Archives For Bizarre

The McCain-Palin Mob

October 9, 2008 — 20 Comments

I know what some critics have said: you can probably find a loony bunch of Obama supporters as well, but no one can watch this video and not be staggered by its contents. These aren’t your typical red-neck hicks, these look like middle class, average white folk, clean cut, some well dressed. Just…just….

Grand Theft Hypocrisy

September 30, 2008 — 7 Comments reports on the ABC being forced to apologize over Tony Jones suggesting in an episode of Q&A that computer games aren’t rated in Australia.

Pretty much a non-story, even if it is on the front page of, but given I’ve never watched the show, there was one part that flawed me:

During the episode aired on 24 July, chief executive of the Australian Industry Group Heather Ridout said she found it hard to support violent games.

Ms Ridout said she supported controversial photographer Bill Henson and that it was necessary to view art through “a different prism”, but violent games were “appalling”.

“Grand Theft Auto was one of the more famous games and seemed to turn everyone into a car thief,” she said.

“Violent games… violence, it breeds violence.”

The reference to Bill Henson for those not familiar with it was a case where Henson the artist published nude pics of kiddies, all in the name of art. There was an outcry at the time, and calls for censorship of the mag the pic was published, but it all came to little in the end.

So apparently looking a naked pictures of little kids doesn’t make you a pedophile, but playing GTA makes you a car thief. Hmmmm, I’ve played GTA before, and I don’t seem to have broken into a car yet.

Grand Hypocrisy of the first order.

skitched-20080905-100825.jpgI wonder what colour a Connex train would burn?

via Reuters:

Furious rail commuters in Argentina set fire to a train on Thursday in anger over delays during the morning rush hour.

Television images showed black smoke and flames engulfing the train at the station of Merlo, in the western suburbs of the capital, Buenos Aires. At nearby Castelar, passengers hurled stones at the ticket office and blocked the rails….

Many passengers said the delays, caused by a broken down train, had cost them a day’s work.

Argentina’s dilapidated rail services are plagued by delays and travelers’ anger sometimes erupts into violence.

Email Fail + Apologies

July 25, 2008 — 1 Comment

A short note of apology to anyone who sent me an email in the last 24 hours and had a bounced response. I’m still here, unfortunately my MediaTemple set up suffered some email fail. I still don’t know what it is, and after spending hours doing everything from trace routes, deleting and recreating the inbox, and reading up on every possible reason, I rebooted the dedicated virtual server…and it started to work again… I think.

At this stage I’m not sure if I’ve lost all email to duncan @, or only some of it, as I’m now seeing 12 hour old emails in my inbox, so at least some are slowly coming through, and new emails are getting straight through, creating this very odd picture (right).

Contacts made via the form on The Inquisitr go to the entire team, so if you submitted something that way, one of us would have read it.

Hopefully now returning to normal programming.


I went down the street today (Burke Road, Camberwell, VIC) for some lunch with the family and some time in Borders, and I kept seeing the above poster. Someone had come along and plastered it at the various places posters are frequently posted (construction site boarding mostly). But that’s it: An Apple and Pirates cross bones, the Apple Pirate poster with nothing more than the picture above. Does anyone know what it is suppose to mean? a statement about the iPhone perhaps (I’m presuming the timing isn’t a coincidence, and they weren’t posted last week).

I simply ask this: could I walk into a branch of the National Australia Bank and openly promote my business to those in attendance? I’d encourage EVERY Australian blogger who has an account to the National to close it.

From today’s Crikey (not quite reprinted in full, but as it’s subscription only, reprinted enough so you get the core idea):

Last week, the National Australia Bank ?¢‚Ǩ?ìspammed?¢‚Ǩ¬ù the comments sections of private blogs in an attempt to secure free promotion for the launch of its new SMS banking service. NAB is standing behind this decision.

Last Thursday, an anonymous message was posted to the comments section of an article about the recent controversies surrounding Sam Newman on the AFL Player Spectator blog…the message was out of context and irrelevant, promoting an event at Melbourne?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s Federation Square and a ticket give-away:

“Hi guys, NAB is giving away free tickets to the Collingwood v Carlton game on Saturday afternoon @ the MCG. Hop on down to Fed Square tomorrow?¢‚Ǩ¬¶ this is all to launch the new NAB SMS Banking! Thank you”….

NAB media relations spokesperson Felicity Glennie-Holmes confirmed that the message was indeed from the bank. The idea to spam the comments sections of private blogs was a recommendation of PR agency Cox+Inall, part of the BWM group, and had been undertaken by Cox+Inall with the bank?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s full knowledge and approval.

Cox+Inall had searched for blogs that included AFL coverage and were ?¢‚Ǩ?ìwell-enough read to attract readers who might be interested in our offer,?¢‚Ǩ¬ù said Ms Glennie-Holmes. No-one at NAB or at Cox+Inall had considered approaching blog owners first for permission before posting their promotional messages, she said.

?¢‚Ǩ?ìBlogs are a public forum?¢‚Ǩ¬ù, said Ms Glennie-Holmes. NAB and Cox+Inall felt this meant commercial interests could feel free to contribute unsolicited and irrelevant commercial material as comments, placing the onus on blog moderators to reject or delete unwanted comments.

?¢‚Ǩ?ìWe identified five or six blogs where we felt we?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢d give it a try,?¢‚Ǩ¬ù explained Ms Glennie-Holmes. ?¢‚Ǩ?ìWe chose blogs where we thought the moderators would review and decide whether or not to carry our message?¢‚Ǩ¬¶it was up to the blogger to decide whether they would leave the comment there or delete it.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

The fact that the message posted to the blogs was ?¢‚Ǩ?ìvery openly promotional?¢‚Ǩ¬ù and not deceptive also justified the bank?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s conduct, Ms Glennie-Holmes said.

Despite this openly promotional objective and targeting blogs based on their readership and web traffic, NAB ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú which reported a net profit of $4.6 billion last year ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú at no time considered remunerating bloggers, who typically blog in their own spare time and without sponsorship.

On its website, under the heading ?¢‚Ǩ?ìKey points to help protect yourself online?¢‚Ǩ¬ù, NAB advises its customers to ?¢‚Ǩ?ìDelete spam emails and do not open email attachments from strangers. Consider using a SPAM filter.?¢‚Ǩ¬ù

However, Ms Glennie-Holmes said she didn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t see anything contradictory in the bank stressing online safety and security and warning customers about spam when it was itself adopting a communications strategy based on spamming private blogs.

Absolute scum bags and a disgrace to the Australian corporate community. Boycott the NAB now.

Steve Gilmor is a smart guy, but his inability to focus on more than one thing at a time (or more precisely to constantly seque in a post) is worthy of cult status.

This post translated as best as I can make it out.

Our Home Town
I stumbled across Summize. I did a vanity search. Tim Russert died. There was nothing on TV. Russert covered the Presidential election. Barrack Obama causes Twitter to crash. Steve Jobs’ keynote put stress on Twitter. There was video taken of Steve Jobs. “a bootstrapped symphony of virtualized Steve Reality Distortion Field funneled through the MacBook AIR” (no idea what this means…acid trip maybe). Fanaticism and early adopters. Services like Twitter and Qik are magical. You will be in control. You’ll see dead people.

I’m reminded of Chaser segments like this (Steve’s Seque’s are a lot longer though)

The new Labor led Australian Government will announce its first budget tonight and harking back to the class-warfare of the past, Labor is expected to increase taxes for the so-called rich, and at the same time reduce or remove non-means tested benefits such as the baby bonus.

I won’t spend the post writing about how the seriously rich hardly pay any tax anyway and that a couple earning $100k a year in Australia isn’t rich in an age of unaffordable housing and astronomical rents (for the record we pay $550/ wk for a 3×1 in Canterbury, VIC). Consider that the average weekly wage for men in Australia is now $1101, or $57,000 a year, and a women the average is $725/ wk ($37.7k/ yr), so presuming both couples work the average family with 2 people working brings home $95,400 per year. (source). So apparently Labor wants to strip away breaks and bonuses from average Australians.

But I digress, because I wanted to talk about the tax increase for so-called luxury cars. Labor thinks that “luxury” cars start at $57,000. WTF? It can cost $30-$40k (even more) to put an Australian built car on the road. 4WD’s, needed in regional areas and the bush are higher than this (indeed Land Cruisers can go as high as $100k), no luxury there.

But consider this: European cars are frequently offered in Diesel variations. It’s less common with other makes, although we are slowly seeing more diesel cars. What’s the one great trait of diesel powered vehicles: they are frugal on fuel use, resulting in less consumption of oil and less environmental damage. In the age of the great Global Warming scare, shouldn’t an allegedly green friendly Government be encouraging motorists to buy more diesel cars? Wouldn’t a tax break on cars based on fuel consumption be better than INCREASING taxes on these very same cars?

For the record I drive a 2003 Toyota Echo which I’ve owned since new, it does roughly 4.5l/ 100kms.

Five reasons why Vista beats Mac OS X from Preston Gralla. ZOMG.

Reason one: Vista runs more software

True, but “here’s where Mac OS X falls short. It can’t run much common software, including enterprise applications and games” calls for a major WTF. Since switching to Apple 12 months ago I’ve never longed for one piece of Windows software. Vista may have more software but Mac software works better, end of story.

Reason Two: Vista is safer

So apparently hackers can crack OSX quicker than Vista. Big fucking deal. I don’t have a virus scanner running in Leopard, find me a Windows user who doesn’t and hasn’t had their system taken over. “Safer” is subjective: running a Mac is always a safer choice for the end user, end of story.

Reason Three: It’s the money, stupid

The old Mac’s cost more argument is apparently a reason to go with Vista. Here’s the thing: Mac’s may cost more up front (and not that much, 7-16% depending on the machine compared to a PC with similar specs) but it’s the marginal cost of using Apple products over the life of the computer, not at the point of purchase that counts. Simply you pay a little more up front but save that money in spades by not having to maintain the system. Every hour spent maintaining a PC has an opportunity cost so therefore it has a measurable cost as well.

Reason Four: The Mac is closed; Vista is open

True, but the quality control because of this is priceless. Besides, when was the last time Apple sued anyone for a Hackintosh system?

Reason Five: Two words — Steve Jobs

I don’t get this point at all. Why is Steve Job’s evidence that Vista is better than Windows? Is it because he doesn’t monkey dance like Microsoft’s Steve Balmer?

So far the comments on the post at ComputerWorld are going 100% against the post, and rightly so. As I said on Twitter, this is the most retarded thing I’ve read this year.

So I finally decided that paying between $27-$35 a day for hotel internet access when I’m traveling was a stupid idea and signed up for mobile broadband. After some solid advice on Twitter, I ended up going with Three mostly based on price, $29.95/ mth locked in for 24mths for 3G access with 2GB downloads/ month. I may well end up using more and upgrading, but I felt better about being locked in at a lower price.

So far the service is good. Down speeds of between 1mbps (in Sydney) and 1.5mbps (in Melbourne). Up speeds are a worry though, seem to be around 50-60k, so gaming or anything that requires uploads is out, but for the context of my use I can live with it.

The story with the signup process could only have happened with me. I walked into a Three shop on George Street Sydney, down the China Town end, so not surprisingly the staff were Chinese. English wasn’t their strong point from the start. So I explain what I want and sit down. I’m told that there is a plan, but it’s not explained to me. No big worry as I’d done my homework anyway, but zero disclosure from Three. I hand over my WA Drivers License and explain that I’ve just moved and I’m not at that address. The first response is that they need (seriously, I’m not making this up) an Australian Drivers License. After a quick geography lesson, they give in. I try to make them understand that I’m no longer at that address and get more blank looks, and she then proceeds to sign me up at my old address in WA. I try to explain again, more blank looks, so I give up. I’m then asked (seriously) to enter the rest of the information into their internal computer system myself. I could have made it up, and indeed I didn’t give a correct phone number because the system wouldn’t take my mobile number (not enough digits) and I don’t have a landline number at the moment. So essentially Three doesn’t have a contact number for me, and they have my incorrect address.

So we proceed some more, the credit check is done, and I’m in. All the time nothing has been explained to me about the contract or the service. She then tells me to sign a number of papers relating to the contract, without giving me the opportunity to read them. I sign, she then hands me my copy, inserts a sim into the USB modem, then puts it in a bag and it’s all done. Efficient Yes, but no explanation on the number for the sim card (which I need to check use on the Three site). It’s probably on the contract somewhere…. No explanation or disclosure on the contract…indeed no nothing, which I’m sure probably breaks some financial contract laws somewhere along the line, least presuming that telco’s have similar disclosure laws to banks and insurance companies.

Anyhow, I’m not complaining too loudly, reasonable service when using it, but it would have been rather easy to give completely false information along the way and not have had it picked up. They wouldn’t even take a credit card for monthly payments! I could have made up a bank account number and had it free for the first 6-8 weeks until they cancelled it for lack of payment 🙂