Filed under the net

Blacked out tonight in protest against #SOPA #internetblackout will be participating in the internet blackout in protest over the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) tonight (Australian time). For 24 hours from 1600 AEDT (0500 UTC) the site will be online, but blacked out. More information.

Shit Tony Abbott Says

I couldn’t believe nobody had already done this, so I did it. My contribution to the currently-fashionable “shit ____ say” meme.

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Video Blog

This is my attempt at video blogging, made as part of a workshop at the Making Links Conference last week. It’s a response to the This is Oz anti-homophobia campaign.

Thanks to the lovely people at SYN Media for a great workshop.

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Where to buy books online

This is the result of an experiment I just conducted to figure out where is the best place to buy books on the web. All very scientifical and stuff.

Methodology: I have chosen a random selection of five books, including one Australian title. All these are in print and should be widely available.

  • Eucalyptus, Murray Bail
  • The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
  • If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller, Italo Calvino
  • Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson
  • Gabriel’s Gift, Hanif Kureshi

Then I have searched for them on four book-selling websites:

  • (US)
  • (UK site which charges a bit more for its books but has free worldwide delivery)
  • (Australian chain bookseller)
  • (second-hand books from large international network of bookshops)


My basket of five books (based on the cheapest copy available – hardback, paperback, new or used), including shipping to my PO Box in Australia, costs:

  • USD 58.19 plus 29.94 shipping (3-5 weeks) – total USD 88.13 (AUD 105.80)
  • GBP 37.55, free shipping (1-2 weeks) – total GBP 37.55 (AUD 74.60)
  • AUD 108.75, plus 14.00 shipping (7-10 days) – total AUD 122.75
  • AUD 14.94 (two used hardcover and three new paperbacks), plus AUD 16.93 per book shipping (3-4 weeks) – total AUD 99.59

So the obvious winner is The lowest price and the shortest promised delivery time. No contest really.

The fact that the Australian option is by far the most expensive didn’t surprise me. Books are a rip-off in this country.

(Yes, this is my first post in a long time. I can’t say yet that I am coming back to blogging, but watch this space.)

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Making Links

I’ve just spent two days at the 2008 Making Links Conference – the annual community sector ICT and web workers’ conference. It’s been a simultaneously intellectually energising and physically exhausting experience (for my sins I’ve been up at 5:30 am each day to get the train into Melbourne, rather than doing the sensible thing and staying in town). Here, in no particular order, are some brief observations and a few choice quotes.

  • The first post-Twitter Making Links. While there were only a handful of twitterers, the tweets were flying thick and fast using the hashtag #ML08. Lots of discussion in presentations about Twitter too, although some delegates admitted to not getting what all the fuss is about. Said one: “this is just a geekier way of passing notes in class.” And another: “last year everyone was talking about Facebook, now everyone’s talking about Twitter – and I don’t even have a Facebook account yet!”
  • Email is dead. “Young people don’t use email any more – email is for communicating with your parents” (Penny Hagen)
  • Social tech is the new black. Yes, I know this is old news on the bleeding edge, but for the community sector I think it is significant. Lots of ideas about ways of leveraging social networking platforms to build social capital.
  • The people are the network.
  • Ambient informatics, QR codes and the “read/write city” — Where 2.0/neogeography
  • Access for people with disabilities (a major conference theme). Progress is being made, orgs are getting it, people with disabilities are making tech mork for them in unpredictable ways. The digital divide/disability divide is real but the future is wide open. “We’ve never lived in an age where people with disabilities have such a great opportunity to get involved [in cultural activity]” (Scott Hollier)

The strength and challenge of this conference is the range of different organisations and workplaces the delegates come from. Naturally not every presentation can be engaging or relevant for everyone, and I did sit through some dross, but overall I think the event was a success and the organisers should be congratulated for making this important event happen.

I Love the Gays

Hot damn…

Orwell was a blogger

George Orwell’s diaries are being published in blog form, exactly 70 years after he wrote them.

The New York Times has a story about the project:

“I think he would have been a blogger,” said Jean Seaton, a professor at the University of Westminster in London who administers the Orwell writing prize and thought up the idea of the blog.


“The diary isn’t Orwell at his most polemic; it is Orwell at his most steady, most observant,” Professor Seaton said.

Like any good political blogger, Orwell devoured the news, making clippings and looking for shifts in public and government opinion, Professor Seaton said. “He’s partly obsessed by the newspapers because of the start of the world war,” she said. “The diary is written against this almost traumatized understanding that there is going to have to be a second world war.”

Store Wars

This is why we <heart> the interwebs:

Funniest. Spam. Ever.

Subject: Re:
From: Weirong Guidry <>

Hello my friend!

I am ready to kill myself and eat my dog, if medicine prices here (http://spam.url) are bad.

Look, the site and call me 1-800 if its wrong..

My dog and I are still alive :)

Who writes these things?

I wish I could write as well as the guy who writes the Anatrim spam.
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