Archive for the ‘ Announcements ’ Category

Australia, its now your turn

Last year, I brought you the New Zealand Blackout, in response to the S92a Internet Guilt upon Accusation fiasco, well Australia, its now your turn. The Electronic Frontiers Australia has endorsed a similar action for the week around and including Australia Day, a wide reaching Internet Blackout.

Starting the 25th and going until the 29th, Australian Tech users will be blacking their websites, as well as their display pictures, in protest to the Government’s insistence in presenting the Mandatory Internet Filter to the Senate, despite constant, and unanimous opposition to the Mandatory Internet Filter, in fact there are a number of individuals, groups, organizations and websites, that are already blacking their content in preparation to next weeks protest.

Like last time, support from outside Australia is requested, and greatly appreciated, as is the request to sign the EFA’s petition against the Internet Filter.

If this Filter is passed through the Senate, it will not protect Children as is its intention, as it does not stop the trafficking of Child Pornography, a fact admitted by, by Stephen Conroy, who insists that the filter would be used to protect children from content deemed inappropriate, however, the old argument still stands, the Government does not have a right to dictate what is inappropriate for a child to be exposed to, only to advise and educate, however if this filter is enacted, this ability would be taken from parents, an insistence that the Government knows best, and that Parents are incapable of raising their own children.

For more information on the Great Australian Blackout, go to internetblackout.com.au, to sign the Electronic Frontiers Australia petition go to Sign the petition here.

Once again I hope to thank all my regular readers for their support of this innovative

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The First Link is forged.

It would seem that while gamers this week were celebrating the news of the Discussion Paper for an R-18+ rating, we have been sucker-punched. On the same day that the Discussion Paper’s existence was made public knowledge on broadcast media, Federal Communications Minister and right royal pain in my backside, Stephen Conroy announced that the ill-fated and otherwise despised Mandatory Internet Filter will proceed, despite the fact that no word about it had existed for nearly 3 months.

Stephen Conroy hoped that the news of the filter would pass unnoticed, with those who would oppose it distracted by the previously mentioned news, unfortunately several blogs, including this one, picked up the story almost as soon as it broke; granted yes I had to hear it from four separate people before I took it seriously, but then, from the reactions a number of my colleagues made when I told them, I am not surprised. Following what could only be called uniform opposition to this, it was any wonder that anyone took news of its proposals green lighting, makes the Mandatory Internet Filter, easily the most despised and unpopular piece of legislation, to make a comparison, the Work Choices of the Labour Party, I had not expected to ever hear anything about this, that Conroy would do the smart move and sweep this under the rug and forget about it.

Then I remembered he was a politician and disregarded my previous statement.

If the Mandatory Internet Filter makes it through the Senate, and with some Political bargaining there is a frightening chance that it might; following the Green light by the Government on Wednesday, it would be fully operational by June 2010 with all ISP’s forced to comply by that point, however it would start cleaning the internet by February the same year.
While Conroy retracted comments made in previous announcements, that the Filter would ‘block content deemed inappropriate by the Government’ he maintained his stance that the Internet filter would not impede users, and that it was 100% accurate. No this does not seem to be the same responses by many of the nine ISP’s that participated in the trial, many of which stating that the trial in itself was designed to succeed.

At this point the Mandatory Internet Filter was tested under current industry standards, and was not extensive enough, in that it did not have enough participants to be an accurate measure of the Filters effectiveness, especially considering the Governments famed National Broadband Network, which supposedly plans to offer 100Mb speeds, a standard no where near what was tested.  Experts in the field, who from day one stated that the filter would not work at existing levels, and at the levels the NBN would provide, it would negate any benefits the new system would provide.

From the onset there were companies that stood against the Filter, in recent weeks, those Internet service providers, have come to disappoint those who where turning to them, with both Telstra and IInet coming out in support of the Filter, completely backtracking all their previous statements; while I have had no faith in Telstra for as long as I can remember, IINet’s back flip gave an air of ‘we’re being coerced or bullied into doing this,’ especially considering the icy relationship between IInet and Conroy.

Unfortunately aside from continuing in campaigns to address this issue, and contacting your local member, there is little more that can be done to stop this from being put before the Senate, except to hope and prey that the Senate rejects the proposal outright.
In the interim however, technocrats in Australia have turned to ‘censoring’ themselves on Social Networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and all readers of the DocNetwork are encouraged to do likewise.

Take the below image and put it on top of avatars, display pictures and profile images like so, to raise awareness and hopefully gain opposition to the Mandatory Internet Filter

censored docwinterscensored

As always we will continue to monitor this, and bring you our dear readers, the news, no matter how bad it hurts

Discussion Paper for an R-18+ Category for Games

Sorry for the extended delay but I have been busy working on various topics and assignments, as governed by the fact that I have decided to return to school for a Nursing Degree. In the meantime I have created a list of articles that will be released in the coming months, spanning back to the Zombie Walk.

However instead of releasing one of the many reviews I have, or a commentary about either the New South Wales Bushfire Season or the fact that the OFLC has banned yet another game, (and one I was actually looking forward to this time); I have come back from semi-sabbatical to bring to light a topic that has me chomping at the bit to respond. 

It has been brought to my attention by Trapper, one of my many reliable sources from north of the Border, that the Australian Federal Government has just, and I mean in the last 3 days, released for public consultation, a Discussion Paper for the addition of an R-18+ rating for Games. Meaning that it has finally happened, that the Attorney Generals have finally started to take this issue seriously.

The DocNetwork as an Organization for a Free and Uncensored Internet, as well as a proud supporter for an R-18+ rating will be joining the ranks of other Australian Bloggers in sending a submission for Public Consultation, as well as possibly submitting the personal opinions of my writers and staff and I humbly request that all my readers to likewise.

For more information, I encourage you to go to the home of this consultation http://www.ag.gov.au/gamesclassification. At this site you will be asked the following question

Should the Australian National Classification Scheme include an R 18+ classification category for computer games?

As a rule they have asked that submissions be succinct and to the point, so this is not an opportunity to take shots at certain South Australian Attorney Generals, nor is it to go on lengthy tirades about other Government policies that you may not be happy with. As this is not the first time I have submitted reports to the Federal Government, as a rule, don’t submit anything under 500 words, any less than that and it is doubtful you will be read, if readers are concerned that their submission would not pass muster, you are more than welcome to send it to me at doc_winters@live.com and I will look over it for you.

All I can say is that we have done it, by releasing the hefty jargon filled 16 page Discussion paper for Public review, means that they have finally realised that it should not be up to some crotchety old men to decide who mature adults spend their spare time.

Good luck, and I hope this means a better future for us, as Alien vs. Predator the game was Refused Classification, with the developers refusing to sanitize it, stating this is a game for adults, which is probably the reason why this whole turn of events has taken place.

Its amazing how fast a year passes.

Thanks to a rampant case of writers block, I apologise for not posting. However today is a very important milestone for the DocNetwork so I took my new Nokia E-71 outside and started writing. This day 12 months ago, the first ever post of what would become the DocNetwork was published on the Vox Blogging Network. It wasn’t until November that year that very same post was reposted on WordPress and we haven’t looked back.

In the space of 12 months we have covered such diverse things, ranging from the Australian Governments Mandatory Internet Filter to covering the horrific bushfires that devastated Victoria live from the fireline, (even if those reports are still classified). We warned you about swine flu, and saw the inauguration of America’s first African-American president.

We’ve been featured on the TWiT network twice, interviewed by Leo Laporte, and was integral in the success of the TWiT Army podcast. Most recently we gained a Facebook fan page as well as a Blog Twitter account to help you contact us, and to this end, both have been very successful.

It’s been a very productive year for us, we’ve gained writers, and had others move on, but even if they don’t write for us they still hang around, Big T still pops by when he’s not at university, and will be rejoining us in summer for our first attempt at a podcast, our Warhammer battle reporter will be returning shortly after a long break away from the warzone.

Throughout this time the DocNetwork has been helped by a group of volunteers that have worked thanklessly to keep the news flowing, and it would be amiss of me to neglect them.

I would like to thank both Felix and Kiwi for watching the blog whenever I’ve been unable, MirandaJannell, NiteInJail, Zeiva, and the other TWiT’s who have been so supporting during this difficult year. I would also like to thank, you our loyal readers, those who I have met I thank your kind words and intelligent conversation; with special mention to Trapper, Therese, Anna as well as our ‘number 1 fan’ Anne-Marie who surprised me on my own birthday by presenting me with the DocNetwork’s fanpage. Most of all I would like to thank my dearest Chantelle aka Tikara, who has not only stepped in on occasion to be my Dictaphone, but has had to put up with long nights and me raging over reports my feeders give me: you are my inspiration, our many fans and readers are the only reason we keep going. And for that we thank you.

To date we have had 8147 visitors, we average 5 posts a month not including February and march where there more days posted then not, to a total of 91 posts. Currently the average monthly page view is 600 which is impressive for a fledgling blog.

As we speak we a finalizing the first ever Blogging challenge, designed to commemorate our first year, and while we have only 5 entrants the work coming out is pretty good. Hopefully next year will be even better:

Once again we would like to thank you all for helping us survive our first year and hope you join us for the next one.

Site Updates: we are staying put

Some of you might have heard some rumblings that the DocNetwork was moving away from our free home at WordPress to a free standing server, something along the lines of docwinters.net. Well I can say, quite emphatically, that this is not the case. While I have looked into the idea of having our own domain to allow us to branch out to other ventures, and to get away from the now redundant sethlord.wordpress.com domain, to allow each of the staff writers, their own space. However, due to the current economic climate, being what it is, and the current prices of all related or similar domains being prohibitively expensive, has meant that we, at this point in time, are not leaving the free service that WordPress have provided.

In the future, we may in fact move to a paid service, but at the time being, the fear is that we may purchase a domain now, only to close it down and move back here at the end of the domains registration period; now the suggestion was made that we might ask for donations, to pay for the domain, but as it stands the DocNetwork prides itself by being a service that gives the people the news the major services don’t touch, and to give it to them for free, sure if the public reception is receptive towards it, we might change our stance on that, but at this point in time, its better if we maintain the status quo and continue to provide you, the reader, with all the information you can digest about the issues your interested in, we have the data, we know what topics you want us to cover, and going forward you will see more product/service reviews, as well as feeing more breaking news stories.

On a sadder note, I must announce, that we have to put Big T’s Gripe list on hiatus; while there is nothing wrong with my partner in crime, Terence’s ability to publish his stories from his home, has become an issue, so while you may see a Gripe list from time to time; they will not be as frequent as they once were. As the only other writer on the DocNetwork, I wish my associate all the best, and hope to see him back as soon as he is able.

While I was absent for the last week of February, it seems that you, our loyal readers, where not; February has counted as our highest visitation period with 689 unique visits for the entire month. Now I am aware that this is because to the Bushfire coverage, as well as the coverage of the surprisingly popular warning about the services of FinallyFast.com.au. The last two months before this point, had roughly 350 hits each, and with it being only the 9th of March, and we already have 190 hits, I can already see that March is going to be no different.
It is because of these large numbers that the DocNetwork is inching towards our 2000th visitor. It took us 4 months to get to a thousand, and it’s taken a little over a month and a half to get to 1.756 visitors. Now this number does not include those on the DocNetwork’s writing staff, otherwise we would already be well over the 2000 mark. As with all things on the internet, relevance is an important thing, and to have the number of people continually visit the DocNetwork, as well as so many new faces, is hopefully a good sign of things to come.

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.

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.