Briefly: Victoria Cracks Down On Clueless Taxis, Free Ebooks, Can Xbox One Secretly Spy On You?

Briefly: Victoria Cracks Down On Clueless Taxis, Free Ebooks, Can Xbox One Secretly Spy On You?

Brief news items of note for Lifehacker readers including: Melbourne Taxi drivers to take knowledge exam under new reforms, skateboarder films 85km journey from Sydney to Wollongong, is the Xbox One really a surveillance device?
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  • Accredited Melbourne taxi drivers will be required to pass a knowledge exam under new reforms proposed by the Victorian Government. The sweeping reforms are in response to a rise in customer complaints. The driver exam is expected to be in place by the end of the year. Read the full report here.
  • Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox One video game console has plenty of interesting features beneath the hood. However, not all of these features are beneficial to consumers according to an Australian privacy group. The head of Civil Liberties Australia has blasted the console’s Kinect camera as a “surveillance device” that could potentially be used to intercept their information and remotely access their devices. It sounds a bit like a conspiracy theory to us but stranger things have happened. Gizmodo has the full report.
  • Practice Power: Secrets to Practicing and Playing Amazing Guitar is an in-depth ebook guitar-playing guide that you can currently get from Amazon for free. The ebook covers everything from the author’s philosophy of practice to 15 action tips for quick results. [Via OzBargain]
  • The Australian Attorney-General today announced the government will introduce mandatory data breach notification law into parliament that would force companies to disclose breaches of customer data. The legislation comes into effect from March 12, 2014.
  • A low-fi adventurer who skateboarded from Sydney to Wollongong has released a video of his 12 hour journey. Watch on as Rohan Nowell skulks about in complete darkness, braves torrential rain and risks life-and-limb on the freeway. You can also read a blog about his journey here.


  • We’re told that “accredited Melbourne taxi drivers will be required to pass a knowledge exam”. Good.

    Can NSW be far behind? Once when I, at the time as a stranger to Sydney and on an important trip from the centre of town to a suburb, asked a taxi driver to take me to a house of a certain number in The Comenarra Parkway in a certain suburb, he gaily took me to the right number but in the wrong suburb, and I was unaware of the error till I eventually worked out why the person I needed to see wasn’t at the house to which I’d been delivered.

    I hadn’t realised, and apparently neither had the untrained driver, that each of the several municipalities traversed by The Comenarra Parkway cutely starts the numbering from scratch without doing the usual USAian thing, which is to use the one series of numbers from the beginning of the road to the end of the road no matter how large the numbers become.

    Anyway, the driver was obviously ignorant of this trap for the uninitiated. In the case that I’ve described it seems that the—uh—ranks of the uninitiated include not only tourists but also taxi drivers.

    And once when I asked the driver of a taxi standing at a railway station to take me a couple of kilometres to my house he picked up another fare on the way despite my protest, so I told him to stop the car and I got out and walked.

    And anyway, nowadays the sight of an unhealthy-looking driver propping up a taxi at a rank while sucking a weedstick prompts me to keep walking.

    In NSW nobody seems to be in charge of the taxi business.

  • Excellent news about the Taxi’s in Victoria. Fed up of having to sit and direct a taxi to my bloomin house everytime i get off a flight or a train. Especially painful after a few drinks in the CBD!

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