Net, Politics and activism

My federal MP’s Twitter feed: relentlessly negative

Because I'm interested in politics, I make it my practice to follow various politicians on Twitter, whether I agree with them or not, including all the local ones I can find. My local federal MP Andrew Robb would have to have the single most relentlessly negative Twitter feed of any of them. Here's all his Tweets for the past week (excluding retweets and also those addressed to other peo

Consumerism, Home life

Robot vacuum cleaners

I was chatting to a work colleague about birthdays, the amazing fact that we're now well into the 21st century, and what happened to the promise of robots who would do the housework? Of course, we have dishwashers, clothes washers, dryers... and then she said she has one of those robot vaccuum cleaners. Apparently it works wonders in a flat with floorboards and cats that leave hair everywhere.


Smartbus sign still not fully working after 18 months

There used to be realtime train information displayed on the Smartbus sign outside Bentleigh station (as there is at many other Smartbus stops near railway stations around Melbourne). The information was provided partly for the benefit of bus drivers, so they could see if a train was imminent, and if so wait for passengers (though it was never clear if they'd been instructed to wait a bit


The amazing transformation from old man barber shop to trendy cafe

My recollection is the back of the building at the corner of Little Bourke Street and Little William Street was an old man barber shop. (Pic from Google Streetview.) Over the past year or so it's somehow transformed into a trendy cafe called Patricia. The kind of place that appears to be wildly popular despite having little or no signage advertising its presence. When I go past on the way to wo

Consumerism, transport

No, the law doesn’t demand that Myki accept 5 cent coins, or that Metcard machines accept notes

The question seems to keep coming up as to whether it's legal for Myki machines to not accept 5 cent coins; or indeed whether it's legal for Metcard machines on trams to only accept coins (not notes). Some people assume that because it's all legal tender, it must be against the law to demand specific currency, or otherwise limit the payment options (such as only providing a limited amount of ch


Why are Twitter messages 140 characters?

Did I post this already? I don't think I did. Hopefully not. Why are Twitter messages 140 characters? Because they were designed to fit into the 160 characters of a text message, with some characters filled up with header information and so on. So why are text messages 160 characters? Because they fit into 140 bytes, or 160 7-bit characters. That, in turn, was so the messages could


Level crossing rules: safe to cross, but illegal

Happy Rail Safety Week. Level crossing. Three tracks. The two in the foreground have no train coming, and the automatic gates for them are open. There's a train approaching on the other track, and its gates are closed. Logic would suggest it's perfectly safe, and perfectly legal to walk through the open gates, right? Turns out, it's safe, but illegal. Today's Age: A COMMUTER has be