The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Stadiums and other city buildings

Thursday 31 August 2006 at 10:25 pm
  • [New office tower at Raine Square; note that Creative Commons licence does not apply to this image] Today the City of Perth announced approval for two new office projects — a huge redevelopment to make Raine Square less boring, and an office block on the ground-level carpark between the Parmelia Hilton and the Busport.
    The Raine Square development, assuming it goes ahead, sounds very funky, but the Mounts Bay Road building isn’t nearly as awesome as the mixed-use projects that were previously approved for the site (man, we don’t have enough mixed-use in Perth). Then again, at least this one has a chance of going ahead and replacing that waste-of-space carpark. Now if only someone would do something about the waste of space carpark next door …
  • Yesterday, my local government announced it was giving up its bid to get a stadium built at Cockburn Central, after being told the Premier wasn’t all that interested in their plans. Oh well, I guess WA football will be set back a few years as vested interests squabble over redeveloping Subiaco Oval. (Of course, East Perth is the better of the two remaining options, if only because it creates river integration opportunities … which almost guarantees that it won’t be accepted.)
  • Also on the sporting front: earlier this week, new plans were announced for Perth Arena, the new indoor stadium for the Hopman Cup. When I first heard about the bold design I thought it seemed cool, but the most recent pictures suggest that everything on the site other than the stadium itself is a bit uninspired.

    [Ugly carpark at Perth Arena; note that Creative Commons licence does not apply to this image]

    Case in point: that carpark, which is way too big, hardly sympathetic to the design, and liable to end up like the Convention Centre carpark (i.e. overrun by commuters and useless to patrons).


A random list for Sunday

Sunday 27 August 2006 at 2:01 pm
  • Is Rupert Murdoch demanding all his papers give extra publicity to his new cash cow? Today’s STM features a big, gushing article about MySpace. Then again, the article regularly quotes Tama, so it’s not all bad …
    Update 12.50am: Dr T says “I think the piece was pretty balanced”. Maybe I’m just a cynic, but I sensed a subtext of “you should join MySpace NOW!” in the first few paragraphs ;-)
  • Weird Al Yankovic, LOL! If you haven’t already, go download his song. Now.
  • The local Slashdot Meetup last Thursday was heaps cool, ye local Linux nerds (and non-Linux nerds) should all come! What most amused me was that except for the two public servants, everyone there had job offers to pass on from their employers …
  • I guess I shouldn’t be surprised so little media attention has gone to Terrence Tao, the former Adelaide kid and now UCLA professor who won the Fields Medal. A few sources overseas are chattering about the Russian dude who turned it down, but that’s just because he so neatly fits the ‘eccentric maths professor’ stereotype.
  • And finally, if (like me) you had trouble accessing this blog yesterday, blame your ISP’s upstream providers. Something got ugly between Global Crossing, AsiaNetCom, AT&T, and their link at the Infomart in Dallas, making it impossible for Optus or iiNet customers (among others) to access anything co-hosted at The Planet all day. (Complex? of course not!)
    Thing is, The Planet are huge — so the fault caught this blog, Kitta, Ask A Ninja, and quite a few others. Most other providers (particularly MCI) were able to route around the problem, leaving Feedeye unaffected even though it lives in the same building.

When you’ve got a gun …

Friday 25 August 2006 at 11:17 pm

I first heard about Last Train To Freo when it started filming — it sounds like a pretty awesome movie from a new local director. The early word is that it’s well-written and well-acted, and it stars Gigi Edgley, aka Chiana from Farscape!

It opens on September 14, but word is spreading and antzpantz has already taken to Photoshopping the promo photos. Inspired by his work, I present …

Last Train To Freo: if you see something, shoot something!


My feed reader’s better than yours!

Wednesday 23 August 2006 at 5:01 pm

So what, you ask, have I been working on while not posting to this blog?

The story goes like this. I imagine a few of you reading this will be doing so from the comfort of an RSS reader. I have one too, but I keep encountering a problem. Across all my feeds, there are so many items — some interesting, some not — that I can never be bothered to read every single one. Eventually I figured that what I really needed was a way of highlighting which articles in my feeds were more important, so late one night I took a crack at concocting a way to do this.

After some polishing, I dare say the result of my endeavours might be of use to someone other than me. It is (somewhat arbitrarily) named Feedeye, and it’s a Web-based RSS reader that allows you to put feeds into “sets” and will group together items in a set when they talk about the same thing. In doing so, it gives more emphasis to stories the more they’re being posted about in your chosen feeds.

Read the rest of this post »


Discoveries in my inbox: PerthNorg!

Friday 18 August 2006 at 11:01 pm

An intriguing discovery in my inbox this afternoon: an e-mail from Bronwen Clune, the founder of a flash-looking Web 2.0-ish news service called PerthNorg. While our other new online news service pays lip service to citizen journalism, this site takes a full-on WikiNews-style approach to local news.

PerthNorg There’s Digg-style voting as well (albeit with vote links that aren’t prominent enough) — I’ll definitely be doing that even if I don’t get around to submitting anything. This mix has confused a few people, although I think the implementation has been done pretty well for the majority of Perthurians who’ll have never heard of either. Oh, and I do love seeing proper use of Web standards!

I’d actually found out about PerthNorg last week via this post on a Sydney Morning Herald blog (the things you learn reading eastern states newspapers …). But I’ve been busy with honours and work, and marked it in my mind as something to blog about later, particularly seeing as it was so light on content.

The site is still light on content, albeit much less so than it was; I’m reluctant to add it to my feed reader until that changes. Indeed, Jeff Jarvis’ excitement aside, I’ve not seen many other localised news plays that are built solely out of user-generated content, so I do wonder whether it will take hold.

That said, PerthNorg does have a lot of promise and is definitely worthy of my recommendation — if only because it’s currently the one good hope we have of a decent quality news service in Western Australia :-)

(Meanwhile: also in my inbox today was an e-mail from Southern Coast Transit thanking me and promising a fix for a comment I made about bus drivers ‘logging off’ their trips before I could tag off my SmartRider … which I’d sent over a month ago!)

P.S. The lack of posting here hasn’t been an accident. Announcements are forthcoming, consider yourselves warned!


So much for ‘foiling’ the terrorists

Friday 11 August 2006 at 5:31 pm

In Australia we have a fairly competent customs and quarantine regime, and so every couple of months it’s not unusual to hear of yet another drug bust at an airport or the prosecution of some silly person trying to smuggle native animals.

When airport drug busts are announced, people acknowledge it as good police work, maybe even with a bit of nationalistic pride. They do not lock themselves in their homes, screaming “oh no! this is a sign that the streets are flush with drugs!”. There are no calls for massive increases in funding for drug detection at airports (because clearly, catching one smuggler means all the others are getting through). Nobody tries to ban plastic bags (or condoms) on planes for fear of the horror they could unleash upon addicts.

Compare this to the current panic over a foiled terrorist attack at Heathrow Airport.

This news is a nice confirmation that despite their flaws, the Metropolitan Police are still one of the best police forces in the world.

It is not a good reason to go cancelling flights, panic selling airline shares, or making long-haul flights unbearable by banning iPods.

Nor is it reason for crazy hype. Had the attacks gone ahead, it wouldn’t have been “mass murder on an unimaginable scale”, contrary to the assistant commissioner. A dozen destroyed planes = about 5000 people = roughly the number of people who die in London every month.

It never ceases to amaze me how common sense is in such short supply when it’s most needed.

(This post inspired by zeFrank, via Ponderance.)

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