Archive for February, 2009

Doc’s Going to Melbourne

Evening folks.

As I write this, I have exactly seven hours before I am expected to travel into Victoria to assist my fellow Knights Hospitallier (that’s the Ancestral Name of St John Ambulance) who have been pushed to the limit, and desperately need some relief. The Victoria Divisions put the call out for as many interstate members as they could to help out and Doc answered the call, and will be heading in to do what he can.

I was supposed to go into Victoria on Monday, but a unit had already been formed, and was already on its way, however, I received a call from my Duty Officer saying that a second force was being mobilised and I was going to head into Victoria tomorrow morning; I was initially told that I would be going in next week, but it seems that they want an overlap of members.

I have spent all of today running around making sure I had everything I needed, and I have to say that St John Ambulance issue Duffels, DO NOT fit the required days of civilian clothes and Uniforms, for 5 days, three maybe, but 5, not a chance. Especially when you add all the other equipment they want us to bring, I will write up the list when I get back, I can understand how the Paratroopers felt during WW2.
Yes that’s right folks, Doc is being deployed into Victoria for a week, but do not fret, the DocNetwork will continue during this time.

I will be getting into contact with Terence, to find out when his Gripe list will be written, and hopefully seeing if he can start writing additional columns, and I will be writing daily reports, though they will be a LOT smaller, but that’s because they will be written on my N95, as I have to leave my beloved notebook at home.

During this time, I will be handing the custodial duties over to two TWiT Army members, who have offered to hold the fort until I return.
For the duration of my deployment, I have appointed Kiwinerd, and Felix, to the Editorial staff. They will be responsible for comment approval, and general maintenance of the blog. Felix will also be responsible for migrating my reports from my Vox mobile account to this one, as the free WordPress doesn’t support mobile publishing.

Felix will also be sending me updates and questions through the Vox system, as I won’t have access to Twitter… well I am going to try and get a hold of Twitter whenever I get a chance.

Once again I would like to profusely thank Kiwi and Felix for offering to watch the place for me.

During this time, the Twitter notification system will NOT be operational, as I will not be here to update it, so please swing by daily to see what’s happening in Fire ravaged Victoria.

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Remote Assistance

AN: This article was originally written on the 7th February 2008, before the DocNetwork dedicated its broadcast time to the Victorian Bushfires

I have been out of the house all this week, helping house sit. While I have been here, I received an IM from a girl I used to go to school with, asking me to help her fix Word on her Vista machine. Normally I would have offered to go round their place and fix it there; however, when I remembered that this lass lived about an hour up the mountain, I figured that there were better alternatives. While I had thought that I could walk her through it, it was quickly discovered that tech support only works if the person being supported knows what you are talking about.

This was when I stumbled upon Remote Assistance, a service that was iffy in XP, and it seemed to work quite well on a Windows 7 to a Vista machine, which I suppose is quite appropriate, considering that he two OS’s are essentially the same; and both are infinitesimally superior operating systems to XP. While I worked on the issue, in the end recommending that she go and get Open Office, as the issue required a fresh install of the Software; I had to think, why exactly, after six years, where the only contact I would get from this girl, would be IM’s from her virus laden PC trying to invade my system, would she look at her MSN list and say, I’m going to go ask Doc to fix my computer.

Sure, I mean that if they were going to get their computer fixed, coming to me was a step in the right direction; granted I can fix just about anything, and I have filled the roll of the Tech Support for my various groups I have been attached to, and if given enough time, I can fix most of the issues the average person will encounter. But, that being said, there are people on MY MSN contacts list, that are to me, what I am to my other friends, and I know that worst case scenario, I can go to the TWiT Army and plead my case there, there are a number of excellent people there.

On the completely opposite hand, being able to fix computer issues is a double edged sword. While I on more often than not do succeed in fixing the issue that was presented; sometimes the issue is just beyond anyone’s help.

I refer to a case that I recently had to deal with, I was asked to look at one of the notebooks I’m not responsible for, despite the fact that it resides on my own network. The notebook encountered “The User Profile Service failed the logon” error, which pretty much means that its registry file was corrupted. Now I managed to fix this issue once before, but like most stopgap fixes, and that was all my first attempt was, to allow them to back up their data to allow a removal of the account, and to transmit it to a new account, which is the accepted procedure in this situation.

Now considering that any form of repairs to a system has inherent risks, and considering that this was the second time the system failed, so the chances of it working was already going to be an issue, and since they didn’t back up when they were presented with the opportunity, how exactly was I to know that the user account had corrupted in its entirety, and nothing I could have done could have done anything. However that also means that the client had no right to chew me out just because I tried to fix their computer when asked.

Sure I will catch some flak from this, but to be honest, it’s part of being Social Tech Support.

Oscar Blackout

As I look down at the clock and discover that thanks to the return of St John Ambulance training, the time I would have normally dedicated to writing this article, was spent at training; ah well, the more trained I am, the better I will be when I need to call on those skills.

Today found two events occurring; one was the New Zealand Blackout, and the other was the Oscars, despite the time zone differences, they both fell at least partially in today. One of these the DocNetwork has been following with interest, the other I have been avoiding like the plague.

According to New Zealand Government, they have put an official stay on the S92 Amendment that was covered in a recent article, moving its activation from next Thursday, to the 27th of March. Though the Creative Freedom Foundation; the orchestrator of today’s Internet Blackout, is declaring this event a victory, we, at the DocNetwork, are a lot more sceptical about this, and as a result, we will not be changing anything until the NZ Government removes the amendment entirely. This act seems a little more than a bluff to try and fool the non-technocrat majority of the nation, so that they can introduce this amendment at the later date once it has left the minds of the masses. We hope that Kiwi technocrats realize this for what it is, and don’t let up on their campaign, will they be certain that it will succeed.

Compared to other blogs that I have been sent links to, or have stumbled on while on the lookout for new content to write about, the DocNetwork has been exceptionally clear of anything related to the Oscars. Now this has nothing to do with anything, other than the fact, that the whole concept of awarding someone just for doing their job, and televising it for the entire world, seems incredibly moronic to me.

What’s more, it seems that every category that can be awarded will be awarded to the late Heath Ledger, an actor that couldn’t have dreamed for the publicity his death had garnered him.
For the record, we don’t want to speculate on why this is, or anything else relating to Mr Ledger, though this isn’t about respect for a great actor, its more to the fact that he has been dead for over a year, and what has been said has already. The Writers of the DocNetwork moved on from this topic a good week after he died, simply because the jokes weren’t funny, they weren’t then, and they aren’t now. We moved on Hollywood apparently didn’t but since I have decided to not cover the Oscars, I will leave that statement there, though that might also have something to do with the fact that I don’t to have to filter a hundred angry responses from Heath Ledger fangirls.

As for the event itself, I stand by my statement, all this is, is an awards ceremony for people doing their jobs, I mean what’s the hype about? You don’t see the Annual McDonalds Awards ceremony, but then that might also be a good thing, cause if they did, who would serve me at 2am…

Ah well, it’s over, so I can avoid it until next year when the madness starts all over again

National Day of mourning

Those of you waiting for Big T’s gripe list for this week may be out of luck, as I haven’t heard from my partner in crime since Friday, however, when and if I hear from him, I will make sure that his Gripes list ends up posted.

Today, even as fires still rage in parts of Victoria, the Government has declared a national day of mourning for those 209 victims that have now been confirmed dead, and while experts have speculated that the death toll will continue to rise, they also agree that some measure of closure needs to be established.

A national ceremony held at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne, and televised live throughout Australia, and on the Sky Network internationally, went for a little over two hours, and featured a number of talented Australian Musicians, as well as addresses from local leaders, and a message from the Prime Message; Princess Anne, was in attendance representing the Queen and Royal Family.

While I was aware that this event was taking place, and I did in fact watch the latter end of the broadcast, I unfortunately missed a lot of the addresses by the various dignitaries, this was more to the fact that I was still shovelling through the piles of leads that I have had placed on my desk about other events occurring in the same area.

Going forward, the Federal Government has stated that on February 7 of every year will be listed as a memorial day, much akin to the anniversary to 9/11, where all Federal buildings will fly the Australian Flag at half mast, as a way of remembering this tragedy.
On a positive note, the Federal Government has said that it would spare no resource to rebuild these ravaged towns, sure this network has its misgivings about the PM, but at least the sentiment is in the right place.

While the DocNetwork is not directly threatened by fire, our sympathies go out to those that have lost everything.

Next week will see the DocNetwork will be taking this show in the road, well at least the part that I am related to anyway; I have been informed that I am to head into Victoria to assist in the relief effort; so while I might not be able to get the reports out, they will be published on my return. Be sure to keep a watch here as who knows what titbits I might find.

South Pacific censorship

I was working on a lovely little article the other day about people helping people online when I had a TWiT Army Colleague come up to me and hand me a url, that started to get my blood boiling. While I tend to leave the editorial work to Terence, as he does it a LOT better than I; but I felt that I needed to wade into an issue that seems to be growing like a plague and it’s up to us, the online blogging FREE media, to stand up against it.
Granted the DocNetwork is slow to stand up and rattle the sabre in support of this, and we apologise for not getting on board publically until now, but we have also been covering the Victorian Bushfires at the same time, and it is only the two of us here, and only one of us actually writes news.

The issue I am referring to is the across the Tasman Sea to our Eastern Brother, New Zealand; and since kiwinerd, has been so supportive of our Crusade for a Free and Uncensored Internet, we thought we would return the favour and support an issue that affects her family, and could be the start of things far worse.
Towards the tail end of our coverage of the Victorian Bushfires, and when we started commenting about the Australian Mandatory Internet Filter, New Zealand Tech writers, including our friend kiwinerd was covering New Zealand’s own draconian version of the filter.
Last year the NZ 1984 Copyright Act was amended, while they edited the Act considerably, the addition of only one new section known as Section 92A. Which reads “An Internet service provider must adopt and reasonably implement a policy that provides for termination, in appropriate circumstances, of the account with that Internet service provider of a repeat infringer,” this incredibly vague amendment goes live in seven days, however, this horrible perversion of civil liberties has had EVEN LESS coverage than the Mandatory Internet Filter, and its only about 6 months old.

While major Australian ISP’s refuse to support the Australian Filter, Kiwi ISP’s have commented that the amendment is incredibly vague, and had been working since this time last year on a means of making it the least objectionable to all parties, but are still going along with it.

However, what came from this madness was a system that if an individual, institution or company is accused of copyright infringement; then the ISP will disconnect them. Though according to a number of sources, a number of warnings before termination exists, however the number ranges from one to four and some say no warnings at all. What makes this a civil rights infringement, is that this Act Assumes Guilt on Accusation, no trial will be conducted, all that has to occur is the major entertain industries (and that is all that this amendment will help) says infringement has taken place and the ‘offender’ gets disconnected.

Now this has not happened without a fight, the Creative Freedom Foundation, has formed, and acts in a similar way to GetUp! In Australia, as a central location to garner opposition to this; unfortunately, the GetUp! Campaign has around 100 thousand names on their petition to overthrow the Mandatory Internet Filter; CFF only has 12 thousand to repeal the Amendment. The DocNetwork is on both Petitions, both as an entity, and as myself and Terence as individuals. In an attempt to spread the word, the 23rd February 2009 (i.e. tomorrow on the Australian/NZ side of the world) will be met by an Internet Blackout.
This has already started on Twitter, with first just Kiwis’ then Leo Laporte’s TWiT Army, then it spread out, even the DocNetwork’s own Twitter account have responded by blackening their Twitter avatar. On the 23rd, users who support the repeal are asked to blacken their Facebook Profile Pictures, their MySpace pages and pictures, and their blogs. There is even a call to black out entire websites as a show of protest. If we can figure it out, the DocNetwork will be black tomorrow to support this action.

If you would like additional information about how to support this repeal, please go to http://nzblackout.org/, and sign the petition here we put the call out to all technocrats out there to sign, as if it starts in New Zealand, who knows when it will stop. Like the Mandatory Internet Filter, we will be covering this as it progresses. Please stay tuned to the DocNetwork, for more information

The DocNetwork’s own Twitter to send your questions and get updates on articles is http://twitter.com/DocNetwork

Bushfires reach Facebook

I had hoped that the news from the Victorian Bushfires, would have dried up by now, as the mainstream news carriers, have stopped devoted entire broadcasts, to it, however, I had also expected this news to surface, though additional reports have surprised me.

As of Tuesday, the Deathtoll finally reached 200, after nearly four days at 181, with more bodies identified in the Kinglake region fires. The Kinglake Complex, which covers a vast section of Victoria’s central highlands, alone, counts for 139, of the 200 killed with authorities stating that it could take weeks before a final death toll is able to be counted.
This horrific revelation, that country towns of only 200+ are losing 40 people, it places the emotional burden onto the townspeople, who while the Rudd Government has stated that they will spend however much is required to rebuild, many locals have stated that they would not return.

According to official CFA reports, there are roughly 11 fires still burning in Victoria, though most of these are now outside of threat areas for residential areas, there are a number of smaller fires burning, but they are also under control, or contained.

While the public outpouring of support for the victims of the Victorian Bushfires has been overwhelming, not only has it been from Australia, but a number of International companies as well as not for profit, and fan based Organizations, including the 501st Legion, and its sister group; the Rebel Legion (the 501st and Rebel Legion collectively raised five thousand Dollars), and Leo Laporte’s TWiT Army, have donated considerable amounts to the millions raised in Australia.
On the same hand, the revulsion, condemnation and public attacks on one of the convicted arsonists, Brendan Sokaluk has been the polar opposite, after a quick search, more than 12 groups on the social networking site Facebook, have been created, dedicated to the death, torture, or otherwise physical harm on this man, the most popular of these is called “Brendan Sokaluk, the Victorian Bushfires Arsonist, must burn in hell,” which has more than 3500 members as of this morning.

While the DocNetwork as an online entity, as a source of unbiased news, does not and will not support any form of vigilante justice; we however, do understand, and sympathise with those demanding justice of a man who has been charged for allegedly starting a fire that has killed 21 people and destroyed 39000 acres of property. We however, draw the line on personal attacks on members of Mr Sokaluk’s family, or past or present relations. It is not their fault they are related to this monster.

If the masses wish to vent their anger and frustration, please make sure that you are focusing it in the right direction, all Brendan Sokaluk’s family has done, was birthed and raised this miscreant, and his former girlfriend do was fall in love with him. They have not started any fires. Though we are relieved that the mob is turning to the Internet to let of their frustrations, instead of resorting to revenge attacks against this vile excuse of a human being.

The DocNetwork will continue following this story, and will update you whenever new information develops. No doubt there will be additional commentary about this.

Site Updates

Some of you might have noticed that we have changed a few things, we will be changing the theme of the DocNetwork, though I am not sure just what theme we shall be changing to, while I enjoy the current theme, it doesn’t quite fill our needs as we hope to change into a more professional looking blog, on the same hand, I do like the dark colours, harkening back to the fact that this place used to be called the Darkside of Life.

While we are talking about maintenance, the DocNetwork is looking for a new logo, though to be completely honest, I am not sure just what I want the new logo to be, other than I think I should have a separation between the Blog and my novel, as they both share the same logo.

Apart from the cosmetic details of the Blog, we have added a direct Twitter account for the DocNetwork, so you can ask any questions you might have, as well as follow it to be aware of all updates on the Network. You can alternatively follow me on Twitter; I am trying to get Terence on Twitter, but he doesn’t seem to have the time to do it.

Other than this, I would like to invite everyone back to the DocNetworks normal publishing; however, we will update our readers of the progress of our past stories, should anything else come up.