses shut down that country's government for two weeks.
Er, no. Just no. How is denial of service attacks related to checking your employees' emails? Even better, why would terrorists used unsecured and unencrypted email to coordinate anything of the sort? What's next, putting out posters warning non-targets not to go to a certain location at a certain time?!

Even better, from the Sydney Morning Herald site:
"It's unquestionable that it's necessary from time to time for network supervisors to open emails addressed to people to identify viruses and the like …"
Does he really think that an anti-virus program is actually a schedule or timetable written up for people to check emails, rather than a chunk of code?

I think this extends to both sides of politics:
Christopher Pyne, Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey were the only senior former Howard government ministers who could use a computer, a Liberal party source said.
Note: this doesn't make Pyne any less of an idiot.

Oh, and lol. If he could help Nelson, he wouldn't have lost the last election.

Update: Jacques Chester does what the original journalists should've done, and asks some questions. So maybe McClelland doesn't think that, and some hack told him to say it. Or maybe he still does. WHO KNOWS.

It doesn't stop him and Gillard being foolish for using the OMG TEWWOWISM!!@#@!!! line - or actually knowing anything about teh web.

Friday, April 11, 2008

On the news tonight

There won't be anything newsworthy. Oh, it'll be what people are interested in - or rather, what people get told to be interested in, but it won't really be news. A bit like the new segment on the afternoon show on Triple J - "That's not news!" (Oh, and Dools and Linda are currently my favourite duo on teh J's.)

Despite the occasional loopy articles (Scientologists saying psychiatry r bad), ABC Unleashed usually has something of interest, in this case Antony Loewenstein's Spot the news story. And the premise asks a question that I don't know (especially locally-based) news outlets could answer with any justification other than "er...": why is incest worthy of more news time than a casual (but not very well judged) salute/wave, and more newsworthy than the US government approving torture, saying laws don't apply to (their) interrogators? Australia happily went along with them to a couple of random sorties into that bastion of savagery, the Middle East, and now this? Did we know what we were involved in?

It's not just a problem here, the US has it's issues too. Of course, everyone remembers Hillary Clinton breaking down crying. The only related piece of analysis worth anything was Jon Stewart giving a serve to the media's coverage of it - a raised eyebrow and a "wtf" expression.

The Piping Shrike's latest is not exactly real news, but at least it's real analysis. As are the daily updates from Woolly Days. In South Australia, there's The Advertiser, The Australian, the... no, wait. That's it for mainstream circulation. Both papers are owned by the same crowd - News Limited. Fantastic diversity, right there (I will say that I hear the editors of the papers do have a fair bit of autonomy - of course, News Ltd could just keeping sacking people until they find the ones they want, but that's another conspiracy theory). The quality of The Advertiser is negligible. The Sunday edition, The Sunday Mail, is like Woman's Day but for $1.80 (or whatever it is), and once a week.

The Australian as the only national broadsheet lays claim to be higher class, but a few in the blogosphere and a few responders to the op-ed pieces have had issues with their lack of education in statistics when reporting political opinion polls, and a lack of a left eye when covering politics in general. Trying to appear that they create balance by having Phillip Adams write a column once a week doesn't really cut it when Janet Albrechtson, Greg Sheridan and Dennis Shanahan are on the other side of the coin - although, Shanahan is at his best when discussing internal workings and performances of the one of the major parties, and not comparing between them.

Not saying he's biased or anything. Just... it feels like he allows his viewpoint to colour the article more than it should. The less said about Albrechtson's attempts, the better...

So for more analysis on the non-internet side, people need to rely on SBS and the ABC. For a couple of (mostly, in SBS's case) publicy-funded broadcasters, I'm not sure why they don't upload their documentaries and news stories to their websites. I could understand it if it's not an in-house production, but when it is? Being able to watch Dateline and The Cutting Edge when I want would be fantastic - and leave off the need to buy a $500 hard disk tv recorder. Hey, even The Chaser's War on Everything was available on their website (although the video quality was fairly average).

But I guess this is too advanced for us: if we're not at least 10 years behind every other 'first world' country, then we need to go backwards!

/me sighs

Oh, and bongs and other drug paraphernalia are now banned in SA. Obviously, burning hose pipes and alfoil are much safer options.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Giving geeks a voice

But then, do we have to? Maybe the only relevant argument to the obvious point of this entry is that there's a bit of geek in all of us; hence we're all geeks about something - and everyone should have a voice!

Or should they. Reading some of the comments on this story, it's hard to see how "shoot the dirty buggers" has merit (note: I am passing no judgement on the stories' subjects, there's been enough of that already). Or the reporters constantly providing new angles into the story - do we really have to? Or is that even the same thing?

...Probably not.

The actual point to this entry is that on a forum I frequent, a couple of people have recorded a few lines from each of us and uploaded it (to a file-sharing site) for others to hear our voices. For a few of us, considering the international nature of the forum, it's the first time.

What is interesting, though, is that after a decent period of online interaction (3? 4 years) people talk the way you expect them to talk, but don't always sound the way you expect them to sound.
...most people in real life are almost just as you picture them after knowing them online for a number of years.

(A certain someone should be chuffed I'm quoting them.) I guess the point is that online, despite some people creating a facade or different persona to amuse/compensate for themselves, you will still get a stream of words, mostly unedited from the mind to the page.

And that's all kinds of cool.

Friday, April 4, 2008

On life and loving personal freedom...

Somehow this is the best way the NSW Education Minister could think of to increase attendance.

So, for the count: they're fingerprinting minors; they called parents stupid for refusing to allow their kids to be fingerprinted (with exemption notes); and then the students weren't "allowed" to leave the room until their fingerprint had been taken, regardless of afore-mentioned note.

Equally disturbingly: the NSW government planned and implemented something like this with little to no media coverage. I don't watch Channel 7/Bubblegum news every night, but I do read web news sites, and quite a few blogs where something like this would have been mentioned, so I was wondering how this got past all that until I read to the end of the article:
The process had also never been formally announced by Mr Della Bosca nor the Iemma Government, he said.

O RLY. This story has even been buried on; I saw the article in The Ostrayhun:
The school children may as well get used to it. Within a decade, having your implanted ID chip, or biometric data, scanned every time you enter a school, train station, shopping mall or night club will be standard, every day stuff.

Brilliant. Can't wait for it.
An Education Department spokeswoman said inquiries would be made about the scheme.

I would damn well hope so.

Meanwhile, a more important issue: most Australians unable to fix their computer. Get some skillz, nubs.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Smarmy? Me?! Noooo...

I've just been called smarmy on Andrew Bolt's blog. I don't mind doing a bit of what he calls "trolling". After all, it's just asking a question to justify his viewpoint when he doesn't do a full disclosure. Gold lulz. (i.e. he has no idea what real trolling is like...)

His April Fools' Day joke wasn't really funny; what was were other people's reactions. Despite being "fooled", The Ostrahyun's update is amusing. As is the update from BoltWatch.

Anyway. The little office jokes and pranks are always the best. And better if they don't entirely depend on someone forgetting the date, but rather on cunning.