Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact|
Yes, it's time for your weekly dose of the wierd, wacky and wonderful stuff
that's out there on the Web.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
Things To Do With Your Microwave
If you've ever wondered what it looks like when you put a CD in the microwave --
here's a site that lets you enjoy such pleasures without risking the wrath of
your wife or mother.
Kung Fu Fighters
If you've got Flash 5 installed and a few minutes to waste then this 1.3MB
presentation is worth a look. It's a stick-figure free-for-all complete with
all the special camera pans and angles you've seen in films like The Matrix.
Need Cutting-Edge Copy?|
As NZ's longest-running online commentator, I'm looking for
extra syndication opportunities for this daily publication -- or I'm happy
to write casual or regular material specifically to order for print or
Net-based publications. If you're
interested, drop me a line
Guilty Unless Proven Otherwise
I'm afraid that today's column is going to be a little political in nature --
but it still has its roots deep in technology.
Several people sent me copies of a press release
announcing that the parallel import of new-release movie DVDs is to be made
illegal for a period of 9 months from the date of release.
Of course the move is allegedly designed to prop up the local theatre industry
by ensuring that they have a chance to earn some dosh from the latest box-office
releases before the rental and retail markets are flooded with $39.95 DVD
versions (complete with all the extra material that such DVDs contain).
The release says "This will ensure that distributors can supply provincial
and smaller cinemas with copies of film prints so that as many New Zealanders
as possible have access to new release titles."
Sounds fair enough eh?
However -- one can't help but wonder how "provincial and smaller cinemas" in
the USA cope with the release of DVD versions in direct competition with
box-office releases? What's so special about New Zealand that we are unable
to cope in the way that other countries do?
The PR goes on to say "The wider review was to determine whether a
parallel importing ban on music recordings, books and software products
would encourage an increase in international investment in and overseas
promotion of New Zealand creative talent."
Well I'm no brain surgeon (although I am a rocket scientist) but even I can
see that this ban on the grey-market importation of new-release DVDs and videos
will simply send consumers flocking to the Internet to import directly.
Now let's be quite clear about one thing -- gray importing is not theft. We're
talking about legally purchased copies of intellectual property for which
the owner receives their profits. What we're talking about here is weakening
a monopoly held by "sole distributors" who are able to effectively name their
price by virtue of that monopoly.
That's not good for local business and it's not good for the local economy.
What is it that gives "provincial and smaller cinemas" access to such preferential
treatment? Probably the same thing that saw the arts get a huge lump of
unbudgeted funding within weeks of the last election eh?
However, here's the real killer -- the piece of this legislation that we should
all be up in arms over:
"Changes to the onus of proof will include a presumption that suspected
imported goods are pirated, unless the defendant proves otherwise"
Excuse me -- whatever happened to the presumption of innocence and the burden
of proof being on the plaintiff? Does the arts community and movie industry
have such a strangle-hold on government that it's able to undermine the most
basic tenet of our justice system?
Of course the fact that the average family of four will now have to pay an
arm and a leg to watch new releases in a movie theatre rather than in the
comfort and safety of their own home probably doesn't worry our politicians --
after all, they've just received yet another pay increase.
Funny isn't it -- that they should get two very significant pay increases in
less than a year while claiming that there's just not enough money to pay
for luxuries such as nurses in hospitals and skilled radiographers for those
unfortunate enough to be ill.
Ah.. but there is a logic there -- how are MPs going to get the medical
treatment they might need if they don't have enough money to pay for
And what about those tax increases everyone earning more than a pittance
was forced to endure as part of the new government's policies. When you
factor in the pay increases our MPs have received since election, you'll
see that for them, the effect of that 39% top tax rate has been been completely
negated -- but not the rest of us.
Hang on -- an email from Helen here -- what's that? "Let them eat cake!"
Of course Jim Anderton, the worker's friend, has been dodging the media on
his attitude to the latest increase. Why's that Jim?
Only the Finance Minister seems to have had any backbone in this issue -- score
a point Michael Cullen.
Of course the MPs will roll out that old claim that it's not their fault, these
awful, untenable increases are forced upon them by those villains in the
Higher Salaries Commission. What a crock!
But here's a challenge to our MPs -- why not, at least as a symbolic gesture,
tithe that increase to the health-workers who we can't seem to find money to
Oh no, you couldn't possibly do that now could you??? Where's your credibility
Merry Christmas to everyone dying of some curable condition thanks to
underfunding of the public health service, I'm sure our politicians will
be thinking of you as they down that extra bottle of Moet they can now
afford to wash down their Christmas dinner.
Sky TV's New Interactive Guide
I'm trying to get an interview with someone from Sky TV to chat about that
new interactive guide which forms a part of their digital TV service.
There has been some discussion about the slowness and problems with the
new software but I want to hear from you if you have any comments so that
I can properly reflect consumer opinion in my article.
Let me know what you think about the changes. I won't
be publishing your comments on this topic today but you'll have another
chance to make 'for publication' comments on Monday, alongside the story.
Hey, Christmas Is The Time For Giving
Every month, Aardvark scores over half a million hits, at least 150K page views and
delivers more than 6GB of data to visitors.
All this traffic has meant that I've had to shift the site to a new server
to ensure that your daily dose is always fresh and delivered to your
browser with minimal delays.
I also invest over 300 hours per year writing the daily column and compiling
the day's news index -- all for your illumination and entertainment.
If you haven't sent any money to help offset the costs of running this
ad-free, 100% Kiwi, always fresh, often controversial site then you can give
yourself the warm-fuzzies this Christmas by doing so now.
Just drop by, click on the Aardvark, and
hand over your loot.
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