The Mangle

May 17, 2007

How Big was the Sydney Harbour Bridge Diamond Anniversary Event? 172.5GB

Filed under: Scoops — themangle @ 2:38 am

Sydney Harbour BridgeOne of Australia’s most recognisable landmarks – the Sydney Harbour Bridge – recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. To commemorate the event, authorities closed the bridge to traffic, allowing Sydneysiders to walk across. Over 200,000 did so, and now the University of Sydney’s Department of Statistics has published some great research on the event.

In fact, the research is so revolutionary, that it may have opened up a completely new genre in relation to how we officially record the scale of events. The University was able to estimate the quantity of digital images capturing the Sydney Harbour Bridge 75th anniversary celebrations.

University volunteers, stationed at the southern end of the bridge over the duration of the event, randomly surveyed walkers as they made their way off the bridge. They asked two simple questions:

  1. Did you use a digital camera on your walk across the bridge today?
  2. If yes, can we please have a look at your camera?

The researcher then checked the camera, noted down its megapixel resolution, and asked the subject how many photos were taken while walking across, and at what resolution the camera was set during this time.

Based on the sample taken, University researchers calculated that 20,000 digital cameras were in operation during the bridge walk, with an average resolution 4.9 megapixels. An average of 23.3 photos were taken and, based on the breakdown of camera picture settings, statisticians worked out that the average file size per digital photo was 388.1KB.

University of Sydney’s Department of Statistics then crunched the numbers to come up with an official estimate of the size of the event based on the digital photography:

388.1 x 23.3 x 20,000 = 180,854,600KB, or 172.5 gigabytes

The Department of Statistic’s spokesperson, Roger Rumford, did point out that this was only the first attempt to measure the scale of an event based on digital photography. “It was a fun exercise, and a really different way to look at the size of our big events in history. What we haven’t taken into account in our research include mobile cameras phones, digital video cameras and professional photographers taking pictures from other vantage points around the bridge.”

The University has also offered a new acronym for this measure of an event’s size – the Digital Photography Scale, or “DPS”.

So what was the DPS of the Sydney Harbour Bridge 75th Anniversary? 172.5 of course!



May 11, 2007

Filed under: Real Stuff — themangle @ 10:21 am

A reversal from the token-based Visa card story. The “scoop” on Philip’s new digital photo frame is not so exciting, as there is a product already out there – the eStarling 2.0 which is available from ThinkGeek. It does pretty much everything the Philips one does, with the added bonus of allowing you to pre-configure an email address in the frame, allowing you to email photos to it! Pretty cool. Also, I found a great site where you can make your own wireless digital photo frame – a bit clunky but fun all the same. Still, not sure how the picture quality compares across all three units – pretty hard to tell across the Internet.

May 3, 2007

Old news: security token into bank cards

Filed under: Real Stuff — themangle @ 8:35 am

Australian media site iTwire recently published a story “VeriSign builds security token into bank cards“, describing how VeriSign is working with Innovative Card Technologies to build a token that generates a unique password with every transaction.

A very similar story was scooped by The Mangle exactly one year ago – “Token-based Security for Visa?“. In that story, Visa was rumoured to be introducing a credit card containing a built-in token-based authentication system with a six-digit code cycling through every 2 minutes. Here’s the pic:

May 2, 2007

Sony’s decapitated goat

Filed under: Other People's Scoops — themangle @ 9:27 am

A great story that I first saw on, an Australian media website, about Sony going to excess in the European launch of the PS3 game “God of War II”  – “Sony apologises for decapitated goat“. Turns out the story is a bit of a beat-up from an original report in the Mail on Sunday. It’s funny how quickly a story does the rounds. I just did a Google News search and there were 93 articles! Have a read of The Age’s story – that puts it into a bit of perspective: “The offal truth behind Sony’s goat stunt“.

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