Hi, Atus!

March 28, 2006 by  
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Not much traffic going through here, but until further notice this blog is on hiatus….again.

Headline News

March 25, 2006 by  
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Jakarta recalls envoy as Papuan row grows
42 West Papuan asylum seekers are granted temporary protection visas – based in part on the interview findings of a torture expert who said the group had “strong and consistent claims” – and Indonesian officials blow their lid. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

ABC staff lose their seat on the board
There has been an ABC staff-elected board member for who knows how long. Communications (and other stuff) minister Helen Coonan has done away with the position. Some see this as a good move, others as a very bad one.
Kind of related links:
Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts – speech by Helen Coonan introducing the media reform package.
John Quiggan – discussing the reforms.

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The Game

March 25, 2006 by  
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Last week I made mention of some soccer games I was playing. It’s on again today with the first game at 9 am – I think that’s punishment for being in the lower divisions – and the last game at noon. Unless of course we make the final, then we’ll play one more game. My body was done after three games last week, I don’t know if it can handle four. The results last weekend were a loss (0-1) and two wins (1-0 and 2-0). These are still grading matches to decide which division we end up in, and are admittedly only 30 minutes long each, but tiring.

After finishing work at midnight last night I got up at 5am to see Kate off to work, the intention being to do the stretches and exercises the physio has given me. It’s now 7am as I surf the net, so I will head off to finish doing that, then get into some stretching that will hopefully keep me mobile today.

If you think this is the most boring post you’ve ever read go squeeze some lemon in your eye. That should jiffy up your day. It did mine.

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TV Ads

March 24, 2006 by  
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Lost Remote, a television and media technology blog I read, linked today to some survey results showing marketers intend to move a lot of advertising online and away from television in the future. That’s no great shakes – when everything starts to go digital it can be expected, but one prediction is that TV ad spending will decline 5-10 per cent beginning in the 2007 season. True, this is talking about the United States but that’s a lot of revenue soon, and it’s a reasonable trend to expect elsewhere (Australia) if it actually happens.

Somewhat related to Australia is an article in yesterday’s Media and Marketing section of The Australian. I can’t find it on their website, but the second paragraph should have been the first

Privately backed Regional Internet Australia will turn on the fastest internet services yet available in Australia as well as cheap internet voice services in Townsville ahead of a planned wider rollout.

It goes on to say speeds will be enough for near DVD video streaming quality with a maximum speed of 24 megabytes per second.

Faster online access isn’t going to do away with other forms of media overnight, just as radio didn’t destroy newspapers and television didn’t destroy radio as these new technologies were taken up. The difference is that in digital you have the ability to roll print, radio and television (amongst everything else) into one deliverable package, making digital media more likely to spell the end of old media than its predecessors had.

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Bolt

March 24, 2006 by  
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Until yesterday I’m pretty sure I had never read anything written by Andrew Bolt. It’s strange really, given both the praise and condemnation I’ve heard about him, but the truth is I’ve just never read where he writes. He’s given himself some incredible airtime today – getting a mention on Instapundit, the blog that receives the most daily hits in the world. Glenn Reynold’s (of Instapundit) was revisiting some left-bashing, particularly of anti-war people – and Andrew Bolt sent him an article from the Herald Sun in 2003 entitled They Were Wrong so that Glenn could

pad out even further [his] list of dud predictions and gloating over Iraq.

The column referred to by Bolt was his own, and he may well have have just made himself the most famous Australian columnist in the world. The article (14 April 2003) is basically a list of ‘errors’ of the left, both in predictions and desired outcomes. The general tone is one of exultant gloating over how wrong the ‘left’ was. Quite understandable given its timing just after the famous toppling of the statue of Saddam – I can honestly say that event left me with a tear in my eye thinking, “It’s really worked, and they’re so happy”.

If you read the article in full (I would post the article in full but I suspect that would be a breach of copyright, and I found it through factiva, which I have access through to university) you would see, amongst other things, these two sections either Bolt didn’t forward or Glenn chose not to quote:

Saddam is gone, and his worst weapons will be found and destroyed.

The confidence in the claim of weapons of mass destruction that would be an imminent threat to the safety of the United States was, and has been proven to be, entirely unfounded. There haven’t been any WMDs found, so none to be destroyed.

But however Iraq turns out, we at least know it is no longer a threat. And whatever troubles it faces, they will not be greater than the horrors it has endured.

True, for a time the country will be so crippled by this war and the sectarian violence we’re seeing now that it won’t be a threat, but if threat to us is the criterion, it seems clear Iraq wasn’t. Now? If anything Iraq can now become the new Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, a breeding ground of insurgents, receiving their terrorism training against the heaviest armed force there is, the US Army. And I think even I would prefer the uncertainty and fear of living under a tyrant than the daily mortal dread of suicide bombers, stray bullets, a society collapsing on itself and now the lack of trust in my Sunni/Shia neighbour. So I don’t think any gloating can be done about the success of the ‘War on Terror’, and no gloating should be done about it’s failure.

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U2

March 23, 2006 by  
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Tuesday was the day U2 were supposed to be playing in Brisbane. The tour was postponed until November, even though no firm dates have been given, but when they do come down under I suspect it’s going to go mental. And I’m looking forward to that.

Sunday I’m going to a Singaporean style barbeque. I’m not quite sure if that’s different from a regular barbeque (other than I’m expected to bring nothing), but I do know that if you’ve got 10 Singaporeans in a room that means you’ve probably got 15 bloggers. Add me to that list and it’s a regular blogger ho-down. The three people I know who will be there are Dan, Milton and our hostess Grace. Although to be perfectly honest, I don’t know if Grace actually blogs anymore, having closed down that link a year ago now.

Miao

March 22, 2006 by  
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I’ve already made passing mention of them, but apart from their general form as the morning announcers in the studio for the Commonwealth Games, one of the reasons I consider the two fools doing it as fools (and I still don’t know their names) was watching their throwback to the table tennis last Friday where arguably Australia’s best player, Miao Miao, was taking on Nigerian Oshonaike Olufunke. Yes, her name might be pronounced meow, as in “the cat’s meow”. It’s really not a good reason to make a joke and laugh at her. It might even have been okay to make an open, honest crack about it, but to put on a pretence of seriousness while your co-host next to you cracks up – that’s not acceptable. If nothing else, it’s not professional.

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Gervais

March 22, 2006 by  
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The Ricky Gervais podcast has been, since it started, the most popular podcast available at the iTunes Music Store. I’ve downloaded one episode and have yet to listen to it, but I’m wondering if it’s moving into the pay category. All podcast downloads are free at iTunes, and while the Ricky Gervais Show still appears in the podcast directory (and the final episode is free), the shows are also offered for $2.99 each, as audiobooks (that link may not work for all – and will try to launch iTunes if it does). The podcast link offers Episode 12 only, as does the Guardian Unlimited site (below). At rickygervais.com the podcast link takes you to the audiobook I already mentioned above, so it does seem their podcast is no longer free.

Speaking of pay-for podcasts, the ABC has been quietly talking about introducing advertising to raise revenue. Well, the Communications Minister Helen Coonan has been talking about it. There were two articles in The Australian’s media section two weeks ago (which I have been meaning to do a post on) talking about the succuss of ABC Radio’s podcasts. If they start charging for them they could make a bucketload, as the argument goes. My argument goes a little differently, if they start charging for them nobody will listen. That’s not entirely true, but you’ll definitely see the downloads drop dramatically. I guess it really wouldn’t matter though – if only one person paid $2.99 for “Dr Karl on triple j”, that’s $2.99 more than the ABC had before. Incidentally, one of those articles thought the ABC would rake in more along the lines of $10million a year, even if downloads dropped and were only charged at 99c a pop. As an aside, the top 25 podcasts on the iTunes Music Store today include six from the ABC’s suite, five of those are in the top 15, and four of them are from triple j.

Other links:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/rickygervais
http://www.rickygervais.com/

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What?

March 20, 2006 by  
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I’m at university taking down some notes from a lecture presentation, and couldn’t go past this. Appearing on a slide titled Global Media:

One can apply the theory of living systems and conceptualize the world-system as an emergent whole (dissipative structure) comprising a variety of autopoietic cultures, each operationally closed but cognitively and structurally open to its environment.

So much for plain english.

Into it

March 17, 2006 by  
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I haven’t been all that geared up towards the new football (soccer) season this year. It’s been in the back of my mind as something that’s coming along but hasn’t filled me with excitement. I went through my traditional beginning-of-the-year angst, “Will I play soccer again this year? I’d love to go back to rugby. That one game of Aussie Rules in Narrabri in 2004 was fun, maybe I’ll play that. I’m already working Monday and Friday nights till midnight, with bible study on Wednesday nights, university till 8.00 on Tuesday night…could I really commit to training on Tuesday and Thursday nights?”

Yes, I go through that at the beginning of every year, and every year it is up until the day of the first game – and sometimes later – that I still have been unable to decide. Tomorrow is Charity Shield, the pre-season grading tournament, and I can say that at 6.30 on Friday night, a mere 14 hours before we take the field, I am well looking forward to some competition. If anyone I know is interested in coming along to support the team we’ll be at Mitchelton Soccer Club (Osborne Road), kicking off at 10.30 on Field 4. We’re the best-dressed in the black socks/shorts and red and white shirts – a fiersome sight indeed. The games are only 30 minutes and we’re play three, one each hour, so come along!

What finally brought me to the excitement this new season deserves? Yesterday I bought the new shorts and socks (in previous seasons we’ve worn red), which hadn’t changed my outlook a great deal, but this afternoon I kitted up. As I write this I sit here wearing shin pads, adidas boots, black socks, black umbro shorts and a Liverpool jersey. The fact I’ve done this is sad, I know, but that’s what it took to get me mentally prepared.

I was once sad and lonely. Now I’m married I can confidently omit the second part and simply say this, “I am a sad individual.”

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Games again

March 17, 2006 by  
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Posts coming thick and fast today as I lie on my living room floor in front of the television as the Commonwealth Games is on. Part of my dislike of the coverage has been the handling of the Rugby 7’s. Sure, Australia may not be in every match, and they’re not going to show every match, but if you’re going to show a match, show all of it. So far they’ve come in at the start of the second half for most of them. The more annoying was going to a commercial break at half time of one game, only to come back to something else, like lawn bowls…

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Can’t Talk

March 17, 2006 by  
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Daily Flute mentioned two weeks ago Telstra’s new installation price hike ($209 to $299 for new phone lines), and linked to a Telecom Australia statement about their reasoning, which mostly had to do with looking out for shareholders’ interests and running a profitable company.
I look forward to being able to use a VoIP phone and doing away with the phone company. Not that that access won’t be through other companies looking to make a profit, but it’s what consumers want. Now, I can’t talk because I have mobile and home phone wrapped together with the aforementioned provider – and I’m one of those people the would prefer pays bills a little more often.

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American News Media

March 17, 2006 by  
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Here’s a link to The State of the News Media 2006: An Annual Report on American Journalism. It may be of interest to some. From the ‘Major Trends’:

At many old-media companies, though not all, the decades-long battle at the top between idealists and accountants is now over. The idealists have lost.

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The Games

March 17, 2006 by  
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There are 71 nations competing in 16 different sports (and 24 disciplines) at these Commonwealth Games, and yet the only things on television for the last four hours have been lawn bowls and clay shooting. Sweet.
I also just have to say that the network broadcasting these games has made some very poor choices, not least of all their morning studio anchor pair.
Unsurprisingly Australia leads the medal tally with five gold, six silver and four bronze at the moment.

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Milosevic

March 13, 2006 by  
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This was unexpected. The outcome in Serbia will be interesting to follow. Slobodan Milosevic found dead in his cell.

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