Modern Dystopia

Author Archive: Gomisan

Global Updates – Not Quite.

Why is it so hard do do such a simle thing?

I’m about to head of to France, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to take advantage of all the modern gadgets and tools at my disposal. My plan seemed simple, use my mobile to quickly update my blog with images and movies of my travels.I spent a bit of time the other night setting it up, my Flickr account accepts uploads via email and now automatically posts those updates on my Blog, which in turn updates my Twitter status.

The next step was to get a cost estimate on the data usage. Well in theory, I should be able to check my data usage with Telstra, and with a cost per Mb calculate just how much a video or image upload would cost me. 2 hours on hold and being transferred around the Telstra help centers, and I’m giving up. For some reason, telstra have no records of any data usage on my phone since the 20th of last month. Of course, they’re happy to tell me I’ll get billed for it, when they find it. but those test emails have been to no avail. They can’t tell me how big they were.

In the end it’s academic. I found out how much the data rates for International roaming are. 1.5c/Kb. yes, that’s right, over $15/Mb !! A single image upload could cost me $40+ from my 5MP phone. Even sending compressed ones would be ridiculous. Let alone uploading short movie clips.

With this relevation, I went looking around for other oprions. Surely there must be some plans with the dta centric traveller in mind. But no. Other carriers like Three, Optus and Virgin are even more expensive at 2c/Kb. No-ones data plans cover international roaming, so your paying for every byte! Three actually have what ‘looks’ lie a good deal, until you realise that it covers only a few counties, none of which are France!

In the USA, AT&T have a couple of plans that would almost suit. Even then you’re looking at at least US$100 / month for about 20Mb of international data.

So, no instant blog updates from me. I’ll have to wait until I’m in airports with free wireless on my laptop, or actually at my mum’s place and using her internet.

The age of global communications, wireless internet and all these other fantastic things is upon us, but it’s not ready for the masses yet. It’s still a tool for the well funded business traveller.

oh, and if anyone can offer suggestions, find a way for me to accomplish what I seek to do, I’d love to hear from you.

Medieval Weaponry

Medieval weaponry

Originally uploaded by Gomisan

Fun in france 2007. Watching demonstrations of siege weapons! This video of Seige Engines in action was shot at St Brisson in the Loire valley. Although they were only bombarding a forest with melons, it’s easy to imagine the effects of these weapons in their time.

Sent using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone

Free City Parking

I live in Adelaide, and until today had thought here was only one way to really get free city parking right near my work. Ride a Motorbike or Scooter. So I do. I ride my vespa to work almost every day, and parking in Adelaide for motorbikes is growing, and in the wet months you can always grab a park right near where you need to be.

The fair weather riders however tend to fill up those parks pretty quickly when the sun comes out.

but today I discovered another, not quite so legit, way to get free city parking.

You see, in Adelaide we have ticket based parking meters. Feed the machine a few dollars and you are issued with a ticket, which, displayed in your windshield will give you an hour or two of parking privileges.

Ticket Parking meter

This is a photo of one pretty similar. I was too lazy to go out and take a photo myself. Anyway, these things aren’t free, and they seem to cost more all the time.

Today, some friendly good samaritan saw me feeding the meter (I drove my diesel guzzling 4WD today) and he actually stopped his car, and came up to me with a most interesting tale. Feed the meter, and DON’T TAKE THE TICKET. That’s right, pay the full fee, and leave the ticket sitting in the dispenser for about 2 or 3 mins. The machine then thinks it’s had a problem, and promptly cancels the transaction, refunding your money. The ticket is still there to be taken, and it’s all printed and legit.

Well I was dubious, but I’d just lit a cancer stick, so I loitered at the meter for a few minutes with the ticket sitting waiting in the slot for me, the machine trying to guilt me into taking the ticket, brightly declaring “Take Ticket” on it’s little green screen. Passers by looked at me oddly, and at some point i wondered if it wasn’t all some kind of weird practical joke.

But it wasn’t. The ticket machine declared itself to be faulty, and my handful of shrapnel was returned. So if you have a minute or three to kill next time your parking in the city. Try this trick and see if you can’t take the council for a few dollars.

Otherwise, grab yourself some two-wheeled transport and do your wallet and the environment some good.

Face Value

I’m sitting here, reading a few posts, exchanging emails, just wasting a few moments as you do and I’ve been inspired to write a little something on how often we do, or don’t take things at face value.

two seperate cases:

First, there is the story that’s doing the rounds atthe moment about a Redback Spider catching a small snake. i first saw it here and then it came through on the usual email chain letter train. I even reposted the link on my facebook account, figured it was pretty interesting. But I took it on “face value” and didn’t think to question the veracity of the story. However someone else did and I soon got an email from a friend, ‘it’s not a Red Back, it’s a Black Widow, and therefore American” (I’m paraphrasing BTW)

That made me think, “what’s the difference?”

So I went looking, first I followed the original blog story back to it’s source, and unfortunately it didn’t go too far and seeemd to be an unacknowledged repost even then. I read other peoples comments on the stories, and came up with a couple of things that could be checked. The type of Snake, and the type of spider. Someone mentioned the possibility that it was a South African snake, an Aurora House Snake so I checked out both the snake and the spider. The spider, it’s a tough call, could be A Redback, a Black Widow, a Button Spider, or one of many variants on the genus Latrodectus. The snake though, note that distinctive orange strip seen clearly in the picture below…

Spider Eats Snake

So a bit of research, and a story, that on ‘face value’ seems legit, is suddenly quite probably not an Australian story at all, and the spider is in all likely hood not a Redback, but another similar spider of that genus.

but what of the other side of the coin, the inability of some to talke something at ‘face value’.

This is my second point. Even in the comments for this spider story I saw people write “It’s a fake, it’s a photoshop”. If yuo surf/stuble about the web as much as I do you’ll notice it seems to be the catch cry of a jaded generation. So used to things being faked, they can’t accept occasionally that marvelous things can and will be caught on camera. That nature is often more beautiful, or more spectacular than one could ever imagine.

Sometimes you do just have to enjoy the image beforeyou, take it as you see and, and not cry ‘photoshop!” just because you’ve never seen soemthing like it before. hell it doesn’t have to be nature that’s weird…. tell me what you think of this. yes, it’s a crap post, but yet the ONLY comment asks… “photshopped?” I mean come on. A dodgy photo taken on a wet day of some idiot’s stupid car, why the f*** would anyone BOTHER! (of course you could say the same about the car in the photo.)

Anyway, to all you who cry “photoshop!” take a moment to enjoy things at face value. open your eyes to the world a bit. and if a photo is a clever photoshop fake, applaud the clever SOB who pulled it off.

Get me back to France!

After my short trip to France last year, I really want to get back. Even more so because my mum has now moved their permanently AND she is getting married there in July!

chatillon postcard

Things have been really tough financially this year though, so my savings are a meagre $700 out of an estimated $4000 that the trip (including airfares) will cost me.

So… live vicariusly through me, sponsor my trip to France and i’ll send you a special photo taken just for you. Hey I’ll even include your name in my book of photos which I’ll be self publishing when I return!