Bluescreen | We have uncovered the secret Rudd Labor Government budget agenda: a flourishing Australian porn industry. It's all there in the budget.
Bluescreen: Alex Kidman satirises the Australian IT industry, causing more than a few kernel panics along the way.
You'll have to excuse Bluescreen for being rather later to the party than most analysts on this one. Yes, the Federal Budget actually happened last week, and more than a few analysts have weighed in on everything from how the budget will affect the Aussie Battler to... well, that's actually where most of them stop. Bluescreen isn't sure who this single Aussie Battler actually is, but he certainly gets lots of column inches, and more than a few Government handouts. Let's hope he spends it responsibly to re-invigorate the crashing economy...
Anyway, the real reason why Bluescreen's Budget Analysis is nearly a week late is because of the nature of the budget. You see, it's deeply, deeply boring, and not just because it's a broad-reaching economic platform that the Government intends to implement over the nextzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....
Wha? Why is there drool all over Bluescreen's keyboard again? Oh, damn. Bluescreen fell asleep thinking about the budget, again. One quick Nerd coding cocktail* (375ml V + 3 NoDoz Tablets + 2 tablespoons of No Frills Instant Coffee + pepper to taste, with a Mars Bar chaser for those curious. Have the defibrillation pads handy) should see Bluescreen through the next sentence, at least.
Anyway, the Budget is, to put it bluntly, boring with purpose. No Government actually wants the populace to know what's going on, and having a boring budget means that virtually nobody actually analyses it properly. The Government could save Medicare millions by prescribing the budget to insomniacs and kiddies with ADD, but then the game would be up.
Anyway, last week's budget actually did deliver on certain IT-centric platforms that people have wanted for years, as distinct from so many budgets of years past, where "IT" was more likely to be funding for Stephen King's horror clown than actually supporting the local tech industry. Still, there's a significant hidden agenda behind the budget, at least according to Bluescreen's Canberra sources. Let's examine what's being offered:
$270.7 Million to enable broadband for remote rural communities until 2012. By which time Telstra's FTTN will be enabled, and that'll be the price per megabyte for those living more than 5km from an exchange/Sol's beach villa (whichever is the furthest or most profitable).
Curiously, by funding the Broadband Guarantee, the government becomes the only ISP in the country that actually guarantees any kind of upwards broadband speed at all — the rest just hide behind "up to", and the only speed guarantee they offer is that they'll shape you down to 64k the nanosecond you go one byte over your cap, often without letting you know in advance.
$125.8 million for "cyber-safety measures" sounds great in principle, but it's actually a double-bluff, and nothing to do with online safety at all. Let's face, it, nobody's yet built an online filter that actually works worth a damn — or that doesn't involve underpaid US college student assessing a site every eight seconds**, which still isn't worth a damn anyway. All the filters do, in effect, is point out where the naughty content is, and in the context of the Net, that's where the naked people are.
It's a red rag to a bull for adolescent teenagers, and in effect, free advertising for porn services. Now, which particular national capital city serves as both home base for Australia's politicians and Australia's porn industry? There's backroom deals, and "backroom" deals aplenty in Canberra, it seems, and when the mining boom ends, Australia might not be left riding only on the sheep's back...
Computers in Schools
See porn industry, funding via stealth, above. You can't have a nation of porn-surfing teens without giving them the basic surfing skills they'll need, after all. Bluescreen's also curious about the $100 million in the next year to provide fibre connections to Australian schools. There are some really remote schools out there, and if the Government can build a fibre network to them all for a measly $100 million, what's Telstra going to do with the rest of the four billion and change it's asking for a FTTN network? Well, apart from the Cézanne for the wall of Sol's beach villa, of course...
Digital TV switchover:
$37.9 million bucks in funding. Head down to your local digital emporium, and you easily can pick up a SD digital tuner for less than fifty bucks. That's enough cash for some eighteen million STBs, which is not quite one each, but counting kids and the homeless, easily enough for one for each household. Bluescreen is just guessing, but it figures that if you offered to buy eighteen million, you might even get a bit of a bulk discount, or at least free delivery. But that's not what they're doing — where is the money, in fact going?
* Obscure but true factoid, just so Bluescreen can apply for Government educational funding: The median lethal dose of caffeine, given orally, is 192 milligrams per kilogram in rats. Bluescreen figures there's so much similarity between the habits of many coders and rats (darkened environments, curious hygiene habits, yellow teeth, scuttering, speaking their own language, etc) that the dosage is probably very similar. Don't attempt more than two Nerd Cocktails in any one 24 hour coding period, folks.
** Your second obscure fact: One filtering company actually admitted that this was their filtering approach to a room full of Australian journalists a few years back. If Bluescreen wasn't so jittery from all the caffeine, it might actually remember which one...