Lego Myki and Metcard readers, from Brickvention

I didn’t make it to Brickvention this year, but Adrian O’Hagan did, and sent me this photo. It’s a Lego Myki reader… and on the back of it is a Metcard reader.

Lego Myki and Metcard readers

Adrian says when a Myki card was presented it beeped and displayed a balance (which may or may not have been the real balance; I’m assuming all the information on the card is encrypted). The Metcard version would take a presented Metcard, pretend to read it and then spit it back out again, just like in real life.

Adrian notes: “ironically the metcard worked without a hitch, but the myki was a bit buggy. Not sure if that was by design or not ;-)”

Spotted at Minotaur

I’ve shopped at Minotaur Books for decades. I first found it in the early 80s when it was at the top end of Swanston Street. Then it moved to a multi-level shop in Bourke Street. Then to its current home in Elizabeth Street.

It’s always had way more cool stuff than I could afford to buy, though for some time in the mid-80s I was buying Doctor Who Monthly regularly.

Nowadays my kids love going there. Spotted last week…

Doctor Who “Lego” (compatible bricks):
Doctor Who Lego compatible kits

…and, who would like a Doctor Who Myki holder?
Doctor Who travel pass holders

(Sanctuary Base 6, for those who don’t remember it, was the base from the David Tennant story The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit.)

Brickvention 2009

I’m hearing that there are incredibly long queues for Brickvention today at Melbourne Town Hall. Shame… when we went in 2009, the queues weren’t too bad. Perhaps they’ve become a bigger event than they realise.

(According to the web site 1000 members of the public attended in 2009, and 2700 in 2010. Clearly it’s growing.)

I realised I never blogged the pictures and video from 2009, so here they are now.

Lego city
Lego city at Brickvention 2009

Spirit of Progress
Spirit of Progress at Brickvention 2009

Swanston Street/Flinders Street corner, including Flinders Street Station and Federation Square
Flinders St/Swanston St in Lego, at Brickvention 2009

Shrine of Remembrance
Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance at Brickvention 2009

Gothic church
Gothic church at Brickvention 2009

Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle at Brickvention 2009

There are heaps more pictures from 2009 and from other years on the Brickvention web site.

Lego: Santa’s little helper

For the past year or two, Lego have advertised heavily around Christmas time on billboards and in newspapers. Surprisingly, they don’t direct you to the Lego web site, but say to search for “Santa’s little helper”.

Lego advertising

This is tied into their advertising for those keywords on Google, which goes through to their web site with a gift suggestion applet. (For some crazy reason goes to a completely different web site.)

I guess they’re assuming everybody uses Google, not Bing or Yahoo or anything else, where Lego is not a prominent result for those keywords (though Bing suggests it).

No Lego advertising on Bing or Yahoo

Nonetheless, Lego seems to be doing well. An article in last week’s Sunday Age notes that the company faced bankruptcy in 2003, but has bounced back. And I know that when looking around Chadstone on Monday night for Lego for my nephew Leo for Christmas, some of the Lego shelves in Toys R Us, Myer, David Jones, Target and K-Mart were looking a bit empty.

And I’m not going to pretend I didn’t wish I was buying some for myself. (That Lego train set 7938 looks rather good.)

The toy of the movie of the game

Spotted in K-Mart: Lego Prince of Persia.

Prince of Persia Lego

So let me get this straight… this is the toy of the movie of the video game.

I wonder if there’ll be (as there was with Star Wars and others) a Lego video game of it. That would be the game of the toy of the movie of the game.

(I remember playing the original Prince of Persia game in my uni days. Despite being a fan of the platform genre, I don’t think I’ve played any of the sequels. The Wikipedia article notes the author got the distinctive animation done by video-taping his younger brother, and links to one of the original videos. Very cool.)

Lego PT stereotypes

I’m probably reading too much into this, but here’s a PT stereotype: Lego’s Duplo bus. It appears that in the view of whoever designed this set, only old people and kids ride the bus.

Lego bus 5636

Okay, okay, we all know that in some cases this is probably very realistic. Many services simply aren’t good enough to attract anybody other than those who have no choice: those who can’t drive, or can’t afford to drive.

The challenge is to make services good (frequent) enough that people who have a choice will use them. That’s what gets cars off the road. It’s also a way of improving safety at quiet times such as late evenings — by having services which are busy, and have a wide cross-section of the community aboard. (That’s what made the recent Mckinnon incident quite unusual.)

Happily in the bigger kids’ Lego bus set, there’s an apparently affluent white collar worker waiting for the bus. Maybe it’s a Smartbus.

Lego bus 7641

I’m also happy to see that Legoland has some kind of integrated public transport; the logo at the bus stop is the same as the one on the trains.

Lego train 7938

Though of course that doesn’t mean everything’s timed to connect.

Like I said, I’m reading way too much into this!

PS. Tuesday afternoon: Speaking of cultural representations of public transport:

EXHIBITION: Jacques Tati from Bicycles to Spaceships: Tati + Hulot Transiting Modern Life
A unique exhibition coordinated by Louise Mackenzie
Open: 9.00am – 5.00pm Monday – Friday, 1 – 9 July
Wunderlich Gallery, Architecture Building
University of Melbourne [Link; go to July events.]

Adults-only Lego

I found this Lego set on Amazon UK. It’s actually way more elaborate (and expensive) than any I remember seeing in the Australian catalogues, but what I thought was really funny was that Amazon has attached a legal-sounding age restriction to it, as if it was an adult video game or DVD, or alcohol.

Lego age restriction

“Not for sale to persons under the age of 16. By placing an order for this product, you declare that you are 16 years of age or over. This item must be used responsibly and appropriately.”

That’s right folks — responsibly and appropriately — which means no giving it to your 7 year-old and letting him pull all the pieces apart to make robots.