Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Craig Thomson: Lawyers rarely improve things

Craig Thomson has a fund to help him with his legal bills.

With all respect to the mental acuity required for the job, I've found that involving lawyers rarely makes things better. This probably serves as a "so what" moment for many people who are legally trained.

I met my friend Chris Ziersch the other day who retrained from engineering to law and was vigorously in agreement with me. (buddy contact me if I've misrepresented you)

So I hear the story of Craig Thomson who is defending claims about improper use of funds. Win or lose, he's fucked. You can read about how to donate to him here.

Right or wrong it makes sense to avoid legal action like the plaque. Sure there are those with more money than sense who will use law as a preemptive strike, and I've done my share of running from that. A new breed known as "drone parents" are described as taking legal action before even approaching their kid's teacher about Ann issue the teacher barely noticed.

But as Chris says, using the lawyers should be the last resort. When everything has broken down then call the legal people in, and expect to pay. It's a necessary thing, and a challenging profession.

So the real story of this is about the high cost of justice. It's the only way I feel any empathy for Craig Thomson and - I can't believe this - would spend money to support him.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, April 29, 2013

Im not a statistician, but I do like data

A skydive with friends from work..

I work with Hande. Yesterday she and her sister did a Skydive. I did "outside vid" for Meral, and Jason did handcam for Hande.

Jason's handcam. Many thanks, bud.

My "outside vid".Turn the sound down for this one

Turn the sound up for their landings:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Create the vehicle own the advertising space

ACCC app fail

The irony is not lost on me. On "The Checkout" this week there was a story on dodgy apps.

A different story showed the ACCC app which had a whole bunch of ACCC content with a piece of functionality to take photos of receipts. Apparently it's not finished yet. Hitting the button just loops me back to the home screen.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pseudoscience: An eight minute torture test

I could only go about three minutes. Every sentence is so wrong in so many ways that my brain was frying. This is why we need to encourage healthy critical literacy in our children. Every day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

My kinship with Turkey

We were part of an invading force. They bravely defended their land. We tore the heart out of our country but established our honour and resourcefulness. This is a nice piece that suggests we honour the fallen but also remember the grieving parents. And I think of the mums.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who fought at Gallipoli and later led Turkey, knew the parents suffered worst. That is why his famous words on the memorial at Ari Burnu are addressed mostly to the mothers:

Wipe away your tears,
Your sons are now lying in our bosom and in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land
They have become our sons as well.

And around Anzac day over the last few years my path has crossed with Turkish people who I would call friends; Onor Bodur, the Titiroglou brothers and this weekend Hande Akman and her sister. I feel a strange kinship. As I do with Giang Trinh from Hanoi with my (unfunny) joke that 45 years ago we would've met, but looking at each other through rifle scopes. I don't think I'd've stood a chance. Giang would've been defending his land, too.

Often those in mortal combat have more that unites them than divides. It often seems that a system makes enemies of people who could be friends.

Surely that is one of the horrors of war.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Why not try?

At an open mic night I got a few things I wasnt expecting. In particular,  seven small stringed instruments doing Men at Work's "Land Down Under"

It reminds me of a scarifying Karaoke I did with my sister Kirrily, wife Sylvia and another friend Leanne in Yakima, Washington State (c1993). Same song. Nobody liked it.

But the people in the Yakima audience missed the point. At least my point.

Why not try?

Don't die wondering.

Real people real music

I'm here to pick my boy up. He's working on a great entertainment pub - thanks Mel for the chance.

A fringe benefit is that sometimes I have to wait around. And listen to a live band play songs like "Green River".

How cool. I love the Gov.

My Market Research Society yearbook arrived

I like getting this. And this year I'm listed as a QPMR - qualified practising market researcher. It was no small thing, I've had to to a couple of exams and run a PD program, but it's nice to have.

"Tram time" coffee shop. I wonder if it works.

I'm picking my boy up at the Gov, where he works a bit. It's a hotel at the end of one of Adelaide's tram lines.

Years ago, one of their delightful managers asked me to consider if they could capitalise on the tram line extension.

I think a coffee shop - where you need something early in the morning - perhaps. Just as well the Gov has a whole bunch of other things they make work. A great business.

Anzac day: I get a little teary

I apologise in advance. Over the next 24 hours - each year - I get a little caught up in how huge this all is. When we lose soldiers these days it's a huge thing. Back then we tore the heart out of our country, for a whole range of reasons. Then, and now, our military people do what they can to serve our country. Their culture is one of honour, and service. Sure, some were tearaways but all of them went through things that we can only imagine. And our country is, in some way, better for it.

There are times to just shut up, or say good things.

So it begins.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Coles: $15 is a serious play for the value customer

There have been a few pitches for the consumer dollar recently, but this is the hardest I've seen.
For about $80, Coles will ping back $15. Sylv and myself both thought that their databases had told them (correctly) that we're doing it tough and reduced the threshold accordingly. But I saw others of these about; its unlikely that we're special.

But that's a big chomp. Sure it's not a full 20% in most cases because the average shop would be well over $80. But coincidence has it that at the moment we are receiving the maximum return.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

1982: One perfect day

While I'm in my 1980s reminiscence I recall an Aussie band called Little Heroes with a story of missing a friend. It's probably why I like the Waifs' "London still".

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


We have to make the most of every calorie source in the house at the moment. So the (still abundant) supply of eggs has had us making quiche, waffles and -yes- souffl├ęs.

A nice way to think of your audience

This makes me like Ozzy.

Increasingly it looks as though I won't be able to afford to stand in front of classes to pay the bank. But I'll enjoy the privilege for as long as I can.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Selfish mavericks

A review of how easy it can be to get ahead when you don't care about anyone else. How true:

Latham was playing the maverick. Mavericks increase their own political currency at the expense of their party’s. They earn acclaim for being “brave” enough not to toe the line but if everyone was a maverick, well, being a maverick wouldn’t be so special.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

A snarling, sneering woman of rock. I liked her.

Chrissy Amphlett is dead. Breast cancer. 53. I liked her a little then, I like her a lot now, as I think about it.

A forerunner to "in your face" women of rock like Pink, and carrying Joplin's legacy of big attitude, she shocked a lot of us. A schoolgirl outfit worn by a woman who almost dared you to not take her seriously.

A ripping 1981 song told me an early home truth "too much too young" and to me shows everything that was good about 1980s rock. Simple, hard, real. Like Chrissy Amphlett.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Be prepared to fail

A cool article on being prepared to try, fail, admit defeat and try something else. And a final scathing analysis of so many I see who refuse to admit they're wrong:

I expect many will interpret this as wearing weakness as a badge. Yet those who pretend they don’t stuff up are often wearing a cloak that is brittle and frays. If we can admit failure we can understand where fault lies. If we only blame others for our problems we are doomed to be angry, hopeless and irresponsible.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A scary financial position

I hate budgeting. But I do understand the value of knowing what's coming in and going out. My oft told story - my personal forward income is looking a little shaky for the next 12 months so buying a new car may have to wait.

OK then. A bunch of Australia's spending plans were conceived when our tax base looked stronger. Like them or not, the mining tax and the carbon tax were assumed to be bringing in billions of dollars.

The ass has fallen out of both of those taxes. The mining lawyers did an end run on MRRT and the world price of carbon is about $4, while the government has been planning for it to be about $30.

"Kids, dad has lost his job. We'll be making some money, but we just need to be careful."

Telling me that the Australian economy is strong is irrelevant. Unless the government has ways of extracting that money from the economy (taxes) then it's like being a fan of Adam Scott - he'll be rich and we'll be happy for him, just no better off.

Show me how the Australian government budget is any different to what we need to do at home. Anyone who continues to argue on "how much we need it" (NDIS, Gonski, NBN) is missing the point. They're the kids in the equation. Surely the "rob Peter to pay Paul" education trade off this week made that clear. Government cash is finite.

The budget surplus or deficit should not be thought of as an end in itself, but the result of doing things properly. Responsibly.

I'm not angry. I'm not stirring trouble. I'm fucking scared.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Advertising: Remind and reinforce

I was watching Insiders this morning and part of the montage include excerpts from channel 7's "Deal or no deal". I wondered why channel 7 would allow the use of the footage and then I thought "why wouldn't they?"

Many people in marketing believe that advertising is about persuasion. Many scholarly articles and many PhDs. Others believe that advertising serves best as a "weak force". So simply having the image in front of hundreds of thousands of ABC viewers - reminding them that the show is still on TV?

Why the hell not?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Plenty of rain

I'm glad I got my skydives yesterday. There'll be no jumping today. 5.6mm already. Well probably get 20mm. That's good. The crops can probably go in for Anzac day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Depreciation: Understanding the puzzle of resale and residual value

It was in a discussion about NBN and the experience curve that I got this interesting comment about my "can't afford a new car" analogy:

Say you were expecting two more kids in the coming year, could you really stay with the Barina? Or are you actually needing to reassess the use of your car to a larger model. Does it make sense to buy an older larger car that will need replacing after a few years, or to get a new car that will still have a good resale value once the first batch leave the nest?

Cars are a money trap
Haha! I don't need to imagine that one! I did it. In 2003 as we were expecting Jonah, we couldn't afford it but took a $19,000 loan to buy a relatively new Ford Falcon. Three years later I got $7,000 for it. I still have the $19k sitting as a debt in the account. The losing of value is the reason we have this accounting device known as depreciation. I know, as a young man I always dreamt of my car increasing in value but it wasn't gonna happen with a 1978 Torana, more like a Rolls Royce or a 1934 Dodge.

I'm sick of thinking NBN for now
Still, the young guy had put up his own straw man argument. And I'm tired of thinking NBN for now. I got the best "pro" NBN argument from a clever guy called Ryan Kris the other day and will process that for a while. What's not adding value are simpleminded "tin can string" jokes as the revenue base (carbon tax and mining tax) have both been crippled.

Aircraft may be different
Interesting though. I did want to talk to a friend who owns aircraft. I've always believed "if it's got wheels it loses money" and aircraft (technically) qualify. But I remember someone saying that "there's no such thing as an old aircraft" because every part gets replaced sooner or later. Sure enough, the 1975 Cessna 206 has increased in value over the 13 years my friend has owned it, but I shudder to think how much maintenance has cost. So the depreciation expense is down, but maintenance expense is up.

Property has its quirks
So my pilot friend said "it's never as good as property" which on the whole tends to appreciate, with flat spots. And you can earn an income from it. But it think he might have a better "asset to earnings" ratio on his plane than a house. But what a headache. Still, being a landlord is a headache.

Sunday pre dawn musings.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Orianthi: Hendrix legacy in good hands

As a child of the 80s I find this really neat. And at the the end where it's looking like "same same" she runs over to the speakers in a search for even more bizarre sounds. A Hendrix moment. 5minutes of mesmerising.

From Adelaide, Orianthi first impressed me with this cool song - a wake up call to anyone in a relationship who can only find fault..

Again, a 1980s familiar thumping bass line, cool rhythm guitar, ripping lead breaks and great vocals. The song of the decade.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, April 19, 2013

USA: Goodwill to not be squandered

Boston will not be bowed. A rousing rendition of their national anthem which must be one of the best.

The US is enjoying a lot of global goodwill, and I hope that with Barack Obama, the country will not squander it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, April 18, 2013

NBN: The experience curve and our cash position will make us look like dills

OK, I want fast and reliable Internet connection into my house. And I hate the way that something as technically arguable as this has been reduced to a personality game.

In 2003 I bought a USB drive, and I was the coolest kid on the block. It was amazing - it had a flashing LED and I could take everything I need home in my pocket.

USB drive: 256MB - $500. Today's price $2.

In 2005 I bought an MP3 player. How cool! I could listen to music and even my favourite radio programs. That means I could be working in Hong Kong and listen to all of Phillip Adams' late night live from the last week.

MP3 player: 128MB - $390. Today's price $20.

There is a thing called the experience curve. The more stuff you do, the cheaper it gets to do it. We are seeing it with solar panels now, and it happened as far back as with the Model T Ford.

Right at the moment, fibre modems (the boxes in the house) are relatively new technology. The fibre (node to premises) is probably due for some cost reduction too. But most importantly:

The country doesn't have lots and lots of money.
Whatever the reason, we don't have much money. I'm seeing big arguments over numbers the size of $2bn (ie University cuts).

Personally, last year I entertained ideas of buying a new car. Exactly the same arguments as the FTTP idea - upgrade from old, dodgy stuff, set up for the future, perhaps even lower maintenance costs. But for me this year is a little financially uncertain. I needed to reassess my spending.

Surely, surely, a turnaround from a projected (small) surplus to what looks like an $18bn deficit can call for a tightening of the belt. As I have said before the "Fibre to the node" plan is not the palace in the clouds, but it's also not abandoning the idea of telecoms infrastructure. And the experience curve will make the leg from the node to the premises way cheaper (in today's dollar terms) when we do it - even seven years from now.

"Dad, why don't you buy a new Holden Cruze?"
I'd love to, kids, but I'm not sure what the next few years has in store for me, financially. I could make a new car appear in my driveway, but that would involve me taking a loan I might not be able to pay back, or defaulting on a tax debt that I'm accumulating. Either way buying a new car, right now, is dumb. We'll have to go with the Barina for a few more years.

This is not political, unless you choose to see it that way
I have desperately tried to avoid a political argument. I'm avoiding political comment as much as possible for six months. This is purely technical, and financial. In another five years, when we have our "band aid broadband" we will see it as an improvement, but we'll be complaining because the technologies we haven't even dreamt of will have us wanting more. But today, where even two billion dollars is a scary number, the option to save twenty or more seems very sensible.

My bet is that some clever company will devise a workable high speed "Node to Premises" wireless service. No copper, no fibre. We'll see. I am constantly pleasantly surprised by what our super geeks come up with.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Unbundling: The undoing of some

I chatted again tonight, to a guy whose opinion I value. He pointed out that one of the major changes - threats if you like - to some business models is that of "unbundling"

Take music for instance. If you liked a given Beatles song and bought the Sergeant Peppers album then yay! But that was rare.

More often you'd like "Wake me up before you go go" and felt disappointed when the rest of the "Wham" album was crap.

So to where I work a bit, in University education. Students seem to like the Market Research course and think they get a lot out of it for future application. But its a part of the whole degree.

Now I know the value of getting the whole "bachelor of commerce" stamp but perhaps there's a place for the whole unbundled "Market Research" three day course. For practising managers.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Reject fear and most of all, reject hatred

Easy for me to say, I'm sure. I'm not in Boston where a running race was bombed, killing two and injuring many more. Or the library.

But I can't help but think that these are actions designed to bring out the worst emotions in us. The true battle is for our own soul. We begin to lose that when we start to hate, and fear is a path to that hate.

But I'm angry. And sad. Very sad.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring Gully sold out in Coles

How cool is this? A local business is in big trouble and I went to buy some of their stuff. And they were sold out. More or less. It's inspiring. This could work to send a message to the retailers that this company still has appeal in SA. The effort will allow Spring Gully to retain the shelf space they have.

And of course the trick is to empty the shelves next time, and the next and the next. If we're serious.

UPDATE: I've had some comments around the place, that the retailers are being assholes, reducing the shelf space allocated to small brands which then reduces demand and sets a downward spiral for these small brand. And that they're double assholes for replacing manufacturer brands with their own supermarket brands. Sure. Perhaps they are - point taken. But Vili's, San Remo, Olga's, Fruchocs are still managing to play the game and yes - it's an unfair game. My Friend George, of Olga's fame, will attest to that. Hopefully Spring Gully can continue to play in this unfair game.

I'll aim to help them rather than tilt at windmills. Or perhaps all the Spring Gully buyers can shop at Foodland which will mean Coles and Woolies will de-list them. That'll help.

Lecturer memories of "Down to Earth" laundry liquid

A buddy of mine Paul Newbery who  - does some instruction too - was lamenting how his "Rambo" analogies were lost on his students. Age is a pig that way.

I remember a nice lecurer of mine - Anthony Lowe - who used a lot of cigarette marketing examples. Bup boww. Age is a pig.

And then there's me. Speaking of a brand that had a point of difference of being the environmental choice.

Phew! Its not fully dead yet. Cool.

Clear liquid, clear bottle, a daisy showing through the product. This is a brand that owns this position. But perhaps the position is not that much the win you would think. It's a persistent player on the shelf - it's survived since the 80s - but the shelves say that there's plenty more profitable places to be.

But for "Nature's Organics" it's probably a great earner.

Tiger Woods, looking into the eye of right and wrong

There is no faking it in both golf and skydiving. FFS Tiger hit the flag on this incredible approach shot. He might have eagled the hole if it jump, spun back and rolled in. But it pinged off into the water.

So he took a drop, with his loose interpretation of the rule causing him a penalty. Two strokes which if last year would have seen him kicked out. A flash of annoyance and sense of unfairness has possibly cast a cloud over his legacy.

I've found that in these matters it pays to expect others will attribute the worst possible motivations to you. It means that if you manage to achieve something, even the worst naysayers don't have any oxygen. Sure, a bunch of opportunities go begging, but you do have the grounds to say "go away".

So Tiger should probably come back next year.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

University vs Schools: Another shot fired in the politics of division

They plan to undertake serious reform of the school system, which is very important. They announced yesterday that they were pulling 2.3 to 2.8 billion from University budgets.

Surely it's no accident that the natural battle lines become about:

"what's more important, paying for universities or schools?"

Forget the answer, it's a bad question. It seems to simply be another shot fired in a "divide and conquer" approach.

As a bad parent may be tempted to think with three kids - "if they're fighting among themselves they have no time to fight with me" but it's a counterproductive, destructive method.

In defence of any government, though, they're the ones in there and its their job to make it work. The ranking of accountability here is:

  1. The party in government - way ahead of
  2. The party in opposition - way ahead of
  3. Minor parties that have no hope of governing in their own right - way ahead of
  4. Independent candidates - way ahead of
  5. Commentators and blog writers, who have no danger of being asked to make anything work.

So it's easy for me to comment, but the divisiveness here still makes me feel uneasy.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

With friends like this....

I broke the news last night to an intelligent and educated friend of mine:

"Emerson just announced it. Labor are ripping 2.8 billion from Univerities' budgets this year"

And to my astonishment his first reflection was "Abbott would do the same if he got in, too, the bastard". Perhaps that's not verbatim, but close.

And that's a telling exchange. I will only be able to say whether the Labor years were better than the Liberal ones in another - say - twenty. But I can attribute blame or approbation where I see it. This is the biggest slug to University funding since Howard in 1996 and it hasn't been glory days since then.

With friends like this, if we want to complain about those bastard politicians, who needs Liberal?

National Broadband Network: A poetic example

I like to sit down and watch Insiders on the iPad or Phone at 8.30 on a Sunday. I was having no end of trouble getting it to run today. Like, it wasn't.

Just as the montage began, it jammed on a visual of the "fibre to the node" option of liberal. Poetic.
I know a little about this stuff. I was dreaming if fibre into houses in 1991 - no shit - as as electronics tradesman with an eye for the future.

I still dream of fibre in my house. That would make me like the Labor plan, right? Perhaps not.This bunch hasn't been able to deliver on anything they've promised. The NBN is now over budget, over time and where people have the chance to choose it, undersubscribed.

I think they've tried to eat the elephant in one bite.

If the libs get fibre to the end of the street we're at least not having to deal with 2.5km of crappy copper, but 200m. It really is as simple as metrage.

The libs plan is saying "if you're desperate for fibre into the house then you cover that bit". Yeh sure the "off the shelf" 26 megabit is not the "palace in the clouds" that ALP are promising but the "palace in the clouds" hasn't been paid for yet, either. And when we're squealing over a cut of $2.8bn made to Universities, the $46bn open ended (blank cheque) commitment makes me nervous.

As it is, the ALP plan is an "over the top, let's take this hill" approach where the libs is "establish a secure beachhead and move out from there". Yes, the libs are talking "tin cans and string" for that last 200m but labor is planning for you to just keep waiting, and paying. Paying with cuts to universities an pensions. Paying with creative new taxes on superannuation and raw materials. Paying with overseas borrowings that leave us with a forward interest expense.

As with so much here, I think labor has dug themselves into a hole that they need to fill with money to help themselves climb out of. Not even a plan, just argue that its not as bad as it seems and keep throwing money in.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Paul Kelly brilliance: Enhanced in Bluegrass

This song has had at least three incarnations. I've flown back into Australia on overnight flights more than I'd like to count. And many of those were through Sydney. The red roofs catching the first rays of the morning sun, excitement to be home again.

Bob Corbett, fun and energetic, love the mandolin/banjo thing

Uncle Bill, who first did it Bluegrass around 2000

And the studio version with Uncle Bill

And it was originally a 727, from his 1980s "Comedy"

And if you can't get enough of "Bluegrass Paul", here's "Taught by Experts"

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

When being balanced risks every post becoming an inkblot test

In much of my posting, I desperately try for balance. Not simply balance in the things I say, but balance in my thinking. Truly exploring the things around me. The risk, then, is when people can view what you're doing through their own lens, and think you're making their point.

This makes my blog a little like an inkblot test.

For instance I see this third of the ten as two people in tuxedos, at a baptismal font with love between them, and a human gastrointestinal tract hanging over each of their heads. Go figure. I'm normally way more dark on the inside.

And similarly, sometimes I get responses that are entirely unrelated to what was going on in my mind when I wrote the post. UPDATE Sep 6, 2016: I have also found that when people wish to write their own story about whether Cullen is a bad guy or a good guy they end up giving away far too much about themselves.

Perhaps there are worse things to be than a human Rorschach Test. In face to face interactions it seems to provide a great complement to my reasonably well tuned bullshit detector.

Note to self: "Cullen, hit the button less often!"

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Perfect place for a parlor palm

I bought the one at the rear about three years ago at the ABC gardener's market. And the one at the front came from mum last Christmas.

In the morning sun in a bathroom. Made for it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, April 12, 2013

Luigi and Mario: A story of society

Two brothers lived next to each other and lived off the land. They grew cabbages and sold them at the market. For their own reasons they didnt share anything - they had their own equipment,  employed people to pick their cabbages when they needed to, and kept their own accounts. And they got along well.

Then one day Mario fell in a hole and could work no more. Luigi continued to work, and made sure that Mario's family was fed, his house maintained and his kids still got a good education. Because it was the right thing to do.

But this did not occur by magic. Luigi was giving some of his money to Mario. It meant that Luigi either worked harder or had less for himself.

Mario was a good guy. He didn't fight for more or complain that "the system" was shortchanging him. He knew that he was being given a hand directly by his brother, his neighbour.

And that was the thrust of Margaret Thatcher's speech where she was quoted as saying "no such thing as society". I'm pretty sure that if I was older at the time, or if I had lived in Britain, I'd have stronger feelings about Margaret Thatcher. I'm sure hearing many stories now, and it's not pretty.

Erk. I just dug out this article and it produced a physical response, dragging back childhood memories of how harsh and uncaring (to a child) some of those times felt.

But in this I need to remind myself. If I'm not growing my cabbages to sell and put food on my table,  then who's doing it for me? "Society" is just another name for my brother.

And perhaps those of us who dodged the bullet, didn't fall in the hole, and still have the means to earn a buck - well we might remember we have brothers, too.

Forget trying to outsmart Google

Okay. I'll probably spit a few more of these out. I met a person today who blew me away on a dozen levels. So I'll probably peel off a dozen amazing insights. Or maybe I can't. But the first:

Forget trying to work out Google's algorithm. Search engine optimisation is about being authentic and staying on message with each of your web pages.

How clever. There was more to it, and it was all amazing too. And the guy is a freaking amazing skydiver as well. What a world.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Permanent reorganisation: you think the confusion is accidental?

I have seen businesses do it many a time. Sometimes they use the smokescreen of "continuous improvement" which is a misuse of the very sound HACCP principle of cause identification and corrective action.

But its more like when the casino rotates their croupiers at the Blackjack table, or the interrogators who switch the lights on and off at irregular intervals to their prisoners.

Sometimes the disorientation and the fear is accidental in a reorganisation. Sometimes it's deliberate. If you see a business do it once and then grew from it we might call it an accident.

Combating SIWOTI is a war within oneself

Someone I know just posted a conspiracy theory that cites an "experiment" that is a raw insult to the reader. A girl took some water - microwaved some, stove boiled some. Couldn't grow plants in the microwave water while the "natural" water worked fine. What followed was a pile of conjecture about energy and DNA transformation, as though the little plant test actually showed something.

Acronym for "someone is wrong on the internet." Describes the compulsion to post rebuttals to online nonsense, in the vain hope that it will somehow set the record straight.
Now I know "there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than dreamt of in your philosophy" so I was wondering if anyone else had done the same experiment. I found that the experiment has been repeated many times although the results have not been reproduced in any way that even approaches credibility.

These are conversations I don't wish to enter into lest I enter a SIWOTI time spiral. And in the process I may be accused of narrowmindedness because I see it that one dodgy experiment gives us nothing to talk about. I feel cowardly and selfish coming and saying it here in my blog but this post is not really about that one little incident, just my own challenge to let these things go. I'm sure many people exercise SIWOTI forbearance when it come to me too, and I appreciate that.
There's so much truly alarming stuff out there that we don't need to be concerned with bunk. And I've already spent too long on this particular SIWOTI crusade.
I did like what this kid did as his own experiment, but it'll cost you seven minutes. And he drew fire too. Someone else's SIWOTI.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

A cool bus ad

A cool bus ad. Interesting that it makes fun of talking about functional attributes but is really only going for affective (emotional) results. I wonder who the customer is?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Phantom plant, and one for the worriers

It sprung up in a pot I planted out. I didnt know what it was but it looked yummy.

So then I ate some, got sick and I googled a bit on "Solanacae red berry", and found it was a Jerusalem Cherry. Poisonous for sure, but they are really good perennial plants and apparently easy enough to grow.

You just need to deal with the worriers who think it's up to everyone else to keep their kids and pets safe from poisonous plants.

But I'll be growing a few for next season.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Glee and Blues Brothers: Give it up for the music

I know what I like about Glee, that show on tv. Where there's a song going, everyone gets involved.

I like it. Just as in Blues Brothers when Aretha is slinging off at her husband in song, and Jake and Elwood can't help but join in.

Music makes it happen, and I've seen it happen in a few others domains. When I do, I'm inspired.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Reverberations of "Les Miserables"

A music teacher lives next door and im hearing a flute - I think - playing "when tomorrow comes" over and again in different keys.

And as I walk around my garden I can reflect on how inspiring "Les Mis" has been, from when I saw it on the stage 20 years ago to when I saw it earlier this year on the screen. Something for everyone.

That is all.

Passing off, anyone?

Certainly not illegal. But you can make the decision about how ethical. A local talkback radio gardener recommends buying "any potting soil with the ticks down the side".
 I presume John Lamb is talking about the "Australian Standard" mark. But another non accredited producer can put ticks on their bag as well. No biggie, it's the consumer's job to know what they're buying.
But just a little dodgy.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Smoke alarms remind me of the power of fear

I chatted on the radio yesterday as the conversation was about the memory of year 2000. I recalled how the milennium bug was a real worry, concluding with "the world runs on fear and for a while the millennium bug was the fear of the day"

And as we go to daylight savings and I prepare to change all my smoke alarm batteries I recall a very early experience with door to door selling and fear appeals. In 1976 some (nice) guy came out to "consult" mum and dad about the fire security of our family house. Some scary photos and perhaps even movies and then the kids (us) were asked to leave while "the adults" had a conversation. The next day the "consultant" was back, putting a "fire detector" in every room. The guy was clearly a better salesman than installer, because it was my dad who was routing around the roof to find the timbers to attach to.

I recall the name of the company as "masterguard" and they may be global, and still playing the same game. This from a forum:

My wife and our friends went to this "Free" dinner last night and learned about how poor the average smoke detector really protects your home. Now the guy wants to come to our apartment to see how well protected we are. Fine, he was nice enough and bought us dinner, plus we are moving 1700 miles away on Saturday. I can't find much info on the web about costs. Their website smacks of MLM speak. Too much info about what you need to fear and not enough about what the products are. I've found one piece of info here and that's it. Sounds like a rip off even if it does protect way better. I have exhausted my own resources and am now turning to OT. I know there are others out there who have run into these people. What do you know?

So my (very world wise) parents paid thousands in today's money for some gadgets because they cared, let a salesman into their house, and into their hearts. Fear is a weapon, and freedom is the resisting of it. We did get some shiny stickers though, that said "fireman save my child" to put on the kids windows. I'm sure the story was that if there was an incident then the fireman would know where to go.

I'm still changing my batteries today. Just good sense. Where there is a gap between good sense and our own behaviour we can often see that fear is the cause.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, April 5, 2013

Extreme sports require some "just chill" too

I hit the road before the sun came up. I wanted to get out to the dropzone where I'd left some gear, and get back to Mount Barker where I need to be in class.

But I'm here before anything is unlocked. So there's nothing yo do but chill.

Long before I took up skydiving I was tokd that you spend a lot of timr on the ground. The yin and yang of life I suppose. Extreme excitement,  extreme chilling.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Fixing a problem requires system change

My beautiful, dopey dog got out today.

When I moved the mower to the front yard I left the gate open.

To solve the problem requires a change in protocol - if I open the back gate then first the dog must be behind anther gate.

Just hoping I remember is simply doing A and hoping for B. As an ex colleague Sam Wells would say "a system gives the results it was designed to create".

So if you wish to see big changes then make big changes.

A regular user just cost this coffee shop some money

Another thing about regular users in service industries.  They tend to take up more time of service staff.

A pleasant chat to a customer is only pleasant for the one having the chat. The people lined up behind you are far less interested in your latest overseas trip.

In many ways trading efficiency for niceness is a false economy. But it does give you the comfort of the familiar. While the many "once a monthers" just go somewhere else.

So my once a week coffee morning ritual can now move up the road.  Customers shift for the smallest reasons and the good news is that they don't leave forever. I'm sure I'll be back.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A skydive from last weekend

I put a camera helemt on and got Steven doing a jump with buddy Paul. Odd that we both went unstable on exit but I managed to keep Steven in frame. And the longest plane shot I've ever done:

"Robert" caught a break

A few months ago I had a friend "Robert" who was in the darkness. His employment situation wasn't going how he liked, and things were looking bad.

I got a call from him the other week. From his new desk in a new job with a far better employer than he had.

As I say to those around me "soon this will all be just a bad memory, a war story".

I just need to remember to hear my own words.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad