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April, 2008:

Life On Mars



I have just watched the last episode of Life On Mars.  It is amazing how the writers have managed to keep us guessing all the way through two seasons.  Is Sam “… mad, in a coma, or back in time?”  To their credit the writers tied-up the loose ends nicely, and provided us with a good, believable ending.  Life On Mars has been one of the few bits of must watch, and more importantly must pay attention to, television that I have seen in a long time.

When I was younger, I was freaked-out by the girl and the clown on the test pattern.  After seeing the first episode of Life On Mars it all came back to me, and more!  Before the last episode aired I liked IZ’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” [^].  It’s a song that we heard about the time that we went New Zealand  the first time – in a Dulux ad!

Now I have to wait for ABC to get it’s act together and bring us the sequel – Ashes to Ashes – probably sometime next year!

YouTube: "I’m Getting Bored of FaceBook"


This post’s title says it all!  A Not Safe For Work (NSFW) video to the tune of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire”:

I don’t like applications,
there are far too many,
and I don’t use any.

Besides it can be a way of losing massive amounts of time – and I manage to lose enough hours doing useful things here and elsewhere on the web.  Link: [^]

Extreme Ironing

In the realms of extreme sports extreme ironing may not seem either extreme or a sport.  But the people who do it are deserving of admiration, or at least a disbelieving shake of the head!  I know that I have enough trouble ironing in the living room, as far as a I’m concerned anywhere not indoors is an extreme ironing location.

underwater ironing

Photo Credit: Deb Lord-Webster, via [^]

The Geelong Advertiser [^] has an article about the recent world-record for underwater extreme ironing set in St Leonards on the Bellarine Peninsula.  Apparently there were 72 people underwater ironing all at the same time.  In the interests of participant safety they were all equipped with special underwater irons – they had the power cord removed!

More information on Extreme Ironing can be found on the Extreme Ironing Bureau web-site at [^].  The web-site is the self-proclaimed home of extreme ironing:

… the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well pressed shirt.

Bye Bye, Component Pricing?

So what is “Component Pricing”?  It’s where a seller advertises a product price in a series of  separate prices.  Some might say that it is an attempt to deliberately confuse consumer, and seriously hinders someone’s ability to compare prices – especially if different suppliers use different “components”.

“Federal Consumer Policy Minister Chris Bowen today released draft legislation to require retailers to reveal the all-inclusive price of the products on their shelves.”  Sources Sydney Morning Herald [^] & Smart Company [^].

The actual press release can be found at [^].

Where do you see it?

  • Mobile Phone Contracts – Handset $199, and minimum monthly calls of $19 per month for 24 months. 
  • New Cars – Car $24,990, Dealer Delivery $2,000, Stamp Duty $100, Registration $750. 
  • Flights & Holiday Packages – Cost + Taxes and Charges.  In lots of cases these are all hidden in the small print at the bottom of the ad. 

At their worst, examples of component pricing can be borderline deceptive – in Melbourne’s Green Guide some of the ads for computer upgrade packages are very competitive, that is until you factor in the additional $50 labour charge in the fine-print.

 Now the interesting thing is that this, or a similar amendment, was last proposed two years ago ( [^]) and nothing was done anything about it!  The other thing is that component pricing will not be outlawed, but the “single price” that a consumer has to pay must be displayed in a prominent position.  The interpretation of that is going to be interesting, no say the least.

The bad news; airlines with overseas taxes payable overseas (such as the NZ Departure Tax) and Car Dealers with variable registration costs (depending on postcode the vehicle is registered in) will be let off the hook for those components.  But, they will have to clearly indicate that those costs are not included. 

 Let’s see if this amendment makes it into law this time around.