Australia, and more specifically Sydney, is about to be hit by two of arguably the biggest crowd pullers in the world today.
The launch of the Apple iPhone in Australia is due on July 11th, and Pope Benedict XVI is due to arrive in Sydney on July 13th for World Youth Day 2008. Both events are causing quite a stir, and not all for the good.
The iPhone launch has once again seen the Australian telcos whipped into a gouging frenzy, with Optus releasing pricing details of their 3G iPhone plans, and Vodafone and Telstra sure to follow suit shortly.
If the Optus pricing is anything to go by, and the other two follow suit, I will be withdrawing my expression of interest for an iPhone and reverting to my trusty Samsung on a pay-as-you-go account. Optus is advertising 1GB per month for $100 on their Turbo Cap pre-paid plan. Granted, the plan comes with a huge amount (by my monthly call count) of included calls, but that isn't why most people will be buying the iPhone. 1GB of internet access will be used up very quickly. A simple example is visiting the Sydney Morning Herald homepage. Today's measurement of that page weighed in at 920Kb, and the page auto-refreshes every 5 minutes. If you were to visit the page twice a day, which is not unreasonable, and sit on the home page for an average of 7 minutes each visit, you would use up 3.6MB of your allowance. One months worth would see 100MB / 10% of your allowance gone. And that's just looking at the news! Never mind your mapping, Twittering, Facebooking, and emailing needs. Come on Aussie telcos'! If you want to be a leader in the growing online mobile space you're going to have to be a lot more generous with your data plans. Making a quick buck now is not in yours, or the national interest.
I am not a religous man. I am, by definition, an Athiest. I have no belief in God, or any other of the much lauded deities. I do not though have any strong feelings about others having belief in those things. Whatever floats our boat.
I do find the whole religion thing very hypocritcial though, and none more so than the Catholic faith. Throughout history the Catholics, and indeed many other religions, have used their 'faith' as an all encompassing reason for attrocities that would, under normal circumstances, be denounced by average men.
But I digress! The Pope visiting Sydney for World Youth Day has caused no end of problems for the citizens of this fair city. From the taking over of the Randwick Racecourse, to untold strain put on the public transport systems, to the special powers being granted to police to arrest anyone causing, or looking like they are going to cause, annoyance to attendees of the functions.
And to top it all off, there is a huge scandal hanging over Cardinal George Pell, Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, and his handling of accusations of sexual assualt by a Catholic Priest.
I have nothing against people celebrating their beliefs, but when the act of performing those celebrations affects the way I, and many hundreds of thousands of other Sydneysiders, go about our daily activites, I have to question the legitimacy of the celebrations.
Am I being harsh? I don't think so. In both cases, the iPhone and the World Youth Day events, somebody is standing to make a lot of money, and your average citizen is having their liberites restricted so that that money can be made. For shame!