Tram Town
Friday, April 30, 2004
Category: Computers
American Business Computers Catalog, about 1981.

Category: Punk
The Ramones and the chicken beak boy. Go Figure!

Category: Birthdays
Happy 40th to my first programming language.

Category: Audio
I liked that band I saw last night so much I took them home.

Category: Audio
Apple have upgraded iTunes to version 4.5 (up from 4.2), but I think I might be going deaf.

Category: Trash
Who knew? Sydney's Australian Museum doesn't have an arrow fashioned from Captain Cook's leg bone. We may go and see that later on today,

Category: Headlines
I don't know why, but this one seems a little obvious: Death creates anxiety among elderly. It's not a pleasant story, though, so don't feel tempted to click through. Thank goodness they've got the creep!

Category: Celebrate
They said we'd never make it... happy birthday Tram Town!

Category: Twee
Happy Birthday to us
We don't take the bus,
We know where we stand,
'cos we take the Tram (town)
(sorry, but Tram Town has just turned 1!)

Thursday, April 29, 2004
Category: Technology
Now, I've got a bluetooth headset for my mobile and I realise what a fool I look when using it (like more of a fool than usual). I'd much rather have a blue parrot on my shoulder.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Category: Duh!
Again from the SSS, Toby Hagan, Motoring Editor, engaging in a bit of press-release journalism...
The RACV has warned about the dangers of space-saver spare tyres after independent tests showed they could increase stopping distances by almost 50 per cent and reduce cornering grip by as much as 13 per cent.
If they performed as well as normal tyres we would be putting four of them on every car (and one in the boot), idiot.

Category: Journalism
A story by Brendan Nicholson in the SSS headlined "Canberra bought unwanted helicopters" starts:
Australia paid the US $1.1 billion for a squadron of Seasprite helicopters from a mothballed fleet that the Americans tried unsuccessfully to give away to other countries.
and then goes on to explain that some helicopters that had been retired from US service were offered to some other countries for nothing (presumably with a nice little earner on parts and maintenance for some US manufacturers). But...
the Seasprites sold to Australia had been rebuilt and were re-armed with far more sophisticated weapons than those given to the developing countries
So Australia did not pay "US $1.1 billion for a squadron of Seasprite helicopters from a mothballed fleet" just as anyone who has been following this story knows.
Indeed, given the ADFs' success with F-111's, it may be a good strategy for us to use smarter versions of old hardware. We seem to be pretty good at it.
The real issue with the Super Seasprites is that we paid for these aircraft in advance and we had been paying maintenance bills on them before they were "fully" delivered.
A worthless article, Brendan.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Category: Bloggered
Blogger lost our template this afternoon and I don't seem to have a lot of choice so we are publishing using one of their standard templates. I'm a tad irritated.

Monday, April 26, 2004
Category: Apple
Nice article on my favourite fruit company looking at the development cycle of the iPod and some other stuff. Semi will probably disagree with me but (again).

Sunday, April 25, 2004
Category: Audio
SFX of really old car engines and horns. Even my mum can go listen to these now.

Saturday, April 24, 2004
Category: Lego Escher AEBrain
AEBrain pointed (quite a while ago) at some of Escher's work constructed in Lego. Spectacular!

Friday, April 23, 2004
Category: Theatre (well, technically Opera)
Now I've been involved in theatre for around 20+ years, and I think that this is a bit counter cultural. I don't think I'd last two minutes under these circumstances lovey!

Thursday, April 22, 2004
Category: HyperCard
Whilst the ease of application development was quite something for 1988, I can't think of any aspect of HyperCard that couldn't be handled with FrontPage (or some equivalent) and a bit of JavaScripting. It would be portable across a lot of platforms, too, and quickly modified to be placed on a server with a real database behind it.
It had been dead meat for a longtime when it was pulled.
Just One Guy's Opinion!

Category: Architecture
Interesting article on the Apple Stores, Bill and Steve. Well, I found it interesting.

Category: Apple
Vale HyperCard. From memory my only Shareware application was a HyperCard version of a recorded music management tool called Music II+ which I developed from scratch -- it was quite good. I believe that the shareware agreement used Semi's GPO postal box number as a contact point. It was downloaded 66 times when I last looked (1992) and two people contacted me for tech support. They were such a pain I pulled the product. No one ever paid the shareware fee.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Category: Music
Audioscrobber introduces some potentially fascinating social profiling. I can even find people like me. That's gotta be exciting.

Category: Sport
I'm not a surfer but if I was I would like to be Pete Cabrinha.

Monday, April 19, 2004
Category: technology
Toyota have created a trumpet playing robot: "The robot has yet to be given a cute name".

Sunday, April 18, 2004
Category: Pitchers
Haunted Mansion took its time to reach our shores and we caught up with it at Airport West this morning. It is a bit much scare-wise for the smaller kids but 7yo said "it was freaky and I LOVE being FREAKED OUT". Eddie Murphy was not so much of a (dare I say it) "jive-ass nigger" as usual but ALL of the acting made the grade well-and-truly. The biggest problem was that it was really slow starting. It was an 88 minute film that felt more like 110 minutes.
It is obviously considered very "derivative" because people compare it to everything except itself; my comparison is Jumanji with which it compares very favourably.
I should probably mention that it really does have a story and that is not terribly common in the sort of fillums that I see with my children. The story does peak a little bit early ("read what must be red") and there is not really a satisfying dénouement but it is a real story that isn't just a minute slice of Campbellian myth.
8.0/10 (much of the mark for the acting) (as opposed to 4.9/10 on IMDB... go figure!)

Category: Acoustics
Acoustics 101 is a really interesting site with a lot of information of how to make a room sound better. It considers Auralex products particularly praiseworthy because, well, they're the people who fund the site. Much like DPA and their extremely useful Microphone University.
Auralex is run by a bloke who calls himself Fearless Leader!

Saturday, April 17, 2004
Category: Viromunt
"ambiguous" rules are allowing many companies to avoid disclosing the financial risks posed by global warming
What a lot of nonsense!

Category: ATSIC
Slatts is right on the money with this comment.

Category: CDR
As I have mentioned before, Audio Technology is one of my favourite magazines. It's a shame that it does not do much on the 'net but it does a bloody good job in the small market it operates in. In particular, it does not feel as though every article was bought and paid for.
However, in the most recent issue (#32), Cliff Blackburn's article about CDR seemed like a spot with Moira on GMA. From a bit of googling I have found that Cliff, who is listed in AT as a freelance audio engineer and rhubarb lover, sells a "Complete range of professional audio equipment plus contractor and cinema installation products, merchandising and large display fountains" as the owner of Sinclair Communications (that is, if this site is up to date). He also writes what looks like advertising copy for PRODISCSystems.
The article was very particular about ensuring that you buy discs from manufacturers who publish their specs (BLER etc.). PRODISCSytems are just one such manufacturer and Cliff refers to them in his "Ref." section at the end of the article. In fact that reference is the only easily accessible reference listed.
I suggest a read of section seven of the CDR FAQ before buying Cliff's PRODISCSystems' story holus-bolus.
Oh, and Media Sciences' page is pretty illuminating as well.
The Optical Storage Technology Association website is a good read and all.

Category: Meeja
A couple of weeks ago I noted a disgraceful beatup by "Ashley Gardiner transport reporter" for the Herald-Sun. It was no-news news which, frankly, lied.
Last night, there was real news about real traffic chaos caused by a diversion of all traffic 100 metres after the eastern end of the Burnley tunnel. Not covered by "Ashley Gardiner transport reporter" in today's paper near as I can tell.
Maybe I'm a freak but I really like to know about the causes of such closures so I can judge if I should use the service.
Nothing in the "Media area" of the Citylink site either. It was last updated on the 19th of March. Surely J. K. Walsh's release as mis-reported on by "Ashley Gardiner transport reporter" should be there???

Category: Athens
I doubt that TramTown is going to become an Olympics-watch site but I had to point out this amazing story of a company that just weeks ago was awarded a contract to supply 100,000 seats for various stadia in Athens only four months before the opening ceremony.
"Things in Athens move at a different pace."
They sure do!

Friday, April 16, 2004
Category: Stupid People/Web
Dear Mr. Gates, I've gone through some hard times lately and I appreciate how busy you must be but wonder if you could help?

Category: Technology
OK, Boys 'n' Girls! Let's play Name That Tune! It's so cool, wonder if we'll get it here? Probably not! We don't even have side band time sync on GSM.

Category: Viromunt
Over at EnviroSpin Watch, Professor Emeritus Philip Stott says:
There is only one thing to be said about climate change. If we crushed every car and plane, closed every factory, shut down every power station, and put 4 billion people worldwide out of work, climate would still change, and often dramatically. Unfortunately, we would then be all too poor to adapt.
There's no going back folks. Get used to it.

Thursday, April 15, 2004
Category: Technology

Category: Pitchers
The recent live action production of The Cat in the Hat, rating 2.9/10 by users of the imdb, is an absolute cracker in my book. I do wonder, though, how the OFLC could consider it a G rating. There was the spelling out of S. H. I. T. There was a short description of the facts of life as they apply to cats. Perhaps the one that really got past the OFLC was when, having stepped on a certain garden implement which jumped up and hit him in the face, the cat accused it of being a "dirty 'ho". When markl is Prime Minister he can counsel them on why this might be just a little off colour. He might also tell them from me that the fillum is bling-bling.
Also these holidays, we went to see Scooby Doo II: Monsters Unleashed. It was way better than the first one but it didn't really have much to beat. It did, however, make the same mistake as the first one by allowing that the magic is real. This is quite the opposite of the point of the cartoon series. I'm kinda fond of Linda Cardellini, me.

TCitH - 8/10
SD2:MU - 6/10

Sunday, April 11, 2004
Category: Nonsense (AFD+10)
Federation Square attracts more visitors than the Sydney Opera House, the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower. How are they counting them? This has gotta be a stupid con by somebody... The Hun? Chris Tinkler? Peter Seamer?

Category: Chicken
Of the subservient variety.
Thanks Yobbo.

Category: Victoria
My children were bitterly disappointed this morning when, as a result of the vast Easter Bunnies Inc. conglomerate employing more than twenty people, no Easter Eggs were made available to Victorians. They didn't accept my explanation that the eggs were, perhaps, too well hidden. Neither did they accept my final suggestion that the lack of chocolate items (eggs, rabbit, bilbies, whatever) was a subtle lesson in life on why we should never elect socialist governments.
Just so you understand, the ALP described this disgraceful law as an implementation of "Harmonisation of public holidays and shop trading days". They really don't get it, do they?

Category: Oaf
I have some experience playing The Oaf in Chekhovian dramas, heck, it's pretty much typecasting for me. Last night I played The Oaf at the Easter Blogger Beer Bash. Very enjoyable evening as far as I can remember.

Saturday, April 10, 2004
Category: SSS
"The Paper" as DB calls it (as if there is only one) has a great article on Easter on the web.

Category: Telecommunications
Many people think that I'm stupid, they could be right. I normally have "call waiting" enabled on my land line but for various reasons I needed a consistent internet connection this morning so I wanted to disable it (I'm still on dial-up, sorry). I dug out the paper white pages to see what variant of *0#*# I needed and it just said 1#! The astonishing aspect of this (as those of you who know me will testify to) is that given my many and varied speech impediment's (not to mention teeth) the robot understood me! Why didn't I know about this before? (NB possibly my longest post I think)

Category: Apple
Oh, bugger! Maybe OSX isn't a real OS after all.

Category: Fillum Making/DIY
Build your own Steadycam for only US$14 -- that's gotta be a bargain.

Category: Google
Google Watch provides "A look at how Google's monopoly, algorithms, and privacy policies are undermining the Web". Google is nearly always considered "the good guy". When you consider the proportion of searches that they now account for and the information that they can glean from ccokie-based demographics, their potential power is awesome. Power corrupts.
Try using Mooter or Kartoo a bit more often.
Stay tuned, this is going to get bigger!

Friday, April 09, 2004
Category: MarkL
markl.tblog.com is getting funnier and more accurate by the post. Get into the conga line to read it.

Category: Vanilla
I couldn't get vanilla essence down at the local Coles Supermarket last week. I thought they must have been messing with my mind (as they do). As SashaCastel points out, the bean price has increased a little lately.
I did manage to get some fake stuff from the Halls Gap general store on Tuesday. That's all, citizens. Go back to your beds lives.

Category: Diversity
I am a devout atheist and I own no guns but I love Mike Adams and admire his conviction.

Category: Madness
In certain parts of Essendon, at certain times of the day, it is against the law to drive a car without passengers. This would appear to mean that parents dropping their children off at school are eligible for a $105 fine as they are deemed to be "rat-runners".

Category: Climate
Vincent Gray writes on Tech Central Station about The Climate Consensus. This is marked down as the first article I have read about so-called global warming that quotes Maggie Thatcher:
Consensus is the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead.

Category: Apple
Yay, Mac OSX has finally hit the big time, finally it's a real OS!

Thursday, April 08, 2004
Category: Transport
Did I hear someone say Seagway?

Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Category: Distributed Computing (I think)
Fascinating treatise on some of that Google stuff. Can't vouch for its authority but -- still a good read though.

Category: Things I Don't Understand
Hmmm, install Linux on a dead badger.

Category: Cartoons
Today is Astro Boys birthday. Go, Go, Go!

Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Category: Fillums
FAB! Thanks Kenn.

Category: Media
We hear spin doctor Jean Ker Walsh on Thursday afternoons on Virginia Trioli's Drive on 3LO. She span her little heart out to justify relatively benign lane closures in CityLink recently. It achieved very little, though, because the subbies titled the piece "CityLink tunnels close to avoid snarls". It didn't help that "Ashley Gardiner transport reporter" lead with " CITYLINK tunnels were closed 64 times without warning last month, leaving frustrated motorists seeing red". This is poor journalism.

Category: Obesity
Caused by homework according to "Fred Ackerman, president of the Primary Principals Association" (shouldn't there be an apostrophe in there somewhere?). The teachers at my kids' school could learn a bit from this article.
Another obesity link from the NT News. A woman with "Stompa" registration plates was submitted to "derogatory comments about her weight during a parking dispute".

Category: Your $tax
The ABC and the SBS appear to have gotten into a bidding war of sorts over Margaret and David.
D. U. M. B.

Category: Media
I have been trying to keep up to speed on that business in the NT News. It gets a bit hard when an item with the headline "Bid to close all pubs on Friday" points at an article about a "bubbly blonde" fashion model. Also, when you look for "more territory news" you end up at a page that hasn't been updated since Saturday.

Monday, April 05, 2004
Category: Engineering
Don't be boring be Really Boring! Maybe they could use it for The Big Dig but I'm guessing maybe that's almost finished.

Sunday, April 04, 2004
Category: Stupidity
Enough Said! I hope it's a hoax! Independant; Onion? -- Semi'd know, he always does. (But it's just SOOOO close to the truth).

Friday, April 02, 2004
Category: Outrage (AFD?)
If this story about a five-year-old addicted to cannabis is true it is an outrage. It's certainly light-on for facts but it would have to be in the circumstances.
Interestingly it appeared on the front page of today's Australian with a couple of the pictures but does not appear on their website (anymore?) near as I can tell. It is hard to tell from the pictures whether they are faked. It is still in the archive of the Northern Territory news.
The folks over at FARK.com have gotten on to this with lots of comments of young children using cannabis. I'm horrified. UPDATE: The story is slightly different on the NTNews site but it is definitely not an AFD thing because they followed up today with this. But I still can't find it on the Aus site.
UPUPDATE: Edith Bevin keeps the flame burning in the NTNews.

Category: What were they thinking
The "Brief Safe".

Thursday, April 01, 2004
Category: Apple
I hadn't seen this before, others probably have (Big download warning).

Category: Intellectuals (AFD)
ANU introduces course in "Intellectualism".

Category: Yum Cha
Now, anyone that knows me also knows that I'm a big Yum Cha fan. But this is just plain silly!

Category: Passports (AFD)
You can get passport details of people from many countries for free!

Category: Technology
I'd seen this talked about around the traps, but not anything this official. Jeez, it's cool but.

Category: April Fools' Day
Daniel is a dickhead. (apologies to Semi's Mum).

Category: Internet (AFD)
Telstra are going to kill off BigPond Cable according to Whirlpool and others.

They have done something even less likely according to email a friend of mine received:
The current cost for the Unlimited plan is $59.95 per month. All users who were previously on the $69.95 Unlimited plan are now automatically getting the reduced rate since our pricing change on the 27/02/2004.
This is a big hit for commonsense given the statements they were making around a month ago.

Category: Warts
Who knew? Veruca Salt was named "in honour of the medical Latin name for warts, verrucae".

Category: April Fools' Day
Tim Blair announces that he is going to be co-hosting Media Watch.

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