Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: If wishing made it so ...

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  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    There is a whole industry around extracting useful information from sparse data.

    If outlets are required to report EFTPOS details against transactions, that means any non-cash topup will potentially hook it to a name. So a large percentage of cards will become personally identified eventually.

    You've then got a system that can classify people as 'potential troublemaker' on a basis of being in certain areas (or 'predicate drunk/druggie' if they're measured as being out and about in entertainment districts late at night. That's then available for employment checks, benefit offices and the like.

    As I said, if you'd bothered reading, it's fairly useless for specific incidents but great for building a picture of the behaviour of a state's subjects.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4471 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    If outlets are required to report EFTPOS details against transactions, that means any non-cash topup will potentially hook it to a name. So a large percentage of cards will become personally identified eventually.

    You speak as though that's something that's likely to become law. They might become identifiable but, again, it's avoidable by topping up with cash, buying a new card, etc. There are many, many loopholes in this supposed tool of mass surveillance that's about to make all your movements belong to Big Brother.

    You’ve then got a system that can classify people as ‘potential troublemaker’ on a basis of being in certain areas (or ‘predicate drunk/druggie’ if they’re measured as being out and about in entertainment districts late at night. That’s then available for employment checks, benefit offices and the like.

    It's already available from financial records, where your electronic transactions show not only exactly where you were but also how much you spent and, roughly, how long you were there for. A transport card will show you went between point A and point B at particular times. Spending records will show you were in particular premises at particular times, and particulars of your spending.
    You'll forgive me if I'm not quaking with fear at what unregistered transport cards might show when we live in a largely cashless society.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3913 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    I see that problem as being nothing to do with the ticketing system, and everything to do with the number of buses, and their timing.

    At a system-wide level, they are related. Your Melbourne experience shows that the human touch of a conductor may feel better for individual passengers.

    However, it doesn't produce all the intended environmental and economic benefits. These new ticketing/payment systems will come into their own when all the routes are re-organised so buses feed into rail stations and ferries and multi-vehicle trips become normal. Sophisticated systems are needed to make that work smoothly, including paying a variety of providers and gathering anonymised planning information (which hasn't been available for contractual reasons) so that routes and service levels can be continuously adjusted as usage changes. If government law changes keep up, naturally.

    There's probably nothing to stop human conductors being the point of contact on each vehicle, for safety and social reasons.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Not yet he doesn’t. He hasn’t had all the charges dismissed. I’m very curious how the judge reached this particular conclusion, but your insinuation that this is some kind of old boys’ network at play doesn’t sit well with the reputation of our judiciary for being uncorrupted and impartial.

    The guy still got convicted. Only it's reckless assault rather than malicious assault.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4403 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    However, it doesn't produce all the intended environmental and economic benefits.

    Name one aspect in which they're less environmentally beneficial? Or economically, for that matter. I'm describing THE system that has the buses idling on the roadside for the least amount of time. Which economically means it's the system utilizing those scarce resources (buses and roads) the absolute best, just by utilizing a superabundant resource, labour.

    Your Melbourne experience shows that the human touch of a conductor may feel better for individual passengers.

    Virtually no one in the public wanted the conductors to go. No one. I never heard a single person say they thought it was better afterward, or that it was a good idea, and I lived there for 5 years. Only the bean counters running the trams claimed it was better, right up until they did it, then it was made abundantly clear that getting people to line up at a stupid machine that cost untold millions to set up, had cost them a lot of money. There was never a drop in the cost of the service, certainly there was not an improvement in the quality of it. But they never turned back, the ideological power running the privatization drive was far to strong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8615 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to BenWilson,

    the ideological power running the privatization drive was far to strong.

    Never underestimate the power of stupidity.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1203 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to BenWilson,

    I preferred conductors, frankly. I seem to remember that they ended up actually losing money putting in machines and taking away the conductors, just on the free riding. It only took about 10 people every hour not to pay for their ticket and that was the entire wage cost of the conductor lost.

    +1
    In addition it is also a job for a local rather than an overseas, in this case French, “Automation” company.
    I haver said it before, back in the day we were told that automation would benefit all by reducing the workload for all, we were not told that automation would pave the way for individual employees (ie. CEOs) to walk away with multi million dollar wage packets.
    Bring back the conductors, bring back station managers, bring back NZ Rail tea. The pies were rather good too

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4941 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    bring back NZ Rail tea. The pies were rather good too

    Just please- don't bring back the coffee :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1582 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    NZ Rail tea

    In those wonderfully durable cups! :-)

    My Mum claims that in the old days the standard line was,
    “Do you take sugar?”, and if the answer was, “No”,
    the response was, “Well don’t stir it, then.”

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3470 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Lilith __,

    pottery in motion...

    In those wonderfully durable cups!

    Rudolf Boelee prints...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5092 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Feats of clay

    pottery in motion…

    Hefty New Zealand Railways cups, manufactured by Crown Lynn Potteries, are now collectors’ items but were once tossed from the train windows. According to an old joke, only three things would survive a nuclear holocaust: ants, cockroaches and New Zealand Railways cups. And the first two would make it only if they were under the third.

    (Te Ara)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3470 posts Report Reply

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