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Fairfax et alia say oh look shiny thing but don’t think about the content…

Yes Fairfax I am looking squarely at you.

And also media commentators and IT journo’s I’m looking at you as well.  Today saw Fairfax launch a new Ipad App.  Now I must say firstly I haven’t seen the App..  Why because I don’t have an ipad nor an iphone nor any Apple computer. I am a very happy Win7 and Android user.

So, of course I can’t comment on the actual app, but I’m not going to.  Sure, they say an Android version is coming, but if the ABC pull their finger out and finally get a decent Android app, I will most probably end up just using that.

Why, because I care about content, not if something has nice page transitions or ads that are not that obtrusive when you scroll between stories.

Sure, I expect that Fairfax will write many stories about how apps are the future and their app is the best. However, and this is the big point that people haven’t commented on, what about the content.

With lots of criticism about Fairfax, and even as I have also blogged about News ltd about the lack of quality journalism, nay even churnalism what is in it for the reader.  Look at the front page of The Age or SMH on any given day and tell me that is quality journalism.

This is the fail for me.  Sure it is shiny, sure it uses the shiny platform, but what changed.  The content is sourced from what is a company, like the old man in Holy Grail saying ” But I’m not dead yet”.

And all this before the mysterious “freemium” model comes into play.  Without new engaging content, pulling a website that sources much of its content wire services where is the content.

When I see people fawning over the new App, saying “wow, it has really nice video over the paper”, well of course it does.  But when that video is for example just content from the ABC’s Four Corners why do I care about Fairfax.

Sorry, but whilst shiny maybe important to some, I prefer my content to have a touch of substance.

An Open Letter to my Local Member over live animal exports.

As sent to Simon Crean, my local member.

Dear Mr Crean

My wife and I are writing to you, as our local member, to express our outrage at the live export trade and slaughter practices in Indonesia, as aired on 4Corners on ABC1, 30/5/2011

We feel that Australia should not be condoning, either passively or actively the treatment of animals in this way.

It should be a priority of the Australian Government, not only to stop the live trade immediately, but to ensure that all live exports are banned.  Further steps need to be taken immediately to ensure that all animals in Indonesia are killed in a humane way.

The standard government response of “we are looking into this issue”, will only ensure that thousands more cattle are continuing to be slaughtered in horrific conditions. It has become obvious from the show that this activity will continue until the Government takes a stand and calls a halt to this trade. We do not stand for this treatment in our country, so why is it valid for us to export and tacitly condone this treatment overseas.

Australia has an opportunity to be a leader in pushing forward for humane treatment of animals.  Falling back on excuses of “the industry is slowly changing”, or “it is religious beliefs” only shows Australia to be paying more attention to trade and profit than to taking the moral high ground.

It is time for the Australian Government to take a stand, not to grandstand.

Yours deeply concerned


( Please feel free to copy this letter and send it to your local member )

(Note if you missed the show you can see it here on the 4Corners website )

— Update Reply Recieved 6/6/2011 —

Thank you for your email of 30th May 2011 regarding the live animal export trade.

I have sought advice from my colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig, about the issues you have raised.

I have been assured that the Minister and the Government have undertaken the following actions:

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry have been asked to conduct an investigation into the footage shown on the ABC Four Corners program.

It has also been announced that the Government will appoint an independent reviewer to investigate the complete supply chain for live exports up to and including the point of slaughter.

The Minister has asked for a briefing on the range of legislative and regulatory options available to respond to issues concerned with animal welfare.

The Minister asked for orders to enforce the suspension of live animal exports to the facilities identified by the evidence provided by RSPCA and Animals Australia and will add further facilities to the list of banned facilities in future, if required.

Also a moratorium has been implemented on the installation of the restraint boxes, seen being used in the footage. This will apply to the instalment of any new boxes with Commonwealth funds across all global markets and the Minister has also asked the Chief Veterinary Officer to co-ordinate an independent, scientific assessment of the restraint boxes used in Indonesia.

Following the completion of these investigations, the Government will consider what further actions may be necessary.

The Government shares the legitimate concerns of the Australian community about animal welfare abuses and is taking the necessary actions to investigate this footage.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me on this important issue.

Yours sincerely


The Australian and Pot Kettle Black….

My alternative title for this post was going to be… Leadership is needed to reclaim Australians National Paper

So the Australian writes an editorial. Of course, we don’t know who wrote it, cause The Australian attributes things to itself as an entity… but still it is worth looking at.

“In an age when spin doctors, lobbyists, publicists and political activists outnumber journalists by at least a dozen to one, reporters need thejudgment to pick through the spin and report the facts.”

Yes, now pick yourself up from the floor from laughing, I think they are trying to be serious here. A paper that has on more than one occasion said that its aim is to destroy the greens, cancel the NBN and ensure that the rightful govt (aka the guys that lost the election (also known as the libs)) is installed in power. A paper that currently threatens people with defamation cases over a tweet which was just reporting, or spends countless column inches defending its right to out a blogger for what turned out to be no gain what so ever… and yet…

The failure to observe these basic editorial principles is at the heart of the malaise in ABC news and current affairs.

Ah, see, it isn’t the Australian that it being biased, one eyed and focused on one goal, it is the ABC. See the ABC and News Limited are “competing” in the same space. By competing I mean, that the ABC produces balanced journalism, which is accountable through the Govt, has detailed reporting of balance. An organization that has on countless numbers of times been proven to be balanced, to the point they are giving more creditably to for example non scientists with climate change.

Next the article goes on to name three ABC “personalities”, but wait, why isn’t the author of this article placing his (a presumption I know) name to this article. Oh wait, turns out.. “we also know that all three share this newspaper’s distaste for middle-class welfare.” So what, you are upset they agree with you…..

But moving on…

Under Mark Scott’s leadership, the ABC no longer aspires to be“Your ABC”, the slogan it adopted on Australia Day 1997 to launch its now familiar wave-form logo.

Couple of facts, sure it is the Australian and facts should never get in the way of a good rant, but firstly, the “your abc” was a campaign for branding the ABC, try looking it up. Yes it was very popular, and certainly I prefer it to the current “think entertainment etc” branding. But that aside, if the Australian bothered to say for example look up the wikipedia entry, or even the ABC website they would find out that funny “wave-form logo” dates from 1965. But moving on…

A sly coup by a coterie of like-minded, inner-city staff has commandeered the ABC’s transmitters and stipend to broadcast almost exclusively to the vocal minority who share their prejudices.

What…. sorry, a broad statement, that contains no fact, oh wait, it is the Australian, facts are not required, sorry my bad.

Next we have a whole par about a history lesson

The ABC was established 79 years ago on the democratic, liberal principles of Lord John Reith, the BBC’s first managing director, who believed that a government-funded wireless service should be a companion atthe hearth of both rich and poor.

Yes, which also seems to say, hey ABC, stick to radio cause that is all you were founded to do, and don’t dare innovate or move with the times. Certainly don’t do things like move into Social Media, offer on demand streaming of your tv stations, a catch up service like Iview and encourage open discussion around topics with The Drum.

But moving on from that ranty para…..

Public broadcasters should not be discouraged from specialised programming. Ah but if they ABC dares offer something to a limited audience, the Australian will talk about a waste of tax payers money on some small minority group. So which is it you want?

Of course here is where they go into a long and detail explanation abou thow the ABC didn’t cover the death of bin Laden live. It is ofno surprise that in over looking a few facts which don’t fit their narrative they get the strong wrong. Facts that get in way like say, it was carried live on the 24 hour new service. Carried live on local radio around the country. You know in the middle of the day when people are at work, not in front of a tv. Sure ABC 1 didn’t jump on the ball, but to say the ABC didn’t cover it live is an out and out lie. Via local radio, news radio, and ABC 24, streaming on the web and constant updates on the website, the coverage reach more of the population of Australia in real time than a newspaper ever would or could. But no, the Australian says “If someone in the ABC’s control room decided to flick the switch, albeit belatedly, to the Qatar-based al-Jazeera for the news of Osama bin Laden’s death, something would be going very badly wrong. Yet that is precisely what occurred earlier this month..” I was watching ABC 24 on the day, at 12:30 they pulled normal programming waiting for the press conf to start. A press conference which still at 12:30pm was conjecture to what it contained. The ABC jumped to al-Jazeera to fill time waiting for Obama to talk, that was all. But hey, lets rewrite history to suit our own ends the Australian is.

And a few more ranting paras go here, well that is what the Australian has done, no need for logic for facts, just rant a while and throw in the odd personal attack. Remember in journalism you have to play the man, not the ball as it were.

Instead of sustaining civil society it sustains itself as a permanent, moral-political oppositional force, with its journalists at the mercy of favoured lobby groups and activists.

I’m fairly sure the Australian is talking about themselves again. This behavior is commonly referred to as projection, where you blame someone else for your own ills.

I’ll finish with this… via the Australian

If Chris Mitchell, cannot pull his staff into line, the national paper will wither on the vine. If journalists at the Australian are to lift their standards by learning to ask themselves where the real facts fall and how the mainstream will be effected, they need to know that, when the phone rings, it could well be the managing director or another senior editor on the line asking: “Why?”

You may have guess that the bits not in italic are mine, but the argument stands just as strong, only by changing one MD/Editors name and the name of the organisation

For those that want to read the original article go here but if you want to comment or engage in conversation, don’t go to this article, cause they wont allow it.

Week 30 for #wolfcatcubs, with a small scare as well.

The ultrasound the other day was all fine, and today Mrs wolfcat said, please come to the OB with her at lunch time. Sure, a 30 min appointment, with a bit of drive either side, I can do that.

Well, it didn’t turn out that way, but as I figure having cubs means that all pretenses of planning are going out the window anyway.

During the ultrasound, the woman doing it, noted that RC1’s heartbeat was a little to fast. Possibly due to being away, or just being grumpy with its small space being pushed in from the outside by the scanner. During the visit to the OB also did point out that at the moment Mrs Wolfcat is considered full sized for a singleton birth, with each cub around the 15kg mark. The question was asked about the faster than expected heart rate

“Just go up to fetal monitoring, could take between 5min and 45min”, sure I thought, easy, I’ll just work a bit late, that will be fine. 2.5 hours later, we were done. Turns out that RC2’s trace is bang on the money, but RC1 cycles up to 220bpm then back to 140 or so. Whilst the ladies doing the scan were impressed, we are still going to have to monitor this. What is all means, we still don’t know, so an extrabit of stress at the moment.

But we were sent home, waiting for people who understand these things to look at the traces. (I’ll update when we get more info )

Another thing I’d like to say is I love work places with flexible work hours. My last job and my current position both have this arrangement.It was great for me to be able to sit with Mrs Wolfcat during these rather dull, sit here for 2 hours tests. Sure, I had to work till 7pm, but I got my hours done and still spent the time I needed to for work/life balance.Sometimes it is important for work places to thing of the man in these situations.

So here are the the #wolfcatcubs heart beats…. RC1 is the left monitor, RC2 is the right. The monitor droppping back to below 90 or — was when RC1 decided to squirm, which seems to be its fav way of passing time.

Update 27/5/11:

Call from the OB, it could be something, it could be nothing. Hmmm… well that doesn’t help much. Going back to the good ultrasound people next Tuesday to focus on RC1’s heart. OB doesn’t seem to concerned, and given the weight they are and age, we are ticking boxes still, so nothing to panic about.

The problem with Fav Notifications and Twitter

The problem with email notifications for twitter favs, isn’t email. Nor is the problem that they are opt out, not opt in. The problem is that they exist. So many people waste characters in their bio with ” RT’s are not endorsement “, now people will add very shortly “favs are no endorsement”.

Sure there are third party apps that can grab favs, but as a general rule it isn’t something Joe Average uses. But suddenly everyone will be aware of what you do and do not fav.

At work for example I see content from people I follow that is as a rule Not Safe for Work (NSFW) and often it is amusing or interesting. Many times I just use fav’s as a bookmarking situation to read later. Other times I will fav something that I find offensive for example to read later, or just to write a ranty blog post about.

From a work perspective, any number of work accounts that I monitor may fav something in twitter, for actioning later for any number of reasons.

We have already seen cases where people have fav’d something only to have it comeback in the media as implying endorsement.

How long will it be before people are highlighting just how many times something is fav’d as some new #smeg metric as well.

Now I need a way of bookmarking tweets so that I can use them, without notifying the person that I have done so. Back to the old twitter website I go to save old fashioned bookmarks.

And with 7 Milliwheatons of followers, I am certainly going to be turning off the email notification anyway. Want to know if someone fav’d something of yours, guess what it doesn’t matter unless they told you why they fav’d it. Want to know if they RT’d you, look it up on the website.

Before you think this won’t effect you, stop and think about the last time you fav’d something that really you wouldn’t want the person to know you have.

I was wrongish….. #auscertgate

Ok, I will admit I got it wrong, but as it turns out I was also right. I presumed that Ben wasn’t arrested as in arrested and charged, and that QPSmedia got it right.

This “still” very unfolding saga, which by the time I upload this blog post will have changed completely over the arrest of the journo @bengrubb has to coin a bad phrase been very grubby indeed.

Firstly, and most importantly I am not a lawyer, not trained in law etc,and neither will you find that 99.9% of the people making comments about the legality of the situation are. This kind of stuff is important to realise.

So, was Ben arrested, well yes, but no, but yes, but no, but yes. See depends on how you define arrested. See arrested for questioning,is quite different to arrested and charged. While both do involve him losing liberty, one ends in court the other doesn’t.

Not knowing the whole situation, but listening to the police this morning, this differing kind of arrest seems to be the cause of the confusion to some degree with @qpsmedia first said arrested, then the now infamous ” my bad ” tweet.

Why so many people on Twitter jumped to the conclusion that QPS Media were deliberately hiding information last night is beyond me. Ockham’s razor “simpler explanations are, other things being equal, generally better than more complex ones”” presents us with A: The police were deliberately covering up, from the arresting officers, to the media unit the events that unfolded, or B: That miscommunication between the force and the media unit on what transpired happened. I’m going with B.

As for the police holding the ipad, now that is a serious issue, it is the modern journalists notebook and may well contain sensitive information, sources etc. This is a major problem for the police, and is what I think people should be concentrating on. That QPSmedia made a mistake and publicly admitted that it did, should not be the story or the focus.

That said, I have to question why publish the photo, the photo sourced from a “hack”. The original story is still online, it is the “hacked” photo that is the problem, so why was it needed. The sourcing of the photo is the problem, and what created the complaint in the first place. ( from my reading of the situation ). Yet, this”fact” that the story is still online, but the photo is removed shows that Fairfax’s legal advice was to remove the photo.

Before people saying about the original hack, but the URL was guessed. Sure, and if someone keeps putting in a password till the get the right one for your bank account, is that guessing as well. (Note:IANAL ! )

This still has a long way to go, the impact on journalists is quite scary, we should be focusing on this and this alone.

Totally prepared for the #wolfcatcubs now…..

Yep… with this new Hoodie I am as prepared as I can be for the #wolfcatcubs

Just as people expect learners on the road to drive badly, I am trying to manage expectations around my ability to be a father.

New Hoodie.... Learner Dad

Get your own here on Redbubble

Scott Morrison proves once again you shouldn’t let facts get in the way.

Now, I know I shouldn’t listen to Scott Morrison MP ( as covered here on my blog ), my doctor advised against it as it always raises my blood pressure to unhealthy levels. But yesterday I encountered another of his daft statements.

I shall elaborate as to which one in a moment, simply because most of what he says is daft.

But first I’ll deal with the headline on the ABC.

“Labor policy ‘unravelling’ as new boat arrives”

Really, I am not sure why the ABC seems to be so keen to let the Liberals write their headlines for them. Even “Labor policy ‘unravelling’ as new boat arrives: Morrison says” would have been a much better headline, and certainly one without the political bias that the ABC fights so hard against. ( Original ABC story here )

But enough ABC bashing, back to Morrison. This is in regards to the latest boat found of the Australian Coastline with 32 asylum seekers arriving on Friday 13/5/11.

“But Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison says people smugglers have called the Government’s bluff.”

Now, I have a few points that perhaps people should stop and think about

  1. The policy was announced the previous Sunday, so 5 days before the boatarrived.
  2. What is the sailing time for the boat, as its departure point was not mentioned in the article.
  3. Did Scott Morrison speak to anyone on the vessel either prior to its departure, or after its arrival.
  4. Did anyone fact check and question Morrison in regards to his statement

Now the reason for this is quite simple. Morrison says that the people smugglers were calling the Governments bluff. How does he know this. I am of the opinion that he didn’t have a clue about anyone on the boat or their motives. Not having any of the first 3 points of information, makes what he said a lie.

But does the media pull him up on this.. of course they don’t.

Even if the boat left after the policy was announced, does Morrison and his ilk seriously expect us to believe the following.

  1. Policy announced with changes to Boat People arrivals processes
  2. People smugglers quickly arrange a boat, find people and crew for said boat
  3. Even allowing 3 days sail, get to North Western Australia
  4. Sit back and laugh at Australian Government cause they called their bluff.

The whole issue of arriving by boat, vs arriving by air is abhorrent enough, let alone with this absurd statements made by Morrison and his supporters.

Perhaps if we weren’t so busy in a race to the bottom, real questions, real policy and real answers could be found.

HTC Incredible S – Camera Comparison

( due to my blog being nuked when my host went down… click here for my ASUS EEPC Slate Review )


One thing comparing the Incredible S to the Desire that has been dramatically improved is the camera.  Not just the bump from 5 to 8megapixels, but the processing software seems to have been given some real attention.  The Desire’s camera was “flat” in the shots it took and for me wasn’t worth using.

The Incredible S however is a very rich, vibrant.  It isn’t a DSLR ( which I carry with me nearly everywhere), but it is a great point and shoot camera for a wide variety of shooting environments.

The camera does low light very well, and limits ISO Noise very very well. One issue with lowlight though is that it pushes more red into images than is necessary.  Whilst the lighting at the nightclub where I took the photos of the Cat Empire, was heavily skewed red, this red dominance also came out in the sunset shot that I took at the river, there at least I had the Nikon D7K to get a much more realistic colour balance out of the shot. Which also is a case of apples and oranges, one is phone, one is prosumer DSLR :-)

The flash on the camera is up to the task, but you will notice that the band shots don’t have the flash on, because I wanted photos of the band, not the back of people’s heads.  You might want to remember that next time you’re at a concert. The great thing is that the Incredible also remembers the last state the flash was on as well, even when you exit the app.  A nice touch, that means you can take photos quickly without having to reset the camera every time.

For reasons that are not knee bone is connected to the leg bone type of logic, if you are using the phone is being used as a WIFI hot spot ( which is great if you don’t have the USB cable with you, or you wish to share it with a few friends ), you can’t use the flash.  I’m sure there is a good technical reason for this, but I can’t think what it was.

I’d much rather that the effects vs the settings could have been switched.  Then I am a lot more of purist when it comes to photography anyway.  The face detection works really well, even if the subject is in the background of the image, and the cameras inherent depth of field gets everything in focus. White Balance etc all seem to work just fine but nested as they are, tweaking one item, such as white balance, involved more clicks as sub items take over the menu structure.

The geotagging feature is great to leave on, but is one that I would have given higher priority to in the menus.  I would love to be able to one click turn it off and on for photos as I went.  Photos from home for example would not be tagged or from a friends place, but out in public tag away is the way I like to shoot.  The GPS seems to get a fix very quickly, often one or two shots in a new location and they are tagged. A cursory look at images I have uploaded to flickr shows the location very accurately as well.

Sure, the camera has nice little effects, to be honest the only one I would consider using is the depth of field filter.  Even then unless it was something I couldn’t get a feel for a particular shot that I was after.  As a rule, and this applies to all photos that you take with your phone etc, don’t and I mean DON’T apply camera filters.  Why, because in 12 months time, or even the day after you won’t have the unedited version.  The photos off the Incredible should print really well, and unless you have the “clean” version you are going to regret not having it sooner rather than later.

But, words are words, images are images…  I let them do the talking… ( ok, with just a touch of voice over…. )

(All images link to full size flickr version )

Dull Sunset Comparison

I am not a camera phone horder... just doing a review...

(Plus the Nikon D7000 that took the shot)

Nikon D7000


Nokia N8


HTC Incredible S


Nokia N95-8gb


Nokia X-6


HTC Desire






Xres Yres ISO Exposure Focal Length Aperture Width Height JPG Size Altitude Lat Long
Model – NIKON D7000 300 300 280 1/125s 18.00 mm F 5.60 4855 3216 6.4MB NO GPS
Model – N8-00 300 300 105 1/191.4s 5.90 mm F 2.80 4000 3000 1.4MB NO FIX
Model – HTC Incredible S 72 72 100 No Data 4.57 mm No Data 3184 1904 1MB 0 m S 37  53  35.05 E 144  59  17.76
Model – N95 8GB 300 300 100 1/500s 5.60 mm F 2.80 2592 1944 .77mb NO FIX
Model – X6-00 300 300 100 1/250s 5.20 mm F 2.80 2592 1944 .68mb 30.50 m S37  53  56.12 E144  59  5.34
Model – HTC Desire 72 72 55 No Data 4.31 mm No Data 2592 1552 .59mb NO FIX
Model – GC-FM1 72 72 100 1/109.9s 3.91 mm F 2.82 3264 2448 2.1mb NO GPS



The order is how I judge the devices.

Unsurprisingly the DSLR wins :-) , Next is the amazing Nokia N8, which is simply amazing as a camera on a phone. But given the hardware the Incredible S was against, it did do very well.

DPI, the higher the number the better the print.  72DPI is great for onscreen, 300DPI is better for printing, this is reflected broadly in filesize.

The D7000 shot was taken in RAW and exported via Lightroom 3. I do have the Solmeta GPS for the D7000, but it wasn’t plugged in J, the other phones that didn’t get a GPS fix had not been used in sometime and were not already on, when I did the test.

Both the Desire and the Incredible S are lacking much in the way of EXIF data, so a full comparison of EXIF Data is not possible.  Either this is an ongoing firmware issue, or shows the limitations of the HTC Camera System.

Final point, remember that the Nokia N95-8gb is from 2007, so it is the oldest of all off the above devices by a number of years. Still the camera in that phone still stands up.

And here are some more shots from the Incredible S

Good light


Very dark room


The Macro as I said is fantastic.  Add the touch the screen to move the focus point and you can get some great close up photos.  The text in these images is nice and crisp.

This is a pretty sunset….

HTC Incredible Sunset

Sunset - HTC Incredible S

Nikon D7000 Sunset


As you can see from above, the HTC made the sky a lot pinker than it was.  Whilst most people wouldn’t care.. I do.

And now some night shots..

First from the HTC Desire


Now two from the Incredible S ( at both ends of the zoom).



And thanks for getting to the end of this rather long post…. The camera as I said is a great point and shoot, and is a good phone camera.

#wolfcatcubs update… trimester 3…

Yikes… Yesterday marked the start of the third trimester….

Mrs Wolfcat is doing well and both RC1 and RC2 are ticking all the boxesthat the need to. At the last ultrasound though, we didn’t get a copy of any photos, which is a bit disappointing.

So instead, I thought I would dedicate the rest of this post, to cover of all the things that I am mentally prepared for with for the arrival of the Cubs…




Yep, that about covers it.