Home' Greymouth Star : March 31st 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, March 31, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1837 - Death of English landscape painter
1855 - Death of Charlotte Bronte, British
author of Jane Eyre and the oldest of three
1889 - French engineer Alexandre Gustave
Eiffel unfurls the French flag from
atop the Eiffel Tower, officially
marking its completion.
1936 - Britain and France pledge to
support Poland if it is invaded.
1941 - Germans launch counter-
offensive in North Africa in World
1968 - US President Lyndon Johnson
announces he will not stand for re-election.
1976 - The New Jersey Supreme Court rules
that coma patient Karen Anne Q uinlan can be
disconnected from her respirator. Q uinlan, who
remains comatose, dies in 1985.
1980 - Death of former US Olympic athlete
Jessie O wens, who won four gold medals at the
1936 Berlin Olympics.
1988 - Death of Sir William McMahon,
Australian Liberal prime minister 1971-72 .
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
.S hirley Jones, US actress-singer (1934-);
Richard Chamberlain, US actor (1934-);
Herb Alpert, US trumpeter and bandleader
(1935-); Christopher Walken, US
actor (1943-); Gabe Kaplan, US
actor (1945-); Al Gore, former
US vice-president (1948-); Rhea
Perlman, US actress (1948-);
Angus Young, Australian guitarist
of AC/DC fame (1955-); Ewan
McGregor, Scottish actor (1971-) .
“One cannot conceive anything so strange
and so implausible that it has not already been
said by one philosopher or another.” — Rene
Descartes, French philosopher (1596-1650).
“ Do not fear what you are about to suffer.
Beware, the devil is about to throw some of
you into prison so that you may be tested, and
for 10 days you will have affliction. Be faithful
until death, and I will give you the crown of
life. “ — (Revelation 2.10).
“ I was driving down
the hill from the
motels when a drum
came through the
air straight for the car. I thought it was going
to hit us but it passed over the top.” This was
how a South Beach resident Mr Ron Smith
described his experience in a freak whirlwind
at about 4.45pm yesterday afternoon.
“ If the wind had struck five minutes earlier,
it would have whipped the children out of our
arms as we were putting them in the car,” Mr
Smith said. “ The whirlwind seemed to come
right off the sea,” he said. “ It was in a north-
westerly direction and lasted for about 30
Another nearby resident, although she was
not in the path of the wind, saw a drum on the
ground shake and move . “ There was a loud
whistling sound, too,” she added.
A policeman on point duty is an unfamiliar
sight in Greymouth — at least at the locale
for this control operation. It is in Mawhera
Quay at its junction with Tainui Street, and the
operation was required to unsnarl peak-time
traffic forced to concentrate on the Q uay outlet
with Mackay Street ripped up and closed for a
gas main replacement.
The body of Mr Ronald Walton has not
been recovered since his loss overboard as a
result of the Kokiri explosion, but the search is
continuing daily during routine patrols by the
Wellington police launch Lady Elizabeth.
The officer in charge of the Wellington police
district, Superintendent J W Saunders said
the coroner would decide whether permission
should be sought from the Attorney General
for an inquest.
uFood for thought
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3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
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03 755 8422
emember when everyone
used to be scared of
Microsoft and the
hammerlock it seemed
to have on the entire
Throughout the 1990’s and into the early
2000’s, Microsoft was accused of using
its dominance of the software market
to squash competitors. Analysts and
authorities worried that Microsoft would
also control the burgeoning Internet and
pivotal software applications.
That was then and this is now.
Microsoft missed new opportunities
in markets like on-line search and
mobile communications and commerce,
fiddling away while the PC became an
increasingly quaint device. One of the
big winners in the post-Microsoft era has
been Google, which lords over a large
chunk of the search market.
A week ago, somewhat damning details
of an old Federal Trade Commission
anti-trust investigation of Google were
leaked to the the Wall Street Journal.
Darn if Google today does not look like
the Microsoft of yesteryear.
The F TC’s findings from 2012
confirmed that Google has a monopoly
in on-line search, with more than two-
thirds of the United States market and
about 90% of the market in some parts of
More importantly, the commission
found that Google was not shy about
using that power to its advantage. Some
FTC staffers deemed four practices
abusive: Google favoured its own search
results over those of rival websites; it
bullied other sites such as Yelp, Trip
Advisor and Amazon into letting it scrape
their information; it prevented advertisers
from running campaigns on other search
engines, and it kept other websites from
working with rival search engines.
Ultimately the FTC didn’t sue Google
for abusing its monopoly power and didn’t
find that it had violated any laws. But the
Journal story created such a dust-up that
the FTC released a statement this week,
reiterating that it had found “no legal
basis for action with respect to the main
focus of the investigation — search.”
FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and
commissioners Julie Brill and Maureen
Ohlhausen said in the statement: “As we
stated when the investigation was closed,
the Commission concluded that Google’s
search practices were not, ‘on balance,
Yet all of this may be beside the point. If
you’re interested in whether Google will
be among the most important, innovative
tech companies five or 10 years from now,
then the very public disagreement over
Google’s anti-trust practices is sort of a
Playing hardball with competitors in
search has not made Google a leading
company in the areas that matter now
to consumers and advertisers, such as
social media, mobile and, increasingly,
Google did not respond quickly to shifts
in consumer behaviour that are making
traditional on-line search — Google’s
wheelhouse — less and less relevant. As
traditional on-line web browsing becomes
less relevant, so too will Google, a
company that has become so synonymous
with search that its name became a
commonly used verb (“Just Google it.”)
As on-line search erodes, social networks
have changed the way that we discover
content — think breaking news on
Twitter and Facebook’s coming deals to
distribute news on its platform. This is
especially true on mobile devices.
Google’s Facebook rival, Google+, never
took off. Even You Tube, which Google
owns and which has more than 1 billion
monthly users, does not do as good of
a job distributing and surfacing great
content as the big social media sites.
Unsurprisingly, Facebook’s mobile ad
revenue is growing by leaps and bounds
at a time when Google’s revenue growth,
overall, is slowing down.
Mobile, broadly speaking, is shaping
up to be another weak spot for Google.
When we search on our phones, we
generally use apps, not our web browsers.
Companies like Yelp, Trip Advisor
and Amazon have all suffered because
Google suppresses search results for
their offerings on-line, but each of those
companies also make apps that have
become the go-to search tools for mobile
users who want to eat, travel or shop.
Yelp, for example, says that it has been
deeply hurt by Google’s practices. It has
also said that its mobile app is a source
of strength because it disintermediates
search engines like Google.
Google executives are smart enough to
realise that being number one in search
can’t be their only strategy. So they have
struck deals with telecom companies
to bundle Google apps on phones that
run the Android operating system. (The
company also has been accused of
pushing Android device makers to
exclude apps made by other companies.)
But users can ignore the apps that they do
not like. Just ask Apple, which watched
customers download Google’s map app
when Apple’s own product was deeply
Android is the most widely used mobile
operating system and it gives Google
a window into user behaviour globally.
Google Maps is not only a popular
search tool, it is a platform that other
huge mobile businesses have been built
upon, most notably Uber. But rivals are
conspiring to weaken those businesses.
The startup Cyanogen, which makes an
Android-based mobile operating system
that essentially competes with Android,
has amassed a $100 million-plus war
chest from investors such as Telefonica,
Rupert Murdoch, and the venture firms
Benchmark, Andreessen Horowitz and
Samsung is teaming up with Microsoft
(yes, Microsoft) to bundle apps on
Samsung phones, handsets that often run
on Android. Uber is making moves to
wean itself from Google maps, and it even
wants to launch its own self-driving car
project that would rival a similar venture
Google has worked on for years.
It is too flippant to say that Google’s
search monopoly does not matter at all.
It certainly matters to the companies
that say they are being hurt by Google’s
practices. If companies like Trip Advisor
can not be discovered in search results,
they lose a valuable source of traffic.
(Investors do not seem all that worried
about this risk. A few months after the
FTC closed its investigation of Google
in January 2013, Yelp went public and its
shares rallied for two years — even
though the company had told anyone who
would listen that Google could kill its
Yet we have seen time again in the tech
industry that big monopolies become
irrelevant in the face of seismic (and
sometimes unforeseen) shifts in how
people and businesses use technology. All
of which brings us back to Microsoft.
Stratechery’s Ben Thompson has
described how Microsoft (and IBM) fell
prey to this phenomenon, and he says
that he thinks Google is next in line for
disruption. One of the tactical dangers
of being a monopolist is that in order to
maintain a monopoly you have to focus
your attention on your most dominant
offerings, making you less attuned
to economic shifts and innovations
happening outside of your lucrative
Back in 2002, it was not obvious that
Microsoft needed to start thinking
differently about software, just as it wasn’t
obvious to Google in a pre-mobile world
that the on-line search industry could be
European regulators are deciding
whether to take action against Google
for abusive activity, and the FTC’s
recently-revealed concerns will give those
authorities additional fire power to file
antitrust charges against the company.
Legal action will probably lead to months
or years of appeals and recommendations
that eventually end in a settlement - just
like the Microsoft antitrust trial that
began in 1998 and settled in 2001.
Prosecuting Google may lead to modest
changes of its business model. Yet no
matter what happens in Europe, I think
Google will continue to have a monopoly
in on-line search. That does not mean it
will remain a rival to be feared.
— New Zealand Herald
Big, bad Google
They landed with the Australians and
New Zealanders on April 25, 1915 and
fought by their side through the bitter
Gallipoli campaign, yet few Australians
could say who they were.
They were soldiers of the Indian army
and ignorance of their part in this epic
campaign is as great in India as it is in
University of New South Wales
historian Professor Peter Stanley said men
of two Indian mountain gun batteries
landed on April 25, providing the only
artillery support in those early desperate
hours. They served with the Australians
on every single day of the campaign.
Later, Indian Sikh and Gurkha
infantry came up from Helles for the
August offensive, serving alongside the
Australians until evacuated in December.
All Australian supplies were transported
from the beach to the front line on mules
and carts operated by Indian soldiers.
“There were lots of Indians at Anzac,”
“Australians have basically forgotten
that, if they ever knew.”
Some 15,000 Indians ser ved on
Gallipoli and 1358 died.
At Anzac alone, the Indian Mule Corps
lost 177 soldiers, with 858 of their mules
killed and wounded.
“Ser vice in the Mule Corps was not one
of the most soldierly of activities. But
in no other theatre of war did the lowly
mules or their gallant drivers share more
equally in the hardships and dangers
of their frontline comrades than on the
beaches and gullies of Gallipoli,” said
Indian historian Rana Chhina.
Perhaps the most famous Australian on
Gallipoli, John Simpson, camped with his
donkey at the Indian mule camp.
After his death, there are reports of
grieving Indian mule drivers laying
wreaths of wild flowers on his grave.
Stanley said this was the era of the
white Australia policy — yet the diggers
admired the very professional Indian
soldiers, mentioning them in many letters
home. Indian soldiers feature in the
background of numerous photos taken on
“It may have changed Australian
attitudes towards Indians and Asiatics to
an extent and there’s a bit of evidence for
that,” he said.
If Australians have forgotten this
contribution, so have very many Indians.
Stanley is writing a book on the Indians
on Gallipoli to be published in May.
“There is not a single book on the
subject in 100 years until mine and that ’s
coming out on the centenary,” he said.
“The Indians themselves wrote nothing
Since these were colonial units,
regimental histories were written
by British colonels and published in
Aldershot for a small readership of fellow
The Indians had no correspondent
akin to Charles Bean who assiduously
documented the experiences of the
Australians, who were also avid letter
writers, diarists and photographers.
Most Indian soldiers were illiterate,
their letters home dictated to scribes.
For the Gurkhas, home was villages
across Nepal. Indians in units on
Gallipoli were mostly recruited from the
Ferozepur district of the Punjab, an area
greatly affected by the 1947 upheaval in
which India was partitioned to create
“ Where is their history? It’s in places
like the State Library of NSW, the war
memorial and the Alexander Turnbull in
Wellington,” Stanley said.
“It is through Anzac memoirs and
diaries and letters and photographs that
you are able to reconstruct Indian history
in Gallipoli.” — AAP
Indian role at Gallipoli forgotten
Indian Shikh soldiers at Gallipoli.
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