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Brisbane Legal new legal blog

by Leon Bertrand

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Dear Sandpit readers,

I have a new blog, which focuses on the law and related issues. It is intended to appeal to lawyers and non-lawyers alike.

The blog will comment on practical issues which will inform people of what to expect and how to deal with lawyers, the courts etc. Already I have a post about how you can help your own legal case.  I will post about topics such as why legal fees are so high and how you can reduce your legal fees in the coming weeks.

The blog will also comment about various legal issues. Already it has posted about the law of negligence, disciplinary proceedings against lawyers and criminal law. Having practiced in a number of areas, I have a reasonably broad knowledge of the various areas of law.

So please check it out and feel free to comment. Any feedback, positive or negative, would be appreciated.

I would also like to thank Ray for some advice on the technical aspects of wordpress.

Gillard and Labor suffer another education policy collapse

Usually it takes me a while to find a story to  write about but this morning it was right there as the lead news item in the Age (my first port of call in the morning) :

Click for source

Click for source

Well who is surprised that Labor’s scheme is falling in a heap now? when this wild idea was first mooted I had my doubts and It is now clear that I was right to be cynical that Labor was incapable of both delivering on their promise and that promise being properly maintained. of course this will come as something of a body blow to Gillard’s very long campaign. However I just can’t help thinking that  at this rate of revelations and bad news  Labor will be out of puff entirely by about a week after next Tuesday. As the annoying demtel ads would ask “how low can they go?” frankly I can’t believe that any government could be so stupid/incompetent  to devise a program that leaves parents in the lurch and obliged to buy or lease the laptops that Labor was insisting would be “free” to every high-school student  way back in 2007.

As is often the case technology has moved on as well and now the device that would be more  useful to high-school students would be a tablet computer that has all of the heavy and cumbersome  text books available in the form of Ebooks  these devices have no moving parts to fail (and need for maintenance )  and a more intuitive user  interface  heck they are even cheaper than laptops…

So what are we as parents and voters to take from this very expensive policy failure? Probably that it is folly for a government to make ostentatious promises when it comes to technological devices used in education because you can bet that the hardware will cost more than expected do less than the geeks claim and become obsolete in  a political heart beat. For the Labor true believer it is just another reason to despair as there is no doubt that  the opposition will make much of this failure in the long campaign we face between now and September 14.

Cheers Comrades

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Labor announces the new NBN medicine program

With the election announced and Julia Gillard really keen to show just what can be achieved with her much questioned  praised NBN in a Sandpit exclusive I can share with you all a test operation using the new Tele-medicine ,  like a lot of Labor big ideas this one obviously has a few bugs to be sorted out, but I hope that we can be assured that things will be much more successful than the beta testing.

Its understood that The party’s  first choice of test subject  was their dear leader’s fashion consultant, however its understood that Gillard vetoed that because it would have meant that Tim would be unavailable for , err ” domestic duties” while he recovered from the process. This turned out to be a sound choice because the first demonstration was to say the least, underwhelming .

Commiserations and floral tributes  to the pioneer can be sent to Labor HQ.

Cheers Comrades

heartbeat-animated

The beginning of the end of the pioneer period

In my post the other day I was postulating  a new normal where every internet user was at least known to the service provider that they used so that they could be held accountable for the things that they said and did online. Reading the opinion piece in today’s age makes me think that my predictions/expectations may be closer to fruition than I thought:

A LITTLE over a decade ago, just before the masses discovered the digital universe, the internet was a borderless new frontier: a terra nullius to be populated by individuals, groups and programmers as they saw fit. There were few rules and no boundaries. Freedom and open standards, sharing information for the greater good was the ethos.

Today, the open internet we once knew is fracturing into a series of gated communities or fiefdoms controlled by giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and to a lesser extent Microsoft. A billion-dollar battle conducted in walled cities where companies try to lock our consumption into their vision of the internet. It has left some lamenting the ”web we lost”.

The same firm in some cases now provides not just the content we consume but the devices we consume it on and a plethora of other services to help manage our digital lives, be it email, online storage or e-commerce.

Increasingly, the web kings are expanding into each other’s turf and butting heads with smaller pretenders to the throne, such as Twitter, locking competitors out of their ecosystems but, more importantly, locking us, the consumers, in.

”There’s no question that we are witnessing a clash of the titans over ‘our’ data”, says Jennifer Zanich, serial Australian entrepreneur and now co-founder of start-up Paloma Mobile.

Data is the oil of the digital age, handed over willingly by consumers seduced by the latest flashy new web service. Big data is where the big money is made on the web today, and famous US venture capitalist Mary Meeker describes it as the ”Wild West” of the internet.

So much of the belief in the ungovernable nature of cyberspace is predicated upon the “wild west” view of the internet  but as it becomes a more organised and more commercial rather than Geek space the frontier town mentality will, like the old west fade away to be replaced by a more urbane and dare I say it “civil” environment quite simply because it is bad for business for it to be anything else. So if Asher Moses is correct the commercial imperative will drive a decline in the anonymity of users on the various conduits like twitter and blogs  to the owners of those platforms. Readers can obviously see that that this will be a boon for accountability as governments will pressured into ensuring that their online citizens are protected from both both commercial exploitation and online  abuse.
The online space is changing fast and not all of that change will be entirely beneficial or benign. Personally I find the idea of storing my data in “the cloud” rather unsettling and somewhat insecure (does anyone remember the collapse of “Haloscan” and the subsequent evaporation of millions of blog comments?). I find it hard to believe that everything online will be in anyway “eternal” or permanent as users create more and more content it seems inconceivable to me that we won’t  eventually find the older stuff disappearing  just as the graves in an ancient necropolis melt into the landscape with disuse.  It costs money to maintain an exponentially expanding online archive and the ones paying the bills for that storage won’t shell out forever to maintain those graves when the servers can return a profit by being re-purposed.
Of course like the decline of the old west there are people who just loved the anarchy and lawlessness who will truly morn the coming of civilisation to our online world but they will be very much in the minority as the Mums, Dads and their children outnumber the Geeks and scum-bags who first settled this new electric country and the Mums, Dads and their children  will neither celebrate nor mourn the passing of a period of utter lawlessness that the online  pioneers have had to endure.
Cheers Comrades
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