Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Recycling computers

If you have some computer waste, consider taking a drive to Riversdale Road, in Camberwell. I did, and best of all, they’re even open on public holidays (I went on 26/01) Details:

City of Boroondara Waste Transfer Station,
648 Riversdale Road, Camberwell
Phone 1800-353-233

Tell them you’re there for the “Byteback” program, and go in and dump your computer related waste. CRT monitors, old PCs, and so on that seemingly no one else wants. Best of all, they take it off your hands, for free.

Naturally, don’t throw stuff thats useful away. Give it away to folk like ComputerBank. Their recycling site should also be a useful resource.

Data plans

I’ve always been a fan of how 3 can provide services on the cheap. In fact, for the longest time, their data plans have been the cheapest (that I’ve found). I was enjoying paying $29 for 1GB of use, and now they’ve upgraded it to 2GB of use. Kudos to them!

However, it seems that Vodafone, provides a 5GB plan, at just $39. Best of all, if you roam from the 3G network, you get onto Vodafone’s GPRS network, which covers 95% of Australia. This does not incur a roaming charge, like being a 3 customer does (roaming with Telstra, and you’re slapped with a ridiculously large $1.65/MB charge).

Looks like I’m considering a Vodafone change?

Suna Live GPS System

OK, only a couple of days to go until Christmas. Know someone who always gets lost when driving? I don’t have to tell you how great GPS systems but the downside of GPS systems are that they don’t take into account traffic and construction conditions at the time of driving. Recently launched in Melbourne, the Suna Traffic Channel can relay real time information to your GPS system.

“Suna Traffic Channel data is generated by the information gathered at the sensors on the road networks on arterial roads and freeways. In Melbourne the base traffic data is from VicRoads and other sources. The most important source of raw traffic flow data is derived from the loop sensor network embedded in the road pavement on the approach to signalised intersections. Virtually all urban (and many regional) signalised intersections are networked to central traffic light control systems in each state. By agreement with the respective road authorities to value-add this data, we are able to develop and drive near real-time link-by-link congestion models.”

All of this information is then broadcast via an inaudible signal on MIX 101.1FM to your tuned in GPS system. Your GPS system can then guide you around any traffic. Very cool. Looks like Mio’s DigiWalker’s series will be able to utilize the Suna Traffic channel with its models starting at $450.

Suna Traffic Channel [via Lifehacker]
Video showing how Suna works

Picture via Lifehacker

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unsensored 07: film, on wall

Last Friday, I was at the opening of UNSENSORED 07. It was a crowded event, with gallery-goers spilling to the back of the gallery, as well as onto High St. UNSENSORED is touted as the first annual exhibition, of a group on Flickr, called the Melbourne Silver Mine.

What made it so special (besides my friends amazing photography on the walls)? The fact that its all film-based. Some made even with toy cameras like the Holga or Diana. Quality, is amazing. Shows you that fancy digital cameras alone, do not make a good photo.

I find it an interesting mashup, of Flickr, and RedBubble. Yes, RedBubble, a company based right in the heart of Melbourne, makes some amazing prints (and from what I gather, frames). All the artwork were printed by them. Presentation is very professional. Take a look at the SilverMiner’s RedBubble page, if you fancy buying some artwork.

More importantly though, head to the exhibition, and be breath-taken by the 24 photos. I understand that at any given time, one of the photographers in the exhibition will be on duty, and will give valuable information about the photos, and be there for a regular chat. Details:

When? 26 October – 10 November 2007 (Tuesday – Friday, 12-5pm, Saturday 10am-4pm)
Where? Kerala Gallery, 263, High St., Northcote
How do I get there? Driving is a possibility, there’s plenty of parking. Alternatively, take Tram Number 86, and get off at Stop 32 (stops pretty much right in front of Kerala)

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Melbourne Online Digital Media (MODM) gathering

Fancy meeting digital media types, to talk about business models and social media? Into podcasting, blogging (you’re reading this, you must be), Twitter, Facebok, mobile content, Second Life, etc. ? Consider coming to MODM 5 tomorrow (Thursday).

MODM is a monthly event, and to RSVP for the event, you’ve actually got to have a Facebook account (here’s the Facebook event), but showing up will do just fine. Drinks aren’t sponsored (this month), so I guess this is a wide open invitation. So to recap:

MODM 5
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Riverland Bar
Vault 1-9, Federation Wharf, Federation Square

Its on the Yarra, if you haven’t been there before, check out the map.

Next tram in PLEASE INSERT SYSTEM DISK

tramdisplay

On the way back from seeing the Eureka Tower last night, I took this picture at the Federation Square tram stop. Looking up at the arriving trams screen, I also noticed the time was stuck at 4:50 PM (time was actually 9:30PM). Its always strange to see an ATM, flight information, or train arrival display crash. These screens are akin to celebrities as in the end we are all the same underneath.

august 30 062 august 30 061

Bonus: Bourke Street/ Swanston Street BSOD
Bonus Quote from last night’s Futurama: “I am Bender, please insert girder”.

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The Reason Australia Lacks Unlimited Internet Plans

ever wonder why there are no true “unlimited” internet plans in Australia?

…but where does the bulk of our internet content come from? Ahh, the US and Europe, a land-mass with an even higher population density.

So that means international cables, and they make our costs of running copper from Ballarat to Bendigo look like pocket change you couldn’t buy a bag of mixed lollies for. And they cost a lot to run. And they’re owned mostly by a very very small number of companies, who have to pay the USAians and the Europeans on a per-gigabit basis for our traffic, as well as maintain the big pipe plugs at each end and several multi-million-dollar ocean going vessels (with highly trained, highly paid crews) to do maintenance and repairs.

from a nice informative forum post

for everyone looking for the best place to search for internet plans in australia, don’t forget the previously mentioned whirlpool.net.au. just type in your land phone number and filter accordingly.

Can Melbourne become a tech capital?

The Age recently reports the Top 10 Tech Capital in the world – Melbourne and Sydney are no where near them and to be honest, I am not at all surprised. The report also kinda summarise why Sydney [or Melbourne] can yet to measure up with the Top digital cities. Here are my little two cents in reference to the report:

  • Huge internet bill – Personal experience: having to pay 60 bucks each month for internet is abhor and it’s like living back in time when internet is still dial-up predominant, which to a very humble international student who came from Hong Kong means living back in more than 10 years ago.
  • Overall SLOWWWWWWWW internet connection – it is a wonder how could 128kbps ADSL connection still exists and could be regarded as broadband service. Faster speed is still available to a limited extent however, it’s nothing compared to Japan’s widely available 100Mbps connection.
  • Expensive mobile subscription: Even my mobile allows GPRS, MMS, push-to-talk, etc. the huge bill again encourages me only to text and mostly make calls to people within my network.
  • Lack of free wifi facilities: other than Joe’s Garage in Brunswick Street, I still can’t find any other free wifi spot in Melbourne. Unless you count University which the usage is restricted to students and staff or State Library which you have to be a registered library user. And seriously, I just can’t see myself using Telstra hot-spot services available at Starbucks which could even bring an even bigger bill to my mailbox.
  • Interestingly, Melbourne 2030 actually addresses telecommunication under the heading of A more prosperous city. Have a look at what it says.

    All negativity asides, it is observable that the telecommunication charges is improving in Melbourne and Melbourne’s digital future should remain fairly bright. But it is undeniable that we still have a lot catch-up to do when compared to the digital cities mentioned in the report.

    Optus on Federation Square

    I saw a short article about this on television. Some guy proposed to his girlfriend on the large screen on Federation Square. All he had to do was send an SMS message.

    Apparently, Optus has placed a message board on which scrolling messages can be displaced. This is near the 7-Eleven store, close to the corner of Flinders and Swanston Street. Each message cost 55 cents and messages should be sent to 19 767 333.

    But for the major gimmick, try the Optus SMS Fed TV. This is the large television screen on Federation Square. One can create personalised messages with animation to be displayed on the big screen. I don’t know who or what decides on the type of animation but that was what the guy did when he proposed to his girlfriend. He sent an SMS to 041 33 33 021 and was charged the premium SMS charged of 55cents. Cheap?

    Has anyone else tried it yet? Looking at the Fed Square website, it seems that this service is available on certain weekdays in May only from 12 to 2 pm.

    News Link
    Herald Sun’s article on the marriage proposal

    Send Postcards by MMS

    It’s always good to see Melbourne based companies come up with clever technology. MMS Postcards allows a user to send a picture via MMS to the company. In turn, the company will print the picture into a postcard and send it to anyone in the world. Charges are automatically placed on your phone account thus requiring no credit card. Many modern phones have syncing abilities with Outlook or other PIMs giving you the ability to store people’s addresses in your phone.

    When travelling overseas, it is always a pain to find a shop that sells postcards, then buy a postcard, and finally figure out how many stamps it will take to send to someone not lucky enough to be on vacation with you. In non-English speaking countries, it can be more difficult. Hopefully, this company will ease some of the postcard sending stress.

    MMS Postcards

    Smarthouse [via Digg]


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