Nov 21

Meritocracy – good or bad?

Reading the Sunday papers, I was struck by the contrast betwen the outrage against Prince Charles complaint about people been led to expect more than they are capable of (or ‘raising above their station’ as some papers describe it) and the praise for the new Pixar movie The Incredibles which argues against people been forced into a box that matches everyone else, with no opportunity to use skills or powers that are different to the average.

I read meritocracy as meaning that everyone has the chance to do what they are good at, not that everyone has to have the chance of doing the same things.

People are different and treating everyone the same can only result in frustration all around. My Mom works with children who think nothing of stealing, of mugging, of damaging other people to get what they are ‘entitled’ to – because that;s what other peopel have. I think they confuse things with opportunties – everyone is entitled to the same opprotunities, but they have to take them and earn the things.

That’s today’s rant over. Lots more to do!

Nov 20

Photos

I’ve been trying to put up a photogallery so that I can share with family and get them to put their own pictures up. Got all the config sorted, but can’t load any pictures – tomorrow’s job to debug it.

Nov 20

Emigrating

My granddad emigrated to Australia this week. He was 83, born into a flapper woold that moved into depression and war. He married my Nan over 60 years ago; a great tale was told about how Nan’s dad had come to visit them on their honeymoon in Buxton bringing some fresh eggs that he’d obtained – a treat in a time of rationing. But Nan passed away earlier this year and so my Grandad decided he would try something different and took up the invitation of his daughter Linda to join them in Canbera, Australia.

This is his first trip abroad, the furthest he’d been before was the Channel Islands. All the hassle and red tape of getting him a visa are over. He boarded a plane for the first time for a 22 hour journey- at least he’s flying business class.

Hopefully everything goes OK on the journey and he settles in – more news to follow.

Nov 15

Spooks

Just finished watching Spooks – did they upset all the actors this year? At least with Tom there was some kind of build up to his leaving. Zoe – boom, one episode and gone. No warning, no build up, just a single story. Looks like we’re going to have more standalone episodes and little story arc as we’ve had move before.

Still an enjoyable show though.

Nov 14

Images from Australia

Here’re some images from holiday. First we have a view from the cable car down from Kuranda. This is over 7km of cable car over rainforest – you need to be able to cope with heights.

Cairns View from Skyrail

Here’s an attempt at an arty shot – a cycad they were saying was about 2000 years old. We were in the Daintree rainforest

Cycad in the Daintree Rainforest

Next, a tropical beach – DayDream Island in the Whitsundays

A beach on Daydream Island

A shot at sunset from my hotel balcony in Mission Beach

Mission Beach views

A view of Sydney from the harbour

Sydney view

Nov 14

Back to Scotland

spent the weekend up in Glasgow at my first Committee meeting for the 2005 World Masters rowing champs which will be taking place in Strathclyde Park in Sept next year. This was a walkthrough meeting with the FISA Master committee to ensure they are happy with every thing we have got set up for the event.

The weekend started off badly, with a delayed flight from Heathrow, so did not get to the hotle til 10.30. But troubles magically melted away when I got offered a complementary glass of wine on check-in. The hotle is new since the last time I was up there, Alona’s, in the theme park at the top end but it was extremely comfortable for what is in essence a travellers’ place.

It was weird walking into the meeting room; I’d worked with many of the other people in organsing regattas over the years, so it felt a little like I had nver left. Four of the Masters team were there, and we spent the day going through the ‘cookbook’ line by line to ensure that any questions were answered and that the commission went away feeling htat we had everything in hand – which we do. Many of the team were on the 96 Worlds team or the 88 Masters team.

The day all done, it was time for a drink and a meal. The Motherwell Provast (or was it of North Lanarkshire?) was the guest of honour. Great fun was had, and lots of wine consumed…too much. the head was tough this morning. I slept most of the way back down – at least BA was on time.

All I have to do now is come up with a simple, easy and useful method of managing all the event tickets, whilst giving a hand to the marketing team.

Nov 10

RSS, podcasts and PMCs

Seemed to spend the day talking enthusiastically about blogs, RSS feeds and podcasts to my boss and a few other team members. And then setting them up with Newsgator and iPodder so that they can access the information. Two new converts to this type of information feed.

Now my boss wants to work out how, or if, we can use this, for some of the brand sites we have. I can definitely see its use in some of them (and the audience) but the only problem is…the lawyers. This type of content is made for quick, rapid use, getting it out there in real time. When I work in the alcohol industry, getting anything anywhere in the public domain has to run through three teams of lawyers and can take 5 days or more. Challenges ahead, to smoothline these processes to be able to use it in a useful way.

Listening to the Podcasting session from BloggerConIII, I was struck by the comment about how the techs make great products and then the lawyers come in and, err…challenge it? All our marketing information is vetted by lawyers – it kind of goes with the industry. But reviewing and approving a 30 second TV commercial or a bilboard ad has a different approach to multiple batches of content on a website, that, and this is sometime the scary part for them, can link out to other sites and can be linked to from anywhere.

So over the last 18 months there has been a huge learning curve in our legal teams and we are now geting reasonable turnarounds and great co-operation. The teams are becoming educated in requirements and possibilities and we’ve moved away from one team giving contradictory advice to another – and it was always advice, we could never get information up front as the medium was in development.

Where was I going? Corporate blogs, marketing blogs, making money out of blogs. I doubt I’ll see a corporate blog in my company, at least in the near future. I doubt we’ll ever sponsor/provide money to a blogger to comment onthe products, or the events, or the venues – no control over content. We could however utilise the tools and technology to as ways of providing content through to consumers.

Nov 08

Blogs – the new diaries?

Reading the multiple comments about Blogger.com that took place this last weekend, I was struck by the comments about the number of people that blog for their own use. Definitely the reason I got round to starting ths; a long time irregular diary keeper, I am now far more used to typing then writing. So when I finally moved away from ISP ‘free’ web spave to my own domain, it was time to transfer the medium to an electronic one.

Nov 08

A new Audience for Star Wars

Visiting the family this weekend, got into a typical converstion about films, likes and dislikes, this time with my neice. Her favourite films are the Star Wars films, she loves C3PO and the Ewoks, and watches the films regularly. In fact, most Saturday mornings she demands her parents put Star Wars on the video. She’s 3 years old. She has not yet seen any of the newer films, but it would be interesting to see her reation to Jar Jar.

Nov 08

Portable Media Centres – the Zen Way

For the past week I’ve been playing around with a new toy, a Creative Zen Portable Media Centre. I hadn’t bought an iPod, the amount of music I normally listen to in any journey easily fits onto one or two CDs so did not see the need – and I don’t jog so a jog-free system was not important. But in this case, the ability to carry a lot of my other media in the one package attracted me.

I first saw it at a local Advertising/NewMedia conference and had been looking out for one since. In this case I had picked it up in Singapore so if I get an issue with it returning it to the vendor may be a wee problem. Especially as when I first plugged it in, the batttery light did not want to show – so there was no indication it was charging.

The first thing that went on it were all the holiday photos – great for taking into work and showing friends and colleagues. Far more easier for me than getting photos printed; I;ve still got films that are 5 years plus old, for some reason never something that I get round to, so digital is far easier. Next were some videos I had on the PC, to check for quality and then finally, a variety of MP3 downloads – mainly podcasts. Everythings works great so far with some minor problems.

  • The screen is far too shiny, so looking at in any kind of glare is a problem – plus it quickly picks up many curious fingerprints.
  • One of the earlier problems noted in reviews about lack of stand has been rectified, partly, through a case with a hard cover that acts as a stand – but does not offer enough positions to anchor in it on anything but the flattest of surfaces.
  • The menu and categorisation can sometimes get confusings – at time seem to go round and round the choices instead of up and down the directory. This will go with time and practice.
  • Interface to WMP10 works well; the only little issue I had was accidently shutting down the PC whilst still connected seems to freeze the software. Only removing the battery got it working again.
  • the volume resets it self to 0 when switching between headphones and speaker – very annoying habit

So far though, I’m loving it. Next wish – a remote control on the headphone cord. The connection point is there, just can’t find the device.

Nov 07

Starter for 10..

Now I’ve finally got this set up, let’s start off by using this for musings on my recent holiday – a great way to share this with the rest of the family. So, soon as I’m more awake, work will commence, in the meantime, we just have a picture.

Sydney Opera House

(updated 5 Nov 2012: this isn’t the original. I have no idea where the original picture is, it’s got lost in blog moves!)