Saturday, June 23, 2007

You Know You're Living in 2007 When…

1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.
2. You've forgotten that solitaire used to be played with real cards.
3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.
4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you, and people who live in your house.
5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.
6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.
7. Every commercial on television has a website at the bottom of the screen.
8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.
10. You get up in the morning and check your email before your shower, shave or coffee.
11. You tilt your head sideways to smile. : )
12. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.
13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.
14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.
15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Primetime Bloodbath

And while I'm still on the topic of television, the following article was in our school's newsletter this week:

House Of Horrors - The Prime Time Bloodbath

Those were the headlines in a Sydney newspaper this week. Primetime television is awash with death and violence… disturbing images across all stations and time slots… Those involved in the seven-night survey sat through a week of murder, stabbings, torture, car and airplane crashes and blood shed, as well as sex and nudity. They said they had not realised how desensitised they had become until they started actually taking notes and counting. For example, there was a scene in CSI (Nine) with a man buried up to his neck; then tree sap was poured on his head. You saw him screaming and then the investigators were examining a headless corpse, again and again. The television stations need to be more responsible, BUT we as parents need to be more accountable. The Bible says to train up a child in the way he/she SHOULD go. The premier of NSW said that this relentless march of televised violence and sex into the nation's lounge rooms is a grim reality for parents who are struggling to act as censor for their children. Even the Prime Minister said that parents had the greatest responsibility to monitor their children’s intake. I believe he is exactly right. Stop blaming the television channels and do your God given job. I would recommend that you get rid of your TV, or at least remove off your roof the aerial which brings into your home all this junk! You can control the use of selected DVD’s in your players instead. We will reap what we sow. We cannot do our job properly at school, if you do not support us in this issue.

Personally, I think the statistics quoted in the article are a bit low. Yes, low! I would be amazed if there were not a lot more violent acts and deaths in a whole week's TV. I discovered a site ages ago which, as a parent, I have found very useful. When it comes to deciding whether to hire a certain DVD or whether to take the kids to see that latest movie at the cinema, check out

Check out, for example's review of the movie "Ocean's 13", here. As well as a handy summary of the movie, shown below, goes through every single occurrence of bad language, scary scenes, sex, violence, etc, and even issues to talk to kids about after the movie. One of the web's most useful sites.

More WIN Losers

A few days ago I had a whinge about free to air commercial TV stations and the number of advertisements they run, which appear to have far exceeded the legal maximum, especially on WIN TV. How bad is the problem? Last night I set my Miglia to record a program starting at 11:15 pm and ending at 11:45 pm, and the Miglia records for 5 minutes before AND after the set time. Out of my total 40 minutes of recording, I didn't get one single second of the program I wanted. That's right, the program which was scheduled to begin at 11:15 pm in the TV Guide hadn't even started yet at 11:50 pm! Pathetic, and definitely not viewer-friendly.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The The Impotence of Proofreading

You work very horde on a paper for English clash, and then get a very glow raid (like a D or even a D=) and all because you are the words liverwurst spoiler. Proofreading your peppers is a matter of the the utmost impotence. This is a problem that affects manly, manly students. I myself was such a bed spiller once upon a term that my English teacher in my sophomoric year, Mrs Myth, said I would never get into a good colleague. And that's all I wanted, just to get into a good colleague. Not just anal community colleague, because I wouldn't be happy at anal community colleague. I needed a place that would offer me intellectual simulation, I really need to be challenged, challenged dentally. I know this makes me sound like a stereo, but I really wanted to go to an ivory legal collegue. So I needed to improvement or gone would be my dream of going to Harvard, Jail, or Prison (in Prison, New Jersey).

So I got myself a spell checker and figured I was on Sleazy Street. But there are several missed aches that a spell chukker can't can't catch catch. For instant, if you accidentally leave a word your spell exchequer won't put it in you. And God for billing purposes only you should have serial problems with Tori Spelling your spell Chekhov might replace a word with one you had absolutely no detention of using. Because what do you want it to douch? It only does what you tell it to douche. You're the one with your hand on the mouth going clit, clit, clit. It just goes to show you how embargo one careless clit of the mouth can be.

Which reminds me of this one time during my Junior Mint. The teacher read my entire paper on A Sale of Two Titties out loud to all of my assmates. I'm not joking, I'm totally cereal. It was the most humidifying experience of my life, being laughed at pubically. So do yourself a flavor and follow these two Pisces of advice: 1. There is no prostitute for careful editing. And 3. When it comes to proofreading, the red penis your friend.

By Taylor Mali

World Wide Colossal Cave

Who is the man in that picture? If you don't know, shame on you... you're looking at Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the World Wide Web. I was doing a little browsing on the history of the Internet and the World Wide Web today (no, they are NOT the same thing) and ended up at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. That's where Berners-Lee first proposed the idea, and CERN also, therefore, had the world's first website. Check out the story, and the original proposal he submitted, here.

In the proposal, Berners-Lee refers to two things I would never have guessed were influential in the creation of the web we all take for granted.

Firstly, the original ADVENT game by Crowther & Woods, also know as Colossal Cave to later generations, which was probably the first game to create an alternate world with which one could interact realistically and with some degree of intelligence. Its use of nodes and links were a major influence on the idea of the web.

Secondly, Apple and their much-maligned early programming language, presentation software, and all-round ideas visualiser - HyperCard. Over the years HyperCard copped a lot of flak, but for those of us who were there, it was the first programming language which made graphics as easy as text, and allowed the creation of just about anything, in a very simple to learn language.

Strange to think that two of the oldest bastions of popular computing pathed the way for the globe-spanning super-encyclopedic oracle of human knowledge we have today.

Berners-Lee's original Proposal

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

TV or Not TV

Free-to-air television sucks, we all know that, especially here in Tasmania where we only have 4 stations. In these days of Pay TV, video and DVD, online movie and TV channels, etc, the only programs that the free-to-air stations can afford are the cheap or old ones, with a sprinkle of newish popular stuff just to keep the viewers from turning off completely. We can't expect quality, so surely we should at least be able to expect quantity...

There are laws governing what can be shown on TV, how much of the airtime can be advertisements, etc. But those laws are obviously ignored. Take, for example, the program I recorded with my Miglia TVMax last Saturday, mid afternoon timeslot, the classic "How the West Was Won". You can see from the screenshot that the total length of the program was 194 minutes, and that when I marked the adverts to be cut out, it reduced the running time to 137 minutes. That's 70% program, 30% adverts, or if you prefer, one minute of advert for every 2 minutes of actual program. In amongst a total of 137 minutes of content, WIN TV managed to squeeze 57 minutes of advertising, and that's in a low-view timeslot. In primetime, the ratio of adverts to actual content sometimes runs close to 50%, I suspect.

The practice is self-defeating. In a bid to squeeze more out of the budget, the stations are forcing viewers to switch away from them in droves. This means the advertisers are getting less and less value for their money, which means the TV stations need to put even more adverts into every hour of TV to pay the bills. It won't be too many years, I suspect, before TV channels in Tasmania close completely, a victim of their own shortsightedness.