Aliens tell of African tsunami

May 30, 2006 by  
Filed under News

Despite the fact Eric Julien got the message from aliens, “many Moroccan coastal residents have abandoned their homes and moved to higher ground, anxiously awaiting” the imminent tsunami on May 25. How many is many? The report of an imminent tsunami on the advice of aliens is not the only dodgy information in this story.

Uncle David

May 29, 2006 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

My sister-in-law and oldest brother are 12 weeks pregnant with their first child!

I will be an uncle again in early December. Hoo-rah.

I will also be an uncle again before then when Kate’s sister has her fifth!

It’s a baby-fest, and I’m right in the middle of it.

Bombs in Turkey

May 28, 2006 by  
Filed under News

I was reading this article about a large fire at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. Kurdish militants claimed responsibility, as they have for eight other bombings in Istanbul this year. I’m sorry, what? Perhaps I just haven’t been reading the newspaper or online news enough, but why haven’t EIGHT bombings in a major capital city in the last 5 months been reported? On average that’s the equivalent of a bombing every 18 days in New York, London, Paris – or Sydney – so far this year. But then news values of proximity (both geographical and cultural) and impact are applied to the desired audience – in this case white middle class Australia – and those previous stories are of no importance.

This latest bombing appeared in The Courier Mail – so either it was a slow news day or they deemed this fire big enough to be newsworthy.

Big Night Out

May 24, 2006 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

It’s a big night tonight. State of Origin Rugby League! Queensland vs New South Wales, Maroon vs Blue, Canetoad vs Cockroach. I don’t have time to go into it, but it’s dinner with the home group, then around the corner for us all to watch the game. Yes, we’re postponing our studies on Holiness to idle away before the television in a night of high drama.

Then, tomorrow night, it’s on to Australia vs Greece at the MCG! Who can complain with two great nights of football lined up? Must work hard on my assignment in the available hours… only 16 days to the World Cup!

Journal

May 24, 2006 by  
Filed under Media

Five days ago I downloaded this program for Mac, Journler. It seems at first glance to possibly provide something I have been looking for in a blogging client. I spend a lot of time on the internet, a large portion of that looking at or for time-saving (free) applications. Perhaps if I didn’t spend so much time looking for or at these programs I would get more work done. I digress.

What I have wanted is a blogging interface that allows me to write offline, and easily post later at my online convenience. Some have seemed to provide me with that, but saving and then pulling up the posts again, editing them and keeping them in an easily accessible and understandable order has been lacking. Rather than a blogging interface, Journler is just that, a journal. As an extra, it allows you to blog journal entries. This means that instead of simply interacting with the blog, everything is on my hard drive. To really appreciate the promise this seems to hold, you would have to download and see what I’m talking about. Unfortunately if you don’t use a Mac, you would also have to spend a couple thousand dollars making the Apple switch as well.

The beauty is that you simply write a journal. Isn’t that what a blog is? Only if you want to lay everything out there. This is a journal where you can feel free to write poorly, then pick and choose which journal entries to post to your blog – the others remain private if you so wish, stashed away on your hard drive, yet accessible in an easily navigable way. Not only that, but you can record audio within the application, add music directly from iTunes, pictures directly from iPhoto, add video – all in a single journal entry and all within the program.

Now I sing the praises, while this is the first journal entry I have done with the full intention of sending it out as a blog post. Other paid-for blogging interfaces are Ecto and MarsEdit. They have free trial periods I will take advantage of during the World Cup to assess their useability and suitability. Until then, however, I’m going to give this a run and see how it goes. One downfall is that it says there is no support for WordPress, which is what my blog runs on. I will however, still see if I can get it to work.

I was unsuccessful. I think if I was running Mac OSX 10.4 (Tiger) I could get it to work, but I’m on 10.3.9 (Jaguar). The next version of the program is going to have the direct blogging option available for more blogging clients, including WordPress. Unfortunately, that too will only be compatible with Tiger. This means I still have to export content from the program somewhere else and then post it. My 30 seconds is valuable! Actually it isn’t so much. If it was I would be working on my assignment due next week.

Montenegro

May 23, 2006 by  
Filed under News

Since the former Yugoslavia broke up, Serbia has maintained several of its provinces and territories. The official name of the state has itself been Serbia and Montenegro. That’s about to change. Montenegro has held a referendum on independence and initial results showed a majority vote for independence from Serbia. The BBC reports final vote counting confirms Montenegro’s independence with 55.5% in approval. Serbia and Montenegro is no more. It wasn’t a state as such for long anyway, but all that is left is for Serbia to lost its remaining territories – Vojvodina and Kosovo – for the complete breakup of the former Yugoslavia to be complete.

The most well-known part of Serbia seeking independence is of course Kosovo. Essentially a UN protectorate for the last five years, it is widely considered to be only a matter of time before Kosovo is officially recognised as an independent state.

Lesser known is Vojvodina. They may not be agitating for independence from Serbia yet, but they have, and continue to demand virtual autonomy from Serbia.

It is perhaps a slap in the face to Serbia, when the other former Yugoslav republics congratulate Montenegro on gaining independence.

Small additions

May 16, 2006 by  
Filed under Pictures

I’ve added My Newsvine content to the left-hand column in the sidebar after seeing it at Salam Pax’s site. Not sure how useful it will be, but it gives me a way to unobtrusively link some of the news I’m reading online.

I’ve also changed the header file so this icon should show up in your address bar now. It was there at blogspot, but I never got around to changing it here.
earleyeditionicon

In other news, my friend Dan has landed himself a journalism cadetship! Kudos to you mate.

DSCF0023

May 16, 2006 by  
Filed under Pictures

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FA Cup

May 14, 2006 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

[90:00] [+12:00]
Unbelievable. I’ve held my hands over my face; jumped, shouted and flailed my arms; shaken my head in disbelief; and been angry at the thought of Australia’s prospects at the World Cup without Harry Kewell.

Win, lose or draw, there was one thing that would have made this FA Cup final a disaster. It happened about two minutes into the second half when Harry Kewell limped off with his recurring groin injury flaring up again. If it’s as bad as this time last year when he limped out of the Champion’s League final in Istanbul, he won’t be playing any games in the World Cup. That is a disaster.

As I write, there are three minutes left in the first 15 minutes of extra time. The scores are locked at 3-3 and Liverpool has somehow, almost miraculously, clawed their way back into this game. To Liverpool’s credit, West Ham’s three goals have been quite lucky. One own goal by Jamie Carragher, a miskicked cross that caught Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina off guard, and a simple mistake by Reina allowed another.

Only one of Liverpool’s goals could also be classed as lucky, a long drive by Steven Gerrard from almost 30 meters out, his second and the game’s equaliser on 90 minutes. Yes, there’s an element of luck involved, but the individual skill of Gerrard is almost unmatched. The first of Liverpool’s goals, by Djibril Cisse, was a first-touch sidefooted strike on the volley off a wonderful cross from the right touchline. This while falling. The second was another thunderous strike by Steven Gerrard that left Shaka Hislop, the West Ham goalkeeper, with no chance at all.

Now, with 12 minutes left of extra time, the players are exhuasted, cramping up and hoping to snatch a winner before penalties are needed to decide the winner of the 125th FA Cup final.

I love it.

[90:00] [+28:00]
Despite a couple of bad mistakes during the game, Pepe Reina saves a goalbound kick by tipping the ball onto the inside edge of the Liverpool goalpost. A mistimed attempted clearance by Sami Hyypia falls to a West Ham player, Harewood, who five minutes earlier badly twisted his ankle and has been limping since. From two meters out he puts all his weight on the twisted ankle and takes a swing at a free ball and a near open goalmouth. The shot is wide left and he misses the chance to be West Ham’s FA Cup winning hero. It’s on to penalties.

Penalties

  1. Dietmar Hamann puts the first penalty away. Liverpool 1-0
  2. Pepe Reina saves. Liverpool 1-0
  3. Shaka Hislop saves for West Ham. Liverpool 1-0
  4. Teddy Sherringham scores. Liverpool 1- West Ham 1
  5. Steven Gerrard scores. Liverpool 2-1
  6. Pepe Reina saves. Liverpool 2-1
  7. John Arne Riise scores. Liverpool 3-1
  8. Pepe Reina saves! Liverpool 3-1

A hat-trick of penalty saves by Pepe Reina and Liverpool win! In last year’s Champion’s League they came back from 3-0 down at half-time to level at 3-3 on the back of an inspirational performance by Steven Gerrard – then won on penalties. Today they come back to equalise 3-3 in the final minute of regular time and go on to win on penalties with a man-of-the match performance by captain Steven Gerrard. Ahhhh. First the elation, now wait for the news on Harry Kewell’s injury.

It’s 3.15 am, with Mother’s Day breakfast in four hours, so I’ll be off now.

Quelque chose-roos

May 12, 2006 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

The Socceroos squad for the World Cup was announced Wednesday and shown live on SBS. This was a cheerful reminder of the fantastic football I’ve got to look forward to, even before the World Cup gets here in exactly 28 days. As an aside, why is Australia’s national football team still called the Socceroos? The national body is now the FFA, Football Federation Australia, but I doubt we’ll be calling the team the Footballeroos anytime soon. I digress.

Yesterday morning I watched Middlesborough (English Premier League) play Sevilla (Spanish Primera Liga) in the UEFA Cup Final, where unfortunately the English side lost 4-0 to the Spaniards. Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and striker/captain Mark Viduka both play for ‘Boro, so it would have been nice to see them do well. Obviously they did not. Until 15 minutes from the end they somehow kept the score at 1-0, and even looked likely to score, but they fell apart rapidly following Sevilla’s second goal.

So what’s coming up? My team of choice, Liverpool, play against West Ham in the FA Cup Final (England) late Saturday night. Early next Thursday morning Arsenal (finished fourth in English Premier League) take on Barcelona (Spanish Primera Liga winners) in the Champions League Final and the following Thursday night Australia play Greece! The best thing is, all three of these games are live on SBS, as are all 64 World Cup matches.

If you’re as interested as I am, SBS has a World Cup wall chart (pdf direct link) with all the Australian kickoff times in each group – for your viewing convenience.

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Home a good place to start

May 7, 2006 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

The following was the leading story on my daily B92 news email the other day, and the catalyst for this post.

Mladic to be arrested by Sunday?

BELGRADE — Serbian police are searching a number of locations in Belgrade for Ratko Mladic, including his home

For a long time Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic have been wanted by the United Nations war crimes tribunal. They are considered by pretty much anyone outside Serbia as guilty of committing war crimes. In Serbia itself opinion is divided, but the majority of people there see them as heroes. For Serbia, their capture has been an ongoing requirement to any discussions about entry into the European Union.

Obviously then it’s a highly political issue. Popular opinion, and the powerful friends and supporters of Mladic and Karadzic, make it advantageous for the government of Serbia not to arrest and hand them over but, at the same time, talks have been continuing with the EU about possible future integration.

All of that said, the EU has called off all further talks with Serbia until Mladic is arrested and transferred to the Hague. This is significant. Until now Serbia has been able to walk that political tightrope by promising results to the rest of Europe, while doing essentially nothing to make the arrests. The EU decision has finally forced Serbia’s hand, and it looks like they might actually make an attempt to arrest at least Mladic. So why did that first story I mentioned make me decide I had to do this post?

If – when you decide it’s really time to try and find someone – the first place you look is their home, it paints a not very flattering picture. One that suggests you were never really trying in the first place.

Read some stories from B92 about the Hague and Serbia’s dealings with it here.

The Hobby

May 6, 2006 by  
Filed under Media

This post was a reply to Allister’s comment on my return post. It ended up being too long, so I’ve made another post out of it.

Allister: Its normal to have a break from blogging. Especially when its only a side hobby. Just make sure you don’t completely disappear. I’ll still be checking in.

You say “only as a side hobby” Allister, but I don’t know of any bloggers who could realistically make an actual living off their blogging alone (other than the couple most read blogs in the world), which pretty much makes it a ‘hobby’ for everyone. Obviously I’ve put far too much thought into this, but I’ll go on.

Margo Kingston used to write for the Sydney Morning Herald, and then started WebDiary on the SMH website. I’m sure she still had other responsibilities, but part of her paid job was blogging. When the paper wanted to take it in a different direction, she quit in protest and started running the blog on her own steam, own money, and hoped to continue to make it viable. It wasn’t ,and she eventually quit it – letting it continue to run as an online community project, or something.

Now that’s all my sketchy memory of what happened, but that’s what rushed into my head when I read “especially when its only a side hobby”. It would be interesting to see anyone who has made a successful business model out of a blog. I guess it’s not the blog that makes it, but it’s the exposure your blog gets and the areas that then allows you to move into – book deal, journalism, or even radio and television now if your podcast or videoblog is impressive. Not all blogs are searching for wider recognition – I know one person who was flamed for finding the ‘secret’ blog of a complete stranger – but I think generally we all have delusions of grandeur.

One good business model might be Daily Dancer. I haven’t been to his website in probably almost 12 months, but he could be making a lot of money. He started on Blogger, got a mention and became fairly widely watched. The last time I checked he had moved to his own domain. What does he do? He dances. Daily. That’s it, a videoblog of him dancing, not particularly well, to many songs. Now if his viewership is high (possibly in both senses), and he offers an extra ‘dance’ each day for just 50 cents, he’ll make money. This isn’t how a so-called-serious blog is going to make money, but it’s a start for someone. As an aside, I decided to check out his site before posting this. Looks like he’s trying to make some money through cafepress.

Salam Pax is a good example of someone who launched a career based on his blog (two links there – to cached original blog, and to his most recent blog that has also not been written in for a while). From his blog in Baghdad leading up to and during the Coalition invasion of Iraq in 2003, he got a book deal, which made him pretty famous. Now he’s done documentaries and journalistic work in Iraq, as well as touring around the world. This all from a blog – in admittedly special circumstances, but a blog nonetheless. So if you really want to make it big from blogging you have to somehow prove that the blog isn’t all you’ve got to offer, but that you can diversify. The blog itself isn’t necessarily going to make money, it’s wherever you go from there if your blog gets ‘discovered’. And, as in the case of Salam Pax and others I’ve read about, blogs do get discovered.

One aspect of VSU

May 4, 2006 by  
Filed under News

I never agreed with the Australian government’s proposed Voluntary Student Unionism legislation. Neither did I agree with the way the University of Queensland’s student union body chose to ‘fight’ it on campus. Their focus was wrong. If you follow any of those links you’ll get a good idea of what VSU is and arguments for and against.

The student union body’s focus was wrong because they trumpeted loudly the possible loss of unimportant aspects of university life. They talked about the possible loss of cafeterias, bookshops, and other food outlets, and their inability to provide low-cost alternatives. Sure, if pressed they could tell you about the more important losses, but that was all that appeared to be happening, on the surface.

And nobody cared. Why would they? The focus was on businesses run by the student union; businesses that, particularly in the case of food outlets, will continue to run – and at a profit. What then were the important things they should have been focusing on? Childcare facilities, crisis support, legal services, accommodation and employment services. These are the things that, if they’re gone or only available at market price, severely impact students who otherwise have no option.

Then there’s the aspect of the culture of university life. Personally I’m not too worried about whether Clubs and Societies can stay afloat and provide their members with free beer or marijuana. Of course that’s a wild generalisation, there are many great clubs and societies, but I’m sure they can meet together without the union’s money if they so choose. But the thing that led me to write this whole post was a regular email I receive from the Schonell Cinema. At the top of the regular email, as just another announcement amongst those about the musical RENT and a Comedy Film Festival, was this:

Schonell to CLOSE by June 30

It is with much regret that we announce that the UQ Union have proposed to cease The Schonell’s cinema operations by June 30 2006, as a result of funding cuts associated with the Federal Government’s VSU legislation….(read more)

Again, the Schonell’s relative importance is going to vary for different groups of students, and I’m not suggesting it’s the most significant loss, but as far as killing the university ‘culture’, that goes a long way towards it. If I actually had to list by importance (to me) the things that could possibly be lost due to VSU, it would go as follows:

  1. Union – the body itself, if simply for its ability to advocate on behalf of students
  2. Essential student support services
  3. Cultural aspects – for example the Schonell, Semper Floreat (student paper), and I would consider Clubs and Societies to be at the bottom the important ‘cultural’ list
  4. Union businesses – not important to students because they will still be able to get the food/supplies they need, even if from a commercial provider.

I said no long diatribes. This has been one.

IMG_0362.JPG

May 3, 2006 by  
Filed under Pictures

IMG_0362.JPG

Title goes here

May 2, 2006 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

When I started this blog two years ago, I never thought I would, or could, go a week without posting. I took a week off here and there, but just noticed that I didn’t post once in the month of April – not even to celebrate the second birthday of the Earley Edition on April 9! For shame.

The time spent away has been good, and necessary. I’m posting now because I have four weeks to hand in my next piece of assessment, and the three weeks following that before my only exam this semester.

“Why, Dave,” I hear you say, “this surely does not sound like the workload of a full-time student. What gives?”

No, indeed it is not full-time. While refusing to concede that French may not be for me, I dropped my French class, leaving me with only two journalism subjects to do this semester.

So why the month-long hiatus? Mainly to focus on study, in particular the French, and complete the two assignments submitted in the last week. Having officially put all that behind me 90 minutes ago, I am feeling more at ease.

This return doesn’t mean I’ll be back at full-strength blogging – with daily posts or lengthy diatribes – but it does mean I’m back. As a hint towards the next major attraction at the Earley Edition, there may be a multitude of posts in about 37 days. My few readers will likely have little interest in the subject matter of those posts, but it will be purely for my gratification only. Till next time, and in anticipation, I bid you farewell as I head off to my Newsroom Operations lecture to hear what the editor of The Courier Mail, Brisbane’s only daily paper, has to say for himself.