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This comment today on this post at Mumbrella (not yet approved, I hope it is), comment following:

I’m really waiting for an explanation as to why Australia Network needed its own “Canberra bureau” (from reading Tweets today AN’s Canberra bureau was cut) unless of course it was another example of Mark Scott using the Australia Network funding to subsidise things that weren’t remotely related to the Australia Network proper.

As anyone who has ever watched the Australia Network itself, I can tell you that all their day time bulletins (from 3am TST) are from ABC 24 News with the exception of the 2:30 (Thai time) Australia Network News Bulletin which comes out of a Melbourne studio.

I’m gutted that Australia Network has been cut, but there needs to be a serious parliamentary, or bigger enquiry as to how the $20m odd a year from DFAT was used to subsidise correspondents and bureaus which actually weren’t all that related to the service at all, except for maybe the odd rare report.

Mark Scott scammed the funding to cross subsidise ABC’s general foreign coverage, and now the cost has been paid.

You can well argue that in the end Australia Network was an ideological cut, but using what 30-50% maybe even more of that money to subsidise services not related where it could have…lets see, not spent that money that way and shown Government that our voice in Australia could be far more affordable should be on the gravestone of Mark Scott.

Which reminds me as a parting comment on something Malcolm Turnbull once said on Mark Scott: he claimed that Scott says that ABC New 24 can’t go into Asia due to “rights issues” which is dubious at best. Given how many ABC News 24 programs appear on the network now. At a rough guess 8-10 hours worth a day, maybe more when you include the showing of the chat programs, and there then repeats (Lateline, The Business, The World etc etc…) And then maybe every 2 in 3 programs in between times is ABC content anyway.

“Rights issues” was always a bs argument.

I’m probably being polite there.

The count of “good” (and by that I mean reasonable fair and decent) foreign correspondents sacked by the ABC today is beyond a fucking joke.

The thing is, most of those folks were rarely if at all exclusive to Australia Network vs the ABC (and it’s various programs and channels) exclusively.

They SHOULD NEVER have been employed exclusively by the DFAT funded Australia Network contract.


Sure, Australia Network could have justified a correspondent to cover say remote Pacific Islands, Kirabit, Nauru, Tavalu and places like that. But it never has.

Instead the ABC used the money to cover main ABC network correspondents across SE Asia, India and places like that.

When I’m next back to Australia, I’m going to write to all and sundry and demand an enquiry.

As per what I wrote on Mumbrella above, you could have funded Australia Network for 50%, maybe 75% even less. $5m-$10m a year may have even been sellable.

Instead the ABC, headed by Mark Scott took that money and pumped it into people who were not primarily based around the network.

It’s not just a national disgrace, it’s a scam. No other two ways about it.

you’re home early.

food for thought

The next site is ready to go. Indeed the template seems 99% there and we’re not launching yet because I never launch a site without some serious content up.

It’s going up within the next 2 weeks.

But I digress.

The new site covers a niche. It’s opposite to The Inquisitr which was always about volume.

I’m not saying volume is wrong but this site will never scale like The Inquisitr. What I’m hoping is that the CPM’s are so much higher that we can build strong traffic, but traffic that pays far higher rates.

I’ve already been asked by friends why not do a similar model again (like Inq) I mean, 8m+ page views in the third year were and remain awesome.

Maybe I’m a sadist, but I love a new challenge. I love taking on a new model and seeing if it works. Sure I could repeat what I’ve done before, but where is the fun, and challenge in that.

The new site is different, and a risk, but in many ways that’s the joy of it.

What I will say is the template is 99% finished and the team is starting to post. But we won’t launch until later this week or early next week. When I launch, I launch with content.

Thanks to everyone who has encouraged me, sent me good wishes, and also been my friend. I know that what I do for a living is a bit nuts…least the banks always tell me that when they refuse me money 🙂 But each time I start a new site, I am for higher traffic and more support than the one before. I can only hope that you all like it and will support me once again.

This site won’t appeal to everyone, but we will own an unmet niche, and I’d hope define a new media niche that hasn’t ever seriously been covered before.

I’ll be back in a week with the launch. Wish me luck 🙂

Increase the CGI budget for the BOM 🙂

Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Slippery Rudd Wins Again

November 27, 2009

With all the bruhaha over the Liberal Party meltdown, far too little attention is being given to what was a masterful stroke on the way to the thousand year censored Rudd Reich.

Rudd caused the issues in the Liberal Party, although at the same time, Turnbull was stupid enough to take the bait. By constantly hammering away at the Liberal Party, Rudd forced Turnbull to negotiate on the ETS, knowing full well what would eventually happen.

I may not like Rudd, but by god he’s a clever politician, and credit where due.

Turnbull should resign, not simply because he tried to railroad ETS support through the Liberal Party room, but because he even decided to negotiate to begin with.

Everyone knew there was divisions, and the stated policy previously was that the Libs would wait until after Copenhagen. But Turnbull couldn’t stand even the most basic pressure in the media from Rudd to force his hand, and caved quickly.

Despite his previous role as the head of the ARM, I don’t actually dislike Turnbull as a potential PM. He is most definitely smart, and well qualified to handle the finances of the country. But as a politician he has failed once again, and nothing will save him now.

The question though is can the Libs save anything coming into the next election?

I remember when Hockey was the NSW Young Liberal President (long term readers will know that I’m a former Liberal.) He would sell his sole for power then, and I have no doubt that he will now.

Tony Abbott…well, the positive is that he’s a man of his convictions, and although I don’t support all his convictions, I’d rather a leader or PM who stands by what he believes in vs sell them out at the drop of a hat.

But likewise Abbott suffers the same affliction that some in the NSW Right suffer: a contradiction between their economic and social policy. They believe in the market and small Government (well in theory, the only difference between Howard and Rudd on socialism is who gets the money, as opposed to not spending a lot of it at all), but likewise they seek to impose a Christian right view point on morals.

Of course the Liberal left is the rank opposite: they believe and support the nanny state, but likewise have a more libertarian view on social policy.

My problem has always been that I fit neither, and it was one of the reasons I was happy to quit the Liberal Party many years ago. I support the right on economics, but I support the left on social policy.

I shouldn’t have to make that choice, because both wings of the Liberal Party contradict each other. If you are for free markets, you should be for liberal social policy (because the idea of small Government should extend all policies.) If you believe in socialism, then perhaps you should believe in interfering in social policy.

There have been some smaller parties challenging the norm. The LDP, who I’ll always happily vote for, unfortunately seem destined to never gain a seat in Australia. The Pirate Party (of which I’m a provisional member) is a two issue party, but both issues fit nicely with my libertarian view of the world. Even the Sex Party is getting there…well, aside from their ridiculous policy that 50% of all seats in parliament should be for women. Don’t get me wrong, if 90% of parliament were women, I’d have no problem, but imposing quotas based on sex vs merit = epic fail and is indeed sexism in itself.

I’m nearly at the point that I might not take my next vote seriously. I’d say I’d dummy vote except that saying that is illegal in Australia (another travesty in itself.) All I see is gray when what we need is something better.


November 2, 2009

just a quick test to see if we’re working

In case you missed it: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times (or why we’re with Rackspace)

I don’t want to revisit again what happened, but suffice to say we had our worst day since maybe month 2…and the first week of the month (and September in general, but not as bad) was epic fail.

Now on Rackspace so benchmarking load times, and doing everything I can to make the site as quick as possible.

As I type this, the front page loads in 9.57 seconds, and give or take the time its loaded it’s sometimes faster, sometimes a little slower. The bulk of the readable content though is up <6 seconds, and that’s a huge improvement.

Posts are an issue. Content is up <7 seconds but the full page is way too long (18s). The biggest problem is JS-Kit, and loading icons for each comment, for example hits to FriendFeed for icons can add 5-10 seconds to load time. I’ve asked them for the option to cut the icons out, crossing fingers.

With both pre-loaded (so cache in play) I tried to benchmark the load times against Mashable and TC
Mashable: front: 32.63 page: 24.69
TC: 16:56 page: one page 8 seconds then hang, the next 11.25 then hang with half sidebar missing.

The choice of the two was important because both are on Rackspace…and we beat them, despite less resources. We can do better though, and we will 🙂

I should have known that when I wrote this post about The Inquisitr that the word comfortable in it was a mistake. I’ve never done comfortable well. There’s a thrill in blogging about where the next hit comes from (not unlike drugs), the next biggest high, the next level and hence we’re rolling the dice today.

We’re offering five blogging positions in a range of roles. Details on Darren Rowse’s Problogger here.

They’re hard to describe, and using the term entry level in the title for this post might be slightly disingenous, but likewise it’s something close to that. They’re something like an internship/ entry level position, and they share some qualities such as experience, exposure etc. But likewise we’re paying for them, be it not at the top of the market, but given dozens of networks including some of the big players hire “interns” like there is no tomorrow and pay them zilch, the positions offer some money. Compared to what I’m hearing from bloggers writing for content sites offering rev shares at the moment the rate is actually fairly high as well given what they are getting.

As we drive forward to 3 million page views a month (we did 1 million at 2pm on the 8th this month, our best week and a bit on record) we’re looking for ways to grow even more, so I see these positions offering benefits for us and each blogger. We obviously get more content, different views and hopefully interesting posts, and in return each successful candidate gets experience at the top end (while these aren’t I’ll hold your hand jobs, I’ll certainly be taking an active role in guidance), some extra money, and either a top level job with us one day (may not happen, but it’s an option depending on performance and our finances as a result) or a stepping stone onto something better.

We treat all our bloggers equally irrespective of their pay rate, seniority, experience or what not, and these positions will be no different, although they do come with lower posting requirements.

If we fill these spots our regular posting compliment rises to 10, and add another 3 on top for occasional guest/ CPM spots.

This whole debate over player behavior in Rugby League is bizarre. On the radio the other morning, John Faine went as far as comparing RL to AFL, suggesting that the problem was one of Rugby League’s alone.

Of course that’s bollocks. Anyone who has ever been around a football club of any code knows that these problems are evident in all, and you only have to go through the record of the AFL and see players there mucking up.

But what if the problem was one of sport, or male team sport in particular?

Consider this: DUIs the biggest off-field problem for NFL

The drinking problem is happening in the US as well. The difference in the US perhaps is that group sex wouldn’t raise an eyebrow.