Geek, Toxic Custard newsletter

Is Google recording your conversations without you knowing?

You've probably heard about the case of the Amazon Alexa smart speaker that recorded a conversation and sent it to someone. Amazon has been forced to explain how Alexa recorded a private conversation and sent it to an Echo userโ€™s colleague without their knowledge. A Portland woman identified only as Danielle revealed the odd series of events in an interview with local TV station Kiro 7, claimin


New phone: Google Nexus 5, first impressions

Over the years I've tried to avoid being sucked into buying the latest and greatest technology just for the sake of it. But I must admit being keen to check out the new Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) and Google Nexus 5 phone. What would I need a new phone for? I could put Kit Kat on my old phone! Seriously though, I'd upgraded my old HTC Desire S to Android 4.0, and while it works, it's notice

Geek, transport

Google celebrates 150 years of London Underground – and could we have bought Oyster?

As seen at on Wednesday. Very cool. (Large version found via the Going Underground blog) Note the subtle shading of fare zones, which reflects how they look on the official maps. It's been claimed in the past that in Melbourne we couldn't adopt an existing smartcard ticket system like Oyster because Melbourne had specific needs. I disagree... London has zones, trains, tra


The timewaster

The curse of the Internet and the short attention span -- there's too much stuff to look at. So I check my email. Then I have a look in Google Reader. What's Twitter doing? Okay. Facebook? My turn in Scrabble yet? Might check a couple of the news sites and see what's happening. And the Whirlpool forum? OK, all under control. But hey, I wonder if there's any new email? Rinse

Melbourne, Net


A few years ago I did a comparison of the results from online trip planners. Here's an update of sorts. I tested 247 Flinders Lane (which is an address on a one-way street, in an area with lots of turn restrictions and pedestrian streets) to see what the various navigators would do. For the destination I just put Bentleigh (my neighbourhood). Yahoo Maps couldn't give me an answer, reporting


Big advertising

You know those sandwich board advertising things? A-frames, I'm told they're called. The IGA in Ripponlea has recently got one. It's as big as a person. On the bright side, it's unlikely to blow over in the wind. Though if it did, it'd probably kill somebody. Update: Speaking of advertising, I just added Google ads here. I'm not convinced it doesn't make the site look cheap and tawdry, but I

books, Consumerism, Morons on the road, News and events, Ranting, transport


What the F--- do you think you're doing, Mr White Stationwagon? Where the F--- did you get your driver's licence? Why the F--- do you think you can decide as you're driving through an intersection in the left hand lane, that you are suddenly going to turn right, across three lanes of traffic, cutting me off as I'm about to turn right the other way, leaving my car helplessly stuck in the intersecti