Category Archives: What’s Out There on the Web

The NBN is a nation-building thang

The NBN is a nation-building thang

It helped decide an election

I long for a fast and lasting Internet connection

But I dont like the NBN’s chances of getting an erection

I’ll go on having¬† a coffee and a read of the paper

As my webpages gasp and struggle to refresh

I’ll miss that great bargain on eBay as my bid turns up 10 seconds late

My downloads, in their many forms

Face a long and uncertain fate

The Coalition would prefer we have a slower, cheaper connection

Using technology that is made up of wires, sticks, glue and blu-tack

The Rainbow Government members really like the NBN and the part it played in their election

But they have a cost blow-out fear and tales of householder connnection rejection

So let’s just get on with it Australia

We cant be the slow ones on the net

Let’s just build the best one

That everyone can afford to get

Might I offer a word or two to the wise for the pollies

Do it once – do it well – do it for everyone

Just drop the politics and agree that the NBN is a nation-building-thang.

Getting Google to stop looking up your driveway…

A couple in Pennslyvania have tried to stop Google showing the Streetview of their street – but to no avail. The couple are Boring…that’s their surname..how unfortunate – I wonder if they have many friends?

From PCMag.com:

The Borings sued Google in April 2008 for privacy, trespassing, negligence, and unjust enrichment after photographs of their home showed up on Street View, a mapping program that displays street-level, 360-degree photographs of areas traversed by specially equipped Google vehicles.

The photographs in questions were taken at the foot of the Boring’s Pittsburgh area driveway and showed the couple’s house, a pool area, and detached garage. Street View photos of their home are no longer accessible, though the photos live on in the blogosphere and on various Web sites.

Judge Hay said that the Borings failed to prove that the publication of these images caused them to suffer shame or humiliation. She was also unconvinced that Google was guilty of trespassing, as the photographer had caused no harm to the Boring property.

I can sort of understand where they are coming from. When we looked at our house on Street View – you can quite clearly see our son standing at our backdoor – in his boxers! It looks like the Google camera went down the road early one morning, about 18 months ago.

You can see for yourself below:


View Larger Map

An interesting judicial outcome…their house was removed from the view. But that wasnt really the issue – the Borings were after some settlement dosh – how very American!

The amusing thing is that not that many places in Tasmania have been “Googled” in Streetview – the centre of Hobart isnt there – but our little old road in out of the way Woodbridge is there…curious.

You suck at Photoshop

You suck at Photoshop is a must see – and not just for those seeking some great video Tutorials on how to better use Photoshop. This very well made series of video tutorials, presented by Donny Hoyle, brings you some great tips and tricks in using PS – and at the same time you get an insight into Donny’s sad life. Donny is a very talented Photoshop pro -¬† but his life sucks. Watch, learn, weep and laugh!

Serendipitous adventures on the web

Serendipity in cyberspace.

Take a visit – and perhaps join – StumbleUpon, where you can find a whole new world of web spaces. Use the StumbleUpon button to randomly discover some interesting websites – some may not take your fancy – but a site you stumble upon might be worth tagging for others to visit. StumbleUpon is just one of many very good Web 2.0 sites that use the concept of “tagging” favourite sites – collaboratively “bookmarking” visited sites. Social bookmarking is very much one of the pillars of Web 2.0 – where the user-generated content of the web is discovered and shared – among everyone on the web – or for the viewing of a private group. You can find out a bit more on social bookmarking here at Wikipedia.

Here are just a few of the CT’s recent discoveries from when we last had a random stumble – in StumbleUpon:

TED: A fascinating site – TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. TED hosts some amazing videos of specialists in their fields, speaking with passion, about their passion. Here you will hear stories of invention, of art, of politics, medical science and much, much more. Have a look: TED

The Space Collective: What can I say. This site brings together some absolutely stunning imagery, ideas, concepts, arts and sciences and stories of possible futures. The Space Collective website is well worth a visit.

The Space Collective

Cooking by numbers: This site is fun. It would have been a firm favourite, if the web had ever existed when I first lived in a flat! Tick the boxes that correspond with the youth-allowance-financed foodstuffs you can scrounge from the deep recesses of your fridge or kitchen cupboard, and CookingByNumbers will deliver you a recipe incorporating those ingredients. Try it out! But be careful out there!

The Hand Written Digital Clock.

Just what it says it is! Video yourself writing the numbers 0 to 9, code a clever web concept – and you have web based digital clock. Simple really – yeah! Some of the other great content design by the handwritten-digital-clock-creator can be seen on this website: yugop.com

The Handwritten Clock

Side Walk Chalk Guy: Julian Beever is an incredible artist. His canvases are the footpaths (or sidewalks) of the world. His exceptional skills are really on show with his mesmerising 3D-like chalk pavement creations – images that you could reach out and touch – or in this case – take a dip!

Side Walk Chalk Guy

More from what’s out there on the web soon.

Getting online at home or work: buyer beware

It’s a big topic.

How can you get the best ISP deal to suit your needs.

ISP = Internet Service Provider.

Put VERY simply, it is the wiring – copper telephone line or another cable and wireless or satellite service, that allows you to connect to the Internet. Most people think Bigpond – and that may be just right for you, if you are happy to keep all your communication accounts under the one invoice…but there are better deals than those offered by Bigpond – yes really!

A common stop for the CT is Whirlpool. Whirlpool is a great online resource – you can compare and contrast possible ISP options – depending on where you live/work in Australia. You can also read through the forums and find out some juicy details on who is getting a great deal from their ISP, who is getting shafted, and other useful advice.

But first, some useful advice from the Channel Telegraph:

  • If you happen to live up a country road it may be that while the ISP says that you can get Broadband – based on a search of your phone number – it is only when they come to connect you that the problems start. The most common issue is pair gain – that is where the telephone line that serves your house/office is split between you and your neighbours and may either cause your dial-up connection to be very slow (slower than slow is surely – stopped – which on pair gain is common!! ;-\ ) It may also prevent you signing on with your non-Bigpond ISP, because Bigpond/Telstra are the only mob who can get around the “problem” for you. Sometimes you can get Broadband on a pair gain system – but probably never the seemingly lightning speeds of ADSL2 – up to 28Mbs – dream on. SO be careful when first signing up – and that’s where the problem lies – you quite often sign up, then get the bad news about the connection and find yourself with few options but Bigpond.

    Apologies as I get up on the soap box, but the poor state of the copper wire and telephone network support infrastructure in regional Australia is THE problem that stymies real competition and access to reliable and affordable plans in the Australian ISP market.

  • The right plan for you: Have an idea of what level of Internet access you need. If you infrequently surf the web, don’t download too many files and perhaps check your email a couple of times a week – then you can get away with a more cost effective plan that has a low download capacity – say 500 mb up to 1gb. But of course there then comes the issue of excess use charges – see below. Once you are on the Internet a new world opens up and you may start visiting lots of content rich websites – downloading podcasts, songs, videos, listening to Internet radio and the like. It is then you will need to be mindful that your current plan meets your needs – many ISP’s dont charge you a fee for upgrading your plan – but beware – some do!
  • Beware the excess usage costs – Shaping: Read carefully before committing to an ISP’s plan – there may be a limit to your downloads, and if you go over that limit the ISP may charge you for each extra MB you download – and that can get expensive. Look out for the term “shaping” it means that the ISP will just slow down your connection to dial up speeds, for the duration of your remaining monthly allowance, resuming at full speed (whatever full speed actually is) at the beginning of the next billing cycle – rather than charging you excess usage charges. Folk have often opened the dreaded window-faced envelope from their ISP, only to get a nasty surprise with extra charges that can run into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars in excess charges for some unfortunate souls.

Hope it helps. More posts on this topic soon.

A world of e-Books

EbooksI love nothing better than reading a good book. But e-Books are also a great way to relax and absorb some literary goodness – by reading or listening (and watching as video in some variations). There are some great e-Book sites around – there are commercial sites where you pay an annual subscription – and on some sites from as little as $10 a year gives you access to hundreds of thousands of e-Books. Other sites have access to e-books in the public domain – and are free to download.

Try the World eBook Fair where you will find thousands of e-Books – for free! e-Books can be downloaded as PDFs, or they may be available in a particular format that requires a specific “reader” software. e-Books also include “audio-books” – they are generally MP3 files and can be played on your iPod/MP3 player – or through your computer’s media player. Alternatively you could burn the files as an Mp3 or audio Cd – for personal use of course.

Here are some more e-Book links:

World eBooks Collections page

free-ebooks.net

Free ebooks has a handy directory of sources for e-books and texts.

Libriviox is a fantastic site to visit – here stories, read and recorded by online members, are posted on the Librivox site as MP3 files for free download. The stories are read from books that are now within the public domain. A simple way of explaining what is meant by the public domain is that work not protected by copyright, or where the copyright for it has expired.

BUT remember of course some of the “public domain” materials you download may be subject to different interpretations of its “public domain” status, depending what country you live in – rather than where the original file resides. So a file downloaded from the Librivox site, hosted in the good ol US of A, may in fact still be IN copyright in Australia – depending on what Australia’s copyright laws require. If you REALLY want to know about copyright law in Australia, you can have a long hard look through the Australian Copyright Council’s website. I don’t think you are going to have a sleepless night over it – there is little chance of the copyright police busting down your front door, in a midnight raid of your home PC’s hard drive, in search of some Billy Shakespeare sonnets or a tale or two from Mark Twain – downloaded from Librivox.

Now all you need to do is strap on your iPod or mp3 player and go for a long walk, or a nice sit out in the garden, or as you commute to work – and have a story read to you. We listen to radio and music as we drive – could we concentrate as well on an audio book – I cant do it – I have to be relaxed and focussed :-) but whatever your setting – enjoy the experience. Happy e-booking.