Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy & Holy Christmas

Season's greetings to you, dear reader, and the other two and a half thousand from Oz, the USA, the UK, India and the USSR who have visited so far this month.

Relative Worth?

Peter Fitzsimons comes in for a bit of stick from Timmeh, amongst others.

How refreshing, then, to encounter, in the same bookstore display, an example of one of his bestsellers together with wee Johhny's tome.

The prices are interesting.

Lazarus Rising - $9.95

Batavia - $69.95

About right, I reckon.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

More Adventures in the Blogosphere

One version of blogspeak

I’ve had a good time this year posting comments on the sites of the more risible of those who make a living out of peddling opinion.

Opinion is not all they peddle. Prurience, prejudice and pretentiousness are also evident.

It seems that the possession of an over-inflated ego or at least a very delicate one - is also a prerequisite, .

On some of these sites, I’m frequently banned, or have my posts deleted. This is always a good sign. It indicates that I'm on the money.

Others who post on these sites abuse (see above), denigrate and threaten, but they are posted so long as they toe the party line. An example is  Curious (above). No substance in the post - only a cheap shot, but that's OK by the mods.

I avoid name-calling and abuse, so there must be other reasons for the censorship.
Sometimes they sneak through...

One possibility is that the site owner feels threatened by the post. This may be because the original opinion posted is obviously biased or pays little attention to the facts. The deleted post below is a good example. Blair was either in too much of a hurry or two lazy to read the complete article he linked to. He therefore wasn't too keen to find that his hero told porkies, so my post was deleted - credibility y'know....poor petal.

Both Pilmer & Timmeh have a poor regard for the truth

The other likelihood is that the blogger has an argument that he can’t sustain. This doesn't happen quite so often, because you don't get arguments on these sites - only ill-considered opinions.

Given that it isn’t a good look for a “professional” to have errors and bias identified by an amateur, naturally the corrective post doesn’t make it. It persists of course, as a screen shot, and can always be posted.

 The second deleted post below was a reply to someone having a go at my moniker. I wasn't allowed to defend myself. This is petty stuff - you'd expect someone who earns his living through blogging to be a little more secure. I would have thought that would have made for some interesting banter, but on this blog, there's a politically correct line that mustn't be crossed.
This is offensive?

If opinion can be bought or sold – and this is of course what you’re seeing here – real dialogue is crushed. We’re left with the kind of pseudo discussion which passes for political dialogue across the pacific. Comparing US style political discussion with what used to be accepted here is similar to comparing a doughnut to a decent curry. It's easy to see that Blair and others of his vintage belong to a generation that never saw war and have been indulged and cossetted. They take themselves with a seriousness that is bizarre.

The blogosphere is a great leveller. It is also a platform for discussion and discourse. It’s a shame that the “professionals” have forgotten this.

They’d enjoy themselves more if they remembered that in this country free speech is valued and indulging in a little banter (virtual or real) is an Australian pastime.

Click on the page views to upsize them.

E Books Vs “Real” Books

We’re told that eBooks are going to render the “real” version obsolete before too much longer. Amazon is already selling slightly more eBooks than paperbacks. The same, however, is not true in Australia.

I wonder about that. Could it be more about “horses for courses”? Perhaps whether a reader opts for a material book or an eBook depends on the content. In any event, there is no appreciable drop-off in regular book sales in this country.

Maybe we’ll see the printed book and the eBook comfortably selling side by side for some time yet – at least for as long as I still have enough eyesight left to be able to read.

The genuine article has plenty to recommend it.

The physical presence of the book is often a conversation starter. I’d like a dollar for every time I’ve been on a plane or some other form of mass transport when what I’m reading (or what someone else is reading) becomes exactly that.

Perhaps I’m weird, but the smell, the weight, the cover art and the physical presence of the book matter to me. One of my preferred activities (less so at this time of the year) is browsing in bookstores.

These days, of course, bookstores are a threatened species. Having said that, both Mary Ryan and the ABC locally seem to be doing well.

As I read somewhere the other day, instant coffee didn’t mark the end of brewed coffee.

I think the same will happen with books and e-books.

Whatever, I’ve decided to investigate having my offering sold in e-book mode, mainly to sell in the USA and UK. By the time I’ve shipped copies overseas it doesn’t pay – either the reader or the vendor.

Maybe I should have it translated into Russian. According to my blog stats I have a strong following there. That’s a bit weird.  

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Typos are Dangerous

This is an ATSB animation showing an incident that occurred at Tullamarine on the night of 20 March 2009. It was developed by downloading the data off the FDR. There's no sound.

The aircraft, an Airbus A340-541, registered A6-ERG and operating as Emirates EK407, with 18 crew and 257 passengers suffered a tailstrike and cleaned up a locator beacon when it ran out of runway.

The reason? Erroneous take-off performance parameters were entered into a laptop by the crew. Apparently someone typed "2" instead of "3".

Some typo!

The crew and passengers need buy no more lottery tickets. They've used up all their luck.

This shot (taken off the end of the runway) shows a locater beacon taken out by the aircraft.

This one shows marks left by the main wheels in the dirt also off the end of the runway.

That was close.

Hugh White - Without America

Hugh White is always provocative, and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to criticising current defence policy. In 1995, he was appo...