Physical wreck: There will be snot

I’m a physical wreck this weekend, from head to foot.

Some new shoes are fine for me, but the ones I wore on Thursday resulted in three blisters: one on each heel, and another on one of my toes. I’m sure the shoes will settle down after a couple of wears, but in the mean time, I’ve got bandaids on every time I leave the house.

And I’ve got a head cold. It’s not at the top of the scale when it comes to colds and flu, but it’s not very pleasant either.

The movie In The Loop (which is a spin-off from the TV series The Thick Of It) has some very funny deleted scenes on the Blu-Ray disc. In one, Jamie (aka The Crossest Man In Scotland) rants to Malcolm about going to see the movie There Will Be Blood… he complains that there’s hardly any blood in it.

My weekend so far could be called There Will Be Snot. On Saturday I went through an unbelievable number of tissues, thanks to an alternating blocked/sneezy/runny nose. The house sounded a little as if someone was doing a day-long really really bad trumpet rehearsal.

So far Sunday is looking like it might be a day for a sore throat rather than lots of nose action, but we’ll see.

Hopefully this cold will be on the retreat by tomorrow. I’ve got important things to do during the week.

Here for your enjoyment is Jamie McDonald, the Crossest Man In Scotland. (Coarse language)

Finally, what is amazing about In The Loop is that they managed to construct a trailer with no swearing (apart from one bleep):

The Daily Telegraph, the copied quotes, the problems they caused, and #MediaWatch

During my time involved with the PTUA, there’s been a policy to not comment on issues outside Victoria, for three main reasons:

  • It’s a Victorian organisation. There are local groups covering other parts of Australia.
  • You make media comment on stuff outside your knowledge at your peril.
  • It takes away effort from activism for and in Victoria.

So I was very surprised to discover some quotes of mine in the Sydney Daily Telegraph last week.

Sydney: Domestic airport station

INCONSIDERATE travellers putting their feet up on train seats have been fined $48,000 in the past year.

Daniel Bowen, president of the Public Transport Users Association said it was “completely appropriate” for people to be penalised for placing their feet on seats, however he said more should be done to educate people it was an offence in the first place.

“It would certainly make sense to have an awareness campaign not only to warn people of the fine but to ­discourage people from engaging in anti-social behaviour in the first place,” Mr Bowen said.

– Daily Telegraph, 24/3/2014: Rude travellers toe the line: 480 people fined for putting their feet on train seats

I only found out about it because at least two Sydney radio stations contacted the PTUA wanting further comments (and specifically, audio quotes to use in their bulletins).

I hadn’t given quotes to the reporter, but they sounded vaguely familiar, so I did a bit of Googling and found them in a 2012 Age story.

The situation in Sydney is unclear to me. I know from the story that 480 people were fined in a year (a tiny amount compared to 17,592 people fined in Victoria in a year).

But the offence in Victoria includes (basically) putting your feet anywhere that isn’t the floor. Is that the same in Sydney? Is there signage in Sydney? Are there education campaigns in Sydney?

I don’t know, and the PTUA office received at least one grumpy email from a Sydneysider noting that the comments were uninformed. Well, yeah.

The interest from radio and from Sydney punters meant that PTUA volunteers had to spend time dealing with the fallout from two-year-old quotes copied out of context.

Some people suggested I contact Media Watch. So I did.

Media Watch: Daily Telegraph copied quotes

If you missed the story, it’s online here.

I should note that in no time in my dealing with the Melbourne media (including Daily Telegraph stablemate the Herald Sun) have I experienced anything this dodgy.


Update 14/4/2014: With thanks to Peter (see comments below), Crikey is reporting today that Phil Jacob has resigned from the Daily Telegraph after other instances of plagiarism came to light.

A Crikey investigation has uncovered a series of highly questionable articles published in The Daily Telegraph that appear to borrow — liberally and in some cases word-for-word — from reports in other publications.

The reports were all penned by Daily Telegraph state political reporter Phil Jacob, who was slapped down on the ABC’s Media Watch program two weeks ago for lifting quotes from a report in The Age to illustrate a story about rail commuters. But it appears this wasn’t the only time Jacob has lifted copy from stories other than his own.

– Crikey [Paywall]

The digital TV re-tune 7th Feb – and: It’s nice to know genuine technological reform can happen

This Friday 7th February is Melbourne’s re-tune day for digital television. This is when the frequencies of some channels change, so they can make more efficient use of the spectrum.

If you don’t re-tune your digital TV devices, you may find some channels don’t work after this. Hopefully most people will figure out how to do it.

On the television

The whole shift to digital TV, and the shutdown of analogue services, has been interesting to watch. Once the benefit of the extra channels were there, it seemed like there was a stampede of people switching.

It’d be interesting to know what the next planned stages are. Will we move towards all HD channels? It’d certainly be nice to make use of the available technology to get that higher quality.

Digital TV is one of those changes that governments implement from time to time to help the country move forward, and it’s nice to know that — despite some rightly highlighting issues with it — it’s gone ahead relatively smoothly, and without the kind of luddite response to change that you see in some other parts of the world.

Other similar changes that spring to mind from recent decades:

The USA’s near-paralysis on some of these types of issues is an interesting contrast. They’re one of a handful of countries steadfastly resisting metric despite the economic benefits, they still have 1 cent coins and $1 notes despite inflation, their telephone numbering system is a complete mess with more and more cities now having multiple area codes

But they have managed to largely migrate from analogue to digital television — and might even have more free-to-air HD channels generally available than we do.

And of course, the USA leads the world in other ways, particularly around innovation, so I don’t know if these things are necessarily holding them back, but you’d have to wonder how much better they’d do if their government was able to push ahead with basic technological reform.

Bye bye to analogue TV

Analogue TV has been shut off in most parts of Australia in the last few months.

Sydney was yesterday morning, and one enterprising bloke managed to record the last moments of all five stations. Have a watch, it’s great. Note Channel 7 (top right) which actually marked it by playing an old animation. The others just went blank as if in some horror movie:

Channel 7 also made an effort when their Brisbane analogue signal ended back in May:

Melbourne makes the final switch-off next Tuesday at 9am.

I assume most people have switched already, and thankfully the household assistance package has meant people shouldn’t get left behind.

The extra channels should have been motivation enough for most of us. And the government’s motivation? Lots of revenue from selling off the old analogue spectrum.

The big question will be when we start to get more high definition (HD) channels. Will there be another switch date in the future when standard definition equipment is no longer supported? How many SD-only setups are out there, who can’t get ABC News 24, 7Mate, and GEM?

Oh and by the way, if you’re culling the duplicate channels in your tuner, you might like to know that SBS HD and SBS1 are not actually identical. SBS HD usually shows SBS1, but sometimes shows SBS2 for movies and sport and other programming that benefits from HD.

Only one thing puzzles me about the big digital switchover — why does officialdom call the old system “analog”, US spelling without the ue?

Update 10/12/2013:

Melbourne shut down, all channels:

Channel 7, which marked the occasion with archival footage:

Day of the Doctor

Well, here we are. Some more thoughts on the Doctor Who anniversary… Warning — below are spoilers for those who have not seen the special episode yet

November 23rd

Anniversary day finally arrived.

November 23rd

The Doctor Who 50th anniversary special episode “Day Of The Doctor” aired in the UK at 7:50pm GMT Saturday night which is 6:50am AEDT on Sunday morning. Thankfully the technology for the simulcast is a little more sophisticated than streaming video — otherwise we might have seen this!

Doctor Who special simulcast - streaming? Let's hope not!

It made me wonder… the ABC self-regulates its programme ratings, and rated the episode as PG, which is a safe bet.

But with the same episode showing at numerous Australian cinemas today, and them advertising it also as PG, does this mean it had already seen by people at the Classification Board?

The answer seems to be yes — there is a listing on their web site showing it was rated PG for mild impact themes and violence on 7th November… which I suppose means copies have gone to all the broadcasters as well.

Repeats

Full points to ABC2. The geniuses in their programming department managed to get their weekday Doctor Who repeats to conclude on Friday with the episode before the special. Well done!

The Popup Shop

BBC Worldwide (their marketing arm) are running Popup Shops around the country too. We went along to the Richmond one the other week (it may have finished up already), and it was very busy.

Doctor Who Popup Shop

The episode — Spoilers!

And the special episode itself? Well I got up to watch it, and will watch it again tonight.

Fantastic. A great balance between nostalgia/tribute and a fresh story that wouldn’t put off the Newvians (as Isaac has called new Whovians).

Nostalgia is a powerful force. The episode managed to tug at the collective memories of decades of episodes via millions of viewers.

At the start it referenced the very first episode (which I’m too young to have seen on original transmission, but first saw in the mid-80s on a very fuzzy copy of a copy of a VHS tape), but there were also many more recent memories — including some from the 70s and 80s — I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who found myself delighted but also a little emotional while watching.

The Zygons — happily little changed since their 70s appearance.

The Curator — what a surprise.

From the mini-episode Night Of The Doctor we now know 8th Doctor Paul McGann regenerates into John Hurt. It’s implied in this episode that he becomes Christopher Eccleston. But what happens to the numbering now? Is Matt Smith actually 12 instead of 11? If so, is Peter Capaldi (glimpsed briefly today) set to be the 13? If so, what happened to The Valeyard, who was supposedly going to be between the 12th and 13th?

Or did McGann to Hurt institute a reboot, given he was actually brought back to life by the Sisters of Karn? That would make Hurt the 1st, and so on. It seems not, if the credits were anything to judge.

The 13th is meant to be the last Doctor. Not that it really matters — if the makers of the programme want to bend Timelord lore and go beyond the 13th, they’ll find a way — it’s science fiction, after all. (They did it years ago with The Master.)

A loose end was tied up — in The Shakespeare Code, we saw the Tennant Doctor being chased by Queen Elizabeth the First. Now it seems we know why.

Though we never saw what happened to the negotiations between the two Kate Lethbridge-Stewarts. And why is Clara now a school teacher? (Or did we already know that?)

This episode turns around the result of the Time War. But would the Daleks really have destroyed themselves when Gallifrey disappeared? Seems a tad unlikely, though maybe that’s why the Eccleston Doctor is so surprised any of them survived.

Maybe some of these things will be explained later. But I for one thoroughly enjoyed this episode.

And like all good stories, it ended with a cup of tea.

Here’s to the next fifty years!

PS: Ratings

Doctor Who “Day Of The Doctor” Australian ratings: 424,000 at 6:50am (!) and 922,000 at 7:30pm plus it was apparently ranked number 2 for Sunday cinema box office takings ($1.5 million). (Source)

In Britain it was second-highest programme of the night, watched by 10.6 million. (Source)

PS: The Google Doodle

Surely everyone’s seen this, but just in case not, here’s a link to its permanent home: the Doctor Who Google Doodle, including a multi-level game inside it. Over a few tries, I eventually managed to complete it in 3 minutes 28 seconds.