Goodbye Clever Country

21 05 2014

Here’s an absolute must read from Steve Thomas on G+ About #University funding.

*****

Whoa! This just in from our Vice Chancellor about the Federal Budget cuts to Universities:

we had understood from the Budget that the Commonwealth per student subsidy was to be cut from 2016 by 20% (meaning student contributions would need to rise 20% if universities were to maintain their present income). But the Commonwealth has now announced that different disciplines would be cut in different ways: some like Humanities and Mathematics would have increased subsidies, while others like *Engineering and Science, would have reduced subsidies*—in several cases cut significantly beyond 20%.

I think we may now take it as officially proven that this government is insane. Or stupid. Or maybe just evil.

Way to go, Mr Abbott and co. Make it less attractive for students to enrol in science and engineering. Goodbye clever country.

Seriously, these guys have to go, and go soon, before they really fuck things up.





You get what you pay for

5 05 2013

When I want to buy an appliance, I will be considering a few features I want, and probably need, plus the reputation of the company and the price.

I will then go to a shop, have a really good look at what I may be buying, and if it shapes up to my expectations, I will pay for it.

That’s how I’m sizing up the Government.

But this is how I see most Australians.

Bloke reckons he wants a TV, goes to The Good Guys, Says “I’ll have that one because Tony, reckons it’s Ace” Pays his money.

Finds out the TV is too large for where he wanted it, Lacks most of the features he wanted, and despite everyone telling him beforehand, discovers for himself how unreliable the company which made it, really is.





Going Backwards

18 03 2013

Australia may soon have a new right wing government, and I personally find that a very scary thought.

Strangely enough, We call them The Liberal Government, their name indicates a left wing government, but yes, they are right wing, because of this, I prefer to call them the LNP or Coalition.

While we vote for a party in Australia, most of us have a leader in mind when we vote, so in reality I think we do vote for a leader, even though they may not be on our ballot papers, when we think of the Labor Government, We think of Julia Gillard, and equally we think of Tony Abbott in opposition.

Tony has been, as is often the case with right wing governments, a bit cosy with New Limited, and it’s leader Rupert Murdoch. (as is the case with Fox News in the US which is owned by Rupert Murdoch).

Why is this a bad thing?

Imagine you own all the newspapers, some radio stations and some TV stations, and you have a lot of people reading your work, or watching it on television once they’re home, that gives you a lot of power.

For instance, if you had a friend who built houses, and you decided to tell everyone, via your media company, that your friend builds the best houses, and another bloke built poor houses, then without checking the facts a lot of your readers and viewers would believe you and go off and pay for your friend to build them a house.

Your friend would get really rich and maybe the other builder who may have even built better houses, could go broke.

And that’s the trouble with people, people believe stuff… it’s easier to believe stuff, rather than checking to see if it’s right, a lot of people say they have no time to check the facts, and often they don’t know how to.

This is why people buy particular smart phones, or vote for people, or go to church.

Belief is a fence, a handy device to keep the sheep all together in one paddock. when people believe in things, they’re far easier to control.

While it may be harder to spend time sorting out the facts, perhaps simply by reading, you could end up with a better product in the end.

A lot of people right now are being told, by News Limited, that everything Julia Gillard does is wrong, but Tony Abbott is Mr Perfect, which is a bit like saying Bohemian Rhapsody was never as good as Achy Breaky Heart.

And they’re quite happy to accept it as the truth.

But in a few months we may have a leader who doesn’t believe (so he says) in Climate Change, Thinks that we should keep mining Gas and Oil rather than look at alternatives like wind and solar, Thinks wireless internet will work just as well as fiber optic cable (as a techie I can tell you it won’t, nothing is faster than light), doesn’t seem to like migrants much, doesn’t like gays and lesbians.

If we are so easily conned, then the future will not be pretty.





QLD

23 06 2012

Watching the events in Queensland politics, I can’t help but wonder if the Australian Christian Lobby, has done more for Atheism in the last few weeks, than anyone in history.

Congratulations, You’ve made being a Christian about as attractive as a skunk in heat.

Nothing more needs to be said, I’ll just put my feet up and enjoy this bowl of popcorn, Cheers!

Wolfie!

Oh, By the way, This from Melbourne’s Joy FM





That NBN thing

17 05 2012

A lot of us in Australia are either talking up, or talking down the NBN, as you know.

I think those of you who are talking up the NBN need to get your message across to this person.

This person has only recently bought a computer,

They think Internet Explorer is the thing that turns on “The Internet”.

They have an ADSL connection but when asked about how they’re connected to the internet, They’ll say Bigpond or Google.

Speaking of Google, this person thinks it’s something ON their computers.

I think of the time before 2000 as the “black and white era” of the internet, anyone who has just got online may have no real sense that one file is larger than the other, To them a short text file is the same as a Movie, I have seen one person burn a single short text file, to a CD.

This person has never experienced the effort of downloading an mp3 file, on dialup, which took a whole hour to download.

I’ve seen a computer ruined because someone downloaded “a song” from a P2P program which was only a few hundred KB in size, a huge red-flag to me, (virus) but they thought it was the song they were after.

They have no understanding of why Apples insistence on a closed app store is a bad thing, and probably think that everything is on the app store anyway. I’ve met an apple owner who doesn’t know how to use the app store.

When I got my first computer, an Amstrad CPC 6128 for my 21st Birthday in 1986, I was very aware of the size of files, I had to be, as I could run out of disc space very fast. The same when I moved to my Amiga A500 and my Amiga A1200… and I learnt about the limits of my machines and it’s software.

Newbies never had that education.

And while I fully appreciate the idea of having an NBN, this person won’t understand any of it, and probably think they’re fine with what they have.

This person will accept any of the rubbish they hear from Tony Abbott, about how a wireless system would be better.

To the techie, you need to explain yourselves very clearly to this person, and fast, You need to sell the idea that an NBN is a very good thing, you need to make it sound as appealing as a new Apple gizmo… and realise that even if all the customer understands is that they can buy a white one, then sell them a white one.

To the person who is new to computers, who may be reading this, feeling a bit confused, would you like some things to think about? If so, here’s a few.

Speed.

There are three ways to send data.

1. Cable

2. Regular copper wires

3. Wireless

Now I know some of you confuse Wireless with Wi-Fi, I’ll get to that shortly.

Consider this, do you recall from school what the fastest thing of all was?

If you said light, you’re right, and deserve a gold star.

Light is the fastest thing of all, and that’s what will travel along the fiber cables of the NBN.

Now there is some talk about different cable systems being faster than others, so some people worry that perhaps all the old cable will have to be dug up again and replaced with the new technology, this is highly unlikely… instead when it’s time for an upgrade, it will be as simple as the NBN people replacing their computers with new ones, just like you would if you need a new machine.

Wireless.

Wireless is fine, and I’m not against it. But radio waves cannot ever go as fast as light can, and it doesn’t matter what politicians of either side say, the fact is that nothing in the known universe, is faster than light.

Have you ever had your mobile phone slow down when you tried to access facebook, or poor reception? or worse no reception? Well that’s what it will be like if we all had wireless internet, which would get worse in the evenings as kids tried to play games on it or do their homework, it could even stall completely.

Granted, Wireless internet can be great for accessing things on your computer while on the train, but at home it’s probably not the best.

What’s the difference between Wireless and Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is usually the signal which comes out of your router, that box with the blinking lights on it. It’s that box which allows you to connect to your internet via a laptop, a mobile phone or iPad.

Wi-Fi will only work within range of your router, and is usually password protected so that only you and your family can make use of it.

You can access the NBN via Wi-Fi if you want.

Wireless is different.

To access wireless internet on your laptop, you need a small plastic thing which plugs into the USB port.

While an iPhone or iPad would need something like a pre-paid plan with Optus, Telstra or someone like that.

Wireless internet allows you to take a computer or phone with you and use your internet on the go, it would be useful to someone who’s an interstate truck driver, for example, or someone who regularly flies interstate.

But the down side is that it’s generally quite expensive and rather slow to use, and while it’s perfect for E-mails or Facebook, it’s no good for downloading movies, skype or playing fast moving games with.

Old copper wires.

If you have a really good phone connection, then you can connect to the internet via dial up, which is the very old method which makes odd squealing sounds through the phone,

You cannot use the phone when you’re using the computer for  dialup  internet.

Dial up is terribly slow, so slow in fact that it could take an hour to just load a youtube video.

Or you can have ADSL which is a fairly standard method used in most homes in Australia.

ADSL is for the most part, pretty reliable, it will allow most people to do pretty much everything they need to do, however the problem here is that the further away from your phone exchange you are, the slower ADSL becomes, and if you’re in a rural area, it might not work much better than dialup.

So, if you’re on a farm in the bush, your internet may suck more than your milking machines do.

What an NBN would do, is basically give everyone the chance to drive a Ferrari,

And it should cost about the same as standard ADSL internet (Generally ADSL works out to be a lot cheaper than wireless as you get a lot more data for your money).

It may surprise you to know that the internet came out of the 1960s and has slowly been advancing, always getting better.

That Facebook, Youtube and Twitter are all fairly new, and have come about as the new technology became cheaper and easier to use.

And that although things are pretty good as they are, they could be a lot better and a lot fairer to the wider community if we decide on having an NBN.

Well Like what?

People in rural areas would have the same internet experience as those of us in the city would.

It would give doctors life saving information about patients extremely quickly, or possibly allow surgeons in Melbourne to operate on a patient in Alice Springs via a robot.

It would allow anyone to upload high definition videos they’ve made themselves in just a few minutes (It once took me eight hours to do this on ADSL)

Business people could have conferences online, rather than fly interstate or overseas, allowing more time for people to remain with their families, the experience should be a lot better than todays Skype calls.

I really love to dream of possibilities, I’m really not sure what the next step will be, and that excites me.

So far I have met the most amazing people online, people who I thought I’d never get to meet, but what tomorrow brings may be a complete knock out, for all of us.

I say push it hard and as far as it will go, choose the NBN, it’s the best technology we have at the moment.

Wolfie!

The current, cheapest option is $50 per month, which is 30GB per month, with a speed of 12mps down, and 1mps up

(on internode)

*There was an error in my research last night, this has now been corrected.