Put not your faith in technology in TV. It can always let you down at the worst moment, as Nine found out from cold, wintry northern France at the weekend. The Nine is currently running a TV news promo at the moment extolling a thing called “stream box”.

That’s a trade name for a computer-based system to send pictures from the field to newsrooms. It can be used for live crosses, as Nine has been doing. But the pictures are not always stable and the sound can be bad. Seven and Ten have Stream Box, but not as Nine does, as a cost-cutting substitute in place of link trucks and satellites.

Sky News and the BBC use the technology extensively, at times with impressive results, while at others, it resembles live crosses from the first Iraqi war. Nine says in its on-air promos that using this technology allows them “to go places the others can’t”.

Well, on Saturday in Fromelles, France, the place Nine had to go was Seven News. Seven’s Chris Reason and Nine’s James Talia were in Fromelles covering the story of the burial of the remains of WW One soldiers.

Nine’s Stream Box couldn’t work in the cold, (the pics showed snow falling and on the ground during the ceremony) so they had to ask Seven for help in sending pics back by satellite. Seven obliged and also made money on the deal.

I’m a teacher and last year we used a new tool called aussat that helps teachers to measure student improvement. The online tool is fantastic. From a student starting in term one,  you can measure the student’s progress against the national scale throughout the year. I was able to show parents evidence that showed the level of progress the child had made.

In some cases parents were pleased, some parents, however, could see that although their child wasn’t performing to their — unrealistic —  expectations the child had made good progress. Measuring the child’s improvement from term 1 to 4 is much more helpful than anything found on the My School website.

Apparently, despite its ability to help teachers identify weakness , the company behind the online tool for schools — which I think is fantastic — is constantly being attacked by the government (ACARA), and particularly NSW DET. NSW DET have blocked access to my students! So now we may not even be able to use it — how does this make sense?

I could understand this restriction if I lived in China but not when I live in NSW. If there’s a tool that helps teachers to help students we should be able to use it. To make matters worse, every other state and territory are using the tool. The aussat tool was built by the same people behind the naplanonline site.

AC/DC is performing three shows in Melbourne on February 11, 13 and 15 at Etihad Stadium in Docklands and plans are afoot to mark February 23 — the 34th anniversary of the famous rendition of Long Way To The Top on the back of a truck through the streets of Melbourne — with a monster protest against the Brumby government’s live-music-killing liquor licensing laws.

After little more than worthless words from the government so far, expect something like a Moomba procession of Melbourne bands complete with plenty of bagpipes and trucks to mark the occasion. The Greens are loving it as they eye off those four vulnerable inner city Labor seats of Richmond, Northcote, Brunswick and Melbourne.

So the ANZ is living in my world, eh? Well, maybe the marketing department doesn’t know that the credit card department still charges a late fee (as well as back-dated interest) on credit card payments made after the due date. Fair cop, I’m paying late, but isn’t the late fee an illegal penalty?

Why is it that News of The World runs an article on Michael Bublé and his drug habits, when he will be one of the hosts for the Foxtel Winter Olympics, both of which are News Ltd operations? Seems counterproductive!

More Myki incompetence… used my myki card for the first time today and I was less that thrilled with the experience. Go to touch on at Melbourne Central, first machine I touched my card to did absolutely nothing, after three or four attempts I gave up on that machine and tried the one next to it. Touch, touch, touch and I was just about to give up when the barrier magically opened. Time wasted about a minute or or so. Metcard takes a max of five seconds.

Get to my destination and try to touch off on the first machine, nothing at all, no errors, no acknowledgment, nothing. Try the second machine, same, so I give up. I call myki and tell them my issue and ask for it to be fixed. “No can do,” is the answer. If you can’t touch off the system then the “help” desk apparently doesn’t see the transaction in your account until after the next time you touch on!

So, since I only use public transport once a week on a Sunday, nothing can be done until then. Would I like to call back then was their answer, NO was mine. I did what I had to, and the myki system is broken, so I said to the operator that he needed to put a ticket in for someone at myki to call me when they can refund me my money. I bet that this complaint request gets closed unresolved!

Last Sunday the same machines were causing problems as well. I watched an elderly gent fail to touch off just as I did. Myki is screwed and will be charging people default fares and they purposely make it hard to get them reversed, hoping people forget or can’t be bothered to follow up, so they can grab more of our money… I guess they need to pay off that $1.5 billion somehow! I think I’ll stick to Metcard for a little while longer.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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