Mobile phone tours in museums have enough mainstream awareness to merit an article in The Age, but as the article points out, there are issues with roaming and mobile call costs. There’s no mention of implementation at any Australian museums, but I don’t know if that’s because there aren’t any, or because the article was bought from overseas.
I think podcasts are also a viable alternative. I’d love to see links between city tourism and museums so that people can hear museum content over a whole city.

The bad news on food miles: “At the moment, science can’t help – as we simply don’t know enough. My personal advice would be to do what ever best satisfies your conscience, but don’t kid yourself that by so doing you are saving the world.” BBC

“The Australian media’s coverage of Muslims and Arabs is tainted with a racism that portrays them as “tricky, sleazy, sexual and untrustworthy”, according to one of the country’s most experienced journalists.
Muslims are portrayed as uniformly violent, oppressors of women, and members of a global conspiracy opposed to Australian values, said Peter Manning, former head of ABC News, now Adjunct Professor of Journalism at Sydney’s University of Technology. He said that the words “Arab” or “Muslim” were associated with terrorism in 89 per cent of articles that appeared in Sydney’s two major newspapers in the year after September 11, 2001.
He did not confine his criticism to the media, however, adding that it was time politicians stopped “stoking up the embers of racist hatred”.”
The Age

“The Australian Government has joined the United States to oppose efforts by the United Nations to protect world heritage sites such as the Great Barrier Reef from global warming.”
My emphasis, and my disbelief. I never realised the Australian/US ‘special relationship’ would go that far. I think we need to describe Howard as a PIMBY – “Please, In My BackYard”.
The Age

A positive update on the new ‘morality’ in Indonesia:
“The Indonesian Government is backing away from a sweeping anti-pornography law that would outlaw kissing and revealing clothing.
Demonstrations against the law, which has the support of mainstream Islamic organisations, have spread from the artistic community and the resort island of Bali, with prominent Indonesians claiming it was alien to Indonesian culture and an attempt to impose sharia law by stealth.
After accompanying President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to a meeting with the National Commission on Violence Against Women, State Minister for Women’s Empowerment Meutia Hatta Swasono said the new law should focus on banning obscene materials, rather than criminalising personal conduct.
“We also ask that women are treated fairly; it’s as if they are blamed by the way they dress,” Mrs Meutia said.””

I read The Shadow of the Wind recently, and really enjoyed it. At times it almost veered into ‘holiday reading’ tweeness, but it was saved by some close observation and the author’s fresh turn of phrase.
Anyway, I found myself noting passages I liked, and here are some of them*:
“One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn’t have to understand something to feel it. By the time the mind is able to comprehend what has happened, the wounds of the heart are already too deep.”
“I realised how easily you can lose all animosity towards someone you’ve deemed your enemy as soon as that person stops behaving as such.”
There was a beautiful pun where characters were discussing the Catholic Church and the mysterious Fermin said, “let’s not mention the missal industry”.
And finally, “a story is a letter the author writes to himself, to tell himself things that he would be unable to discuss otherwise.”
* Of course, one person’s interesting snippet is another person’s trite crap.

Incredibly, the Commonwealth Games are actually good for something: “On the eve of the Melbourne Games, the Queen has highlighted the global spread of AIDS and urged the Commonwealth’s 1.7 billion citizens to take better care of their health.
The Queen’s message comes as health authorities prepare to use the Commonwealth Games as a platform for tackling HIV/AIDS, targeting visiting leaders and officials from Pacific and African nations, as well as raising local awareness.” (Age)

I love the idea of the Ubiquitous Museum.
“This is a system that allows us to use our mobile phone like a magnifying glass as a tool to discover hidden history and stories, as we stroll around town.”
And it gets cooler:
“What makes this system unique is its participatory approach. Users are encouraged to be providers of information, not just to be receivers.”
I’ve always had a fascination with uncovering and presenting the layers of history hidden under the city streets. It’s the kind of content that museums have unique access to and unique resources to develop, but at the same time it’s difficult to find the resources. Hopefully as standards develop, it’ll be easier to produce re-usable content.