Category Archives for Rant
More wacky zany antics from those madcap nutbars at Telstra. They bought whereis a while back, which is ironic considering Telstra aren’t particularly known for getting places on time.
So anyway I was entering an address today, and I’m a little off my skull at the moment, so I accidentally entered the name of the place into the street field. Always helpful, it came back and said the place didn’t exist, without offering any alternatives, or bothering to put it into the white pages for me just in case.
Then I saw this weird second tabbed box behind the main address box. It was marked “place”, as opposed to “address”. Duh I thought, and after recovering from hitting myself in the head somewhat stronger than I was expecting to, I clicked on the “place” tab.
Did I mention that I was using a Mac and Safari?
And so I clicked on the “place” tab. I clicked on the “place” tab. I clicked on the &*^*#@$^(*&^ “place” tab!
Apparently Mac folks aren’t allowed find out where a “place” is, but at least we can still see and click on their ads.
For more Telstra fun and frivolity, check out my other Telstra rants.
I received some spam about six months to a year ago, about a supposed Australian dentist who had written a quite patriotic piece on what it means to be American. It was so pro-right wing American in fact that either the dentist hadn’t spent very much time in Australia, or he wasn’t an Australian dentist.
The spam usually begins like this:
You probably missed it in the rush of news last week, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.
So I just thought I would write to let them know what an American is, so they would know when they found one.
The piece then goes on and on ad infinitum about what it means to be American, with the next four paragraphs all beginning with the words “An American is […]”, followed by several paragraphs of American empirialist Christian rhetoric, that only an empirialist Christian American could write.
Two minutes on Google proved that the latter was in fact correct, that it wasn’t an Australian dentist, but an American professor by the name of Peter Ferrara, an associate professor of law at the George Mason University School of Law in Northern Virginia. Mr. Ferrara’s original piece, somewhat less confronting than many of the circulating spam versions, was originally published in the National Review on 25 September 2001, titled What Is An American?.
The debunking can now be found on numerous urban legend clearing sites, yet amazingly enough, it still does the rounds of email and has recently popped up in the blogosphere, five years later. Would people not do a minute of research to clarify the accuracy of the story before posting it? It would seem not.
As an Australian however, the most amazing thing is that few if any Australians would even consider writing such a piece. To think that an Australian would consider America an “embodiment of the human spirit of freedom” is farcical, and if Americans think that countries such as Australia consider America in this way, then this, my friends, is just confirmation of the ignorance of most right wing Americans, and why the rest of the world have such a negative view of America, its arrogance, its confrontational global politics and their eagerness to invade countries which do not agree with them.
The American left at a grass roots level, have still unfortunately a hell of a lot of work to do.
The spam should perhaps be adapted and emailed to everyone as follows:
A global citizen is English or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. A global citizen may also be African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani, or Afghan.
A global citizen is an atheist, or he could be Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or most likely Muslim, as there are more Muslims in the world than Christians. So if we were to sanctify only one global religion, as America ever so subtley tries to do, then Christianity’s days are seriously numbered.
A global citizen belives in the right of all nations to live prosperously and happily, within the bounds of their own democratically elected government, with the United Nations as the only global enforcer at arms.
A global citizen is generous. Global citizens have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, with humanitarian aid. When Afghanistan was overrun by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms to enable the people to fight against a system of government which Americans did not believe in. As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more arms than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan. Food, health care and understanding would have arguably been a better solution, which would perhaps not have led to such American hatred by some people in this part of the world.
An American does not have to obey the mad ravings of ignorant, ungodly cruel, selfish and greedy men such as George Bush or Donald Rumsfeld. Yet they still do. American men are still fooled into giving up their lives to kill innocent people, so that these foolish old men may hold on to power.
An American is free to criticize his government’s officials when they are wrong, yet very few do, for fear of being locked up against American and international law. And although they are free to replace them, by majority vote, the majority vote doesn’t seem to always count.
Global citizens welcome people from all lands, all cultures, all religions, because they are not afraid. They are not afraid that America will cut off their aid, and attempt to enforce global trade agreements which export reactionary laws such as the DMCA, a right to own deadly automatic weapons, and the subtle agregation of church and state. That is because they know they are free to hold to their religion, their beliefs, their history, and laws as each of them choose.
And just as global citizens welcome all, they not only enjoy the best that everyone has to bring, from all over the world, but they do not feel an urgent need to proclaim that they are the best at everything.
Americans welcome the best, but they also welcome the least, so long as they have something to offer scientifically, such as the nazi rocket scientists from World War II, but not poor uneducated South Americans fleeing from tirmoil and dictatorship. The nation symbol of America welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed, so long as they have educational qualifications equal of her best scientists.
So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo and Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung, and every bloodthirsty tyrant in the history of the world. The Iraqi insurgents have given it a pretty good go, and even the North Koreans and North Vietnamiese were pretty successful when their countries were invaded by America. But let’s be honest, America has participated in more global conflict, either directly or indirectly through the supply and sale of arms, throughout the 20th century, than any other nation on the planet. Arms of course which were developed by the educated scientists who were allowed to enter America for this very reason in the first place.
But in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because American governments are not generally known to use discussion, patience or honesty to solve global problems or when dealing with people which they simply just don’t agree with, and are in fact particularly prone to shooting first and lying about the questions afterwards. They are, what most of whom America calls terrorists, refer to as the single most significant threat to the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is scared shitless of what America can and may well do in the global arena.
So look around you. You may find more Americans in your land than you thought were there. One day they will rise up and overthrow your government, because that’s generally what they do first. Then those lands too will join the community of America.
And America will welcome them.
About two years ago I wrote a post titled Protect the forests, piss off industry, win an election, and promised to at some point do my plastic bag conspiracy rant. So here it is.
In Australia for the last 4 years, there’s been a move by the big supermarket chains to do away with those environment unfriendly plastic bags. Gone are the days when they’d happily pack your food purchases into as many plastic bags as they could. Ironically enough, plastic bags only started being used about 20-25 years ago, before that we just used the trolley, or the stores provided free cardboard boxes, thus recycling the very same boxes that the food came in from the wholesalers.
So we went from environmentally friendly boxes, kindly provided gratis, to environmentally unfriendly plastic bags, kindly provided gratis, which take between 20-100 years to break down in the environment. Which brings us to now.
In order to crack down on this environmental unfriendliness, the big chains are now doing two things: selling us green reusable bags to use instead; and charging consumers for using plastic bags. At face value, this is fantastic for the environment. In reality, its a corporate conspiracy, using the issue of the environment to make a lot more money.
Let’s start with the green bags. According to Ian Kiernan, chairman of Clean Up Australia, each greeen bag will last on average 104 shops, and they can then be recycled through the big supermarket chains as well. Calculate it out, and that’s about 431 plastic bags saved per year, which isn’t going to have much impact against the roughly 13 million plastic bags used in Australia each day.
Now these bags come with a large white print on either side, which clearly advertises the supermarket you bought it from. Loud and proud, you’re now a part of the chain’s marketing. Don’t underestimate the advertising power of happy people carrying big green bags with a supermarket logo on them. This is the real benefit for stores selling the bags.
However if that weren’t enough, the green bags are actually made from non-woven polypropylene, which looks like woven cotton, but is designed to not actually break down in the environment. Polypropylene is a byproduct of oil refining, so not only is it not biodegradable, but is supported by both the depletion of fossil fuels and the creation of greenhouse gases. But don’t let that worry you too much, at least you’re announcing to the world where you’re happy to shop, and that’s gotta be important to you right?
And you want the kicker? They’re made in China, and imported by JMP Holdings, who to be fair also sell biodegradable bags, but is substantially outnumbered by the range of different non-biodegrable plastic bags they sell. To quote their web site: JMP Holdings is one of the most active importers of paper, plastic and calico/non woven packaging in Australia.
So by purchasing green shopping bags, not only are you helping your supermarket to advertise, but you’re also supporting the destruction of the environment.
Moving on to plastic bags. in 2002, the government did a study to see if there should be a governmental levi on the use of plastic shopping bags, and to prevent the introduction of such a levi, the supermarket chains, well the Australia Retailers Association who represents them, agreed to cut down plastic bag use by 25% by December 2004, and 50% by December 2005. How did they do it? By selling green bags as an alternative, and by putting their own consumer levi of 10c per bag on every plastic bag used at their stores.
So while again, at face value, they’re doing away with those nasty plastic bags, in reality all they’ve done is protect themselves from a levi by passing the levi on to consumers, and opened up a new avenue for advertising. Not really the caring for the environment image that they’re trying to promote, is it?
What we really need though, is real alternatives to plastic bags, because while the stores obviously care more about their bottom line than the environment, plastic bags are still bad. Next time you head down to your local supermarket, you know, the one pretending to care for the environment, do yourself a favour and take a walk down the isle which has plastic bags. You’ll see several shelves full of what are strangely labelled biodegradable bags. How weird is that? The very same supermarkets who say there’s no real alternative, are actually selling them in isle 5.
To be fair, biodegradable bags are more expensive than non-biodegradable plastic bags, but if you check out the prices in the aforementioned isle 5, you’ll notice that the cost difference isn’t anything near the between 2 and 10 times more expensive quoted by the supermarket chains as their excuse for not using them.
In theory, these stores could have simply replaced their environment destroying plastic bags, which they provided free of charge, with biodegradable bags. They could have even charged us 10c per bag if they wished, so long as the bags weren’t harming the environment. But instead of seeing this as an opportunity to save the environment, they see it as a way of reducing costs, by simply charging us for the same old bags they used to give away for free, preferring to sell the cheap non-biodegradable bags instead of biodegradable ones, by making a profit off the new green bags, by using consumers as billboards for advertising, and for falsely presenting themselves as green.
My advice is not to use bags. Take a box with you, cardboard is best, and indestructable plastic arguably better than a disposable bag. If you must use bags, try using an overnight bag, or something made of cotton or calico. And if you must use something like a plastic bag, then head to isle 5, purchase some biodegradable bags, and use those. Don’t use the supermarket sold green bags. Don’t use the supermarket provided (for 10c) plastic bags.
Big business. Just don’t.
I’m working in town this month, and I overheard the following between two 20 something women in the office today, talking about one of the more popular morning radio shows.
W1: I was listening to the radio this morning. Jackie-O is going through detox this week and they were trying to get her to eat junk food, so they tied up their producer to an electric shock machine, and said they’d electrocute him if she didn’t eat, and they ended up shocking him like five times, and then she finally gave in and ate.
W2: God, I would have given in way before that.
W1: Yeah, I can’t believe she let them shock him that many times. Yeah… I wonder if they really did. They probably did, ’cause it sounded like it.
I assumed people listened to these stations knowing full well they were all fake and designed to make them sound like they’re the folks next door, stuck in the same office work kinda treadmill, all the while script writers and commercial advisers are pre-planning every little thing that happens. And to think that these gullible people are the ones working for large financial corporations, who we’re supposed to trust with our money and our morals.
So a few days ago I finally bit the bullet and bought an iPod 5G, the video one. I’ve been resisting for ages, because I was hanging out for the 6G, but there’s a lot of things happening in the next few weeks that I can’t really wait any longer. So if a new one comes out next week, you can have a good laugh at my expense. But knowing my luck, they’ll go on sale the week I’m in San Francisco for Vloggercon 2006, and they’ll be really cheap, being the U.S. and all.
When I’d finally made the decision, I called the AppleCentre in Chatswood to check the price, which was exactly the same as the Apple Store, and they don’t offer the free engraving like Apple do. So the conversation with the AppleCentre guy goes:
R: How much is the latest iPod, the 5G 60GB?
R: If I came in, would you be open to negotiation on the price?
ACG: [laughing] Not unless you’re buying 30 of them.
R: [laughing] Yeah, sure! [hangs up]
Suffice to say, they didn’t get the business. So easy to shit on your customers isn’t it?
Anyway, I ended up ordering from the Apple Store (resisting the urge to get it engraved with “white guys are cunts“). Problem is, although I usually work from home, next week I’m working on site at a customer, and they can’t guarantee (yes I called Apple to check) the day on which it will be delivered, which means I’ll probably miss it and have to go collect it from somewhere nowhere near me. So I had a thought, that many online retailers pride themselves in delivering as fast as possible. Well, I don’t mind it coming a few days later, so long as I can pick the exact day. Online food retailers like Shopfast are the only stores I can think of that allow you to pick a day and time of delivery. What I’d like on the Apple store is a radio button for either a) fastest possible delivery, or b) delivery a little later but on the date/time of my choice. Can’t be that difficult can it? Especially for Apple, one of the masters in “just in time” manufacturing.
I’m sort of regretting naming this one the way I did on the Internet Archive, because it may not last there very long. Could you please email me if it suddenly won’t load anymore.
So I aint going to explain this video. In response to a thread on the videoblogging email list, Brittany posted a video response. You don’t really need to watch it, as most of it is in my video.
I sort of rushed it out the door, so it looks at first like I’m commenting on hypocrisy, but then for some reason turns to conservatism masquerading as feminism. Whatever. It’s a video, just watch it then delete it. Consume and move on.
So here we are, Videoblogging Week 2006, it seems like we only just did Videoblogging Week 2005.
The big difference this year, is all the new videobloggers trying to help out by creating forums, tag clouds and Videoblogging Week videoblogs, whereas last year was just shoot it and upload it. So what’s changed?
Beware the cult of Videoblogging Week 2006. Make it simple, make it accessible, shoot video and upload it. End of story.
Privacy is dead, so get over it.
I came to this point in January 2005, and had written a scripted fictional video to drive the point home, but I never got around to producing it. No matter, its now October 2005, so I figured I better get the idea out there.
The way technology is heading, we will soon all be carrying around multipurpose handheld devices for phone, organising and audio/visual playback and recording. These devices will all be directly IP addressable on the Internet, meaning we will soon have the ability to broadcast 24 hour a day footage of our or other peoples’ lives. I could connect to your camera in real time, record, remix and make it available to someone else in real time.
With the digital age, electronic recording of personal details, and the countless surveillance cameras that film us every day of our lives, many of which are also now available on the Internet, governments started to put privacy legislation in place several years ago.
However the interesting thing is that governments realise that prevention isn’t the answer. These laws don’t hide and protect our personal information, they mostly only allow us to find out what people have already recorded about us.
Like was the case with DRM, the flexibility of the technology will eventually outweigh the right to privacy. Like region coding on DVDs, manufacturers will open up their device capability, because we want them to. There’s a market for small unrestricted cameras and audio recorders, and the market will certainly supply them.
So let us assume that privacy will inevitably be massively breached, and that we have no control over it. What happens next?
Well, because so much footage will be available on the Internet, people will begin to get used to it, and eventually not actually care that their lives are being recorded and made available to the public. With billions upon billions of personal videos available online, who will really care any more? And if that’s the case, then privacy is effectively dead.
The only reason we are precious about our privacy, is because we’ve always had it that way, and we’ve been brought up to think that way.
When I raised this at the Melbourne videoblogger meetup earlier this year, the response was that the public would eventually self regulate and stop privacy breaches. But as a pretty moral person myself, I have no qualms including other people in my videos without their permission, and I’m sure most videobloggers are the same. What happens when the immoral people start videoing? As video recorders become ubiquitous, the self regulating moral few will have no effect at all.
While current opinion is that a person’s privacy needs to be respected and protected, in the long run it won’t be, and we’ll just get over the preciousness of privacy. In the circles I’m in, I constantly meet people who no longer care about privacy and being filmed. When will you?
Privacy is dead. So get over it.
I’ve finally changed my domain name from my ISP URL to a real URL. Please change any URL you have pointing to my old site (www.zipworld.com.au/~kashum), to my new www.kashum.com site.
Or for reference:
RSS (2.0) feed: http://www.kashum.com/rss2.xml
I’ll leave the old domain around for two weeks, so please change them as soon as possible in your reader or whatever client you’re using.
Changing URLs is annoying for you and me, and I realise its easier to just delete me than change me, but please stick with it, I promise I’ll be good (or bad, whatever you’d usually expect).
Special thanks to Nathan, who kindly donated the domain a few months back. I’ve only just had time to do make it all happen.