Archive for September, 2009

Google Maps adds Traffic Information

trafficmapGoogle Maps has just activated real time traffic information to its maps. Information is taken from Intelematics, which you may recognise as the company behind the SUNA live GPS system that provides real time traffic information to GPS units through a discrete FM radio signal.

The breadth of coverage around Melbourne is staggering and Google plans to further expand traffic information by transmitting anonymous speed readings from those using the mobile version of the Google Maps Application.

traffichistoryAnother smart feature of Google’s traffic information is being able to look at historical information.  Say you want directions from Clifton Hill to St. Kilda around 5PM on a Saturday. The route usually would take you down Punt Road but potentially if historical information is smart it would tell you that Saturday afternoons along Hoddle Street are a nightmare because of footy traffic. Google has perhaps seen the success of it’s Flu Trends product in predicting likely occurance of traffic.

It’s amazing to think it that only three years ago, Google added the ability to actually look up an address on its maps and now we have real time traffic data.

Google Maps via [Official Google Australia Blog]

Facebook Car

Friend Request?

Friend Request?

We’ve seen the Google car but I didn’t think the Facebook car would be an old Kia.  Seriously, unless this is a company car, who pays money for a vanity plate with Facebk on it?

Picture via @arcadegazette

10.1% Unaccounted Water

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Lonsdale Street Water Main Break/ Photo by Lantrix

Last week I received my water bill. City West Water always send some interesting material with our usual bills.  Their own reported figures show that they are very good at fixing water problems quickly. One of the more interesting figures on their fact sheet is the unaccounted water percentage.  10.1% of Melbourne’s water supply seems to be unaccounted for.  Is this a normal figure? Surely it isn’t common to have  huge water main breaks such as today’s incident on Lonsdale Street?

Wikipedia reports unaccounted water or non-revenue water as water that is lost due to leaks or metering inaccuracies. While I thought 10% was big, China is an appalling 52%.  While it’s easy to criticize Victoria’s lack of forward thinking with it’s dams and desalination plant, at least we have good water infrastructure in place to retain most of our water.

Rickrolled in Melbourne



It’s one thing to get rickrolled on the Internet but out in the public? From Overheard in Melbourne:

A MAN and a LADY are strolling toward shops when emerges a CAR, bright red, pop-up headlights, high speed, absolute disregard for pedestrians. MAN dodges out of way as CAR speeds by without a care, windows wound down, stereo up loud, blaring Rick Astley.

LADY: …I think we just got rickrolled.

You are not safe anywhere.

Overheard in Melbourne: Rickrolled

Costco costly: Price Comparison

Melbourne's Costco I haven’t been to the Melbourne Costco yet and based on what I’ve read online, I don’t think I ever will.  Don’t get me wrong, Costco is a great idea and whenever I am in the US, I try visiting there partly out of curiosity and partly to get a large quantity of US only products to bring home. But for a country with very little buying power, general isolation from the world, and the fairly good prices of local markets and Aldi, I don’t see the savvy shopper saving money.

Here’s why.


Brief Updates from MBHQ

You’ve no doubt by now noticed that the sites got a bit of a re-design and some things got changed around last week. We wanted to highlight two changes to make sure everyone knows what changed.

The first and biggest is COMMENTS! Registration is no longer required to post a comment on any post. Of course if you already have an account you can still login to ensure your comments are attributed to you, but those who don’t can now post a comment without any long term commitment. Also, on the right you can see some of the recent comments so you’ll always know what the active discussions are. This was the most requested thing we’ve heard from people since our last redesign and we’re excited to see where it leads.

The next change is also something that was heavily requested, and that is a change to the ADS on the sites. You’ll immediately notice fewer of them, but what might not be as obvious is those smaller square ones to the right are specific to this city only and are being sold for a flat rate for a period of time rather than a confusing CPM/traffic/network model. Depending on the city, these range from $7-$175 for a full week. If you purchase one, during that time your ad will be the only one in that spot and will show on every page. We set these up both to make it easier for smaller local businesses to get their ads on our site, and also to help us bring in ads that relate better to our local audiences. Also, keeping these sites online is expensive and every little bit helps.

There are a bunch of other things we changed but we’ll leave those to you to investigate and take advantage of. Hope you like it, and we look forward to seeing you in the comments!!

The folks at MBHQ

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