Archive for October, 2006

It’s Your Call: 2CC Talk Radio With Teeth!

That headline could just as easily have read “Newish Manager Doug Bell Puts His Stamp On 2CC”, but I think the first headline works better.

So what am I going on about? Well 2CC have new imaging which presents them as a “hard-hitting” news and current affairs station, apparently they “aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions” and 2CC is “talk radio with teeth”. The new imaging is putting heavy emphasis on local programming, with promos for Mike Jeffreys and Mike Welsh on high rotation.

The background music on the promos sounds a bit more serious than the old promos, but not serious enough to sound like a news bulletin, which is probably a good thing.

New Day Australia now has at least three ad break intros, all replacing the one ad break intro used for years and years and years. My favourite is “It’s your call, New Day Australia on Talk Radio 2CC”. As it turned out during the day, “It’s your call” is the catchcry of 2CC and is featured in almost every station ID.

The open line number also features quite heavily, and in what I think is a first for 2CC, network programming is receiving voiceovers touting “13 13 32” as the open line number. There are a couple open line promos floating around which sound a bit snappier than the previous ones, and don’t have a rushed voiceover.

2CC production have obviously had a lot of fun and put a lof of effort into the new imaging, and some bright spark has decided to use snippets of Lawsie’s jingles in the place of the old music returns which used to clash with Lawsie’s own music returns. The jingles still overlap Lawsie’s music, but the transition from end of jingle to music return actually works surprisingly well.

On the subject of music returns, it sounds like 2CC have updated their music returns (the bits of music they play as they return from ad breaks if you’re wondering what I’m going on about) as well, a new set, it’s probably about time too. Unfortunately it still drowns out overnight programming when it returns from ad breaks, but overall it sounds more serious and focussed than the previous set.

A little while back 2UE dumped the half-hour “Best of Laws” segment at 11:30 Friday in favour of a “Five Days in Five Minutes” segment at 11:53. This has undoubtedly presented extra work for 2CC who have a locally produced hour-long “Best of Laws” segment on Sunday’s at 9am. I’ve been thinking about this, and now that 2CC have new imaging, I have to wonder if “Best of Laws” will be dumped in favour of “The Best of Mike Welsh” or (and this would be a tad odd) “The Best of John Stanley”. It would probably take the same amount of production, but would fit in with 2CC’s new-found local emphasis.

As fas as I can tell, the new imaging was launched as of Midnight, and is probably an early birthday present for 2CC, which turns 31 tomorrow.

Samuel

4 comments October 30th, 2006 at 03:30pm

Canberra Centre Expansion Opens This Week!

The opening of Canberra Centre Expansion on Section 84 takes place on Thursday, and as such I have decided to cancel the detailed October photographic update. In it’s place I have taken a short set of photos, firstly of the construction as seen from Mount Ainslie, and secondly of the stores moving.

Again I ask that you remember the copyright and licence associated with these pictures. If you would like to use these pictures outside of those conditions, please contact me and I’ll see what I can do.

While I was up on top of Mount Ainslie, I took the opportunity to take a photo of the underground cabling building a few minutes walk away from the Canberra Centre. More information about this building can be seen by clicking here.
Underground Cabling Building, October 2006, From Mount Ainslie

The next photo is an overview of the Civic Area, with the Canberra Centre and it’s expansion in the middle.
Civic, October 2006, From Mount Ainslie

Then we have the large office building which will have retail on the lower floors.
Canberra Centre Expansion, October 2006, From Mount Ainslie

This building is undoubtedly the main retail building, and will also have plenty of carparking spaces, including on the roof. I seem to recall the hole that was dug in the ground for this building went down about three storeys, so it will be interesting to see what has been done with that space.
Canberra Centre Expansion, October 2006, From Mount Ainslie

And the existing Canberra Centre
Canberra Centre Expansion, October 2006, From Mount Ainslie

Of course you can’t have a shopping centre without shops, and it would be pretty silly to have an expansion this large without adding another department store. So among the new stores is Big W
Big W Civic Grand Opening Bus Ad, October 2006
Big W Civic Grand Opening Bus Ad, October 2006

The main change to existing stores is that virtually the entire City Markets is moving to a new “Fresh Food” section. The sole supermarket Supabarn is moving to newer, and apparently bigger premises. I was under the impression that Woolworths were moving in, although the Canberra Centre seem to be making no mention of it, so I’m no longer 100% sure about this.

Supabarn have signs up at the checkouts announcing their move, and further signs inside the store apoligising for the low stock levels while they move.
City Supabarn Moving Sign, October 2006

Bakers Delight are also moving, but it looks like they’ll be closing for a few days while they move their baking equipment.
Bakers Delight Moving Sign, October 2006

The City Market Chemist are one of the stores offering a relocation sale in an effort to offload as much stock as possible, obviously not wanting to cart it all over to their new location on the corner of Bunda and Petrie Streets.
Bakers Delight Moving Sign, October 2006

When I took these photos of signs on Sunday afternoon, hair care store Price Attack were already closed and carting stock to their new location.
Price Attack Moving Sign, October 2006

Dobinsons are an interesting case. Dobinsons are one of the cafes on Bunda Street, they are not moving, but they will be opening a second store in the new shopping centre, apparently it will be called “Dobinsons Express” and will only offer takeaway food and coffees. It will be virtually the same store, just without the dining.
Dobinsons, October 2006

Another store which is moving is the health food store, Healthy Life, they are also offering a relocation sale.
Healthy Life Moving Sign, October 2006

JB Hi-Fi and Ted’s Cameras (Thanks to RiotACT for the latter) are among the stores moving from other locations in Civic to the new Canberra Centre. Bunda Street is being transformed into a large al-fresco dining area…and at long last, Petrie Street will re-open this week (in theory).

Select Meats, the City Market butcher, is not moving, and has already closed, at the decision of the owners.

I will be contacting Canberra Centre Marketing today to arrange press access for Samuel’s Blog to the opening of the Canberra Centre Expansion, which will, apart from the remaining office block and another photographic tour of the outside of the expansion, round out the series of construction updates.

Update 3:30pm: For reasons which I have no intention of disclosing, I have cancelled all plans to cover the opening on Thursday. I may still, later in the month, conduct a photographic tour of the buildings from the outside, but all plans to cover the opening are off. End update

Samuel

2 comments October 30th, 2006 at 10:00am

Section 84 Construction Update

People who have been reading this blog for a while would remember that I’ve been running a series of photograpic updates on various constructions in Civic, mostly the “Section 84” constructions, which include the expanded Canberra Centre. Right near the end of August I took a whole heap of photos on a Sunday afternoon, and then completely forgot about them, the photos have been sitting on the webserver just waiting to be used for a lot of that time, and so today, as the completion of the Canberra Centre draws near, I will finally catch up on that set of photos.

As it is currently October, I am due for another round of photos, but I have decided to hold off until the opening of the expanded Canberra Centre later this week. Many stores are already in the process of moving, and stay tuned because I have plenty of information about that, plus photos, coming up at 10am.

But right now, here are the photos I took on Sunday August 27.

I’m not going to do a “before and after” thing this time because it takes forever and, considering that we have 100 photos here, it would just take longer for you to download. If you want to compare this to previous tours, see the following articles:
May 2006
March 2006
November and October 2005

I will, however, repost the map, as this will help to explain where each photo is.
Map of the Canberra Centre Extension

Clicking on any photo in this post will take you to a large version of the photo. I also remind you of the copyright on these photos. I am happy for you to reuse the photos as per the conditions of the licence, however I ask that you give me credit for the photos. If you wish to use the photos outside of those conditions, please contact me and we may be able to reach an arangement.

Firstly we have some photos from the existing Canberra Centre car park. Sections of the existing car park have been blocked off so that the shopping centre can be expanded in it, as part of this the main office has been moved, and lifts have been partially shut down. In August, both lifts where fully operational, but further areas have since been blocked off.

Canberra Centre Carpark, August 2006
Canberra Centre Carpark, August 2006

From the roof carpark of the existing Canberra Centre, looking towards “H” and “A”
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Similar angle, but only looking at A
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

More of H and A. It looks like H will be a footbridge, possibly contaning a store or two, as well as a vehicle bridge between the existing and new car parks.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

This photo of A and F is quite interesting. On the left you can see the carpark and loading dock exits of A, in the centre you can see F, the skate park and above (in terms of the photo) that the Youth Centre, home of Raw FM, as well as Ballumbir/Cooyong St on the right (ACT Planning and Land Authority can call it what they want, as long as the signs are wrong, and their logic is wrong, I’ll call it both names).
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

From the same spot as the last photo, we look down Petrie street at sections A and H
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Just for the fun of it, here’s a photo from the existing Canberra Centre looking down Ainslie Avenue.
Ainslie Avenue, August 2006

Having completed my photos from the City Markets side just after official Canberra Centre closing time of 4pm, I headed off to Bunda Street for more photos. Here we see the City Markets side (backs on to Petrie Street) and it is quite clear that some floors have been closed off for shopping centre construction purposes. Incidentally, a number of the stores on the bottom floor in these photos were closed for a few weeks during winter so that the pylons could be strengthened.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

On the corner of Petrie and Bunda streets there is a transformer/substation which has, up until now powered the City Markets, it is being replaced by a larger transformer/substation at the other end of Petrie Street (photos further down). Obviously, with the upper floors now needing enough power to sustain shops, and not just a bunch of lights, the existing transformer/substation is not adequate. The area on the corner where the substation/transformer is currently located is being turned into a chemist.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Here we have A and H
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

This is the bit which connects the existing Canberra Centre to H
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Signs…and it doesn’t look like anybody is paying attention to ACTPLA’s renaming of Ballumbir Street!
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

The newish, colourful, waste of badly needed budget finances street signs of Civic.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Section A with Section B in the background.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Section B with Section A visible to the right.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

A photo taken with the camera looking through gap in fence. From left to right, section A, section H and existing transformer/substation.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Section H has overtaken the old Supabarn loading dock and staff carpark, the trucks have been using a makeshift entrance on the other side of H.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Looking up into the former carparking space, and the ceiling material is in place.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

I then walked along Bunda Street making use of the peepholes. Despite there being plenty of light, it just wasn’t quite enough for the camera to be happy to use a short exposure.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

So I turned on the flash and despite the flash mostly bouncing off the boarding around the peephole…voila! It looks like there will be some escalators along the Petrie Street side.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

And some small retail areas along Bunda Street.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Ooh! Mystery shot!
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

G, the connecting bridge between A and B.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

B…it has a tall office section which probably has some very nice views over Braddon and Reid.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

More peepholes and fence on Bunda Street for photos of B.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Up the top you can see an air conditioning plantroom.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Looking back down Bunda Street with B and A on the left.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Slightly outdated sign.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

More of B, closer to Genge Street
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Across Genge Street is C, an office building with some retail bits.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

On the day I took these photos, some areas around E, The Griffin Centre, were blocked off.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Here’s E and B
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

And looking down Genge Street we have E, B and C
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

And more of C
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

One thing that intruiged me was the unusual Y shaped pylons being used.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

A sign pointing to B.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

More of B and the carpark sitting on yet to be developed D
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

And back to C
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Here’s one of those Y shaped pylons. It is straight for the few underground levels, and then branches out at ground level.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Crane above C
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

The peepholes along the alley behind C were most helpful.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

I think it’s a good thing we don’t see lift shafts like this when they’re in use.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Another peephole looking at C (and another Y shaped column), in the background is E and B.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Quite clearly the underground levels will be used for carparking, probably for the office workers.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

C from Bunda Street
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

B from the corner of Bunda Street and Genge Street, or thereabouts.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

A sign on B from Genge Street
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

More of B. The bottom few floors will be retail space, with the upper floors being office space.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Looks like the office workers here will also have underground parking.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

More of B from C
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Looking towards A from C. That side A will have a loading dock entrance and a carpark entrance.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

When I was taking these photos, bits of Ballumbir Street in front of F were closed, probably so that entrance and exit lanes could be marked. Also, Telstra were busily installing phone lines at the time.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

A, G and B from Ballumbir Street, further left than the photo is the Supabarn and Big W loading dock.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

At the bottom of this photo of A, you can see the entrance to that loading dock.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006.

I still think the Youth Centre looks ugly.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Looking down Petrie Street from Ballumbir Street. The blue fenced off area is where the new transformer/substation is going.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

The carpark exit plus the Big W/Supabarn (and probably others) loading dock as seen from the corner of Petrie and Ballumbir Streets.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

More of Petrie Street.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Looking into the loading dock area from Petrie Street.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

And up the down ramp!
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Loading dock
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Parking has been a tad confusing with half the road closed. Just behind the green bush to the left of the photo you can see the interim entrance to the existing Supabarn loading dock.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

More of A from Petrie Street
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

The site being ripped up for use as a transformer/substation on the corner of Petrie and Ballumbir Streets.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

On the map at the top of the post you can vaguely see the carpark of a large football and leagues club under the words “Ballumbir Street”. On the night of taking these photos I went to the other side of the football oval with the camera and a tripod and took a series of photos of the construction site.

First up is a photo of the crane…but the camera moved during the photo.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

Next up is B.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

And that crane again.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

And an overview of everything.
Canberra Centre Expansion, August 2006

And that’s that. The belated August update.

Samuel

5 comments October 30th, 2006 at 06:22am

Samuel’s Musicians Of The Week

This week the award goes to Soul Asylum, the group responsible for the powerful and moving song Lawsie has chosen to play for this year’s HSC students (and presumably the equivalent systems in other states), “Stand Up And Be Strong”. Regular readers would know that I’m not a huge fan of modern music, but this particular song makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up whenever I hear it. It would appear that Soul Asylum have a MySpace page where they let you listen to some of their music, including “Stand Up And Be Strong”.

The message in the song is perfect for students going through the torture of the HSC (or equivalent), and whilst I think the HSC is an outmoded, unfair and poor way of grading students, no system seems to be able to make that final year of secondary schooling any less grueling, nerve racking and downright scary…maybe it’s all part of being that age, I don’t know, but what I do know is that I don’t want to go through it ever again, and I extend my best wishes to everyone who is going through it.

Just try to remember that, as important as these few weeks are, it’s not the end of the world, and if it doesn’t quite go to plan…well life has many detours in store, and most of the time things will turn out fine (why do I think I’ve stolen that line from somewhere?). It might take some time to get where you want to be, and that may be somewhere entirely different to where you’re thinking of now, but you’ll get there.

I think Lawsie picked a great song this year, I hope you do too.

You might be right
You might be wrong
You might just think your life has gone on for too long

Your knees get weak
And your heart grows cold
And you’re tired of doing everything you’re told

And nothing can take away from you
What you take and what you’ve been through

Stand up and be strong
Stand up and be strong
It won’t take long
You can’t go wrong
Stand up and be strong

You might have to fight
You might have to cry
You might have to cry
You might have to fight
Stand up and be strong

If you live in the hills
You take too many pills
If you’ve lost the thrill
Against your own will
Stand up and be strong

And nothing can take away from you
What you take
Well you know what you’ve got to do

Stand up and be strong
Stand up and be strong
It won’t take long
You can’t go wrong
Stand up and be strong

If you get all depressed
When you get undressed
If your life’s a mess
Remember you’re blessed
Stand up and be…
Stand up and be…

Stand up and be strong
Stand up and be strong
It won’t take long
You can’t go wrong
Stand up and be strong

Stand up and be strong
Stand up and be strong
You can’t go wrong
It won’t take long
Stand up and be strong

Samuel

October 29th, 2006 at 05:56pm

They’re a sponsor of mine…surely you know that by now!

It looks like John Laws had an absent minded and “whoops” moment recently, forgetting to mention that Telstra are one of his sponsors during an interview with John Howard about the privatisation of the telco giant.

2UE have taken action by notifying the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) of the breach of standards imposed by the ACMA’s predecessor, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA). ACMA have launched an investigation.

The worst possible outcome (an unlikely one, but possible) here is that ACMA cancel 2UE’s broadcasting licence, and Southern Cross have to work out what to do with the Sydney based syndicated programming. Could the “John Laws Building” become a mere regional hub, providing programming for places outside of Sydney only? Would Southern Cross move their syndicated hosts to Melbourne’s 3AW or Brisbane’s 4BC? And what would happen to Lawsie?

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that…and it probably won’t…I personally think that ACMA will just send Lawsie a “be more careful from now on” message after a lengthy investigation where they take into account the fact that he is almost always on the ball when it comes to acknowledging sponsorships, but the next little while could be very very interesting none-the-less.

Talkback king’s new cash-for-comment scandal

October 27, 2006 – 7:40PM

Radio talkback king John Laws is in hot water again for failing to
disclose his commercial agreement with Telstra in a recent interview
with the prime minister.

In an echo of the original cash-for-comment scandal, Laws is being
investigated for allegedly discussing Telstra’s privatisation without
mentioning he is being paid by the telco.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) today said it
would open an investigation into Radio 2UE Sydney’s compliance with
commercial radio standards.

During the cash-for-comment scandal that broke in 1999 and again in
2004, it was revealed Laws and his rival, 2GB’s breakfast announcer
Alan Jones, received sponsorship money from customers, including Optus,
Qantas and major Australian banks without disclosing it to listeners.

An investigation by ACMA’s predecessor, the Australian Broadcasting
Authority (ABA), found systemic failure in the commercial radio
industry to comply with self-regulatory codes of practice.

The ABA later introduced new standards that ensured presenters of radio
current affairs programs were required to tell listeners about their
sponsors whenever they were mentioned on air to ensure fair and
accurate coverage of matters of public interest.

Compliance with the standards is a condition of holding a licence.

ACMA today said 2UE, a subsidiary of Southern Cross Broadcasting, wrote
to it indicating it had breached the standard when Laws failed to
disclose his agreement with Telstra on his program on August 28, 2006.

“During his program on that day, Mr Laws made mention of the
privatisation of Telstra, one of his sponsors,” Southern Cross wrote.

“Telstra’s privatisation was also discussed in an interview with the
prime minister.

“No disclosure regarding his commercial agreement with Telstra was made
during the program.”

ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said the regulator acknowledged 2UE’s
action in bringing the breach to its attention.

“However, ACMA has decided to commence an investigation into 2UE’s
compliance with the standards,” he said.

ACMA had begun collecting documents and would examine them to determine
what steps needed to be taken, Mr Chapman said.

ACMA has the power to suspend or cancel licences.

Southern Cross Broadcasting could not immediately be contacted for
comment.

AAP

Samuel

12 comments October 27th, 2006 at 10:15pm

The Kiss Of Death

I had a strange dream last night…I went into the local TAB to pick up a copy of the Herald Sun newspaper so that I could get the form guide for the Cox Plate. When I went to the counter to pay for the newspaper, and for one reason or another pick up a balloon with a picture of a horse on it, I recognised the person behind the counter…it was John Stanley’s reverse tipster, the anonymous Kiss Of Death. I asked him why he was working at the TAB and he told me that he had a really large debt with them from last weeks tips and he was working it off.

If that dream proves anything…it’s probably that I get to listen to the radio at work just a wee bit too much!

Samuel

October 27th, 2006 at 02:36pm

Zebra Crossing

This week’s Friday Funny is a joke which a caller to John Stanley‘s show on Tuesday managed to slip into a conversation, with nobody realising it was a joke until the end…mind you, he made it sound like he was one of the characters in the joke.

An elderly lady is trying to cross a busy road, but can’t find a long enough break in the traffic to cross safely. After a while a man comes over to her and informs her that there is a zebra crossing about 100 metres up the road, to which the elderly lady replies “Gee, I hope he’s not having as much trouble as I am”.

Do you have something you would like to contribute to Friday Funnies? If so, email it to smoothwallsamuel@gmail.com. All contributions welcome!

Samuel

5 comments October 27th, 2006 at 09:49am

Google Custom Search…not a new idea, just different

There seems to be quite a lot of fuss in certain web circles at the moment about Google’s custom search which allows you to make a search engine which searches only certain websites…a perfect idea for theme based searches.

It’s actually rather amusing that Rollyo has been doing the same thing with Yahoo powering it for quite some time. Rollyo seems to have built up a community of sorts, and is aimed more at personal users than website owners, although it certainly is useful for website owners. Google’s offering has less personal features (such as the ability to create a Firefox search bar search engine), but does have the advantage of offering website owners a cut of the ad revenue through their Adsense program…Rollyo has a similar “partners program”, but isn’t as easy to setup as Google’s offering.

Rollyo is limited to 25 websites per search engine, which probably doesn’t matter for most topics, but is certainly an annoying limitation for others.

Overall I think Rollyo is the more polished product at this stage, with Google’s offering feeling like a mere extension of their “search one site” service. There is more than enough room for both at the moment, but if and when Google decide to come up with the features Rollyo already has…then Rollyo will probably be squeezed out. Actually, that could be the first time in a while that Google have squeezed someone out rather than buying them.

Samuel

October 27th, 2006 at 06:40am

Telstra mobile sales

Good afternoon John,

Telstra mobile sales have just succeeded in driving me nuts. Over the last 24 hours I have received four calls on my mobile from a private number…I missed three of them, but caught the last one just before 2pm. It was Telstra mobile sales trying to offer me a "better" plan. I don’t mind them offering the plan, but the fact that they knew and informed me that I’m currently with Vodafone, and called four times, has really irritated me.

I don’t know what makes them think that they have the right to work out which telco I’m with, and use that information as part of a sales pitch. I’m not with Telstra mobile, and that’s all they should know.

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

3 comments October 26th, 2006 at 02:30pm

Samuel’s Persiflage #9

Samuel's Persiflage
Samuel’s Persiflage Episode Number Nine is ready for download, and is the longest Persiflage to date at just over 85 minutes. There is also a low quality version for the bandwidth impaired here.

HTML Transcript coming soon
PDF Transcript coming soon

This month’s Persiflage Puzzle has three words of seven, two and seven letters respectively. The clue is “A well known Australian television show with such characters as Amy, Lulu and Morgan”.

The majority of this episode is devoted to the subject of scams and scammers, and includes some conversations with people involved in sending scams by email.

The episode starts off however, with an interview with Clayton Northcutt, a blogger (and contributor on this site) who has spent plenty of time toying with scammers, and publishing the correspondence on his blog. We have a fun discussion about some of the scams Clayton has witnessed, as well as talking about scammers in general, telemarketers, door-to-door sales, and Clayton’s dream of teaching scammers the tricks of the trade…and how to speak English properly.

Then we have a new (hopefully permanent) feature of Samuel’s Persiflage…an unpaid ad break featuring one amusing ad from years-gone-by.

Samuel then pulls a few more letters out of the hat and puts them in the Persiflage Puzzle, not that it seems to help all that much.

After that it’s back to the scams, and false advertising. Samuel rings Soul Communications about their claims that if you sign up with them, you will never have to speak to Telstra again…Soul representative Jessie doesn’t seem impressed, but Xena explains the ad…and confirms that the ad is misleading, just not in so many words.

The listener feedback is filled with interesting feedback…a lot of people want to talk about Leo Laporte’s appearance on Samuel’s Persiflage #8, Boris doesn’t want the “^” symbol removed from the keyboard, John B1_B5 thinks feedback shouldn’t ever be off-topic, Flyguy doesn’t like the Samuel’s Persiflage theme music, and Martin thinks Samuel talks too much.

All listeners are invited to send in more feedback, both in written and audio format. As per usual feedback can be sent to podcast@samuelgordonstewart.com (text, MP3, Wave or Ogg Vorbis), spoken feedback by clicking here or on the button below would be great, or leave a comment below.
Send Me A Message

Samuel then takes the scammers head on, calling eight of them and seeing how they respond…he plays along with a few, has fun with the idiocy of some, pretends to be Australian Customs with a counterfeit clothing company, and gives some others a peice of his mind.

Then there’s another update of the Persiflage Puzzle, a thought for the month about how people make assumptions, and then, after a very long episode, the end music starts to play, Samuel wraps up the show and reveals the Persiflage Puzzle answer…and only just manages to wrap up before the music finishes.

The Samuel’s Persiflage #9 file itself is available here, and is 1:25:23 in length (78.1MB) at 128kbps stereo. The 128kbps format was decided upon because it produces a very good sound quality, and doesn’t “flatten” any music used in the podcast. I do, however, acknowledge that this is just unreasonable for dial-up, so a 16kbps mono file is also available here. The sound quality isn’t as good, but some people like it. The low quality version is 9.77MB

For those of you who are using podcast software to receive your podcasts, the feed can be found here and if you are using iTunes you can subscribe to Samuel’s Persiflage by clicking here.

Podcast related questions and comments can be sent to podcast@samuelgordonstewart.com or left in the comments section of this post. Spoken feedback is preferred (but not mandated) and can be sent either in MP3, Wave or Ogg Vorbis format, or sent even more easily by clicking the button below and following the prompts.
Send Me A Message

Samuel

4 comments October 26th, 2006 at 02:09am

Firefox 2.0

Firefox 2.0, the next version of Mozilla Firefox has officially been released. I assume that the automated Firefox Update system should prompt Firefox 1.5.x users to upgrade over the next few days, although it currently seems to be unaware of the update.

For those who don’t want to wait (like me), Firefox can be downloaded from Mozilla.com.

I’ll leave the question of “what’s new?” to the Mozilla Press Release

What’s New in Firefox 2

Improvements to the user interface, security tools and options for customization, combine to deliver a rich, engaging, safer and more productive Web browsing experience for all.

Tabbed browsing. Firefox popularized tabbed browsing, enabling multiple Web sites to be viewed as separate tabs contained within a single browser window, and improving people’s efficiency by helping them better organize their desktops. In Firefox 2, tabbed browsing has been further improved with the addition of individual close buttons on each tab, enhanced tab navigation features, and a session restore system that automatically restores previously-open windows and tabs when a new browsing session is started.

Spell checking. Modern Web sites are increasingly complex with the rollout of new, rich Internet applications, such as word processors, spreadsheets and blogging tools. Inline spell checking in Firefox 2 automatically checks for spelling errors and suggests corrections as users interact with Web sites, bringing a common desktop feature to the Web.

Search. Search is one of the most frequently used features of the Web. With Firefox 2, Mozilla improves the browser’s integrated search capabilities, making it even easier for users to find the information they are looking for. The new Search Suggestions feature dynamically updates a drop-down list of suggested search terms as users enter text into the search bar for Google, Yahoo! or Answers.com search engines.

Web feeds. Firefox users can now take better advantage of the frequently updated content offered by Web sites, with increased options for handling Web feeds. Users now see a preview of the content being offered and are given the option to subscribe to a feed as a Live Bookmark, using a Web service such as Bloglines, My Yahoo!, or Google Reader, or with a desktop application.

Identity theft protection. In addition to its award-winning safeguards for blocking drive-by installation of spyware and unwanted pop-up windows, Firefox 2 helps protect users from identity theft by quickly informing them when they surf to a questionable Web site. To protect users’ privacy, Phishing Protection is active by default with a local blacklist that updates hourly, rather than sending information to an external online service. An enhanced mode is available where users may optionally elect to have Firefox check the validity of Web sites with a third-party Web service, such as Google, prior to loading the site. Phishing Protection provides warnings, advice and guidance when Firefox encounters a Web site that appears to be fraudulent or malicious.

Proven security model. Mozilla’s open and transparent community-driven security model helps ensure Firefox provides the safest possible online experience. Thousands of security experts and technical contributors from around the world examine and analyze the Firefox source code, uncover potential threats and vulnerabilities, and work together to quickly identify and address emerging threats. This open, distributed, innovative approach to security puts people’s interests first and delivers the safest Web experience possible.

Customization. No other browser can be customized like Firefox 2. With thousands of add-ons that enhance the browser’s functionality and features, Firefox lets users personalize their Web browsers to fit their interests and style.

For more information on Mozilla Firefox 2 and how it delivers an easier, faster and safer online experience, visit www.mozilla.com/firefox/features.html.

Mozilla Firefox 2 is available now as a free download from www.getfirefox.com.

Oh, and Microsoft released Internet Exploder 7 rather recently…hardly worth a mention really!

Samuel

4 comments October 25th, 2006 at 06:44pm

This Week In Law

Remember back in late September when Leo Laporte was the guest on Samuel’s Persiflage? Well here’s an extract from the transcript:

Leo Laporte: And so I thought, “Boy, you know” … in fact, I think I said it out loud, which was my mistake. “Boy, we really should have a legal podcast with actual attorneys who know this stuff talking about it.” I said it, and the next day I got hundreds of emails from attorneys, saying, “I’ll do it!” (laughing).

Samuel Gordon-Stewart: (Laughing.)

Leo Laporte: So I — I … one of them was very compelling, a woman I had known for years, Denise Howell, who is a very well-known legal blogger, attorney, an expert in IP, Intellectual Property law, and former Counsel with Electronic Frontier Foundation and had — and knows everybody; has a — has a great voice. And I — and she said, “You know, I’d — I’d love to host this, and I will do all the work. I’ll put it together. I’ll edit it.” And … and I said, “Okay, Denise!” (laughing).

Samuel Gordon-Stewart: (Laughing.)

Leo Laporte: And so she’s gone out and pretty much duplicated my equipment setup. She’s — she’s lined up great people. In fact, the first one has Hank Berry, who was the guy who … the — the Counsel, the Legal Counsel, for Napster. I mean, this guy is really an interesting fellow. This … he’s on the panel, but it’s a — a number of different people. He’s now a partner at Hummer Winblad, which is one of the … actually, I guess he’s been at Hummer for a while. He’s a former CEO of Napster, but he’s been at Hummer for … for about six or seven years. They are a venture fund that specializes in software, and they’re great. So Hank knows everything and … and is really gonna’ be a great panelist. That’ll be the first episode, which, depending on when this comes out, will either be out already or out soon.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart: Well, I’m going to try and get this out before the end of September, because I try to do … I try to do one episode of Samuel’s Persiflage each month. That varies, depending on — on my workload. But I’ll try and get it out before the end of the month (laughing); but I’m just thinking that it’s starting to look like it’s going to be the not-quite-September edition.

Leo Laporte: (Laughing.) Well, it’ll be a race between This Week in Law and Samuel’s Persiflage. We’ll see who comes out first.

Well Samuel’s Persiflage came out first by a country mile, and I’m pleased to be able to announce that, at long long last, Leo has released This Week In Law. It looks like episode one came out a couple days ago and is filled with interesting information, including a rather interesting discussion about the Creative Commons licence, which as you may have noticed, is used on this blog.

It’s a pity about the sound quality, but dodgy audio seems to be the norm for the first few episodes of any TWiT.tv podcast…and it looks like the majority of the issues are due to poor recording setups at certain people’s ends…and at one stage it sounds like somebody is snapping pencils in half. I’m sure they’ll work it all out in a couple weeks.

Samuel

October 25th, 2006 at 08:23am

Always the odd one out…and proud of it…and now rambling

Yesterday while I was having lunch…or was about to have lunch…but certainly before I finished lunch (Yes, I know it doesn’t matter and that I should just get on with the story, but this minor details is going to bug me all day) John Stanley was reminiscing about how, when he was in school, he always brought the newspaper with him and read it at lunch time…and how all the other kids thought he was odd for doing it…now I remember, he said that before I started my lunch, it was during my lunch that he received an email from a listener who speculated that John only brought the paper to school for the racing form guide, and then John mentioned something about a two cent per wager betting operation he had going…and he chatted with a caller about how it was “probably illegal”.

It was actually rather interesting to me that he mentioned that (bringing the newspaper, not the betting operation), because it reminded me of myself in high school and college (not that I really need reminding…it wasn’t that long ago)…I never brought a newspaper to school, but I do remember in high school, especially in year ten, how I would, during morning roll call (Contact Group “Stephens One” to be precise), spend most of the time looking at the Daily Telegraph for a bit of amusement…often having a chat with the kitchen assistant at the same time.

Of course I had other odd habits…from mid 1999 until about mid 2003 I was a 2CA fan, and made sure that it was no secret, naturally enough this meant that I was “different” and had completely different musical tastes to the vast majority of students, although I think people got used to that by Year 10.

In mid-2003, amidst illness and behavioural issues, I switched back to 2CC, which was far more engaging than music radio ever could be…I distinctly remember when I was bed ridden for a week that 2CC helped to keep me sane…2CA, excellent station that it is, just didn’t have enough conversation to keep my mind active…and I suppose that is a good thing in some ways, as it helped me to rediscover my love of talkback radio.

By the end of 2003, when I was only required to attend high school for tests and to hand in assignments, the radio was with me pretty much all day, in fact George Moore, who was filling in for John Laws, was the first person to read out one of my emails on the air…from memory it was a light hearted comment about how Peter Costello could retire from politics and start his own lottery “Peter’s Costellotto”.

In college the radio was an essential part of my life…it was my escape from the day-to-day goings ons of academic life, I listened to it between classes, during morning tea and lunch, on the way to and from College, and even sometimes during class. It did lead another student to make a comment on RiotACT that I was the scariest thing at Dickson College…but I think for the most part, people were mature enough to accept that it was one of my eccentricities.

I actually seriously doubt that I would have made it through college if it hadn’t been for 2CC, amongst other things, it did help me to maintain my sanity in what was a very busy, confusing, demanding and ultimately rewarding couple of years.

It’s actually funny to think that 2CC was the first common link between me and my bus driver friend…for the majority of my time at Dickson, he drove the bus that I caught of a morning, and whilst it may have only been a few minutes of Mike Jeffreys most days, and a few extra minutes of John Laws on others (depending on what time I started in the morning) and a coversation in the middle of it all, it was enough for a friendship to begin…and that friendship was another thing which helped me get through college.

I must admit, it was always nice after a busy day at college, to spend half an hour listening to Mike Welsh whilst I did all sorts of thing relating to bus travel…waiting for the bus, catching the bus, riding on the bus, getting off the bus, walking home from the bus stop…

I’m making college sound quite arduous here…well it wasn’t, I quite enjoyed it for the most part…but life in general would have been an awful lot harder without these outside influences.

So what does all this have to do with John Stanley and his newspapers…well not much really…it’s just interesting that we both had a similar habit, we were both interested in news during our school years, and we tend to agree with each other on a lot of issues. It’s also a good excuse for a trip down memory lane.

Samuel

2 comments October 25th, 2006 at 06:20am

Canberra Canned Response…err Connect

About a week ago I sent an email to Canberra Connect about a navigation issue on their website, a couple days later I received an email from them which informed me that my issue had been “resolved”…they even had a canned response for me:

Dear Mr Gordon-Stewart,

Thanks for your feedback regarding the location of the Shopfront link on the Canberra Connect Services Portal.

The site was relaunched recently and we are currently gathering data on its usage as well as collating suggestions such as yours prior to making any changes.

We are therefore looking at all suggestions very closely with regard to any future enhancements for our site.

Kind regards
Customer Feedback & Support
Canberra Connect
Telephone: 13 22 81

As it stands, my issue is not “resolved”, it is really “pending further contemplation”, and I just love the way I didn’t even get a response from somebody with a name…especially after I had to register on their website just to send them an email.

I suppose it is possible that the person who replied is actually named “Kind Regards” or “Customer Feedback & Support”, and if they are, they obviously have a silent number because they don’t appear in the White Pages.

Samuel

4 comments October 24th, 2006 at 01:42pm

Radio Firesale?

It looks like Macquarie Bank are about to sell their massive Macquarie Regional Radioworks network of 85 stations. Macquarie, who have put a price of $600 million on the network, have cited new media laws and the news requirements therein as their reason for selling. Whilst hiring a few extra journalists would make a bit of a dent in Macquarie’s profits, it would hardly be a major issue. On the plus side, the stations now have the chance to be owned by people who actually care about local radio.

October 24, 2006 01:08am
Article from: AAP

MACQUARIE Media Group is believed to be selling its network of radio
stations following the tightening of media laws over rural radio.

Macquarie Regional Radioworks has put a sale price of $600 million on
its 85 radio licences which cover around 60 per cent of regional
Australia, The Australian reports today.

The decision to sell is believed to have been prompted by the new media
laws’ stricter requirements for regional radio stations to produce more
local content, thereby preventing broadcasts from a network’s stations
from outside local areas.

Macquarie has warned it would have to close at least 10 stations in
Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland because of the new laws,
News Limited reports.

It was criticised this month for hubbing news to its Western Australia
stations from the Gold Coast in Queensland.

Update 7:48PM: Macquarie are denying the story, which was published in The Australian. Macquarie issued a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange earlier today after being requested to do so.

While Macquarie Media Group (MMG) would not normally comment on media speculation, we have been requested by the ASX to respond to a media article appearing today in relation to a possible sale of Macquarie Regional Radioworks.

MMG advises it has not received any offer to buy Macquarie Regional Radioworks, nor has there been any decision to sell the business.

End Update

Samuel

1 comment October 24th, 2006 at 11:37am

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