Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ain't this Dell lark a larf...

The word Hell is synonymous with Dell. It is just one of those things. They left the issue that Jeff Jarvis raised a year ago without much to counter it.

Now they start blogging and there are two camps:
  1. The leave them alone, you wanted them to start blogging and they are. They are joining the conversation camp
  2. The now that you're here and made an arse of yourself last time we crossed paths, I'm going to remind you of it so you can explain yourself
If Dell wants to be your friend ('cos we're all friends in the blogosphere right?) and the last time you saw them they slapped you around the face (or it was your friend that they slapped) what's your reaction going to be when they show up after so long?

That's right: "So, you want to explain what was going on last year?"

But before you can get a word in they put their index finger to their lips and go "check out the performance features on my new product...".

Not a way to get your detractors onside. The whole issue has a sense of inevitability. Whatever Dell did to make a start in the blogosphere was never going to be right.

Tipping your toes in the pool is rarely a pleasant experience but is it worth getting in the pool in the long run? Hell, yes!

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Friday, July 07, 2006

More Fun and Games with the English and the Scots

And who better to centre it on than English hate figure Cristiano Ronaldo.

Before the World Cup started Ronaldo has been the most annoying player in the Premiership. Ten step-overs every time he gets the ball is complete overkill and only a Man Utd fan could enjoy it. The boy has got skill, no doubts, but I haven't watched a domestic game where half or more of the audience don't want to see him get "snapped" good and proper.

The BBC reports on the story of how he fared in the endeavour to be the FIFA's best young player for the World Cup competition where the Scots and the English have jostled his ranking with viral messages through emails and forums.

Consider July the month of madness where northern Europe has gone completely mad and the English actually like the French more than the Scots.
Don't panic though I'm sure Chirac, in true Prince Philip style, will band some insult around to put the world to rights again.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

So the English and Scottish are finally falling out...

Well, it's about bloody time we had this out I suppose.

Story number one

The Tory party want the Scottish parliamentarians to not be able to vote on English and Welsh only affairs. To clarify, only Scottish MPs can vote on Scotland only matters.
There is absolutely, positively no question that what the Tories are proposing is correct. Since devolution is so important to the Scottish elects (they wanted their own parliament to make their own decisions) it is nothing but hypocritical to expect the English to want anything less purely for a sense of fairness.

They have a concern that a two tier system will come into play at Westminster. Fair point to raise although completely unfounded. When the Scots head up to Edinburgh to discuss Scottish matters, the remainder will discuss the what's on the English agenda. When the Scots come back, the talk will turn to British matters.

Are English matters going to move away from Westminster? Bollocks are they. Not on my watch.
Millennium dome, Wembley stadium, Scottish Parliament building. What have they got in common? They were large scale buildings budgeted to cost a bomb, they all went well over the generous budget assigned to each project. There's no way in hell that my taxes are going anywhere near a ridiculously unwarranted project to move English politics away from it's home.

Story number two

Newsnight stuck a banger of a car dressed up to the nines in St Georges flags and parked it in one of the roughest estates in Glasgow. 20 minutes later and Scottish youths violently trashed the thing.

Um, yeah. Turn the tables. Scotland qualifies for the World Cup whilst England don't. The Beeb in Scotland decides to deck out a Nova in the Scottish colours and park it in a troublesome area of London. Same result guaranteed. Scrap that, you probably wouldn't have needed to turn the tables...

What should we take from this?

This experiment says exactly nothing about distinguishing either nation. All it points out is that it is going to take more than an ASBO to control British youths that have no sense or, hang on, we'll leave it at that. They just have no sense.

In England there are enough jokes about Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham or any other major city declaring independence. The best one (in terms of humour, not quality of suggestion) is about turning the M25 into a moat and London going at it alone.

However, when it comes to independence with the Scottish, it just isn't funny. It is always taken too seriously. I can't see where the gain comes from.


The two news stories do nothing but stir up tension. The resolutions to each are easy.
Story one: same voting rule for Scotland as for England. Logical, fair, unquestionable.
Story two: so inconsequential, inconclusive and unscientific it isn't funny. Ignore it for just the bit of fun it was meant to be.

Haven't we got enough trouble from internal and external sources as it is?

Read your email, don't read into it

Itzy Sabo has written a little piece on one of my pet subjects tone in email. His post Don’t write to me in that tone of voice! highlights a study finding that if you make a guess as to the tone half the time you will be wrong.

Said it before and if I end up dying before email does then I'm sure I'll say it on my death bed: "read your email, don't read into it".

If you're not sure whether someone is trying to convey a tone you will find out in your next verbal or physical interaction.

Self Esteem and Self Confidence are not the same thing

High self esteem and high self confidence will lead to a happy life. Doesn't necessarily mean a moral life, but you'll be happy with the result none the less.

The good news is that both attributes can be strengthened by different means. It shouldn't be surprising to find one is easier than the other.

Mark Goulston provides as very concise distinction between the two and offers the Top 10 measures of self esteem on the Never Eat Alone blog.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Dirty Bankers?

The banking industry bore the brunt of an onslaught of its lending practices by BBC's Panorama programme last night.

It appears that the cynical views of modern society have not yet reached the public's perception of banks. They must be honourable and have a duty of care to customers. Not doing so should prove a shock to the masses.

Really?

I'm pretty sure that should I give my bank the chance they would happily own me. Nothing vicious about it, purely business: the ultimate business in fact, owning 100% of your customer's available funds. Everyone has their magic number, for me it was 20%. When I owed 20% of my salary on credit cards and overdrafts that was enough for me. They had far much more say in my life than I wanted them to have and so I made a drastic effort to start paying it back.

You'll have to excuse me for being unsympathetic but there are two sides of stupidity that collide together when a bank hands out too much money and a person accepts it.
  1. That the bank expects to get their money back.
  2. That the person doesn't expect their life to be an unmanageable living hell when they take money they know full well they won't be able to pay back.
I'd wager that the costs involved in claiming money from the dead debtor makes for a poor ROI. It is up to both parties to own up to the problem.
Banks should indeed have a moral responsibility to not push customers over the edge and customers themselves should know better than to put themselves in the situation.