Archive for the 'Internet' Category


Call Centre Frustrations

Seeing as the Judge was sharing some ANZ bank ads, I thought I would share my favourite one too.

I don’t know how the ANZ got the rights but this ad features the Robot from Lost In Space and a couple of Daleks from Doctor Who. Hilarious even though it does show the frustrations one gets when one gets put through to a call centre.


Attack of the Killer Puffin

Don't upset the puffin.


He finally did it…

I’m not sure of the original source since this is one of those things that does the rounds.

I thought it was very cute and it made me smile so I thought I’d share it.

He finally did it:



My First Bloggers Meeting

A couple of nights ago, I attended my first bloggers meeting in Newtown at the Courthouse Hotel. As I was leaving work, a colleague asked where I was off to and was mildly amused when I said a gay bloggers meeting. He gave me a look that said “what with Mardi Gras on this weekend and the city full of Americans and South Americans looking for sex, why on earth are you going to a gay bloggers meeting”. Well , his look didn’t say that, he actually used those words. The look was probably more “what a nerd”. 🙂

I was nervous about the meeting since I am shy around new people. I knew James and Andrew already and it was they who encouraged me to come along. I was glad that I did. There were about 10 of us in the beer garden, thankfully under cover since it was raining.

Having read some of the other reports of the meeting, I am unsure of the exact protocol of using people’s real names, screen names or blog names to refer to individuals. To keep it simple, I added a stack of blogs to my Blogroll (see to the right) so have a browse.

Everyone was nice and easy to get on with so I felt quite comfortable. It was an interesting evening with a diverse range of topics discussed. Travel, dogs, Cardiff, Torchwood, Number 96, Dusty Springfield, social knitting, gay history, gay films, etc. We even talked about blogging (surprise, surprise).

I had a great time and I hope more meetings are organised. Unfortunately, I had to leave a little early since I was being interviewed on radio about Dusty Springfield (although that was a disaster – I’ll talk about that another time).


Iceland gets digital music right

In my previous post, I referred to buying Paul Oscar’s new album as a digital download. I just wanted to share how quick and easy it was, and how Iceland knows what the customer wants.

The state of today’s music industry is a topic I can talk about forever but I will try and limit myself to one (of the many) things that really annoys me.

I am one of a large group (larger than the record companies would have you believe) who wants to buy music. And not just the music that the local record companies tell me I have to buy. I want to buy music from around the world. I particularly love Swedish pop music and also Icelandic, Russian, French or whatever. I love good music regardless of where it came from or what language it’s in. I also want to buy back catalogue music. I realise that it’s not always practical to release back catalogue CDs so I can cope with digital releases with the low overhead costs.

I grew up being told how wonderful technology is and how it will offer us so much choice and so many more opportunities. However, the record companies are using this technology to restrict our choices. I get frustrated the number of times I visit iTunes or other download stores and can’t buy what I want to buy just because I live in Australia. Here I am willing to pay and the record companies won’t let me. They then turn around and preach about the evil of downloads while trying to sue small children. If they could only put their energies into coming into the 21st century and using the technology to allow people to buy the music they want to buy when they want to buy it.

Enter Iceland.

The website has been set with the cooperation of the Icelandic music industry and has secured the license to distribute digitally almost every song from almost every Icelandic artist in the past 50 years. And the service is available globally so it doesn’t matter that I live in Australia. I can legally buy almost any Icelandic song I want to. Which is how it should be.

Of course, Iceland is a small country with a small population so the logistics are easier but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible in other countries. It would be easier on a record company by record company scale or even label by label scale. It would just take some effort from record companies. If only they could stop demonising digital music and customers, and start using their imagination and creativity to give the customer what the customer wants. Iceland have shown it can be done.


No more Facebook

Well, I finally drew the line in the sand (see post Web 2.0 below) and took myself off Facebook. The internet is a wonderful beast and you can meet some amazing people but if you’re not careful, it can take over your life completely. I was finding it difficult to keep up with Facebook and all those applications attached to it.  And in the main, I have other ways of keeping touch with my Facebook friends.

Rather than allow me to delete myself, Facebook let me deactivate the account. The good thing about this is if I decide to go back, it will be quite simple to do so, without having to reinvent my profile all over again. I’m not sure if I stay listed as a friend on people’s accounts while I’m deactivated.

I have kept my MySpace profile since this is more about music. You can contact me there or though this blog.

Only eight days before my trip. 🙂


Web 2.0

I announced the launch of my blog on an internet mailing list that I am a member of. One person wrote that what with blogs, MySpace and Facebook, she was feeling quite dizzy with it all. She recalled the days when it was much simpler and all you had to worry about were pen pals.

The internet has evolved into what is now being called Web 2.0, a term encompassing such things as blogs, social networking sites and wikis. In other words, there is a lot more user generated content on the web and you don’t need a PhD in HTML to be able to upload it.

Yesterday, I joined the blog revolution and I am quite excited about it. Naturally, like many others, I have MySpace and Facebook profiles (see the About Grant page for the links) although I sometimes question the value of these.

I have often heard Facebook described as an adult version of MySpace but I must admit that I have found it all a bit silly. Since signing up, I’ve been bitten by zombies, had sheep flung at me and been offered drinks that I can’t quite wrap my thirsty lips around. There seems to be an endless number of these Facebook applications that people keep sending me. It ends up being more about these games than actual networking and it’s easy to see why so many people are spending hours on Facebook. And it disturbs me when I score 100% on a quiz about the movies Grease and Grease 2 when I don’t even like these movies!

I do prefer MySpace since there seems to be more focus on one of my passions, music. So many musicians use MySpace to showcase their music. There is a great singer I have discovered purely via MySpace called Jake Hook (check out the beautiful Fireflies song). I have been able to preview songs from forthcoming albums by my favourite artists such as Annie Lennox, Eran James, Shelby Lynne and BWO. Another advantage is that it can bring you closer to the artist. I have had a couple of online interchanges with Jake. Canadian singer/songwriter Kyle Riabko (check out Ready For Reality, a song that has hit written all over it) has posted demos and asked for feedback from his fans.

But how much is too much? The Web 2.0 phenomenon means you could potentially spend more time than ever before chained to your computer. I am just as guilty of this. As soon as I wake up in the morning, I switch the computer on and invariably wonder why I am always running late for work. I get home at the end of a tiring day and on goes the computer with it only being switched off when I crawl into bed late into the night. And of course, I’m using a computer all day at work.

A while back, I instituted a computer free day where I wouldn’t go near or switch on the computer for one whole day a week. It actually worked really well and I found I was being a lot more productive and relaxed on that day. But you know how it is, before I knew it, the computer free day had disappeared since there was always something that needed a computer. What I am trying next is not to turn the computer on in the mornings and to only have the computer on for a couple of hours when I get home.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the internet. The amount of information is endless and I have met some truly amazing people all around the world. However, I do sometimes feel like I’m suffering from information overload and I do find it almost impossible to keep in touch with all my friends. There has to be an easier way to manage it all while balancing real life contacts and experiences.

And what did happen to the joy of letter writing to friends, family and pen pals? Taking the time to sit down and write about your life and then waiting a month or two for a reply. These days, communication is broken down into a series of soundbytes and abbreviated speak via email or SMS. No sooner do you write to someone, you’re hit with a reply and you feel the pressure in having to reply to that and so on and so on. Some people use emails and SMS in place of conversation. I much prefer to ring someone directly rather than engage in a back and forth electronic exchange.

I think it does come down to taking a stand and drawing a line in the sand. Computers and the internet can only control your life if you allow it. Define your boundaries and stick to them. Switch off the computer at 7pm, have dinner and then ring someone you haven’t spoken to in an age. That will be my goal tonight.