Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Domino Effect

I have been debating for a while whether or not to get an Apple iPhone, but with the release of the iPhone 4 in August I finally decided to take the plunge. I ordered the phone a couple weeks ago, and it arrived on Monday. However, getting the iPhone 4 has had a bit of a domino effect:
1. My previous mobile was on a pre-paid plan, so getting the iPhone meant finding a cap plan that would allow me to make international calls. As a result, I have switched mobile phone carriers.
2. The iPhone 4 requires your computer to have the latest Mac operating system in order to sync it. My nearly 5 year old PowerBook G4 unfortunately couldn't run the latest OS due to it not having an Intel chip. Therefore, I needed to buy a new laptop. I am now the proud owner of a shiny new MacBook Pro. It's really great and has a much bigger hard drive than my old one. In addition, I am no longer worried about my computer dying on me.
3. Going onto a mobile cap plan made me examine the need to keep my landline. Since my home phone plan was bundled with my internet account, I started looking around at plans offered by assorted internet providers. I found a fantastic deal that bundled a home phone and ADSL 2+ plan for less than what I'm currently paying for just the internet. As a result, I'm switching to a new internet provider (and able to keep my home phone line as well).

Despite all these changes, I am enjoying having new toys to play with. I am loving my new laptop and manged to successfully migrate all my files over (including, most importantly, my iTunes library). The iPhone 4 is pretty great as well, and it's like having a mini-computer with you at all times. I'm still figuring out how to use it, but I have installed a few apps, the best of which are the Melbourne public transport ones which will prove to be very useful.

The only downside so far occurred when I bought my laptop a few weeks ago. I purchased it at My Mac on Flinders Street, which proved to be a really bad decision because they are totally dodgy and completely ripped me off. In order to get the $300 education discount in their store I was told I needed to buy Apple Care. I thought the guy said it cost $79, so I agreed to it. It wasn't until I got back to the office and had a close look at the receipt that I discovered the price was actually $579.

When I realised the mistake and tried to return the Apple Care, they first told me I couldn't because they had already registered the software. I rang Apple and they told me that was incorrect, and that I could return it as long as it wasn't opened. So I went back to the store and argued with them and got them to take it back for a refund. However, the small print on their receipt (which I only received after paying for everything) says that if you "change your mind" they charge a 20% restocking fee. At the end of the day I lost the education discount and ended up having to pay an extra $115. I was so disgusted with the store that I wanted to return the laptop too, but again I would have been hit with the 20% restocking fee. The whole experience was really traumatic and took away the joy I initially had about getting a new computer. Consumer protection laws in Australia suck and Apple really should not have these guys as authorised resellers of their products. If you are in Australia tell everyone you know NEVER to shop at a My Mac store.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Essendon Coach

The Essendon Football Club announced today that former great James Hird will be the new coach of the club. He replaces Matthew Knights, who was fired a few weeks ago after what was possibly the club's worst season in 40 years. While Hird has no AFL coaching experience, he will help reunite the various factions in the club and shore up the fan base that has been unhappy over this past season. Hirdy will have a lot of work to do to bring the club back to its former glory, but we have a good list of young players who will only get better in the coming years. And with a four year contract, hopefully the club and the board will be patient and give him time to improve the team.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hipsters are the new Emos

A couple funny videos have popped up recently mocking indie hipsters, which must mean that hipsters have become the new emos. First up is a UK one called "Being a Dickhead's Cool" by The Grand Spectacular.

And not to be left out, Melbourne comedian The Bedroom Philosopher (aka Justin Heazelwood) has the song "Northcote (So Hungover)" from his album Songs from the 86 Tram.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tim Burton: The Exhibition

After work Clinton and I headed down to ACMI in Fed Square to see Tim Burton: The Exhibition. It charts works from his early years growing up in Burbank through to the movie Alice in Wonderland. Here's the blurb for the show:
Curated in direct collaboration with Burton, the exhibition brings together over 700 works, including paintings, drawings, puppets, costumes, storyboards and film. Discover the elements of gothic fantasy, dark humour and motifs that characterise Burton's work as director, concept artist, illustrator and photographer.

It amazing how much of his artistic style was already developed from an early age. I had no idea he had a background as an animator, even working for Disney out of art school. There were costumes, artifacts, storyboards and clips from his films, as well as some sculptures he has done. One of my favorite things in the exhibition though was his 1982 film Vincent.

If you are in Melbourne, the exhibition is on until October 10th.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Australia Finally has a Prime Minister

Julia Gillard was officially sworn in today by Governor-General Quentin Bryce as Australia's first elected female Prime Minister. The federal election took place on August 21st but neither Labor nor the Coalition got the required 76 seats in the House of Representatives to form government. As a result, Australia had its first hung parliament since 1940. Since both parties were stuck on 72 seats, it all came down to which party the six elected Independent and Green MPs would side with to get them over the line. After 17 days the final 3 Independent MPs announced their preferences, and Labor got the two final seats that they needed to form a minority government. It will be interesting to see how Gillard holds together this bare majority and gets her policy agenda through the legislative process. The results will also make things interesting for the Victorian state election in November. Will Labor lose even more inner-city Melbourne seats to the Green Party? Could there be another hung parliament?
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