To make up for pesky competition from the Internet, the owner of an Australian retail store is charging patrons $5 for “just looking”, in order to offset losses from shoppers who browse and then buy online. “If you’re going to be asking bucketloads of questions, you’ve got to pay for the information,” said Celiac Supplies owner, Georgina, to the Brisbane Times, who asked that her last name not be published, after her store’s policy inadvertently went viral and led to Internet infamy.
On her window, she posted the following notice:
“As of the first of February, this store will be charging people a $5 fee per person for “just looking.”
The $5 fee will be deducted when goods are purchased.
Why has this come about?
There has been high volume of people who use this store as a reference and then purchase goods elsewhere. These people are unaware our prices are almost the same as the other stores plus we have products simply not available anywhere else.
This policy is line with many other clothing, shoe and electronic stores who are also facing the same issue.”
According to the Times, 4 people have coughed up the $5, meaning her policy has earned a solid $20, which I’m sure is more than enough money to make up for harassing most of the customers who walk through her door.
Watch the full interview between the shop owner and the Brisbane Times below, complete with awesome Australian accents.
In a heartfelt tumblr, the girlfriend of fallen Internet activist, Aaron Swartz, explained why she thinks he committed suicide. After revealing intimate details of his seemingly chipper, curious lifestyle, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman argues that “I believe Aaron’s death was caused by exhaustion, by fear, and by uncertainty. I believe that Aaron’s death was caused by a persecution and a prosecution that had already wound on for 2 years.”
Stinebrickner-Kauffman, who found Swartz hanging by his own belt on January 11, devotes the lion’s share of her post to dispelling the myth of Swartz’s depression. “Over the last 20 months of his life, Aaron spent more time with me than with anyone else in the world. For much of the last 8 months of his life, we lived together, commuted together, and worked in the same office,” she writes. “I was never worried he was depressed until the last 24 hours of his life.”
“The Aaron I knew was sociable and excited to spend time with his favorite people, right up to the very end. He had plans and ambitions — huge ones. On January 9, two days before he died, he spent hours deep in conversation with our Australian friend Sam about the new organization Aaron was in the early stages of building. Sam asked him whether he had support, and Aaron replied that everyone who was competent enough to support him was, in fact, supporting him — classic Aaron pessimistic arrogance, but also a reminder that he knew his friends were standing with him. Sam gave Aaron a quick overview of Australian politics; Aaron expressed astonishment at how easy it would be to “take over Australia”, but concluded that a country of only 20 million probably wouldn’t be worth it. Self-esteem, needless to say, was definitely not Aaron’s problem.”
Placing the blame on mental health, she argues, diverts attention from the true cause of his suicide: an overzealous prosecution. Swartz was the target of a controversial legal case for releasing millions of pay-walled academic papers from the popular JSTOR database. In response, Hacktivist organization, Anonymous, replaced part of MIT’s website with a statement condemning the prosecution and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren has proposed a bill to limit the prosecutorial power of similar crimes, dubbed “Aaron’s Law.”
The AtlanticWire boldly surmised the opposite, that he may have in fact been depressed, even if he wasn’t outwardly showing signs, leading Stinebrickner-Kauffman to tweet:
Two weeks after the BBC launched a dedicated iOS sports app for news, live scores and stats, the British broadcaster has rolled out a key update to the mobile app, meaning you can now watch live and on-demand video clips from your mobile iOS device.
As we wrote when it launched in early January, while it was really only a matter of time before a native Sports app was launched – given that almost a third of BBC Sport’s traffic comes from mobile during the weeks, rising to 40% at weekends and as high as 45% on a Saturday afternoon – it felt a little premature. People have come to expect video (and radio) through the main BBC Sport portal, so the omission was an odd one, even though we knew an update was imminent.
Now, you’ll be able to watch snippets of sporting highlights, or live events such as the Australian Open tennis, or Match of the Day.
Naturally, the video flips in horizontal mode, and goes full-screen when you hit the little button in the top-right.
It’s also worth noting that in addition to the iOS update today, the mobile website will also now permanently feature on-demand and live video too, after it was removed following the mobile site’s re-launch in December.
While live video kicks off today with Andy Murray’s match against Roger Federer in the Australian Open semi-final, upcoming live events that will get the mobile treatment include the BBC’s F1 schedule, the Six Nations rugby and, of course, Wimbledon.
In the first release of the app, video will appear on the BBC Sport homepage, football, F1, cricket, rugby league, rugby union, tennis, and golf sections. Additional sections will be added soon.
Android users without Flash, meanwhile, can access BBC Sport’s video content on their mobiles through the BBC Media Player app, which is available as a free download from Google Play. As for the promised Android version of the BBC Sports app, we’re told that it’s in its final stages of development, and it will include video content when it finally goes live.
➤ BBC Sport | iOS
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There’s a South Pacific island positioned midway between Australia and New Caledonia featured on various marine charts, world maps, and has appeared in publications since at least the year 2000. It’s listed as Sandy Island on Google Maps and Google Earth, and yet Australian scientists have just discovered it doesn’t exist.
As part of a 25-day voyage, the group went to the area, only to find 1,400m (4,620ft) of the Coral Sea. The team collected 197 different rock samples, more than 6800km of marine geophysical data, and mapped over 14,000 square kilometres of the ocean floor.
“We all had a good giggle at Google as we sailed through the island, then we started compiling information about the seafloor, which we will send to the relevant authorities so that we can change the world map,” Steven Micklethwaite from the University of Western Australia told SMH.
“We wanted to check it out because the navigation charts on board the ship showed a water depth of 1,400m in that area – very deep,” Dr. Seton of the University of Sydney, told the AFP.”It’s on Google Earth and other maps so we went to check and there was no island. We’re really puzzled. It’s quite bizarre. How did it find its way onto the maps? We just don’t know, but we plan to follow up and find out.”
If the invisible island existed, it would sit within French territorial waters. It’s not featured on French government maps, however, so where did the Australian government get Sandy Island from? Australia’s Hydrographic Service, responsible for the country’s nautical charts, suggests it’s likely just human error that has been handed down over the years, all the way to Google Maps and Google Earth.
Image credit: nvision88
Microsoft’s Surface line of tablets is no small bet by the company. Indeed, we are seeing stirrings that indicate that the company has a broadly global vision for selling the devices, hoping to become an OEM for its software in a meaningful way, on a market share basis.
Today, rumor is out that Microsoft has selected a local retail partner for the Chinese market. The company has yet to announce the final list of countries in which it will sell the Surface.
Provided that it does intend to vend tablets to the Chinese, Microsoft will need a helping hand. Its public plans to sell the tablets in its Microsoft stores – both long-term and pop-up – would indicate a small, and United States-only launch; that is likely not to be the case.
That in mind, according to the reasonably accurate WPDang, Microsoft appears to be working with the Suning company to help it move Surface units in China. As noted in a report today from WPCentral, an employee schedule from the firm has also become known, which may show training time for the Surface in place. Obviously we only have pieces, but the picture they paint is one in which Microsoft intends to sell its yet nascent tablet lines in the country.
Adding to all of this is the fact that the Australian market is tipped to receive the Surface as well – again via a local retail partner. By aligning itself with in-state assets, Microsoft can quickly establish a presence for its hardware.
What do you need to make of this? Simply that, as TNW has been banging on about for months now, Microsoft’s Surface mission is not to sell a few million tablets and sit on the sidelines; the Surface line is a large wager.
Top Image Credit: Philip Jägenstedt