Re: Splendid ...
Maybe you should consider moving to rural England?
60 posts • joined 15 Apr 2007
Maybe you should consider moving to rural England?
Since joining the smartphone set, I've always had either an Android or a Windows Phone, but that was partially driven by cost: iPhones are a quality piece of kit but never felt that one would offer me much more than my trusty Nexus 4 or Nokia 520.
As much as I prefer a mobe with a larger screen, I was disapointed when Apple dropped the iPhone 4 form-factor and brought out the lanky 5. There was something about the 4 that was just right, and if they could have improved the keyboard (by adding swipe input for example), then it could have remained an awesome bit of kit.
An iPhone-obsessed friend of mine has recently bought a 6+ and has correspondingly ditched their iPad Mini, so perhaps a premium, compact iPhone is an attempt to appease those who want a compact package whilst ensuring people keep their Phone/Pad combo.
I think it would make sense.
...deserves a mention as an introduction to programming and debugging. Entering a program to get it from the lounge through the hallway and into the kitchen and back was a lesson in data entry, testing, debugging and rerunning.
Lego kits do have lots of dedicaed parts, but they don't seem to have limited my kids' ability for creativity. We have various Lego City, Friends and Star Wars kits. Some have remained as the box prescribed and are used in the same way as I remember using non-customisable toys such as Star Wars figures and Matchbox cars.
Some kits have joined the Big Box o'Lego and are remixed and rebuilt to meet the needs of their narratives. That box is a mixture of Lego that my wife and I had as kids: thankfully Lego have ensured that Lego in the 2010s is compatible with Lego from the 1970s and 80s.
It's also still possible to buy boxes of Lego bricks. We bought a box of roof sections a couple of years ago to allow them to add to the modest village that the various characters inhabit. Some big-box retailers carry buckets of bricks that offer good value for money compared to other Lego kits.
You also need to teach kids to give a flying crap about the quality of their work. I'm getting graduates who consider good enough to be the goal rather than the bare minimum and it takes a huge investment to get them to appreciate the benefis of quality.
Programming can help towards this. Give kids a limited number of processing cycles and force them to write efficient code. Make them realise the benefit of commenting and documenting. All these would have knock-on benefits in the workplace where efficient workflows and comprehensive task documentation can offer a significant benefit to the bottom line.
Y'know, I'd love to see programming added to the curriculum but there's a whole layer of digital literacy that I percieve as lacking from the nation and so would worry that these kids may enter into a workforce that doesn't know how to use them.
I've worked in the UK, India and Australia and have found a resistance to the use of digital technologies amongst (some of) my Australian employers. Remote working is shunned and the precautionary principle is used to nix potential cost savings and/or efficiency gains.
If programming is to be introduced, it needs to be a part of a greater STEM push with funding for subsidies that will encourage overseas businesses to move here or Australian businesses to develop. Policies need to be introduced to encourage teleworking and flexible working arrangements to further push us away from the bricks-and-mortar-and-suit-and-tie world and into the contemporary employment landscape.
Doing this may ease pressure on CBDs (because I've yet to see an out-of-town business park like Green Park in Reading, UK) and reduce housing and transportation costs for Australians.
I confess that I've conflated at least two discrete concepts, but since this story involves a politician I'm hopng that I can be excused just this once!
Somewhat perversely: I belive that religion needs to be put onto the curriculum. At present, Queensland schools have 'religion' classes which are essentially Christian indoctrination and differ little from a church's sunday school.
By formalising religion as a part of the curriculum that deals with society and history, this insidious creep of evangelism can be halted.
...but this article was on the topic of programming so apologies for the diversion...
@franklin I think that they are comparable, but would need to know more about the ruling to be sure.
Apple will have invested a considerable amount of money into creating OSX and have decided that they won't charge for it, however you can be sure that they're recouping the costs elsewhere. The fact that a Mac can run Windows or Linux (via bootcamp) means that OSX isn't critical to the operation of the computer.
I'm not up on OEM agreements, but I would expect that the likes of HP would be allowed to offer a -100% margin on any Windows SKU so that it shows as a zero cost component.
In the end, I doubt that the likes of HP are going to risk annoying Microsoft by acquiescing to the outcome of this case. They will find ways to ensure people keep buying PCs with Windows installed.
@LDS +1 to that.
I remember working for one of HP's competitors a number of years ago when a similar precedent was set by a court. The company then produced an identical machine with a free operating system for the same of marginally lower price. Not sure how popular they were, but they ensured compliance with the law.
I have a Nexus 4 (8Gb) with a Google Music subscription and an iPod Classic 160Gb. The former is great for when I'm within range of WiFi but its lack of expandable memory hampers its utility as a music player.
But even when I'm at home within range of WiFi and with a full battery charge, there's still times when the dedicated physical buttons on the iPod make it the device of choice.
Try living with one. It's killed the use-case for a dedicated tablet for me. Smartphone, Surface and workstation give me every combination I need.
I still recommend iPads to non-IT people because of the apps and accessories mind.
Last year got rid of my 2001 Clio at a gnat's fart short of 200,000km. I'd owned it since 80k and have used it for urban and inter-city drives. It's towed heavy loads up the Great Dividing Range and aside from a slight clutchy smell it coped well. When our 1998 Honda CRV got to that age, it was much the worse for wear.
I know it's only one car, but my 2005 Megane CC hasn't skipped a beat either, neither have friends and family's Renaults.
Not sure what the actual stats are like, but I'm happy with the way they build `em in Dieppe.
I've not read all 192 previous comments, so sorry if this is a repeat.
I live in Australia and many associate all British TV with the BBC. Although the FTTH national broadband network has been stalled by
Ruper Murdoch the new conservative government, the streaming market is probably still open.
If the BBC could become an aggregator of British TV content, their brand could have the power to be THE place to go to to stream All British TV. Let the broadcast channels continue to buy the rights to broadcast via DVB, but keep streaming rights for themselves. Build good apps for all platforms and set a price that Hat Trick, Channel 4 and the other British producers can't turn down.
The only snag might be BSkyB and their parent company.
Altitude offers cooler climes in Australia. Toowoomba is on a fairly decent data backbone so would be my first choice for a supercomputer. Next I'd pop one up near the Snowy Mountains Hydro to provide cooling and green energy. No sizeable Uni in the Snowy Mountains though, unlike Toowoomba which has USQ. If enough water can be sourced, I'd go Toowoomba.
Just installed and tested on my original Asus Transformer. Although Asus released up to 4.0, the KatKiss ROM runs faster and more stable than stock. Tested a video for a few seconds and it ran fine. The fibre NBN probably helps...
Agreed. The revulsion that otherwise rational people have expressed over the need to click an icon to get to the desktop is gobsmacking. The lack of a start button is another: it was still there just not visible until you moved your mouse to the bottom left, and a tap on the Windows key (assuming you're not using a pre 1995 keyboard) had the same effect. The big difference is the layout of the start menu.
I prefer Windows 8 on my desktop. I have all my Win 7 apps plus the new TIFKAM ones. Running Skype and IE side by side full-screen is good when you want to search while you talk. The 8.1 update has made this even better. Still nice at the moment due to the lack of apps (which is a big issue).
On our Surface RT the interface really shines. Outlook in 8.1 was a disappointment: I hoped they'd make it a proper full-screen app so I'm still using the default mail apps. Skydrive integration is behind Google's Drive integration on Android.
Iike the iPad for its apps and standard form factor but find the keyboard to be quite dire compared to the Surface's touch cover and the new standard Android soft keyboard.
That's my opinion...
I'm going to tuck that one away. One day I'll deploy it with devastating effectiveness.
Does anyone know what the software development community thinks of the WinRT runtime that underlies RT and the TIFKAM part of Windows 8?
I have a Surface RT and its lack of software is made up for by the form factor which I favour over my old Asus Transformer. It seems to me that Microsoft have a chicken and egg problem and I wonder whether their support for Windows RT will give developers some heart and encourage them to use the newer runtime. In time, I would expect most software to have been recoded and for Windows RT to be the default OS, with Win 8 being the bloated version for those running legacy apps and 9 being the OS to unite the two (but you'll have to install it on x86 hardware to run legacy apps by which time most people won't mind).
Anyway: insight from the software companies such as SAP, Reckon, Adobe, Electronic Arts and others would paint a better picture of the future of RT than by looking to the past. The world has turned.
I don't get the hate. Most of the people who I speak to who don't like them haven't tried them. My wife bought one. When her friends saw it in use, a number have gone out and bought one, giving the iPad to the kids.
In my opinion, Microsoft should have focussed on the business market. If it had been able to integrate with AD and had had Outlook from the get-go then businesses would have lapped them up (we would have). When people learned to love them at work, I reckon they would have 'done a Blackberry (circa 1999)' and gained an image as the tablet of choice for professionals.
Not everyone looks at form factor first. There are those that are after portability and function above whether the device is a tablet or clamshell. I would consider the Chromebook to be a natural competitor to this device for many people.
It's a good point and I don't disagree. It will probably take a rethink of ownership for these to be adopted in the UK. Renault are probably onto a good thing by retaining ownership of the battery. One of the French manufacturers engineered prototypes with batteries that could drop out of the bottom of the chassis. Ultimately this meant the owner wouldn't have to recharge at home but could swap out as required and their 'subscription' guarantees a battery in decent nick.
(what follows is highly speculative but not impossible)
We might also see cities offering car hire similar to the bike hire schemes popping up in cities around the world. The technology for self-driving cars keeps developing; once they arrive then your car could drive itself to a charging point after you get home.
But on balance, public charging points are probably more likely.
I'd question your statement about current technology being sufficient for education. I'm a technologist in vocational education and we can implement significant changes to the way we deliver workplace-based training once a critical mass have access to broadband capable of streaming in HD. The average ADSL line doesn't allow us to accurately assess plumbers, nurses and hairdressers without them prerecording their work and then uploading it to our servers. Until a significant number of clients have such a connection, it is not economically viable for us to change our delivery models.
I suspect that medical treatment will benefit in a similar way.
I've just gone out and bought an iPod Classic. Why? It's the only pocketable music player on the market that I know of that can store my music collection. It is also the only player on the market that fits onto the various docks in my house and cars.
Here's what I wish it could be. It ain't going to happen, but here goes:
- 256Gb flash memory
- Big battery
- Keep the click-wheel but make the screen touchable.
- If you can't keep the click-wheel, at least retain a big pause button I can hit through the fabric of a pocket.
- Keep the original dock connector but make it USB 3
- Add Wifi for syncing
- Add Bluetooth for streaming
If Apple don't make something like this, then my next music player will be something that can take SD cards and sync with Google Play because (most of) my music collection sits there these days.
Now it's ranty-ranty time.
Apple: I don't need a multimedia device. I have a smartphone, a tablet, a PC (and even a standalone GPS and digital camera!!). I want a music player because I like to listen to music. I don't want a music player that can take photos or post to Facebook because I already have one of those on my lap and another in my pocket and the moment you turn music playing into an app, it's a layer between me an the music. I want to listen to music, I have an iTunes account and a bunch of docks (and cars) with dock connectors so sell me a music player or lose me as a customer. The iPhone was great, but I'll not go back from my Nexus. the iPad was great, but can't hold a candle to my Surface RT for getting work done. You used to know how to make music players and I hope one day you remember again. Sony forgot. Seems you're doing the same.
The preparation for the fibre is currently taking palce outside my house in East Toowoomba. At present they're replacing the inspection boxes in the ground and cleaning out the ducts (at least that's what I percieve as I walk past. Relatively uninteresting photo here: https://twitter.com/chrisreynolds/status/314309775980650496/photo/1
I believe that the NBN is exceptionally ambitious for a country such as Australia which suffers a tyranny of distance. Fibre to the home shouldn't happen in a place as spread out as Queensland but it's being done.
The way in which the process is being managed is, in my opinion, brilliant. Setting up NBN Co as a distinct entity from the incumbent Telstra should ensure equity and quality. Given that a project of this scope and scale has never been attempted before then I'm not surprised to hear of hicups like this.
My only real criticism of the NBN is the decision to include the term broadband in the title. It seems that the public equate this with YouTube, Minecraft and Facebook rather than the infrastructure project that it is.
With hindsight I would have used 'communications' or 'fibre' and marketed it on the potential to reduce costs and to have the best infrastructure in the world. Appealing to people's desire to save money and feel national pride would probably have reduced the instance of headlines shouting of 'chaos' and 'collapse'.
That's my opinion, but then I will soon be the beneficiary of cheap 100Mb/s internet for less than my current 12Mb/s ADSL2+. I might be biased.
What about their Ideos phones? The brand was short-lived but there were at least two models, the X5 and the U8150.
My wife has a Dell Mini 9, 9" Atom-powered Windows XP Netbook. We bought it for her uni studies and it was was excellent, allowing her to carry all her studies to work, Uni and home. She used OpenOffice, Chrome and Dropbox, which the Atom processor, 1Gb RAM and 32Gb SSD coped with easily.
She could rely on the battery to last a few hours which meant she could leave the charger at home when going to work or Uni and thus is could fit in her handbag. The clamshell design meant no need for cases, stands, keyboards or other faffy paraphernalia.
At home she'd plug it into a full-size keyboard, monitor and mouse using USB and VGA cables: no need for extra investment in connectors.
When it dies, she'll want another cheap 9" Windows laptop to replace it. She's tried by 10" Asus Transformer Prime, but doesn't like the limitations of the Android (or iOS) operating system and finds the 10" form factor just too big to fit into her handbag.
The current generation of 10" Windows tablets are pretty pricey too as people chase the premium end of the market and try to compete with the iPad.
All-in-all, I suspect that somebody out there makes something that will fit the bill, but in short I agree with the sentiments of the article's author and find that I too lament the fall of the netbook.
...in Wired magazine some months ago which said that it was easier to extract hydrogen from urea than from pure water. I can't remember the article saying why this was, but David Given's earlier post hints at what might be the answer.
In the spirity of Australian place names such as Wagga Wagga, Bli Bli, Gin Gin et al I propose 'Rega Rega'
With the high price and the limited availability of chomebooks (and now chromeboxes) it seems little wonder that people are choosing tablets and laptops over these.
Chromebooks/boxes aren't yet available here in Australia so I can't comment on the quality of the product, however the only person I know who has bought one loves it. I have an Asus Transformer TF101 which would be my ideal machine if the keyboard wasn't utter crap and it didn't use a proprietary power connector.
We've had various iPods over the years and recently got our first Touch. It's a great little computer but a compromised music player. In the car or on the move I can use the clickwheel without needing to look at a screen.
Since I've got an Android phone, I don't need the extra functions of a Touch and the current Nano is godawful to use. I'm with the 'buying a Classic the moment the clickwheel's axed' brigade. Either that or hope that Sony or Microsoft bring a good dedicated media player that I can switch to.
iPad only? *groans*
TVs increasingly have integrated access to streaming services like Bigpong Movies, ABC iView and YouTube. When I watch TV, I don't want to have to buy an iPad and watch on a tiny 9" screen or pay a premium to buy a cable to connect the aforementioned fondleslab to my TV.
If I could watch the BBC on my TV using my TV remote then $10 would be a bargain.
Oh, and I expect Top Gear to be available in HD with 'the news'. Channel 9 hacks the bejesus out of it and makes it near unwatchable, plus they only offer SD.
Skype and corporate phone systems use plug-ins to make calling from web browsers easier. Various ActiveX controls allow corporate apps to run in the browser.My OneNote plug-in makes it easy to gather online content and share with colleagues.
It'd be nice if both could run on the same machine. Start with the basic flavour to make things fast and smooth, but pass the session to the full-on version when a plug-in is required (or if the user requests).
I want my cake and I want to eat it.
So the Mac is hit by a trojan at the same time as they're launching an app store eh? Whilst I don't think for one minute that they had anything to do with its inception, I wouldn't be suprised if they tackle it by promoting the use of their app store and spinning any outside purchases as risky, perhaps even warranty-voiding?
It's not necessarily a bad thing but it doesn't bode well for anyone wanting to make software that Apple doesn't want to (re)sell.
Windows XP is nearly 10 years old. Are you running Redhat 7 or Debian 3? I'm guessing not, and so would assume your comparison is unfair.
At work I manage a thousand or so client systems plus about 30 servers. My monthly reports show uptime and reliability metrics for all systems, and there's simply no evidence in them that Windows systems are less reliable than the Macs or Linux systems (mostly servers).
The biggest gripe that my users had about the MS systems was the way systems needed to be restarted after a patch. Solution: Wake-on-LAN at midnight, deploy patch then shutdown.
I support open-source in principle, but the current offering from Microsoft is good quality and since upgrading to 7 I find I rarely boot into Linux these days.
I'd argue with Australia's housing affordability. Having moved to Queensland from the UK about 5 years ago I found that I could afford a lot more house and land for the money. The downside was a reduction in wage and higher mortgage rates. After one house move we're living in a nice little house close to work and schools. Whilst we look at moving back to the UK from time to time, we would have to sacrifice things like off-street parking and living space.
Friends' kids are of the age that they're looking to buy their first house. In many cases they want to buy a (detached) house in a good suburb with 3+ bedroom, media room, loungeroom and family room and some land and then cite 'housing unaffordability' as either the reason that it's beyond their reach or the reason they have to sell when the mortgage rates go up or one of them loses their job.
I look at my wife's first house (she's from the town we live in) and it was a little cottage in need of repair in a lower-class but respectable suburb. Suggest to the aforementioned house-buyers that they should look at that end of the market and they turn their noses up. Tell them how much my little sister has just spent on her first house (saving for about 10 years and the bank insist on a maximum 70% mortgage) and they stand agog... before returning to whinging.
Sure, places in Sydney and Melbourne are expensive, but barely more than London, Paris or New York.
In short, I find that most of the people who complain about the affordability of housing in Queensland are not prepared to compromise.
I've got about 1500 desktops and notebooks on fleet and am 80% through migration from XP to 7. Now is a great time to refresh the enterprise. Office 2003's ribbon was off-putting for many and would have slowed the business. Vista was buggy and offered no real advantage over XP. Now people have gained familiarity with the ribbon so migration to 2010 is easier and 7 is a good operating system.
As one part of a far larger organization, the cost of Windows licensing is offset by the availability of certified Windows support.
Our network policies give us a good level of security and there is little reason why I'd consider a move to Linux or any other platform.
He didn't say anything about quality. He said 'relevant'. I used to be a coder, then I rose through the ranks to run corporate websites. Now I've moved to the ICT Services side of the camp and I've never considered the quality of the browser to impact its relevance to me as a professional. Before we end up quoting Pirsig on quality, I would consider either IE9 or Google to be the qualty product. As much as I like the concept of Opera, it's never stuck and when I just want to get the job done, Microsoft and Google make the browsers for me.
I came from Fortune-500 land and the majority stuck with the browsers that work. There's a lot of people who like Windows 7 and IE9 works very well with it. Since it appeared on Windows Update the other day, I've been recommending that people install. Since I weeded IE6 out of my employer's systems, the need for Chrome, Firefox et. al. has decreased. Next month we get IE8 as a part of an org-wide Win7 rollout and once that's stable I'm taking us to IE9. I won't be allowing any in-house apps that code for brower-specific features. There lies dragons.
One of my most prized possessions is my bookshelf. It takes up an entire wall and is as much a self-portrait as any painting I could muster. I love lending books to friends, and quite often lose track of them, never to be seen again. I could do as some do and put my name on the inside cover, but don't always have the presence of mind to do so.
Anyhow, DRM has the potential not only to benefit the rights of the publisher but also the rights of the consumer. What if I could buy a cheap eBook with DRM locked down that prevents me lending it to others. Now, what if I could buy a slightly more expensive version that allows me to lend it to others. Going on from that, what if I could charge people for borrowing my books? Amazon surely has the potential to organise such a marketplace and, by charging a percentage, profit from it.
Public Libraries could negotiate special deals with publishers or resellers such as Amazon to pay not for the book but for the number of times it's borrowed. No more having to shell out for books that nobody borrows.
Whilst eBooks would surely be most efficiently distributed online, there will still be a need for public libraries to provide ICT equipment (such as the eBook readers themselves) and to instead become centres of local learning and knowledge.
And even when this utopia arrives, I will retain my bookshelf because there is something about a bookshelf that I will always like. I was more than happy to get rid of my shelf of CDs and VHS, but the shelf of well-thumbed Lonely Planet guides filled with photos and postcards of places we've visited are a rich reminder of travels past. The various signed copies (including a very special copy of Bear Grylls' Facing Up which includes an extra hand-written note noting the time he met my wife on Everest) and the OS maps that have worn thin through being folded and re-folded on various expeditions over the years are all irreplaceable and whilst I can access digital versions of all of them, the dead-tree versions contain sentiment that cannot be replaced.
Bring on DRM! Long live the paper book!
Streetview is a great tool. I'm a British citizen living in Australia and it's proving an invaluable tool for checking out a location before visiting. Yesterday I had to go to Brisbane to pick up an eBay purchase so took a look at each junction prior to travelling to familiarise myself with each turn... something I've done on many occasions and which has caused me to ditch my nagging Tom-Tom.
The main way I can see privacy laws being enacted is by virtue of the Googlecams being far higher than any person could hope to stand. Perhaps if the cams were to be positioned <2m off the ground there would be fewer concerns.
Once you've lived with Streetview, you really don't want to go back.
Dell have trimmed their excesses back to the bone. They've got skilled employees in cheap locations and they've turned back from the 'cheap at all costs' route that led them to selling nasty kit a few years back.
There's not much further they can go with improved efficiency and people don't like Dell kit that's cheap 'n' nasty like Acer so they have to drive harder and harder into the enterprise space.
They have always done good corporate gear. PowerEdge servers, Latitude notebooks and OptiPlex desktops are a great starting point.
...and in Australia you get over $5000 for each one you bring into this world.
But that's off-topic. Previous commenters have pretty much summed things up, but I'll toss one more thing in by way of adding my support.
Ways around this firewall will be passed around the playground at school. The ones left clueless will be the responsible, older, middle-class folk who get told that the (probably legal) site they're viewing has been blocked and will be left fretting that black helicopters will soon circle over their house and take their computers away for examination.
Echoing many other posters, the lack of Flash or Multitasking makes this a miss for me. Wife is doing a Masters and flips between online resources and her word processor when doing coursework. If this can't multi-task then she'll just stick with her Dell Mini 9 and iPod Mini.
I'd want this for casual web surfing (amongst other things) and the lack of Flash means that I can't "see web pages as they were meant to be seen" (to quote apple.com.)
Finally (and this is not a complaint, just an honest reason why I'd not go for it yet) its form-factor means it won't fit into my iPod docks. My iPod sits in my car's glovebox broadcasting to the stereo and at home it sits in my Sounddock. I'd hope there'll be an accessory to cope with this.
So I'll stick with my laptop, iPod Nano and paper book for now. Fix Flash and Multi-tasking and I'll consider this.
"Ubuntu also plans to offer commercial software through Software Center..."
What Linux has failed to offer so far is premium software. Adobe's CSx suite is a prime example. One of Ubuntu's core aims is to promote free software, but I firmly believe that they must open the doors to closed-source to encourage mainstream acceptance.
If they can get MS Office and iTunes available through their app store, they'll be the dominant OS.
So long as you set your audiobooks as audiobooks in iTunes, the iPod will keep your place, even if you go and listen to something else in the meantime. At least it does on my old 3rd Gen iPod Nano, so I'd expect it to on the latest.
I've played with a few other media players but none come close to the featureset of the Touch which, most importantly, passes the wife/parent test of being instantly usable by someone for whom the Windows start button can pose problems.
The newly sixtyfourgigabytised Touch looks like outstanding value for money as an alternative to a netbook PC.
I'm sure this board will at some point descend into the Apple vs Windows vs the world camp, but having tried a few alternatives, I reckon the Apple iPod Nano/Touch combined with iTunes on an inexpensive Windows machine is hard to beat for all round everyday usability.
I used to urge people to use public transport and cycle, but four years ago my first child arrived. Then we moved to Australia.
Where we live, the towns are sprawling, the public transport is practically non-existant and the weather is usually too hot to encourage you out of an air-conditioned box. (For the record, we may move back to Blighty once the economy shows signs of picking up, but that's a tangent).
In places like Australia and (I assume) parts of the USA, families need cars to get stuff done.
I agree that there's far better cars that these hybrids -- the issue of the pollutants in the batteries outweighs their fuel economy for me.
However, you can't tell people to get out of their cars because some societies have been built up around them. Realistically, we'll have fuel cells in Australia before people are prepared to forego their cars.
The SSV is a bit average. What you really want is a Maloo:
But seriously, the attitude to drink driving in Australia (I moved from Berkshire to Queensland a few years ago) is shocking. In many circles, it's socially acceptable to drink and drive. If you don't get caught it's something to boast about to your mates.
I tried finding some stats to back up my gut feel, but have run out of time. This is the most likely place to go:
Either way, I'd love to know how to change society to see the danger in drink driving.
@AC: retraining as an electrician and heading downunder may not provide a short-term fix. Living in Queensland, the headlines are full of stories of tradespeople being laid off as the boom times turn to recession. Before you go to the massive expense of moving to the other side of the world, make sure you have a job to come to. The boom times are over in Australia.
In short, retraining might seem like a way out of the problem but make sure that you are going into an area that has real potential. At the time being, I'd say there's few professions that are secure.
I've given up IT work and swapped places with my wife. She's a full-time, highly qualified nurse. Her career is more assured than mine. I now look after the kids full time. It's not that much different to working in IT some of the time :)
Once the recession is over (and it will end) my kids should be in school and I'll take a fresh look at where people are hiring before retraining in whatever works.