The Boomer Legacy

Technology

Boldly Into the Future

Pixel Time; Privacy Inside The Panopticon; Cut-through Advertising; Click-bait; Cookie-tracking; All The News That's Fit To Tweet; Dances With Feral Space Smurfs.

While Technology could often be a tremendous asset, what you tended to see was never quite what you got.

Sample #5062
Waves don't vote    (Sep 2014)

Topic Images

There are currently 73 photographs in this section.

The well-connected domicile

LCD in the bedroom; OLED in the lounge-room; Playstation, XBox, iPhone, Galaxy, Note, iPad, iOS and Android everywhere else

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Home entertainment in suburban Kingswood, in Sydney's West [Sep-2010 415kb]

Stasi without the politics

HD-CCTV; IP address logging; Cookie tracking; SMM Profile Harvesting; EFTPOS transaction records; Data-mining; Phone-hacking; Location-sensitive personalised marketing; Mandatory QR Code scanning; Live facial-recognition surveillance; The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program; The unassailable cult of predicting future demand by knowing everything about what everyone has ever done

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CCTV, Satellite, UHF and cable communications at Marrickville, in Sydney [Sep-2012 248kb]

Moving forward

Monorails; Supersonic airliners; Jet-packs; Hover-boards; Space-elevators; Bubble-canopied aerocars; Submersible cars; Cars with a KITT computer; Fully autonomous vehicles effortlessly navigating suburban streets…

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First Lane at Hurstville, Sydney [Sep-2016 370kb]

Edgy by order

Zeitgeist-y fresh environments were encouraged for start-ups to prosper

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Disposable bicycles on Pitt Str, outside World Square [Jan-2018 180kb]

Cut-through messaging

Make your mark, repeat, move on

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Vandalised rail-car at the Zigzag railway, subsequently destroyed by the 2019 summer bushfires, Clarence [Jul-2019 325kb]

Remarks…
Photography as a time capsule. Found this abandoned rail-car while walking along the decommissioned Zig Zag rail line at Clarence in the Blue Mountains. It had been extensively vandalised, but was still scheduled for restoration. A few months later unfortunately another wildfire swept through the area, and this time the carriage was completely destroyed

Built for comfort

Cruise control ✓ Loudspeakers ✓ Touch-screen TV ✓ Dual petrol tank caps ✓ National flag ✓ Oversized padded seat ✓

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Indian Roadmaster motorbike at Mandible Street, Alexandria [Aug-2019 285kb]

Gaming the system

The Volkswagen “dieselgate” story, in which the company helped their cars pass emissions tests under special conditions that they later failed when the car was driven normally, was not an isolated incident (The Conversation, 2015)

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Befouled VW automobile, Summer Hill [Sep-2015 567kb]

Waves don't vote

Roughly 2TW of energy was freely available in the form of coastal wave-power, but it was ignored because fossil fuel production was electorally more important

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The abandoned 2006 Oceanlinx Mk1 Wave Generator prototype at Oilies Beach, Port Kembla. In June 2017 it was eventually towed out to sea and sunk [Sep-2014 326kb]

Deferred consumption model

As we grew older, we could finally afford the things we wanted so much when we were young

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A mint green 1977 BMW 633 CSi at the Classic Throttle Shop showroom at Milsons Point [Dec-2020 102kb]

Lifespans & outcomes

Living longer lives no longer needed to be an issue

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Anzac Day marcher, Liverpool Street Sydney [Apr-2018 98kb]

Congestion busting

Very Fast Trains were on everyone's agenda at election time

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Bushfire wreckage, Zigzag Railway Clarence NSW [Jul-2019 587kb]

Fibre nescience

Do consumers really need data transfer rates that only fibre could provide? (Liberal Party of Australia, 2013)

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Mothballed satellite dishes in Rozelle, in Sydney's East [Jan-2013 296kb]

Let them drive cars

How was the world's largest network of private toll-roads ever going achieve it's projected ROI if people weren't strongly encouraged use them?

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Abandoned bus at Opoho Road, Dunedin NZ [Dec-2017 516kb]

All our tomorrows

We loved you more than our children. You were our greatest and most cherished asset, an organic talisman that gave us light and warmth and votes and windfall profits, and glistened so beautifully in the dying sun

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Anthracite in Lithgow, NSW [Jun-2019 156kb]

Big data and the cloud

Off-line storage by the petabyte → provided your network connection was fast enough

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Mobile phone tower and clouds from a summer storm, at Faulconbridge in the Blue Mountains [Dec-2012 113kb]

Rust-belt agriculture

I'd rather put my trust in looking at the sheep and seeing how it performs, than in some number dreamed up by some scientists on a bit of paper (Merriman, 2012)

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Farm sculpture, Cathedral Street Woolloomooloo [Jul-2018 616kb]

Computer says no

We could detect Gravitational Waves (LIGO, 2015), prove Fermat's last theorem (Wolfram, 2014) and even ridicule Wall Street's misuse of Gaussian copula functions (Wired, 2009) — but no-one could figure out the true cost of mobile-phone plans (WSJ, 2013)

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Mobile phone users at Martin Place, Sydney [Dec-2014 320kb]

Project attention deficit disorder

Every Prague Spring had its tanks

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Tower cranes at the Central Park development at Broadway, in Sydney [Oct-2012 228kb]

Your privacy was taken very seriously

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner; The Information and Privacy Commission of NSW; The NSW Information Commissioner; The NSW Privacy Commissioner; The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Amendment Act 2012 (Cth); The Australian Privacy Foundation; The Cyberspace Law and Policy Community; The NSW Council for Civil Liberties; The Law Council of Australia Business Law Privacy Sub-committee; The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era Inquiry; The Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) to replace the National Privacy Principles and Information Privacy Principles; The drone "roundtable" inquiry by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs; The Royal Guide Dogs of Tasmania Privacy Officer

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A Menckenesque kaleidoscope ensured that everyone in Wollongong could see you taking a bath [Feb-2011 290kb]

Aerotropolis now

Cheap and easy air travel was assumed to last forever

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Sydney International Airport in twilight [Nov-2017 77kb]

From lab to stage

What was once esoteric technology confined to a research lab, was now routinely used for entertainment

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Stage technician, Campbells Cove Sydney [Jan-2019 234kb]

Remarks…
Had been wanting for years to capture an image which not only celebrated the amazing capabilities of modern technology, but also hinted at the alienation it caused

Retro-tech

Some Edwardian technologies weren't as clueless as we originally thought

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The pantograph of a NSW Heritage “Set F1” suburban carriage, Central station [Jun-2019 92kb]

Formalism Concrete

Move fast and break things with stable infrastructure (Facebook, 2014)

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Indigo Slam at Chippendale [Jul-2017 105kb]

The upgrade escalator

Every nine months there was always something just that little bit better

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York Street escalators, Wynyard station [Jul-2018 333kb]

Eloi wonderland

We gathered by the harbourside, sipping infused agave nectar and nibbling on sweet fuyu persimmons, and were amazed by the vast contraptions built by our distant ancestors

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Sydney Harbour sunrise kayaks [Jan-2019 197kb]

Remarks…
The 135mm TEM (11861) can be an amazing lens under the right conditions. Particularly when shooting into a low sun, it makes everything go an intense orange while still retaining sharpness and resisting flare. Unfortunately it is also 100g heavier than the current 135mm APO (11889), but it does have a greater focus-turn to make fine-tuning easier, and is much more affordable

Peace through superior fire-power

Build it and they will die

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Vought F-8 Crusader at the Intrepid Museum, NYC [Oct-2017 166kb]

We do apologise for any inconvenience caused

Governments collaborated with unions to build a rail-system so fragile that even the slightest disturbance would cause city-wide meltdowns

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Parramatta station during yet another Sydney train network failure [May-2021 134kb]

Off-line storage

Acres of tank-farms to cache our dreams

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Storage tanks at Tempe [Sep-2012 369kb]

Option V for victory

Upon the assumption that international postal services were a universal right, the UPU Terminal Dues System was adjusted to ensure only developing countries received generous subsidies when exporting small parcels to the west

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Airport Drive, outside Sydney International Airport [Oct-2019 129kb]

Sci-Fi Now

Superconducting NbTi coils; Holmium magnetic flux condensers; 4°K liquid helium insulated within a liquid nitrogen jacket; A suitcase-sized helium condenser; A FFT-processing rack more powerful than a dozen 1980s mainframes… A 3T magnetic field from a machine the size of a family SUV, to obtain non-intrusive millimetre resolution 3D internal body images. Twenty years earlier no one would have believed any of this was possible…

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The 3T MRI scanner at a medical imaging practice at Penrith, in Sydney [Sep-2013 77kb]

Pan Atomicus

48 tonnes of reactor fuel blown into the sky; 500K liquidators to clean up the mess; 335K evacuees; 6K+ deaths; 90K+ animals culled; 20× increase in mutations; 2600 km² exclusion zone; €2.15G for the New Safe Confinement; $235G in damages; the collapse of the USSR… The effects of 1986-04-25 are with us still (National Geographic, 2019)

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Heritage locomotive at Central Station, Sydney [Jun-2019 126kb]

Stack overflow in Math Library

Mate, I dropped “maffs” in school as fast as I could

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At the One Circular Quay construction site, Sydney Cove. The site had been abandoned for months because the offshore developers had run out of money [Oct-2017 484kb]

Tip of the spear

The most inspiring thing about the Kamikaze was that every problem had exactly the same solution

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Lockheed A-12 engine aerospike at the Intrepid Museum, NYC [Oct-2017 49kb]

Engineering new pathways to wealth

A culturally unbalanced society where BScs and BEs were displaced by BAComs, CPAs, LLBs, MPsychs, FRACGPs and BA(Hons)MT

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Sand-blasting and repainting the Sydney Harbour Bridge to replace the decades-old lead-based paint [Jul-2011 221kb]

Accidental monuments

Civil Engineering 101: construct it as cheap as you can and then completely rebuild it later to solve issues you should have addressed the first time

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Zigzag Railway upper viaduct, Clarence [Jul-2019 596kb]

Remarks…
Landscapes are hard. You not only have to be in the right place, at the right time with the right gear, but you also have to work with the prevailing light AND come up with an something more substantial than just “eye-candy”

Streaming fermions

Everything depended upon the action of wave-particles which two hundred years earlier no-one could imagine exist

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33kV AC transmission tower outside the Penrith Transmission Substation [Jul-2011 193kb]

Well maintained infrastructure

Continuous work had to be done to sustain our vibrant economy

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New Canterbury Road Lewisham and Light Rail construction Sydney CBD [Jul-2016 372kb]

Honest mistakes

Just because we were reckless didn't mean we didn't care

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The MV Baragoola before (Sept 2018) and after (Feb 2022) sinking, Waverton [Feb-2022 334kb]

The Great Reset

Wearing face-masks was every academic's favourite nostrum, until it wasn't

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Masked commuters at Granville try to get home after another network meltdown [May-2021 151kb]

Perpetual congestion

Once the great symbol of individual freedom and personal mobility, the car has become a ball and chain. Slow, expensive, and surrounded by endless others, automobiles have taken us as far as they can (Hume, 2012)

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Weedon Avenue garage at Paddington [Mar-2017 331kb]

X-out & scroll

First they came for the workers, then it was our turn

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Gomo Sportswear prior to its demolition to make way for Granville Place [Jul-2017 323kb]

Linear ascension

Those who could afford to do so, raced toward an off-grid future

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Cars on the Eastern Distributor at Woolloomooloo [Jul-2018 173kb]

It just works

Release now, patch later

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Jensen Avenue at Dover Heights [Nov-2016 306kb]

Remarks…
One of the irritating things when working full-time as a web-developer in the 1990s was having to often release feature-bloated software when it was still nowhere near ready. Go-go management had made wildly unachievable promises, which inevitably fell upon us to deliver. Consequently the software would end up being half-baked and bug-ridden. This often turned out to be fair however, as many clients were merely cowboys who only wanted to brag about being dot-com entrepreneurs, despite lacking any significant skills or capacity to pay invoices on time

Hazard perception test

There was an emotional component about driving that spoke of freedom, independence and to be in control of one's own destiny

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2013 Ford G6E Turbo wreckage, Blue Mountains [Mar-2014 454kb]

Scheme Number 218

It took only fifty years and an extra $AUD 300M to rectify most of the Stage III issues (SOH Renewal, 2022)

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Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall exterior [Dec-2018 376kb]

Meaningful social interactions

Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, TikTok, WeChat, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, LinkedIn, 4/8Chan: elaborate frameworks were created to ensure you could never be alone

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Stargazer lawn at Barangaroo Reserve, Sydney [Aug-2016 563kb]

Remarks…
Sometimes the most interesting scenes could be found completely by accident. Had revisited Millers Point to re-shoot the clothesline crucifix image and then went for a ambling walk. Wound up on the “Stargazer Lawn” and found this installation, with people walking around and through the wooden scaffolding. A couple of dozen shots later and had another “keeper”

On the road to serfdom

Productivity-enhancing infrastructure was just a bullet-point away

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Locked-down pedestrian crossing button, near QVB Sydney [Nov-2020 114kb]

Interconnected loose-ends

Sprawling cities were serviced by deliberately substandard public transport

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Southern Cross station, Melbourne [Apr-2019 274kb]

We have some planes

All this technology, and yet aeroplanes could be made to vanish by merely flipping a transponder switch

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Church Street cone sculpture, removed in 2021 by the Parramatta Light Rail Stage 1 construction [Feb-2017 686kb]

Think small

A charismatic and perfectionist architect; Workaday engineers hamstrung by 1960s tech; A meddling public broadcaster; Conservative politicians out for revenge… The Sydney Opera House looked magnificent from afar, but up close it was riddled with problems caused by years of indecision, controversy, compromise and bickering

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Domestic fountain at Church Street, Croydon [Sep-2016 481kb]

Remarks…
Seven years had elapsed by the time Jørn Utzon was forced out of the country in 1966 due to his alleged ineptitude during the design and construction of Stages I & II (the podium and shells). It then took the Minister for Public Works and his team another seven years to complete Stage III (the windows and performance halls), resulting in a 3× cost blow-out and some of the worst acoustics and sightlines in the world. These were finally rectified by the 50th anniversary renovations, completed in 2022

Why does the monkey have a red backside?

100 km/hr in 2.85 and a top speed of 340 km/hr — shame the NSW speed limit was only 110 km/hr…

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Ferrari 488 Pista, Pitt Street Sydney [Nov-2022 270kb]

In the days of the citizen journalist

Broadcast-quality equipment was no longer required to craft good stories

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Media-workers at the Sydney Opera House [Jul-2014 210kb]

Remarks…
Our friends in legacy-media had to adapt to a new world for which they were completely unprepared. How were they going to survive in an increasingly interconnected world, where you had to be not only proficient in delivering content, but also in using the increasingly complex tech which made it all possible?

Brand garbage

2000-08-07 purchase Omega Speedmaster Automatic watch (35105000) #56462628 $2150; 2001-01-13 repair under warranty for loud rattling inside watch; 2005-03-29 repair due to watch stopped $595; 2009-08-03 repair due to watch requiring movement replacement $655; 2017-07-20 watch gains 10 minutes every hour, Omega quote to replace movement and watch hands $1295 (+ $75 courier fee); 2017-07-25 quote declined and watch returned without repair; 2017-08-15 watch thrown into landfill at Blaxland Waste Management Facility

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A luxury wristwatch achieved its destiny as a piece of garbage at Blaxland [Aug-2017 316kb]

Fabricating nostalgia

A lot was written about the impacts of deindustrialisation, but few missed the unimaginative and dangerous toil

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Davy press at ATP Eveleigh Workshops museum [Sep-2017 438kb]

Chariots of freedom

You could only be what you drove

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Custom license plates, Sydney [Nov-2018 263kb]

The sound of sirens

Everything you could possibly ever want, via your smart-phone

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Mobile phone users, Sydney CBD [Mar-2015 279kb]

The flipped classroom

A tremendous benefit of student BYOD was the ability to collect quality data to inform our significant & robust evidence-based focus on Action Learning, along with facilitating the continuous improvement in teaching skills and excellence to accommodate student growth and achievement

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At the State Library of NSW [Oct-2014 411kb]

Force carrier

Sometimes we just couldn't contain ourselves

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Electrical junction box at Chippendale, Sydney [Jul-2017 447kb]

Orderly exodus

When we were finally done, we got into our white vans and disappeared

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Toyota HiAce vans await delivery at Penrith [Apr-2017 310kb]

Carbon capture

Wholesale deindustrialisation led to scaling back carbon-related activities, eventually

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The abandoned remains of the Illawarra Coke Company at Coalcliff [Sep-2014 416kb]

∇×E

The implementation of renewable energy struggled beneath a mantle of ignorance, obfuscation and lies

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Distribution cables (since demolished) in College Lane, at Stanmore in Sydney [Sep-2012 374kb]

Reeks & Wrecks in Dumpstercopia

A sustainable future could only be found in scavenging, scrapping and repairs

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Cardboard packaging in Blue Anchor Lane at Circular Quay, awaiting transport to an interstate landfill [Nov-2017 626kb]

The spam massif

We facilitated a global network of unsolicited urgent messages

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Sydney University public noticeboards [Oct-2017 525kb]

Rattle & roll

With a maximum cruising speed of 130 km/hr, you could theoretically travel between Sydney and Melbourne in 7½ hours. In practice it took 12. During the trip, you could rock yourself to sleep to the sound of squeaking bogie springs and rumble from the turbocharged diesel-electric engines, while your 1980s XAM sleeper car jerked about on back-country tracks and even occasionally became airborne, landing a moment later with a satisfying kaboom

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XPT trains at Sydney Central terminus. After decades of service, they were due to be retired in 2023 [Apr-2019 336kb]

Together alone

To what extent was a person's sense of belonging determined by the world around them?

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Pitt Street Mall passageway [Aug-2018 328kb]

Accelerated obsolescence

Yesterday's broadcast-quality equipment was reutilised as landfill

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Tape-based off-line editing equipment in a dumpster at Darling Harbour [Jan-2013 167kb]

Beat the bowser

Our vehicle preferences said a lot about what really mattered

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Toyota sedan vs. Mazda dual-cab ute, Penrith car park [Mar-2021 403kb]

The imperfect panopticon

Own nothing, have no privacy and life has never been better (Auken, 2016)

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Apartment courtyard surveillance cameras awaiting connection at Victoria Park. Revisited the site four years later and the cameras were still not connected… [Sep-2014 112kb]

Core dump

It took only a couple of generations to advance from room-sized behemoths to teraflops in your lap

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The 1963 ICT 1301 mainframe display at the Otago Settlers Museum in Dunedin NZ [Nov-2017 190kb]

Faisal's gambit

The engine warning light came on in October 1973, but we covered it over and kept going

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Abandoned shops (since demolished), Parramatta Road Homebush [Jun-2016 172kb]

Fighting a war for the future

Skilled workers were no longer necessary in a branch-office economy

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3801 heritage locomotive at Central [Oct-2022 229kb]

For a better tomorrow

Technological progress turned out to be a bit of a chimera

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Dalek ornament at Wilson Street, Lawson [Aug-2021 525kb]

Nostalgic Futurism

The Eighties didn't quite get the future right

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The now dismantled Sydney Monorail at One Dixon Street, Sydney's Chinatown [Jan-2012 151kb]

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