Alternet RSS

I’ve often lamented Altenet’s lacking an RSS feed. Well, I lament no more: they have one. I don’t know when it appeared, but I’m a happy camper… Excellent!


…just arrived!!! I know what I’ll be doing tonight 😉

Update: it seems like such a simple thing, but just having the ability to save stuff in Live makes it feel like the tweaking is all worthwhile. I’ve had the chance to spend about an hour and a half tonight and what I’ve done is far from finished – but now I can come back to it on the weekend and keep working the ideas. Yay! And having a bit more time in it tonight I’m convinced that Live is definitely the right tool for me to work in – just matches the way I work so well… 😀

More on Habib

Toby continues the thread to an article in The Age about Mamdouh Habib.

An interesting excercise to do when reading these stories (a similar one graces the front page of the SMH this morning). Wherever you read ASIO/Keelty et. al “believes”, replace that with “believes, but cannot support with sufficient evidence”.

Also remember the current controversy about senior public servants covering the government’s ass about issues ranging from asylum seekers to torture in interrogations. The presumed assumption is that we are meant to believe that ASIO/Keelty are not political operatives in this mess – this could not be further from the truth, and has been shown on countless occasions. Remember Keelty having to retract clarify his statements a while back that contradicted the government’s official line. Just read Andrew Wilkie’s damning book to get some idea of the politicisation of such agencies.

Of course – you’d think after THREE YEARS the US or ASIO (or someone!!!!) would have enough to at least lay charges if there was sufficient evidence that Mamdouh was linked to al Qaeda. This is trial by public opinion – it is the type of trial the government is so good at manufacturing to deflect attention from the REAL ISSUE – claims by Mamdouh that he was tortured in (unlawful) custody.

The real shame of all this is the fact that we cannot trust our government to tell us the truth about such significant matters.

Organic food

I overheard someone say the other day words to the effect of “what’s all this organic stuff that’s appearing in the shops? It’s probably just the label, a marketing ploy.” Two things struck me.

The first is just how cynical we’ve become in society of marketing and corporations (and, of course, politicians) the we don’t event trust labels anymore and that companies can’t be stopped from using misleading tactics to create an impression that their product is something it isn’t.

The second was that I wondered what sort of Australian certification programs/bodies exist that we, as consumers, can use to confirm that food is indeed organic and not just labeled as such to get into the market. I’m aware that there are a few, but I was wondering if anyone knew what to look for?


And on a similar note – Margo Kingston on the Cornelia Rau debacle:

There’s nothing more fundamantal to our democracy than a citizen’s right not to be incarcerated by the State without cause.


Toby: Mamdouh minutes …:

…but the plain simple fact is no evidence – over three long years – came to light that enabled the US or Australian authorities to convict this man of any crime.

Until that changes, leave him alone.

I missed the interview – but I’d read/heard that there wasn’t a lot new in there, and I usually start yelling at the TV when I watch shows like 60 Minutes. I’m more disappointed I missed the 4 Corners program last night about the same topic (alleged torture of prisoners by the US/coalition).

But I have to concur with Toby’s appraisal. After three years the US found nothing to charge this man with and still the government keeps on with its line that he’s still a suspect and needs to be watched and trying to stop him from getting paid for telling his story. Leave the man in peace. He’s been through enough.

WWF updates

The WWF-Australia website received a facelift today. As I mentioned previously, this is an interim update aimed at fixing some of the more prominent issues identified with the current design.

The immediately obvious changes are the banner and the imagery on the home page. We’ve changed the menu options in a couple of ways:

  • the menu options appear all the time which means that you no longer need to click to work out what options are underneath each menu option
  • the wording and links of the “How you can help” section has been changed to be better focused
  • the “Campaigns”, “In the field” and “Science and policy” have been lifted up the menu hierarchy, as a majority of the site’s content actually exists under these options which were hidden in the old design.

We now have a featured article that appears at the top of the content area. Previously these feature articles were hidden at the bottom of the page, “below-the-fold” so to speak. The aim is to include a few “action items” so that visitors can be guided towards activities related to the issue outlined in the feature article, so that there’s more to do than donating. Although this update only includes a basic “Make the switch to Green Power” option, I hope that over time the actions will become a bit more exciting and to have a few more options as well.

The news section has been slightly re-designed to include a featured image, as well as making each title a link (instead of the previous “More” link after each heading). We also highlight our current fundraising appeal on the home page now.

When reviewing our site’s stats I noticed that one of the most popular search terms for the internal site search engine was “Search term”, which was the default text in the search box! So I have revised the search box to hopefully be a little more visitor-friendly, as well as alerting the visitor if they haven’t entered a search term.

We’ve removed most of the graphic icons and buttons below the navigation which were creating a visual clutter (and IMO visitors probably didn’t even notice due to “banner blindness”). We’ve left two buttons highlighting items of interest.

There’s lots of other little things as well, and of course there’s still heaps more to be done, including an extensive re-appraisal of the site structure. This is a first step towards what I hope will be a much simpler and more visitor focussed/friendly site. In the short term, we are in the process of redefining all of the donation pages as well to make them a lot clearer.

The only other thing worth mentioning is that the design currently breaks under Internet Explorer 5 for Mac. I’m very tempted not to bother fixing this, as even Microsoft no longer supports its own browser! (If that ain’t a sign, I don’t know what is). I’ll have a look at it tomorrow anyways to see if it’s an easy fix.

I will be very interested to see if there is any significant change in visitor patterns – I’m fast become an avid stats watcher, which is a new experience for me to say the least!

SMH: Copyright laws under review.

SMH: Copyright laws under review.

The federal Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, is considering allowing consumers to freely copy films, music and photographs from one medium to another, as long as they have paid for them and the material is solely for private use.

The prospect of a “fair use” clause moved a step closer yesterday when the Federal Government announced a wide-ranging review of copyright laws.

I always thought we had “fair use” provisions in Australia. It appears not.

Bright minds

Guy Curtis (on Webdiary):

Between 1996 and 2003 the Federal Liberal government presided over increases in HECS fees of 94% in real terms, according to research by the National Tertiary Education Union. These increases may have been laudable if they had been passed on to universities for the benefit of students. However, during the same period, funding per student suffered a decrease of 13%, in real terms.