Sunday, January 31, 2010

Odour masking clothing?

Surprise surprise another Australian innovation, this time from King Gee. King Gee have combined with CSIRO to develop an odour masking clothing using nanotechnology. Full article here. So what does this mean for water consumption? Can it be now acceptable for people to take less showers? Possibly not, for health reasons. But it does mean people can ride and walk to work more often without worrying too much about bad body odour. Let's hope this technology matures quickly and integrated into everyday clothing.

Ipads as tiles

Melbourne architectural firm ClarkeHopkinsClarke has come up with a novel way to use ipads, as mosaic walls! While the energy efficiency of the wall concept is questionable expanding this concept to a single tile in bathrooms and laundries could pave the way for water and energy efficiency improvements.

Could a mosaic ipad tile be used in the bathroom to calculate and CONTROL our water usage? Could a mosaic ipad tile be used in the laundry to show us the weather forecast, and prevent us from using the dyer?

Information or the lack of it is very important in controlling our behaviours. Let's get more information out there & make a personal difference.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Noise Cameras for main roads

There are various solutions to noise eminating from main roads. The house owner can add sound insulation via double glazing, thick curtains and a fence to block off the noise. The other option is to complain to the government and make changes in laws, requiring cars to emit a certain db level. The next step is to properly police these laws with noise cameras. Cars driving past residential areas that exceed 60 dB after midnight would have their number plates captured on camera.

The fine? A forced modification of their cars to meet strict noise regulations.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

How would you simply for the Belgrave/Lilydale Line?

Andrew Lezala is right. Train timetables are too complicated. We have express trains running direct between Box hill and Richmond. Some stopping at Camberwell and Glenferrie. Some stopping at Surrey hills, Camberwell and Glenferrie. No wonder it's confusing for patrons and controllers!

I think the simplest solution is to have two services only. One express service stopping at premium stations only, and one stopping all stations, running a nominal 5 minutes apart (less during peak periods).

So if you miss a train you know the next one will be at most 10 minutes away, 5 minutes if you're willing to stop all stations.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Myki for your unborn baby

The free myki offer has been extended until the end of the month, January 31st 2010. So have you named your unborn baby yet? Why not register him or her. How about your distant relatives overseas, on the off chance they visit Melbourne? Get them a card Expat friends, get them a card one. While you're at it why not register a backup card, just in case you lose yours. The possibilies are endless. Register Barack Obama a myki card, Kevin Rudd one too while you're at it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Should their be more visible bike lane signs?

I almost took out a bicyclist today on Sydney Rd, Brunswick. Apologies again to the cyclist, who was shook up but very fair about his complaints about car drivers. This incident has me thinking about what more we can do about bicycle and car safety.

As a driver, who was not familiar with the Brunswick area, I had no idea there was a bicycle lane. Cars were banked up on Sydney rd, and a taxi driver waved me through to make a right turn. Half way through my turn a bicyclist came out of nowhere, and we had a minor bingle. Thankfully nobody was hurt majorly.

I believe had a bicycle marker been painted through the intersection, this would have made me more cautious about the turn, and an incident like this could be avoided. Something simple like a bicycle sign and LOOK OUT, would be sufficient.

Further in improving driver education, google maps should perhaps indicate bicycle lanes on major bike routes and major rds.

How simple it is to get in an accident. Let's be proactive and set up conditions so this can be avoided in the future.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Do we need high rises in the suburbs?

So have you heard about the planned 38 level mixed use residential and office tower in Box Hill? I don't know about you but I think this will stick out like a sore thumb. Developers should be seeking incrememental height change rather than an immediate eye catching showcase. The scary thing though, this building has been pulled out of normal planning considerations and fast tracked through the planning minister's department for approval.

Brumby, Madden and the Labor party are ripping apart normal planning considerations in the name of jobs. As Melburnians we have to ask if this acceptable or not? Do we want mega high rises inconsistent with the existing landscape and without infrastructure to support them? To me this is certainly on the nose. We don't need planning on the run, otherwise we'd turn into sydney. A trip down sydney's anzac parade can show you how ugly a city can turn without proper planning. Something has to be done about this cozy relationship between developers and Labor. Especially in Sydney and Melbourne. Otherwise, the stink of corruption, masquerading as job stimulus is likely to rear its ugly head.

So what can be done? The most effective action is to let the political parties know their limits. Could a protest vote in the eastern suburbs send a message to Labor?

Secondly, there has been precedents overseas of residents taking action against mega rises. For example in Beijing, residents threatened legal action against Siemens for their proposed mega tower outside of the Beijing CBD. Sophisticated light and shadow simulations were used to determine a detrimental shadowing effect on neighbouring buildings. Neighbouring buildings could claim increased lighting bills, a detrimental effect on solar hot water and solar photovoltaic systems.

Let's not take our surburbs and way of life for granted. This is not about stopping development, rather stopping inappropriate non-holistic development. Buildings need to be integrated with their surroundings. Just as the global financial crisis highlighted the need to rein in those in the finance industry, similarly developers need to be reined in.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The myki consortium is incompetent

I finally recieved my free Myki today, but the letter accompanying it has been completely botched. According to the letter I have a concession myki, when I have actually ordered a full fare myki. The myki is actually a full fare myki, despite what the letter says. Confused? You're not the only one.

First we have incorrectly printed names, now letters suggesting we have concession mykis when we actually have full fare mykis. If they do not have a proper running verification system for sending out letters from a database, how can we be confident they will have a correctly running verification system for touching on and off?

So far myki has been a complete disaster. Somebody has to take responsibility for this mess. It's gross incompetence.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

How many free mykis can you order?

I've just ordered myself 10 free mykis, courtesy of the introductory offer. It was quite easy to defeat the dumb computer database, but can a human detect this scam? If it is so easy to defeat a computer, is the myki system easy to defeat aswell? Should we bring back ticket inspectors?