I have moved!

February 21, 2008

You can now find me at:


Where’d He Go?

January 9, 2008

Oops. Christmas. New Year, time away from the laptop. Funny how time flies and all that. I am still here, just ‘easing’ myself back into the New Year (well, more like I am catching up with real-life). Normal service will resume very shortly.

Pet Hate #342 .. Taxis

December 20, 2007

What’s the one thing that binds most towns and cities worldwide in terms of being absolutely and completely crap? Yep, Taxis (and taxi drivers).

Standing in the line for an hour and a half at 1:00am at Star City casino the other day gave me plenty of time to think about the subject, and I reckon that in pretty much every single city I’ve been to (except maybe Hong Kong), taxis exhibit these similar attributes:

– pricey
– late or never show for a booking
– never available when it rains, snows or even feels like an unusual weather event
– impossible to get late at night (London and Sydney being two extreme examples)

and are equipped with a driver who:
1. Doesn’t speak English (allowable in non-English speaking countries of course!)
2. Doesn’t wash
3. Drives at the speed of Michael Schumacher with the driving skill of Stevie Wonder
4. Doesn’t know where he’s going
5. Tries to rip you off if he thinks you don’t know either
6. Will attempt to go off-meter or haggle an additional price
7. Will add on all sorts of mysterious extra charges
8. Doesn’t want to go south of the river/north/on a short trip/to the badlands etc etc
9 Will engage you in a one-way conversation on all the subjects he is an expert in (thank you talk radio!)
10 Will spend most of the journey on the phone/pressing random buttons in the cab/sniffing/changing lanes for no reason whatsoever or fiddling with the aircon.

I hate taxis with such a passion that I will go out of my way to find alternative methods of getting somewhere, or simply not bother!

Am I mad or do other people feel the same way?

What I really need is my own private driver 🙂

Fish, Chicken or Fishicken?

December 14, 2007

You’ll be pleased to hear I made it safely back from Perth. I like Perth, although even Sydney’s fly population seems to have migrated west in search of resources wealth (thereby further driving up the price of everything to even crazier levels!).

No standard jokes about airline food from the flight back, but I did notice something strange. I had the chicken curry, but on the lid it said ‘contains fish’. Hmm. Probably best not to ask!

Did I miss anything whilst I was away? 😉

Out West

December 10, 2007

I’m currently in Perth for a couple of days. Coming from the UK, where a one hour flight is long, there’s always something a little strange about getting on a plane for 5 hours and still hearing “g’day mate” when you get off at the other end!

I did think I’d have the flight from hell; with a small child behind me and a young couple next to me who wouldn’t stop kissing (ugh – get a room!). Luckily, the flight was ok – turns out the girl from the kissing couple was on her first ever flight and it was kind of cute to see someone who was still amazed by the whole thing. It was a little bumpy into Perth and she couldn’t stop herself laughing like a kid on a swing. When we landed, she was stunned to be all the way over in Western Australia 🙂

Having spent far too much time in airports and on flights recently it was nice to see someone not weighed down with the pain of security, cramped seats and crappy food. Wouldn’t it be great to get back to that again?

Yeah, I know .. we can but dream …

What’s the Point Of LinkedIn Answers?

December 7, 2007

Are you a member of LinkedIn? I am, and I have to confess that I find the ‘Answers’ section strangely addictive. If you haven’t seen it, it’s basically a Q&A area for members to ask a question on pretty much any subject and hope for the wisdom of the crowd to provide an answer. There are a number of factors though that make me wonder ‘what’s the point?’.

To help explain: the questions can largely be broken down into the following groups.

– Real, useful, interesting and thought provoking questions or requests for contacts
(about 5% of the total)

– those that can be answered in two minutes via a Google search
(‘what is the longest river in Uzbekistan?’ *)

– questions that make no sense or are unable to be answered in this context, or are so ambiguous there’s no hope of a sensible answer
(‘Tips for creating my own website?’)

– Self-promotion cunningly (or not so cunningly in most cases) disguised as a question
(‘what do you think of eatmyshortsatxmas.com?’)

– Bizarre zen-Buddhism style questions
(‘You are a cupcake. What flavor are you?’)

– Questions about LinkedIn
(‘How do I merge two accounts?’ – about 90% of the total!)

– Repeats
(the same question posted in five different categories, one after the other)

– Completely off the wall questions. I call these the ‘airplane’ questions, if you remember the scene at the information desk.
(‘Should I fake my orgasms?’ .. ‘What’s the best price of wooden limbs in the Ukraine?’ .. ‘Why does my new dishwasher make a high pitched sound?’)

So why do people bother? And why do I keep coming back? My theory is that it’s a combination of genuinely wanting to help and our inherent competitive, self-promotional traits coming to the fore. LinkedIn allow you to give someone the equivalent of a gold-star for a good or great answer. Who wouldn’t like that kind of ‘getting-back-to-school-and-impressing-the-teacher’ recognition 🙂

I’ve noticed that there’s only a relatively small group of people answering pretty much every question (and, without sounding rude, that most of the really crappy or bizarre questions seem to come from India).

I’d love to know though, whether those people who asked a question feel that they’ve received value for money.

Perhaps I’ll raise the question on LinkedIn 😉

* Amu Darya

10 Signs You Might Be Addicted to Social Networking

December 4, 2007

– You learn about your brother’s divorce via his status update

– When you look at your friends list you have no idea who half of those people are

– You feel like you want to start poking and bitch-slapping people in real-life

– Complete strangers know more about you than your partner does

– The easiest way for your boss to contact you is by leaving a message on your super-wall

– People you hated at school are now on your best-best-friends list (anything to get that friends number up!)

– You start virtually stalking old girlfriends you haven’t seen in 10 years
.. and then get jealous when you realise they’re married ..

– Your mobile data plan blows out to $300 a month

– Your believe your friends really do include world leaders and A-list celebrities (‘It is Sylvester Stallone. Honest!’)

Anyone got any more?

Have eBay Gone Mad?

December 3, 2007

In my humble opinion, eBay have been on the customer service slide from right about the time they purchased PayPal. You can’t deny the continuing popularity and hence the number of potential bidders for each item, however.

Hence I decided to list my old PS2 and a bunch of games for sale. Today I received the following message from them:

“We appreciate that you chose eBay to list the following auction-style listing(s):

120192060865 – Sony PlayStation 2 Silver Slimline Console, 43 Games ++

However, your auction-style listing(s) violates eBay’s Adult Material policy and has been removed.”

Truly a ‘wtf?’ moment!!

When Does Choice Become Confusion?

December 3, 2007

It’s no state secret that we, as consumers, are given more and more choices in everything we seek to buy. Enter any supermarket and you’re probably as amazed as I am at exactly how many different types of cheese or hair shampoo there are. If you’re a short, white, ginger-haired, middle-aged, dry-skinned, flaky scalped kind of fellow, there will be a conditioner just for you! Try asking ‘what salad dressings do you have’ when asked if you’d like one in any restaurant in the US and you’ll be confused by the time your waitress has reached number three (of fifteen).

Choice is great of course: how boring would it be to always have to have the same thing, in the same colour, with the same taste? Every .. single .. time.

But when is it too much? At what point do we cross from choice to just confusion?

We were looking for a new mobile phone for my wife at the weekend. Being a bit of a geek I wasn’t phased by the choice of phones themselves – that’s just techie heaven. What confused (read: annoyed) me was the choice of tariffs. Or more significantly, the way in which those choices were almost deliberately designed to confuse and blind you with science.

Yes, I’d like to choose a plan that accounts for my activity. The more I pay per month, the lower my per-call cost should be. I understand that we can’t have a one-size fits all approach. But what is it with plans such as: ‘pay $14 on the $39 cap and get $140 of calls: excluding international calls, but including 5Mb of data, at $5 per month. With 200 included texts; but only on network-to-network super-maxi plan phones; on a Wednesday;in September’


It’s not a cap if I have to pay more. It’s an allowance. And I don’t want to have to then choose one of three ‘free’ add-ons that should be part of the standard plan. I want international on or off. That’s it. I shouldn’t need to know or care what network the person I am calling is on – give me a call rate and bury the cross-charges. I don’t know anyone else on your network – are you saying you’d like me to go to your competitor just so I can get cheap/free calls to my friends? Why would you want that?

As for data plans .. $5 for 5Mb? Are you serious? All of the networks here have 3 or 3.5G networks. How long would it take to burn through 5Mb of data? 15 minutes?

And don’t get me started on Australian broadband .. that’s even worse!

Give me a choice, just make it a simple one .. please!

Ok, that’s my rant for today. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest 🙂

(speaking of choice: my father was once asked in a diner in New York how he’d like his eggs. After some consideration he simply answered: ‘cooked?’)

Getting Your Priorities Right

December 1, 2007

How would you feel about this situation .. ?

A (hypothetical *cough*) management team realise that they’re not really operating as a team, and decide to have a bit of a brainstorming, bonding and ‘get-to-know-you’ offsite session. They figure that that has to be a positive and much needed sign to the rest of the company. Sounds good?

Meeting gets scheduled for next March…..