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Half-finished posts

It’s time for a clearout.

Here’s a bunch of posts I wrote but never got around to posting. In some cases I intended to research them a bit more before publishing, so beware they may be a little half-arsed.


There were claims and counter-claims during the Kororoit byelection campaign (June 2008). I suppose Les Twentyman was unlikely to get up, given it’s such a strong Labor seat, but you’ve got to wonder about some of the accusations flying around.

The Libs gave Twentyman their preferences. Twentyman gave his preferences to Labor.

Brumby’s translation of this: Asked how he could say a vote for Mr Twentyman was a vote for the Liberals, Mr Brumby said: “Because if his (primary) vote is higher than the Liberal Party vote, he has every chance of being elected courtesy of Liberal Party preferences.”

So in fact, it’s not that a vote for Twentyman was a vote for the Liberals. It was the opposite. A vote for the Liberals was a vote for Twentyman.

Is your patent scalable?

I’m wondering if we should re-design the patent system worldwide, to consider:

  • Is the invention scalable? If it spreads worldwide, what are the consequences? For instance, does it pollute in a way that doesn’t matter for a single unit, but which causes big problems if there are millions?
  • What is the ultimate likely market size for the invention?

How would you enforce it? How about making the patent run out when 20% of your expected total units have been made?

Apple vs Microsoft

Apparently Microsoft’s Vista advertising is costing US$300 million.

Apple’s latest advert pokes fun at this, but I wonder how much their campaign has cost?

Stupidly, Apple’s web site doesn’t let PC owners who don’t have Quicktime even see the adverts. Way to miss your target market, dudes.


A theory of mine: It’s only an extreme pessimist or a monk who as an adult chooses to sleep in a single bed.

Not a futurist

Joel Spolsky proves I’m not the only one who thought eBay was a dumb idea.

Not news

Sadly we’re getting to the point where American mass shootings are no longer news. They’re happening with depressing regularlity, but outside the US I suspect most of us are at the point where we roll our eyes at their gun laws and get on with our day.

The Bulletin

The Bulletin closed after 128 years of publishing. Not that I ever read it, except when in the barber’s shop waiting for a haircut, but they did talk to me for an in-depth piece on blogging a few years ago (which would have made a good cite for the unsubstantiated claim in Wikipedia that my blog is one of the oldest around).


Why do some people pay over the odds to live in areas with good public transport, then not use it?

In the case of home-owners, I guess because they know it’s a better investment.

Though I once met a bloke living a stone’s throw away from Glenhuntly station in a rented flat who appeared to drive everywhere.


Sometimes one has real hope for the world. Sometimes not:

The world spends US$780 billion every year on maintaining its military and buying new weapons —that’s $2.1 billion every day. Dr Oscar Arias estimates that if just 5% ($40 billion) of that annual $780 billion were channeled into anti-poverty programmes over the next decade, the whole world could have basic social services. A further 5% over ten years could provide everybody on the planet with an income above the poverty line. UNICEF estimates that spending just $7 billion a year for the next decade could educate every child on Earth. — Source (via Cam)

Getting old

Maybe I’m thinking about this too much, but I’m increasingly aware of getting old, and I wonder if those who share my Gen-X status are thinking about it too. And Tony’s foot incident a while back reminds me that it’s no more obvious than when I consider my general physical and mental fitness: I’d swear my typing is slowing down. My mouse hand hurts sometimes. At one stage I noticed my right knee hurts like hell if I kneel down on it for too long. And jeez… the grey hair!

When did this happen? Is it the start of a long slow descent into old age, or are there things I should be doing to keep up my level of fitness? My usual answer is “More walking!” which I’m determined to do anyway, but I wonder what else.

Perhaps I should go ask the doctor for a complete physical.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

13 replies on “Half-finished posts”

In regards to living near good PT and not using it…well…maybe they got put off by a confrontation with a ticket inspector; or just the site of a 99% Sardine Index was unattractive.

Or they like the atmosphere; for me, living away from PT makes me feel depressed.

You’ve got an interesting lot of miscellaneous thoughts here.

If your mouse hand is getting sore I’d say you need to look at your overall computing situation and see if you’re seated ergonomically correctly. You might even need a new mouse with a slightly different shape.

Don’t look at your typing speed. I’m older than you and my typing’s getting faster rather than slower. You might be getting faster and not realising it, the only way you’ll be able to tell for sure is by doing a typing test and comparing the results with previous ones.

I have Quicktime here. It’s free. It’s so much better than Windows Media Player that I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t bother installing it.

> Why do some people pay over the odds to live in areas with good public transport, then not use it?

In my case, because “area with good local shopping facilities” and “area with good bicycle distance to city” also happens to coincide with “area with good public transport”.

If I could get the first two with a lower price tag, I’d happily do without good public transport for my case.

Suzie: I realise now I wrote that a while ago, and partially solved it by putting my mouse at work on the opposite side of the desk to my mouse at home.

Philip: Each to his own. I personally don’t like QT. VLC looks quite good.

Ben: I was implying people who live in PT-rich areas but then drive, rather than cycle. Quite understand those who invest in a place easy cycling distance to work.

Daniel, good idea I tend to do this as well on my (german) blog. Got only 50 drafts in the dashboard …

And I also thought about images I posted in earlier times without a copyright note … the method I’ll do will be quite similar … ;)

A few comments… Sadly people being shot and killed is an everyday event in most large US cities. This mostly happens in high crime areas but can occur anywhere. Passing any number of laws to ban guns would have little impact as there are millions of guns already out there in circulation and the criminals will certianly not just turn them in because of a ban. Imagine if owning a mobile (cell) phone were to be banned. They are so commonplace that it would be impossible to ever get rid of them all. The same is true of guns in the US.

Getting older does not bother me much and I am 3 years older than you. Why worry about what cannot be entirely prevented. There will always be people that are more or less fit than me no matter what I do. I do walk MUCH more living in Melbourne than I did in Miami as there are many more things accessable on foot or on PT within reach of home. I have a few grey wiskers and my knees can be a bit stiff sometimes when it is cold. The grey hair can easily be fixed with some “Just For Men” hair color. Don’t make it too dark for your skin tone though. We have all seen old men with jet black way too dark hair and pale skin.

I live in a PT rich area and I use it too. My car gets used once or twice a week. I have to be at work before the trams and trains are running. I can walk to work for now but if I lived any farther I would have no choice but to drive.

But mobile phones could be rendered useless by removing all their towers.

Or a large number could be tracked down prior to the removal of the towers (the phones that were not off).

But this would not happen because mobiles are too popular.

If gun control was introduced in the US then there would have to be a ginormous gun by-back costing billions maybe even over a trillion dollars.

But I think Jed’s central argument is right. It’s too late to remove guns from US society. So many are unregistered, and the right to bear arms is so ingrained that many would refuse to hand them in, even in exchange for cash. Outlawing them would have minimal effect — there’d still be millions out there.

Even now it’s said people are buying more guns, in the expectation that Obama will restrict them once he’s inaugurated.

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