Sheep, Simpsons, Apple Factory Workers & Zombies

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This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 9th October 2012.

I don’t usually do community announcements, however, I have been asked to remind you that the Cumnock Quickshear is being held on Saturday 20 October. This is truly the must see event of the year for fans of sheep shearing. If seeing animals getting haircuts doesn’t float your boat, you can always stay home and watch that funny Korean music video for the fifteenth time.

I’m still awaiting the delivery of my new iPhone 5. Clearly, the children who work in the Apple factory need to work harder. All kidding aside, the environmental and ethical considerations of our overwhelming demand for new technological products seems to be forgotten every time an exciting new iToy hits our shelves. Apparently, as consumers, our good intentions extend only to coffee, cosmetics, cans of tuna and eggs.

Our shiny new gadgets are such an important part of our lives nowadays, I think it is important that no-one has been exploited just so I can play funny Korean music videos on my iThingy. I suggest you visit SumOfUs.org for more information on this and other eye opening consumer issues. Unfortunately, this doesn’t change the fact that my current phone is on its last legs.

Forget The Hobbit. My most anticipated film of the year has to be Cockneys vs. Zombies. Set in the East End of London, this action comedy focuses on a gang of bank robbers who must team up with the residents of a retirement home to survive a zombie outbreak. The trailer is a hoot and features an old man who just manages to outrun a zombie with his zimmer frame.

With the latest Resident Evil flick just departing our cinema screens, the zombie movie craze of the past few years seems to be dissipating. It’s possible that Hollywood may well be saving the best for last. Let’s hope that Cockneys vs. Zombies meets expectations and joins Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland as the best in genre. For the record, my pick for worst zombie film in the past few years is Zombie Strippers (yes, it actually is a real film).

Cockneys vs. Zombies does not yet have an Australian release date.

I’ve written several times about the disastrous launch of The Simpsons: Tapped Out game. Launched in March this year, the game was so popular on iTunes that after 3 days, it was pulled from the app store due to overwhelming demand on the EA Games’ servers. Unfortunately, those who had successfully downloaded the game began to suffer from game bugs and glitches with little or no response from the game creators.

Months later, I am pleased to inform you that the game has been relaunched. Existing players such as myself had our towns restored and received bonus Donuts (the game’s currency) as compensation. Last week, a new Halloween update was made available and I’ve been having fun squishing zombies and sending the residents of Springfield trick or treating. Rest assured, I’ve learnt my lesson and will try to avoid spending my hard earned dollars on premium game items.

Published in: on October 9, 2012 at 00:48  Leave a Comment  
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BBC Listener iPhone App

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 28th September 2010.

The already competitive radio market in Australia just got a little tighter this week with the launch of the BBC Listener App for the iPhone. Whilst much of the BBC’s radio content has been readily available via podcast or live internet streaming, the Listener represents an increased accessibility to overseas programming which should make local broadcasters a little nervous.

The BBC Listener is available free via iTunes. The App includes a 30 day complementary trial, and following this, the monthly subscription rate is $3.99.

With the Listener, over four hundred archived programs are available for live streaming via WiFi, with more than twenty new shows added weekly. Programs can also be saved to be played on the run.

Unfortunately, the content is definitely not youth orientated at this stage, with almost all of the audio being magazine, discussion or documentary programming. Most shows run between thirty and sixty minutes, and have been sourced from the part-talk, part-music Radio 2 and the all-talk Radio 4.

That’s not to say that the BBC Listener is just for those old enough to be thinking about getting funeral insurance. There are a few gems for the non-baby boomers. My favourite is Desert Island Discs.

The second longest running radio program in history, Desert Island Discs was first broadcast in 1942. The premise is simple. A celebrity is asked which six pieces of music they would bring with them if they were to be stranded alone on an island. They are also allowed to bring a book and one luxury item. And no, a raft is not allowed.

The celebrity explains why the pieces of music are meaningful to them, and in the process, reveals much about what makes them tick. This week’s castaway is Jerry Springer. For the record, one of his favourite songs is Wind Beneath My Wings, his book selection is a family photo album and his luxury item is a cheeseburger machine, whatever that is.

The best thing about BBC programming is the absence of advertising, and just like podcasts, the ability to listen to what you want when you want is always appealing.

Those after more contemporary BBC music and pop culture shows will need to continue downloading podcasts and listening to live streaming for now, although I’m sure the Listener will eventually offer these shows too.

If you are over thirty and prefer to hear more talk than music, the BBC Listener is a great iPhone App. It will soon also be available for other smart phones. With almost all of the BBC’s radio content available for free online, the $3.99 monthly subscription fee may seem a little steep but for easy access to an almost unlimited array of informative and entertaining audio programs, the BBC Listener is probably good value for the non-techno savvy.

Published in: on September 30, 2010 at 07:30  Leave a Comment  
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