Scooter Wankers

After moving in the to city from the suburbs I’ve seriously embraced city living, to the point where I’ve even been using the Lime Scooters. Brisbane is conducting a trial of electric scooters and there are 500 of them randomly scattered in and around the CBD. A 43 year old man on an electric scooter. It’s a good look. Honest.

The scooters are a fabulous idea but I worry that the scooter wankers out there are going to ruin it for the rest of us. As is usually the case.

The problem appears to be two-fold. The first issue is that Queensland law means that you must wear a helmet, but people keep nicking the helmets. Finding a scooter with an attached helmet is completely pot-luck. The other problem is that scooter wankers are getting pissed up and riding them on their way back from a night out, scaring the shit out of pedestrians with their antics.

Queensland Police have announced that they are setting up a task force to catch the scooter wankers, which is fair enough.

Where to begin with this?

I made the mistake of looking at the comments on social media in response to the articles. The consensus seems to be mass hysteria about the inevitable deaths that will occur.

This is the problem. We can’t have nice things. A few wankers piss people off, causing people to make a mountain out of a molehill. They moan like hell on social media, so of course, local news picks up on it and hype it up even further.

Both problems are genuine concerns, but it doesn’t mean that they should be banned. Why is the immediate answer to ban everything?

With regards to helmets, one of two things need to happen. Either the Queensland Parliament need to relax the laws on helmets - perhaps accepting that an adult riding a scooter 6 inches off the ground is not the same as a child on a bicycle, or, the scooter operators need to come up with a technical solution to stop the helmets going walkabout. This will inevitably cost money and might make the whole enterprise non-viable. I have no idea, but let’s at least explore the options.

As for the scooter wankers, let’s see what happens. The whole experience is relatively new for the streets of Brisbane, so there will be many unfamiliar with the legislation, and many others who just see it as a novelty that might not last. Hopefully the safety campaign has an effect.

Thoughts on Apple’s ‘Show Time‘ Event

My thoughts on today’s Apple Special Event covering the new services...

Apple TV and Apple TV+

All the press before the event speculated on Apple launching a Netflix-killing TV service. Well, let’s wait and see. Judging by the fact that they didn’t even play a single trailer for a show, they’re clearly a long way from being ready. When they do launch later this year there will be perhaps 20-30 original productions. A good start, but they’ve got a lot of catching up to do to begin challenging Netflix, and there was no mention of which other studios will be including content within the + service.

They did say that we will be able to purchase separate subscriptions to HBO, Showtime, etc. Oh joy, yet more subscriptions. TV is becoming that fragmented it’s getting to the point that it makes sense to go back to Cable/Satellite TV again.

The TV app on iOS and Apple TV leaves a lot to be desired. There wasn’t much mention of new features or interface changes, but then that’s a software thing, not services. Hopefully we’ll hear about some significant improvements at WWDC in June.

The main problems I currently have with the TV app are:

  • Lack of support for multiple profiles
  • No separate Watch List, just the ability to add shows to Up Next, and no abillity to change the order of shows in Up Next.
  • A lack of integration with Netflix and Stan. Netflix integration will likely never happen from what I’ve read.

Given that the TV app is now coming to Smart TVs and even Roku, I hope that doesn’t signal the end of the Apple TV. For those of us who still play content from a large iTunes library running from a home media server, Apple TV for me is still the best way to watch that content.

Apple Arcade

I’m not sure I will subscribe to Apple Arcade. I'm not much of a gamer. It does look an interesting proposition though. I wonder in the long run how the exclusivity agreement will play out with developers? Will the revenue they get from Apple Arcade make up for the potential loss of revenue from not being able to launch on Android?

Apple News +

It will be interesting to see which publishers are on board when the Apple News + subscription reaches Australia later in the year.

In the US, 200 magazines is not particularly a lot, and Apple must be severely disappointed to only have two newspapers sign up on launch.

As with the TV app, I hope we’ll see some improvements to the News app beyond just support for the magazine design they showed in the keynote. At the moment I still prefer Flipboard to consume news. It’s a simple thing but I love the animation of flipping between articles. I also like the fact you can add any RSS to Flipboard - Apple requires publishers to optimise content fo the Apple News app.

Apple Card

I hope the Apple Card comes to Australia. It's very hard to find a credit card in Australia that has no fees (including no international transaction fees), is a reward card, and supports Apple Pay.

Apple marketed the Apple Card has having a low interest rate. When you look into it that low interest rate in the US is between 13% and 24% dependent upon credit worthiness. Low interest rate my arse. Of course, it’s not an issue if you pay off your balance every month.

With no fees, 2% cash back (3% on purchases of Apple stuff), and the ability to use it pretty much everywhere in Australia (where there’s a 99% contactless adoption rate), I could see it becoming my main card, if, and it’s a big if, we get the same deal in Australia.

It’s a shame they’ve partnered with Goldman Sachs. After the 2008 GFC, Goldman Sachs should be liquidated and their Directors in jail.

What’s On My Podcast Playlist - 2019

In no particular order, here are some of the podcasts that I’m listening to in 2019.

Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review (BBC)

“Kermode Of all the podcasts I subscribe to, this I believe is the one I’ve been listening to the longest. I’m an LTL in Wittertainment speak. I really can’t remember when I started listening but my recollection of Kermodian rants gives me a clue. I can remember the Da Vinci Code rant (Just turn a light on!), and Ice Age 2 (the death of narrative cinema). So they’re both 2006 but I’m sure I started listening before that. Hello to Jason Isaacs.


Listen to Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review

Travel with Rick Steves

“Travel Someone once said that travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. I agree. If I’m not travelling, I'm either planning the next trip or listening to travel podcasts for inspiration. One such podcast is Travel with Rick Steves. Rick Steves is an American travel writer who specialises in European destinations. I came across his books when I was planning for the 2012 Europe trip. He’s been my go-to ever since.


Listen to Travel with Rick Steves Podcast

The CultCast

“The There are a bunch of Apple-focused podcasts that I dip in and out of, including Apple Insider, MacBreak Weekly, MacWorld, The Talk Show with John Gruber, Canvas and A Slab of Glass. The CultCast is the one I listen to every week. I just love the interaction between the main presenters. Erfon Elijah is just a naturally funny guy while Leander Kahney brings a wealth of Apple knowledge based on his decades covering Apple as journalist. Plus he’s a British Expat, which is a bonus in my book.

Listen to The CultCast Podcast

AM (ABC)

“The I have to get my news fix. Before the day gets drowned out by Donald Trump and Brexit news it’s good to get the news from Australia’s public broadcaster. Like a lot of ABC content, AM seems to be directly modelled on the BBC’s Today show on Radio 4.

Listen to the AM Podcast

Headliners (BBC)

“Headliners” This podcast has changed names and presenters a few times over the years. It’s essentially the podcast version of the BBC Radio Five Live Afternoon Edition show. When I started listening it was hosted by Simon Mayo. Then Richard Bacon took over for a few years. He eventually left for some gig in the US and then Dan Walker and Sarah Brett hosted for a short while. Now it’s hosted by Nihal Arthanayake. This is one of those where I just listen to the episodes depending on who’s being interviewed.

I’m not too keen on the latest host to be honest. A little too sycophantic to his guest for my liking. A little too keen to be pals with the guests and make them laugh. Although, to give him credit, his interviewing has improved over the last year. He’s no Simon Mayo though. Too many interviewers try and make the interview about them. Simon Mayo positively shies away from that.

Another interview-based podcast that is worth a listen - Fresh Air (NPR).

Listen to the Headliners Podcast

Desert Island Discs (BBC)

“Desert Surely this is on everyone’s list? If not, it should be. It has been going forever. You can even delve into the BBC archive and listen to interviews from decades ago. The only problem with the podcast format in this case is that, due to rights reasons, they don’t play the full music tracks. We get a snippet at the beginning and end of the song. If I haven’t heard the music before I just pause the podcast and find it on Apple Music. I’ve discovered some great music over the years thanks to this podcast. I have Michael Caine’s desert island discs to thank for discovering One Day Like This by Elbow.

Listen to the Desert Island Discs Podcast

The West Wing Weekly

“The The West Wing is my favourite TV show of all time. I’m now on the fourth go round of watching the full 7 season box set. I started watching again for the fourth time simply because this podcast started.

The podcast started from episode 1, season 1, and each week focuses on the next episode in chronological order. It’s not your ordinary fan show. One of the presenters is Joshua Malina who played Will Bailey on the show, and in the course of the podcast they’ve pretty much had every cast member, writer and director (including Aaron Sorkin) on the show.

Listen to The West Wing Weekly Podcast

Slow Burn (Slate)

“Slow This podcast does a deep dive on major events. The first series was all about Watergate, and the second series covered the Clinton / Monica Lewinsky affair. The first season in particular was gripping. I’m a big fan of All the President’s Men and like to think I’ve read enough about Watergate over the years to know the basics. Once I started listening to Slow Burn, however, I realised there’s so much I didn’t know.

I’m sure I’m not alone in listening to both the first and second seasons of Slow Burn and drawing parallels with what’s happening in the White House today. History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes, so the saying goes.

Listen to the Slow Burn Podcast

Blood Red

“Blood As a Liverpool FC fan, I subscribe to a few fan podcasts which I dip in and out of, including The Anfield Wrap, LFC Couch, and The Redmen TV. There are plenty of them. Blood Red by the Liverpool Echo is the one I keep coming back to.

I also subscribe to a number of other football podcasts, including Lineker and Baker, That Peter Crouch Podcast (BBC) (which has been excellent and I’m glad it’s returning for a second series), Fighting Talk (BBC), Football Weekly (Guardian), and Football Daily (BBC). The 5 Live Sport Specials podcast is also excellent.

Listen to the Blood Red Podcast

Steve Wright’s Big Guests (BBC)

“Steve Short and sweet, consistently funny and with great guest. I grew up listening to Steve Wright on BBC Radio 1, and now he has a long-running radio show on Radio 2. This is my go-to podcast for road trips. I have a Road Trip smart playlist that includes recent unheard shows from this podcast, Desert Island Discs and a few others. I know I can press play and I won’t hear any complaints from my wife or daughter.


Listen to the Steve Wright’s Big Guests Podcast

For The Many (LBC)

“For I subscribe to a bunch of political podcasts. My frequency of listening has dipped lately because I’m bored to death of Brexit talk.

One podcast that I have stuck with is For The Many. I just think that the hosts - Iain Dale and Jacqui Smith - are interesting, can be very funny, and balance each other out on the political spectrum. Iain is a well-known right of centre commentator and broadcaster in the UK, whereas Jacqui Smith is a former Labour MP and Home Secretary. Each week the show inevitably goes off on a tangent and gets a bit saucy, but it’s all the better for it!

Other political podcasts that I listen to include The Signal (ABC Australia), and Pod Save America. I’ve also started listening to What Most People Think by Geoff Norcott. Geoff markets himself as Britain’s only right of centre comedian. I try to ensure my political listening crosses the political spectrum so that I don’t get stuck in the echo chamber. Geoff is a breath of fresh air.

Listen to the For The Many Podcast

Russia, If You’re Listening (ABC)

“Russia, Modelled on Slow Burn, this podcast has been taking a deep dive looking at all the different dodgy characters and stories in relation to the Mueller investigation. It seems to be on a hiatus at the moment. I hope it returns to wrap up now that the Mueller report has been handed in. It has been fascinating.

Listen to the Russia, If You’re Listening Podcast

The Martin Bailey Photography Podcast

“The As with most interests, there are plenty of photography podcasts. I subscribe to a few, including This Week in Photo, reCOMPOSE and The Martin Bailey Photography Podcast.

What I like about Martin Bailey’s podcast is his relaxing, quiet demeanour. It’s like listening to a David Attenborough documentary. Even if you’re not interested in photography you could listen to his podcasts and easily enter a zen-like state of contentment.

Listen to The Martin Bailey Photography Podcast

Mac Power Users (Relay FM)

“Mac I could have lumped this in with The CultCast above, but to me this podcast is more focused on productivity than it is Apple technology, despite Mac being in the title. Another productivity and technology focused podcasts that I often listen to alongside this one is Automators.

Listen to the Mac Power Users Podcast

The Tim Ferriss Show Podcast

“The Like many others, I became an avid Tim Ferriss follower after reading The Four Hour Work Week. His podcast has become a tour-de-force, with wide-ranging guests including superstar actors, politicians, billionaire entrepreneurs, and world-leading scientists.

If you’ve read Tools of Titans you will know that much of the content from that book is based on his interviews from the podcasts.

Listen to the Tim Ferriss Show Podcast

How I Built This (NPR)

“How I love reading and listening to case studies about real-life business success. I’d much rather read a biography about an entrepreneur than a book about business theory from someone like Seth Godin. How I Built This has had some great episodes in the time I’ve been listening. One I recommend to everyone is the interview with Joe Gebbia - founder of AirBnB.

Other business-related podcasts on my playlist include Side Hustle School, Build Your SaaS, Yaro Podcast, The SaaS Podcast and Smart Passive Income.

Listen to the How I Built This Podcast

Risky Business

“Risky Working in Cyber Security presents a constant challenge to keep up with the latest industry developments - new threats, technology changes, vendor mergers and acquisitions, changes to laws and regulations. It’s never ending.

There are plenty of Cyber Security podcasts. The main ones I listen to are Risky Business and Security Now! Risky Business is hosted by Patrick Gray here in Australia.

Listen to the Risky Business Podcast

OMG. How Many?

This isn’t the full list, but it represents the main podcasts I regularly listen to that cover my interests. Obviously there’s no way I can listen to all of these every week. I use the Overcast app with smart playlists and try to check for the latest episodes list daily, then delete any I’m not bothered about. I also download rather than stream so that my podcasts are always available irrespective of network coverage.

The result is I’ve got hundreds of episodes going back more than two years still to play. I really should have a cull.