Opinion Australia

One man’s view of how the world might be.

Archive for May 2007

Teletubbies ride again?

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Is he is… or is he not… and what does it matter whether he is or not? I don’t care much either way… least of all because it’s the Poles who are complaining about Tinky Winky’s potential as a gay icon 🙂

Tinky Winky

At first I thought this was just another way of getting some free publicity for the show but then decided I’m just getting cynical in my dotage 🙂

On the other hand after what happened to the Rev Jerry Falwell, I’m not sure if the psychologist employed by the Polish Ombudsman, Ewa Sowinska, wouldn’t be better off examining *her* rather than episodes of the show… but if their economy can stand the expense who am I to complain?

Source: smh.com.au

Written by welshdog

May 31, 2007 at 7:52 am

Posted in Society

Times they are a changing

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In these parts the local councils combat fly tipping (i.e. people dumping rubbish anywhere illegally) by arranging to collect any and all rubbish put out by households at set times, usually a couple of times a year. There is one of these events in progress as I write and people are piling their junk at the sides of the road ready for collection.

Of course this attracts the usual crop of totters who pick over society’s discards in the hopes of finding something of value, or that might be repaired/recycled to become valuable. Actually I’ve done this myself! In the past I’ve collected several monitors a good few working computers… one with a hard drive that contained pictures and details of a young girl and her friends… a lesson to always remove the HDD prior to disposal – or at least to shred anything on it!! I’ve had chairs, bookcases recipe books, old records… it’s amazing what people throw out!

This time our original pile can be seen in the photo but has since been added to by a computer table on wheels… which went within minutes! 🙂

Rubbish pile

One of the things of note is the number of monitors. I threw out 6 which were either broken or ‘surplus to requirements’.

Now while I thought I might have been a bit odd (oi… I heard that!!!), I have at least been messing with the hardware for years so could be expected to have a few more than usual. However, as I’ve wandered around the estate I see I’m not alone. Other people have thrown out multiple monitors, television sets, and the like. Seems times really *are* a changing.

I’m assuming the collapse in the price of LCD’s etc has a hand in this and that IT upgrades are now meaning the old CRT’s are being replaced by bright new light. flat displays. I know that’s happened to me. The two new machines came with 22″ monitors and they are truly a spectacular improvement on the older screens… even my giant old 22″ CRT had nothing on this and I can promise I don’t miss it. The new one sits quietly in the corner unobtrusive and clear while the old one was *huge* and filled the desk. It was also noisy since it needed its own fan to keep the workings cool.

So… what’s the next stage? Flexible roll up models? Ones we can pin to a wall or the desk? Or maybe just headset sized displays fitted on glasses… that would allow the easy deployment of 3D images… who knows… right now though the streets are filling up with vacuum tubed behemoths that have met their use by date and been found wanting.

Written by welshdog

May 31, 2007 at 7:27 am

Posted in Society

The Good Old Days

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This is going to date me pretty severely but it’s something I’ve been mulling over for some time. My basic question is… “Where did it all begin to go wrong?”

What is ‘it’ you ask? Let me explain.

When Adam and I were still young lads, what constituted a ‘workday’ and ‘conditions of employment’ were, for the mass of the working classes, virtually set in stone. For lots of us the ‘norm’ was a 40 hour week. The work day began at 8:30 and finished at 5:30 with an unpaid hour for lunch, and two paid 15 minute ‘tea breaks’ mid morning and afternoon. The week ended Friday and Saturday and Sunday were ‘days of rest’.

This was so entrenched that for years after WWII, in the UK, there was even a radio programme called “Workers Playtime” which was a full variety show that visited factories etc and ran for the lunch hour… great stuff… I loved it!! 😀

Admittedly there was some variation, for example the building industry started and finished earlier but the norm was the 40 hours.

Also of course, for those who worked in shops and might be expected to work on the Saturday morning [i](and possibly afternoon)[/i] there was ‘half day closing’ usually on Wednesday afternoon when *all* the shops in town closed. Again this might vary inasmuch as one town or area might close Thursday afternoons to try to win some trade from one that closed on Wednesdays.

All public holidays (in the UK they were Bank Holidays) saw all businesses closed and this included Christmas and Good Friday… tho not New Years Day… or the Queen’s Birthday oddly enough! 😀

If for some reason you *had* to work on one of the ‘closed days’ you were paid time and a half, double or even treble time to compensate you for losing your time at the company’s request… and we accepted it with thanks. Seemed fair all round really

Night and shift workers were a special case of course, but even they seemed happy with their lot in general.

Things were pretty confused in some places where we found you could buy a cabbage on a Sunday but not a bible… but otherwise things worked pretty well… or seemed to. Admittedly in Wales until the mid 1960’s many a country pub wasn’t allowed to open Sundays and many a border county found a steady stream of traffic across its boundaries to a ‘wet’ country where pubs opened as normal… but we managed 🙂

Not sure how things were here in Australia of course, but I assume there was some similarity at least on the basics.

Now what do we have?? Well almost every business under the sun wants to work all day every day of the week, month and year regardless of family commitment or economic necessity. What’s more, it seems you are being paid minimum wages regardless *when* you work.

So for those who regularly work very early shifts, late shifts, weekends, holidays and the like there is no longer any need for them to be paid ‘penalty rates’ for those unsocial hours.

In Australia, the AWA’s are just the end of the line of the erosion of workers rights and the loss of hard won freedoms.

Basically the question is… what the hell happened? Such a fundamental change in the approach to pay and conditions *can’t* must have had a catalyst somewhere that made he changes not only necessary, but acceptable to those most affected, i.e. ‘the workers’. Just where and when did it all go wrong?

Written by welshdog

May 30, 2007 at 2:28 pm

Missing girl!

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The picture below is of 12 year old Satra Mohammed of Dharruk, Western Sydney who went missing last night around 5:00 p.m. The police are very concerned for her safety. If you see her please contact authorities asap.

Satra Mohammed

Source: SMH.com.au


Luckily she’s been found safe and well…

Update: smh.com.au

Written by welshdog

May 30, 2007 at 9:49 am

Posted in Crime & Punishment

Stream of consciousness

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As I sit here rambling away I occasionally sit and wonder who apart from me actually reads any of it and why they really think. I know the wife does, and occasionally the Phantom, my sister and my nephew Mark. No idea who else really… even though we’re getting 400 – 500 hits a day.

(Hello out there whoever you are… want to leave a message to say hi maybe?)

Anyway, what started this off was wondering what people actually thought of the site and my rambling. It might be a bit introspective in some ways but that’s really the nature of blogging, and of course because of the way I write. In general, I get an idea, sit down and let it flow and usually I end up with something entirely different to my original intention.

This stream of consciousness stuff is quite strange. Time after time I’ve started on one topic… written something… then had to go back over the whole post because the end makes a nonsense of the beginning (whaddya mean aren’t all my posts like that? charming!!).

This was very nearly one of those posts. I started off wondering what people thought, drifted into looking up my stats, and then for some reason I started thinking of (and writing about!) the final episode of Seinfeld… where they get sent to prison for a year. Where that came from I can’t say… but I stuffed it back away again quickly. When I look back over my stuff I find some of the messages hard enough to read as it is.

Anyway – can’t continue along this stream… my parents are up and doing and my mother is telling my father off. 🙂

Written by welshdog

May 30, 2007 at 9:30 am

Posted in General Ramblings

Two more days!

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The oldies fly out on Friday back to the questionable warmth of the UK summer. Gonna be quiet here for a few months… but no doubt they’ll be back for Christmas. The old man is already saying he’ll be flying out on December 3rd, but who knows what’ll happen between now and then.
We celebrated his 86th birthday just a few days ago with a simple chicken dinner, a cake with one candle (in case all 86 set off the fire alarms) and a very nice bottle of 2003 Wolf Blass Chardonnay. Could be worse. 🙂

One question that now appears is what to do with the downstairs living room we’ve been using while they were here. We usually live upstairs and there is far too much stuff filling the room currently. We can’t do anything too drastic in case they actually *do* make it back here… on the other hand we need to make best use of space. Not sure what to do right now… maybe just pile the furniture up in a corner and ignore it for 6 months?

We’ve also tried to make the space usable for the kids to be able to do their homework, to make it a bit more ‘academic’ feeling again. We have new desks, we just need to sort out a configuration that will allow us all to work and not get under each others feet at the same time.

Dunno what to do really… still thinking that one over.

Written by welshdog

May 30, 2007 at 6:49 am

Posted in Home and Hearth

Freebie photo storage – nice!!

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Now here is a *really* nice little freebie!!

Not content with giving you 2.5 Gigabytes of free email, Google are now providing all users with a minimum 1 Gigabyte free storage for photos.

Basically you download their free photo organiser Picasa 2 and join up with the free Web Album service. To use it, you click on the photos you want to upload, give them a tagline or description if you like (or you could do it later) … and click upload. It’s all taken care of for you which makes it simple even for me!

Albums can be made private or public and the url’s sent to friends, family, prospective employers etc and… if you like… set up a catalogue of goods to show off to potential customers!

If you want to upgrade you can get 7 Gigabytes for just US$25 a year… which just has to be good value. Obviously I like this idea… if it’s free and easy to use. I’m in!!

Written by welshdog

May 29, 2007 at 10:05 am

The way forward?

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A new advance (?) at the Mayo Clinic is the workstation treadmill. This new device finally and literally makes people able to work whilst losing weight. The idea is simply that you work whilst you walk on a specially designed workstation attached to a conventional treadmill.

According to researchers who admit they weren’t exactly over zealous in measuring calorie usage, users could lose up to 35 kilos in a year by using the device.

Treadmill workstation

What springs to mind when I look at this is to question whether the Mayo Clinic gone far enough with this concept?.

Why not make the treadmill a purely mechanical device, i.e. *not* electric powered and force users to generate their *own* power thereby saving the company money, improving green credentials *and* increasing the general level of health of all employees? You could even tie it into the company bonus structure with those who generate the most power receiving a higher bonus as an incentive to walk faster?

I suppose you could ask why any employee would feel inclined to ride an actual treadmill when they feel like they’re on a metaphorical one… but hey… if it improves health, creates wealth *and* saves the planet, who’s to argue??

Written by welshdog

May 29, 2007 at 7:24 am

Posted in I.T and similar

Lady Di – not forgotten.

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We’re only at the end of May but it might be a good time to remember that on 31st August it will be 10 years since Diana’s untimely death. She’d have been 46 this year.

Diana June 1997
I’ve said before that I’m no royalist and have, in jest, oft repeated the mantra “They’ll be first against the wall come the revolution”… however Lady Di was something special. Privileged background and pampered life not withstanding she came to represent something intangible in the eyes of a huge chunk of the world. In many ways she seemed to represent the acceptable face of “the powers that be” giving them a human face.

The underlying hostility many felt towards the royal family in the UK bubbled to the surface when her problems with Charles became open knowledge and there was much public resentment over the way the ‘peoples princess’ was being treated. The affection the general public felt for her was utterly underestimated. This lack of understanding resulted in the mother of the future king being stripped of her title as ‘Her Royal Highness’ which by its nature both at the time and in light of subsequent events seems a petty and extremely childish decision.

Since the night she was killed, so called ‘conspiracy theorists’ have mooted the possibility she was murdered by UK secret service agents. Even so, if there is any truth in that, the facts have been well hidden and I doubt anyone will ever know the full story. All we know is that a driver affected by alcohol and/or drugs slammed into a column in a tunnel killing himself and two of the car’s occupants, Lady Diana being one of them.

UK law stipulates that any body brought into the UK must be the subject of an inquest within a year. It’s been 10 years since she was returned to the UK and yet the inquest is only now starting its work. Not that it makes a lot of difference. Her children are grown, and her ex-husband Charles has married his much despised mistress, who’s existence was one of the causes of her death.

In the end, despite the coronial inquiry continuing to plod sonorously through the legal system, she and the manner of her death have been been pretty much relegated to history.

History it might be but there’s another mantra that keeps popping into my head “Never to forgive… never to forget.”.

Written by welshdog

May 28, 2007 at 7:28 am

Posted in Society

Wanna laff?

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Try this… so true… so true.

My life in a cartoon 😀


Written by welshdog

May 27, 2007 at 7:08 pm

Posted in Entertainment