Tuesday, 30 December 2008

After Christmas censoring...

Firstly, I'd like to wish everyone a happy and safe festive period, regardless of what you believe in.

Now, I have not heard very much in the media recently about the good Senator Conroy's plans of censoring the internet. This may mean a few things:
  • The government has given up on their inefficent plans to censor the internet (unlikely - sometimes you just cannot stop stupidity)
  • The lack of interest and support in the cleanfeed scheme has silenced the government into rethinking their strategy (possibility).
  • There is far more interesting things in the news to report on - and most people interested in this topic are away on leave (possibility).
I have some hope that the Australian public have stood up against this scheme. It was also heartening to see parents (which have been used as the main reason to bring in this scheme) stand up and protest this scheme. If they're not interested in this solution, then the government should really look at what they're trying to do, and possibly drop it. Will report on more when I find out more...

All the best to everyone for a prosperous 2009!

Monday, 29 December 2008

Down in Melbourne for Xmas break

I was down in Melbourne for the Christmas break that most of Australia takes. I'm not a big believer in Christmas, as any meaning behind it appears to have been diluted by the commercial side of marketing and selling of goods and services around this time of year.

So, Christmas day was a nice long drive down from Canberra to Melbourne. Not much traffic on the road, but there were a few speeders. Luckily, they were apprehended by police, which means the police were busy doing what they do. Does anyone else have the belief that in rural areas, if you see a police car pull over a vehicle (for one reason or another), that there will not be another police vehicle for a 5km radius? Maybe it's just me...

I caught up with Jarvo on the 26th after visiting some Boxing Day sales. I think it gets worse every year. The stores are much busier, and this goes back to me thinking of the commercial aspect of this time of year. People buy gifts for the 25th, and then go out and spend again on the 26th. Why not take notes from the Greek Orthodox faith, and celebrate Christmas on the 5th of January (or so), and therefore take advantage of any Boxing Day sales?

27th was lunch at Grizzly's, followed by watching the Melbourne Victory come back from 2 goals down after 5 minutes to eventually winning the game 3-2. Jarvo came along with me, and it was his first time he had seen A-League live. It really is like the slogan suggest - "90 Minutes, 90 Emotions". His friends were initially "giving me grief" over the lack of defence that Melbourne showed in the first 5 minutes, but left happy with the result that the Victory turned the results around into a win.


28th was having breakfast with Jay, and then jumping in the car and driving back to Canberra. We are planning on heading up to Sydney for New Year's Eve with pappaD. Should be a good time...

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Australia is being taken over by wowsers!

With the apparent news that the cleanfeed filter may have been delivered a large knock-back from Telstra, I have never felt so much respect for Australia's largest telecommunications company. I have always been weary of Telstra. Back in the early 1990s, when they were the only choice for telecommunications in Australia, I was unimpressed at their service. I remember once I called up asking for my home phone (at my parents house) to be changed from pulse dialing to tone dialing, and it took a fortnight to complete. These days, phones are all tone dialing, so this is no longer an issue.

On the other side of service (at the time), my father engaged Optus for a second line in the house. Optus were on site 2 days later to install the line - even though I suspect it was a re-sold Telstra line. With choice, came a better level of service. I have been a long time Optus customer. I have always had a mobile phone with Optus, and have chosen Optus for the majority of my ISP services. This may change. Well done to Telstra. Optus's stand on the cleanfeed Internet filter is that they will trial it in small doses, and allow customers to opt-out of it. I would have preferred for them to just opt-out of supporting the government's solution altogether.

I am now appalled to read of another news item. An Australian judge has ruled that naked cartoon characters constitute as child pornography. Seriously! His argument is that this type of imagery is going to fuel the need in people to see the real thing. How is this supposedly sensible person's perception of reality warped so much? I've approached this decision with an open mind. What are the child protection laws supposed to protect? From my reasoning, we have anti-child pornography laws to protect children from being exploited in an industry that they have no understanding of, and to protect both physical and mental well-being of those children who may not be able to make the correct and informed decisions that leads them into those situations. In the making of a cartoon (which I will admit is somewhat tasteless), no one was harmed. I fully support these laws, and anyone who wants to support this through exchange or manufacture of this product should be persecuted by the law. The judge has now made a decision (at least in New South Wales) that suggests that the common person that sees something in cartoon form will want to see it in real life form. This leads me to think, maybe I need to exploit the possibly huge untapped market of giving a shotgun to a rabbit, and getting him to team up with a duck, and shoot a short balding man - and then filming it all. May sound crazy, but the judge that made the ruling thinks there may be a link.

Who put wowsers in charge?

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Senator Conroy has responded

A few weeks ago, I wrote an email to the good Senator Conroy with my opposition to his draconian, inefficient, and generally poor idea to spend Australian tax payers money on an internet filter that will surround the whole of Australia. Finally, I have had a response from him, or his office:
Thank you for your correspondence and your interest in internet service provider (ISP) filtering.

Attached is information from the Minister on this matter. In addition, the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has prepared material on a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding ISP filtering. This list is available on the Department’s website at www.dbcde.gov.au/cybersafetyplan

These FAQs will be updated regularly to provide you with the most up to date information on ISP filtering issues.

We hope this information is of assistance.

The Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy

Is it too much for some of these elected officials, and their staff to read what I actually sent them? Essentially I've written a letter of complaint, and they have responded with an email of what they going to offer. It's almost like if they say it as loud and as many times as possible, it will silence any on opposing it, and it will just get implemented.

I guess I have to consider myself lucky that the response did not label me a paedophile, or a supporter of child pornography!

Do we really want elected officials that do NOT listen to what the people ask them? I doubt the good Senator Conroy even has a good understanding of the internet (according to an article on apcmag.com). Do something about it!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

New Gentoo kernel, compiled and running - and the blog photo game

A new kernel for my Gentoo PC was downloaded last night. Being a minor revision of the previous kernel (being 2.6.26-gentoo-r3), only a small amount of patches was required to be downloaded, instead of the entire kernel. Compiling took around 20 minutes, and here is the result:

evilric@lasek ~ $ uname -a
Linux lasek 2.6.26-gentoo-r4 #1 SMP PREEMPT Mon Dec 8 22:50:16 EST 2008 i686 Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 3.00GHz GenuineIntel GNU/Linux

Jarvo is also using Gentoo on one of his PCs. We went through 2 weeks of attempting to tweak his kernel, only to find it was nothing to do with his kernel, but it was a "stuff up" on my behalf by putting the wrong initrd settings in his grub.conf. At least we have one booting kernel now.

On another note, links to Jarvo's site have been temporarily stopped. No doubt he will start working on another site soon... maybe... This may also mean that blog photo game may be put into hibernation, as this was a game that Jarvo thought of, I played, NutMeg won once, and then has been left dormant. I'll post when I know more.

Monday, 8 December 2008

New wireless modem service - iBurst to Optus

I've been using wireless internet for the past year. The place where I am staying does not allow me to drill holes in the wall to install cable (which is my preference of internet). I was with iBurst, but they have announced that they will be ceasing their operations on 19.12.2008, so I had to look around for another provider. Optus recently had some interesting deals, so I have signed up with them. Optus provide a modem (InZone - Wireless Gateway - Huawei E960) which allows me to connect my Linux PCs directly into it using Ethernet. Not much to configure, works straight of out of the box. My intention is to connect my firewall / router to the modem, and then my PCs to the router. I will document this in greater details with images, but I also ran a quick speed test. Here are the results:

Test run on 07/12/2008 @ 09:46 PM

Mirror: OptusNet
Data: 3 MB
Test Time: 34.33 secs

Your line speed is 714 kbps (0.71 Mbps).
Your download speed is 89 KB/s (0.09 MB/s).

Test run on 07/12/2008 @ 09:49 PM

Mirror: OptusNet
Data: 3 MB
Test Time: 26.69 secs

Your line speed is 918 kbps (0.92 Mbps).
Your download speed is 115 KB/s (0.11 MB/s).

I hope the Optus speeds improve. They're not as fast as iBurst.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Who wants the cleanfeed filter? Raise your hand!

Seriously, who wants this filter in Australia? After reading "Cash floods in for anti-censorship protests" (on www.theage.com.au), the good Senator Conroy has been reported as stating in senate question time that the previous filtering scheme from the Howard Government, known as NetAlert, was to be shut-down due to "extraordinarily small usage".

If that is the case, and I do remember that the campaign was advertised on both television and in a letter drop, it suggests that not many people were interested in censoring material on the internet. Anyone that is interested has since installed the software on their PC, and have not affected the speed, performance, or the content of the internet for the rest of Australia. The article also suggests that this type of filtering is also better, as it allows for fine tune filtering to occur by the custodians of the PC. This leads me to ask:

Please good Senator Conroy, tell me why you want to go through with implementing your cleanfeed internet filter when it appears that only a very small minority of people want it? Are you not elected by the people, to help the people?

There's a few links on my previous post for you to look at if you're interested in campaigning against this type of draconian censorship. Also have a look at:

And as of this post, I am still waiting for a reply from the good Senator Conroy from the email I sent him. I wonder why he hasn't responded to me...

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Framework for cleanfeed filtering

According to "Analysis of the Government’s technical testing framework for the upcoming censorship pilot" (from banthisurl.com), the black list will be comprised of an initial list, as well as a supplementary list made from complaints. Does anyone see anything wrong with this?

Complaints are based on opinions. So therefore, wouldn't it be correct to assume that the final blacklist is made up of what people have subjectively classified as offensive? If the people complaining so quickly are offended, why don't they just go and surf to the Disney website. I'm sure they won't complain there - unless they find it offensive that Donald Duck does not wear pants. I'm sure they can be adult enough to leave the offensive material, and "choose" to go somewhere else.

I've also recently received the same email a few times from different sources. There appears to be an on-line petition to gather people's names and lodge them forward. I don't know the effectiveness of these petitions, but here is the email:
Did you know the Government is proposing an internet censorship scheme that goes further than any other democracy in the world?

I've just signed a petition to prevent the scheme that will make the internet up to 87% slower, more expensive, accidentally block up to one in 12 legitimate sites, will miss the vast majority of inappropriate content and is very easily sidestepped. The government of the day may add any ‘unwanted’ site to a secret blacklist under the scheme.

Our Government should be doing all in its power to take Australia into the 21st century economy, and to protect our children. This proposed internet censorship does neither. Can you join me and take action on the net today to save the net?

Do something (useful) now! Don't let the government please a small majority of "wowsers", and rob the rest of Australia of their freedom to information.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Does anyone want the cleanfeed filter?

I am still waiting on the good Senator Conroy, or at least one of his representatives, to respond to my email that I sent to him asking him to not implement the cleanfeed internet filter around Australia.

Interestingly enough, now children's welfare groups are voicing their opinion against the cleanfeed internet filter. Who are you trying to protect, good Senator Conroy? Maybe you just want to be able to censor what the Australian public are able to access on the internet, for your own personal gains. Parents don't seem to be too concerned either, as there was less than a 10% uptake of the previous filtering software provided by the Howard government. Stop wasting my tax dollars!

Read more about this topic!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Has the good Senator Conroy always told the truth?

Maybe, the good Senator Conroy has not always been truthful with the Australian public. First and foremost, he said there would be an opt-out clause given to every internet user in Australia not to be apart of the cleanfeed filter. He has since gone back on his clause and said there is a two stage filter. One where users can opt-out on, and one that is mandatory. Now to defend himself, he has said how mandatory filtering works in Europe. NOT TRUE (as noted by NSW Parliamentary Library Service)!! It's a good thing that the Greens (another minor governing party in Australia) will be opposing the internet filter in parliament.

But that doesn't leave the rest of you off the hook. Do something (useful) now!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Ubuntu 8.10 quick review

Ubuntu Linux was released late last month. I've updated the PC I have Ubuntu 8.04 installed to 8.10, and noticed that the upgrade process was seamless - the way it should be for any operating system.

So what have I noticed so far?
  • The visual integration in the desktop with the applications seems to be a whole lot better.
  • Compiz works - and really well (see screenshot below).
  • The kernel is up to date - being 2.6.27-8-generic.
  • No sound conflicts with Firefox and MoviePlayer.
  • Networking has been changed - and appears to be set up to work with many more interfaces.
I won't go into great detail - there are other posts on the web that have more in-depth reviews like Bizarre Linux, and Linux and Microcontroller Tips. And as mentioned previously, compiz works a whole lot better, as it only worked partially in ever release until this one (or required manually altering the configuraiton files) - and here's the screenshot:
Ubuntu Linux 8.10 Desktop Screenshot with Compiz
There is something which I found odd about the latest release of Ubuntu, the fact that it still does not have Openoffice.org version 3. My Gentoo machine has already gone through the update process on this, and is running the latest version. Stating that, I have noticed that my Gentoo machine still is not running the latest verison of Firefox. I guess it is all "swings and roundabouts".

Thursday, 13 November 2008

You can't stop stupid from happening...

As the saying goes:
You can't stop stupid from happening, but sometimes you can fight it!
How aptly it applies to the idea behind the content filter at the ISP level that the good Senator Conroy believe will get rid of all the filth on the internet. Just to recap:
  1. The good Senator Conroy is in support of a firewall-like content filter for all internet traffic coming into Australia.
  2. The good Senator Conroy initially suggested that there was an opt-out option. This has now changed to be a compulsory portion, and an option portion.
  3. The initial trials and pilots have suggested that internet speeds will be reduced up to 83%. This contradicts what the Rudd government has promised at the last election in 2007 - to improve Australia's broadband.
  4. The good Senator Conroy will not describe what will be banned from the Australian public to view on the internet. This will be kept as a "secret list", and be only known to a few privileged groups or individuals.
  5. The good Senator Conroy has labelled anyone that does not support his solution for internet content filtering as a supporter of child pornography.
  6. The good Senator Conroy has asked for ISPs to join in on another trial to be started at the end of 2008.
Well it looks like at least one person is willing to take up the battle. Michael Malone, from iinet.net.au, will join the trial and allow his ISP to have the filtering software installed. He is not attempting to approve of the good Senator Conroy's solution - but instead show hard evidence that the system does not work, and will cause performance problems to the internet experience for his customers.

My main concern with this solution, is that what will the government allow me to read. I hate censorship. Will they block articles that are critical against them? Writing blog articles like this, will I be able to access them one day if the solution gets implemented? Everyone in Australia should take action against this solution from the good Senator Conroy.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." -- Edmund Burke

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

What happens if ISPs do not respond?

The good Senator Conroy has asked ISPs to participate in a trial to gauge some of the concerns being raised by his solution of putting a content filter around Australia internet traffic.

I would be curious to see what happens to speeds and to the actual content being filtered. I wonder if I could visit the good Senator Conroy's wikipedia entry if it had some critical comment on his tactics or his poorly thought out solution - after the content filter has been implemented. Apparently every URL I visit after the content filter is implemented will be logged. What happens if I am researching "child pornography"? Will I get a knock on the door from the police? OK, maybe that last one is a little bit of a stretch.

And what would happen if none of the Australian ISPs took up the government's offer? Would they still attempt to go ahead and implement the solution anyway?

Speaking with a friend, he's lost faith in the whole system. He believes that regardless what the Australian public thinks or wants, the internet content filter will be implemented. If that's the case, then democracy does not work, and the whole political process of electing officials by the people for the people is a farce. The good Senator Conroy has been described by Michael Malone (managing director of iiNet.net.au) as "This is the worst Communications Minister we've had in the 15 years since the [internet] industry has existed." I have a little more faith... and hope... I'm sure if he tried a little harder, he could really be worse...

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Report for cleanfeed is available on the web

According to "Internet filtering? Just say no" (on itwire.com), ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) has released a PDF which contains the report of the internet filtering trials. I urge everyone to download this and read this, and what this report suggests has a good possibility to be implemented.

One aspect of the filtering which is of great interest is that fact that cleanfeed will be able to look at HTTPS traffic. This means that anyone doing any financial transactions has the possibility of their credit card or banking details tracked by the government. I'm sure they will say they have no interest in looking at those things for the "good, law-abiding citizen", and they're only going to monitor criminal activity. While this may seem good "at face value", the fact that my financial details will be logged by the government, and may be viewed by a range of people that I have not authorized is worrying to me.

To everyone - TAKE ACTION NOW! If enough people make noise, there may be a possibility to stop a system that will cripple the internet for all Australians. And stopping the filter from being implemented now will be far easier than removing it once it is implemented.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Mitsubishi Evo Club in Canberra

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution car club was in Canberra this weekend. In the place I was staying, there were about 18 Evos parked in the garage. They started appearing around Thursday, and I assume most will be gone by the end of the day. I've seen examples from the Evo IV to the new Evo X. Here are some pics from the garage:
Evo 8MR and Evo 8Evo 7 and Evo 9
The top pic is of an Evo 8 MR and a regular Evo 8, and the lower image is of an Evo 7 and Evo 9.

I don't know what it is about japanese, 4 cylinder, charged, 4WD sedans that interests me so much, but I so want one! And currently, the Evo X looks far better than the WRX STI (even though I would jump at getting a RB320).

At least Senator Conroy thinks he is doing some good

There has been a lot of backlash, especially from the Information Technology (IT) sector of the public against the good Senator Conroy's cleanfeed internet filter. What is surprising to me is that this is now being picked up by more general members of the public.

I was speaking with a friend's wife, and she was opposed against the internet filter - even though she has children of her own. She still thinks that her education of her own children and her monitoring their web access is a far better solution that the government spending $44.2 million from the tax payers on a system which will be circumvented if that is the intent of the internet user. She has sent an email to the office of the good Senator Conroy, even going so far to say that she is a mother of 3, and opposes the idea (and you can see what I sent as well).

Why does the government think it can just put a band-aid solution on something and hope it fixes it - just to please a small minority of people? APCmag.com makes an interesting point in #5 - the support of this filter is proposed by people that do not make rational arguements. It's like a "bury the head in the sand" approach once the filter is implemented.

For anyone "sitting on the fence", research the topic, and do something about it!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Still no reply from the good Senator Conroy

Still no reply from the good Senator Conroy from my email to him a few days ago (although he has replied to the Sunrise program - read the comments from the readers as well). I wonder if he bothers reading them, or if he has a stock standard response that he is about to use to reply to me. If he has support for his scheme to filter internet traffic, then he should only be receiving a handful of emails or phone calls or written letters - and mainly from the supporters of "illegal content".

I will blog any response I get from him or his office, but until then, everyone should do their bit to stop internet censorship. Visit nocleanfeed.com and see what you can do!

Also, have a read of what others are thinking...

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Senator Conroy addresses critics incorrectly

I have recently sent an email to the good Senator Conroy asking him to reconsider what he is doing with the internet filter. I hope his response will not be labelling me as a supporter of child pornography or terrorism.

Interestingly enough, he's attempted to silence people who have criticised him. Could be some pilot form of the cleanfeed filter he's trying to implement manually.

For those that are curious of what I sent (and you like to do the send an email as well, but don't know what to write), I've based it from the nocleanfeed.com template (which was written by someone at the Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc.):

Dear Minister,

As an Australian and an internet user, I have serious concerns about your mandatory Internet filtering initiative. On the 3.01.2008, I wrote to the Prime Minister, in which you later responded in a formal letter. Now I find myself writing again.

Given the importance your Government has attached to modernising Australia's broadband network, pursuing a policy that can only slow down and increase the costs of home internet access seems misguided at best. Australian households are diverse, and most do not have young children, so mandating a one-size-fits-all clean feed approach will not serve the public well. I don't think it is the Government's role to decide what's appropriate for me or my children, and neither do most Australians.

Given the amount of Internet content available, the Government (or your appointed publicly unscrutinised representatives) will never be able to classify it all and filters will always result in an unacceptable level of over-blocking. I feel that the time and money could be spent in better ways both to protect children and improve Australia's digital infrastructure. Australian parents need better education about the risks their children face on-line. Trying to rid the Internet of adult content is futile, and can only distract from that mission. I also find that the government is providing a false sense of security by telling parents their children are OK if they put their faith in your content filtering.

Your solution will NEVER replace good parenting - and that's what you should start addressing. Too much externalisation occurs, and it appears the onus of responsibility falls to entities outside the families. This should be addressed in an internet education campaign - not a band aid content filtering solution that is high in cost, crippling to speeds, and at best ineffective.

I love Australia, but your scheme makes me want to find somewhere else to live where my liberties are not dictated to me by a small select group of people, and that I can access information in its fullest potential. Either that, or vote for the next person that promises to reverse your initiative.

I welcome any further discussion, comments or queries with you, but please do not start by labelling me as a supporter of child pornography or terrorist. I currently am not, and never will be a supporter of child pornography or terrorism! That is a disgusting strategy employed by yourself or your staff. I can be contacted via the email address this communication is from, or via the phone number in the signature below.


You're more than welcome to copy that into your own email to forward to the good Senator Conroy at: minister -at- dbcde.gov.au and / or senator.conroy -at- aph.gov.au. The Creative Commons license I used for this blog does not apply to the email text I have quoted above - you do not have to attribute the work to me, but you should make your words copyable by others! Have a read of some of the other articles on this topic, and then feel free to add your bits to your own personal communications with the good Senator Conroy.

I'm sure he'll be happy to hear from you!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Well done Melbourne Victory and Boston Celtics!

Great weekend for me from a sports front! Melbourne Victory had a great win over Adelaide FC in Adelaide (3-2), and the Celtics have won both home games (against Cleveland, and against Chicago) of their new season.

For the moment, Victory are on top of the A-League ladder, and Celtics are undefeated in their division!

South Australian AG restricts freedoms

Along the lines of what I've been blogging all week (in the censorship of the internet by the Australian Government), another interesting facet of censorship has almost slipped past my radar - video game classification and censorship in Australia (yet another thing I've blogged about in the past).

It has recently been reported (on news.com.au) that the good South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson has stopped any further discussions about allowing an R18+ category for video games in Australia. Australia (for those that don't know), is the only developed country that does not have this type of classification.

What does that mean? It means that based on the opinions and the subjective views of a small group of people, Australians will not be able to access some video games which are freely available to the rest of the world. Arguments have come out that "children need to be protected". Simply put - CENSORSHIP.

Are these the same children that are accessing child pornography on the internet at will? Are these the same children that are ordering bomb making devices and instruction manuals on the internet at will? I'd like to actually meet some of these children. And most importantly, since when did every single parent in this world attempt to externalise all the sources of their child's misbehaving? It appears that when a child is good, we all say that the parent must have raised it well - if the child is bad, then it must be the fault of drugs, video games, violent films, and other external forces. Parenting is on of the hardest jobs on the planet - I am not trying to downplay it at all, but I think parents should take responsibility for their child's education and reasoning.

Lastly, violent video games are also educational - as I've stated before on this blog. Additionally I do remember, a few months back, that the media tried to find a link between a school yard shooting and the Grand Theft Auto franchise of video games. Something leaked out that the game was to be blamed for the assailant using lethal force in the schoolyard. It was later reported that this was not the case, but in fact, the victim had access to Grand Theft Auto, and not the shooter. I guess as humans, we all try to find links, even when they do not exist.

If I find out someway to voice protest against the lack of an R18+ classification, I'll blog it here.

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"

Friday, 31 October 2008

Senator Ludlam asks question yet to be answered

Along the lines of what I have been blogging about for the past few days (ie. Stop the idea of a clean feed filter for Australia's internet traffic), Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has asked an interesting query, of how the government plans to determine what is offensive for the great Oz internet filter, and what should be let through.

It's good to hear of at least one politician is seeing things the way I do - provide more police, and provide a better education campaign to teach people. You still CANNOT replace good parenting with a software application!

Interestingly, the article that has the query from Senator Ludlam, also has a survey. I don't know about the integrity of web surveys, but at the time of typing this, 90% of readers were opposed to the filter program - with the good Senator Conroy's office not wanting to comment on that.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Backlash for the good Senator Conroy

It appears after the media coverage of the past few days, the good Senator Conroy may not be getting all the support he requires for his Orwellian plans of filtering the internet. According to "Internet screening move hits hurdle" (on theage.com.au), there is some opposition to the filtering of all content from the internet into Australia. Keep in mind, according to good Senator Conroy, everyone that opposes his idea is still a supporter of child pornography.

On that topic of "illegal material", what will this filter do? Very little I suspect. Firstly, it's not like you can find a web site on the internet that sells terrorist handbooks or child pornography. Artefacts from those topics are usually encrypted, and hidden. Groups meet on-line, and dissolve fast. From my understanding, the Australian Federal Police is already doing a good job of policing those topics. Could it be like an American war on drugs, or a war on terror? I don't know and I don't claim to know the answer. What I do know, is that a filter around Australia may deter some people from seeking that information (assuming they don't know how to access it), but it will not stop people who are already involved in those activities from continuing them. So - besides slowing down the internet, and blocking some of the clean sites I may choose to visit, what good is the filter?

Parents - educate your kids! Get involved with their lives! Don't leave it up to politicians that are hardly in touch with this week, let alone the technology that is currently available in this decade!

Everyone - do something (useful) today!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

$44.2 million to be wasted

According to "Australia's compulsory internet filtering 'costly, ineffective'" (on news.com.au), the software to be introduced by the knowledgeable Senator Conroy will cost Australian taxpayers around $44.2 million. Now before everyone starts making jokes about the cost is negligible since the Australian dollar is so low in value at the moment, isn't this a waste of money that could be better allocated to some other project - like education of children?

Read more about it today... and do something about it!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Senator Conroy tactics

After being violently sick for most of yesterday at the Australian Government's attempt to filter the internet, I have now been put into the "bucket", by an elected official, that I support child pornography!

"Senator Conroy, as Mr Rudd's delegate, is running around trying to silence dissenting members of the public, and labelling people who disagree with him as supporters of child pornography," he added. Conroy's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. -- From zdnet.com.au

I do not think the majority of people who value their freedom support child pornography. I state this clearly, as I DO NOT SUPPORT CHILD PORNOGRAPHY! I will admit there is a small percentage of people that are into that activity, but I think that would cross over to people working in politics, law enforcement, religion, and other areas of social purity. What a totally fascist tactic used by the elected official! And it is the fault of the Australian public with the wool pulled over their eyes for allowing this to happen! Senator Conroy, please do not label me - since you do not really know me!

Working and living overseas is becoming a better option on a daily basis. Where is a V figure when you need him? What ever happened to good parenting? Did people just stop caring one day? When did we decide that one man knew best, and could decide what a whole nation is allowed to know? My ex-wife came back from a holiday in China last year, and the majority of the young, good citizens of China do not know what happened in Tiananmen Square protests - mainly thanks to their protective government! And that was only 19 years ago! The common Chinese person who remembers that incident has been convinced never to discuss it. Is Australia turning into one of those countries?

You may think not, but how much more power are we going to afford these elected officials to make more decisions on our behalf.

I'm off to be sick now... but you should read more!

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."
-- V (V for Vendetta - 2006)

Monday, 27 October 2008

Making the internet worse in Australia!

This topic really irritates me - Mandatory Content Filtering in Australia (on itwire.com). I understand that there is a minority (yes - a very small percentage of the population) that likes to use the internet for things that are "just not right", but the rest of the population knows what's right from wrong, and knows how to behave accordingly. This really is the mentality of one child playing up in a classroom, and the whole of the class is punished with detention.

The internet in Australia is already slow enough. I wish it would just get faster, yet the government has decided to introduce this crap even after they promised to invest in speeding it up after the election in 2007? It appears that if they do invest in improving the current internet infrastructure, it will only bring it back to the speeds we are all used to.

Looking at different reports about the filtering scheme, they have already run a trial in Tasmania. Firstly, it showed that if people want to get around the filter, they can. Secondly, and this is what really upsets me the most (as I am very opposed against censorship), about 6% of the content is inappropriately filtered. That's approximately 3% of proper sites have been filtered out, as well as 3% of the improper sites have been let through.

What can you do?
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I have already written to Prime Minister Rudd in the past about this (as well as already blogging about it), and I received a formal letter in response stating I should not be concerned for any disadvantages will be minimal. I feel like I have already been lied to - now I'm feel like I am being told I do not know better for myself.

I think I'll be sick for the rest of the year now...

Sunday, 26 October 2008

The photo 9 years in the making...

If you've seen the only other photos of me on the web (other than on this blog), you would have seen one of me "sleeping" at a previous company. Here is a similar shot of me 9 years on...

ric - 9 years on in IT
So what's different from the original?

  • Same guy (sorta)
  • Different hair
  • "Awake" in this photo
Who's willing to take a guess what I will look like in 9 years time from now?

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Canberra, and the current A-League...

There's so much I want to write about at the moment, but I can't. I think I started this blog to document some of my thoughts about Canberra, and IT. I know of recent that I've been using it to play a blog photo game (I am still the master of the game), as well as jot down other thoughts with what's happening around me (especially after finding out I was no longer required by my ex-wife). Things should be better in the next week or so, and blogging will resume regular service.

I've only got 1 week left on my work contract. People at work (and I guess others around me) have started to notice that. I think I am speaking more of what is on my mind, and not holding back as much. My boss mentions that this is how it should have been from the start, not with 2 weeks to go - and now it's only one week left. Who knows what will happen, but I guess I will need to deal with the fall out if I do and don't get renewed. There are some people hoping I will get renewed. I'm sure there are some people that will hope I don't. I feel like I am in the middle. As I mentioned to someone over dinner last night - "If they want me to stay and keep helping, I will - if they don't, then I will go away; either way is OK."

I'm also finding myself being tutored, but at a more artistic musical level. Thanks to NutMeg, I am now listening to the lyrics of some of the skate songs that I had previously only just listened to for the rhythm and beats.

Lastly, one thing I can blog about is the state of the A-League. I've only been following it off and on, since I spend some time up here in Canberra, and do not have much reason to go back to Melbourne. It's round 8, and Melbourne Victory are hanging onto the top of the ladder - but just (while I write this Perth is playing Sydney, with Perth in front 2-1). The Victory have had great games (round 3 and 7), and some disappointments (round 8). I need to organise to get down there and support the guys!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Something to share?

I was chatting to my "next wife" about her coming to visit me... and how I will share some Koko Black chocolate with her. She better hurry... not much left!
koko black orange segments and coffee chocolate trufflesNext plane then?

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Sydney... hmmm...

I hate Sydney. There I said it. It's far better than Canberra (which I also dislike), but the traffic ruins it. Sydney would be so much better if it had about 80% less cars. The character of Sydney alone (not taking into account the character of the people there) makes it far more liveable than sterile Canberra.

That's enough of my ranting, here are the pics:
on the road fogtraffic - boo!bondi beachchateau pappaD's viewchateau pappaDfoozball table at chateau pappaDblurry shot of pappaD and ric_manmonorail360 on darling harbour bridge 0360 on darling harbour bridge 1360360 on darling harbour bridge 3360 on darling harbour bridge 4360 on darling harbour bridge 5360 on darling harbour bridge 6360 on darling harbour bridge 7360 on darling harbour bridge 8360 on darling harbour bridge 9360 on darling harbour bridge 10360 on darling harbour bridge 11playaDee and ric_manric_man and da cornrows 0ric_man and da cornrows 1ric_man and da cornrows 2queen victoria buildingqueen victoria ceilingjarvo and ric_man

Great place to visit - real nice people, but wouldn't want to live there. One of the highlights of the visit was rolling up to one of pappaD's friend's apartments in Chatswood. His flatmate was there with his girlfriend. They weren't expecting pappaD or myself to turn up. Girlfriend cooked food. We got fed - and it had flavour. For me, that's HUGE! I'd only known these people for 5 minutes at this stage. And she followed it up with a chocolate cake. As pappaD would say - "Genius!"

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Sydney for long weekend...

Going up to Sydney (Bondi to be specific) to visit pappaD this weekend. I may not have this opportunity to visit him again - well not from Canberra. Will attempt to take photos. Hopefully will get around to posting them.

Friday, 3 October 2008

The ultimate dinner...

Tickets asked today who I would invite over for dinner - dead or alive. Going along the lines of having an ultimate dinner, as in a table of 6 plus me, I came up with the following list:

1. My dad (who passed away in 1998 - it would be awesome to catch up with him one more time)
2. My soul mate (my one true best friend - who I thought I was married to, but I now know I have never met her or realised I've met her - so for me the search will continue for her, but not at the moment)
3. Jay (cos he's my bro) - "rollin" with him is fun and if it's boring he will make it fun
4. (a) Rodney Mullen / (b) Bucky Lasek / (c) Chad Muska / (d) Bam Margera / (e) Tony Hawk - each of these guys has pioneered a particular style of skateboarding - I just wish I had places for all of them, but I wouldn't want to table conversation to be just focussed on skateboarding, so only one (in the order written)
5. Adam Duritz (lead singer and songwriter of the Counting Crows - because he sounds like he's been through much emotional pain in his life - something I am partially experiencing at the moment... have a listen to "August and Everything After" and read the lyrics... and I know some of you may think I don't have emotions)
6. Audrey Hepburn (simply one of the most visually stunning women of all time - actually she was divinely beautiful even in her later years, and this was the days before plastic surgery - her on-screen presence and her off-screen work showed great character)

I haven't thought about this for a while. The list is not in any particular order (with the exception of point #4). And strangely enough, I don't have any major influence from IT in there - if you don't count Jay, who works in IT.

It's only a pity this scenario will never happen. Both my dad and Audrey are probably hanging out somewhere together (not that I believe in an afterlife, or fate, or destiny, or me having a soul - that's already been sold, just waiting for the proceeds - but I like the term "soul mate" and I know people that are extremely well matched for each other - Dr Cav and his wife, as an example), so they won't be able to make it.

Actually, with that sub-comment about fate or destiny, I do think I am supposed to meet certain people in my life - whether I need them to help me, I need to help them, or they're just someone to spend time with (sounds very "butterfly effect"). For example, I met Jarvo's cousin, Sister, about 10 years ago, and now I hang out with Jarvo. After many discussions with my ex-wife (a long time ago, not recently), it was determined that we were going to meet at some stage. Just got to figure out the rest of the puzzle.

Anyone want to comment on their dinner guests?

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Random photos and chats

While waiting for "lazy hunters" to take shots in the blog photo game, I've still be out and about taking pictures. Here are some random photos around Canberra...
flower stickers on carFlower stickers on cars (what's up with that?)

bp ollie and jarvoBP (with the "finger guns"), Ollie and Jarvo

outside the ngaOutside the NGA (I was hoping this was going to be a new mark)

rollin in the jarvo mobileric_man in the Jarvo mobile (it's for sale in case anyone wants a 2003 Toyota Camry Sportivo - contact me via email if you're interested)

ric_man with no hatric_man without a hat (rare photo!) and a little freaked out since it was Jarvo using my camera

And thanks to someone for having a chat with me today. Puts certain things in perspective. What else do you need in life but good food, good drink, and good conversations?

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Hey Rocky...

Rocky: "And now..."
Bullwinkle: "Hey Rocky, watch me pull a mark out of my hat!"
Rocky: "But that trick never works."
Bullwinkle: "But this time for sure. Presto! Well, I'm getting close!"
Rocky: "And now it's time for another special feature."
Not Rocky's
Good luck and good hunting...

Friday, 26 September 2008

Nice hat rack!

Looking for a place to rest your hat in Canberra? May I suggest you try the cube sculpture in Belconnen?
cube sculpture in belconnen, actThis is my shot to NutMeg's mark in the blog photo game. You can find it also on Google's street view (see the Google map thingy below).

View Larger Map

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Real car in a toy box

These days I find myself carrying my camera around with me a whole lot more. This is due to playing a certain blog photo game. I was driving home tonight from dinner, and noticed a real car in a toy box on the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Constitution Drive - in Canberra. Thinking it would make a really good mark, I got out to take photos - and hence found one major flaw in the design of Canberra roads. You have to drive all the way down to Canberra City if you're heading north on Commonwealth Avenue, as there are no U-turns.

Upon arriving at the display, I asked the security guard how long the display would be there for, with the man responding "another 5 days". Since we're in a holding pattern while we wait for the next mark to be posted (yes, NutMeg, that's a "dig" at you), I didn't think that gave enough time for this to be a mark in itself. Too transient. So therefore, here is the mark I would have posted, with some subsequent photos of the display as well. The following images ARE NOT apart of the game:

audi in a box pic 00

audi in a box pic 01audi in a box pic 02audi in a box pic 03audi in a box pic 04audi in a box pic 05audi in a box pic 06

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

And the game goes on...

In the last blog photo game, NutMeg has submitted the first shot that matches my mark.

Control of the game now moves... check NutMeg's blog for the next mark!

"What is thy bidding, my master?" -- Darth Vader (Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 1980)

Monday, 22 September 2008

The new "mark"

Here is the new mark in the photo blog game, as I am the new master from the last game.

"Only a master of evil, Darth!" -- Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope - 1977)

ric_man's mark 00
If you seriously cannot figure this out in a few days, I will update this page with the google map location. The link is just to wikipedia.org, and has nothing to do with it expect provide some weird information. Fast game is a good game.

Good luck and good hunting...

Sunday, 21 September 2008

The shot for Jarvo's mark

In the first blog photo game, here is my shot for Jarvo's mark.
Photo for Jarvo's mark #1
In case you want to find it for yourself, it's "SAP House" on Bunda Street, in Canberra City (see the Google Maps thingy below).

View Larger Map

You need to go after dark, as that's when all the neon is turned on. Here are some more photos of the building, in both day and night.

Photo for Jarvo's mark #2Photo for Jarvo's mark #3Photo for Jarvo's mark #4Photo for Jarvo's mark #5
I believe this makes me the new master...

"The circle is now complete. When I left you I was but the learner. Now I am the master." -- Darth Vader (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope - 1977)