Technology

Some advice for the opposition from Rodney Hide

Rodney Hide tells the opposition to find a better cause.

The Opposition is making heavy weather of trying to make Prime Minister John Key responsible for what Cameron Slater writes on his blog and in his personal communications.

I say in a kind and caring way that they should give it up. Because – and I say this even more caringly and kindly – Slater, aka the Whale, is not always responsible for what he writes.

By his own admission, Slater has had his battles with depression. By his own admission he is an embellisher.

Anyone who follows his blog knows him as a force of nature once he starts tapping his keyboard and pushing the upload button.

His blog is one man’s opinion, raw and unedited.

It is politics red and bloody and some of what you read you wonder if you really needed to know.

But back I go like a junkie. I enjoy the Whaleoil blog just like I enjoy the Left’s The Standard and The Daily Blog.

I’m not sure The Standard or the mouth breather at The Daily blog will appreciate that Rodney Hide enjoys their hate fuelled rants.

The blogs, as mad and as bad they are, add richness and diversity to political debate.

It’s true much of it is gossip. The blogs have lifted the lid on what was once confined to Bellamy’s. They have opened it up.

Political gossip always has an angle, juiciness trumps veracity and its effect can prove lethal.

But don’t blame blogs. Gossip has been used as a political weapon for as long as there’s been politics.    Read more »

Karl du Fresne on the news and why he is wrong

Karl du Fresne is a good writer, I enjoy his work.

Yesterday he wrote about the news and in particular the thoughts of Mike O’Donnell and news.

O’Donnell suggests that by the time of the next general election, social media may have rendered the evening television news bulletin extinct. His theory seems to be that consumers of news (a ghastly phrase) will no longer be prepared to wait until 6pm for their fix, but will update themselves constantly throughout the day by accessing news on their smartphones and tablets.

People have the capability to do that now. But do the vast number who still get their news from newspapers, TV and radio really have such a voracious appetite for information that in future they will demand it in (to use another ghastly phrase) “real time”?

I somehow doubt it, and I wonder whether people like O’Donnell have been misled by their own enthusiasm for the digital revolution and their missionary desire to promote its supposed benefits.

du Fresne is both right and dead wrong.

Same with O’Donnell.

People do want news real time, and they don’t care if the quality is poor, they are happy for it to evolve in the course of the life of the story. Mostly though the medium for consuming news will not be via social media…that will simply be the conduit through which you are informed that news exists.

Social media is vastly over-rated and in New Zealand the so-called Twittersphere is in reality a very small world….populated by vocal lefties and tragics who feel the need to comment one everything but ad zero value to the discourse. Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should.

On top of that the Twitter warriors who try to mount campaigns and bully, threaten and intimidate overstate their actual reach.

During the whole Dirty Politics saga which was designed to cause maximum pressure on me and my associates, but also designed to subvert an election, I was called by people asking me if I had seen this or that mentioned on Twitter. I almost never had seen. I don’t live with my head inside my phone. Frankly Twitter is a waste of time. Again, the general election result proved that.

If you had listened to the agitators and plotter and the guilty on Twitter then my demise was hoped for, in reality as well as metaphorically, but it failed to materialise. Twitter and social media was supposed to deliver the left an election victory. It failed.

Why?

It failed because there is an incredibly small number of people using Twitter, and they only ever talk to each other. They essentially form a group that produces confirmation bias. But when you are wrong and you only talk to people who meet with your ideas of proper political beliefs then all you do is chat agreeing with each other.   Read more »

Because hoverboards

It had to happen…someone has finally made, albeit a clunky version, but a hoverboard nonetheless.

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Why self-driving cars and not rail is the solution

The Atlantic has been investigating California’s highly expensive and likely to be a white elephant project, the High Speed Rail solution.

As part of their investigation they have looked at the promise of self-driving cars…which in a direct comparison shows precisely why train-spotting projects like Len Brown’s rail loop and California’s HSP solution are nothing but boondoggles costing rate and taxpayers billions.

First, self-driving cars. I turn the floor over to a reader in California whose identity and background I know. He works in the advanced-research parts of the info-tech industry and did his bachelor’s and doctoral training at Caltech and MIT. He says:

Your series on High Speed Rail is under-emphasizing an important aspect of the big picture.

Should we invest in infrastructure? Absolutely!  But the right kind of infrastructure.

The technology and accompanying infrastructure creating the greatest impact today and over the past 30 years has been not just big scale physical stuff, but the brains coordinating and controlling physical stuff—specifically, computing and communication.    Read more »

Renewable energy = death

The hipsters, the left-wing and the green taliban always bang on about “clean energy and renewables.

But it is very expensive and it won;t get any cheaper.

By insisting on abandonment of fossil fuels they are really insisting on removing cheap and viable fuels from those who most need them.

They are actually condemning poor nations and their populations to more poverty, more subsistence living and more disease by preventing them from accessing the very fuels that have enabled us to move into the first world.

This video focuses on the unintended consequences of marchers demanding an end to fossil fuels.

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Small cars are gay

Everyone know I drive a utes, a proper man sized vehicle that can load up burly blokes, their guns and dogs and travel in comfort.

Green taliban types will tell you that I am wasting the earths resources in owning and driving such a vehicle.

Turns out their preferences, gay little cars are actually the least fuel efficient.

Drivers looking for savings at the petrol pump could be making a mistake if they swap their estate or 4×4 for a smaller car, according to research which suggests that fuel economy estimates are biased against larger vehicles.

Motorists are usually advised that smaller cars can travel more miles per gallon (mpg) than those with larger engines, making them cheaper and more environmentally friendly to run.   Read more »

Len Brown brings spying to Auckland and Fairfax shills for HP

Auckland is about to get super snooping capabilities with a multi-million dollar deal with Hewlett Packard that include Automatic Number Plate Recognition, Facial Recognition and video analytics.

Michael Field has taken a break from writing lies about Fiji and has turned his expert journalistic skills to touting for Hewlett Packard in what can really only be described as a native advertisement for them.

He has regurgitated large amounts of their press release in order to write his “story”.

To cap off the news article that is really an advertisement for Hewlett Packard they have even used HP’s own marketing video from Youtube.

Surveillance technology that uses high definition cameras and software that puts names to faces and owners to cars is coming to Auckland.

Surveillance will also include scanning social media and news websites.

Auckland Transport, the regional transport provider, has yet to announce the multi-million dollar deal, but California’s Hewlett-Packard Development Company said today it has the contract.

No dollar sum is given.   Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington. Photograph from the main eastern theater of war, Meade in Virginia, August-November 1863.

Photo: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington.
Photograph from the main eastern theater of war, Meade in Virginia, August-November 1863.

Communication during the American Civil War

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Photo Of The Day

Photograph: Sebastiao Salgado/Amazonas Images/nbpictures Greater Burhan Oil Field, Kuwait. Canadian firefighters in Kuwait battle to seal an oil well.

Photograph: Sebastiao Salgado/Amazonas Images/nbpictures
Greater Burhan Oil Field, Kuwait.
Canadian firefighters in Kuwait battle to seal an oil well.

Oil Well Burhan Kuwait

‘Sometimes they sat down and cried’ Read more »

Franks on engaging social media

Stephen Franks has written a LONG (but very considered) piece on why not only should lawyers not be afraid from engaging with social media, but arguably they are ethically obliged to, where using effective channels to get a message out there is in the interest of a client.
It’s a bit of a read, but for anyone interested in the media, politics and the law, it is an essential read.

A public voice for clients, and for views of what the law should be, does not shun effective platforms.

We have in the past, do now, and will in the future, write, publish, talk about and promote causes and interests in any medium that seems to us likely to be effective. Of course that includes social media. I have my own blog. I comment on the blog posts of others. Frequently the participation is on issues where I or the firm have a view, and our participation is a pro bono attempt to add expert correction or advice to the public discussion. Sometimes participation promotes the firm. Sometimes it is expressly to advance a client’s cause.

Like most people, we are probably more effective and more energetic on issues where our views coincide with those of the client. With their approval we’ll use as many channels as is practicable to ensure that the client position is communicated to the people who should have the information. We are public advocates. We do not eschew any lawful form of communication.

He then turns to the irony of the NBR reporting asking about using a media resource that calls on accountability and causes some offence.     Read more »