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Saturday, October 31, 2009

services? rip off more like it

My new rant is against unscrupulous mobs who advertise on television for all manner of 'services' on your mobile phone. We're talking porn, personals, stupid things about love and relationships - the list keeps going on and on. These are naturally the sort of thing designed to attract the attention of the younger subscriber. But how many read the fine print on the bottom on the screen?

The cost of these things is pretty steep. Take for example the one I have just read on an advertistment just now. The service is some nonsence that tells you facts about your name. The cost - $3 sign up fee and $15 a week.

How many unsuspecting subscribers get caught by this? Not a single one of these 'services' is worth messing around with, let alone that exorbitant cost for a nonsense service.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Movember - let the growing season commence

I am really entering the spirit of Movember, growing a moustache for charity. I shall be shaving my upper lip for the last time for a month at midnight tonight. Thereafter it will be really important for me to remember NOT to go shaving off the burgeoning growth. Easier said than done for me at times.

If you are really unlucky, I shall post progress photos in here to prove it is actually growing. And of course my (very) few readers can always sponsor my tending the facial fungus by visiting:

Just to prove it isn't just looneys like me doing this, see the following I have extracted from an official Movember announcement:

Powderfinger's Golden Rule #1
Movember Ambassadors, Aussie rock legends and all round good blokes Powderfinger, are in. As part of their involvement, they're not only growing Mo's, they're donating $5 from every copy of their new album GOLDEN RULE pre-ordered or purchased from What could be better than that? Perhaps their weekly GOLDEN RULE for growing a mo. Here's the first.
It goes a little something like this...
"If there's one golden rule to starting my Mo, it's that preparation of the surface is everything. I've heard from a reliable source, that it benefits from a little fresh lemon juice rubbed in gently early on to help stimulate the hair follicles and promote thick vibrant shrubbery. There's a long way to Mo, but I'll start right here...". Darren Middleton.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

technology can really suck - but not as bad as the suppliers!

OK - so it is time to go broadband even though my finances are very limited. I check out some wireless broadband options, accepting that such an option would not be as good as a fixed broadband connection. I select a supplier based on the information that they give me, including assurances that I would not have any problems connecting to the wireless broadband network at home.

After wrestling with it and getting hopeless response times, I was put onto their online support system on the Friday, only to receive an automated response that the 'Help' person would not be available until the Tuesday. Yeah, that's good 'support', isn't it? Today that individual responded. In fairness she has attempted to be helpful but the end result was I cannot expect to connect at anything better than less-than dial up speeds, unless I sit outside in the middle of the garden keeping the cabbages company, rather than use the unit in-doors. So much for the assurances I was given before forking out my very limited cash. Begs the question - should I have to accept a service that I can only use during the day time, sitting outside, assuming the weather is clement, or unless of course I am prepared to use the unit via torchlight at night seated among the lettuces?

I am not joking - this so-called broadband unit gives less-than my old dial-up up service. Bloody pathetic.

I doubt there will be any chances of getting any sort of refund.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

There are times when...

You know those occasions when you make a complete, utter effing idiot of yourself and when the realisation hits home, you feel absolutely, ridiculously small? I went through that today, not once, not twice but three times. And that by about 9:30am. By that time I felt only marginally larger than a crippled flea from an underfed dog. So I had to do my best to apologise to all concerned and make some sort of amends. By about lunchtime I had taken refuge in a quiet place where I had no immediate access to telephone or Internet thus minimising the chances of making an even bigger fool of myself.

If any of the recipients of my misplaced wrath should happen to read this entry, then I can only apologise yet again.

I could blame my medications for not doing their job properly or the fact that I felt justified in my initial anger. But the fact remains that I made a complete and utter idiot of myself on three occasions and was completely and utterly in the wrong on each damned one of them.

Yep, I am ashamed of myself and embarrassed.

I have recently become aware of a reader or two that I was not aware of. Hey folks (and that includes you Louisa!) - don't be afraid to post a comment so I know that someone has actually read my journalistic gems.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Popsciple Awards time

I have decided on a special awarding of a Popsicle Award.

A few hours ago, leader of the Australian Opposition, Malcom Turnball, stated that he has the full support of his parliamentary colleagues.

Hmmmm let us examine that statement for a moment.

'Ironbar' Wilson Tuckey has lead the WA branch of the Liberal Party in railing against the leadership ever since John Howard was dumped by the electorate and has been quite vocal against Chief Turning Bull.

Bluggerguts Joe Hockey has been blatantly ambitious in his climb through the political ranks. Despite his public protestations of support for John Howard just a couple months out from the last Federal election, he was very quick to join the ranks of those jumping on the 'I told John Howard to quit' bandwagon with almost indecent haste. Of late he has been uncharacteristically quiet, just as Chief Turning Bull went very quiet while he was orchestrating the political assassination of his predecessor. So it comes as no surprise that Hockey now announces that he has been sounded out about contesting the leadership. Lots of support there, isn't there Malcolm.

The Mad Monk, Tony Abbott has made no secret of his aspirations to the top job and in recent months has been taking obvious steps to rebuild himself into something softer than the nasty, verbal-headkicker we all know him to be. And in the wake of John Howard's demise, Abbott stated his intention to stand for the leadership, although that only lasted for about twenty-four hours. I couldn't see many bookies giving long odds against Abbott not making his own push behind the scenes.

And now an unnamed member of Turnball's party room has allegedly stated that Turnball 'will not go the distance".

So I make a special presentation of my Popsicle Award to Malcom Turnball for being stupid enough to try and pretend that all is well. If he actually believes his own words then he doesn't even have so much as the Popsicle stick keeping his ears apart.

Some people just don't know when to let go

After all these years, Mr T is still pushing that bullshit persona he built up in A-Team. That was more than twenty years ago. Now he is so desperate, the old B A Baraccus character is used in a stupid ad for Snickers or something similar. And I have just seen him appearing on a new cooking appliance 'infomercial'. He's fat, starting to really look his age while trying to pretend he is still the stupid thing he portrayed twenty-five years ago. He is even still trotting out the tired old line 'I pity the fool'.

He is so sad that it isn't even interesting retro.

Some people really just don't know when to let go.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Privacy, schmivacy

Here in Australia, we have a wonderful little thing called the Privacy Act, 1988. The Act contains ten core principles for the protection of personal information with the remainder of the Act largely devoted to administering the Act's protections. More recently, the jurisdiction of the Act was extended to cover both the public and private sectors. The application of the Act is overseen by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

There is only one problem with this setup – it's a load of bollocks.

A reality check – it is entirely feasible and possible for a large employer to entirely disregard the Act, lie to the staff of the OPC and essentially do whatever they want. The final finding in a recent formal complaint 'investigated' by the OPC has actually firmly established a precedent which indirectly gives employers a green light to behave in just a fashion.

All the large employer has to do has fail to keep any records. The OPC will not express the slightest concern about engaging of external consultants on the strength of a verbal contract and zero records kept about any briefing of the consultant or even what personal records are made available to them. The OPC takes a position that whatever said employer tells them will be considered to be the truth by default. Consequently, said employer can tell the OPC the biggest load of codswallop it feels like, secure in the knowledge that the OPC will consider it to be truth. A complainant on the other hand, is required to furnish evidence. On the surface that may seem fair enough, but if the employer has not kept records, then it is going to be dashed difficult to furnish any evidence to contract the employer. And the complainant's word is simply not good enough.

Now for where things get really ridiculous. The Act expressly puts a duty on the employer to ensure that its relevant records are complete and accurate. If this material is considered to be public sector Official Records, then these duties and obligations are supposedly even stronger. However when push comes to shove, nobody gives a flying fruit bat's fundamental if the employer has not made any attempt to keep any records of how it has used the employee's information.

Where things become rather alarming is when you learn that even if the complainant furnishes hard evidence that the employer has been dishonest in its dealings with the OPC, the Commissioner's staff will fail to even respond to those matters. For example, my former employer claimed in writing to the OPC that it had held express permission from me for the engagement of a external consultant to review certain matters. In point of fact, no such express permission was ever held. I denied ever providing any such express permission and challenged the employer via the OPC to produce it. No such evidence was ever provided. The employer then claimed in writing that I had threatened to commit self-harm if the employer did not undertake the external review of these matters. Yet another bald-faced lie. Another denial of ever making such a threat was similarly ignored. And another outrageous claim accepted by officialdom without the slightest evidence to prove it.

My former employer repeatedly attempted to mislead the OPC by a combination of exaggeration, misleading material and outright lies. And the OPC accepted every bit of it despite the employer being unable to produce one single piece of evidence supporting those claims. In contrast, I not only provided a degree of evidence disproving certain claims, I further provided a body of evidence which suggests that on the balance of probabilities, that employer word wasn't worth a flatulant goat's rectal emanations. But my case was doomed from the outset simply because the OPC values the employer over the complainant, to the point of having not a single concern about the employer's record keeping practices not even meeting the required standards of the Act and other legislation and regulation. There wasn't even any concern about the party responding on behalf of the employer having a significant conflict of interest in the matter. Nor any concern about the workplace Privacy Officer failing to investigate thoroughly.

The harsh reality is that the entire foundation on which the operations of the Privacy Act, 1988 rests, is utter bollocks.