Spontaneous declare joy of HuaWei Phone!

Greetings truethinking blog readers!

As a concerned Australian Citizen Blogger and NOT ASTROTURF I denounce the slur against the peaceful People’s Republic Of China and a true friend of Australian People! The wrongthinking and meddlesome intelligence services of the current regime are wrong to paint a portrait of the PRC as a threat to Australian security. The PRC are true lovers of peace and security throughout the Asia Pacific and without reasons to be snooping into the National Broadband Network through unyieldingly advanced and hard working HUAWEI cyber equipment! This confusion and ill temper is a sadness that will need correction through a popular and spontaneous change of the Australian government!

HUAWEI opens arms to those Australians that will help make clear this misunderstanding. They are grateful for the selfless joining of the HUAWEI board by previous Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, not for any hope of personal gift or profit but to right the wrongs of the Sinophobic Gillard regime. Chairman Downer affirms that any concerns that a foreign corporation would ever set up listening points in another country’s IT structure were ‘absurd’. Listen to this unbiased prominent person! He knows absurd!

Still a foreign minister, just a different country.

Paid trips by members of the current federal opposition to China to discuss the need for regime change are simply matters of good cheer and personal friendships between the Liberal Party and ex members of the People’s Liberation Army. Both are Liberals in their own way! It is only true thinking and resolute self examination that leads the Liberal Party to attack the exclusion of HUAWEI from this mutually worthy business deal and not to do with gifts of money and power at all.

I spontaneously protest against the unfair targeting of HUAWEI only because I am the proud owner of a HUAWEI telephone. It is simply not true that I bought this phone because it was the cheapest and nastiest unlocked phone I could get in a hurry! No it is because of the excellent features and range of great apps like ANGLY BIRD and PUMPKIN FIGHTS MONSTERS that win my ever growing applause. I am beyond delighted to find that I have supported a company that is associated with exactly the people I most admire in the world.

{tl;dr I bought a phone from a sleazy Chinese company that’s bribing the most horrible people in Australia to run a hate campaign to ensure that China gets listening posts in our IT infrastructure and that the Liberal Party get into power. I hate myself. I don’t know what to do with this phone.}

The Academic Industrial Complex

Right now: Work is renovating our curriculum. Fan shen is not the stated goal but you’d be crazy to miss the chance to scorch earth and build a new church you’d be proud of in 2016, when the first graduates come plopping out the other side. Years of frustration are bubbling up along with the usual academic flights of fantasy. Kind of like pink champagne.

How sausages are made.

The stated goal (put simply) is that students choose a more flexible structure in their degree. They choose a kind of ‘spine’, for example sound production or mathematics, then they add modular tracks that create a good collaboration. So for example Built Environment and Game Design, or Video Production and Performance, or what ever becomes useful in the years ahead. Then sprinkle Electives on top. The idea is good, but mind numbingly difficult.

Figuring out what to do with Audio is a good example. You might want to make Audio a spine to which other courses are connected. But a bit of analysis (pushing pieces of paper around in circles) makes it clear that a wide range of artforms can benefit from sound design. You’d thus place it as a secondary track. But then you have people who just want to create sound work. It has to be both a primary and a secondary track… and also an elective for people who just need basic skills in sound production – hell, put it in EVERY possible configuration. Now you have to make versions of every course for the level of specificity and your attempt to simplify everything ends up making it more complicated.

Or my area – video production. Let’s say I place their first documentary production at the start of year two. That means that they haven’t had a photography course yet, so either I move it along a bit so that photography gets them first, or I bring photography into the course as ‘cinematography’, which then duplicates some of the photography course. If I move it along, then Audio has to move along, because they’ll need to be composing later and … So maybe then I could require a photography course in year one. But year one is earmarked for conceptual learning and one of the things we want to do is have the students actually build concepts before whining about how-big-is-my-camera. And my conviction is that in 2012 anyone that needs to write an essay also needs basic camera skills – so Electives.

It’s like doing multiple jigsaw puzzle at once, where the pieces move on all of them. Which leads to…

I keep reading about how the university system is doomed. Usually the author goes on to tout some kind of ‘online revolution’. That’s a nonsense. People are still squabbling about how to provide a single course online. They are nowhere near figuring out how the hell to guide people through an entire programme of courses. Not. even. started. Go and have a look at Open University or iTunesU courses – they’re all isolated bits and pieces – hobbies and enthusiasms. Popular Mechanics. The word ‘university’ encapsulates that which online libraries cannot achieve.

It’s a good thing that we’re not relying on online teaching because it’s a toxic dump. Any time a paradigm is danger of forming you can bet on some structural weakness causing an embarrassing collapse, finger pointing & excuses. Since I’ve been at Kunst Kamp we’ve had three Learning Management Systems come and go, wasting effort and breeding more Luddites. Last time the Death Star shelled out maximum dollar trying to force some stability – but overspending has not stopped the latest tower from visibly leaning. I’ve backed down from such ideas until a system lasts more than 2 years running.

The leaning tower of Learning Management

BUT: I must admit that having delivered the same lectures 7 or 8 times over the last few years, I’m ready for some other way to deliver the goods. The temptation is to change things to keep yourself from being bored, but the students are still arriving at the ideas for the first time every semester, and the Lumière Brothers still created the Cinematographe whether or not I’m over it.

I need textbooks, electronic documents, with movies and quizzes and all that. Must be the hot spot because that’s where a battle is raging: on the left are Adobe with their InDesign/Folio system, to the right Apple with iBook Author, in the middle are muddles of middleware for Moodle.

That iBooks are poison for information should be clear to anyone (even that utterly predictable shill John Gruber momentarily denounced the idea before his leash was yanked). There is NO WAY I am ever going to make a document that can only be seen on a ‘book’ sold by one publisher. People that defend this because ‘Apple doesn’t owe anything to publishing in general’ should try to remember THE ENTIRE DAMN POINT OF A TEXTBOOK. Jesus, people it’s not football.

That leaves Adobe by default. There’s been an awful lot of leaving Adobe by default recently.

I’ve peeked at InDesign and the folio format. Maybe. I think Acrobat is probably a better idea, even if it’s not designed for Pads it will run on most things and even on paper. The ambition for the coming years is to start making teaching aids that will do the lectures for me – adds work at the front, takes it away at the back. Means that I can segue from running ten tutorials a week to running a script on Mondays. And if indeed universities are going to crumble, well I’ll be on the life raft won’t I?

All aboard the information super barge

Pip pip!

[H.H] Some more tests. Also some ranting just in case.

(H.H. stuff removed to H.H. Blog)

–snip–

6 Reasons not to buy a new iPad (with no apologies to TIME).

1. Just spent over 400 bucks on reading glasses. That includes a woman photographing the inside of my eyes. Why do I want to buy something that makes everything smaller so I have to go get more glasses to see what I could see well enough before? That sounds like a conspiracy to keep photographing in through my eyes.


2. There is no advantage when playing Dumbass Bubble Popper which is 80 percent of why anyone has an ipad by my own survey or any computer at all. Anyone who is not playing Dumbass Bubble Popper (why?) is browsing the webspace for Twits and FaceBooks. Having a fancier screen doesn’t make your FaceBooks any less embarrassing to read.
3. You can put a bigger camera in it but I still am not going to hold up a stupid big slab of glass when I want to take a photograph. No one with any brains is going to do that. “Hey everybody smile for my dinner tray”. And no, I am not going to edit video on it any more than I would try cut bread with a banana. Making the screen elements smaller while leaving the control resolution the same size? Idiotic. If you want to actually be productive, use a Wacom, not your fingers.

4. YOU TUBE on old ipad.

YOU TUBE on new ipad.

5.  Typing on any touch screen is shitful. Increase the screen resolution? Woo, it’s still shitful. When I meet with somebody using this thing for business I will find out who their competitors are, because I want somebody who is actually getting somewhere.

6. How often do I use this thing anyway? The best loved feature is queuing for it like bread in the USSR. Then it goes into the cupboard next to the Commodore 64 and the Furby. The only real upgrade for a toy computer is a real one, not a bigger one.

Indonesia

One of those Internet moments : I was looking up one thing (the novels of Alfred Bester) and somehow became immersed in the recent history of Indonesia. Australians have a hazy relationship with this nation; you’ll hear endlessly about Obama this and that, but Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono isn’t trembling on everyone’s lips, despite Indonesia being (a) next door (b) the fourth largest population in the damn world (c) the largest Muslim nation on earth (d) having a rockin’ language – which I’ll get back to in a moment.

When I was growing up I knew about Sukarno and Suharto because the latter was purging the former by organizing mass executions of communists. One bedtime story was that the Balinese leaders invited all the PKI to dinner, (which they attended as it would be impolite to refuse) and killed them all for dessert. I vaguely remember when my old man wore his uniform again in the 60′s because apparently Sukarno was taking pot shots at QANTAS flights and the RAAF was thinking about heaving a few missiles back. It stopped when the Yanks made a deal that Australia join in the Vietnam war and told Indonesia to pull their heads in or get sent back to the stone age. We always had a lot of rice hoarded in the cupboards around that time. Not sure what was going to trigger our living off all that rice. Indonesian zombie invasion?

Hello Australian children, I am Rangda and you look delicious.

In ’71 I went to Indonesia as my first overseas trip, I was 9. As far as I was concerned Indonesia was filled with bug eyed things that had enormous teeth. In fact that was early days in Suharto’s ‘new order’ period. So long as he kept purging communists, the USA kept sending him aid and weapons and the corporations flooded in with work and bribes. Much like Russia post Glasnost, but without Boris Yeltsin as drunken dancing bear. In 1975 Indonesia annexed East Timor, bringing about a period 75-80 which probably inches up towards the Pol Pot Days in Cambodia. Australia did exactly jack shit, because 400,000 troops with American made weapons are hard to argue with. My family stopped visiting for a while.

Nowadays if you’re making TV commercials it’s in the ‘big smoke’ up north. I really should lecture in Bahasa.

So – the language. Bahasa Indonesia is a relative of Bahasa Malay, with a fair bit of Dutch shoved into it (because a fair bit of Dutch was shoved into Indonesia at gun point). Over 200 million people can speak it, although more than 75 million people prefer Bahasa Jawa or Javanese. When they do speak Bahasa Indonesia they tend to mangle it into local dialects that the government tries hopelessly to weed out. One reason Australians are more likely to learn Mandarin is that the Chinese government has enforced it – learning Bahasa is a bit fake, like Esperanto. No idea why people keep learning French.

But Bahasa is the closest thing to Orwell’s NewSpeak or Burgess’ Nadsat I’ve found in reality. The history of the country is filled with  imposing portmanteau terms. Sukarno ruled by manifesto politik or Manipol. His synthesis of nasionalisme, agama (religion) and komunisme was Nasakom, which eventually came unstuck in an aborted coup by “The Thirtieth of September Movement” or Gerakan 30 September, which became G30S/PKI – conveniently pronounced like Gestapu. Sukarno’s loss of power came with a document Surat Perintah Sebelas Maret, simply ‘the orders for March 11th’. Indonesia is never satisfied with a name that long and it became Supersemar, a term which involves several levels of word play.

During Suharto’s ‘New Order’, many communists become political prisoners: tahanan politik or in iconic erasure of humanity, just tapol. Suharto himself was finally brought down by his own KKN (korupsi, kolusi, nepotisme). By then Supersemar applied to Suharto’s ‘charitable organisation’ for embezzling millions of dollars.

These days you’ll still be dealing with Minipax and Minitrue … actually the Depdiknas (Departemen Pendidikan Nasional Republik Indonesia), or the Deplu (Departemen Luar Negeri).

If Bahasa can telescope a phrase it will, and unlike German it’ll drop anything it can to go for the snappiest, most sonogenic form. This is the language of science fiction films. If Indonesia gets any bigger, maybe just films.

Hugo this way I’ll go that way.

I wrote several thousand words on Hugo and the evils of retrospective editing of a real man’s life. No one should be forced to read that but by God it made me feel better to rage it out. I will now give you the essential crib notes:

Fuck you Scorsese for allowing the life of Melies to be drowned in infantile revisionism. You should know better. You took a children’s book, lit it orange on one side and blue on the other and threw some Film 101 into the pot. A lot of what you concealed is the dirty history of film. We have our own trains pulling into our own stations: we don’t need your old magic tricks, we have too many of those. What we need is the grey reality of greed and folly that you want to gloss over. Film is not a family. Film is a pack of hyena.

Show us Melies signing the deal with Pathe that lost him his house. Show us his brother churning out shitty westerns for that brute Edison. Show us how film society dribbled money to him when he was running the toy store. Show us the reality. SHOW THE TRUTH. Then talk to us about ‘your love of film’.

Hugo is just another shiny robot movie. The recreations of the early cinema are wonderful, but then, shiny robot.

That over too many pages.

I have finally released the 25th Anniversary remaster of Come Visit The Big Bigot on BandCamp. I had been holding off for a release on CD – 25 years was 2011, but I think that release may now not happen. If you’ve been following you know why. It’s free to listen and Strange Brew is free to download.

Related – I am nearly all gone from YouTube. You will find me at Vimeo. Just use the ‘Videos’ menu at the top of the page to see what’s there. YouTube is really not the place for me – when 100,000 people watch my video by accident, do you call that a successful communication?