Hybrid movement

WorldChanging continues to highlight positive news in the automotive sector regarding alternative fuels and hybrids. I am buoyed that GM and Ford have both announced hybrid SUVs. I find the concept SUVs generally quite offensive, but from a business and environmental perspective this is top news. SUVs are top sellers in the US – introducing hybrid models in this category means that we will (hopefully) see Ford and GM make serious inroads into the hybrid space. This is good for the technology (reducing cost) and good for the environment.

Busy, busy…

Sorry for the lack of updates – life has been keeping me out of the blogging loop for a while. Lots of good stuff going on. Couple of quick linkages/comments while I have a moment spare.

Ableton have released Live version 4.1 – still waiting on my copy to arrive (delayed in shipping). I’ve been playing much more with the demo in preparation for the real deal and been loving it! Can’t wait until I can do some more serious stuff with it.

Just before Latham quit due to health reasons, I took the foolish step of joining the Labor party. Even though the Australian Democrats seem to have it more together policy wise, they will never hold anything more than a balance of power role, and frankly, their internal bickering is ridiculous (I get the distinct sense they are going to implode). I figured that by joining Labor I would at least be involved a bit more actively involved in the party process, which I hoped would help when the time came to approach Anthony Albanese (our local member and shadow environment minister).

Then Latham quit. And Beazley has now taken the helm. My previous feelings are amplified tenfold with Beazley in the leadership position. I read this entry in Margo Kingston’s Webdiary and a couple of points resonated with me – I’ll quote at length because Margo’s comments pretty much hit it on the head IMO.

I believe that Mark Latham, building on the policy work of Crean after the 2001 loss, has produced the foundation stones for a new Labor way. His insiders/outsiders framework is potentially devastating for the Libs, and the core of his education, health and envirnment policies are sound. He reintroduced the concept of politicians having a duty of care to the Australian people, as being their strong representatives when faced with pressures from big business to do what is in their interests. His courageous policy to restrict ATM access in pokie places showed just how courageous he was prepared to be against powerful media, hotels and clubs. He was moving away from the modern idea that politicans merely broker compromises to issues based on who has the real power and the cash to donate.

Yes, he crashed and burned, but he also reenergised Labor’s support base and, for a time, excited the Australian people.

The idea that Beazley as leader will continue to inspire citizens to spend time and effort rescuing Labor from the abyss is plain silly. From what I’ve read, Beazley, unlike Rudd or Gillard, has yet again failed to articulate a plan for Labor’s regeneration, in policy or organisational terms.

… Re-electing Beazley would squander the many positives of Latham’s legacy and end hopes of internal reform in the ALP. It would demoralise the grassroots of the party, and dissuade many of those who joined it after the 2004 loss from hanging in there.

… There could be one positive for the body politic as a whole if Beazley is re-elected. More people will give up on Labor, and begin the real work of getting involved in politics and activism at a local level. The real opposition to Howard’s government must come from citizens outside the major party structures.

That’s pretty much where I’m at with it. Perhaps once I receive the information about party meetings etc. I’ll feel more energised to get active in the party. Perhaps that activism will occur outside. Time will tell.

Lots happening on the work front too. There’s some internal management changes going on at WWF that in my mind are extremely positive – further exciting me about my future there. We’re undertaking some interim updates to the site (between now and what I expect will be a fairly hefty overhaul in the middle of the year) to improve the home page (influenced by the navigation blindness meme) and donations section of the site. Some changes that will improve the experience of our visitors and donors, and hopefully give us some real-life feedback to inform the full redesign.

Long tail

I’m waaay late to the party on this one – but some of you may not have already seen it. The Long Tail by Chris Anderson.

The average Barnes & Noble carries 130,000 titles. Yet more than half of Amazon’s book sales come from outside its top 130,000 titles. Consider the implication: If the Amazon statistics are any guide, the market for books that are not even sold in the average bookstore is larger than the market for those that are…

… the front screen of Rhapsody features Britney Spears, unsurprisingly. Next to the listings of her work is a box of “similar artists.” Among them is Pink. If you click on that and are pleased with what you hear, you may do the same for Pink’s similar artists, which include No Doubt. And on No Doubt’s page, the list includes a few “followers” and “influencers,” the last of which includes the Selecter, a 1980s ska band from Coventry, England. In three clicks, Rhapsody may have enticed a Britney Spears fan to try an album that can hardly be found in a record store.

Interesting stuff…

Whateverland: You, Robot.

This photo reminds me, in a previous life (read: high school) I had dreams of designing and building robots for a living. I ended up a musician and web-coder… Go figure. Maybe one day I’ll start tinkering (the area still fascinates me).