Archive for December 5th, 2007

Google Earth on Nine News

I was rather surprised tonight to see Nine News using Google Earth to provide a map. I suppose there is nothing wrong with it as they would be paying royalties etc, but it certainly makes a change from the usual in-house maps that news bulletins tend to use.

The story was about a yacht which has gone missing somewhere in the Pacific Ocean with four Australians on board.

The Google Earth image started with an overview of Australia, and then rotated to show New Zealand roughly in the bottom centre of the frame. Nine then superimposed their own location labels and an oval shaped blur with Missing Yacht”scrawled across it. Apart from the Google logo and the map copyright message, there were no Google Earth symbols or labels in sight.

When it comes down to it, this is a very efficient way of producing custom maps for broadcast as it will even produce the “pan from broadcast location” effect for you, which makes it much easier to put the location in perspective. It would probably be quicker than creating custom maps too, saving valuable production time for items other than graphics.

On the whole I think this is a great idea, and I look forward to seeing more stations adopt the Google Earth imagery.

I do have one unrelated thing to say to Nine News though. Asking for my thoughts on Sydney taxi drivers was a bad idea…I’m sure that there are plenty of good ones, but if I have one more taxi driver in Sydney who refuses to wear a seatbelt or has difficulty understanding basic mathematics (400 is an even number and is higher than 200 so we should keep going and not stop in a panic because you don’t know where you are going) then I will scream.


5 comments December 5th, 2007 at 06:31pm

AT&T Removing All Their Payphones

It could very well be a sign of where Telstra are headed, American telecommunications company AT&T plan to remove all their payphones over the course of the coming year.

AT&T will continue to provide wholesale payphone services, so other companies will be able to cash in on AT&T’s exit, but if it’s good enough for AT&T, then I do have to wonder what the future has in store for Telstra’s payphones.

Thankfully, for the moment at least, Telstra have to adhere to a minimum standard known as the Universal Services Obligation, although the more I look into it, the less confidence I have in the USO’s ability to make Telstra do anything, especially after the government department responsible for the USO, the Department of Broadband, Communications and The Digital Economy (who names these things?) wrote this (page 15):

As currently drafted, this regulatory framework is quite flexible, and commits Telstra to ‘all reasonable efforts’ to provide a payphone and gives it discretion in weighing up the relevant factors.

That document shows a decline in the number of payphones by nearly 25% between 2000/2001 and 2005/2006 (although the actual dates on that are ambiguous).

Telstra normally receive a bit of a public backlash whenever they announce the removal of payphones, so I would be surprised if they were as bold as AT&T in announcing a removal of all payphones in the next year, or in any timeframe…but when I consider that their propaganda website has an entire section devoted to extolling the virtues of their payphone service, I just have to wonder what they are capable of.

The precedent has been set, I can only hope it is not followed.


5 comments December 5th, 2007 at 11:35am

The odd things you see on the road

I sent the following email to Tim Webster about an hour ago.

Good morning Tim, and a belated welcome to the morning show.

I just thought I would send you an email about some of the peculiar things I saw on Hindmarsh Drive in Canberra this morning.

To start with I saw a broom stick snapped in half in the middle of the road…I can only assume that a witch crashed…luckily for them a replacement broomstick won’t cost much.

On a more serious note though, I saw somebody throw a lit cigarette butt out their window. It amazes me that people still do that. I shouldn’t be surprised though, this person also didn’t seem to know that their vehicle had indicators, and seemed to believe that 50km/h was a much better speed than the 80km/h speed limit.

And to top it off, a cafe that I frequent currently has a sign which reads “vacancy position”. It sounds like they’re hiring a hotel…

Enjoy your morning Tim.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart

P.S. I was going to suggest “See You later Alligator” as your closing music…but it’s not instrumental.

1 comment December 5th, 2007 at 11:00am

Terminator Four

Good morning Mike,

I have to admit that I am mildly disappointed to hear that Terminator Four is being produced, mainly because I was very disappointed that Terminator Three was produced.

I enjoyed the first two Terminator movies, I think they are fantastic, but that's where the story should have ended. Terminator Two wrapped up the story quite nicely, and apart from not being a particularly good movie in my opinion, the way the writers tried to make the story flow in to Terminator Three seemed just a bit strenuous. I was hoping that the producers would realise how silly the idea of making the third movie was and not bother to complete the story with a fourth movie.

And apart from that, how can you possibly create a Terminator movie without Arnold Schwarzenegger?

As far as I'm concerned there will only ever be two Terminator movies. The third and subsequent versions do not exist for me.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart

3 comments December 5th, 2007 at 06:30am

The Ham Heist

Good evening Stuart,

Just about this ham heist, you've had a few calls about the logistics of such a heist and it does sound quite improbable.

When I first heard about it I was a bit dubious, especially with the message scrawled on the wall, and the more details I heard the more sceptical I become.

I'll leave it up to you to decide what weight you place on the following, but the few people I have spoken to who are reasonably close to the Zammit group have all told me that they believe it is an insurance scam.

It will be interesting to see the outcome of the police investigation.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart

2 comments December 5th, 2007 at 12:00am


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