Friday, March 19, 2010

Politics and Computers

Well, the results are in, not of the election but of my survey of candidates. Three of the four main candidates for Newland responded to my questions. In my view none of them is a perfect fit for my views on computers and their use. All of them have a lot to learn. The fact that the Labor member, Tom Kenyon, opposes an R18+ rating of games disappoints me, however he appears to at least know what a browser is, and he uses a mac. As was suspected the Greens candidate, Holden Ward, has the least conservative views. The Family First candidate, Dale Clegg, was surprisingly open to the concept of R18+ gaming. Most disappointing was the lack of response from the Liberals candidate Trish Draper. If she doesn't answer emails when trying to be elected, will she answer them when she is my representative.

So in conclusion I don't think that of the three responses there is a definitive winner, but on this basis Trish Draper will not be my first preference.

Use your vote wisely.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Labor in Newland

The sitting member for Newland, Tom Kenyon of the Labor party has shared his thoughts, and his parties policies on the technology issue with us as well.

1. What web browser do you use?
Safari at home, Explorer at work

2. What is your day to day computer (PC, Apple, Laptop) etc?
Mac at home, Laptop at work (dell)

3. What social networking sites do you or your staff use (Facebook, Twitter, Others) and where can we find you on those sites?
I use Facebook and Twitter. I use them privately to keep up with friends and rellies.

4. Do you have a blog and if so what is the address
No blog. No time to keep it current.

5. In your opinion, what is the role of the internet in the South Australian political process?
Once we work out a good way of using emails, we will probaly use them. Collecting addresses is hard. high profile people (Premier and others) seem to use twitter to get a quick message out.

6. What role should government play in regulating the internet?
Mostly the same as any other medium. Really a federal issue.

7.What are your thoughts on how to address objectionable content on the internet? What role should government play in this process?
I don't have the technical knowledge to answer this properly but also a fed issue. Again Should be regulated like other media.

8. Do you support an R18+ classification for computer games?
No. (When asked for clarification on this point Mr Kenyon explained like this) I have played quite a few "bang, bang, shoot 'em up" games (for want of a better term) in my time and always had fun but now having children I am a lot more wary. As they get older I won't mind if they play those types of games (Medal of Honour and others for example) but it's a more cartoon type of violence. What worries me is the graphic and realistic violence that is involved in other games. I believe it has an (negative) effect on everyone but especially children. It is almost inevitable that children would be exposed to those games. I might add that my reservations about that sort of content are not limited just to this form of media.

9.Tell us about the policies that your party has that would influence the use of technology if elected.
The Rann Labor Government has, as its platform in the area of technology use, the Information Economy Agenda 2009-2014: Delivering our digital future.
The three pillars to South Australia’s Information Economy Agenda are:
Connectivity – Affordable Broadband – the infrastructure of innovation – any time, any place
Capability – A skilled workforce and empowered business and communities. Learning, living and working online
Content – Valuable information and applications, creating reasons to be connected
The Rann Government established the $7m Broadband Development Fund in 2003 to enhance the State’s connectivity to fast broadband services, for both regional and metropolitan areas.
Many regional centres throughout South Australia have been instigated through this fund, including the Yorke Peninsula, Murray-Mallee, Mt Gambier, Port Pirie, Port Augusta, Kangaroo Island, and the Coorong. Around $3m of the BDF has been spent on these projects.
The State Government has, in partnership with the Federal Government and Adam Internet, funded the metropolitan broadband blackspots project to eliminate broadband blackspots throughout Adelaide. Around 9% of Adelaide premises, 55,000 in total, were located in ADSL blackspot areas. The State Government contributed $3m from the BDF toward the Metropolitan Broadband Blackspots project.
The Rann Government has also made it a priority to engage with the Rudd Government during the planning phase of the National Broadband Network. South Australia will host one of the five initial mainland sites for the NBN, with Willunga being chosen as a rural test-bed.

10. What are your thoughts on the funding of computers for schools?
I think sometimes we overestimate what computers in schools can deliver in terms of helping kids learn. Especially in primary schools. Having said that, they're a part of life now and children need access to them along with good internet access. Here is a brief outline of the ALP's policy initiative:
All State high schools will have wireless classrooms by the end of 2011, allowing students and teachers to use laptops and hand-held internet devices anywhere in the school.
The Rudd Government’s $94 million Digital Education Revolution investment, in partnership with the State Government, will fund the rollout of wireless internet to 165 high schools.
The networks will be installed at 20 schools each school term during 2010 and 2011 – with the first installations started week begining 28th December 2009 – to service 34,500 extra school computers by the end of 2011.
The new wireless technology and computers will be backed with even faster internet access, under a new contract to improve bandwidth.