Thursday, September 24, 2009

Top 5 Out of the box solutions to tagging

1) Send taggers to design school. Are taggers looking for a creative outlet? Why not hone their skills, and lead them to a more productive path in society?

2) Make tagging tools non-permanent and cheaper. The philosophy behind this is that you can't stop tagging. Let's admit defeat. For whatever reason, kids/adults will want to tag to gain attention or rebel. Efforts in the industry so far have been focused on making paints and surfaces more resistant to spray paint and permanent markers. The other side is make spray paint and permanent markers less permanent. Using some sort of soluble ink, the effects of these will wash off if it rains, or is doused with a water based solution. Further, by making these tools significantly cheaper than their permanent cousins, it's hoped that these tools will became the "taggers choice".

3) Use humour against taggers. Touch up their tag with is a "moron" or is an "amateur".

4) Use exploding ink against taggers. Similar to those that you would find in department stores, taggers would be exposed to easily indentifiable ink, if they entered a secured area.

5) Use manure surrounding walls with frequent attacks. If they want to tag, they better get ready to smell and step in poo.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

RFID is the future for Apple portable products

Forget video recording & FM playback, the next innovation that will drive the uptake of portable consumer devices is Radio Frequency Identity (RFID). An innovation that will hopefully spur better sustainable or social choices from the consumer.

Goleman's new book Ecological Intelligence discusses how the lack of information from manufacturers, lead to sub-optimal choices. As a consumer we don't know the CO2 trail of products, we don't know if child labour is used to make a certain product. RFID could be the missing link.

As Dara O'Rouke from Good Guide explains, products could be embedded with an electronic tag that transmits radio signals which can automatically alert your mobile phone to display a green or red colour.

I figure, whether it displays red or green could be according to the user defined rules that you input into your ipod, iphone, or other mobile device. Say we want a product that is produced with the least amount of CO2 emissions. Our phone after recieving the radio frequency can automatically look up a database and respond with an easy to intrepret colour choice. As an encouragement/punishment to manufacturers, products that don't include these tags, could automatically display red.

I think coupling this technology with Apple's mainstream appeal, could see the technology really take off, and start influencing product manufacturers to jump on board. Having more information can ultimately influence our choice on goods, and help promote positive changes in terms of the environment and social justice.

So if you want to see this change, talk to apple, and the major mobile phone manufacturers. Let's make this technology happen, and enact a positive change!

Hybrid Camry made in Coal Central

An inconvenient truth for Toyota is that any benefits in reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from the locally built Hybrid Camry is probably offset by manufacturing the car in Victoria, which is fueled by dirty brown coal power plants.

If they are to live up to their green credentials, they should threaten future investment, unless the Victorian government wises up with regards to brown coal power plants. Otherwise, this could be another local example of "Greenwashing".

For consumers, let Toyota know your feelings towards coal power. Let's make a "real" difference. Oh what a feeling! Clean air!

Is the Royal Melbourne Show still relevant?

$65 for a family to enter to buy show bags of goods made in china, crap fast food and play the same old amusement parlour games from 50 years ago. Sure there are the animals shows and community events but is this enough of an incentive to keep people coming? Has the Royal Melbourne show become a crass money making event for show bag and fast food vendors?

For me, it seems the Royal Melbourne Show needs a new direction to make it relevant for families and the local community again. Let's bring back some local content. Let's make the showbags more sustainable. Should show organizers impose a minimum local content in show bags? Should the content be more ecologically sustainable, instead of the throw in rubbish made in china crap that usually litters these show bags? Should "green bags"be used instead of the cheap plastic bags as standard. Can we involve local designers to design the show bags?All relevant questions, and something the community should be demanding.

Another issue that needs addressing is the cost of entry? Has it become prohibatively high for the majority of struggling families? I would like to see the organizers justify the cost of the show. Let an accountant in and show where costs are going. If the price is justified, then so be it, but organizers need to look at more ways to get struggling families in. Get struggling families involved in the preparation and then offer them discounts for their help.

That's not to say the Melbourne Show is complete crap. It's a Melbourne institution and it's involvement of the wider community is to be commended. But like all thing it can be improved with our input. Get involved people!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Do icecream vans add to the liveability of melbourne suburbs?

I'm sure many of us have fond memories growing up of the icecream van coming by, the sweet musical lyrics drawing us out of our homes in summer to get a soft serve cone, or gelati. These days this icecream van tune seems all but a distant memory with only a few ageing vendors still in the business. Can something be done about this?

As a community, we should come together and stick up for the things that make life fun. We talk about sustainability, and protecting our children's future. That's all good and well, but let's not forget that finer details too. Things like icecream vans and milk bars. These also need be protected.

How can this be done? Should councils consider employing an icecream van driver in the summer months with any profits being put back into the community? Would this be better served by a local IGA sponsoring an icecream truck? The increased buying power of local councils or a supermarket like IGA could ensure a quality product being onsold to our kids. It would be shame if these icecream vans just peddled the mass manufactured stuff we get from nestle or streets.

The livability of a city is composed of thousands of different elements. Do you think icecream vans are part of this web? Get a discussion happening with your local community group if you think it does.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Melbourne's New B-grade Stadium?

Architecturally, the new soccer & rugby stadium is worthy of praise. Aswell as this, it has some great environmental design features. However, what we're hearing now is that this stadium is not fit for Fifa world cup regulations, due to its capacity, and hence can't be used to host any world cup games. What a lack of foresight!

According to an article on Fox sports, Fifa requires a minimum capacity of 40,000 to host games, and this stadiums maximum is 31,000. 9000 extra seats? How much does that cost? Surely, the boost in economic income from securing a world cup could have justified the cost? Now our bid seems a bit shaky.

Some may argue that Docklands is an alternative venue, but with so many other sports and events going on, there's already pressure on the Victorian government to build another stadium. AFL clubs want a better stadium deal, and with footy holding such a sway in town, does that mean another couple hundred million will be spent on a new stadium?

Do we really need another stadium Melbourne?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Melbourne as a catalyst

These were made with my amateurish gimp skills. What can you come up with? Somebody make an m&m's mashup with the melbourne city logo!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

City vs Suburbs - Is the new undercity loop win/win?

  • 100 million underground station at Parkville.
  • 14 extra trains an hour to western and northern suburbs.
  • Links from inner city to the west to Stkilda rd district.

On paper there seems to be something for everyone here. It's a nice showcase project for Brumby to bring to the next election, given public transport could potentially be a achilles heel issue for him.

The question people from the suburbs, particuarly those in the outer suburbs should ask, is this really good value for money for them? There are those that argue that the inner city is already well serviced by many modes of transport. They have trams, trains and buses that run frequently compared to the suburbs which have only buses which run every 30 minutes or so.

Of course, with a growing population, many will argue that there is always room to expand capacity, and that's what Brumby is doing with this project. There are benefits of having a denser and more populated inner city, which will bring a new vibrancy and buzz to town. Then again, will there be more violence and crime?

What about those that argue for a decentralization of Melbourne? Development of so called transport hubs in the "middle suburbs". So people can work more locally, rather than take the hike into or across town? Are these too hard, or importantly less visible for a premier preparing for an election?

Unfortunately this project is likely to reinforce the "Tale of two cities". A great inner city, and CBD, and those "wasteland" suburbs. How long can these wasteland suburbs be swept under the rug before rearing their ugly head in terms of cbd and innercity violence?

So what do you think? Is it time for some political leadership, in order to tackle outer suburban infrastructure?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Doyle's lack of consultation is dissapointing

Is anybody else annoyed that the New Year's Eve fireworks display is being moved to Birrang Marr? The first I heard of this proposal was after the decision was made to go ahead with it. For such a significant change, surely this proposal should have been floated and debated publicly before a decision was made behind closed doors?As a proud Melburnian, I like to think we have an input it what shapes our city. What's next, moving Moomba to docklands ?

This seems to be endemic of the current Lord Mayor. Doyle seems like a good bloke, he gets ideas out there to be debated, but his failure on several key issues including the Melbourne City logo is damning against him and his team.

Message to Doyle and team. Consult us more. Get us involved.

Now, to the actual proposal. I think it has merit. The Commonwealth games showed that using our skyline as a backdrop to fireworks can have good results. I'm willing to give it a go, but would like the option to go back to Princess bridge and Flinder st, if the results are something to be desired.