New tech indeed

What is this going to look like, I wonder ? 

It’s just that I always have thoughts and ideas when i am away from a laptop, wheres I always have my tablet with moi.

 

Profiteering

Would I think differently if the profits were mine ? It’s just that I get terribly angry when corporations put profits before people, especially when these profits are excessive. Right now the energy companies fit in that category, they refer to wholesale price increases although one of the smaller companies said that these prices had actually gone down. This smells of cartel to me…

I remember watching James Murdoch stating that profit was everything. I remember thinking that this blessed isle should be rid of him and his ilk. it would be a great benefit to our nation.

Russell Brand and Revolution

Breaking a long silence, and because I struggle to take the guy seriously – Let’s see:

- takes a lot of drugs
- goes to rehab
- has a following
- is mildly funny
- is mildly talented

Has an epiphany ! The world sucks ! And let’s face it, it needs Russell Brand to tell us about it, because without his insight, we just would not have known, would we ?

Every generation, a hairy hedonist finds the truth and tells us about it. Revolution ! Change ! Take control !

I’m all for it, myself – I would prefer it if so many people did not suffer, because that is actually what really happens during revolutions. Please look at it yourself, it’s not pretty.

 

The true measure of people

In general, we put up a front. We do not give others the chance to see ourselves in the raw, and we take care not to reveal our true nature. This is not because we are bad, or good, or virtuous, or naughty – it is just because we want to give the impression that the vessel of our lives is sailing upon the calm seas of our existence.

We are also very conscious of ourselves and the image we project, and might go to great lengths to preserve this image. So, in normal times, we might take umbrage to what somebody says or how they might behave. We choose not to deal, or we choose to confront.

But when it’s down to the wire, when the vessel we sail in is suddenly caught up in the storm, that you get the true measure of a person, or a group of people.

More precisely, it is difficult to measure the love that someone might have for another unless you witness this love in action, for instance if one of the pair is gravely ill or in danger. It is then that you see how much a person actually means to the other, and you suddenly realise that we live together, and care for each other, in a couple, in a family, in a group of friends, and by doing so you understand that we possess something which is wonderful, sustaining and deeply, deeply human.

In short, when you are with others and battling through the tempest, it’s good to know that there is love, that it’s going to be ok and that we are there for each other – regardless of how we behave and what we say when we wear the mask of everyday normality.

 

Management Styles

Having been around for a while, I have had the opportunity to be managed by all sorts of individuals. Like teachers at school, there are some managers that stand out for good, and bad, reasons. The excellent ones are few and far between and by and large, the vast majority, especially in middle management, belong to the following categories:

The Policy Conduit

This type of manager takes no initiative, no risk – just simply passes on the edicts from above and expects subalterns to execute.

The Reporting Node

This manager has no power whatsoever, but simply is a data collection point for the departments under his remit and provides aggregated data to the above layer. There may be a number of these posts in an organisation, feeding data upwards. This type can be combined with the Policy Conduit as a clever variant that permits two-way process flows.

The Blame Buffer

This poor person is hired usually in a position between a more senior manager and the level of reports underneath. It is a very dangerous role, as it is often overloaded with work, can be the focus of the senior management’s wrath when things go awry and is usually disposed of when reorganisations occur.

The Lad Done Good

Promoted from amongst its peers, this type of manager gets to this position through competence in the operational role, or through sheer length of service. Whilst clearly a good step towards more senior management, the Lad Done Good often lacks the sociopathic qualities exhibited by the upper tiers of the hierarchy, and will stick close to the level from which the person was extracted.

Finally

In describing the roles above, it can be construed that I am a cynic. I could however have a stab at what, in a typical organisation, a good manager – not always the same as a successful manager, for that is a question of perspective – should look like:

  • He or she executes corporate strategy;
  • Forecasts future performance, and makes that performance happen;
  • Leads teams through change, and achieves synergy.

There might be other attributes, of course, and many books have been written about management. But empirically, the above qualities are the ones needed for an organisation to function properly. Other properties are a desirable benefit, but not essential.

 

Virtual Worlds

I won’t pretend to be an expert on virtual worlds, but there are two which are in my opinion worth investigating, Second Life and  Minecraft. They are different in their approach and some might argue that Minecraft is a computer game and not a virtual world.

Second Life has been around for a while and I have had presence on there on and off since 2006. It is free to join, with a paid version. I have had all sorts of fun on this and it is definitely an adult game, with a good number of participants. You can customise your avatar, buy all sorts of clothes and accessories – huge fun – and in-world you can take part in all sorts of role-playing games. I have spent a while as a dragon flying around and torching people. I have also been a wizard with the ability to cast spells… I have also built houses, curated an art gallery. As for the adult stuff… let’s say that the game provides areas where your avatar can be animated, and enhanced with the necessary body parts, in all sorts of interesting ways.

Second Life is compelling, addictive and I suspect that many a lonely unattractive person finds an escape route in game – so that this curvaceous scantily-clad princess who is of course a nymphomaniac lesbian is, in the real world, a balding, overweight and single man… But move beyond that and the game has amazing possibilities.Worth investigating !

Minecraft is completely different. It can be a single player game, or it can be played on a private or public server. At first glance, the graphics are laughable- blocky, not very detailed. However, you soon realise that for all intents and purposes the worlds are effectively infinite, limited only by available resources. Minecraft is more geared towards children, but has compelling building capabilities, with the possibility to simulate circuitry, build nuclear power stations – and nuclear bombs – and cooperate with your on-line friends to explore and build.

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 15.01.13

Some of the Minecraft characters. The animals are mobs, the character in the middle is a typical in-game avatar.

A Second Life avatar in-world

A Second Life avatar in-world

You can find Second Life here and Minecraft here

English Disco Lovers

In keeping with my ‘Prejudice is Harmful’ posting, I am a proud supporter of the English Disco Lovers. Fighting racism with humour is a good thing. Note that there are legitimate concerns behind the other EDL’s message – burying them will get us nowhere.

Prejudice, whilst horrible, exists. It is folly to deny it, and to dismiss its causes as meaningless. To those that are prejudiced, or who suffer from it, the meaning is all too apparent.

Visit the English Disco Lovers’ new website by clicking here

Gaga vs Krishna

So interesting contrast in town today – we went to pick up G’s glasses, who now looks like Buddy Holly. We encountered the Hare Krishna bunch, who are getting more tuneful and synchronised every time I see them – wearing socks and sandals is clearly beneficial to artistic expression. We then went into M&S to purchase the chocolate tax for my beloved. We went in to the thing-tching-tching of the robed ones. We came out to the sound of Lady Gaga. That was a promotion for the new enormous Metro Bank branch, replacing the old Dixons. From slightly mouldy spiritualism (for some reason the Hare Krishnas always seem a bit damp to me) to brash capitalism via steadfast British retail, all that in good old Hemel. Fascinating.

I have to say, I admire the Krishnas and the Jehovahs and all the other godballs out there ( not keen at all on scientologists, they are way too creepy). The fact that they are preaching in the desert, while every one around them is totally oblivious, but continue to do so, is touching in a certain way.

Regarding Metro Bank, it’s a brand new bank which aims to give the others a run for their money. Time will tell how different they really are.