Friday, April 8, 2011

Wind Turbines - Impacts upon those residing close to them

There is currently debate over the health impacts of renewable energy generators, wind turbines, on the health of humans in Australia as installations are taking off in these times of carbon tax threats.

Installations of "wind farms" are upsetting local residents because of a number of reasons including how they look, fears of negative impacts on the environment (wildlife), noise, health, and having a "not in my backyard" mentality.

According to those affected they have sleep patterns disrupted and symptoms such as headaches.

The counter argument is that in parts of Europe that already have these wind turbine installations people living near them don't make these sorts of claims.

I don't live near any of these...the closest site that I know about is about 2-3 hours away from me off the side of a highway, so I can't really make any comment besides I like renewable power supplies, that are 'clean' and these seem to represent this...however I do recall arguments about impacts of microwaves and cellular phone transmitting towers, so for the sake of the image of Green Energy, this needs to be done right...with all impacts verified and be eliminated or minimized.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Container Deposit Legislation for NSW

Container Deposit Legislation is basically law that determines whether or not you pay a deposit on drink containers and have it returned when you return it for recycling.

I believe that it makes a lot of sense introducing this in New South Wales. It already exists in South Australia, where it was established way back sometime in the 1970's.

The current situation offers people in the state of New South Wales no incentive to "Do the right thing" and recycle their drink containers.

Think of every empty can, plastic and glass bottle transforming into a 10c piece. I think that the roadsides would be a lot cleaner if that were to happen. Even if a can was worth 10c for returning it and someone still threw it away, someone else would value the dollar and pick it up and save up for something they want. If this were to be introduced and these items were worth money , I guarantee there would be a large reduction in litter.

I like the idea of clean, tidy spaces - However I am already driven on the idea. Can "everyday" people see how this would be a nuisance? I mean it would mean every can of soft drink or bottle of beer would cost 10c more for the deposit (which you get back by returning it).

Google Moderator allows you to ask important questions, gather support and, with enough momentum, force key people to address the question. Do you think this could gather a following on something like Twitter or FaceBook?

I would like to see a question asked why New South Wales does not have this legislation in place, and gather all the facts and then make an informed and responsible decision whether to adopt this or maintain the status quo.

Considering that Carbon Tax is a hot topic right now, why don't people look at how many additional resources (including energy and water) are needed to make new products, rather than what recycling would consume? Do you realize if your favorite drinks company keeps buying new glass that it costs more, and they just put that cost on top of the price?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"My mobile phone is worth more than my car"

Simply because my readers seemed to like my Windows OS/Technology entry from yesterday I figured I'd weigh up some things against my "smartphone".

Firstly I'm not even 100% sure that what I have can be considered a smartphone or not. The term seems to describe well...I dunno, phones that can email and access the internet perhaps?

Anyhow I have a HTC Mozart running Windows Mobile 7, I got this as I didn't want an iPhone, and although my phone before was an awesome Samsung...I wanted a change. Before that I had various Nokia models, a Sony Ericsson (that had to be replaced considering it was defective even after at least 2 visits to the store and being sent away), and a hand-me-down Ericsson A1018S (Google Image Search it ;P )

Well I wanted different and that's certainly what I got. I see the Mozart as a clear competitor to the iPhone, it has a Zune Player built into it, you can't use removable storage (grrr) and you have to "sync" it with a computer to transfer content to and from it - It's a true hassle.

Anyhow according to HTC themselves, this device has a 1GHz CPU, 8GB on-board Storage, 576MB RAM, an 8 MP color (zomg) camera with auto focus, xenon flash and capable of 720p HD video Recording,  Internet/Wifi/Bluetooth/GPS capabilities and software to run all this stuff.

Compare this device that weighs 130 grams including the battery with my fathers desktop PC that he bought as a refurbished machine back in 2005.

It also has a 1GHz CPU, it has 20GB HDD, 256MB RAM...and errm a CRT monitor and just upgraded to a new fangled optical mouse - It runs Windows XP Professional and has a USB 56K Dial Up Modem. Other Mentionables include the Floppy Disk Drive and the DVD Burner. I'd guess it weighs around 5-7Kg and has a miles worth of cable, compressed into a big tangled ball.

I've heard our time as the golden age of technology, when I first heard this I was skeptical...but recording this down, actually taking the time to sit down, think and research this stuff and you really appreciate how much power we possess with the technology that is accessible to anyone that can afford it, give it a few years and these devices will become the new low tier.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

15+ years with MS Windows, what can I expect from Windows 8?

Last night I got thinking about the Windows Operating System and its direction. The first distribution outside of MS-DOS that I recall using was Windows 98 in late 1998...perhaps I used 95 before then, but I don't remember doing so.

Back in the day our brand new AMD machine ran Windows 98SE with Microsoft Works, Encarta 98 and errm that's pretty much all it was originally used for...that and playing single player Age of Empires, Golf and games bundled with the OS such as solitaire. A pretty expensive typewriter and encyclopedia wouldn't you say?

The machine ran at a blistering 350MHz, had 32MB RAM, a 4.3gig HDD and came with an inkjet printer, 56.6k modem, voodoo video (I think), Creative Sound, 32X CD-ROM, 2 Channel Speakers and Floppy Disk Drive...And I was 12 years old.

By 13 I had began to discover the true potential of this machine and was forced to use internet at libraries and school for my fix, until our house connected to the internet on my 14th birthday.

Eventually (age 15) I got a job and could afford my own equipment, however I worked damn hard for my money so I was only spending it on what I really needed. Instead I would arm myself with floppy disks and downloaded content whilst at school and take it home and upload it to my own folder. I have a back-up of this folder somewhere...mostly games involving pot and South Park...images of Beavis and Butthead and The Simpsons...oh and this was in 2000 when pro wrestling was "in" so a lot of pro wrestling content, too.

Nearly a year after gaining full time employment at age 18 I bought a laptop. The year was 2004 and it was an Acer with a DVD Burner, 40gig HDD, 1.5GHz CPU, plenty of USB ports and 256RAM and at the time not many laptops topped what I had, unless you wanted to take out a small loan. It ran Windows XP Professional and I thought it could do anything.

I now have a number of computers for different purposes, running Windows 7. The things they can do is amazing. I once had Vista and like many others...really didn't care for all.

I really like Windows 7...but what will Windows 8 offer which is different?

A quick search has returned a few 'rumors' such as:
- Stronger authorization security (who would have guessed huh?),
- Ability to mount an ISO
- An 'App' store
- 'Improved' ribbon menu things
- A login screen that resembles that of my mobile phone OS when on standby; and
- Updated versions of existing utilities such as Internet Explorer.

I must say, if this is all that is on offer...I will stick with 7 as long as I can get away with it, that is, until new hardware/software that I want operates best using the next installment of Windows.

I also can't help but think how far Microsoft can step without being the "bad guys" that they were when they really had the market by the throat. I mean ISO mounting and PDF reading reduces the number of third party software that needs to be used for applications that are used a lot by everyday users.

However, I don't see any video/audio editing software being talked about. With so many devices capable of recording video and sound, and images for that matter...I just can't help but wonder why Microsoft aren't putting their resources into developing these...I mean I'm still using MSPaint! It has improved, but only a little.

A mobile phone with Windows Mobile 7 has better image manipulation programs bundled than what Windows 7 Desktop has to offer - What's their angle?

A working Class Hero is something to be

Taxes, they suck.

Before this rant I want it known that I have been paying income taxes for 10 years now, paying General Sales Tax (G.S.T) since it was introduced in this Country...I own and maintain my own vehicle with annual registration costs and fuel it with heavily taxed fuel and I enjoy a social alcoholic drink...with its applicable tax applied.

As a single white male with no people dependent on me, living alone in a home that I can afford to pay off with my income from a 9-5 job...I feel as though I give a lot in terms of taxes, and receive very little in return.

I have received one payment that I can remember - Money for buying my first home...the first home buyers grant. Considering I have been taxed $8000 this year through income taxes already, we may as well make this year and that payment that leaves 9 years of being taxed, receiving nothing in return.

"Nothing" in return sounds a little harsh... after-all the government did give me a basic education, based on standards for jobs they predicted the Country/State would need by the time I was working.

I am 25 years old now, and "projects" that Government spends money on seems to empty my pockets with the money used on demographics I fall outside of - Money spent on activities for 'seniors' and on 'youth' for example - Money spent on libraries, and schools that I don't visit or use, cultural events that I don't celebrate and services that I don't use (yet) like hospitals and health programs.

I try to enjoy life but it seems Government does everything it can to minimize my enjoyment and rather use me for whatever they think they can get out of me. Hell Governments even establish laws that make it a crime to oppose Governments actions.

Government's are very secretive yet are financed by the people. When a fellow Australian Julian Assange decided to do what was within his capabilities and highlight how Governments act, he became some kind of new breed of international criminal.

I see Government as a bunch of older citizens that aren't necessarily wiser with age, with their own motivations for their decision making and don't weigh up the true benefits and burdens of proposals.

One example would be the political event of 2010 in Australia. The then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was replaced by Julia Gillard for reasons thought to be bad poll results, policy changes and the image of the Labor Party and its stability. In 2011 with Julia Gillard as Prime Minister they Labor Party has the same problems...problems that haven't changed, problems that were used by Julia Gillard to leverage her bid to become Prime Minister, and problems that have yet to be resolved despite these events.

On the day of Earth Hour 2011, the Labor Government in N.S.W Australia were shafted in an epic way, giving a strong  message to any person looking to become involved in politics only to become corrupt, power mad, wasteful and inconsiderate of the people that they govern.

My $0.02

My "Review" of Stigmata

Stigmata was made in 1999 and is a film about Frankie Paige, a young woman that recieves Stigmata, the wounds of Christ that Jesus suffered during the crucifiction, and the priest who was formerly a scientist, trying to determine what is happening.

This movie appeals to me for a number of reasons.

Frankie is a young woman in modern times living in America who starts suffering wounds which attract the attention of the Catholic Church who send a skilled and talented priest who used to be an organic chemist to investigate her case. It is a story I like as it makes me think of how miracles, or the scientifically unexplainable that occured in modern life would disrupt what people have accepted as day to day life.

The opening theme song 'Mary Mary' is performed by Chumbawamba...yes the band that did "Tubthumping" (also known as "I Get Knocked Down"). This song is pretty typical of a song one would expect from a movie made in 1999 that was considered a horror. It is hard for me to describe, think about what you would expect an "anarcho-punk" song about religion would sound like...or check it out for yourself.

Whilst talking about the music of this film, it must be pointed out what a solid soundtrack this film has, and also that Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins was involved with creating music for this film.

Other musical artists work appearing in this films soundtrack include Bjork, David Bowie, The Crystal Method and Natalie Imbruglia...among others.

This film was released in September 1999, and in January 2000 in Australia (??) - Although I hadn't watched this until 2009 sometime, when I saw it by chance whilst flipping through channels and it held my attention without me even knowing what movie it was.

I remember my brother watched this at the theatre and he seemed to be unsettled when he told me about it.

According to Wikipedia the budget for this film was $29 million and its gross revenue was $89,446,268.

This film has a rating of 6.1/10 at IMDB
This film has an average rating of 4/10 from Rotten Tomatoes

I believe this movie deserves a rating at least somewhere in the 70% range. The critics seem to dismiss this title because it "doesn't make sense" or that it isn't "realistic", which just says to me that they missed the point entirely.

One thing I didn't like about this movie is that in parts it seemed to lend a bit from The Exorcist, other than this I'd have to be a real hard-ass to find any real faults.

If you haven't seen this movie I would highly recommend giving it a viewing, or at least giving it consideration with a watch of the trailer, or a read over of its coverage on Wikipedia/IMDB/Rotten Tomatoes/your favorite review site.

Some trivia I like about this film

- This movie was made in 1999, just as all the year 2000 hysteria was happening
- Churches at the Vatican(??) in the film are under the process of construction works
- The movie gives a few history lessons and really gives an open minded person some things to think about
- 'Frankie' is a name similar to the first person to receive Stigmata - Saint Francis
- The color red has been filtered in this movie, so when it is used it really stands out
- Frankie possesses traits to that of Saint Francis including appreciation of Animals and the Environment

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I first saw this movie in 2009 I believe...10 years after it was made. I recall seeing the back lashing scene whilst flicking through television channels and it hooked me in. Shortly after I rented it from the local video library and watched it from start to finish. In 2010 I specifically made sure I got this movie on DVD as a birthday present.

Over the weekend I must have watched this movie at least 4 times, cutting in and out as I did other things like cook dinner.

I really enjoy this movie and plan to write up a full review for it. The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has this film rated on average as something like 6.1/10 which I think is absurd. There are some parts of this movie I don't particularly like but this movie definitely deserves a minimum rating of about 7.0 in my books.

If you haven't seen this movie I'd highly recommend that you at least look into it - Check out the trailer, or read a review...if you have overlooked this title you may be pleasantly surprised.