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So when does a freelance tech journo's point of view on politics matter. #mediawatch

It matters when an obvious right wing twitter user decides he can act like a 3 year old and tell tales.  ( Media Watch 30/9/2010)

What then irritates me even more is when Media Watch and Fairfax take what is obviously a political agenda and run with it.  Like vexatious litigants taking up our time, this complaint falls into this category.

I fail to see how a person that doesn’t interview politicians, has nothing to do with them or their reporting cannot express a political view.  Perhaps the language was not the best, but the sentiment was well agreed with by those with similar political views.

Yet for some reason the label of “Journalist” means that the person is no longer entitled to a political view no matter where within an organisation or even external to that organisation.

More so, if anyone who is any Journalist now makes any comment even when obviously not on the job (at 11pm) expresses any political view on Twitter a precedent has been established to rake them over the coals.

Gloating about telling tales is plain childish, certainly doesn’t further any arguments about the reasoning behind what was nothing more than a blatant biased political attack.  If Julia Gillard had been called bad names, would he have complained.  I doubt it. ( e.g saying  Paul Howl is talking shit )

Why also did Media Watch deem this newsworthy is also questionable.  700 followers and an account which clearly stated Freelance Tech Journalist making political statements is not that big a story is it?

The fallout from Media Watch will be for at least a while people will keep a little quieter.  Managers will look at the noise that was generated and tighten the noose a little more. And a few people will just go underground, well at least until they are found out again.

A vexatious complainant with an obvious political agenda gets to wield influence that could have cost someone a sizeable chunk of their income ( I presume). Yes the language was a bit harsh, and yes on reflection he shouldn’t have said what he did, but remove one or two harsh words and you are left with the tone.  The tone is now what is endangered not only from Journalists, but all those that work in any corporation that is worried about its public image.

The lines between public and private are blurring, but that does not mean that only your employer is how you are defined, nor should it.

Missing from the EXIF: Race You…

Race you....This is actually an older shot of mine, but one that I have come back to.  It’s been entered into a comp, and looking at it some more thought it would do well to have a bit of an explanation behind it.

Firstly, this is from last year in fact from the first weekend I had my Tokina 11-16mm lens. So being the first weekend with a new lens it was going to be the lens that would be on the camera.  Now the lens isn’t on the camera by default but is always in my bag.  Because it is great for getting these low angle shots especially in dull conditions.

One thing about this shot, is that it was on manual settings. And only luck meant I got the shot.  I do try and always put the camera back on Auto:No Flash after taking photos, so that I can just grab a shot.  Luckily for me, the previous settings for shots taken 10 min before hand worked. When ever I carry my camera I try to have in my hand so I can get the improve shot.  This is one of those.  I had turned to see the kids coming passed me on their bikes and fired off about 10 shots as they went passed.  The camera was at waist height and they would have been totally unaware of me taking the photos.  This helps when taking shots to get a natural look and feel especially from your subjects.  When using a wide angle lens try shooting from the hip as it were.

So this shot has a bit of a dutch angle, which works and autofocus grabbed part of the bike which was also very lucky.

The other big advantage of this shot is that all the subjects in the shot are completely anonymous which then gets rid of a lot of hassles about getting rights for publication or even entering the shot into a competition.

So here is the EXIF and I hope you like the shot.  Remember you can shoot from the hip and still get a great shot.

Camera Nikon D90
Exposure 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture f/6.3
Focal Length 16 mm
ISO Speed 320
Exposure Program Manual

And you can buy this image on Redbubble here

Television has an off switch remember that!

The funny things about the television is that people seem to forget the remote control. This can be used for a number of startling features including changing channels and even more radical feature, turning the device off.

Why am I rating this, well, due to the various levels of outrage over the live coverage of the hostage drama in Manila on Monday night Australian time. Like 9/11 this was uncensored TV that showed life and death in all its brutal reality. This was no Speed where Keanu would save the day, this was real people caught up in one man’s madness by being nothing more than in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Was it hard to watch, yes, did I watch it, yes I did. Was I watching as some sort of voyeur I would say no, but that may well be for others to judge.  Was it right for it to be shown on TV, that is the trickery moral question.  For me it is like “Bearing Witness”.  Albeit from the safety of my living room.

Certainly no one can argue that it was not news worthy. 25 innocent hostages on a bus with a deranged gun man wanting his job back is news worthy. Whether or not it is in Australia it was always going to be a major story. Cutting to live feed as it came through was most probably what most 24 hour news channels would do, both Sky and Abc News24 did. Sky I believe did switch to at least a 10th second delay giving them a “kill” switch if anything to horrific came through. The ABC did not.

But like 9/11 the drama unfolded live. Yet unlike the footage of the people jumping from the towers all we saw were slumped bodies and the eventually the dead body of the gun man hanging on the bus window.

Perhaps with so much life and death violence on TV we have all become desensitised to this level of violence. I think not however.  Perhaps I have more faith in humanity, but even the outrage that I saw on Twitter last night about the coverage in a strange way gave me hope.

At the end of the day though, it is still YOUR responsibility to change channels or turn off.  That power will always lie with you, not with the broadcaster.  Everyone watching it unfold knew it could be bad, if you kept watching that was your choice.

Think before you tweet… a 1 hour old murder case is NOT Funny! #LygonShooting

At 5pm on the 13th of August 2010, 2 people are slain in Lygon Street.

From ABC News ( 7:30pm)

“The shooting happened in Lygon Street, Carlton, and police received a call about 5:00pm (AEST) that shots had been fired.
One witness said shots were fired at or outside the Players on Lygon bar.
Police have confirmed two people are dead.
The victims are believed to be in their 60s or 70s.
One man, reported to be in his 50s, has been taken into custody.
“Details are very, very sketchy,” a police spokeswoman said.”

Yet despite this… the @DocklandsMelb think it is o.k to capitalise on this for their own gain. Now I have seen a few jokes around already, mostly referring to Underworld XXV or Richard Wilkins and Jeff Goldblum.  These jokes while yes in bad taste are quite removed from the situation and what for at least three families will be a day that they will never forget.

“Come to Docklands for dinner tonight. We promise this wont happen #LygonShooting about 1 hour ago via TweetDeck”

There are jokes and there is just stupidity.  Twitter lets you just blurt shit out.  People do ( even I do ), but if you are reflecting a company…  pause, take a breath and think about everything you say.  Even when the tweet is deleted and the apology is sent, the damage has been done. To say this is in bad taste does it no justice, it is wrong on some many levels and reflects badly on the company.  Remember in the real time world, you can’t afford to be stupid.

[image title="docklands" size="full" id="1335" align="right" linkto="full" ]

( Update: Don’t send a tweet and then not look at your account over the weekend as well….   Monday morning and Docklands sent 1 tweet over the weekend and nothing in the form of an apology for shear tastelessness )

The NBN is not the Car! (and other ramblings)

(Warning I shall once again massacre an analogy for this post)
Now this is shitting me to tears. Everyone against (and most for) the NBN keep using the car analogy to describe it. “Who wants a Ferrari”, “ Who needs a Ferrari” e.t.c. Well let me just say this. You are all WRONG.

Why, because the NBN is not the car, it is the road. Your connection and how much you pay to drive on the NBN is up to you. That is the end user cost, and that is the car. The Autobahn is the NBN, and you will find people driving trucks, old bombs, Ferrari’s and even some lucky people a Bugatti Veyron down that stretch of road. Why, because that is what their budget ( or expense account ) lets them drive.

Unlike the Autobahn however you can drive as quickly or as slowly as you like. So you can drive at 1.5mbps or 1gbps if you want and you wont piss off any other drivers on the road.

Myself, I want a Ferrari or a Veyron for driving down this road, why because I can think of a lot of user cases for it.

The difference between 100mbps and 1gpbs for example means that I can access blue ray or higher quality video 1 min before I walk out the door onto my portable device to consume as I need. Where ADSL gave us always on, 1gpbs gives us always there content. No planning required, just obtain the content on a as needed basis. This will be as big a shift in how we communicate and consume media as the always on model has been if not bigger.

Lots of people say, but I won’t consume that amount of data. No, chances are you won’t. Chances are most of us won’t (well not for the next 5 years anyway). But if you have more than 2 people in your house they will. As we become increasingly connected, the number of devices in our homes increases. Each of these devices sucks in media, the more people the more media that is being consumed. 1gbps will mean that as the kids can watch the latest BBC doco in 4k brilliance (and YouTube already offer this quality of video), you telecommute with large 3d cad files. Each of these on their own isn’t much, simultaneous connections is where the NBN will excel.

5 years ago there was no YouTube outputting 24 hours a day of content every minute. In 5 years time, there will be something new. Data growth is exponential. That is a fact, anyone who thinks that we don’t need more data needs to look at their own data use over the last 5 years.

Now, the NBN goes to your house. Not to the node. That last mile connection is what gives you the real speed. Wireless isn’t going to give it to you, wireless will just give you a traffic jam in peak hour. ( Worse when it is raining :-))

However unlike the Autobahn, the NBN is effectively unlimited in lanes.  Upgrading the interchanges will upgrade the speed.  Once the cable is in the ground, your end point and the local node are upgraded to increase speed.  The cable doesn’t need to be changed.

And like any major road that is built the NBN will be available as parts are completed.  Yes it will take 8 years, but that is for the whole project.  Major urban areas will come on stream much quicker.  So the ” it is 8 years away” argument is nonsensical.  More so that the test sites are coming on stream already. The Hume as dual carriage did not need the whole road to be completed before it could be used.

Also the NBN as it currently stands is an Autobahn to 93% of the population. Look at the maps to see just how many small regional towns are going to get access to this technology.  This will remove the digital divide between city and country faster and better than has ever been achieved at any time in the past. The business case will be for the end user to decide their own car, not to shareholders to decide what car you can drive.

I don’t count 12mbps per second as anything future proof in any way shape or form.  There are so many businesses already crying out for faster speeds, spending 6billion on a few new signposts and a few new highways between capital cities isn’t going to make the road any faster. It will however create more of a divide for those not living only where it is profitable for the big end of telco town to spend money.

When the Snowy scheme was built it opened up new areas to farming. The NBN is the 21st century opening of the whole country to this high speed road.  A road you can drive whatever car you like on.

The Politics of Fear #ausvotes

The Politics of FearNow, both major parties, and most of the minor parties run on a politics of fear.  From BOAT PEOPLE are taking over, WORK CHOICES is coming back, to the even more extreme “Gays are all depressed”.

But this one bugs me…  bugs me a lot.  (oh and I have a photo of it, so it is easier to do blog post on it)

The Labor’s 100 Million Dollars a Day.  Why is this a problem, quite simply because the Liberals have said they will pay of the deficit at more or less the same time.  So this means that the Liberals if they get power will have exactly the same level of debt repayments that Labour currently has.  So the issue is that if the Libs get power, they will do exactly what Labor are already doing?  A large number of (possibly overpaid) financial experts all agree that Australia weathered the GFC (or whatever technical term you wish to apply) incredibly well and that no matter who was in power, the government of the day would have entered into some level of debt.

As has been pointed out, the debt levels that Australia has are 2nd to none in the world.  ( and not just because of the last 10 years, but 20 years of economic reform ), yet the Liberals run a policy of fear.

Even on the 7.30 Report Tony Abbott says “ Hundreds of Millions ” in a shrill voice.  Trying to relate that amount of money to normal people.  Sorry, but this amount of money cannot be treated as we treat money.  The scales are just too different. Drive along a new bit of freeway and try and see why it cost $1.5billion.  Without an understanding of the scales and trying to use your own pay packet as a bench mark will always result in a lack of understanding.

And like all political adverts, this one contains a disclaimer.  What is says, I am sure that only the persons that printed it and hung it would be able to tell you.  5 stories above street level there is no way to read what it says.  This needs to change.  I am only presuming that this is a Liberal advert.  Both Labor and Liberal do this.  And it has to stop.

So the numbers are bullshit, the argument is flawed and the subjective nature is exploitative.  Why, because it works.  The politics of fear has always been the way of politics.  Even the Greens use these tactics.  As they say, doesn’t matter who you vote for… a politician gets in.  With ads like this and people believing them, this will never change.

Andrew Bolt and the Streisand Effect. ( aka #boltgate )

Poor Andrew Bolt… he really has been kept in the dark.  You’d think that someone in the last nearly two years would have told him that there was a fake twitter account.  Surely.  But no, no one did.  This also shows that people like Bolt and even those around him in News Limited have no idea about brand management either.  People like Bolt are a brand unto themselves.

Of course I try very hard to avoid anything he says on the grounds that I might need to have my gall bladder removed, I am still well aware of him and his views.

The @andrewbolt account was started on February 11, 2009 or 538 days ago  and he is only just writing about it now!

@jason_a_w managed to find and write a very detailed interview with the person behind the account in August last year! (faking-on-twitter-fake-andrew-bolt/)

And yet 12 months after this post was written he has only just found out, or at least has only just started complaining. Of course like most right wing commentariat he is demanding justice and claiming this is the worst crime in history.

From his own blog:

“This is only a small instance, but as I’ve so often noted among Leftist activists from the French Revolution to the Internet revolution , many have a curious belief that their moral cause entitles them to act as barbarians. It’s this loss of conscience in the collective that makes them such a menace.”

“For at least a year, it’s been guilty of identity theft and defamation. And I would expect that the employer of this person might have something to say about that,” he said.” Source : Source: News Ltd

From his own blog

“I’ve been given names, and at some stage may use them. Parody is perfectly fine, but identity theft is low.”

Seriously WTF.  Either he knows who it is or he doesn’t.  I suspect he doesn’t, that is why he is using these bully boy techniques which work very well in old media, not so well in these new and rapidly changing social platforms. And of course the readers of his blog coming running to his defence with 183 comments, most of which seem to blame the ABC for reasons that totally escape me.

So when twitter discovers that Andrew Bolt has finally discovered that there is a fake twitter account, he encounters the Streisand effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect)

Now we have @LordAndrewBolt @AndrewBolt_PR @AndrewBlotMP @andrew__bolt @andrew_bolt_irl @mrsandrewbolt @lordandrewbolt @IamAndrewBolt @andrewbolt @AndrewBoltMP @MrAndrewBolt @anandrewbolt @andrew_bolt @anbrewdolt @fakeandrewbolt @TheAndrewBolt

And I am sure I have missed some, and all the while the account that started it all has gained over 800 followers in one day.

The more he complains the more he adds fuel to the Streisand Effect.  Sit back and enjoy the ride people… this will only get funnier I promise.

i cun spall wull enug for goggle

The interesting thing about Google spell checking, is that in some respects it is almost to good. Remember back in the day hunting through a dictionary to try and find a word. Trying to remember desperately if it had silent letters or a ph instead of an f.

As long as you can spell well enough for google… what else do you need.

“i cun spall wull enug for goggle”… and google does give you… Did you mean: i can spell well enough for google

( and yes the results count is correct for when I made the t-shirt)

Click on the image to buy your own copy of this t-shirt and support my camera addiction.