Friday, February 26, 2010

All things are cyclic.
Night turns to Day.
Summer turns to Autumn.
Google Strangles Competition (According to Microsoft)

I typed in the word itself into Googles font maker for a second laugh and present it here.

If the words had come from anyone but Microsoft then it might have been serious. But talk of the kettle calling the pot black ..... No doubt everyone remembers the court cases and the issues with Windows and Internet Explorer and the near demise of alternate browsers such as Netscape.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wonko Speaks and is Unafraid to do so!

Things have been hotting up on the information superhighway.

The anonymity of the internet is finally crumbling.

And that is only right, because free speech is not the same thing as slander or defamation. The internet is a wonderful tool for communication but as with all tools, it should and must be wielded with a balanced hand.

For example, Facebook - which is a wonderful social networking site - can also be abused. Some examples of its abuse?

1. The Fake Daniel Morcombe Ransom Page

2. Facebook used as a racial attack

3. A teacher dies - it is still unclear of whether or not it was suicide - but there is a strong link to naked photos posted on Facebook

4. Police investigate Trinity web tribute porn - the posting of obscenities following the already obscene taking of an innocent child's life

Guilt or innocence, of course, is for the courts to decide. But the message is clear - cowards hiding behind the internet to spread their twisted poison are likely to come unstuck.

Then, of course, there is also the major risk of online activity jeopardizing that very judgement of innocence or guilt. When sufficient public exposure occurs, it becomes difficult or impossible to obtain a fair trial. In such cases there is a risk of the guilty walking free.

On the other hand, the ludicrous web filter that Conroy wishes to impose on Australian citizens (and which will mark the end of his political career if this blogger has his way) may well do more for the destruction of free speech and shared information than anything else. Especially as it already appears to be censoring government information which is considered topical.

We do not deserve this type of censorship.
We do not want this type of censorship.
But given some of the abuses of the internet, it is very easy for a government to argue that we do need this type of censorship.

Which is why we must accept accountability for what we write and what we say on the internet - just as we would in newsprint or in a public square. And this is why cyber-poisonpenners being hunted down is a victory for everyone and yet another nail in the coffin of censorship.

Accountability not Restriction.

This is the opinion of Wonko.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Australia - The Country That Gives Away Its Soul

Countries are usually proud of their history; of their culture; of their traditions. They act to preserve them and to grow them. They put them on show. They wear their heart on their sleeve.

Australia has long had that reputation - Aussies love Australia and are happy to tell the world just how great their country is. And it's not just talk - Australia is a great country with a lot going for it - despite the best efforts of its political leaders to drag it into the mire.

Yet, Australia is also a country that seems quite content to give away its soul. And here's why I say so.

Australia is the home of Vegemite - now owned by ...... well, not Australia.

Waltzing Matilda is its national song if not its national anthem and as part of Australia as any song could be - and owned by ....... well, not Australia.

Australian Crawl's wonderful hit and tribute to Australia 'Down Under' may be buried down under (the ground) due to alleged and tenuous links to the classic Australian folksong 'The Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree-ee'. Anywhere else and the original 'owners' of the folksong's copyright would be complimented but here in Australia its all about money. Again, Australia sells its soul.

Then there's the Aboriginal Flag. The indigenous population of Australia have had it bad from the start. If genocide is too strong then massacre is not - of history, of culture, of society and of family. One of the best tributes to the indigenous population of Australia would be to propagate the so-called 'Aboriginal Flag' - to make it synonymous with Australia, to bring the indigenous brother into everyday experience rather than just a 'problem' on the news or a photo from the outback. But those who own the flag seem more interested in money than turning it into the flag that will remind the nation of the mistakes of the past and its responsibilities of the future. If the owners of this flag are Australian - as opposed to Vegemite or Waltzing Matilda - then they have sold out to the mighty dollar. How well we have taught our indigenous peoples to be like us. Again, Australia sells its soul.

Of course, the governments of the day have just stood by and given away Australian manufacturing. They've done the same with many of the service industries - I.T. support, Call Centres etc. No doubt when those overseas want to buy up our primary industries, our Government (whoever they are) will say - 'oh, yes, why not'. Australia really is the country that gives away its soul.

It would be nice if just for once, the country pulled together, grabbed a firm hold on its culture and history, and said 'Nope, these are for the people'.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Superannuation - The Great Lie

They said it was for our benefit. They said it was for our future.

I'm talking about superannuation.

OK, so hows this for benefit.....

Case 1.

My brother died 2 years ago and his superannuation came to me as next of kin. Total amount was four and a half thousand dollars. Not a lot, but he spent much of his life between jobs.

So by the time I'd gotten all the 'required' forms delivered to me and signed and returned, the superannuation company had LOST $800 of the payout through mis-investment. I had intended on using this money to pay for his funeral with any left over going to the RSPCA. Instead, I had to make up the difference with my own money which was pretty thin on the ground since I was unemployed myself.

And they say it's for our benefit. It's for our future.

Case 2.

My wife did a little work and got a little pay. It had to have a superannuation portion didn't it. No choice. It's for our own good says Big Brother in the Australian government.

The Superannuation company slowly eroded it to zero dollars then closed the account. Well thanks for that guys, if she'd put it in the bank then she might still have a little bit left.

Only it doesn't end there. More work for someone else and a new superannuation rip-off merchant cops a bit more money. Again, they weasel it down to almost nothing through fees.

It's for our own good. For our future.

Isn't it time the Australian Government did something about this problem? If we are forced to invest (how inappropriate is THAT word?) in superannuation, then it should at least guarantee that the money will not be chiseled away to nothing. It's bloody disgusting and it's time that it changed.

Not everyone can get employment. My wife is a full time carer for her parents and guess what - she can't even put money INTO superannuation so she can't build her future at all now and any money she did have in has been regurgitated as Superannuation Board coffee money. Even if she could get a little job to fit in with the 24x7 job of carer, the pittance she would get put into a superannuation scheme would be eroded faster than she could add to it.

It's for our own good. For our future.

Well that's bullshit and it's time Australian's got off their backsides and did something about the criminal running of this country. This is a sham, a mockery and an injustice to all Australians.

And it is NOT for our own good. And it is NOT for our future. It is for the pockets of the bloated bastards who care nothing for the rest of the country.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Standard of Press Reporting wouldn't pass Grade School

The English language is and always has been a work-in-progress. It's an evolving language with new words added and old words falling into disuse every day. Even in England itself, pronunciation could vary with just a few miles geographic distance.

Having said that, the press have always had a duty to be accurate to the stricter rules of English. Colloquialisms have little place in news reporting - which should always, at all times, be the reporting of truth and fact and not opinion (editorials excepted).

Of course, this has rarely been the case. Bias creeps into every paper and reporters - being human - are always open to subjective interpretation rather than objective reporting. This is not a fault in their skills so much as the nature of humanity.

However, in a way the guardian of reporting was always 'official speak'. In other words, notwithstanding printing errors such as miss-spelling or jumbling up of the letters, the printed word was always caged in a manner whereby the meaning was ultimately clear and written in official terms.

Not so today.

Take this report from the New York Post (via entitled Scientist guilty of trying to kill Americans - some portion of which are reproduced below for the purposes of analysis and comment.

1. Apparently pleading not-guilty is reserved only for those who are found innocent:
Aafia Siddiqui, 37, was found guilty by a jury in Manhattan federal court even after she denied charges that she had opened fire on US soldiers and FBI agents in Afghanistan.

'even after she denied charges' - well, most or at least many people plead not-guilty in court but how many times do reputable journalists comment on the case in this way? Whether actually guilty or innocent, if she pleads not-guilty then it is expected that she would deny the charges for Gods sake - what sort of brain wrote this?

2. Inappropriate use of abbreviation

The Pakistani neuroscientist, who feds claimed was an al-Qaeda associate, was arrested two years ago carrying handwritten plans for a radioactive "dirty bomb" along with a list of New York landmarks.

The term 'feds' is not only meaningless but inappropriate in a newspaper (possibly OK for a school yard though). Federal Police? Federal Bureau of Investigation? Fed-up citizens who are sick of year 3 school experience students writing press articles?

3. Reporter alleges police assault on potentially innocent victim

It took a jury two days to convict Siddiqui, who became famous for her loud outbursts that often got her kicked out of the courtroom.

According to this creative writer, the person was kicked. I think they meant 'removed' or even 'forcibly removed' but that's not what it says. The term 'kicked out' really does only apply to schoolboy language and NOT to an official press report.

I would have expected much more from the New York Post but then perhaps - with the current ecconomic climate - they have handed over press reporting to grandchildren at kindergarten.....

It may not seem important but it is. Press reporting IS important. It is an important job and essential for the good running of any nation. That people can be informed, objectively, without bias, using the correct language, grammar and spelling, is an essential part of mass communication and something that the world needs to maintain in a responsible manner - not in the slipshod manner that seems to be becoming the norm.

No, the New York Post is not alone in this. But as a responsible newspaper they need to set the example and show the way.

Wonko the Sane has spoken.