Archive for August 5th, 2008

Grocery Watch

Good evening Stuart,

I see that the ACCC have decided that their amazing solution to everything, a website with a list of prices, would be a good idea to keep the supermarkets in line.

For petrol I can almost understand it because it’s a very small number of products which can easily be compared between outlets…I don’t, however, see how “grocery watch” is going to have any chance of succeeding when each supermarket has thousands upon thousands of products. The only way that such a website would work is if either the supermarkets are required to report their prices each day which would take a bit of work, especially for smaller outlets who might want to have some discounts during the afternoon, or if the ACCC were to pay people to walk around each store every day noting the prices on a portable computer which reports back to the website.

Having the supermarkets do it would mean that they need to spend more time monitoring their own prices, a cost which would effectively be passed on to consumers, and having the ACCC run the monitoring operation would require a massive increase in their budget, which would get passed on to us as an increase in taxes. Ultimately, for the website to work, our cost of living would have to go up…it hardly seems worth it to me.

As for mandatory unit pricing…well that idea has been floating around for ages…it’s nice to see that the ACCC know how to take credit for an idea though.

Enjoy your night!

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

August 5th, 2008 at 08:54pm

Google Street View snaps Canberra

As you would probably be aware by now, Google Street View was launched in Australia this morning, with pictures of many places across the nation now available as part of Google Maps.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept, basically Google sent cars with cameras mounted on them around a large number of streets and how now made the pictures available in conjunction with their place on the map. It’s an interesting concept and good for a quick bit of research if you ever need to work out exactly what a place looks like before you get there…or maybe want to know what some of the nearby landmarks are.

I had a little play with it this morning and noticed, amongst other things:

  • That my old car appears both at home and at my former workplace.
  • A friend’s car does not appear at their house, but might be visible at my old workplace (to get close enough to see it clearly, I have to move to a point where Google have switched to weekend footage of an empty carpark…probably due to privacy concerns).

  • There was a time when petrol was only $1.28.9 per litre.
    Google Street View in Canberra
  • Google drove through the “buses only” zone of the Civic bus interchange illegally
    Google Street View in Canberra
    and were quite happy to show some people in relative clarity
    Google Street View in Canberra
    but decided to blur out others.
    Google Street View in Canberra
  • Buildings which no longer exist (and that I forgot to photograph before they were destroyed) are saved temporarily for posterity
    Google Street View in Canberra
    and buildings which could only have been designed by somebody who likes monstrosities unfortunately still exist in Google’s world.
    Google Street View in Canberra
  • I suppose the thing which Google must be very happy about though, is that this country is not one of the odd countries where taking pictures like this
    Google Street View in Canberra
    can get you in a whole lot of trouble.

I did briefly consider the possibility that Google’s project may nullify my plan for a photographic series after I finish the “Canberra’s Dams” series, where I was going to pick a random street in Canberra each week and take photos of it…but then I noticed that Google’s photos don’t come with a date attached, whereas mine would. Mine would also last longer than “until we decide to drive around again”, which means mine would have some lasting historical value. I think I’ll go ahead with my series anyway.

Samuel

August 5th, 2008 at 04:35pm

Apply today to be insolvent tomorrow!

If first impressions count, then what’s the first thing that this job advertisement says to you?
Insolvency Opportunity

The headline seems to invite me to apply to become insolvent, whilst the body text seems to invite insolvent people to discover “what else it out there”. Some sort of swap arrangement (“I’ll become insolvent so that you can have money”) perhaps?

Maybe I should just stop trying to read too much in to poorly written titles…but it’s too much fun. What a bind I find myself in.

Samuel

August 5th, 2008 at 10:56am

One reason that I shouldn’t read police press releases each day

As I’ve previously noted, I like to read through the ACT and New South Wales police press releases on a daily basis because there is usually at least one peculiar or slightly amusing story in there…and it’s nice to see the raw version of the more serious stories which manage to make their way in to the mainstream news as it gives me a better understanding of the story. Unfortunately it also has the rather unwanted side-effect of scaring the living daylights out of me at least once every few months:

A driver has died following a motor vehicle collision involving a truck and a car near Cooma this morning.

About 3am a Subaru Forrester was travelling south along the Monaro Highway, about 10km north of Cooma, when it has collided with a semi-trailer travelling in the opposite direction on the Numeralla Bridge.

As a result of the collision, the driver of the Subaru has died at the scene.

The male driver of the semi-trailer and his female passenger were uninjured and have been taken to Cooma Hospital for assessment.

I know two, possibly three males who own a Subaru Forrester, although I can’t imagine why they would have been driving to Cooma at 3am. I now need to contact each one of them…I usually try not to send them an email saying “there was a car crash near Cooma, please tell me that you weren’t involved” or similar…rather I contact them without making any reference to the crash.

Last time I went through this was a few months ago after a fatal car accident in Canberra. Thankfully the person I know wasn’t involved in that crash…but I hate going through this anyway. It’s just a really awful feeling reading that sort of press release and thinking “that matches the description of someone I know…I hope they’re OK”.

Samuel

August 5th, 2008 at 08:40am

Corin Dam Road closed by rock fall

Corin Dam Road has been closed until further notice due to a rock fall:

[..]the National Parks section of Corin Dam Road (past the ski field) will be closed until further notice due to rocks falling.

The ski field will still be accessible to motorists however Corin Dam will not.

Barriers as well as warning and diversion signs will be erected to alert people to the road closure.

For up-to-date information on road closures please call Canberra Connect 13 22 81.

Corin Dam was the next on my (seemingly halted) list of dams to photograph as part of my photographic series on Canberra’s four main dams. That reminds me that I still haven’t made the pictures of Googong Dam available publicly…I must get around to doing that.

Samuel

August 5th, 2008 at 06:40am

Email to 2GB’s Jason Morrison

Morning Jason,

Just listening to you talking about the smog being visible within the swimming complex in Beijing. To find a similar amount of fog in Sydney you don’t need to look any further than the M5 tunnel…although I suppose the big difference is that no athletes are trying to compete in the M5 tunnel.

Imagine what the swimming venue would be like if it was filled with cars!

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

August 5th, 2008 at 05:47am


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