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We Must X-Ray every bit of mail now!

A short post on the clean filter which I think is one of the scariest and totally useless, ill-conceived and potentially scariest bits of legislation to come out of a country where parents are meant to teach their children about the world not the government.

Yes, we need to stop child porn.. I agree…. but the proposed “Clean Feed” solution will not cut it.  See the perverts spreading this stuff are using technologies that the Internet Filter just will not get.

So it is quite simple if the government is serious about this Australia Post and every delivery company is Australia will have to do the following.

X-Ray every single package.

Every single package that contains a CD/DVD disk, a USB key, a portable hard drive or god forbid a floppy disk will then be taken aside.  The contents of this disk will then undergo further scrutiny to ensure that the content is safe for the public to consume. (Of course it may also contain other information down the track that the government or more specifically a minority party finds objectionable, such as r18 material, gambling information or anti-religious sentiment, but this list will change on frequent basis dependant primarly on the numbers in the senate.)

Does this sound unreasonable to you??? Perhaps it does… but this is what is being suggested for the Internet thanks to Conroy’s “Clean Feed” proposal.

Go to http://nocleanfeed.com/ for more information and how you can help stop what has to be the silliest bit of legislation in a very very long time.

New Camera.. and sorry for the lack of updates….

Nikon D90 Twin 18-55mm & 55-200mm VR Kit UnboxingYes yes I really should update this blog more often… however between a long couple of weeks at work finishing of a long running project and working on someo other biggish projects and a whole lot of stress I haven’t got around to this blog.

So to keep this post on topic I will talk only about the new camera…

Most of you will be aware of the new camera simply from the my twitter and flickr streams… but I thought I should write a blog post outlining some what and whys…

Firstly the camera…. it is the brand new Nikon D90 with an 18-55mm and and 55-200mm lens kit. Now the plan was to buy it in Feb next year so I had it a month before the Avalon Airshow so I could get more photos like the ones I did at the last show where I borrowed a friends DLSR.  However the purchase was brought forward for two reasons… firstly the Xmas road trip (unsure if that is going ahead due to car issues :-() and secondly due to the Australian Dollar tanking badly against the yen.  The dollar has dropped around 30% in the last 3 months.. so when the current stocks runs out it will be more expensive… and by a lot.

To buy the camera I did a lot of research online… in fact 99.9% of the research was done online and I went into a real shop just to have a touchie feelie experience to see how the camera felt before purchase.   So I thought I would share the main links that I found and used.

DPReview – If you want to know a camera inside out and every single detail this is a site you can not go passed.  If you are into or even thinking about getting a DSLR make this your first stop.

Ken Rockwell – If you want a plain english guide on the camera its inner workings and what to and what not to buy then this is the guy for you.  I looked at a lot of review sites and found the writing style and ideas suited me perfectly.

Lots of sites suggested you get the 18-200mm lens… and whilst I would have loved to have got the one size suits all option the extra $500 I just simply could not afford and that is the reason I went with the twin lens kit version, however if you can spring the extra $$$ I would say yes get the 18-200mm lens.

Now for purchase….

I ended up purchasing the camera through a friends brother who owns a store which sold them… so that is not really fair.  But the price I got whilst better than what I found was not that much better..  In my research I had narrowed it down to two places.  One an online store and the other an online/store front which a shop in both Sydney and Melbourne.  Both of these seem to have very good reputations as well.

Online only: Cameras Direct.com.au

Online/Store Front: Digital Camera Warehouse.com.au

Rushing HomeI will do another entry about the Nikon D90 later about all the tweeks I have already made to  the camera e.t.c… But use the above links to do your research and work out what is what before hand.

I have also changed the Flickr set on the side bar of the blog to point to the new camera as well. Seeing as the photos that it takes are simply stunning and I am playing with that a lot more 🙂

So click here for the Images from the Camera… and click here for the unboxing photos… (all 48 of them)

And I promise I will update this blog more often 🙂

This Photo is Illegal!

This Photo is Illegal... Yes, this photo is illegal…. why because of security… because of 9/11 and terrorists. Yes that is what the security guard who came up to me said when he told me to stop taking photos in the QV Building. (Please note: Yes this photo was taken before I was told to stop!!!!!) The man was nice enough, he was polite enough… but I’ve got to say it gets my blood boiling. And for more than one reason. Firstly I have taken photos there before, but with my mobile phone and have never been stopped before, yet stick a high end Nikon D90 around my next and suddenly I am a terrorist. Oh for FUCKS SAKE…. grow up people.

Of course from where I took the photo I could look down and see the pub with people sitting with mobile phones most of which had cameras. Is the security guard going to stop each and every person taking photos with them. Of course not… but he stopped me and it pissed me right off.

So I wrote to centre management…. (Their reply received in under an hour in Italics)

  1. Is all photography banned? No, not all photography is banned. QV allows photography if QV has provided consent.
  2. Is it only photography with an SLR Camera? No, please see above comments.
  3. Is security the only reason for this ban? Security is one reason along with others that ensure that any images of QV are used appropriately.
  4. Do security guards monitor everyone with a mobile phone taking photos?(the reason I ask this is that I have taken photos in the space before with my mobile phone and have never been questioned about it!) QV Security’s response to any person taking a photo is the same regardless if it is with a camera or other devise.
  5. Why are there no signs highlighting the fact that no photography is allowed. There are no signs as QV does allow photography provided we approve it. I refer to our website which states:

“Filming and Photography
QV encourages filming and photography to take place within the precinct. If you wish to use the unique architecture and environment for this purpose you can enquire to: “

of course what is encourage actually means is you need the following…

  1. the url of the buildings website. (Not displayed anywhere!)
  2. the information architecture of the website (click on the “About QV at the top of the page… then click on the Services Menu then read that page… (took me some hunting”)
  3. English (at least a above rudimentary understanding)
  4. Knowledge on where to find an access to the internet.

The fact you need all of the above to be able to take a photo of the building.

The lack of signs and the security guards reaction to someone with a camera is very different.

I also wrote back to centre management after their quick reply asking them about office hours, how a tourist is meant to know about these rules and what impact they felt asking tourists to stop taking photos on a Sunday afternoon would be…. (Update – to which I recieved the following replies)

  1. What are the office hours how is the policy going to work for a tourist visiting Melbourne on a weekend who is not aware of your policy and not aware of your website. Office hours are 8am-5.30pm Monday to Friday.  If a tourist was visiting for the weekend we have an on call duty manager who security can contact to have authority given to the person depending on the situation.
  2. I write this as I am concerned that people visiting Melbourne could have their experience soured by an over officious policy that people only encounter when there is a problem.Further when one receives permission to photograph the building (in my case for personal and artistic reasons) is that on a day/event basis or an on going basis? Approval is given on a case by case basis.  Normally it would be on a day/event however if you for example had a exhibition or assignment that required multiple shots over a period of time then approval could be given for longer periods.

So these are half pregnant rules… sure we encourage you…but only after you have jumped through all the hoops above.  It is all very Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy. “The plans for the demolition of Earth have been available on Alpha Centuri for the last 5 years!”

Or another way to look at it…. If I take a photo from one of the apartments that are part of the complex looking down into the square could the security guard come in a tell me off!…  Yet if I look up at the apartments and take a photo looking up I need permission.

So they want to protect their building and their image… Unless they are aware of some terrorist threat that the rest of us have no idea about security is a load of bullshit. Of course it may be true…. at which point I recommend everyone stay well clear… for your own safety that is!

Quick Little Mashup

Firstly, I must say that I am going to remember yesterday as a defining moment of my life.  Obama’s victory in the US Election is something that I never thought would happen.  For once the smart guy has come out on top.  His victory speech is one of the best speeches I have ever heard in my life.  It is the “dream speech” for my generation.

But I couldn’t help myself with this…  A little mashup between footage from ID4 one of my fav movies and the Obama Speech.


An Unsuspecting Door


Originally uploaded by garrett_ryan_smith

Now this Photo (and not taken by me) is not just your average Flickr Photo. There is something a little more special about it. Its Id Number is 3000000000.

That makes this the 3billionth photo uploaded to Flickr in the last 4 Years. (Flickr was launched in Feb 04, and didn’t come out of beta until 2006!)

That is all user generated content of people sharing photos of everything from the mundane to the slightly weird to the extraordinary. But Still that is 3 billion Photos. Or there are the equivalent of photos for half the worlds population.

The advent of cheap digital cameras and camera phones means that photography has moved even more from a common medium to one that is used by the masses for the masses and shared with the masses.

I think we all need to look at this photo and think if 3 Billion photos have been uploaded to this one website is 4 years, what does lie behind the black and white door. It could not be a stronger metaphor.

Another Slap in the face for Harvey Norman.

Now Harvey Norman likes his business model and up until now it has been very good for him. Very very good indeed. yet it has its limitations. For one the business model is predicated around the shop and only the shop. The online presence of the store is woeful as best and down right atrocious at worse (for example the site doesn’t even work if you don’t put the www in the domain name!). But there is a reason for this. If you can shop online you don’t go to the store and the franchisees would not be happy. Of course this stops a lot of the “add on” sales as well that you get from the sales person. Although I would argue that a well designed e-commerce solution can more than compensate for this.

So what brought on a rant about Harvey Norman. Well it is not just about them, but most of that kind of shopping experience. See I got a bit of junk mail today. In with all the crap for Harvey Norman, Woolworth’s. the local IGA and some other shops I can’t remember, was a pamphlet for Deals Direct.com.au.

Yes an online store only. The catalogue looked about the same quality as your average K-mart or Target bit of junk mail, but has one major difference. There is no store front. For me I believe this is the first time I have ever received a bit of junk mail for an online property only.

So know people get a bit of junk mail which says buy this item on sale. Now however instead of getting of the couch and going out to the store they can impulse buy the product from their living room.

I think getting this one bit of junk mail is more important that most people receiving will have realised. Every page has the URL emblazed upon it and all you have to do is walk to your computer. So read the catalogue with your Sunday paper and then go and buy things.

So I will listen as Harvey keeps giving out his weekly sales figures showing the decline of his stores and listen as he blames the economic downturn for all his ills. And I will keep reading the news articles online showing all the data as I have done for the last 15 years now. And then when I want to buy something I will skip straight passed his store and buy what I want online.

I just wonder what the weekly sales figures for DealsDirect.com.au are like this week…. somehow down I don’t think is the direction they are heading.