Posts filed under 'Blog News'

It has been a little quiet here

Those of you who are reading this and thinking it has been a bit quiet here of late would be correct. Alas over the last couple of weeks I have been working a roster which is not my usual roster and has taken a bit of a toll on my sleep, which has made it difficult to find time to write much. And now I have a close family member in hospital awaiting an operation so I remain distracted.

Hopefully everything will settle down soon and I will be able to write more soon. I have run out of pre-written Sunday Share posts too, so I will need to put something together there before the end of the week.

Samuel

1 comment April 7th, 2024 at 11:11pm

Motorbikes and kangaroos do mix!

When they’re standing still anyway. Although I was having a conversation with someone the other day about how I’ve noticed that kangaroos don’t tend to be as erratic around motorbikes as they are around cars. They can still be spooked by them, but when that happens they tend to dart off in one direction, unlike with cars where they seem to dart around trying to block the path of the car or just ram it. Quite often I find kangaroos will just stand still and watch a bike go past, seemingly unsure what to make of it. Not always, but often enough.

Anyway, the point to all of this…

Last year a work colleague, Mr. James Gibson from the UK was in town and, outside office hours, we visited the Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Station and the Mt Stromlo Observatory. Up on Mt Stromlo, he took this photo of me with my bike, which happens to be the photo I used as my new photo on the top banner of this blog.

Samuel and motorbike on Mt Stromlo

It also happened to be one of those very frequent days where the Bureau of Weather Guessing was very certain that it would rain and be stormy in the afternoon, so it wasn’t, much to Mr. Gibson’s delight as he got to enjoy a sunset on Mt Stromlo and take some very nice photos across the valleys to the west.

Samuel

1 comment February 22nd, 2024 at 06:12am

One method of converting flv videos to mp4 format

As a followup to my thought in the previous post about needing to go back through some of the very old videos on this site in the Flash video format, which no longer play in web browsers and haven’t for a few years, I picked one of the old files and had a quick go at converting it to MP4. Most decent video transcoding tools will convert flv files, however it is nice to be able to play the original file and compare it to the transcoded file to ensure there’s nothing amiss with the new file (such as audio/video out of sync, lower picture quality etc).

I chose the video from the night long-time WIN Canberra news presenter Peter Leonard retired and was given a send-off by the other presenters, as it is one of the more historically important videos on the site. I have the original off-air recording around here somewhere, but I decided to just work with the flv file to prove the concept.

After I downloaded it, my computer immediately decided it was a file openable by VLC, an excellent and free video player. Makes sense, VLC will play almost any file you throw at it. This then gave me an idea. VLC can also perform transcoding. The results can be a bit variable but it was worth a shot. In this case it worked very well once I changed one setting.

The process is this
1. Open VLC and go to File -> Convert/Stream
Converting FLV to MP4 in VLC

2. Select the file you want to convert, choose the MP4 profile, and choose an output file. Note that for some reason, VLC unnecessarily insists that you can’t use .mp4 as the file extension for the output file and must instead use .m4v which is strange but not really a problem and can be fixed later.
Converting FLV to MP4 in VLC

3. Customize the MP4 profile and go to the audio tab. VLC defaults to plain MPEG audio here, and while VLC will happily play that, a lot of other things including QuickTime and web browsers probably won’t. Change this to MPEG 4 Audio (AAC). You can leave the rest of the settings alone.
Converting FLV to MP4 in VLC

4. Click Apply, then click Save, and VLC will start transcoding. You will see the status bar move while the transcode is taking place but you won’t see any video while it’s happening.
Converting FLV to MP4 in VLC

5. You should then have your original FLV file and a new M4V file. Rename the M4V file with a mp4 extension.
Converting FLV to MP4 in VLC

In this case, the result is this

video
play-sharp-fill

Direct download (at the time of writing, the embedded player above is adding a watermark which is not on the file itself. I’ll deal with that in due course)

A slightly smaller filesize but a practically indistinguishable video quality. The video itself is quite small as the original Flash one was, and perhaps I should dig out the original recording and upload a larger sized video now that postage-stamp sized videos are a relic of the past, but that’s not the point here, merely that the transcoding process works well and simply.

Fairly quick and straightforward, so it’s a task which shouldn’t take me too long in my overall site tidy up.

Samuel

Add comment February 15th, 2024 at 12:20pm

Hello again after a little while

Hello again, it has been a while.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for many years will recognise the pattern of silence for a long time, a sudden burst of activity, and then another long silence. Welcome to the end of another silence.

Seriously though, I recognise the pattern and a few times when I’ve thought about starting blogging again, I’ve also thought about how it’s not particularly fair on you, dear reader, to have me start writing again for a while and then disappear and leave you in the lurch. The main reason I can see for the long silences is that I usually only write about things which interest me to some extent, and I either end up with a whole heap of things to write in a backlog and realise how long it will take to write about them, and just don’t, or I write about things which start to make me so cranky that I don’t want to write about them any more.

So a few times, having recognised this pattern, I wondered whether it was really worth keeping the blog online if I wasn’t going to commit to using it again. After all, the history of it is archived in a few places including the National Library of Australia, so it wouldn’t be a wiping of history per se, and it does cost me a few dollars but not really that many to keep it online, but maybe I’m sentimental about it as I could never bring myself to actually shut the blog down and get rid of the hosting. There was always the possibility that I might find something to write about which I can be interested and motivated enough to write about on an ongoing basis.

Well, it so happens that there is something I can write about and probably even put some videos together about. I have had some discussions in recent days about this particular topic and can see it being viable. I’m going to keep you in suspense about what that topic is for the moment though.

Now, having something to write about is one thing. The question which remained with that was: if it’s a complete change of topic, do I keep this blog going or start again elsewhere? The main topic I’m thinking of isn’t a complete change for this blog as it has been a minor theme over the years and in fact some of the posts on that topic continue to receive a burst of traffic once per year. It won’t be the only thing I write about. I’d like to have a few more personal posts, which is where this blog started out way back when, and dial back the political posts a bit as politics has really left me quite disillusioned in recent years. That subject may very well be my next post!

There’s also something nice about moving away from some of the social media platforms and back to my own domain. Not entirely perhaps but to an extent. There’s an irony in how, back when Google Video and YouTube were just starting to gain prominence, I was opposed to the idea of uploading all of my videos there exclusively, insisting on having at least a copy of the video files available directly on this site; likewise I absolutely refused to use any of the photo album wesbites such as Flickr and had all of my photos here and on my own hosted photo gallery software. In both cases, handing over control of my content to some third-party who could do what they wanted with it and change their pricing structure at-will seemed like a terrible idea. Yet despite this, I, like just about everyone else with a personal blog, took to Facebook and Twitter and seemingly abandoned blogging.

I was chatting with a friend late last year about this move of personal bloggers from their own blogs to the major social media platforms. Blogs have, it seemed, survived for niche topics and evolved into something else for political sites, but not survived as much as personal journals. My plan is to keep this site running as a personal site but with some specific topics which have a fair bit of focus.

In order to do this, I think the site needs a bit of a tidy up. There’s a heap of dead links on the sidebar. The photo at the top of the page is probably 14 years old and could use an update. The theme of the site overall is dated, not that I mind things looking a bit old-fashioned, and in some ways I think it has aged well compared to many more modern-looking sites, but the site is not very mobile-friendly or even particularly scalable for modern desktop resolutions. Whether I persist with the current theme and make a few adjustments or change theme entirely is something I haven’t decided yet, but it’s safe to say there will be a few cosmetic changes.

At some stage, and it’s quite low on the priority list but will need to be looked at eventually, back in the day when I didn’t want to use Google Video or YouTube at all and simply embedded videos on this site directly, I did so in the Flash Video format with a Flash Player wrapper. Flash was killed off almost completely three years ago so those videos don’t play, although I did have the foresight at the time to link to copies of the videos in other formats so they’re not completely inaccessible. I thought about this when Flash was killed off at the end of 2020 as I was working somewhere which had a Flash based system as a key component managing various systems and even had its own custom Flash Player so it wasn’t susceptible to the built-in kill-switch in Adobe’s Flash Player. I will look at seeing how else I can embed those old FLV files at some stage, probably by transcoding them to some other format which modern browsers will play natively.

Anyway, I’m back on the blog and you will hear from me again soon. I look forward to writing some interesting things for you to read and enjoy, and hopefully find quite useful.

Samuel

Add comment February 15th, 2024 at 01:03am

A return of sorts for 2019

Greetings!

It has been quite a while since I have posted anything on here, and an awful lot has happened in the world in that time. In recent weeks I have come to the conclusion that I am keen to resume blogging on a regular basis, but at the same time I don’t know that I really have enough spare time in the day to blog “on a regular basis”.

That said, I do want to resume, so here we are.

It would be fair to say that, since 2008 I have had a number of periods of absence from this blog. Each time I come back and decide I want to blog constantly and frequently, then find that I have too many ideas that I want to blog about, not enough time to write anything useful about most of them, and end up putting off new posts until I complete the old ideas which, of course, I never do, and the blog grinds to a halt. I have learned from this.

What I propose to do instead is to return to blogging occasionally, sometimes frequently, but not worry about it if I don’t have time to write about everything which I would like to write. Assuming I do go on blogging, there are a couple maintenance tasks I would like to do which will affect the way you view the site. These include:

Updating the overall appearance a bit. The current look and feel of this blog has been in place with minor adjustments since I moved the blog away from Blogger and on to paid hosting all the way back in 2005. It has served the site well, and fundamentally I still like it, but it could do with some updating, especially the main column width which worked very well in the days when 800×600 and 1024×768 screen resolutions were the norm, but these days it is too narrow and is also quite clunky on a mobile device.

Removing aspects of the site which require Flash. Flash is a dying technology, and has been exterminated in a lot of places. Some web browsers make it very difficult to use. There isn’t much on this site which uses it. It is only in use for embedded audio and video. The audio is simple to deal with as this is generally all MP3 audio anyway which anything can play, so embedding a player adds minimal benefit, but embedded inline video is important in some posts. Back in the days when Google was buying YouTube and things like Flickr were shiny and new, I made the conscious decision to not host most of my media content on these external platforms because it puts the content at the whim of those sites. If a site disappears, so does the content. If a site decides to remove it for whatever reason (and we are seeing a lot of censorship by Google and Facebook in particular lately, primarily of conservatives) then the content is gone. Keeping it hosted locally takes up space, but provides much greater control and freedom. The video content on this site when embedded was generally in the Flash Video format, although in some cases I did upload alternative versions in Windows Media and Quicktime formats (back in the days when having different software really determined what would and would not play on your system), so these may need conversion to MP4 format but then should be easily embeddable without the use of Flash.

Another thing I would like to do is write some brief summary posts about various world affairs which have transpired since I last updated the blog, outlining my thoughts on some of these events. Assuming I do this, they may be a bit few and far between, depending on when I think of a subject which requires a summary. I can think of two right now, but I’m not ready to write about them yet.

So, with that, I will leave you for now and move on to the next post for the day.

Samuel

2 comments June 17th, 2019 at 05:30pm

A workaround for an error with the WordPress Blix 0.9.1 theme under PHP 5.5

At this point in time, this blog is running a theme which it has been running since I first moved it to a WordPress installation in 2005. I have modified the theme a little bit over the years to make the colours more suit tastes and adjust a few functions to work a bit better for my needs. All that said, it is an ancient set of PHP scripts designed to work under an equally ancient version of PHP, and given how much has changed in PHP over the years it could be considered a miracle that the Blix theme still works at all.

Recently I came across a problem which I couldn’t make heads or tails of. Out of the blue, errors started appearing on this blog about failed login attempts where a script on this blog had tried to login to the database as the chief administrative user without a password:

Warning: mysql_query(): Access denied for user ‘root’@’localhost’ (using password: NO) in /home/samuelgo/wp-content/themes/blix/BX_functions.php on line 44
Warning: mysql_query(): A link to the server could not be established in /home/samuelgo/public_html/wp-content/themes/blix/BX_functions.php on line 44
Warning: mysql_num_rows() expects parameter 1 to be resource, boolean given in /home/samuelgo/public_html/wp-content/themes/blix/BX_functions.php on line 45

I first noticed this problem just after I fixed an issue where the WordPress installation couldn’t login to MySQL and thought it was related and possibly a sign of a very poorly implemented hacking of this blog, but it turned out to be unrelated. The reason WordPress was unable to login to the database was that this site was moved from one server to another and a file with login details was slightly corrupted in the process, and this was easily corrected.

The above errors are related to a function which, on the Archives page, shows the number of comments on each post. Previously the “mysql_query” function in the BX_functions file used the login details which WordPress uses, but the “mysql” function has been deprecated as of PHP 5.5 and, while it still works, now seems to need to be explicitly told which login details to use, or it just assumes it should login as “root” without a password (which is possibly the dumbest login details I can think of as it has almost no chance of working on anything but the most insecure of servers). This error, consequently, appears next to each and every post on the archives page, often multiple times. I was able to suppress these errors from displaying until I could get around to figuring out what the problem was, but this still caused the error to be dumped in to an error log many thousands of times per day, causing the error log to grow by hundreds of megabytes each day until I would delete it before it could use up all of the disk space available to this website.

A Google search for the error message shows a lot of blogs running the Blix theme and related themes, but no solution to the problem, so now that I have figured out a workaround, I’ll post it here for the benefit of everyone.

The solution is a tad cumbersome in that it requires the WordPress database username and password to be added to the BX_functions.php file. In reality it is only a workaround as the “mysql” function has been deprecated in favour of other functions and, as such, it will probably exhibit increasingly bizarre behaviour in future version of PHP until support for it is completely removed. This solution works for now, but the only long-term solution is to change to a more modern WordPress theme…I’m still trying to find one that I like as much as Blix.

The solution is to edit your Blix theme’s BX_functions.php file. I would recommend making a backup copy of the file first. This file can usually be found in the /wp-content/themes/blix directory of your website, but if you have a version of Blix which is installed in a different location, then you’ll need to find BX_functions.php in whatever directory the theme is installed in.

You should see a section which looks like this, starting around line 43 (again this may vary if you have a customised version of Blix):

echo "<li>".get_archives_link($url, $text, '');
$comments = mysql_query("SELECT * FROM " . $wpdb->comments . " WHERE comment_post_ID=" . $arcresult2->ID);
$comments_count = mysql_num_rows($comments);
if ($arcresult2->comment_status == "open" OR $comments_count > 0) echo ' ('.$comments_count.')';
echo "</li>\n";

You will need to add a couple lines as follows below the line starting with “echo” and above the line starting with “$comments = mysql_query”.

mysql_connect("server", "username", "password");
mysql_select_db("databasename");

Naturally you need to change these details so that
“server” is the address of your MySQL server (this is often “localhost”)
“username” is the username of your MySQL user
“password” is the password of your MySQL user
“databasename” is the name of the MySQL database used for your WordPress installation.
Do not remove the quotation marks from around these details.

If you’re not sure of any of these details, you should be able to find them in the wp-config.php file in the root directory of your WordPress installation.

Once you’re done, the above section of the BX_functions.php should look something like this:


echo "<li>".get_archives_link($url, $text, '');
mysql_connect("server", "username", "password");
mysql_select_db("databasename");
$comments = mysql_query("SELECT * FROM " . $wpdb->comments . " WHERE comment_post_ID=" . $arcresult2->ID);
$comments_count = mysql_num_rows($comments);
if ($arcresult2->comment_status == "open" OR $comments_count > 0) echo ' ('.$comments_count.')';
echo "</li>\n";

And the errors should go away.

It’s an annoying issue, but it’s nice to have a solution, even if it is only really a temporary workaround in lieu of upgrading to a theme designed for a modern version of PHP.

Samuel

January 1st, 2015 at 08:38pm

Sightseeing in Petaluma

One of the things I had planned to do prior to my visit to the US was get a photo gallery up and running again. My old photo gallery was running on old and discontinued software which was starting to not work properly with modern server software, and so some time ago I archived the whole thing, turning it in to a basic website which doesn’t require ancient and insecure versions of PHP. Unfortunately that meant I can not add to that gallery and had to start a new one. There are times on this blog (this holiday being one of them) where I will want to share a lot of photos with you, but posting a gazillion photos in a blog post on a regular basis is time consuming and ultimately an inefficient way to publish photos…and I don’t think you should be forced to scroll through every photo I ever take. The benefit of the photo gallery is that I can upload all of the photos I would like to share, and present you with the highlights here so that if you are interested, you can see the rest on the photo gallery. It also saves me a bit of time as I don’t have to go through and manually make resized versions of photos etc. If you’ve ever visited the /wp-content folder of this blog, you’ll know just how much manual work I do to get photos online.

So, I am pleased to present my new photo gallery at https://samuelgordonstewart.com/photogallery/. It’s a work in progress at the moment with a few empty galleries as placeholders which I will soon fill, as I really just needed to get it up and running for this blog post.

With that out of the way, on with the Petaluma sightseeing.

I took a couple hours this afternoon to go for a wander around the older downtown section of Petaluma and found quite a few nice grand old buildings, with two churches being particular standouts.

St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church:
St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church of Petaluma

And the Open Door Church on Fifth St which you might recognise from the movie Flubber:
The Open Door Church of Petaluma

TWiT.tv’s former headquarters (the TWiT Cottage) at 8 Keller St is only a couple blocks away from TWiT’s new headquarters. It has reverted to its old name of “Cavanagh Cottage” after John W. Cavanagh who built it in 1912.
Old TWiT Cottage (aka Cavanagh Cottage) at 8 Keller St, Petaluma

The building is almost completely surrounded by car parking, which would have been useful when TWiT grew to the point that it needed a larger space down the street.

This lovely old wooden bridge (The John Balshaw River Walk Bridge) crosses the Petaluma River at a bend in the river in the downtown district
John Balshaw River Crossing Bridge, Petaluma

And has some nice views of Downtown
Downtown Petaluma as seen from the Balshaw Bridge

The traffic lights of Petaluma are also all wizz-bang-and-fancy. Some of them talk to you; many of them count down how long you have left to cross the road; most acknowledge when you press the button which helps to discourage one of the things I really dislike, and that is people who stand at the traffic lights and press the button a thousand times thinking it will make the lights change sooner; and they even have pedestrian crossings with button-activated flashing lights along the sides of the pedestrian crossing so as to make it easier for drivers to work out if somebody intends to cross the road.
Pedestrian crossing in Petaluma counting down the remaining time to cross the road

I had six seconds left to cross the road there…thankfully I was already done.

And finally, I had to take a photo of this. I think there is no doubt who is in change of the household from which this truck hails.

Cute little dog protects large truck in Petaluma

Clicking on any of the photos in the post will take you to that photo’s page in the photo gallery, from which you are able to view a larger version of the photo if you wish. Alternatively, to browse through all of the photos, you can get to the “Some of the sights of Petaluma” gallery by clicking here.

Samuel

2 comments February 14th, 2014 at 09:24pm

Quick note about comments

Update: It’s funny how a lightbulb appears above one’s head just after one makes an announcement like this. The problem has now been found and worked around, but not fixed. It’s not as serious as I feared, but I’m not pleased about the workaround…but it’s OK for now. The comment system is now back to normal. End Update

Further Update 29/1: The cause of the original issue has now been fixed, which pleases me greatly as it was a bug in a spam filtering system, and without that spam filtering in place I was being bombarded by emails due to robots registering for the site in the hope that they could post spam messages for you to see. My thanks to Filidor Wiese for his excellent spam filtering system and his extremely fast fix to the problem. End Update

My attention has been drawn to the fact that the comment moderation system on this blog is currently not functioning correctly. I was made aware of this by a handful of comments slipping through in recent days which should have required my intervention and approval before appearing (some of those have since been removed as I would not have let them through).

Unfortunately the obvious solutions to this problem have not fixed it, so as an interim measure until I have a bit more time to find and fix the problem, I have turned on the function which requires all comments to go through the moderation process. I apologise for the inconvenience this causes. Hopefully it will be fixed within the next few days.

Samuel

January 28th, 2014 at 10:19am

Technical problems with logging in to this blog

It has come to my attention that some people may be seeing a page which simply says “not acceptable” when they attempt to log in to this blog. This, unfortunately, is a necessary (and hopefully temporary) security measure which has been put in place by my web host VentraIP in order to combat an ongoing worldwide attack against WordPress installations. This security measure is outside of my control and I can not prevent this error message from appearing, however I can provide some help to overcome it.

The message should only appear if you load the login page a certain number times in a short period of time (as my web host has not made the exact number of page loads and the exact period of time available publicly, I will not disclose it at this time), and it should be noted that displaying the login page and submitting your username and password count as two separate loads of the login page.

If you see this message, your best option is to wait a couple minutes and try again. If that doesn’t help, try clearing your browser’s cache before trying again. Although the “not acceptable” page should not be cached by your browser, in my testing I found that my browser did cache it and was displaying it even when the server was trying to accept or decline a log in or log out attempt and serve up the appropriate page.

The attack against WordPress installations has been going on for quite some time now, so this security measure could be around for a while. As much of a nuisance as the security measure may be, it is far better than the alternative of having servers overloaded by automated attempts to break in to administrative accounts of WordPress installations; and even though I would like to see a greater number of loads of the login page permitted before the “not acceptable” message is displayed, I trust that my web host has not picked an arbitrary number and has instead picked a number which accurately reflects the necessary measures to limit the impact of the ongoing attack.

If problems persist, let me know and I’ll do what I can to help you log in.

Samuel

4 comments May 23rd, 2013 at 07:45am

I hope you have had a wonderful and blessed Easter

I have been working across the entire Easter weekend, have enjoyed Easter and have found time to reflect upon the reason for Easter. It is a very important time of the year and one which I fear is treated as a meaningless holiday by far too many.

Over the course of the weekend, I have found Mark 9:31 to be quite meaningful and uplifting.

For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be [a]delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.”

Of course Easter is a time to celebrate, and a time which excites Nattie and Pebbles due to the deliveries of the Easter Bunny.

With Pebbles, Easter eggs have to be kept out of reach, lest they get carted away.

Pebbles investigating the Easter eggs

Pebbles investigating the Easter eggs

Pebbles investigating the Easter eggs

Pebbles investigating the Easter eggs

Nattie, on the other hand, has seen enough Easters to be more mature about the arrival of the eggs.

Nattie checks out some Easter eggs

Nattie checks out some Easter eggs

Nattie checks out some Easter eggs

One thing which I do not understand about Easter is the public holiday structure. Obviously Good Friday is very important, but the Saturday and Monday do not make as much sense, as the Sunday is the day of the resurrection.

I suppose that, back when the Easter public holidays were enshrined in law, people worked on Saturday but not Sunday, so making the Saturday a public holiday made sense, and in the interests of observing the Sunday holiday for those who did not work on Saturdays, the Monday was also made a public holiday. Alas now, in the age of a 38-hour standard working week where “normal” is considered Monday to Friday work, but with a large portion of the population doing shift work at all times of the day and all days of the week, I think it would make more sense for the public holidays to be on the significant holy dates (Good Friday and Easter Sunday) with the Monday retained as a public holiday as an observance of the Sunday for the benefit of those who do not normally work on a Sunday, as well as those who are required to work on such an important day.

In my view, rearranging the public holidays in such a way would, in a small way, help to reassert the importance of Easter in the minds of the population-at-large.

Samuel

4 comments March 31st, 2013 at 11:47pm

Harry Reid linking the death of Marines to the spending sequester

An email to the quite excellent Tom Marr of WCBM 680AM in Baltimore, Maryland. Tom will be filling in for Mark Levin on his nationally syndicated show next week.

Hi Tom,

I couldn’t agree more with you about Harry Reid. What happened to those Marines is a tragedy, but Harry Reid’s attempt to link it to the sequester is disgusting.

As an Australian, I can put up with hearing Harry Reid when I tune in to American radio, but I nearly took an axe to the radio when Harry Reid turned up on an Australian radio newscast yesterday.

I’m looking forward to hearing you on The Great One’s show on Monday.

Kind regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra, Australia

March 21st, 2013 at 02:01am

If you didn’t see Mary Kissel’s speech and want a better understanding of the current state of American politics, watch it!

It is somewhat unfortunate but true that the majority of the Australian media, either for lack of room or interest, does not provide a complete picture when it covers American political and economic news.

It is understandable, as most US news outlets do the same for Australian news, but it is also frustrating at times when basic facts about American politics are relatively unknown in Australia and vice-versa. This is why I sought out US talk radio back in 2008, and why I was so impressed today with Mary Kissel’s address to the National Press Club.

Mary Kissel at the Australian National Press Club
Mary Kissel moments before her address

Mary eloquently explained the current state of affairs in the US and how it differs from the version of events which is generally reported outside the US. It was fascinating and reassuring to hear from an American journalist that most of the things which I know to be true about the current state of US politics (as I take an active interest and do not rely entirely on Australian media reports) are in fact the truth. It was also very exciting to hear such information being espoused on as mainstream a stage as the National Press Club.

I expect that Mary’s address will be on ABC iView or YouTube soon. As I’m writing this on my phone it is a little hard to check, but I will post a link at the first available opportunity.
Update: Or not. It doesn’t appear to be online anywhere. I did record the ABC News 24 feed so maybe I’ll have to put it online myself. End Update

Samuel

1 comment March 5th, 2013 at 02:02pm

Some good news for a Friday evening

It is always nice to be able to end a Friday with some good news, and as I received two bits of good news today, I thought I’d share them and an extra bit of good news, just for good measure.

Firstly, I received confirmation today that some things I ordered some weeks ago have just been shipped from the US. As anyone who knows me well would know, I have a bit of a collection of NYPD merchandise. To complete (well, mostly, I’m sure I could buy more stuff if I wanted to) this collection, I placed a sizeable order a few weeks back. I was excited when payment was taken a couple weeks later as this confirmed that the items were all available, and today I received an email confirming that the order has shipped. Even more excitingly, the order has been shipped through a faster service than I expected, and is expected to arrive early next week.

The second bit of good news is that when I checked my post office box today, there was a very flattering and interesting invitation to an event in Melbourne. Alas I don’t think I’ll be able to go, and I’m not sure if the event’s details are public yet so I won’t divulge them, but it was exciting anyway and I will keep the invitation regardless of whether I choose to go or not.

Finally, some good news for all and sundry. The Bolt Report returns to Channel Ten this weekend on Sunday at 10am. For those of us in regional areas, some even better news in that Southern Cross Ten will be taking the show live. No more waiting tensely all day for the 4:30pm replay. Alas, the afternoon replay has been dumped in favour of a condensed replay of the revamped Meet The Press, but that’s understandable seeing as Ten and News Limited have put quite some effort in to making Meet The Press a more interesting and useful program than it was in recent years.

I wish you a good weekend, and hope you will join me in enjoying seeing Andrew Bolt’s insightful program on Sunday morning.

I suppose I might have to share some photos of some of the NYPD stuff when it arrives too…now that’s something to look forward to!

Samuel

March 1st, 2013 at 07:45pm

Twitter problems

Something seems to be irreparably wrong with the Twitter integration on this blog. Is it a coincidence that it all broke just as an update (which I have not installed) to the Twitter Tools plugin was released which drops support for a few of the functions which broke? I don’t think so.

I probably won’t have time to fix or replace it before ACT election day, but I’ll see about replacing the twitter feed in the sidebar with one that actually works. As for how I get some of the integration functions back, I don’t know right now. That’s one for next week.

Samuel

October 18th, 2012 at 09:51am

Video of Tony Abbott’s speech about freedom of speech

On Monday, as noted on this blog, Tony Abbott addressed the Institute of Public Affairs about the subject of freedom of speech. I consider myself privileged to have been there to see it, and found myself hoping that somebody would post the full video of the speech online for everyone to see as the grabs used by the media in their news reports, while capturing the bare point of the speech, did not seem to capture the full reasoning or argument behind the speech. Various media outlets have clearly noted and understood the reasoning, and echoed it in their own statements since Monday, but I don’t believe that the general public has been given the opportunity to date to hear Tony Abbott’s full thought process on the matter.

Today, I am pleased to be able to say, The Institute of Public Affairs have done just that.

The video runs just under 30 minutes. The IPA’s Chris Berg delivers introductory remarks for the first seven of those minutes, with Tony Abbott’s speech taking up the remaining 23 minutes. It’s well worth watching, or even just listening to. I think even those who disagree with Tony Abbott on this one will find this enlightening, even if it merely gives them a better understanding of where their own arguments fit in to the debate.

Samuel

1 comment August 9th, 2012 at 10:10am

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