Tram Town
Friday, September 30, 2005
Category: Space TFF
Commercial SpaceFest. Hmm, might be interesting,let's see what it produces.
NB:(Las Cruces International Airport, is not a licensed spaceport, and Federal Aviation Administration regulations will keep the event a strictly low-altitude affair).

Category: Downloads
Zoe Brain pointed me at an interesting dowload here.

Category: Security
On Monday night, we stayed in these holiday flats in Port Augusta.
It's a very professional setup:

But its security seems a bit over the top:

In keeping with the Stalag 13 theme, the windows are "barred":

And best of all...
The stairways were designed to look like guards' towers:

I asked the bloke on reception if this was deliberate and he said "I know nothink!".

Category: Rock
We're just back from ten days on the road, Melbourne to the rock, to Alice Springs, and then back again. My highlight: Coober Pedy.

Category: Technology
PC mini!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Category: RDC
86. Vale.

Monday, September 26, 2005
Category: Space TFF
Elevator, Going Up!

Friday, September 23, 2005
Category: Natural Disasters
Lovely Rita, Meter Maid! Nothing can come between us... oops. Sorry.

Thursday, September 22, 2005
Category: Apple
Guardian interviews Jobs, I still don't like him and have only read the first half so far. FWIW.

Category: Rock
We're at the rock and have had a look at it from one of the sand dunes at Yulara at dusk. It's quite a big thing. We were nearly fooled (at least some of us were) by the false rock, Mt Connor. It's a maginificent piece of work. Must have a look at it on Google Earth. Life here at Yulara is like living in a remotely operated soviet. The local staff are completely hamstrung and have no influence over their conditions which are, seemingly, pretty shocking. Updates to follow.

Category: Journalism
What kind of Journo is this, for God's sake?

Category: mp3
Australians are Pirates! My gut feeling is that (generally) we don't want to be but have little choice if we want to use the dominant portable music player. FWIW

Category: Space TFF
Rather than Apollo Mk II, maybe the NASA folks should Think Differently.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Category: Opal
From your correspondent in Booger Pedy... there's a lot of holes around here and it's a bloody long hike up from Adelaide in the four cylinder, slushomatic, front wheel drive people mover (which is, in all fairness, doing a terrific job).
The new Sony DSC-H1 camera is doing fine job so far, it is a terrific camera.

Category: Culture (Culinary)
I was listening to "All Things Considered" from NPR on PNN on Sunday and stumbled across this fascinating story on Hamburgers.

Category: Weird
The iDog Listens to Music, Dances with Rhythm and Sings Songs. I think it's rubbish but want one anyway.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Category: Trains
If you kick with the left foot (ie. you like Trains rather than Trams) this site is an eclectic selection of "ordinary" photos of Melbournes' Heavy Rail system.

Monday, September 19, 2005
Category: So? Dooku
This should be a bit harder for you puzzle junkies.

Sunday, September 18, 2005
Category: Fun
It's not an optical illusion, it just looks like an optical illusion.

Category: Flix
From a user comment over at IMDB:
With "Shark Boy," Rodriguez finally finds the limits of his digital imagination...
That's one way of putting it. I really don't think he could have had his heart in this project.
For mine, the visual FX looked incomplete, the 3D was lame, most of the actors had simply not been hit hard enough with the acting stick, and the story was ridiculous (it was, as it happens, written, or at least conceived, by a seven year old). Instead of going to this one, go see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory again (or even again-again). 1.5/10.0 (it scored something because it wasn't overly long)

Category: Flix
The Thing About My Folks with Paul Reiser and Peter Falk looks like it might be a good one.

Category: Correctness
This is an interesting article on political correctness. It includes this astounding fact:
--- "A team of Indiana firefighters, volunteering to help rescue victims of Katrina, went to Atlanta, where Federal Emergency Management Agency staffers told them that their job was to hand out fliers and that their first task was to attend a multi-hour course on sexual harassment and equal employment opportunity."

Saturday, September 17, 2005
Category: Energy
A bloke on the Bolta's forum has posted a magnificent explanation of why we should not use Chernobyl as an example of why we should reject nuclear power. It is reproduced here at Tram Town Large. A summarising excerpt:
When they presented their design at an international Nuclear Energy Conference in 1970, the West were horrified at the monstrosity they had produced. In the same way that a motoring writer would condemn a car maker who presented at a motor show a car with a 12 litre V8, cable-operated drum brakes, suspension out of a 1965 Holden and no seat belts, the Nuclear industry were quick to condemn the RBMK reactor. It was, they said, dangerous and flawed and should never be built.

Category: Ejacashun
Police Minister Tim Holding failed to finish reading what turned out to be an important memo because "he'd found a spelling mistake and other errors in the first paragraphs, and was too shocked and appalled to read any more".
Education Minister Lynne Kosky is seriously considering dumbing down the VCE english syllabus.
The Bolta suggests they should change jobs.

Friday, September 16, 2005
Category: Nomenclature
Funny lot, those kiwi's!

Category: Latham
Tim Blair has a full coverage of yesterday's events in the news and on the ABC. Amongst the muck:
The SMH’s Peter Hartcher: “One of the striking features of Latham’s career is that he has consistently fallen out with every major figure with whom he has worked closely, with the exception of Gough Whitlam and Paul Keating. In his new book he corrects this omission by criticising these men, too.”
The Age’s Michelle Grattan: “Perhaps the most damaging question for Labor, as Mark Latham’s bile sweeps over the party, is not about specific allegations, but how it could ever have seen him as a credible leader ... Latham is behaving like a crazy man.”
Bob McMullan: “When someone looks through a window and thinks they see a lot of vipers and snakes, it’s nearly always the case they’re looking in a mirror and seeing a reflection.”

Thursday, September 15, 2005
Category: GWB
Hey Condy! I need to use the dunny!

Category: mp3
Thurrot's take on Apple's iPod/Tunes thinking. FWIW.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Category: Football
Rachel at Legless in Perpetuum has organised Grogblogging #3 Friday week. I'll be at Ayers Rock but otherwise I would have liked to have met some of those people. I guess there'll be another one. Rachel's story about football is very funny and well written.

Category: Humour
I always get a laugh out of ScrappleFace [in the poolroom] when I go there (which is way too rarely). Yesterday, Slatts [itpr] pointed at this one:
Mayor Nagin Blames Bush for Lower Body Count
by Scott Ott

(2005-09-12) -- New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin today blamed President George Bush for the lower-than-expected number of bodies discovered in the receding flood waters, and said it's part of a White House campaign "to prevent black people from getting what they deserve."

Category: Cricket
The Hun has a mischievous article about Kim Beazley and the Ashes.

Category: Dogs
TWO pit bull terriers were shot and killed at point-blank range to stop a savage attack on a seven-year-old girl.
This is a pretty horrifying story but it has its problems. For example, the claim that "Pit bull terriers have been involved in 51 attacks in a year" is almost useless without some context of how many attacks there have been overall and the involvement of pit bulls relative to other breeds. Just a few simple stats and we might have learnt something.
It seems that the one-week-old incident was "announced" by Agriculture Minister Bob Cameron as part of his campaign against pit bulls:
"Pit bulls don't belong in our community," Mr Cameron said.
The story is full of those blank nouns like "sources" and "authorities". When they did try to speak to somebody on the spot, though:
Hepburn Shire communications manager Sue Moses said council records did not detail a pit bull attack on a schoolgirl in their area.
Ms Moses said records showed a wolfhound was destroyed after attacking a 13-year-old boy in Trentham on August 27, and one pit bull terrier was put down after attacking a flock of sheep.
A bit suspicious, isn't it?
It is probably true that pit bulls are statistically the most dangerous dog (by how much we don't know) but what happens when they are eradicated? Do we then chase after the next most dangerous dog?

Oh, and this par is a bit puzzling:
Council officers will be given the power to seize and destroy any pit bulls that are unregistered or entire.
Presumably a dog that has had a chunk bitten out of its ear is not subject to the powers.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Category: Trioli comma V fullstop
On tonights show she said she had never completed ANY degree, FWIW.

Category: mp3
Ho Hum! I post this purely in the spirit of completeness. FWIW.

Category: Imperialism
I have had a problem for a long time about the constant use of the above word with regard to the US. This article is a terrific little read on the issue (and worth spending the time on even if it is a little long, mother).
I guess it doesn't address that almost oxymoronic notion "cultural imperialism". "Cultural imperialism", as near as I can intuit from context, refers to the fact that the US makes television programs (and various other dramatics and musical recordings) that are good enough that people in other countries are happy to pay for them. Any complaints about the notion of "cultural imperialism" warrant the one word response: So?

By the way... the Greek roots of the word "oxymoron" are "sharp"-"dull"; I love that!

Category: Audio
I've never much bought into the vinyl -v- digital argument. Heck, I really can't hear the difference. My Ears, Speakers and Acoustics are way too imperfect for it to matter a cracker to me.
I love the look, feel and artwork of the 12" format but also love the convenience of the digital format. Roger disagrees with me.
(mind you, he was launching the HMV digital music store so the opinions are probably bad karma as well)

Category: Trioli comma V fullstop
Our thousands of readers here at TramTown must wonder at our obsession with 3LO Drive presenters; anyone who knows me knows that if they made me king I'd shut down the ABC as my first regal act. Those of you who feel it is important for our government to be funding cringe-worthy comedies probably think me a bit harsh. Whatever, the fact remains that, while it is producing Melbourne's best radio, it is hard not to listen in.
As for Lindy...
A graduate in history and drama from both Newcastle and Melbourne universities, her degrees allowed her to pursue a variety of occupations, namely professional basketballer, barmaid and university secretary.
I like basketball, you've gotta love a barmaid, but a non academic in a university? That's the bottom of the heap, isn't it? I guess two out of three aint bad.
Just as an aside, how does a bachelor's degree in history and drama allow you to follow any useful (much less a variety of) occupations?
She's a bit soft at the moment but if she gets the gig I will be happy so long as she makes the show her own quick smart. There is way too much of Virginia left there at the moment to allow it to work for anybody else (but keep the ex-pollies on Wednesday evening).

Monday, September 12, 2005
Category: Trioli comma V fullstop
Hey Semi! Is Lindy trying too hard to sound like T,V.? (FWIW, didn't like Trace much last week)

Category: mp3
Is it an iPod killer or will iPod become the Walkman killer?

Saturday, September 10, 2005
Category: Holes
This article in today's Hun made me laugh.
No-leaks warning is leaked

Thursday, September 08, 2005
Category: Audio
(still catching up) This looks worth having a further look. (THX apparently, no less)

Category: Rubbish
(but blogworthy none the less) Ham Sandwich goes pear shaped!

Category: Apple
Sorry, running a bit late, been in meetings all day and off the 'net.
Nano nano. Oh! And there's (sorta) a phone and Ciccone and Potter (wizard) stuff happening too.
UPDATE: oh, and some car stuff too.

Category: Facts
The Bolta has a few healthy facts about the US government's response ot Katrina and the after effects of the Chernobyl disaster in yesterday's Hun. Both worth a read.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Category: Web
You've survived Katrina, you want help, you've got a Mac? You're Buggered.

Category: Telecommunications
My friend Garry has an interesting OpEd piece in the current Dominant Phone Company debate.

Category: RDC
Vale lil' buddy.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Category: Fillums
One of Tram Towns' favourite pitchers has just been released in DVD Special Edition. It looks to be a cracker!

Category: Katrina
In October last year, National Geographic had an article describing the potential impact of a category 5 hurricane on New Orleans. Spookily prescient. Go read!

Monday, September 05, 2005
Category: Music
Now, Semi. If my memory serves me well, this book also (if it's the one I'm thinking of) also had a "Family Tree" of the various artists mentioned. I was about half an inch off the page and you were (about) 1.25 inches off the page. I've gotta get it (and annotate the exclusion of us both back in). Thanks!

Category: Music
Hey DB! Have you been to Inner City Sound?
For people who were there, somewhere between 1975 and 1984, or those who have rediscovered this era of great music.

Category: Telecommunications
I'm not a big fan of The Dominant Phone Company, but, as an aside, I have ALL of my services with them and have had absolutely no problems in any way. But I don't like the sound of this. I guess it's like the old song says, "I can tell by the way you walk, you got sol"!

Sunday, September 04, 2005
Category: Pitchers
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in keeping with its nomenclatural accuracy, is a bit more faithful to Roald Dahl's original book than Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I was and am in awe of the 1971 fillum with Gene Wilder in the eponymous role; it was perfect in pretty much every way. Yesterday, we all paid $7 each to see the new Tim Burton and Johnny Depp production over at Airport West and decided you can have two perfect takes on the same story that are totally different. The only negative comment was that the words of the Oompa Loompa's songs were very hard to understand. This could have been the fault of the cinema's sound system but I think it is probably due to the modern propensity for over-compression. No matter how much you love the 1971 effort, go and see the new one because I think you will probably love it too.
I won't tell you anything about it because it has lots of lovely surprises.
Just One Guy's Opinion™.
WWatCF 10.0/10.0
CatCF 9.9/10.0 (only because of the song problems)
Just see it!

Saturday, September 03, 2005
Category: Equality
Mark Richardson has noted some quirkiness in Sweden:
In left-liberal Sweden they actually have an "Equality Minister". He has come under fire, though, because the unit he set up to implement gender equality in employment has only three men in a staff of 28.

Friday, September 02, 2005
Category: Music
That's all filk!

Thursday, September 01, 2005
Category: Music
GWB get's into R'n'B! (Hmmm, what chord is that Semi?)

Category: Technology
If you're not sure whether your mobile phone has been stolen you could probably check here. (Oh, hang on, that's not gonna work, is it?) (Wait, I'll ring you. Oh, that won't work either. Bugger, FWIW)

Category: FreeCell
FreeCell is well known as a great way of killing time for those who like it better dead. If you want to kill it even deader, there is FreeCell Pro. You may need to get one of your grandchildren to install it for you.

Category: Audio
Miglia have just released their HarmonyAudio box which has two inputs, eight outputs and is powered off the (6 pin) Firwire port. I reckon that's sorta' cool.

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