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MONA in pictures

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Source: my-trivia.net

Well this post marks the last of my mandated #wedm class blog posts. It’s been a blast. Please check in here every now and then as i will still blog periodically about things that i love / annoy me about the interwebs. Let me leave you with a list of things i have learned during this assignment.

1. I am hopeless at blogging every week. I would love to be a paid blogger or writer but i need some serious discipline knocked into me before i can achieve that!

2. People do a lot of dumb shit on the internet. It annoys me.

3. There are a lot of untapped resources out there – in this class i have learned all about Google Reader, Tumblr, Creative Commons, and what the hell Guilds are in WOW

4. There is a lot more to procrastination than FailBlog. Thank you lovely classmates for sharing your top hits!

5. QR codes are really awesome and could be used for an infinite number of things! For those who don’t know what they are, download a QR code reader on your phone or computer. A good list is available here. Now you are ready. Run around and find a code. If you don’t know where to start, try the second last page of The Age. Using the software you have downloaded and scan the code. Voila! You have a live link open on your phone! This software is starting to get very popular in advertising campaigns and you can often spot barcodes included on bus shelter advertisements. Most recently i saw one on the temporary wall of a new development on Swanston St in Carlton. Google has also made it easy to create your own using their shortener goo.gl and adding .qr. Brilliant.

The first person to read this code and tell me where it leads wins love and affection!

And my final thought:

34 more awesome 404 error messages can be found here.

Over and out (for now)

Source: google.com

Not long ago i wrote about the art of Google cooking, so this week i thought i would examine another Google phenomena: Google medicine. The internet is a magical beast, one can only imagine what people did in the days before the internet when they had a nasty rash or wanted to know the quickest way to get rid of a pimple. These days you just plug-in your ailment, or list of symptoms into Google and off you go, thousands of experts from around the world at your finger tips, eager to answer your embarrassing question or to cure you.

For doctors, Google self diagnosis and the easy access to millions of different home remedies pose a huge problem for patient care and the risk of misdiagnosis. Google runny nose or cough and the internet throws up hundreds of different diagnostic possibilities. Whilst it might save a short trip to your local GP, it is entirely possible that fatal illnesses may not get picked up early enough because of it. This Adelaide Adviser article quotes various medical experts preaching caution. In the general theme that i have running on this blog, really, if you’re that stupid to use solely Google as your doctor, then you deserve all you get!

Source: google.com

In fact Google itself is onto this trend and is developing ways to cash in. A few months back i met a Google employee in a bar a Rome (no seriously!) and aside from quizzing him about whether Google was indeed one giant adult’s playground (it is and yes, you end up taking it for granted!), i also learned all about Google’s project to map the flow of flu outbreaks. How? Well Google has developing an algorithm which plots every-time someone plugs in a flu related question and puts your search on a map. Google Flu Trends “uses aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity”. Visitors to the site can plot flu outbreaks by country as well as download world flu activity.

As well as being oh so slightly Orwellian, i also tend to think it could be inaccurate. Take for example the bird flu outbreak. Was there anyone in the world not Googling bird flu? I am not alone in this concern, judging by this article published by cnet, CBS”s news site. Google answers this question, explaining that it has compared its results to more traditional means of flu monitoring and found them to be relatively accurate. Regardless, Google is one smart company and at their fingertips is the information big pharmaceuticals would love to get their hands on. It will be interesting to see how this tool is used in the future. For now, i am off to Google the strange spot that appeared on my foot this morning.

 

 

Review: Campaign Ruby

 

Not all ‘chick lit’ is brainless tales of shopping and boys. Despite the cover of Campaign Ruby, Jessica Rudd delivers an entertaining smart look at the warts and all of political campaigning.

 

 

 

Holding your ground in Daylesford

 

Keeping in line with other taxpayer funded ad controversies, Tourism Victoria’s Daylesford ad has come under scrutiny for being blasphemous and anti-Christian

Source: theage.com.au

I have written a lot about my loves on the Internet as well as my dislikes but something I haven’t blogged about is my views on paid content. I was recently scorned by a fellow classmate (from another class, not the lovely ppl in #wedm) for my opinion that as a general rule I would not pay for online content. My classmate remarked that she couldn’t believe the Internet had been free for so long and that we were happy to buy magazines and books, why should it be any different for the net?

For me it is about quality. The Internet offers varying quality and my list of things I would simply not pay for and go without is about as long as a piece of string.

Fairfax has recently hinted that it is moving to paid content, a threat that made me rather annoyed. I currently read The Age online before getting out of bed of a morning. It’s much easier than a broadsheet to handle and its condensed content and layout make it much more morning friendly pre-coffee. I know that if I wish to read a more in-depth article or read those articles that have not made it to the computer screen, i can do so in the broadsheet edition. I am happy to pay for the broadsheet but why should I also have to pay for online access to substandard online content? I am a huge fan of breaking news but there are better websites I can hit up before theage.com for up to the minute breaks.

Source: wspdigital.com

Fairfax has on the whole, in my opinion, had a pretty crap take on the whole Web 2.0 developments. Nothing angers me more than companies who put out an app for iPhone or iPad and then charge for the content. I was pretty excited when i saw the banner ad for The Age’s iPhone app. The Age has long had its mobile content site m.theage.com.au, a special phone specific website that they think makes easier viewing on mobile devices. Unfortunately, my iPhone automatically switches in and out of the mobile content site which is very annoying when you have a phone that can handle the full website with the aid of zoom. Plus the current mobile site is badly laid out, hard to find specific articles and seems to only feature the articles currently featuring at the very top of the website.

Now they have made an app that is free to download but to get content you must pay for a subscription – 31 days of access for $2.49 and six months for $12.99. As this article by PC World argues, why would you pay for content that is currently free and accessible using the annoying mobile content site or the main page? Apparently the app will have extra content including photos and videos accessible for mobile device. This is not enough to tempt me to pay for this app. I have only ever forked out money for an app once in my life and it was $1.19 for a sleep app everyone was raving about. I used for a few months and got bored.

This is is exactly my argument about paid access. For me the internet is there when i need it. I am hopeless using prepaid services and always end up getting ripped off because i forget i have them. Quickflix went down that path with me and my magazine subscription to Vanity Fair now resembles a large tower of unread mags going back at least one year. Despite matching my reading habits quite well, i can imagine i will one day grow out of reading the paper on my phone, ending up having paid for something i do not use.

I am not entirely against paid content but if i am going to pay for something it has to be quality. I am happy to ignore those irritating pop-ups The Age is in love with, if it means a move away from paid content.

Rant over.

I have an apology to make fellow blogsters – somehow in the craziness of uni holidays and my paid employment, i missed posting two blogs as part of my #wedm class. For those of you who waited with bated breath, i apologise for leaving you hanging! As a consequence, i will now be coming at you, not once, not twice but three times this week to catch up me up on my postings before my last #wedm class on Tuesday. *sniff*

Source: pdadb.net

This post i am dedicating to a problem that afflicts many of us – an urgent and persist need for an iPad. Before the iPad i didn’t even realised there was a void in my life that the iPad needed to fill. Now i know. I have i terrible case of the iWants for an iPad. I often get bouts of iWant as i am very susceptible to the power of suggestion. I have actually banned myself from travel features in magazines as it just makes me want to max out my credit card and get on the next flight out of here!

The iWant for iPad is something new for me. Normally i can justify the object of my iWant. Travel, well that’s all about life experience, learning and keeping me sane. A new pair of shoes, do i really need to explain the functionality of shoes? duh! A book/DVD, existentialism or learning. Desert, well i’m still hungry! But the iPad fits into its own special category. iWant it because i do.

My little brother is somewhat of a technobuff. He was dismissive of my iWant for an iPad. “You do realise they can do practically nothing. At least wait til they bring out iPad 2 with a camera or something useful built-in. Your shitty four-year old Macbook is better than a Gen 1 iPad “. My response? But it’s pretty.

I am clearly not the only one with a bad case of iWant an iPad. Although overall projected sales of iPads are down slightly on initial estimates, a whopping 250,000 Aussies have already snapped one up, according to The Australian’s IT section

Source: smh.com.au

So a quarter of a million Aussies already have one? So there must be something about an iPad aside from its design? Right?

Well, Apple’s latest offering for the Mac Book Air is apparently based on the iPad’s design. According to Apple Chief Jobs, the new Mac Book Air runs  on “flash storage like the iPad rather than hard drives like conventional computers, it can power up instantly and store data twice as fast”. It’s also incredibly light and damn sexy if i do say so myself!

For people who are like me and have an irrational iWant for an iPad, perhaps you should check out PC World’s Guide to 6 Reasons Why You Want and iPad and 6 Reasons You Don’t. And me? after researching the new Mac Book Air, i think i have just added a second iWant to my list! ooops.

And for those who do not have iWant, here’s a video for you!

Source: madsilence.wordpress.com

So far i have blogged about at least two of my passions in life – politics and art. This week I am dedicating my post to a third passion, food! As someone who is not very organised, i often find myself staring at a half empty pantry trying to figure out what the hell i can pull together that will taste half decent and have some kind of nutritional value. As a student, like most of us, i became deft a testing out new flavour combinations (please never ever let anyone convince you to combine hokkien noodles with sweet corn and ricotta cheese!) Thankfully for my poor body, we now have the internet and millions of experts and foodies around the world to tap into. I am now a keen proponent of Google Cooking.

Google Cooking is a basic concept, you simply type in the ingredients you do have at your disposal, Google does its thing and up pops a selection of recipes featuring the ingredients. Unfortunately, Google Cooking is not my invention, according to The Washington Post, the term was actually coined by Judy Hourihan, a former Massachusetts software engineer, who is said to have invented the phenomenon in 2001 with salmon and Swiss chard.

Source: google.com

 

The Washington Post quotes some interesting stats on cooking, quoting 33 million visits to culinary-related Web sites in September 2005 (according to comScore Media Metrix) I would imagine five years on, those figures are a lot larger! The Post are not the only news source not the only one interested in this new way of cooking. The Guardian trialled dinner a la Google with a combination of salmon, cabbage, bacon, leeks and cumin, raving of the success, raving “half an hour later and the fridge was empty, there were bite marks on the plates and my wife wanted to know where this sudden facility for good food had come from.”

Source: mysupermarket.co.uk

The problem i have found with Google Cooking is that it relies on you having a fairly well stocked basic pantry. A quick test with the limited food in my fridge – leeks, tasty cheese and ham elicits recipes including leek, ham and cheese cabbage rolls from Foodland Ontario; Ham and leek gratin from The Dog’s Breakfast and Versatile leek and cheese quiche from Epricurian Table. As you can see from all these recipes, they rely on you having cabbage, potatoes and eggs sitting there ready to use. I also learned that a brand, aptly named Bachelors makes a ‘Cheese, Leek and Ham’ flavoured Pasta ‘N’ Sauce.

Research Buzz’s Cookin’ with Google has a few tips that might assist you in your Google Cooking foray:

* Try searching for both items plural and singular. Searching for avocado apple gives very different results from avocados apples.

* Sometimes if you enter too many items you’ll narrow down your search too much. Try starting your search with just two or three ingredients.

* Try tossing in a cooking-related word, like broil or sautee. Conversely if you want to avoid certain words you can also exclude them; try excluding words like fry or lard.

Good luck!