Random Rants

Fundamentally, i agree with everything said here.

People pirate media because it is a) convenient, b) cheap and c) rapid. Having media directed to your home PC, delivered for $0 in the space of hours - and as soon as it's available - I understand the desire.

The content deliverers (movie theatres, followed by retail stores and rental outfits) need to move with the times. DVDs are relatively fragile compared to digital media, but at least they're readily accessible to most folks. What keeps people renting is that they are accessible, and relatively inexpensive.

As bandwidth costs drop, the inexpensive part is less relevant. Anything, at all, which makes renting less convenient is going to have piracy as a byproduct. This is a given. Industry should be looking at ways of providing content to end-users for reasonable cost, without all the stupid restrictions. Otherwise folks will continue to bypass said restrictions, and not share their money with the content-makers.

I happily buy DVDs for movies and TV series that i'm particularly keen on, and visit movie theatres and rent movies for newer content (as opposed to getting the MPAA all riled up) but I can fully appreciate the frustration of some.

At least DRM seems to be slowly dying, which is a boon for those who run open platforms that can't use proprietary DRM decoders. That's another major fall-down point...

Athiest Bus Campaign canned by NZ Bus Company.

"NZ Bus stated that they have received a number of complaints from the public about the proposed ads..."

Oh come-on... athiests vs non-athiests?! Why should one win out over the other? Freedom to choose guys... !!

In principle I have serious concerns about the trend this sets; I hope NZ Bus intend to reject all religious advertising going forward - in the interests of fairness!

(It is of course their perogative to reject advertisers. I just hope it's even-handed.)

By now Youtube regulars will have heard about "My Speed" functionality - Youtube now plot video performance data based on a fingerprint of IP and browser headers.

Mine just go to show how poorly TelstraClear are performing when it comes to Youtube:

They also publish a 'test video' which has plotted onto it, realtime performance. Mine wasn't great. (This test, btw, is from my Ubuntu 9.04 box, a P4 2.4Ghz machine with 512Mb ram i.e. not a speed demon (we know how flash under Linux is problematic)...

I'll do some tests under Windows next time the opportunity arises. Meanwhile I'll keep monitoring Geekzone's 15 Page Thread with TCL users discussing how Youtube is for them, a major issue - and that TCL are 'working on it'...

I hate it when the Government gets it so, so wrong...

"When disagreements or fights develop, the presence and the use of the knife turns the encounter into something lethal that has absolutely devastating consequences for the victim, the victim's family and our society," Justice Asher said.

"Somehow the message has to be imparted to young people that it is unacceptable for knives to be carried in public places."

This statement is crap as read. I've underlined the relevant bit; the USE of a knife is the problem when it comes to violent conflict. Posession itself is not an issue, and yet the second sentence is problematic.

The problem is not the posession, it's the intent and the use.
Some knives are designed as weapons first.
Some are designed as tools.

What about moving a knife between two private places, transiting public places? Do you get nailed then?

What about a swiss army knife or similar, on a person who regularly has cause to use such a thing - or who simply want's to be prepared?

"We need to make sure our laws are sending a message to young people that it's totally unacceptable to have knives in public places and that there will be consequences if this happens."

Sigh.

The article goes on to quote:

The Summary Offences Act (s13A) provides for a penalty of up to three months in prison or a fine of up to $2000 for possession of a knife in a public place without reasonable excuse.

The Crimes Act (s202A) also makes it an offence to carry a knife in a public place without reasonable excuse, an offence which carries a penalty of up to two years in prison.

The emphasis is mine. What construes 'reasonable'?

[EDIT: IMPORTANT UPDATE BELOW]

Just received an obvious Spam; it was directed to an email address used solely for domain name management (i.e. it was plucked out of a domain 'whois' output).

That was the first sign of trouble. Plenty more...

Next we have a firm offering a special on aerial photography of NZ. I should be grateful they got my country right, I suppose?
Then you keep reading.

Embedded links point to a .co.nz (aerialimpressions.co.nz) - it appears to have valid, if limited, registration details (registrant = Aerial Impressions, address in Australia (City, no state given, though it appears it's in Victoria).

A look on the Australian ABN Lookup tool for 'Aerial Impressions' reveals that it is a Trading Name for a company actually known as DGB Technologies Pty Ltd.

IMPORTANT UPDATE ON THIS BLOG ENTRY!

When I used Google to search for "DGB TECHNOLOGIES PTY LTD" (copy/pasted from the ABR Site), they 'automagically' provided me with DBG Technologies - note the B and G are transposed! - as the first hit, along with several more. I didn't notice this until I was contacted by a helpful reader - and by one of the directors of DBG, seeking to clarify!!

I apologise profusely to DBG - the legitimate, South Australia Registered firm who appear to be unrelated to DGB.

Just for entertainment, feel free to compare their entries in the ABR:

DGB Technologies (Trading as Aerial Impressions)

and

Funny how the media (even the social media) can play things up for their own benefit.

Yesterday I saw a tweet by none other than WhaleOil - yes, that notorious blogger - supporting a video published by 'joegreenz' that's now in the view of the New Zealand Herald.


I watched the video and formed my own opinion; in no way is what transpired, as bad as is being made out. In fact I can't help but think that the 'anti-police' sentiments are tainting folks viewpoint, a little.

Infact there's several rebuttal points:

- the 'Drifting' referenced doesn't seem to exist. There is no drifting I see in that clip - perhaps folks should actually investigate what drifting is, before throwing the term around.

- Yes there was some driving fairly close to a bouncy castle and other such things. The speeds being travelled when in close to the bouncy castle are not that unreasonable.

- A large open field was being used, with the two cars keeping well away from eachother. The vehicles were under the full, positive control of trained drivers (Police actually undergo professional driver training; how many regular folks do?) - and the speeds weren't that horrific.

- I'd like to draw comparison with the concept of a 'Grasskhana':

The above images (sourced from http://toyspeed.blakjak.net/grasskhana) go to show that i've done the Grass thing before, at least. I wonder if any of those posting negatively about the 'offending' video clip have done so?

My first response to the video and a coupla tweets was to post on the Youtube clip that I thought the reaction was OTT, for the above reasons.

This morning not only has it hit the Herald, but the Youtube comments left by both myself and several others have been deleted, and the feature disabled.

Why, just because the majority of posts (as at ~1am this morning) were supportive of the cops, and in agreement with my view?

Sorry but this doesn't wash. You can't hide from opposing view, especially a majority, in order to make your sensationalism 'play' more to the public. This is yet another 'nothing' being blown out of proportion by a vocal minority, for publicity and hype. Even the NZHerald Tweet "Video: Film footage of two police cars skidding on a schoolground within metres of a children's bouncy castle" is OTT - was there actually skidding of any significance in proximity to the bouncy castles? Or when we talk 'metres' do we meantens or hundreds of?

Who woulda thunk it?

My eyes are rolling!!

Nevermind that I still see folks flouting this law; I will be seriously interested to see if NZ has seen a reduction in cellphone related accidents.
Actually, i'm also interested to see if said accidents are accurately reported; expect that with the new law, folks wont be admitting it!!

Plural of Fish: Fish, or Fishes?

Fair question; when do you say 'two fish' and when do you say 'two fishes' ?

The output of this study may be interesting, but I must say, the example in the tail of the article pisses me off:

... the use of "bet" in the sentence: "The Silver Ferns bet Australia", pointed to the speaker being from New Zealand or Scotland. An Australian or Englishman would use "beat".

Australians and New Zealanders also use 'beat'; they just suck with their pronounciation. As a New Zealand English speaker (and writer) I've never seen 'bet' written down, and even in pronounciation, it's a bit of a grey area.

Next they'll be inserting "'Aks': see 'Ask'" into the dictionary..... arrrrgh!

Stuff has yet another article on XT's recent failure but a couple of things stick out:

Wellington sisters Leigh and Nikki Maetzig said when their mother became ill with a stomach condition near the Basin Reserve on Wednesday night, her calls to them did not get through. She was eventually able to ring an ambulance and was taken to Wellington Hospital.

Did the woman try to flag down a passing motorist? Was she in a state where she could walk to a nearby property and ask for a landline call to be made? Was this a pre-existing condition?

Severe enough for an Ambulance, likely means severe enough to take steps beyond simply trying your own cellphone, and looking failure in the face for an hour!. Of course, if she was trapped in her car and doubled over in pain, perhaps this isn't so cut and dried; it's certainly reasonable to expect that if you own a cellphone, it should be a fair contingency for a situation such as this, though i'd love to know more detail of the background...

... And desperate relatives looking for missing Nelson teenager Leo Lipp-Neighbours, last seen on Sunday, said the outage made it impossible to call some searchers, hampering efforts to find him.

Coordinated search was it? There's a reason that SAR prefer radio comms to cellphones in a lot of circumstances! Again, whilst a cellphone is useful, XT's outage should've been an inconvenience but not a major.

Of course, the fact that it was an inconvenience at all is a major problem for Telecom. As the article cites, people expect a degree of reliability in a cellular network - especially when they pay big money and sign an agreement of service.

Yes, there's the usual 'act of God' type exclusions but XT's had more than it's share of problems of late.

A recent conversation on Twitter revealed that several XT users find the need to retain a Vodafone or 2Degrees Prepay as a 'backup'.

I on the other hand have Vodafone as my primary and though I do have a CDMA (Telecom's pre-XT legacy network) prepay, that's more through good luck than good planning (twas a freebie many moons ago) and thus far I don't think i've ever had to use it. Maybe once in 6+ years?

Nice to know it's there, of course. I try to travel with at least two means of communication, if i'm at any risk and/or it's any distance. Of course, Amateur Radio makes that easy.

[EDIT: Funny ad being run by Vodafone in response to Telecom's XT FAIL. As Tweeted by @DomHarvey of The Edge Radio Station... ]

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