Tonight, Monday the 30th of September, will be the very last evening one can dial ‘1194’ or ‘1196’ from any Australian mobile or landline phone to receive the current time read continuously, or a spoken weather forecast for their nearest major capital city, respectively. Dial either of these numbers, and you would’ve heard an old-timely British male broadcaster voice that easily sounded like it could’ve been recorded in the 1950s or 60s. You can see below a video of both numbers in action on their last day of operation, recorded by ThebusofdoomFSX on YouTube.
On Friday I attended Microsoft’s ‘Insider Dev Tour’ in Melbourne, one of about 44 similar events being held around the world throughout the month of June. Microsoft advertised the event as being ‘for developers interested in building Microsoft 365 experiences (…) today, using the latest dev technologies, as well as for those who want a peek into the future,’ and it was completely free to attend. Hosted at the offices of Xello, a Melbourne-based IT consultancy company, the event was all day, running from the hours of 8 to 5, and had food and coffee provided.
I was fairly excited when I heard about the event, having being recently drawn in to the Windows desktop development ecosystem through my involvement in the Open Live Writer project. I wasn’t going in with any particular agenda on things I would’ve liked to learn, but rather I was just curious as to how the whole day would play out and if I’d pick up any nifty skills. I’ve never been to any kind of developer conference before, so really this would’ve been a first for me.
Roughly two years ago, PTV completely overhauled the bus network in the Latrobe Valley, operated by Latrobe Valley Bus Lines. Amongst other changes, the new routes and timetables split the Newborough loop out of the Moe to Traralgon trunk route (Route 1), thus creating two local Newborough routes (Route 14 and the new 15), as well as streamlining Route 1 to run more reliably, regularly, and for longer hours. Whilst many Newborough locals were opposed to the changes, I personally found them to be of considerable improvement. The new Route 15 provided service where there previously was none, and the Route 1 streamlining meant you could get to Morwell from Moe/Newborough in roughly 15 minutes, and Traralgon in around 35.
Even though I spend most of my time nowadays in Melbourne, the bus network in the Latrobe Valley still remains of considerable importance to me. It’s how I got around when I lived there, and now it’s how I get around when I’m in the area visiting family or friends. As such I have been able to generate an array of opinions on how the service is run, with most of them not being positive. I’ve communicated before, both to LVBL and PTV, about the various faults I find in the operation of the service; such as the lack of timely connections to trains Moe Station, or Route 1 buses arriving late into Moe Bus Interchange with local town routes departing before the Traralgon bus arrived. Writing to LVBL simply resulted in them asking me to redirect my complaint to PTV, and writing to PTV garnered basically no tangible response to my concerns; they simply stated that they’d keep my concerns in mind rather than opening a dialogue.
So understandably, I was both excited and hesitant when I heard that PTV are due to enact a new set of bus timetables for the Latrobe Valley on the 23rd of June. Would we finally see a more logical set of routes and timetables for Moe, with proper connections with trains and other bus routes, or would we see just a general expansion to service with the same faults still present?