» Belkin WeMo
This kind of looks like the future of home automation.
Nice feature overview here
is cool but complicated; whereas this looks cool and simple.
A friend pointed me at Bookcrossing
Seems like a great way to redistribute your old books and having some fun doing it.
The basic idea - label your old books with a unique identifier, then drop them off wherever you like. Log the 'drop' on the Bookcrossing
website for someone to pick up. If they log the collection you can track who and where the book goes. Obviously there are the usual anonymity options and if a non-Bookcrossing
person picks up the book they may choose not to join-up (its free, they make money selling accessories like custom labels and bookplates).
» Mailorder Beer
A plug and a bit of a bookmark for myself - Beerstore
in NZ does a great job of distributing beer of all kinds delivered to your door.
I've used them a few times now and they're quick and efficient - I even had one delivery with broken bottles which the couriers obviously screwed up and within a couple of days Beerstore
had another order on my doorstep no questions asked. Now thats service !
» What is a karonkka?
A friend of mine recently returned from Finland where he was examining a PhD defence - the process is called a Karonkka
As well as getting decked out in a full-on tux & tails they actually had ceremonial swords to boot. How cool is that ?
Be sure to read Shauns other posts on the nature of research, patents, science and technology in New Zealand.
» TED Talks
A friend of mine (cheers Eddie!) pointed me at the excellent TED Talk
Subscribe to their RSS feed now.
Theres always something you can set aside 15 minutes of your time to learn about or dump to your mp3 player to listen/watch while you commute.
Recent favourites of mine have included - 'Build a brain in a supercomputer'
, 'Our buggy moral code'
, 'What brain damage can point out about our mind'
, 'Why are babies cute? Why is cake sweet?'
» Useful Ways to be Persuasive
I realised my Linkdump category hadn't been updated in a looong time so I'll kick start it with this link to some common-sense ways to be persuasive
As per the link comments in the preamble, its a bit pop-psych but theres some useful stuff to help get your head around how you can get your point of view across to other people.
» Because you need to know - Tracking the $700 Billion Bailout
It'll be interesting to see if the New York Times keeps this table up to date - Tracking the $700 Billion Bailout
See which financial institutions receive money and how much they get.
» Good Music - Le Pop by Katzenjammer
Discovered while reading Popmatters list of Also-rans for 2008
'Le Pop' is one of those joyful albums by a band determined to put a stupid grin on your face at all costs or die trying (cf early Violent Femmes, Crowded House, Pogues).
Check out a couple of videos on YouTube - 'A bar in Amsterdam
' and 'Aint no thang
» Good Books - The Shock Doctrine
Another excellent read from Naomi Klein
- The Shock Doctrine
. I have to admit I'm only halfway through this book - mans inhumanity to man makes for tough going - however its pretty much compulsory reading for anyone that wonders how the worlds free market economy's were lead down the track they're currently on.
Essentially what Klein does is posit the idea that free market economies and reforms can only be forced through on the back of an external crisis (sometimes real and sometimes engineered). As a result those people best placed to take advantage of the reforms do extraordinarily well and the vast majority of us end up worse off - with globalisation these disparities keep getting worse as multi-nationals cease to be bound by georgraphy.
As the recent recession and American bank / finance / auto bail-outs have shown - the free market has failed to a certain extent - their own calls for deregulation have bit them on the ass and now they're going cap in hand to the very regulatory bodies they once reviled for assistance.
So even when things go wrong for the wheelers and dealers of the world - they still come out on top.
» Good Books - Killing Rommel by Stephen Pressfield
Another quick summer read - Killing Rommel
is a return to form for Stephen Pressfield - his 'Gates of Fire' was a masterpiece but after that I found 'Tides of War' and 'Last of the Amazons' to be a little dry.
His latest novel tells the tale of the Long Range Desert Group
(LRDG) and their various exploits in the North African campaign, culminating in a mission to track down and kill Rommel
Friday 27 October 2006 at 12:45 pm
Yet another Joel Spolsky guide to hiring - The Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing v3
Amusing quote regarding a programmers ability to properly handle recursion & pointers:
I want my ER doctor to understand anatomy, even if all she has to do is put the computerized defibrillator nodes on my chest and push the big red button, and I want programmers to know programming down to the CPU level, even if Ruby on Rails does read your mind and build a complete Web 2.0 social collaborative networking site for you with three clicks of the mouse.
I think I fall into the unhireable quiche eater
category when it comes to programming. I can barely get by in Pascal and I can tweak other peoples code but pointers and recursion are things that drove me nuts.
Joel writes some of the funniest articles on developers & development I've ever read.
Thursday 07 September 2006 at 11:40 am
Joel Spolsky is always an entertaining read - he's started a series on How to find Great Developers
"The corollary of that rule�the rule that the great people are never on the market�is that the bad people�the seriously unqualified�are on the market quite a lot. They get fired all the time, because they can�t do their job. Their companies fail�sometimes because any company that would hire them would probably also hire a lot of unqualified programmers, so it all adds up to failure�but sometimes because they actually are so unqualified that they ruined the company. Yep, it happens."
Joel doesn't take into account the fact that people can get a little bored with what they do and decide to move on - then again if they were truly passionate about what they did in the first place they'd stick around.
Sunday 02 July 2006 at 9:29 pm
First day of the new job tomorrow. Just like the first day at a new school
Tuesday 27 June 2006 at 08:29 am
Five days until I start the new job. Lots to do around the house. Lots of Solaris to learn
Made a concerted effort in the last couple of weeks to complete an online Fundamentals of ITIL
course. You really cannot under-estimate how big ITIL is in NZ (and the UK I guess). Personally it seems similar to the TQM/Kaizen/ISO900x fad of the late 80's/90's but with a more practical IT focus. We'll see how long it lasts - I think most mature IT organisations already have aspects of ITIL in practise already but for a newbie working in the field the theory behind ITIL will get you up to speed and propel you beyond the mere Joy of Tech usually associated with people in this profession.
Friday 26 May 2006 at 07:20 am
Well today I hand in my four weeks notice - time to move on.
My new role is working within a small government agencies IT Team as a Linux/Solaris admin - should be a lot more interesting than what I do now.
I've decided working on the front-line as an outsourced service provider is just not for me. As the customer facing component of an engagement it means you have to have your 'game face' on all the time and act as the key focal-point for both the client and service provider. Luckily the people on both sides were brilliant and totally professional (which is what you need otherwise you end up with a very 'us and them' relationship) so its certainly not a personality conflict or problem that led me to move on.
I was keen to go back to working back in internal IT and hopefully bring some commercial/private enterprise experience to the agency. Should be interesting.
So - four weeks to go . . .
Wednesday 06 October 2004 at 09:32 am
Two great web-logs by Microsoft HR staff providing an interesting insight into interview techniques and what it takes to work for the Seattle Behemoth (no not Boeing). JobsBlog
and Heather Leighs Marketing Blog
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