OK Social Networks – Enough!

I am going to have to have a close look at how this happens. Let me set the scene. I am doing some recruitment consulting at the moment, specialising in Project Management and Pre-Sales roles, two areas I have a lot of experience in. So I am doing this to help out a mate whilst I am looking for a permanent role for me. I never look for a role I have applied for so it is all squeaky clean and no conflict of interest.

Tonight the boss asked me if I would have a look for a Business Intelligence expert for an organisation working in the Micro Finance area. Sure, says I, “what BI tool are they going to use?”

“Either Tableau or T24″ he says”.

Now T24 I know. Tableau I wouldn’t know from a slice of pizza. So, a quick bit of googling and I turn up the web page for Tableau. That is all well and good then I noticed that there was a news release from the company saying they had made the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence solutions, in the Leader Quadrant and at the head of the field. A quick click on that link and I saw the table.

OK, so what’s my beef? I later went in to check up on my social life in Facebook and to make sure those dimwits had not switched me off “most recent” and slipped me into “top stories” again. They hadn’t but, as I started to scroll down my timeline (I like it chronologically thanks) I came across the following:

Like I want to see this in my social diary!
Like I want to see this in my social diary!

So, on my Facebook timeline I never talk about work or the companies I work for. I don’t talk anything really, other than social issues, wargaming, and why technology keeps failing for Mr Phillip.

If Tableau Software and Facebook think that this is going to have me rush out and either recommend their software or (gasp) buy it, they are seriously mistaken.

A task has been added to my next spare time (when I am not painting little toy soldiers) to scroll through all the settings on Google, Facebook and anywhere bloody else I can think of, and switch off anything that connects.

#fail #whatpissesmeoff dudes!

Universe’s Oldest Galaxies

Yesterday the Sydney Morning Herald ran a piece today from Bloomberg called “Hubble ‘Time Machine’ sees universe’s oldest galaxies” the gist of which was that the Hubble had seen these galaxies the light of which had taken about 13 billion years to reach us. Now they estimated that this was around 600 to 900 million years after the Big Bang which kind of set everything in motion.

As I understand, the speed of light is an absolute in Universal terms. By my reckoning then, that means that these galaxies must have been around 900 million light years away from where the Big Bang actually occurred. That is the maximum distance, they may have been closer.

Now, this is where the whole thing screws up in my head. If they are 900 million light years away from the Big Bang, and it took 13 billion light years for the light from them to get to us, then the closest we can be to where the Big Bang occurred would be, oh, 12.1 billion light years.

This is where I have a problem. This means that assuming there was a Big Bang, we missed out on it as we were already too far away from it to be affected by it.

Me ‘ead ‘urts!

Books in Oz

I like to read. I like to go to the bookshop and wander around looking for a book to buy and to read. I also buy books online – but mostly I buy from the bookstore. The current Australian Labour Government, by a bowing to an interest group, has put at risk my ability to walk around a bookshop and buy a book.

The government has done this by bowing to the requests of the local publishing companies and Australian authors who lobbied for keeping the 30 day rule in place. See Books win for authors and publishers and Books decision a windfall for Amazon, says Fels from the Sydney Morning Herald for details of the decision.

The argument is that this 30 day rule protects Australian authors and ensures that their works will be published. Rot. Does anyone think that Matthew Reilly or Colleen McCulloch and company will really have trouble being published? Goodness, English publishers will publish works written by Swedish authors and then translated into English so if the story is good, it will be published.

It comes down to this. If writing is art, then no protection is needed – indeed, as art, no protection is desirable. If writing is business, then it can learn to compete like all other business has to.

Damn fool thing to keep in place. Write to your member of parliament and complain!

Paperbacks

I went to Dymock’s today – it was time for another book to read. Now, I must be honest, I am a bit of a bibliophile and I do love the smell and the feel of a new book almost as much as I love the smell and the feel of a very old book. I also know that no matter how hard Google or Kindle tries, they just will not be able to provide the same smell and feeling that you get from a book.

Of course, books may be seen as being environmentally unfriendly being as they are made from trees and I am not going to argue that case here.

In to Dymock’s I went and started cruising the fiction and new release shelves looking for something to read. After looking at several favourite authors, I started to look for an author that I had not read before and with a fictional subject of interest. I ended up purchasing Matthew Reilly’s Seven Ancient Wonders and Simon Scarrow’s The Eagle’s Conquest. I also purchased The Wolf: How One German Raider Terrorized The Southern Seas During The First World War by Richard Guillatt and Peter Hohnen (and a copy autographed by Peter Hohnen at that). The Wolf is the story about a German Commerce Raider from the First World War and is a nautical tale, it interested me immediately I saw it.

So, what’s my beef? This. The Wolf is non-fiction and as a reference work, will sit on my bookshelves ad infinitum so its format does not bother me so much. The other two works though are in the realms of what might be described as pulp fiction. One certainly is historical fiction but it is fiction never-the-less. When I was looking for this book, I also considered some Patrick O’Brian (Post Captain) (I enjoy reading the Jack Aubrey series again) as well as some George MacDonald Fraser (Flashman in the Great Game) and other similar works.

Damn me but those books and series (and they are all reprints of works released into paperback many years ago) are all in the larger format paperback. I examined further. There is the regular paperback size which, in Australia, costs around $17.95 to $19.95 (overpriced it is too). Then there is the larger paperback which uses more paper (and must be less friendly to the environment as a result) and costs $24.95 whilst the largest paperbacks (even more paper used) cost $34.95.

What is the purpose of the larger paperback sizes for pulp fiction? Publisher profits is all. Publishers make more profit per book sold on the larger sizes as the are able to fool the consumer that they cost more to produce. Why produce them at all when the smaller size serves just as well?

Really, it is time the Australian book market was just opened up totally to being able to source any book from anywhere and help get rid of publisher gouging. And a big thanks to Penguin books and Popular Penguins who can still turn a profit when releasing a paperback for $9.95.

Thomo Strikes Again

I picked up my Significant Other (SO) a week or so ago in the city. As she got into the car she said “the car smells a little doesn’t it?” I replied “yeah, I noticed that the other day but wasn’t sure what it was.”

Time passed and each time SO or I got into the car, we’d notice the smell.

Two nights ago I said “I wonder if it is the umbrella in the boot – perhaps I put it in there when it was wet?”

“That could be it” said SO.

Today I got into the car to meet SO at Ashfield Mall. I noticed the smell again but when I got to the Mall I needed to get the shopping bags out of the boot. I opened the boot and sniffed and sure enough, the smell was still there. I grabbed the umbrella, felt it but it was dry. I then sniffed it – still no smell there. I moved the bags and shuffled things around but could not detect where the smell was coming from.

I then stuck my head further into the boot and then noticed, up the back of the boot, was a small tray of chopped lamb – a packet of meat like you would buy from the supermarket. The use by date on it was 15 July 2009. Today is 29 August 2009. Near as I can tell, it must have slid off the other shopping when I was driving back from the supermarket around 10 July 2009. As I would have shopped at night then I hadn’t noticed it.

Of course, it took me two weeks to actually look into the boot to see what the smell was.

Doh!

Yesterday’s News

So, yesterday was one of those days for news in the paper and a few articles caught my eye (including the MSE article I mentioned in the last post). Of course, the Moran family hit was something that if it had not involved the death of a man would have been truly funny in a black kind of way. Other news was:

Pensioner risks losing home over unpaid BigPond account – this was a classic piece of typical Telstra combined with what happens corporate-wide when you outsource everything. Seems that the pensioner ran up a bill of about $1000 and hadn’t paid. Telstra stopped chasing her, added some fees, sold the bill off to a collection agency who added some more fees, got the bill up to $2000 (how does a bill in Australia double?) and then took the pensioner to Bankruptcy Court where administrative fees are now added to it all and from a $1000 start, the pensioner now owes $23,000. Well done Telstra – seems you have retained the Sol what’s-‘is-name efficiency!

Tears as senator’s daughter expelled from chamber – this has received a lot of coverage lately with opinions kind of split about whether the Senate should change its regulations to permit a child being in the chamber with a parent. I have a problem with this (a couple actually). The first is that it is a workplace and as such, there are risks involved in having a child around. The fact that it is the senate chamber does not make it any safer and it is, in my opinion, irresponsible parenting to have a child there. Secondly, if the Senate permits senator’s children in the chamber, then this sets a precedent for all other workplaces or creates another inequity in Australian society. So, for example, would we permit a child in an Army Main Battle Tank because dad is the driver? Perhaps in the No 3 smelter at the BHP steelworks in Newcastle? Why should these places be treated differently to the Senate? The third issue is one of that of fellow workers. They do not come to work to have children running around the office which may effect their work output. Unfair on colleagues, unsafe for the child and inequitable for society as a whole.

He had her jailed for adultery, now she’s headed to Australia with him – this was a classic. Bloke rings the police in Dubai when his missus disappears into a hotel with another bloke for a bit of jiggery-pokery. Police then arrest her and the other bloke, they are sentenced for naughtiness and spend 6 weeks in gaol in Dubai. She gets out of gaol and heads off to Australia (as she has been deported from Dubai) with her husband – seems that they have kissed and made up. Why is this interesting? Well, I am wondering if the Australian immigration folks actually let her in as she has recently been incarcerated and has a criminal record overseas. After all, she did 6 weeks in the slammer, the woman who pinched the bar mat from the bar in Phuket and was subsequently denied a visa to the US, she was only fined $20!

Yep, it’s good news week!

War veteran’s ears chewed by mice

The Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday that the War veteran’s ears chewed by mice as a result of an 89 year old war veteran being found with ears and neck chewed by mice as he slept (or tried to sleep) on the night before ANZAC Day.

I’m a fairly easy going sort of bloke but some things really steam me up. About two years ago it was Cadaver abuse: UNSW apologises that steamed me up.

The thing that annoys me the most about this is that this is Australia. We are a developed country. This type of thing just should not happen here. More to the point, where was the nursing staff when this was happening? Surely the old chap made some noise and no one in a nursing home heard him?

Unbelievable.

Email Signatures

I know that I spoke of these a while ago, email signatures, that is. Especially those really long ones threatening all kinds of dire results if you are not the person named  – has anyone ever had anything dire happen to them as a result of a misdirected email? Anyway, as I get grumpier, more e-Things start to annoy. The latest little annoyance at the bottom of emails I have received is the expression

sent from my Blackberry

or

sent from my iPhone

Who cares? Blackberries, iPhones and a host of other mobile phones can send an email and have been able to for many years now. Labelling that you have sent from your Blackberry or iPhone is kind of like that English comedy sketch I saw back in about 2000 or 2001 I think it was, where the main character is standing in the middle of a train carriage with a 2-metre tall mobile phone against the side of his face and is yelling “I’m on the train, talking to you on my mobile phone” just so everyone knew.

**Posted on my blog from my PC **

“Do it” or do “it”?

What is a "do it"?
What is a "do it" or should that be a 'do "it"'?

There have been advertisements on the TV for it, there have been piano players on the TV and there was the famous “Censored” billboard but the one I wondered about the most was this billboard advertisement.

Now, I know (or at least I think I know) what “it” is in the context of ‘”it”‘ and I can then surmise what ‘do “it”‘ means in that context. What I can’t work out is what a ‘”do it”‘ actually is – I remember years ago we passed around messages about a “tuit” – especially the one that had the round shape, but I have never run across a “do it” before.

I reckon the advertising agency screwed up and intended to have a billboard message of ‘Men, do “it” longer’ but had trouble working the English out so ended up with having longer “do its” instead!

I believe the “do its” are very expensive as well – but that is another story.

Argh!

I’m a pretty easy going kind of a bloke, but some things really annoy the me. The ovine nature of rail travel is one of those things. I’ve often felt that the only thing missing from Town Hall or Wynyard Railway Stations during the evening peak hour is a border collie or two.

However, the thing that annoys me the most is the station attendants. Somewhere along the line, RailCorp (the State Rail Authority’s name for this year or so) cleaned up the station announcements and made them understandable by pre-recording them all. Well done, now we can hear where the next train is going to.

However, they continued to provide whistles for the station staff. Now, we discovered when working in Korea, that if you give a man a whistle, he will blow it, to exert the full extent of the authority the whistle gives him. This is precisely what happens with the RailCorp whistle-blowers.

A train arrives, there are about 30 people around each doorway waiting for passengers to alight the carriage. The station staff then start blowing their whistles. This is not a “warning, the train is getting ready to leave” blow but rather a “move your A*** you lazy sods, I want to get back into the office to finish the crossword” kind of blow.

Argh!

The whistle is a warning tool and as such it should be used just prior to the train departing, to warn folks that the train is departing and do not board. It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a replacement for a good border collie. I’ve never seen a whistle work with sheep!