Online Insights with Steve Davis on FIVEaa, Sunday, March 22, 2009

Australian Nudist Federation website
Australian nudists have finally entered the 21st century with an official website coinciding with the release of new guidelines for naturists. Unfortunately, the site is one of the clunkiest I have seen for a while with bandwidth-heavy technology. This site certainly won’t be the model for modern websites. Not only is the design dated, the technical aspects suggest it has either been created by a “friend of a friend of a friend” or by a web designer who has not kept up to date with the importance of fast-loading sites and eradication of annoying, animated gifs bouncing around on the page like a parent trying to be cool at a teenager’s birthday party.

Be that as it may, if you are happy to wait for the clumsy elements to load, there is some interesting information on the website along with some interesting photographs.

On the photography front, there are pictures of nudists on the beach, on bikes, around pools, and standing in fields. There are also an awful lot of photos of nudists with their backs to the camera – not always a bad thing!

On the information front, it is quite fascinating.

I learned that there are more nudist gathering spaces in SA than just Maslins Beach. There is Murrippi Beach on Eyre Peninsula, just south of Whyalla; Lurline Point Beach between Beachport and Robe in the Southeast; and Pelican Point Beach on the shores of Lake Bonney near Barmera. Next to Pelican Point Beach is a Nudist Resort

Regarding rules, it seems some nudists have been taking things too far and engaging in orgies and swinger parties at a nudist colony in Queensland. Therefore, the ANF has suggested that there be no sex on nudist beaches with secretary Paul Brown reported as saying, “Naturists enjoy social nudity, but like everyone else they keep their sex life private.”

Here is a sample of nudist etiquette from the site:

  • Beach Photography – Ask before taking photos or video on nudist beaches. It is an understatement to say “You will be very unpopular if you take images without permission”
  • Common sense – Ensure you have sufficient sunscreen, especially if you are a beginner. Areas needing particular care include those that haven’t seen the light of day, particularly your feet, shoulders and hips
  • Single Males – There is a great deal of stigma attached to single males at both nude beaches and clubs & resorts. Some clubs maintain a strict gender balance which has arisen from numerous incidents in the past. If you are a single male, you have an opportunity to help change these social stigmas by adhering to these rules.
  • Seating Conditions – At any naturist club or resort it is considered standard practice to bring a towel to sit on, be polite, not stare, engage in nil sexual activity, etc. Unlike many nudist beaches, clubs and resorts require you to disrobe, otherwise you will appear like a pervert

And just like bowling clubs, churches, and other organisations, Australian nudism is worried about the ageing demographics of its members and the need to attract more young people to the cause. So they have created Young Nudists of Australia which any person under 18 can join as long as a parent is a member of the ANF. There’s a recipe for happy teenage years! Interestingly, young people are invited to email in “suggestions about nudism”. Not sure what there is to say other than “take clothes off”?

You can visit the site at http://www.aus-nude.org.au/ but you don’t need to be nude while viewing.

All my faves
Quite simply, if you ever wondered where to find popular and handy sites online, All My Faves is the place to go. It is a huge wall of clickable icons that lead you straight to some of the hottest websites around, such as:

  • All the free email services like Yahoo Mail, Gmail, etc
  • All the free video sharing sites like Youtube, Blip TV, Vimeo, etc
  • All the search engines
  • All the great social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter

However, the US/European skew of many of the world’s most popular sites means some of the offerings are not the best, for example:

  • Of the map services listed, Google maps is really the only excellent choice, the rest are generally clunky when looking for Australian locations
  • Of the news sites, there are no Australian news outlets. However, all the iconic outlets are there like the NY Times, BBC, etc

Games lovers will enjoy the tab called “games” because there are heaps of categories of sites with games featuring balls, action, jigsaw, thinking, stickmen, etc.

There are also tabs for shopping and travel and entertainment, etc.

My favourite tab is the “weekly faves” tab with 10 great new links every week.

This week I discovered ThruYOU – a site where they mix random YouTube videos to create new works. I am going to embed one called Mother Of All Funk Chords for your pleasure. It is pure fun. But before the video – here is the link to All My Faves so you can start exploring by yourself!

Spanish boys launch weather satellite
There has been some media coverage of the Spanish High School students who launched their homemade weather balloon into space, taking great shots of the planet from an embedded, off-the-shelf, point-and-shoot camera. The coverage has been brief with links to the project’s blog in Spanish. However the story is interesting so I am providing the link to the site in English, thanks to Google’s on-the-fly translation service.

You can read the boys’ blog to get the background to the project and/or look at their photogallery in Flickr.

It is great seeing their Mission Control – it was a couple of computers in the backseat of a car. At one point, they ran out of battery power and had to stop at a farm house to plug in to power so they could track their satellite. And, with a rather b-grade science fiction style antenna poking out the back window of their car, they were stopped by the National Guard during their travels to be checked out to make sure they were not terrorists.

Their probe made it 30 kilometres above sea level before the balloon exploded.

Read the story of MeteoTek08 in English.

Hoax Slayer
I received a disturbing email from a good friend yesterday, informing me that Australian mobile phone numbers go public next month and that all mobile phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies meaning that I will start to receive sale calls. In a strange twist it also told me that I would be CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS. I had to dig deeper.

Thanks to Hoax Slayer, I was able to find a report that revealed there is not a shred of truth to the story and, furthermore, the email is a “localised” copy of an hoax email that has been doing the rounds in the USA for years. It even has the original text that refers to Cell phones rather than mobiles.

The only good thing it does is carry the link to the Do Not Call register – http://www.donotcall.gov.au/.

Back to Hoax Slayer, this site makes for fascinating reading. The categories of emails it covers is a compelling enough reason for me to bookmark this site for future reference:

  • True Emails
  • Virus Email Hoaxes
  • Giveaway Email Hoaxes
  • Charity Hoaxes
  • Bogus Warnings
  • Email Petitions and Protests
  • Email Chain Letters
  • Celebrity Email Hoaxes
  • Prank Emails
  • Bad Advice Emails
  • Funny Email Hoaxes
  • Unsubstantiated Emails
  • Missing Child Email Hoaxes
  • Phishing Scams
  • Nigerian Scams
  • Payment Transfer Job Scams
  • Email Lottery Scams
  • Miscellaneous Scams
  • Pharming Scams
  • Internet Dating Scams
  • Computer Security
  • Virus Information
  • Email Security
  • Spam Control

Some highlights for me include:

  • Subj: VIRUS ALERT Status: PUBLIC MESSAGE – Warning: There’s a new virus on the loose that’s worse than anything I’ve seen before! It gets in through the power line, riding on the powerline 60 Hz subcarrier. To prevent the spread of the worm: 1) Don’t use the powerline. 2) Don’t use batteries either, since there are rumours that this virus has invaded most major battery plants, and is infecting the positive poles of the batteries. 3) Don’t upload or delete or download files. 5) Don’t read messages. No, not even this one! 6) Don’t use serial ports, toasters, modems, or phone lines. 7) Don’t use keyboards, screens, electric toothbrushes, or printers. 9) Don’t use electric lights, electric or gas heat, or airconditioning, running water, vibrators, writing, fire, clothing, or the wheel.
  • This is serious people… I just deleted mine!!! This is upsetting but I thought I should pass it along. Check your drivers license. Now you can see anyone’s Driver’s License on the Internet, including your own! I just searched for mine and there it was.. .. picture and all!! Thanks Homeland Security! Where are our rights? I definitely removed mine. I suggest you do the same. . . Go to the web site and check it out. Just enter your name, city and state to see if yours is on file. After your license comes on the screen, click the box marked “Please Remove”. This will remove it from public viewing, but not from law enforcement.
  • Tell all your family/ friends/ business acquaintances – in fact tell everybody about this! For all Australian respondents… Telstra Phone book. Hi everyone, For anyone contemplating using the Sensis directory service number, 1234, DON’T! Sensis, as you may or may not know, is a subsidiary of Telstra. The 1234 number is replacing the Telstra 12456 directory assistance number, but this time with outrageous costs attached: 40c to call the number, then 4c A SECOND! From mobiles its $1.40 per call plus 88c to connect. By law, Telstra have to provide a FREE directory assistance number , because they are still majority owned by the government. They choose however not to pass this number on to the public. What’s the free number? 1223 Thumbs down to Telstra for finding a way to ‘charge’, for a service that is supposed to be provided for free. Of course, feel free to forward this on. (Turns out, this email served a purpose back in 2004 but now Telstra does make all options of directory assistance easy to find).

This site is run by a Queenslander, Brett Christensen, and in the Spam Control section he finishes with some good advice, “A simple but effective spam control measure is to create a secondary, “spam” email account. A “spam account” (by my definition) is simple a spare email address that is used anywhere that requires you to provide your email address, for example to download software, sign up for newsletters and the like. Once I’ve decided that a company or newsletter can be trusted not to spam me, I change my account details to my main email address. If the spam account starts to accumulate too much junk, I just dump it and get a new one. I’ve found this to be quite an effective method of spam control, although you need to be stringent in always only using your spam account for non-trusted sites. Of course, this tactic is most effective if you start using your spam account at the same time you start using your primary account. Once your email address is on spam lists, it’s probably going to stay there for the duration.”

Thanks Brett – this is a great public service. Visit http://www.hoax-slayer.com/ and you can go straight to the Mobile Numbers report here.

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