33 posts • joined Tuesday 2nd March 2010 22:32 GMT
"Broadcasting Services Act, the Telecommunications Act, the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act, and the Radiocommunications Act."
I'm reasonably familiar with all of those, and the funny thing is that - apart from some changes to the second by the last Labor gov't to bring it into line with other existing consumer legislation - I can't think of a single onerous thing in them that isn't a product of the previous Liberal government.
"on more than one occaision shops have told me that they dont have my item in stock and get it for me in a few days."
A few days? You're lucky!
I've not long come back from an attempt at buying some stuff (electronics bits & pieces) with about 1/2 of what I was after. For the other 1/2, I was told - quite seriously - "we can order those in for you, they should be here in about two weeks, but maybe after Christmas". I came back, ordered them from a US wholesale/retail supplier, and they're already in the hands of Fedex - I expect them to be delivered to my door on Friday, maybe Monday.
The price? Including shipping, it comes to 1/3rd of what the locals wanted. Genuine quality parts too, not the random chinese knockoffs the local mob sells. And I'm kicking myself that I didn't think of ordering them as samples from the manufacturers; it would've been free (including delivery in the same timeframe).
And it's not just tech bits, or overseas sales vs GST that's hurting local retailers - my parter was chasing some new clothes last week, knew exactly what she wanted (a local label), and hit the high-end stores. Again, nothing in stock, two weeks or more until they get their next order in. She ordered them direct from the label's website Tuesday lunchtime; the courier turned up Wednesday morning. Price? Several hundred dollars, but still ~1/3rd cheaper than in-store retail price.
Local retailers have many problems with being competitive, and some of them aren't even their own fault - I'm looking at you, ridiculous retail rents - but shit, if you're expensive and don't carry stock then the GST threshold on imports is the least of your problems...
Re: So make it in a plain box
"So are cigarette cases illegal in Oz?"
No - just ones that contain or mimic any tobacco product branding or advertisements. Oh, and you can't give away a 'free gift' with a cigarette purchase, or sell cigarettes with the plain packaging covered up.
(an Australian smoker who's only problem with the legislation is the government's hypocrisy in continuing to pocket the sweet, sweet tax money. Ban or ban not, there is no try...)
Free as in "you're free to go and get your own beer"
Whatever happened to the open-source credo? Namely:
"If you have a very strong desire to see a particular feature implemented, your odds of success of ultimately having it become a part of the tool are dramatically increased if instead of asking for it to be implemented, you check out a copy of the latest source code tree, code it yourself (even if slightly incomplete or somewhat buggy), and submit it for peer review by the existing developer pool. Other technical parties are far more likely to help you complete a worthwhile code enhancement that you've clearly put time and thought into than they are to remotely consider doing what you want from scratch just because you want it."
Re: Sticking your head in the sand
Not ostriches - in Australia, they'd be emus.
About the emu: "Some scientists consider emus to be living dinosaurs" - sounds about right for the Government. "Their ability to store fat allows them to go without food for long periods of time" - sounds right for many public servants and sysadmins, too...
To be fair, it was announced with a large amount of fanfare then pretty much left to rot as a dumping ground with minimal curation. That is until last year, when they sacked their entire staff of 1....
Has there been a rash of bikies not 'coming peacefully' recently that I'm unaware of? No? Then someone needs to explain exactly why the police suddenly need new armor and guns in the face of ... the same level of 'threat' that has existed all along.
Simple truth is that Candiru Campbell decided to pull the old political favourite "law and order" stunt, chose bikies as the target least likely to gain any public sympathy, and upped the stakes considerably by going way OTT with mandatory sentencing dependent on factors incidental to the actual crime. Now comes the narrative that the bikies are 'reacting' to the increased threat of the dick-fish's 'tough new laws', and so the police need help.
And now the police union in Qld - as complicit in the Joh-era corruption as Joh, Big Russ, & Terry themselves - is taking the opportunity to bypass the command structure and request their new toys directly from the minister responsible for administering the whole dog-and-pony show.
"Beautiful one day, police state the next"? Yeah. And now you're seeing exactly how it happens...
The address & phone numbers were also posted on Facebook a couple of months ago by some peckerhead apprentice who thought it'd be funny to share a photo of a Newman service invoice.
But yeah, with today's news of the police union going over the head of the comissioner and directly asking the police minister for additional body armor, semi-automatic weapons, and the right to take weapons home with them if they wish, this is looking frighteningly like a return to the Bjelke-Petersen days.
I'm just waiting for the Newman gov't to pluck some idiot inspector from the arse-end of nowhere and promote him to Assistant Comissioner...
(A beer, because in the immortal words of Evil Eddie, "I live in Brissie, world's most liveable city, we call a Pot what Sydney calls a Middy")
Re: in the USA....
"I am fairly sure the digital radio they have here is not compatible (it is proprietary so the sets cost a minimum of $300! )"
In reality, cost-wise it should be the other way around - until recently the DAB Consortium levied per-unit fees on receivers and, AFAIK, DAB+ receiver manufacturers still have to pay licencing fees for the AAC+ audio codec. HDRadio, on the other hand, was specifically structured from the outset to be no cost to receiver manufacturers - iBiquity make their money from up-front & ongoing licencing fees on transmitters.
(But, really, I'm only reading the comments looking for the unmistakable signs of Australia's own Alan Hughes, relentless DAB+/DRM fanboy & technical nutjob extraordinaire. Don't see him, but I can see the UK has more than a few of its own ;)
Not the only one...
"Mi9 was not a model Microsoft used around the world ..."
It was, however, a model that MS has dabbled in around the world. XtraMSN (with the New Zealand telco Xtra), Sympatico / MSN in Canada, HowzitMSN (with the South African media conglomerate Kagiso), etc. Some of those are even still running...
The original (Win95) MSN was an AOL-like ISP portal / semi-walled garden. In Aus they originally partnered with Telstra to create the 'walled ISP' OnAustralia; when MS dropped out, Telstra thrashed around for a while trying to keep it a walled garden before finally renaming it "Bigpond".
The next incarnation - remember, this was still the time when established companies with money to burn were thrashing about trying to find ways to beat the internet by fragmentation and user lock-in - was a multimedia / interactive sevices ISP & portal with exclusive Pay-TV style content. NineMSN was originally supposed to be the Aus version of that - which explains the Nine involvement - but by the time it got started MS had given up on the idea, decided that the MSN would be the main portal/homepage for all Windows users (using the newly-launched IE & a guided "MSN Quick Launch" icon), and pretty much lost interest.
NineMSN hung around - mainly as the default IE home page for Australian installs - but, apart from supplying content from other properties, MS had little to do with it. The writing was on the wall for NineMSN several years ago when MS couldn't even leverage their local partnership to get TV guide data for Windows Media Centre (Nine own HWW, who hold the copyright to guide data in Aus).
I'm surprised it's taken this long for MS to get rid of it - I guess it was costing them nothing, and maybe even making a little from content sales, so they were happy to let it run until Nine decided to pay them to walk away from it...
Re: Licence fee
"Alternatively, just watch ITV or Channel 5."
Errr... even that doesn't come close. Compared to even the best of Australian commercial TV's output, ITV and Channel 5's productions are shining beacons of quality entertainment.
Will it also send info on what add-ons & about:config settings are used? In particular, the ones used to roll back the more unpopular UI "improvements" & work around the creeping fucknuckle-itis of every version since 3.x?
If so, I could almost get behind this extended phone home BS...
Re: I have no idea what the problem is
The cables that come with Western Digital portable HDDs & Logitech Harmony remotes, to name just the two examples within grabbing distance. Both have the manufacturer's logo topmost on the USB A plug, and the USB logo underneath.
Yes, it shits me too. As far as I'm concerned it's a breach of the USB Consortium's standards - which are a requirement for use of the USB logo - and so their membership should be revoked. But, then, they didnt do much about Palm's much more egregious flouting of the standard a few years ago (when Palm decided to fake Apple's Vendor ID rather than write their own music-management software), so I don't expect much to happen over mislabelled connectors.
Re: @Tac Eht Xilef
Fair enough - though I don't really see how it's a "corporate-friendly citizen-hostile sick joke". I'm at a loss to think of any way the problem could've been avoided, short of the government either mandating or subsidising continued expansion of soon-to-be-obsolete technologies by ISPs or The Big Evil T's wholesale division - which would be truly "corporate-friendly" and "citizen-hostile".
I guess there's an argument that the Gov't could've leaned on the NBN to roll-out in 'under-served' areas first - but, realistically, they seem to be doing that (interim satellite, accelerated rollout of fixed wireless, etc). Fibre rollout - apart from greenfield estates* - is only just now starting to emerge from the 'trial' stages of areas chosen more for the representative quality of their infrastructure, mix of service types, and relationship to the PoIs than anything else.
It sucks that the sterotypical "can see the CBD from my verandah, but can't get broadband" problem exists - but someone's always going to feel hard done by; it's a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario...
* Which is a whole 'nother feck-up entirely, and one not restricted to the NBN - let's just say that Telstra** has had the same problems with lazy developers & 3rd-party infrastructure providers since the mid-90's.
** Not defending Telstra at all; I worked for the pack of plural-of-a-4-letter-word-beginning-with-"C" for 20-odd years, so I loathe them with a passion unequalled by your average half-witted "I have ADSL & run Linux" Telstra-hating Whirlpoolian knob-head - but I'd like to think I'm sensible about it.
So, your beef is with Telstra and the other ISPs - not the NBN, right? Because, unlike them, the NBN will eventually provide new infrastructure (be it fibre, wireless, or sat) to her area.
The ISPs could invest and extend their network - but they've chosen not to. Holding the NBN responsible for decisions made by unrelated businesses seems a bit silly to me.
There's a "Tip to Canonical - they help to make it happen" choice, but no "give some money to Debian, the people whose work we've slapped a fugly UI on" option.
Xilef's law: when the "Donate" button is bigger than, brighter than, and placed where the download link normally is, death by marketing can't be far behind.
Re: Remember Harold Holt
"Missing from the history books"?
We named a bloody swimming pool after him! Can't beat that for a memorial to a drowned* PM...
(* Or "kidnapped by the Chinese / CIA / Rothschilds / Reptiloids / whatever your favourite conspiracy theory is...")
Stupid tab loading / reloading
Yup - but it only does it sometimes; not every tab, or every site, or every time I go back to a tab.
One suggestion is that it's a combination of the "Don't load tabs until selected" setting, and the page's cache timeout setting. I've just tried turning off the first setting (Options, General - you may need to turn "When Firefox starts: Show my windows and tabs from last time" back on to turn it off) - it's too early to tell if that's cured it, but fingers crossed.
Yet another bloody stupid idea from Mozilla anyway. Before, if you opened FF with a bunch of default tabs you had to wait once for them all to load. Now, you wait less time for them to "load" - but each time you select one, you have to wait for it to load for real.
Someone should start working on a lightweight FF build; maybe with all that extra BS pushed out into plugins? You could call it "Phoenix" or something...
Arbitrary? Yes, but so were the Romans
"Curiously, the Bill proposes to allow the Minister to decide which events appear on the list of events that must be shown on free-to-air television."
Curious, I agree, but that's the way it's been run for the last 20 years & it generally works quite well. Every few years the FTA & PayTV networks fight it out for what goes on the list & what doesn't. Events stay on the list until 3 months before they start, giving PayTV a chance to pick them up if the FTA networks choose not to broadcast them. There's been a few cases between negotiations where the Minister has decided to either put things on the list (ensuring they're available on FTA) or pull them off (allowing PayTV to fight it out with FTA for the broadcast rights) - "in the national interest", of course ;-).
It's basically a very "bread and circuses" - or, rather, "plasma and sport" - practice. Keep the punters happy by letting them watch footy, cricket, and the Duhlympics for free, and they wont vote you out just because soccer ends up on Foxtel...
Re: 7 bit US-ASCII - Grrr!
"7 bit US-ASCII, which is unfriendly for Latin based languages"
"No. It is not."
Yes, it is. There's no accented / diacritic characters in 7-bit US-ASCII, which is obviously "unfriendly" at best for non-English Latin-based languages. Or so my friend František tells me...
"Do you know what uuencoding is, and why it was invented?"
Yup. It's a nasty hack to shoehorn 8-bit data into 6-bits worth of US-ASCII printable characters, so it wouldn't get mangled by the variety of non-ASCII character sets in use back then. And it even failed at that, as anyone with the misfortune to have dealt with passing uuencoded data through IBM mainframes in the day could tell you.
I mean, if you were arguing for Base64 encoding you might have a point - but that's pretty much the default, 100%-guaranteed-to-pass-through-anything-and-still-work guts of MIME anyway...
"Neither Lenin or Jobs had any links to Bulgaria, though both men famously wore round glasses."
Oh, El Reg, how you disappoint me. Through a complete lack of research you've missed the obvious link :
I'm so put out by your total inability to perform even the least of the actions expected from professional journalists, that I'm afraid I will no longer be able to read your site. From now on, I'll get all my intelligent and erudite analysis of IT news from Slashdot...
Because the last time this came up in Oz, the government regulator decided a single frame wasn't below the threshold for awareness. Coupled with the fact that, according to the Free TV Australia guidelines at the time, an ad wasn't an ad unless it covered the full screen, that meant that:
a) a 1-frame ad couldn't be subliminal, and
b) a 1-field (1/2 a frame) ad - which might be subliminal - wasn't an ad.
BTW, Free TV Australia isn't a government regulator - it's the TV industry lobby group. Which writes its own standards for advertising, content, scheduling, etc, which the government regulator ACMA duly rubber-stamps. Something about foxes and henhouses comes to mind...
Paris, because she's one of the few things more screwed up than Australia's media regulations...
Not so funny...
"So these two foreigners have had a finger in all these Australian disaster stories?"
Joshua Gans is Australian - born in Sydney, educated in Brisbane, worked as an academic in Sydney and Melbourne - but don't let that get in the way of your rabidly xenophobic parochialism.
That said, while I've been a long-time occasional reader of his blog, and he's one of the few economists I think occasionally makes sense, I've always disagreed totally with his hands-off laissez-faire attitude towards the telco sector and his associated issues with cross-subsidisation.
Mod parent sideways
Totally unlike my laptop - the plastic's starting to discolour, the front edge of the keyboard panel is starting to chip, the touchpad button can be a little erratic but is currently fine thanks to a thin piece of paper jammed under it, and the battery life has halved from new.
That said, it's an early 2007 Macbook that's spent 4 years being thrown in a backpack & carted back and forth daily to uni, dragged around on field camping trips to the desert / rainforest / sand islands, and had its HDD replaced twice (once because it slid 18" off a stool on to concrete - too low for the motion sensor to save it - and once to upgrade to a 320Gig). Despite the magsafe connector being one of the early ones (supposedly prone to damage & early failure) it's survived fine; the battery (despite being 51 months old, over 1500 cycles on it, and generally treated like shit) has outlasted those in equivalent-aged Thinkpads and Toughbooks used alongside it. Not to mention my partner's Acer, which has always been a slow pig of a machine and now needs a new HDD & battery at less than 2 years old.
Now I'm hardly an Apple zealot - I've got a desktop PC that runs Win for video editing & heavy statistical stuff, a server PC running Debian stable, and a router PC running a heavily customised OpenBSD off a CF card - but bugger me if I won't buy another Macbook when this one eventually bites the dust. By my reckoning if I buy another battery soon (and maybe a top case if the trackpad gets any worse) that'll be in 2 or 3 years time...
It's very simple
All that needs to be done is read between the lines. We've recently had Gerry Harvey and a few big retailers crying over loss of sales to on-line (read: foreign, un-Australian, import-duty-and-GST-avoiding) retailers; 2 major bookstore chains have just folded, claiming on-line sales destroyed them; several other notable local retailers of fungible goods are on the verge of following them; and the Government is concerned with (now small, but set to rapidly increase) lost revenue from GST and import duties.
This, and a few other recent statements by Conroy and the Government, are basically setting the ground for their forthcoming 'review' into the effects of on-line retail in Australia. We've seen others playing 'bad cop'; this is Conroy and the Government playing 'good cop'.
I look forward to the actual review - of course, the result will be "nope, nothing to see here - but, y'know, we need to tweak a few things around the GST and duty-free threshold just to make things a bit fairer for everyone, including consumers _and_ retailers".
"it will be contracted are some of the shiftiest operators in the business ... namely VisionStream, Silcar communications, and service stream. These are currently the bastard offspring of former Telstra network unit, NDC, ie. network design and construction.
How do i know this? I've work for all four of them, and im currently employed by two of them."
Visionstream - the business unit Telstra created to build the HFC pay-tv network; later sold to Leightons. Was never part of NDC; in fact, Visionstream was deliberately created so that Telstra could employ an army of contractors, make Foxtel look more independent, and avoid giving the work to NDC's mostly award/EBA-based workforce.
Silcar - a joint venture between Siemens and Thiess; never had anything to do with Telstra - except when they started winding down their technical staff in various support services (e.g. power systems, etc), Silcar got the contract. Later they expanded into end-user installation and support (e.g. phone lines, Pay TV, etc).
ServiceStream - started life as TCI; a 3rd-party project management and services company, contracted by Telstra to take over some of NDC's role in order to made NDC look more 'independent' when they were trying to sell them off. Again, later expanded into end-user install / support and more.
How do I know this? I worked for Telstra for 24 years, before getting smart, getting a redundancy, and getting out. All the above went down during the time I was there.
Oulu Apple Outlets...
(Now if I, a "mactard", can find that from here in Australia...)
That said, I think this article is largely bollocks - comparing it directly to a phone misses the point somewhat - but it has a bit of a point there when it talks about untying the connection between network operators and device. That's less of an issue in Europe and Australia, but a biggie in the US.
"On behalf of the majority of us Aussies, I apologise for the stupidities of the perpetrators of this ban."
Why? The Advertising Standards Bureau is non-government - owned, run, and paid for by the advertising industry itself. I figure they can look after themselves.
Or were you expecting something other than stupidity from the advertising industry?