Tuesday, July 16, 2013

nzompilot's Positivity Challenge

Image via http://shelleyhallmark.wordpress.com/

This is something I wrote for publication on my personal Facebook & Google+ accounts but thought was worth sharing here as well.

When everything seems hard, when life gets you down, when you feel like you're getting thrown through the ringer at every turn, its often hard to believe that you make a difference at all.  I know its something I really struggle with, and I'm sure other people struggle with it as well.

Even though its often hard to believe we are always making a difference, whether its as simple as a smile and wave or verbal thank you to a bus driver that makes their shift or its something a lot bigger where you set an example that others follow, every day there is a way that you are making a difference.

Its my challenge to myself to actually try and observe these little or big things so that I can see what impact I am having on the world around me.  This in turn should help me to feel better about myself, and I challenge each of you reading this to do the same.  

Pay attention to the bus driver when you leave the bus see if your
acknowledgement of them makes them smile, see if the person you make eye contact with a smile at walking down the street, smiles back and if their facial expression changes.

Go out each and every day and make it your challenge to be positive and use that positivity to make a difference on those around you. Even if feeling positive is the last thing you feel like doing, even a simple smile can change you and those around.

This is my challenge - will you join me?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Gold Coast Commonwealth Games power abuse

Graphic from couriermail.com.au
There is an article in this morning's couriermail about a raft of new laws proposed for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018.  Some of them I am completely against and find to be a complete abuse of power just to make things 'look good' to 'keep up appearances' for overseas television audiences.
THE raft of new laws proposed for the Commonwealth Games include giving the green light for the killing of protected animals that stray into venues during competition.     
I find this proposal abhorrent as one of the protected animals on the Gold Coast is the Koala.  Not only is this an icon of Australia, its a protected species as the Koala population is declining and their survival as a species is threatened.  So killing them just because they venture into a commonwealth games venue is ludicrous.

One of the other proposed laws is even worse when it comes to abuse of civil liberties in the name of keeping up appearances.  The proposal requires owners of buildings and properties within camera shot of venues and iconic scenery to clean up their properties, remove graffiti etc.  While removing graffiti is always a positive thing forcing private citizens to clean up their back yards is a complete abuse of power.

I do however agree with some of the proposals such as increasing the power of police to crack down on ticket scalpers, unauthorised broadcasts and to relocate people to "some distance away from the event site"

But I do disagree with the final proposal to limit the number of mobility scooters at each venue.  This is a blatant discrimination against elderly and disabled people who have an equal right to attend events as able bodied and young people.

Read the full article HERE (may require creating a free news+ account)
and read the government briefing paper HERE (released under the Right to Information Act 2009)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Translink Bus changes (rant)

So the first round of changes to Brisbane Transport (BCC) Buses under the Translink banner come into effect on Monday July 22nd.

I am a little more than cranky with the changes, and with TransLink, BCC & Qld Gov.  I even had a 15 tweet rant on twitter on the way home tonight.  What really pisses me off the most is they are about to raise the fares by another 7.5% yet they are about to screw with capacity on some heavily utilised routes.

As of Monday July 22 the changes to routes 77, P88 & 111 take effect.  But not all the changes to these routes take effect and this annoys me no end.

The P88 route which was set for the chop is chopped but unlike the promised in the BCC report (HERE) it is not being replaced by the stated new P163 service.  What annoys me the most as a regular user of morning and evening peak P88 and 111 services is the lack of capacity.

Between 6am and 7am there were 6 P88 services 6:00, 6:10, 6:20, 6:30, 6:40, 6:50 & 7:00, these were operated by the Garden City Depo with a mix of MAN 18.310 (CNG) & Scania L94UB buses, both of which have a stated seating of 44 passengers or total capacity including standing of 63 passengers. This equates to a maximum of 372 pssengers on the 6 services.

They new P163 does not start and Translink advises passengers to instead take the 111 service. However the new timetable for the 111 service (effective 22-July-2013) shows no change between 6am and 7am, with only 7 services 6:00, 6:15. 6:25, 6:35, 6:45. 6:55. 7:00.  These services are operated by the Willawong Depo with mainly MAN NG313 Articulated buses but occasionally MAN 18.310 (CNG) buses.

The MAN NG313 has stated seating of 63 with a total capacity including standing passengers of 85. So the 111 service between 6am and 7am offers capacity of 595 passengers.  So combined currently between the P88 and 111 on Eight Mile Plains to Roma Street their is capacity of 967 passengers.

From Monday 22 July the capacity between Eight Mile Plains and Roma Street from 6am to 7am will drop from 967 passengers to just 595 passengers.  Now as a regular commuter on this route during this time, I cant see a way that these 7 111 services will be able to hold the entire demand.

Yes there are other routes that travel along the busway between 6am and 7am, but they are also often at capacity before they reach Garden City or Griffith University.

I find this to be entirely short sighted of the BCC, Translink & the QLD Gov that they are almost halving capacity between Eight Mile Plains and Roma Street in what is a peak period, with no replacement services for the capacity they have cut.

I encourage you to have your say, by commenting on Translink, BCC & Qld Gov websites, tweeting, emailing and Facebooking them, or contacting your local member of State Parliament and complaining.

Instagram set for more changes

Facial recognition, landmark detection, and even audio cues picked up through your phone’s microphone could let Instagram Video intelligently suggest a cover frame for mini-movies or even tag them, according to recent Facebook patents.
We all know how quickly Insta users like myself have adapted to posting 15 second video's to Instagram so it will be interesting to see how these potential new updates take hold.

The story of the potential upgrades comes to us via TechCrunch writer Josh Constine who has written two articles (HERE & HERE) on the Facebook patent requests.  The requests for these patents were filed in October 2011 and were granted in April 2013.
Essentially, they describe technology for looking at each frame of a video as if it were a photo. Detection algorithms can then be used to identify people, written words, brands, and landmarks through facial and pattern recognition.This could let Facebook suggest formal tags of people, places, and brands in a video, or just quietly log that information as metadata to be used for determining who to surface the video to in the news feed. For example, the video could be shown more prominently to people nearby, who Like those landmarks or brands, or who are friends of those who appear in the video. Though Instagram uses an unfiltered feed, it recently added a tagging system that could take advantage of this kind of detection.

Read Josh's articles for more on these developments