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Monday, April 26, 2004

Hello all - now you may have thought that i was being extremely slack and ignoring my cyber-citizenship duties to create as well as consume vast amounts of useless cultural crud. In fact, however, I was only doing a very convincing job of pretending to ignore my duties to contribute to the vast amounts of useless stuff out there on the interweb :)

For anyone who is motivated and interested enough, you can have a look at my new website / blog. Thanks very much to Janet for the belated birthday present of a web hosting package :) I'll soon move this blog to my new site...

http://omar.id.au

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I'm starting to worry a little about the standards of journalism at the Australian ABC. The story Russians kidnapped as Chinese hostages released, claims that: the abductees have agreed not to kill the Japanese! I wonder what the abductors thought about that?

Now, there have been a number of these gaffes in ABC online news reporting recently, but then the reporter goes on to say, in the same article, that negotiations in the Sunny Muslim stronghold west of Baghdad ... well it's good to know that there are tourism opportunities still around in Baghdad!!

Tsk tsk ...

Sunday, April 11, 2004

A good summary of the various political and social forces at work in Iraq appears in The Age. The article, Now for the truth about Iraq, recounts the various excuses that the US has used to dismiss Iraqi civil strife, concluding that

Despite the mythology, most Iraqis were strongly against the invasion from the start, though it has taken 12 months for the world's media to report that

Unfortunately for Iraq's future, the US continues to attempt to legitimise its interference:

... article 59 of the new US-engineered constitution, which puts the new US-founded Iraqi armed forces under the command of the occupation forces, which will, in turn, be "invited" to stay in Iraq by the new sovereign government after the "handover of power" in June. This occupation force will be backed by 14 large US military bases and the biggest US embassy in the world, tellingly based at Saddam's republican palace in Baghdad.

Hopefully Australians will elect labour on a policy that rejects intervention in Iraq, following the Spanish lead and the other 'Allies' will follow. We know that Japan's government is in trouble over the Japanese hostages. Unfortunately I can't see the US reversing its stance even if there is 'regime change'.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Now most people think of computer nerds as those anti-social types who sit in front of a computer screen in preference to attending a great party. But computer nerds have been socialising via computer networks since... well since there were computer networks!

Now, granted, typing words into a computer, or even voice or video-chat aren't quite the same as shaking someone's hand or enjoying a drink with a friend. There are, however, other advantages - such as meeting people that are in vastly different situations to you and being able to share experiences that are worlds apart: face it, most of the parties you go to involve a whole heap of people that are in your age group, from a similar cultural background (for the most part) and a broadly similar socio-economic background. And then again, the advantage is that you'll have stuff in common to talk about ;)

So what if you could combine the advantages of talking to people you have something in common with and simultaneously, rapidly expanding that network to include people you find interesting because they have a different life experience? Enter Orkut. The latest in a string of social-networking websites. The idea is that you link through social networks of friends, to their friends, and their friends' friends, etc. And build a vast social network. You can only join by invitation and so slowly the network grows. Fun concept.

Thanks also to Jordan for inviting me :)

Orkut specifically is closely affiliated with google, being created by one of its employees. Jeremy Zawodny's blog provides a good explanation of why Google needs Orkut... basically, to collect demographic data, which they don't otherwise have (cf Yahoo! or MSN, which gains user data from membership of email accounts, 'groups', etc)

From Orkut's 'privacy' page: We may share both personally identifiable information about you and aggregate usage information that we collect with Google Inc. and agents of orkut in accordance to the terms and conditions of this Privacy Policy. We will never rent, sell, or share your personal information with any third party for marketing purposes without your express permission.

Well it's lucky for them that they don't need to sell or share any personal information in order to make a lot of money out of advertisers :)

Friday, April 09, 2004

Bored? Looking for something more interesting to do than your consumer protection essay? Look no further than Webjay - Listener Created Radio: the idea behind this webapp is that you point it at the URL (web address) of a page, and it will make up a list of the songs on the page. You can then choose your preferred player (iTunes, RealPlayer, etc) and the songs on the page will all be played.

Useful? Maybe. Fun? Definitely :)

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Hello all, sorry about the long hiatus - uni and work have been keeping me very busy. I'm putting up a new site soon as well, so my web publishing efforts have been going into that for a little while now.

Keep watching this space and there will be something interesting soon!

Monday, March 29, 2004

How fun is the Creative Commons licence! A little web app licenced under a creative commons licence allowed me to create a map of everywhere I've been in the world...



create your own visited country map
or write about it on the open travel guide

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