Archive for January, 2006

Psychic Dream Of Downloads

I had a peculiar dream last night where my bus driver friend downloaded Samuel’s Persiflage Episode 2 and said something along the lines of “Good, it’s a new episode” before double clicking on it and listening to it.

If the dream isn’t odd enough for you, combine it with the email I received from my bus driver friend this morning:

I heard your persiflage and it seems to be getting better all the time. Keep up the good work.

Obviously there is more to the email, but I’m not going to post anything that will reveal his identity.

A very odd chain of events.

Samuel

11 comments January 31st, 2006 at 10:56pm

Spamming the spammers?

Every now and then I take a look at one or two of my spam emails, and last night was one such occasion.

One of the emails was the usual “I have millions of dollars from the bank account of a deceased person and want you to help me move it” email, except it had quite a difference, this one was supposedly from Simon Renaud who told me:

My name is Simon Renaud. I work with the Private Banking Division
At Leadenhall Bank Limited, London. We are conducting a standard
process investigation in relation to matters involving a client who
sharesthe same name as yours (Kristoph) and also the circumstances
surrounding investments made by this client at our bank.

Simon then went on to make vague threats about being the next of kin or else. I ignored this email.

The next spam email I decided to read told me that I had won an international lottery, and I should ring a phone number to claim my prize. I decided to fire up Skype and make the phone call, this not only masks my real location and is much cheaper, but also makes it appear to the call recipient that I am in their local area.

When I dialled the number, they answered the phone with the name of the company in the email, I muted the microphone and listened to them yelling “hello, hello, hello” followed by something in another language which sounded like “gwizkjcrizkm” before they hung up. As these were annoying spammers I decided to continue, and rang them again, which resulted in a similar response.

The third time around I found an MP3 of people talking and played that to the spammer, the spammer seemed confused by this as he kept asking them to “slow down”. I decided to ring again and this time delivered a message of “stop sending spam”, the spammer replied with “what?”, I repeated the message and received a rather pleasant message of “F*** off”.

I decided to ring again with silence and this time heard a conversation taking place in the background, I clearly heard them saying “I think it’s the police”, they did not hang up the phone on this occasion, so I hung up and tried calling a couple more times, but my call was diverted to voicemail. Hopefully this taught the spammers a lesson.

Sometimes it can be quite amusing to see how spammers respond to someone playing their game, however I did find my scam holiday conversation much more interesting than the spammers I encountered last night.

8 comments January 31st, 2006 at 10:39pm

Old Intro for Samuel’s Persiflage

Due to popular demand, I have now placed the old intro for Samuel’s Persiflage online.

It may make an occasional special appearance in future episodes of Samuel’s Persiflage, but not as the intro.

The original Samuel’s Persiflage intro can be downloaded here.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Samuel

11 comments January 30th, 2006 at 11:52pm

It’s a funny old day on 2CC and 2CA

Today has been rather interesting on 2CC and 2CA.

Firstly I was awake briefly at 6am and noticed the news was not introduced with “I’m … with Capital Radio Network News”, instead being introduced with “I’m … with 2CC News”. At this time I thought this might just be 2CA not taking the 6am news, or perhaps 2CA taking Sydney news, and then I thought about their recent listener feedback survey which was designed to help them improve the station, and suddenly thought that they might have dumped the news altogether. I was tired though and decided to worry about that later and went back to bed…more on that later.

9am rolled around and I heard Lawsie make his triumphant return to the airwaves, where he instantly asked the audience if they still want him to start the show with his snippet of useless information. I sent him an email about this which follows:

Hi Lawsie,
Welcome back, it’s great to hear you on the wireless again. I sent you a Christmas card late last year (it probably arrived just after you left), I hope it got to you safely.

Please don’t take away my daily dose of useless information, you’d be amazed how much easier life is when I hear a piece of trivial information in the morning which reminds me that there is still plenty to laugh about in this world. Sure, I’ll probably forget what the useless information was by midday, but at least it makes me happy in the morning!

By the way Lawsie, it’s now the Chinese year of the dog, so Nattie, my lovely little Jack Russell Terrier, says “woof” to you.

Have a great day,

Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

Lawsie sounded a bit gruff this morning, but that is probably to be expected from someone who has just returned from eight weeks holidays.

Around 1pm I was walking down to civic with my radio to get some lunch, and had a bit of trouble with the 2CC signal, so I flicked across to 2CA who would be running the news, only to find that they were finishing the weather and running an ad (at least, I think they were finishing the weather), so I flicked back to 2CC and rotated the radio which made the signal clearer.

I decided to investigate this at 2pm, and started monitoring both stations sumultaneously at 1:55, 2CA were in the middle of an outside broadcast from (I think) The Hellenic Club with a DJ that I don’t recognise, possibly confirming last year’s rumors that Brian James was leaving 2CA. There were a couple promos from the new female voiceover person, which reminded me of the local commercial FM stations, which were followed by her introducing the news at 1:58. This was from the 2CC/2CA newsroom, but was branded 2CA news, had a different sport intro which included the newsreader reading the sponsor message, and concluded with the newsreader reading the weather (new ground for 2CA who used to have the DJ read the weather) and fading into the next song on “the new sound of 2CA” or something to that effect.

At this stage 2CC were half way through their news with the same newsreader, which leads me to believe that 2CA news is prerecorded, probably at 10 minutes to the hour. This would easily enable the 2CA panel operator to choose an appropriate point for the song to appear under the newsreader. I must say that the few minutes of 2CA that I heard sounded pretty good, I haven’t really spent long enough listening to decide whether I like the music lineup, and I really do dislike news which isn’t on the hour (it’s a pet peeve, it drives me up the wall as I am used to news on the hour and often work out the time based on it), however flexible news does make music programming much easier to manage as you don’t have to deal with precise timeouts and the difficulties associated with it.

In related news, Mike Welsh is on holidays for two weeks, with Mike Frame filling in this week, and a “Pete” being eluded to as the fill-in host next week. I suppose this could be occasional traffic reporter Pete Lusted, or perhaps Peter Cochrane who filled in for Welshy at one stage last year. Of course, it could be a Pete that I have completely forgotten or don’t know about, but I would be willing to put my money on Peter Cochrane.

Samuel

30 comments January 30th, 2006 at 04:39pm

Samuel In Dolgnwot Returns in March

The popular Samuel In Dolgnwot series will return in March as a sunday special. The new series will start on the 5th of March and go for many weeks. Exact details of the series remain unknown at this stage, but it is expected to last 10-15 weeks.

At the time of writing, the images for the original series of Samuel In Dolgnwot have not been imported from the old blogger.com site, but can be viewed at http://goggo.dyndns.org/gallery/Samuel-In-Dolgnwot. I will import the images soon.

Samuel

5 comments January 30th, 2006 at 04:11pm

Samuel’s Musicians Of The Week

It’s that time of the week again, the time when I make an announcement for my Musician(s) Of The Week Award. This week the award goes to Hot Chocolate, and the feature song this week is So You Win Again. This was a tough choice as Hot Chocolate have many good songs, but I think this is one of their best and most memorable.

Just to admit one mistake
That can be hard to take
I know we’ve made them fall
But only fools come back for more
Being the fool I am
I figured in all your plans, darling
Your perfumed letters didn’t say
That you’d be leaving any day

So you win again, you win again
Here I stand again, the loser
And just for fun you took my love and run,
But love had just begun
I can’t refuse her
But now I know that I’m the fool
Who won your love to lose it all
When you come back, you win again

And I’m not proud to say
I let love slip away
Now I’m the one who’s crying
I’m a fool there’s no denying
When will my heartache end?
Will my whole life depend on fading memories
You took the game this time with ease

So you win again, you win again
Here I stand again, the loser
And just for fun you took my love and run,
But love had just begun
I can’t refuse her
But now I know that I’m the fool
Who won your love to lose it all
When you come back, you win again

When will my heartache end?
Will my whole life depend on fading memories
You took the game this time with ease

So you win again, you win again
Here I stand again, the loser
And just for fun you took my love and run,
But love had just begun
I can’t refuse her
But now I know that I’m the fool
Who won your love to lose it all
When you come back, you win again

Samuel

14 comments January 29th, 2006 at 09:51pm

The Weekend

As some of you have noticed, I have been absent for close to 48 hours, so what I will try to do now is explain my weekend.

I will start with Saturday at 12:03am, which is when I picked up the phone and dialled 13 13 32 for the first time in nearly a month, so that I could have a chat with John Kerr and welcome him back from his holiday. John’s new producer Robin (possible Robyn) answered the phone and posed the usual name, city & topic questions, followed by a “You’re not going to mention the change to weekends are you?” question. That removed about a quarter of my subject matter, and meant I would have to think carefully about how to request that John resume playing “Good morning” from “Singin’ In The Rain” as his show ending song. John had previously played this when his weekday show finished at 5am, but stopped playing it when his show was extended to 5:30 as a news replacement of sorts as he no longer had time to play it.

I eventually had a chat with John at about 1:20, during which he mentioned that some of 2UE’s news staff mentioned this website to him. I would like to take this opportunity to say hello to everyone in the newsroom at 2UE, thanks for reading, I hope you’re enjoying it! While I’m at it, hello to the 2GB newsroom, we have had at least one person from there register here, and a special hello to 2GB newsreader Rowan Barker who is returning to work on the 6th of February after being stabbed last year.

Just before 1:30 I went to bed, but didn’t fall asleep for about two hours due to the heat, this gave me plenty of time to listen to John’s show.

I got up again at about 9am and had breakfast before doing some household duties (including Nattie’s walk), had a coffee and then started my work with Australian Independent Radio News. I had lunch around 1:30 and finished working around 4:30, at which time I took Nattie for an evening walk, before having a cup of tea and a nap.

I got up again at 7:30 and watched My Family on the ABC, followed by Hardware, and then The Green Mile on Prime. This finished just before 12:30, so I heard Simon & Dale (John Kerr’s movie reviewers) singing their intro, and then had a shower and went to bed. It was close to 3am when I fell asleep.

At 5:30 my alarm went off, but I was too tired to stay up for half an hour to hear “Good Morning”, so I went back to sleep, and didn’t wake up until about 1:30, when I had breakfast. It was far too hot to take Nattie for a walk by this stage, and she was quite happy laying in front of various fans in the house. I stripped my bed and placed the sheets in the washing basket, but the vacuum cleaner was being used elsewhere in the house, so I couldn’t vacuum the bed before making it again. Instead I folded up some clothes that had recently been washed and put them in the cupboard. It was close to 3:30 when I had a small lunch, after which I made my bed and then sat down for a cup of coffee. After this I prepared to go down the street to fetch some groceries (it is usually my turn to get groceries on Sunday), whilst my parents and Nattie watched “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”.

My intention now is to take Nattie for a walk, have dinner, prepare my Musician(s) Of The Week award, setup a timer recording of Water Rats (4am, Win TV, Weekly on Monday), watch some cricket and tennis and attempt to go to bed and fall asleep so that I can wake up early in the morning and hopefully watch Humphrey, followed by my recording of Water Rats. This may be an issue as this will make me miss Lawsie’s return from holidays, so I might record Humphrey instead of watching him live.

On Wednesday I will be making my way to the local CIT campus for one of the direct enrolment sessions. More details closer to the date.

Nattie is waiting for me, so I better take her for her walkies.

Samuel

10 comments January 29th, 2006 at 07:26pm

Larry Emdur Takes The Wheel

One of the many examples of game show hosting talent is Larry Emdur, commonly known for getting people excited about games involving dollars, cents, golf, chance and cans of beans on Channel Nine’s The Price Is Right. In the most recent (and mildly unsuccessful) incarnation on Nine’s The Price Is Right, a giant dangerous wheel was introduced to the game. Larry seems to have liked the wheel so much, that he has jumped ship to Channel 7 as the host of Wheel Of Fortune, which has been on a bit of a production break.

Larry Emdur and Laura Csortan on Wheel Of Fortune

I will be making sure to watch whenever I can as I quite like Larry, and enjoyed The Price Is Right. Regular readers would also know that I liked Wheel Of Fortune that much when Rob Elliot was the host that I drew a picture of it.

The new button pressing (well they don’t turn the letters these days) co-host is Laura Csortan. Wheel Of Fortune screens of Channel 7 and network station on weekdays at 5PM, just before Deal Or No Deal.

Here are a couple more pictures from the show.
Wheel Of Fortune
Wheel Of Fortune

I have also included the 15 second TV promo for Wheel Of Fortune in various video formats, listed in order of quality.
Real Media
Windows Media Video
Quicktime Movie
MPEG 4

Samuel

31 comments January 28th, 2006 at 12:00am

The Cat’s Back!

Returning to The Fortress on Monday, is John Laws. That means the golden microphone will also be returning to work, and the co-driver will be dropping by on Fridays with his race tips.
John Laws - Putting The Cat Amongst The Pigeons from 9 til noon weekdays
Hopefully the cat will find a way to be amongst the pigeons again, and The Cuckoo’s Nest will almost certainly have a song ready, with plenty more to come as the years rolls on.

Welcome Back Lawsie!

Samuel

9 comments January 27th, 2006 at 02:41pm

John Kerr Returns

At 12:05am John Kerr will be returning to 2UE’s airwaves as host of the weekend version of New Day Australia. Depending on how tired I am I will either email or ring John, and if I don’t ring in the morning then I will ring on Sunday morning.

It’s good to have John back, I’m sure he has plenty of stories to tell of his holiday.

Samuel

4 comments January 27th, 2006 at 01:11pm

Blog Awards

I suppose I should be greatful that people voted for me, but as I said, I don’t see the point in these blog awards, and don’t particularly care. Each and every year they manage to stuff the voting by ending it early, and they don’t seem to be willing to allow people to unnominate themselves, so all I can say is that the awards are a strange sham.

For the record, Samuel’s Blog won Best Australian Capital Territory Blog, Best Humourous Australian Blog, and Best New Australian Blog. Samuel’s Blog came second in the category of Best Overall Australian Blog.

Unfortunately, without forcing a recount and preference issues it is impossible for me to decline these awards, so thankyou for voting for me if you did, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t put much value on these awards.

For those of you who are interested, more info on the awards can be found here.

Samuel

January 27th, 2006 at 10:47am

Australia Day

Today is Australia Day, as it was on this date in 1788 that the first fleet landed at Port Jackson (now Sydney Harbour).

Whilst this is a day of patriotism, ceremonies and celebrations, I do have to wonder about the logic of two things.

Why is the “Australia Day Live” concert held on January 25, the day before Australia Day?

Why is the Australian Of The Year announced the night before Australia Day?

Thankfully I managed to completely avoid the unusual noisefest which is “Australia Day Live”, and will continue to do so for as long as it keeps going.

I am glad though, that Professor Ian Frazer has been named Australian Of The Year for his work in developing a vaccine for cervical cancer.

Whilst I consider myself to be patriotic, I don’t really have a huge amount of interest in Australia Day or the related activities. Sure, it is nice to know that today marks the date when Australia was first settled, but it is mildly disturbing that it is also a celebration of the arrival of convicted criminals, the killing of people who already inhabited the country, and mass drunkeness on the part of the officials.

I love this country, I love its democratic principles and the “fair go” attitude, but I don’t think January 26, 1788 is the most prestigious day in our history. If it weren’t for New Years Day, I would suggest January 1 as our national day, as a celebration of federation, January 1, 1901.

I suppose the question now is, what will I be doing today? Well, I will be doing much the same as I do most days. Today is just another standard day for me, and I will take Nattie for a couple walks, possibly buy some groceries, and probably install Linux on a computer.

For some reason that reminds me that voting for the Australian Blog Awards ends shortly (although at least one website is reporting that voting has already closed), and the winners will be known soon. I will keep an eye on this and congratulate the winners. If I win an award I will be declining it. I do hope that none of you voted for me, as I have absolutely no desire to win those awards, and fail to see the importance of them.

Samuel

4 comments January 26th, 2006 at 12:56am

WordPress Update Installed

Those of you who have been making use of the site over the last hour may have noticed that it has been displaying odd errors here and there, and at one stage was completely unusable. This is because I was upgrading the site from WordPress 1.5.2 to WordPress 2.0.

The process could have been quicker, but I decided to play it safe and go the full backup way. To do this I enabled the “site unavailable” plugin and disabled all others, and set about performing a full site backup and a full database backup. As I knew a site backup would be too large to download any time tonight I came up with a quicker way. I copied the /public_html directory to /wpbackup on the server (/public_html being the equivalent of http://samuelgordonstewart.com/ on the server) and then used the webhosting control panel to download a database backup (just over 500kb).

After this I disabled the “site unavailable” plugin (plugins need to be disabled during a wordpress upgrade) and then ran the automated updater, checked it didn’t break everything, which it didn’t, and enabled the plugins I had running previously. Thankfully WP2.0 seems to be pretty backward compatible with WP1.5.x

Among the new features in WP2.0

  • A decent WYSIWYG post editor
  • A major overhaul of the admin interface…I spend a fair bit of time here so it is nice to see a new look
  • Inbuilt ability to import blogs from Blogger, Movable Type, Textpattern and any RSS feed (that would have saved me a lot of time and effort when I moved from blogger to WordPress in late August
  • Upgrades to user management (still no ability to disable a user’s ability to leave comments though…must check the plugin repository again).
  • A better file upload manager (I still prefer FTP though).
  • A post preview which uses the layout of the blog to show me what the post will look like before I publish it. This is a fantastic improvement over the old version where the post preview was not formatted for the blog and was really just a very rough guide.

The really good news is that the theme I have spent a lot of time modifying to suit my needs is also compatible with WP2.0 (I think all 1.5.x themes are), which means I won’t have to spend time fixing that.

Well, I’m happy, and everything seems to be fine, I’ll keep the backups in place for a while just in case, but I would welcome any bug reports you may have. If you find a problem either leave a comment below or email by clicking on the contact link at the top of the page.

Samuel

January 25th, 2006 at 01:02am

James Goodwin heads for Television

Ex 2CC Newsreader and current 2UE political reporter James Goodwin is leaving radio for the realm of local television. At the end of this week, James will move out of parliament house, and into the Win Television studios located nearby in Kingston. James will, not surprisingly, be a senior reporter.
James Goodwin

I suppose James is trying to get some on-camera and on-air experience before making a move to something bigger than Win Local News. I’ve never understood the fascination with Win News, I always preferred Prime News and Ten Capital News over Win. Win have however, to their credit, become the only commercial television local news bulletin provider in the ACT (no, those 60 second ad break local news segments on the other commercial stations do not count).

Win do have this habit of treating even the most trivial story with the utmost seriousness, sometimes with a bit too much seriousness, however I’m sure it all looks good to prospective employers. Marguerite McKinnon is a prime example, having spent five years covering Legislative Assembly minister statement sessions at the back door, and the occasional other venues of MLA press conferences and meetings. Marguerite went from Win to 2UE (is James going backwards here?) and became the Federal Political Reporter where she “followed Prime Minister John Howard on his tour of Australia” (quote from her Seven News profile, which contains that stalker-like sentence, Maybe Seven should rewrite that) and is now working at Seven as a Senior Reporter.

Anyway, I will miss James’ detailed news reports from parliament house and his occasional detours into mitchell to fill-in as a news reader. Best of luck James!

Samuel

21 comments January 24th, 2006 at 03:02pm

I had to pay $2 for something which is free?

Isn’t this just fantastic, CIT spend a week bombarding television advertising space (and possibly FM radio advertising space, but I wouldn’t know about that) with a message about CIT direct enrolment information being available in the Saturday 21 January edition of the Canberra Times.

This was important to me as I needed this information about times and dates for enrolment, so on Saturday I rearranged my busy morning schedule so that I could go down to the newsagent (which was closed, ended up going to the supermarket) to buy the Saturday Canberra Times. To my horror I discovered that I had to pay $2 for this overabundance of classifieds and commentary on the social goings-ons of groups that don’t interest me (coupled with the occasional news story). Considering that Sydney’s Sunday newspapers cost about the same price here in Canberra as the Saturday Canberra Times, I would consider the Saturday Canberra Times a ripoff.

I wouldn’t have minded paying this fee and rearranging my schedule if this was the only way to get the information, as the CIT seemed to imply in their advertisements. However, today as I look at the CIT website, what do I find but a freely downloadable 1.1 MB PDF version of the miniscule direct enrolment guidebook.

Was it really too hard for the CIT to say “Check this Saturday’s Canberra Times or see our website”? Considering that many students work on weekends, surely this would have made life easier for a vast majority of those who are seeking enrolment in CIT courses.

I do hope the Canberra Times gave CIT a percentage of the sales revenue for this, as the number of papers sold would surely have been above average thanks to CIT’s advertising…who knows, maybe this theoretical payment helped cover the cost of the advertising…or did I just unwittingly donate $2 to Rural Press? If so, can I claim that back on tax? No!…Hmmm, funny that…

Samuel

9 comments January 23rd, 2006 at 02:32pm

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