five boxes is all you need

It’s election time again in Victoria. Early polling has already started, and the main event is on Saturday, the 29th of November. As well as voting for Lower House candidates, Victorians will also be asked to vote for what can be called “the House of Review” or Upper House.

Most Victorians will vote above the line on the Legislative Council ballot, but many people don’t know that voting below the line is easier at State level because you only need to fill in five boxes to have your vote count.

Ballot papers for the Upper House (both at state and federal level) have famously been difficult to navigate in recent years; the ballot paper at the last federal election was a metre long and difficult to handle, with nearly 80 candidates listed, and although this was perhaps the longest ballot paper ever, it wasn’t a new problem. To make the voting process easier, a above/below the line system had been introduced. This means that the voter is able to put a 1 in the box of their preferred party, indicating that the party’s wishes for the ordering of the candidates would be their wishes too.

This has lead to ‘back-room deals’ where different political parties agree to direct preferences to each other in a confusing web of deals. Subsequently, candidates from fringe parties have found themselves in parliament, perhaps even having a deciding vote on key issues, without the public knowing that they have in fact voted for them by voting above the line.

Why do people let the party decide their preferences? Why do people vote above the line? Well, with 80 boxes to fill in, and any mistakes rendering the ballot invalid, plus the fact that voting is compulsory in Australia and thus needs to be fairly quick and simple so that everyone can vote, it’s clear that voting above the line looks more appealing.

The good news is that in the Victorian State Elections, only FIVE boxes need to be numbered below the line for the vote to count. ( So spread the news, and vote below the line.

November 22, 2014 | Leave a Comment |

how to: facebook places privacy (with pictures)

This article is based off of Facebook Places Out In Australia, How To Disable It from LifeHacker, I’ve added pictures to help you find the settings, and made this a step by step guide.

[ facebook privacy link ]
First of all, Facebook Places is a new feature added to facebook which allows you to indicate where you are and see where your friends are. So, if you see that you are at the same place (say, the movie theatre) you can catch up. No more “oh, we were there too! Shame we didn’t see you!” stories. It is primarily designed for people who access facebook on their mobile phones, but there is a feature where people can tag who is with them when they “check in”. This is not a new thing, sharing some things in common with FourSquare, which uses your location to “help you find your friends and unlock your city.” However Facebook has encouraged people to use their real names on the service, and perhaps it’s wiser if your identity and your location are not easily found on the internet.

This tutorial is for disabling and switching off facebook places, though of course once you know where the settings are you can adjust them as you wish.

At the top left of your Facebook page, choose Account,
and then choose Privacy. Choose Customise Settings.
[ facebook customise settings link ]

On this settings page, look for Places I check in to and change it to “only me”, by clicking on the box and choosing Customise. Also make sure that the “allow others to check me in” box is not checked.
[ facebook Places I check in to settings ]
[ facebook custom settings ]
Scroll down the page to the section titled “Things others share”. Choose Edit Settings and make sure that this setting is set to Disabled, to prevent others from notifying facebook of your location.
[ facebook things others share ]
[ facebook: others may not check me in to places ]

Now, you need to limit how much information your friend’s applications can know about you. Go back to the Privacy page and at the bottom left, look for Applications and websites and choose Edit your settings. Look for Information accessible through your friends and click on the Edit button. Make sure that the Current Location check box is not ticked and that you Save your Changes when you are finished adjusting the settings.
[facebook: applications and websites settings ]
[facebook: what my friend's apps can access. ]
[facebook: what my friend's apps can access. ]

Now your facebook profile privacy settings prevent your facebook from disclosing your location.

Please leave a comment below if you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer them.

October 1, 2010 | Leave a Comment |

eye of the storm

Dear BBC, in your recent article about Facebook’s changes to their privacy settings, you mentioned that:

Over recent weeks, Facebook has been in the eye of a storm

I think you mean something like: “have been in hot water lately” or “have been under fire by privacy advocates” or something like that. You see, the eye of the storm is the eerily calm centre of a hurricane/typhone/cyclone.

1. A region of calm weather right in the middle of a storm.

(meteorology) The center of a tropical cyclone, marked by relatively light winds, confused seas, rising temperature, lowered relative humidity, and often by clear skies.

If you mean: right in the thick of inclement weather, don’t say eye of the storm. Yes, that is the middle of the storm but it’s not good English because the meaning is confused. Use another phrase please.

May 27, 2010 | Leave a Comment |

potential visitor increase

Dear Stephen Conroy,

I read today in The Age that you are planning to start monitoring blogs as part of a new “media monitoring strategy”. You particularly mentioned Whirlpool, a site that has been critical of your proposed “Clean Feed Internet Filter” (as I have been.)

As a blogger, I’d love to know that what I write about has a wide audience. If your proposed monitoring does indeed spread its net wide over the internet, (though I would question whether this is effective use of tax payer funds) you may well be visiting this website. This would be a boost to my visitor count, which of course is the goal of most websites. (Isn’t it?). I encourage you to read around- maybe you would be interested in a List of the 13 dwarves in The Hobbit? (one of my more popular articles.) Or perhaps, you could introduce bean bag skills for those rowdy back benchers.

Sincerely yours,

No, I wasn’t game enough to send this to Minister Conroy directly!

March 23, 2009 | Leave a Comment |

beat the heat

With another 40+ degree day (Celsius) on it’s way after a 3 day run of blistering hot days in Melbourne, I thought I’d share ways we kept cool and even enjoyed the summer. There are three ways you can keep cool- your environment, your outside, and your inside.

It is important to keep your house cool. We don’t have any kind of air-conditioning or evaporative cooling, but even so these steps are important to keep the sun OUT so you can stay cool. While a breeze might sound like a good idea, it isn’t when it is hot air from the outside. Close the doors and windows during the heat of the day. Block out the light, close the curtains and blinds. We even hung some old curtains from the gutter outside the west facing windows, because we don’t have exterior blinds. Of course, once the sun is gone, open everything up and let the breeze through! Inside the house, we set up a mini evaporative cooler, with a wet towel hanging behind a fan. (Not draped over the fan.) We only used this when we were there, as fans don’t cool a room, but only the people in the room.

Now, on days as hot as this, you have to resign yourself to the sluggishness, rushing around is just going to make you hot. Lightweight clothing is a must- nothing more than a tshirt and shorts. An old tshirt dunked in water (that you’ve been religiously saving from the first sprinkles of your shower), wrung out and worn is effective relief from the heat- just sit on a towel. Boredom is also a factor- some people say to turn off computers and the like to prevent heat output, but it’s a trade off I’ll take. Put the laptop on a lap rest though.

Your insides are important to look after in the battle to keep cool- make sure you keep on drinking water. Water might be boring after a while, so have some cordial on hand to make drinking more appealing. Ice is always a plus on a hot summer’s day. What about eating? Well, the oven has already been banned for it’s heat producing capacities, so something cold from the fridge is the way to go, maybe leftovers or a nice salad. Ice cream, of course, helps to cool you down as well. Enjoy it!

After a hot hot day, often comes a hot hot night. While it is cooler and bearable while you are awake, the heat seems to sneak up on you when you go to bed. My favourite way to combat this is to sleep in a hammock, as the air is able to move all around you and take away the heat. A pillow that has been in the freezer on a hot night is a wonderful thing. Have a blanket of some sort on hand- it can get quite cool, which is what you want when it doesn’t dip below 30.

Of course, another resort is to escape somewhere cool- a nice air conditioned shopping centre, friend’s house or swimming pool. What tips have you got for staying cool?

February 5, 2009 | 1 Comment |

Why I am against the filter

The proposed “clean feed” internet filter:

After all that, the internet still has the same websites out there, even if it’s a little bit harder for Australians to see them. Resources would be better spent in tracking down the creators of the objectionable content and putting them in jail, and shutting down their websites.

And that is why I am against the proposed Australian Internet Filter.

Further reading:

Lobbying for the filter will not protect our society, our children; it will not “clean up the internet”, as much as I would like the internet to be cleaned. The best way to protect children on the internet is to supervise them and give them rules for its use. Put a filter on your own computer, to prevent its users stumbling across unwanted material.
The filter is flawed. People are the real solution.

December 9, 2008 | 2 Comments |

real people

I’ve just spent the last week hanging out with some very cool people- at a mission conference in Bolivia. These guys really have a heart for Loving God and loving others, and I had an great time being there with them.

I also shared my website verbally- yes, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome! Leave a comment if you are so inclined. :)

July 7, 2008 | Leave a Comment |

the big V makes us sad- and hungry

The Visa Debit Cards are no longer working in Bolivian ATMs. This is an issue for the ~100 people I know here who get their money for living from the ATM with- you guessed it, a visa card. The cards don’t work- this isn’t hearsay- it has been tested by reputable people.

This hasn’t been in the news, nor has it turned up any relevant google results. Has anyone else had any issues?

January 22, 2008 | 2 Comments |

international talk like a pirate day

Today is September 19th, which means it is international talk like a pirate day. Shiver me timbers, I always forget… but this year I was reminded! Arrrr… Since I’m a couple timezones ahead of most people, I thought I’d remind you… talk like a pirate, on the 19th!

It’s totally acceptable to play the veggietales song “we are the pirates who don’t do anything” very loudly.

September 19, 2007 | Leave a Comment |

vroom vrooom

So, I got my probationary license!! After a lesson of nerves and last minute practice, we went to the VicRoads testing centre. I had to prove I knew where all the controls were (indicators, head lights, etc) then the tester got in the car, and away we went (quietly!) It was a bit of a mass exodus with four other test taking cars creeping out of the car park. It was a bit nerve wracking, with my slow speed manoeuvre being an angled park (I hate angled parks!)- not a three point turn like I had hoped. However, even with a couple of stalls (it’s difficult to take off in second gear) and nerves, I managed to scrape through!

The next step was to transfer ownership of my car while I was at VicRoads, get a photo for the license (a decent one, yay!) and go home. Once home, I reversed my yellow L learner plates to red P plates, and stuck them to my car windows.

Then I had to ring up to get insurance (3rd party), and while I was at it, I got the roadside assistance people to come out and replace my battery (they haven’t arrived yet), and updated my details (my car is white, not cream.)

So now, I’m waiting at home, and once my car is going, I’m going to go for a drive.

(There are some more photos in the previous post’s slide show)

May 28, 2007 | 4 Comments |
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