Friday, December 01, 2006

Triumph of the Querulent

I was pretty stoked to receive in the post the other day an acceptance of my letter appealing the original denial of my request to waiver a late fee. How's that for a querulent victory? I saved myself $65 and as I expected, I am still in the dark. The rather bland and generic form letter, not surprisingly, gives no indication of why my request was accepted this time but rejected before.

I am not feeling quite as optimistic about my speeding fine but haven't received a reply to my request to have this waivered yet, so you never know. Now, before I go on, I must congratulate Peter Gray, for if there was a Querulent of the Year Award, this is undoubtedly the one person who should receive it. Peter Gray is a Uni student in Newcastle who took a bit of time off to take the NSW Government to the Land and Environment Court to get any greenhouse impacts assessed in the proposed development of the new Anvil Coal Mine, and won! At present, any environmental impact assessment does not need to take greenhouse impact into consideration. This decision could set an exciting precedent for all sorts of developments that have adverse environmental consequences at a global as well as at a local level. The NSW Government is taking the disappointing but completely predictable stance of suggesting they will probably appeal the decision. Go Gray, is all I can say!

I'm attending the wireless cultures workshop this afternoon. Given the lack of wireless access in Australia, even in our capital cities, I'll be intrigued to find out if any Australian wireless culture has been discovered at all. Actually, I am not being completely serious. There is wireless access in just about every airport and many homes have wireless but free wireless access in public areas is pretty thin on the ground (or should I say thin in the sky?)


Mac said...

Free wireless in the states tends to be privately provided, more than publically. In the Seattle area, for instance, the coffeeshops and even some of the bars offer wireless as an incentive to customers to come and hang out with their laptops.

Most of the U.S. airports I've been through have wireless--but for about $8 a day, payable by credit card.

There's been a push to get high-speed access(wireless or otherwise) into the smaller towns and more isolated areas, to decrease the so-called "digital divide." It seems to me, though, as if that divide is still more about class economics than 'net access.

Ms M said...

Great to see you drop by Mac, most wireless here is private too. Even then there is not much of it around. I agree that providing access to technology in isolated areas doesn't suddenly bridge the divide, even if we are purely talking about the divide as meaning the gap between those who have digital access and those who don't. The digital divide firstly sets forth an assumption that access to all will ensure that we will all enter digitopia equally and therefore, all we must do is provide a "bridge" to fill the yawning gap. It's a poor metaphor and seems to me to be a poor place to start. Understanding what are the specific inequities and difficulties that different groups face, whether and how this is connected to access to communication and information in contemporary society, seems to be a better starting point. As you say, class economics is a better place to start.