Tram Town
Monday, May 30, 2005
Category: Weird
Dick went for a drive.
Did Dick?
Dick Did.
Dick Blanked

OK Some kinda tribute, I guess.

Category: Meeja
I had to make a note of this reference of Andrew Bolt's to the Tullamarine Trotskyite Tribune as
just a more expensive version of Farrago

Category: Drinking
This is a worthy idea for a blog: go to a thousand bars in one year and write them up.

Sunday, May 29, 2005
Category: Schapelle
The Indonesian justice system must have an extremely selective Public Prosecutor (or whatever its equivalent is) given that the three judges that decided Schapelle Corby's case have never found a defendant not guilty:
NONE of the three judges presiding over Schapelle Corby's trial has ever found a defendant innocent, and they have now reached broad agreement on the verdict they will hand down on Friday.
Me, I just can't understand why anyone would smuggle drugs INTO Indonesia FROM Australia. Other than that, the defence did not appear to be strong from this, admittedly great, distance
Thanks for the pointer Tim Blair.
UPDATE: By all accounts the quality of the imported weed is so much better that the street price for the quality stuff makes that direction of smuggling commercially sound. Who knew?

Category: Nutrition
Americans aren't as fat as some people would have you believe. This Tech Central Station interview is a good read and a bit of a myth buster.
The claim that weight is an important medical issue is not completely false, it's just largely false. At the statistical extremes of thinness and fatness, there's no question that weight has some relevance. But for the vast majority of people in this culture, and including the vast majority of people who are classified as weighing too much -- especially this completely phony overweight category -- it doesn't.
One of the things that I have been struck by, in studying this literature, is the weirdness of the assumption that the variation in body mass between individuals is a product of something other than their genetic predisposition to have a certain kind of body mass. Think of how bizarre that assumption would be in the context of something like say, height. The assumption that, say, Shaquille O'Neal on the one hand and Winona Ryder on the other, have different height because of lifestyle choices would be something that would just obviously be absurd. And yet, to a very significant extent, weight is just like height in that regard. [my emphasis]
Read the whole thing!

Saturday, May 28, 2005
Category: Ep III
ROTS Easter Eggs (or more correctly, Trivia). FWIW (Spoilers warning).

Category: Blindness
Viagra is linked with blindness. Probably in a similar way that beer is.

Friday, May 27, 2005
Category: Musicians
It's not just actors who are important, musicians are pretty darned special as well. Thom Yorke of Radiohead has made a very important observation:
Understandably unwilling to leave the great moral questions to rival Chris Martin of Coldplay (who, readers will remember, recently identified "shareholders" as "the greatest evil of the modern world"), fellow theologian/ethicist Thom Yorke of Radiohead ventures to disagree. Mr. Yorke maintains that ultimate evil is instead represented by "people denying that climate change exists," as the Indy's "5-Minute Interviewer" puts it (not online).
Asked how he felt upon hearing the opinions of such individuals, Mr. Yorke responds that "it is a flagrant evil, more evil than anything else".
I'm really glad to be informed of that. Hitherto, I would certainly have put quite a few things ahead of trying to clarify a few claims of a very young science in the evil continuum. Sometimes I wish I could just ring these guys up every time a contentious issue comes up. Thank god the press considers them important enough to report.
Elsewhere in the item, Yorke is quoted thus:
You can make CDs from hemp - it is not impossible - but nobody is doing it because they can't be arsed.
Thanks for alerting us to this genius, Scott Burgess.

Category: mp3 players
iGumby! I think I'll wait for iPokey.

Category: Hardware
Intel's Otellini advises get a Mac, well sort of. Rumour mongers may well make a connection to this report but I reckon they're dreamin'.

Category: Music
You'd have to say that Phil Spector is looking a million bucks these days. Courtrooms must suit his demeanor.

Thursday, May 26, 2005
Category: Compulsory Acquisition
That means, they're acquiring it compulsorily.
Hmmm... This article in the H/S might lead to a sequel for the Eastern Suburbs.

Category: Fillums
Nice article on Spielberg's War of the Worlds.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Category: Cars
My favourite motoring writer is Jeremy Clarkson. This article about the death of MG Rover is a particularly good read. e.g.:
There was a time when British engineering counted for something. But unfortunately this time was 1872. Today the demise of MG Rover is being blamed on a collection of businessmen, two of whom have face hair, who bought the company from BMW for a tenner and then began what looked to some like a massive asset-stripping operation.
This isn’t surprising. What is surprising is that after so many years of utter and absolute hopelessness there might have been any assets left to strip.

Category: Fandom

Category: Museums
Hmmm, Paul Allen's History of the Future's certainly looking like a bought one. I'd love to go there.

Category: Recently Dead Celebrities
It's no joke Joyce. Vale

Category: RDC
"Get ready to match the stars, as we play . . . Blankety Blanks"
"When in Sydney, Graham Kennedy chooses to stay at the Boulevard Hotel, 99 William Street, Kings Cross". Not anymore. We've been missing him for a long time. The King is dead, there will never be another.
"Dick died", "Did Dick?", "Dick did", "Stiff dick!"

Category: Actors
Warren Beatty might stand against Arnie for the gubernatorial election next year. But Arnie's representative made this comment:
The governor's communications director, Rob Stutzman, dismissed Beatty as a "crackpot".
"I don't know why anyone would care what he says," Mr Stutzman told the San Francisco Chronicle.
How could anyone say such a thing about an actor? Actors are important.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Category: Meeja
I've been enjoying reading some of Jack Marx's columns in the SMH. Am I a fool for never having seen his work before?

Monday, May 23, 2005
Category: Culture
This site is well worth an extensive look if you like that kinda thing.
It's an absolute Cracker!
A lot of it appears to also be H.264 compliant FWIW. On the Mac at least, and "soon" on the Dominant Platform, H.264 is part of Quicktime 7.

Category: Music
The Cowbell Project is very interesting intrinsically and for a really bad piece of interface engineering. The database search on the right has a really bad special case: 'If you want the complete list, enter "all"'. Remember having to enter 999 to finish and update session on mainframes? And then there was the forex system that was working fins until they brought Ecuador on board. Typing "Quito" into the city field caused the entire application to "QUIT"!
For more on "More Cowbell", go here.

Category: Music
I don't remember any of the nonsense about Marcus Montana, it was probably just a Sydney thing. Whatever, it makes for a teriffic read here. Strangely, Tim Freedman comes across as being a bit smug. Hard to fathom, that.

Category: (Your) ABC
See if you can make sense of this transcript of a Radio National program. This bit is particularly interesting baffling:
The future is coming so fast now that I think the ABC could be connecting with the future a bit more and looking at kind of cutting-edge ideas, but having said that, it’s such an easy thing to criticise…there’s this great big blancmange but in the blancmange there are nuggets and there is something for everybody and there is a kind of national conversation that it does inspire.
Ponder on that for a moment, "in the blancmange there are nuggets". That's Richard Neville speaking there. He seems to be completely losing his grip on whatever it is he ever had a grip on.
Tim Blair pointed at this in a posting that also noted that there is a newsreader at the ABC who gets $500,000 a year. Think about that next time you hear Russell Balding begging for extra funding.

Sunday, May 22, 2005
Category: Trams
I've heard of bicycle couriers, but tram couriers are sorta cool.

Saturday, May 21, 2005
Category: Star Wars
Discussion on ROTS (spoilers galore, better not to read yet if you haven't seen it).

Category: Star Wars

Category: Questions
From the old days of Hollywood Squares in the US when Paul Lynde was on it: some questions and answers.

Friday, May 20, 2005
Category: Hoaxes
How did cavemen do their hunting & gathering?

Category: mp3
I've heard of Podcasting but Godcasting?

Category: Solon Smith Alvarez Something
Some more of this story starting to slip out...
VIVIAN Alvarez returned to Australia on a Philippines passport stamped with a tourist visa six months before she was wrongfully deported, diplomatic cables reveal.

Category: May 19
I saw that pitcher y'day. There were way too many sword fights (but I never really liked the sword fights, anyway). Get this: it turns out that cute little Anakin from Episode I becomes Darth Vader, you know, the mean guy from Ep IV-VI. Sound never seemed quite in sync (I did see it at Norflanz, though) and the CGI, while v. beautiful, inserted a layer of abstraction more than I had previously noted making the whole experience a bit surreal. The dialog was still a bit stunted but it is probably better than I and II. Also, Yoda had too much to say so the (cute) tortured syntax became tortuous. It was, however, worth well beyond the cost of admission.
It's all over. No more waiting. No more Star Wars.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Category: Technology
Lengthy article on the Evolution of the PDA.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Category: mp3
50 Fun Things To Do With Your iPod.

Category: Telly
I watched a bit of The Einstein Factor on Sunday night but I missed the part quoted by one of Tim Blair's readers. Doctor Clare Wright was part of the Brains Trust and when...
One of the contestants had chosen Lawrence of Arabia as his main topic. Ms Wright remarked (I am paraphrasing): “Don’t you think it’s funny that today Lawrence would be in Guantanamo Bay for his beliefs”.
She ended this with a satisfied smirk, as if she had just said something very witty. To her utter disgust (and my pleasure) the contestant fired back with: “To the contrary, if Lawrence would have succeeded in his ideas, there wouldn’t be a need for Guantanamo Bay. There would be democracy in the Middle East."
The consternation on the face of Ms Wright as she turned away from the contestant was telling. What an answer! In my high school days in LA, it was referred to as getting ‘bitch slapped’.
According to the show's website: "Dr Clare Wright is an award-winning historian and author who has worked in politics, academia and the media". Some historian!

Monday, May 16, 2005
Category: Guvmint
Ashley Gardiner, transport reporter for the Hun notes this little piece of deceit from our state government here in Brackistan. The promise from the government is to spend $200mill on public transport over 38 years. Most of it will be spent propping up a bus service that isn't planned to make even a little profit by the sounds of it.

Sunday, May 15, 2005
Category: Who knew?
I don't know about the topics of conversation but, apparently, butterflies can talk!

Saturday, May 14, 2005
Category: Appple
Xbox 360. MS does OSX.

Category: Apple
Steve Jobs buys a washing machine.

Friday, May 13, 2005
Category: mp3 Players
I've owned/own a number of iPods and this not only makes no sense but less than sense (if that makes sense).

Category: Apple
When is a Crash not a Crash? That's sorta cool. Does XP do anything similar? Semi?

Thursday, May 12, 2005
Category: May 19
With all of the reviews of Episode III popping up all over the place I am beginning to wonder if I am the only one who hasn't seen it. This one tells of rumours of Tom Stoppard's involvement in the dialogue.
UPDATE: Even the reviewers are being reviewed.
UPUPDATE: I thought the TCS review above was drawing a long bow in its reference to the prevailing political situation, until I started reading the book. The spaceship commanded by General Grievous and carrying and Darth Tyrannus during the opening sequence is called The Invisible Hand. Whereas "the right" see the invisible hand of free markets as a good thing, "the left" consider it to be evil. It appears to me to be a very deliberately chosen name.
UPUPUPDATE: The command ship of the good guys' fleet is called The Integrity. Spare me!

Category: Mathematics
For those of you too young to remember Cuisinaire Rods. FWIW.

Category: Robotics
Hmm, self replicating Cuisinaire Rods. More information here.

Category: Sight
Stevie Wonder releases video for blind

Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Category: Nostalgia
When I was a kid I watched the Disney show every Sunday night on HSV7 (but if it was Adventureland I watched Showcase 68 on ATV 0 (I think Dad liked it)). I always wanted to go to Disneyland and haven't so far. This article looks to have some fascinating nostalgic trivia about this stuff. (FWIW)
(Hmm, Almost a Mrs Hardy post.)

Category: Apple
Take a tablet and see me in the morning? Umm, Ho Hum.

Category: mp3 Players
Chewie Screwey? Or is it all just Hooey?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Category: Intellectuals
Suzy Edwards' article in today's TTT is a magnificent piece of work that makes me feel a bit less stupid about failing to understand what Martin Harrison was on about as first sepaker during that lecture on Sunday.
As a newly established resident of Narre Warren, it is perhaps surprising that my literacy skills and intellectual curiosity were sufficient enough to allow me to start, let alone finish Margaret Simons' (Review, 7/5) summation of my life as an Australian citizen living in the outer suburbs. Her unfortunate visit to Narre Warren and Fountain Gate, variously described as research, tourism or perhaps anthropology positioned me and my fellow residents as nothing more than vacuous curiosities available for examination from the supposed superiority afforded the cultural elite via the distinction of their educated inner-city location.
Big words from a Monash academic and more power to her. The real shame is that she lowered herself to using the word "narrative" four times during the closing paragraphs.
Read it all and remember that most of our academics are second quartile intellects at best but think they are somehow elite. Suzy Edwards appears to have some idea of her place in the world and probably pushes well into the first quartile. I hope she teaches my children's teachers.
This is a must read surprise for the TTT. Thanks Slatts for the pointer.

Category: Weird
Imagine if you threw a time travelers convention and no one showed up. (well, no one from outside the present day at least)

Monday, May 09, 2005
Category: Photos
I've been accused of being expressionless (cf. sullen) but this girl leaves me for dead. (For those with motion sickness problems, look here).

Sunday, May 08, 2005
Category: ISP's
I'm with Big Pond and actually find them pretty good (Cable, not 'DSL). They send me a newsletter each month to tell me why they're good and (I think) to get me to use the internet more.
In last weeks newsletter there was a survey asking me why I liked them. I tried to complete it but their server (or more correctly the "White Agency" server) has been timing out since last Thursday up until this second. The last question (to enable me to win double passes to NRL games) was why I liked Big Pond so much so I replied:
"Big pond just works with a good support infrastructure. However, it took 3+ days for your servers to accept my survey causing me no end of frustration and most would've given up I believe. I don't believe that this is Big Ponds fault though."
Maybe it's because I'm a Macintosh user but that sorta thing gives me the shits (sorry Semi's Mum).

Category: Copyright
I went to The Creative Commons today at the Melbourne Town Hall. Lawrence Lessig spoke second of three speakers and I think it was one of his standard presentation on the notion of the Creative Commons. I think he makes a lot of sense.
The third speaker was Joichi Ito speking on roughly the same topic but a bit more animated and excitable. Good stuff.
The first speaker was an Australian poet by the name of Martin Harrison. I got there in plenty of time but I can't tell you what he talked about. I heard it all but I didn't understand a word of it. Later during question time he seemed to say that the ABC should get more funding but the fruits of its creativity should be usable under a Creative Commons license. The latter part I agree with. More funding? No way!

Category: Technology
ars technica provides us with a fascinating history of the graphical user interface, well, I found it fascinating.

Saturday, May 07, 2005
Category: Communication
...--... -v- SMS Guess who won? Go Gordo!

Category: Retail
Hmmm, iPod-o-mat.

Category: USB
Which now seems to be an acronym for Universal Serial Barbie.

Friday, May 06, 2005
Category: Chooks
We missed out on celebrating International Respect for Chickens Day which was on Wednesday. How did we not know about that one?

Thursday, May 05, 2005
Category: mp3
Latest goss on ITMS Oz. FWIW.

Category: Fillums
Stork meets Gyrocopter Pilot meets Tion Medon. (and another 50+ others) (which surprised me a bit). Go Bruce!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Category: Telly
I just watched this on The National Broadcaster and I'm not sure I understood it but I laughed a coupla' times. Might be worth a look (or a tape/DVR) next week FWIW.

Category: Security
Hey Semi! Next week can I borrow your Mercedes? and better chuck the digit in as well.

Category: Web
Tramtown goes Dicky! Via Tim Blair's comments.

Category: DD.org
DB, in answer to your question:
Hey Semi! Did we know about this?
Yes, we do. We posted on it exactly one month after the birth of TramTown and included an observation of irony.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Category: Apple
Some basic audio technical tips around OSX 10.4 Tiger. FWIW.

Category: Apple/Fillums
I'd missed this from a coupla' days back, QT HD Gallery. You'll need Quicktime 7 but! (free download for Macs and I'd guess PC's too)

Category: Fillums
H2G2 x 3?

Category: Telly
I just saw an episode of the new Doctor Who. I think it captured the feel and style of the Hartnell/Troughton/Pertwee period quite well. I never watched the original show much after Pertwee so can't attest to that. Delia didn't get a screen credit but Ron did (I didn't know he was an Aussie (sorta)).

Category: Fillums

Category: Delia Derbyshire
The Musical! (wonder where I can get the script from?)

Category: Delia Derbyshire
Hey Semi! Did we know about this? Frankly but, even if we did it deserves pointing at again.

Category: Food
Hmmm, Mechanically Separated Chicken! Yum!

Category: mp3
Will HP never learn? I thought they and the fruit company were still at loggerheads over price protection -- they musta sorted that one out I guess.

Category: Technology
Nice article on Universal Serial Bus(s).

Category: Robots
Qrio goes to kinder -- bet it scares the b'Jesus outta the kids but.

Category: Inventions
Bacon Strips Bandages! What'll they think of next?

Monday, May 02, 2005
Category: Security
Burrito's of mass destruction!

Category: Climate (of suppression)
From the UK Telegraph: Leading scientific journals 'are censoring debate on global warming'.
Prof Dennis Bray, of the GKSS National Research Centre in Geesthacht, Germany, submitted results from an international study showing that fewer than one in 10 climate scientists believed that climate change is principally caused by human activity.
Some consensus!

Category: Climate
Sundance Heavyweight, actor and activist Robert Redford is hosting a conference on Global Warming™. He used to be an attractive man, now he has activist worry lines everywhere. It's important to listen to actors. On that note, we have a May 19 launch for the Team America DVD. Can't wait for that one. It's going to be a big day May 19.

Category: Humility
Melbourne University Press has taken on the Mark Latham Diaries after winning a "bidding war". Get this by chief executive Louise Adler:
The Latham Diaries is one of the most important books we have published in our 80-year history.
That doesn't say a lot for the previous work of what you might have imagined to be a prestigious brand, does it?

Sunday, May 01, 2005
Category: Pitchers
I'm not coming to the H2G2 as a disinterested observer. I heard the original radio shows. I read all of the books multiple times. I saw the TV series multiple times. I bought the Infocom computer game. I care about th H2G2. I liked the movie. So did my wife who has similar experience to me. My ten year old loved it, too.
It's a pretty big call when you think that we already knew about 70% of the gags, but perfect casting, breakneck editing, a hilarious opening song about dolphins, lots of stuff to spot in the background, terrific but not overwhelming FX and a Trillian that mattered made the whole thing well worthwhile.
There were a few wierd edits that I would usually attribute to an old much-spliced print and a sort of soft focus much of the time (anybody know what it was shot on?) so I guess it's not perfect but I can't really see how they could have made it much better.

Category: Money
Bracksy seems to have plenty of money. Last weekend failed newsreader Mary Delahunty announced $94mill to be spent on a frankly redundant theatre and recital room. This weekend Bracksy announced a $100mill, 20,000 seat stadium for soccer and league. I'm not going to comment, Slatts has done a terrific job thereof already.

Category: Meeja
Sure, most people are uncomfortable with the notion of a woman giving birth at the age of 67. I sure am! It comes as a surpise, though, that the Hun would lead an article about the "happy" event with: Mummy, what big wrinkles you have. How long will it stay up do you think?

Category: I didn't know that
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) considers the use of guide dogs unethical. That nasty fact hasn't put "Olympic gold medallist Freeman, cricket great Greg Chappell, singer Olivia Newton-John and Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns" off supporting the organisation. They don't get my vote!

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