Your Taxes At Work

So this is how the Australian government is going to take us back to the future.

According to the ABC News Online Families to receive free Internet filter.

The Federal Government has announced it will provide every Australian family with a free Internet filter to block pornography. The plan is part of a new package, called Protecting Australian Families Online, that will cost almost $120 million. Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan says the filters will let parents set access limits based on what they think is appropriate.

The Government will make the National Library use the filters, and hopes all other libraries will too.

Here is the URL to the press release $116.6 million to Protect Australian Families Online

What are they thinking. The parents are probably going to get the kids to install the software. And surely Google could sell them the filtering technology that they developed for China, it seems to work well for the government over there..

Ghostzilla – the invisible browser

Ghostzilla is a Web browser like Firefox, but it shows up and disappears instantly, discreetly, blended with your application — any application — so the Web pages look like part of it and not like the Web at all. (Read here how.)

What would you use Ghostzilla – the invisible browser for?
Well lets start with the obvious one.

Hide your browsing from your boss and coworkers.
This isn’t a good idea you can get fired (It’s only hidden on your screen, it still leaves traces in every log on your bosses’ server. They still know where you have been

How about having a browser instantly available and dismissible within your work application, washed out from ads and unnecessary pictures. “Cool” I hear you say but it really will help fuel that attention deficit disorder we are all working on. Seriously.

So what’s it for then?

* Entertainment. Ghostzilla is a form of computer art.

Sorry, it just appealed to my sense of the absurd.

Streaming Suitcase

Adam Hyde has been described as a “tactical media artist” Adam was born in New Zealand and is permanently transient. He is a consultant, developer and artist working at the convergence of broadcasting and Internet technologies.

And why does he get a mention here?

He writes manuals. He writes the kind of manuals you can send to your mum and have her streaming music from her PC without ring you up. (Well almost)

The Streaming Suitcase is his website and is based on Hyde’s streaming workshops using free and open source software. You will find manuals offering plain-language instructions for streaming audio and video across the internet and can be downloaded in PDF, or output in a print friendly format..

Hyde invites us all to ‘have a browse and take what you want. All the manuals are licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence. This means you can:

  • download the manual for free
  • distribute the manual to whom you like for non-commercial purposes
  • use parts or all of the documents in other publications / documents as long as it is for non-commercial use and you credit the source (that would be Adam).

To give you an idea of his work, here is the Audio Hardware manual I’m going to send my mum.

Sticks and Stones and Bells

Everyone loves a domino race (Go on admit it… you do ) and I’m no different but this one is glorious.

“Sticks and Stones” is executed by Bre Pettis and Jesse Ferguson and is a machine made entirely out of natural materials – think Mousetrap made from sticks, stones, twine, trees, dirt, and so on. Click on the link and you can see how it was all put together.

Built at the sacred Earth Sanctuary ( ), Sticks and Stones is composed of about 20 distinct elements, all working in sequence to ring the large, heavy bell at the end, sending a beautiful majestic sound across the forest landscape.

Youtube link in case the embed doesn’t work

So the big question I suppose is “If a bell rings in the forest and there is no one there to video it….”

I’ll go now.

A Disposable Email Address Service

Do you hate it to receive spam emails in your private email account? Or my personal pet hate, the registering to use a free account to demo a webservice that you probably aren’t going to use again.

Well, offers a free temporary email and disposable email address service to get around this annoyance.

A disposable email address is something like a temporary email account, which can be used to avoid spam. For example use your temporary email account at registrations (Hello New York Times). So they will never know your private email address.

The address lasts for about six hours more than long enough to register yourself for a list / “free” account whatever.

File this one away for future use.

The Pentagon and Social Network

OK. This is weird. On the one hand the RIAA/MPAA want alll the social networks shut down because people MIGHT use them to share stuff. And they are bankrolling lobbyists all over the world to make this stuff happen.

On the other hand, New Scientist has an article entitled Pentagon sets its sights on social networking websites because it has discovered that Pentagon’s National Security Agency (the spooks),who are masters in listening to everyone in the world’s phone conversations and code-breaking, is bankrolling research into the bulk harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks. Think of it as spook spam collection.

And in a rather ironic twist it seems that the “semantic web” championed by web standards organisations and writing accessible websites makes it dead easier for them to combine data from social networking websites with details such as banking, retail and property records. This lets them make up profiles on people because lets face it half the profiles on myspace are lies or put there by the record companies (who want them shut down)

And I thought the nineties were weird.