If there’s one expression I wish the 1990s ABC TV show Frontline had not taught people, it’s “Slow News Day”. Research tells us people want light and shade in their news reporting, not just serious analysis or world politics, yet you spend just two minutes on radio discussing a fun topic like the direction people like to cut their sandwiches (I prefer mine triangular, my wife likes hers in rectangles) and someone will pipe up with: “Slow News Day?”
I’ve kept quiet about this until now. I
understand that some people want deadly
serious topics all day, every day; others,
incidentally, demand more good-news stories
from the media, so you can never please
everyone all the time! But something happened
that has caused me to break my silence!
Discussing road safety last week, I asked
listeners to remind me which way you should
look when crossing the road (was it left-rightleft
or right-left-right?). That was enough to
see Petros tweeting “Slow News Day?”
no, Petros, it’s very simple. I didn’t want
anyone, especially children, getting the wrong
information and putting themselves in danger.
So you can put away your convenient threeword
cover-all media critique.
And just in case you’re wondering, in
Australia you should look right, then left,
then right again.
Rental register feedback
In the last issue of bmag I asked you what
you thought of a register for rental properties
and their agents. The suggestion was made
by 612 listener Steve who had an issue with
overhanging branches from the rental property
next door. Unable to find out from the tenants,
Steve struggled to identify the property manager
to discuss chopping back the trees.
In response, Alicia Wright emailed: “I couldn’t
help but feel sometimes renters get a bad rap.
We’ve had plenty of neighbour problems in
the past but the main offenders were people
who owned houses in the street. Who do you
complain to when the problem is the owner?”
I want to be clear about this. I wasn’t having
a go at renters and I don’t think Steve was either.
It’s just that sometimes – when it’s about trees,
fences, development applications and the like –
you need to contact the owner or their agent.
Matt Troughton offered a tenant’s
perspective: “We rent and had a neighbour
complain directly to our agent about our dog
barking. The agent would give us no info, no
times or dates, due to ‘privacy issues’. It would
have been easier to solve the issue if [the
complainant] had come straight to us!”
Don’t steal my internet
Still on the subject of neighbours, I hear the
latest way to send a passive-aggressive shot
over the fence is to hide messages in the name
of your wireless internet network. Some people
never allocate a name but it can be handy if
you have several networks within your home,
perhaps one for guests and one for your family.
Technology commentator Peter Black
mentioned the phenomenon on my radio show,
citing overseas examples like “Stop Stealing
My Paper” and “Your Music is Too Loud”, but it
took very little prompting to gather similar WiFi
names from around Brisbane.
Emma Gunders told me: “We’ve got ‘Don’t
Steal My Internet’ somewhere around us. We
think it might be the new people across the
road.” In Sam Eeles’s street there’s “Get Your
Own WiFi”. And Ian Harper’s computer picks up
the very pointed “B*gger off”.
Thankfully, from what I can gather, many
of the creative WiFi monikers in Brisbane are
merely aimed at soliciting a laugh.
Around Guy Law’s place, there’s “Your Mum”
and “Free Willy”, Jen Hansen picks up the groanworthy
“PEN15”, Alexandra Nash’s neighbours
have “Boobies (.)(.)”,
Cath Allen says there’s
“Surveillance Van 4” somewhere near her and
Sarah Margrath’s devices pick up “Where are
James Kennedy is someone who has a
message hidden in his WiFi name. He told me:
“Spencer, the kids named my network ‘Furious
Dad’. As a result the neighbours are very well
And Susan Hetherington recalls: “Ours used
to be called VirusVault. The IT man who set it up
said it would deter people.”
Okay, I know you want to do it. Go ahead, put
the magazine down for a moment and see what
WiFi names your phone or tablet can pick up
where you are right now!