Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Homestyle Food #2

As the bloating from Christmas subsides, I get over the fact I witnessed the first regular season loss for the Indianapolis Colts in nearly two seasons and we clock up 2350 miles in the car since our arrival in the US I figure it is time for another post.

The latest foods:
  • Pecan Pie (in fact all the pies)
  • Prime Rib (What do we call this in Aus?)
Well I am drawing a bit of a blank right now, but some of the dishes that I have served with some success over here have been:

  • Apricot Rissotto
  • Roast Lamb on a bed of cous cous with Moroccan Spices
  • Frenched Lamb Chops
  • Marinated Portabello Mushroom Steaks

Before I leave I still have to cook:

  • Apricot Chicken (and Risotto from the remaining sauce)
  • A stirfry (I am thinking Honey-Soy-Sesame sauce)
  • More Mushies.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Homestyle Food

As a bit of a record, I would like to note the great food that I have consumed here in the USA. I don't think I will comment on the Fast Food unless it is of particular greatness or rareness, but instead the homestyle dishes.

The favourites so far (along with a pledge to do something like this myself):
  • Slow Cooked Angus Roast - I will add a slow cooker to my wishlist
  • Creamy Mashed Potatoes - Mash them with an electric handwisk
  • Cornflake Potato Bake - Get this recipe!
  • Philly Cheescake Premix - Tell my Grandma, that the US don't even make this bit themselves
  • Cool Whip - apparently it is Sweet Substitute (also tell my Grandma)
I will be sure to keep you all updated

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It ain't so much better

Often I sit back home in Australia and wish that I was here in the USA. The main reasons for this yearning is that I want to be connected and use the technologies that are so readily available and at far more reasonable prices.

And I know that these advantages are somewhat dissolved by the lack of access to good health care... but what really gets my goat, is that I do get here with my unlocked technological device (iPhone) which is finally a device that can actually work inside and out of the USA and then I can't buy access to a network that will offer me the features of the phone. I am left with a basic phone which only gains the additional functionality when I wander through a WiFi hotspot. This is not the way it is meant to be.

At times prices may be lower, and the better competition is often cited but it is behaviours like this that show me the mercantile protectionism that still exists here. It is then that I realise those cheaper prices are provided on the back of the average Joe, who is often none the wiser.

I will happily take Australia, with her flaws.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

So What?

A piece of advice that I was once given asked me to develop an argument in light of the question "So What?" It is apparent to me that my last post did not develop the argument. So allow me to divert.

A favourite monthly read for me is Wired magazine. It was in the September edition that an article (Good Enough) caught my attention more than most. This article discusses the emergence of technology that is in a traditional sense inferior to what is offered in the market. ">Robert Capps cites Skype, Kindle, netbooks, text advertising, Google SketchUp and the Predator.

The sense of inferiority is something similar to "Keeping up with the Jones", some inspired efforts from a bygone era of consumerism and capitalism that exists today. The age of getting the latest incremental upgrade now featuring 1080p HDTV embedded into your washing machine. As a self-confessed geek, it is a hard argument to make that the latest tech doesn't need to be acquired but there is an element of needing the new extension or simply having the need defined to keep a marketing company in business (I think this may be a rabbit hole which incorporates Joss Whedon and my hatred of Reality TV).

The technological leaps that need to be followed and are advocated in the "Good Enough" article are those that enable accessibility, availability and are often "Like Free". This approach to a redefined quality is intuitive to the current generation (I would like to avoid citing Zs and Ys but I hope you take my meaning), they have seen and value the emergence of the technologies that are mentioned above. It is harder to break the old definitions of quality in generations (individuals?) who don't intuitively understand tech like Twitter.

Where this diversion refers back to the "So What?" is the MQ1 Predator, this is a product provided in a framework that is the antithesis of "good enough". Airworthiness and Military are frameworks that are inherently (and often for the best) conservative, but unmanned vehicles have found a gap in the frameworks. Put most simply, the airworthiness frameworks relax somewhat once the vehicle becomes light and reduces passengers to a minimum (i.e. 0). The military gets very excited when the platform can be available all the time.

Now the implementation of unmanned vehicles can be achieved by the old and bold methods (applying every standard required for Civil/Military aircraft) or an innovative approach can be applied by those who intuitively understand "Good Enough". To implement the former will continue trends of procurement overruns (schedule & cost) and allow others the opportunity to implement air power on a scale that can achieve greater mass for the same price.

There is a balance required, which ought to be achieved by an 'Up or Out' policy ensuring that fresh ideas and bodies are moving through the rigid structures to make sure it is the best and most innovative it can be

Monday, November 23, 2009

Forming a Tribe

Yesterday, I posted a link to a TED Talk in which Seth Godin challenged each of the listeners to go forth and form a tribe. Now I have posted about Seth before, and I have listened to his Audiobook and found inspiring in the ways that I found Gladwell. But what is pertinent about the timing of this TED Talk, is the proximity to my final subject of a Master of Engineering Science (Aerospace)... Well actually, let me take you back.

In 1999, I was in my first year of a Bachelor of Engineering in a fully sponsored position by my employer. This employer was wrestling with the results of HR policies that lead to the attrition of it's Mid-level Aerospace Engineers (namely the Design Engineers and Deputy Senior Design Engineers). The HR policies (and notably lack of management) had allowed a level of stagnation in the higher levels thus not providing pathways for promotion.

Significant effort was devoted to creating an Engineering Sustainability Program that improved many aspects of the management of Engineers. These included access to Continuing Professional Development opportunities, close arrangements with Engineers Australia (CPEng et al.), access to a Masters program (to which I referred earlier) and a 'Retention Benefit' (arguably the least effective component).

Despite an incredible economic boom, engineer retention was healthy and life was good. So good in fact, that in 2009 we are once again clogged at the Senior Design Engineer level.

Yesterday, the Deputy Senior Design Engineer level was informed that there would be no promotion for 2011 and that there would be limited opportunities for Design Engineers. This has also resulted in the reduction in the initiatives of the Engineering Sustainability Program (due to retention not being a problem).

It appears to me that we are hell-bent on repeating the cycle through myopia and absence of active management. Is it really that much to expect that the Career Managers could actually impose an 'up or out' approach to maintain a healthy and balanced workforce of the BEST ENGINEERS for our organisation.

So my movement: Anyone who is interested in railing against indoctrinated and dogmatic behaviour; Anyone who can't abide the cost cuts in the name of savings; Anyone who thinks efficiency can be systemic and not incremented through paper cuts; This is our movement

TEDTalks (video)

Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from tayls81's posterous

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Adelaide SA, Australia to Canberra ACT, Australia - Google Maps


View Larger Map

Our planned move to Canberra commences in the morning, so I thought I would post the intended route. Day one aims to depart Adelaide early and press right through to Beechworth, to stay at the La Trobe University Accommodation. Day two will have us backtracking through Rutherglen before heading down to Lakes Entrance via Bright. Day three hopes to see us safely delivered to Canberra via Cooma. I will be attempting to post progress throughout the days using http://gowalla.com/

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Visual Bookshelf on Facebook | Six Thinking Hats - Edward De Bono - Books

Six Thinking Hats

Edward De Bono

67 %
Only if you're bored
Buy on amazon.com

Using case studies and real-life examples of his "six thinking hats", de Bono shows how each of us can become a better thinker through deliberate role-playing.

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The De Bono 6 thinking hats have managed to creep their way into the business vernacular. In fact, I would go so far as to say that many of the adoptees of the language haven't read the book or methods.

Essentially, De Bono introduces a framework in which a group of people may switch modes of thinking such that a well-rounded decision can be reached in short-order. This is achieved through the adoption of hats which ritualise the role change of the thinkers.

Whilst I am sure that in a mandraulic sense, there is some benefit to using this technique in a team who have a rudimentary understanding of the method, it is difficult to believe that once internalised to an organisational culture that it is not just gamed such that the use of the hat is merely to mask the true agenda of the individual thus becoming another tool in the power play.

I found De Bono overly critical of the Western approach of debate/argument instead favouring this rather clinical mode-switched thinking method. It leaves me wanting to defend the Platonic tradition as a more natural and thorough exploration of a topic. I liken this to asking someone to tell you the funniest joke in the world. The fact is that the brain builds and relates, it doesn't recall facts in isolation and nor would I think that it can switch modes so easily as described.

Despite my protests, it is an essential read and worth understanding the delineations drawn by De Bono if for no other reason than to speak with some knowledge when using the vernacular

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Seth's Blog: The hierarchy of success

« The end of dumb software | Blog Home | The problem with non »

The hierarchy of success

I think it looks like this:

  1. Attitude
  2. Approach
  3. Goals
  4. Strategy
  5. Tactics
  6. Execution

We spend all our time on execution. Use this word instead of that one. This web host. That color. This material or that frequency of mailing.

Big news: No one ever succeeded because of execution tactics learned from a Dummies book.

Tactics tell you what to execute. They're important, but dwarfed by strategy. Strategy determines which tactics might work.

But what's the point of a strategy if your goals aren't clear, or contradict?

Which leads the first two, the two we almost never hear about.

Approach determines how you look at the project (or your career). Do you read a lot of books? Ask a lot of questions? Use science and testing or go with your hunches? Are you imperious? A lifehacker? When was the last time you admitted an error and made a dramatic course correction? Most everyone has a style, and if you pick the wrong one, then all the strategy, tactics and execution in the world won't work nearly as well.

As far as I'm concerned, the most important of all, the top of the hierarchy is attitude. Why are you doing this at all? What's your bias in dealing with people and problems?

Some more questions:

  • How do you deal with failure?
  • When will you quit?
  • How do you treat competitors?
  • What personality are you looking for in the people you hire?
  • What's it like to work for you? Why? Is that a deliberate choice?
  • What sort of decisions do you make when no one is looking?

Sure, you can start at the bottom by focusing on execution and credentials. Reading a typical blog (or going to a typical school for 16 years), it seems like that's what you're supposed to do. What a waste.

Isn't it odd that these six questions are so important and yet we almost never talk or write about them?

If the top of the hierarchy is messed up, no amount of brilliant tactics or execution is going to help you at all.

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« The end of dumb software | Blog Home | The problem with non »

Continuing my love affair with Seth Godin in 2009, I thought this post on his blog was worth a note.

I can honestly say that in my recently estranged job, at least they made it to goals and strategies.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

10 Ugly truths about modern journalism :: 10,000 Words

10 Ugly truths about modern journalism

Friday, September 11, 2009

1. The stories that are published are the stories that sell


The reason you're more likely to read about a shooting spree than a library opening is because with dwindling resources, broadcasters and print publications must devote their time to stories that will grab the most attention. Hyperlocal sites like EveryBlock have stepped up to fill the void, but the phrase "if it bleeds, it leads" has never been truer.


2. Many stories are not copy edited


In the age of layoffs and buyouts, many of the first people to go in the newsroom are the copy editors, the people ensure that published stories are accurate and well-written. Without copy editors, many stories, especially those that appear online, are being published without first being checked for spelling and grammar. These errors are becoming even more frequent and are a mark of credibility against the news outlet.


3. Many stories come from wire services


Years ago, newspapers were brimming with stories written by staff reporters about national and international issues. As these reporters are being downsized, more of the national stories that appear in the local paper are written by wire services like Reuters and the Associated Press, meaning a lack of diverse voices covering any given issue.


4. Some journalists are driven by awards


The great majority of journalists gravitate to the profession to spread the news to as many people as possible and enlighten the communities they cover. There are also some journalists who write stories not for readers, but with the intent of winning big name awards like Pulitzers and Emmys. Though they may not openly admit it, some stories are written to gain the adoration of other journalists rather than to empower readers.


5. Journalists are biased


There is no such thing as unbiased...it is humanly impossible. While journalists often strive to make sure their stories are as unbiased as possible, many cover particular subjects or issues because they feel particularly strong about them.


6. Some journalists use Wikipedia


Although the use of Wikipedia is frowned upon in many newsrooms because of its perceived unreliability, many reporters do use the wiki as a source and unverified facts that appear on the site sometimes make their way into news stories. Such was the case with the obituary of French composer Maurice Jarre. Many newspapers published a quote found on his Wikipedia page that was never uttered by Jarre himself, but was added to the page by a then 22-year-old university student.


7. There is no big conspiracy


Not so much an ugly truth, but a truth some refuse to accept. There are a growing number of critics who decry the media for collectively and intentionally pushing either the liberal or conservative agenda (which agenda depends on who you ask). The truth is such a coordinated effort does not exist and most publications are made up of individual journalists with a wide of variety of interests and (you guessed it) political leanings.


8. Many journalists have side projects


In the golden age of journalism, reporters could dedicate themselves exclusively to their work in the newsroom when there was no fear of being sudden layoffs. But when a pink slip could come at a moment's notice and paychecks are becoming increasingly smaller, many more journalists are writing books, creating blogs, consulting, and anything that can build their personal brand or bring in a few extra dollars.


9. Entertainment stories rule


When journalists lament the "death" of journalism, they are often referring to the big investigative pieces that expose politicians and bring to light previously uncovered issues. The reality is, the most popular stories on news sites are often not investigative pieces, but entertainment stories and celebrity news. Paris Hilton can often drive more traffic than the president.


10. No one has the answers


Everyone is looking for the savior of journalism and the solution to the industry's problems. Social networking, paywalls, restructuring and micropayments have all been suggested as the key to saving journalism, but anyone who says they have a definite answer is delusional or misinformed. Together we will try to do everything to ensure journalism's future, but what exactly that magic solution is remains to be seen.


Also on 10,000 Words:

10 Reasons why online news sites suck
10 Things I wish they'd told me in J-School
25 Things I've Learned About Journalism

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10 Comments

Blogger Dr. R Says:    
When might that golden age have been?

September 11, 2009 11:11 AM


Blogger King Kaufman Says:    
Is the typo in No. 2 a subtle joke?

September 11, 2009 1:28 PM


Blogger David Gerard Says:    
Heh. I do volunteer press for Wikipedia in the UK. I speak to lots of journalists and journalists' researchers - most of whom, by the way, are entirely decent people who do their best - and I don't think I've spoken to one in the past four years who *doesn't* use Wikipedia as their handy universal backgrounder.

Of course, one definition of journalism is turning useful-but-unreliable sources into quality ones. So they have the mental equipment to deal with Wikipedia entirely properly, and when they get lazy it's presumed they were big boys and should have known better :-)

Wikipedia is not "reliable" - it's just written by people - but it's useful. Just check the references!

September 12, 2009 4:23 AM


Anonymous kungle Says:    
Hi,
I think your opinion is influenced by actual economic, social and political problems.

Try to find publisher from different countries - you will always find interesting news.

I'm using the news aggregator kungle.de to follow many thousands of headlines daily.
Currently there are many news about the beginning football season (of course), but have your heard about the protest against dolphin slaughter in Taij (Japan Times)?

There a more interesting news on the web than you can imagine.

And a small amendment: Political stories rule, followed by economy and boulevard news. Take a look at the stats on that page.

September 12, 2009 11:40 PM


Anonymous Anonymous Says:    
The idea that journalists aren't unbiased seems to come up a lot on this site. The problem is this is thrown around in the media and online to try to back up the claim that there's no real difference between journalists and bloggers (or TV pundits). The difference is that journalism is a profession, and professional journalists have a set of mental tools they use to try to strip bias out of their stories, plus a team of editors to catch what they may have missed. It's a skill, and one that bloggers and TV blowhards don't have and don't wish to learn. That's fine, as long as readers and viewers know there is a difference.

September 12, 2009 11:47 PM


Anonymous Anonymous Says:    
Not so much a critique of modern journalism as it is a critique of capitalism and the effects of capitalism on modern journalism.

September 12, 2009 11:48 PM


Blogger Damiandt Says:    
7. There is no big conspiracy.

Really? Check out Dec 24, 2007 COVER STORY of Time magazine.

Topic - Discuss the Republican candidates speaking at the debates and running for President.

They only discussed 5 when there where 6. They literally took photoshop and cut the 6th person OUT.

If it isn't a conspiracy the only other choice is sheer incompetence and bias.

Thanks to the fact many people don't have internet we have the worthless president we have today.

Hope..Change...sheesh.

Only thing that changed was the name on the desk.

September 13, 2009 12:01 AM


Anonymous Anonymous Says:    
Hello from the planet of ski-jumping & wife-carrying championships, so please do forgive me my poor English skills.

Nr 5 is actually called 'specializing' = more in-depth journalism

Nr 8 is also called enthusiasm,curiosity, networking & digging deeper.

Nr 9 Entertainment = also a well-
written story about gardening or birding, for the specific target group. Also: most 'entertainment' stories are written with the highest journalistic standards & with the same, or even tighter, journalism ethics than the 'serious' stories.

Nr 1 = what reader wants = a successful mag = biz. Concepts & target groups vary but the purpose for businesses and most publishers is to make profit. It doesn't mean bad journalism. It means quality. It means readers get what they want and that they also want to buy the next issue. The publisher makes money, but it needs professionals to reach that goal.

Regards, a publisher who hires only professionals who don't need awards to be great

September 13, 2009 12:06 AM


Anonymous Anonymous Says:    
Actually, journalism is not a profession. Professions have a certification process to prove qualification. Does journalism have this? No. Do ALL journalists abide the same standards? No.

September 13, 2009 12:59 AM


Blogger Shane Says:    
You have a heuristic argument: "There is no conspiracy because media organizations have journalists that can thinking on their own."

Like any rule of thumb, it may be right in some contexts and wrong in others.

You seem to suggest that conspiracies that aren't covered by the media don't exist. Perhaps some which weren't covered by the media are eventually covered by the media, while some aren't.

You don't do much research on this topic, do you? If you look, there are many books on this topic. Try Into the Buzzsaw. Here are two Web resources that make the

Exhibit A:
Iran-Contra's 'Lost Chapter' By Robert Parry (A Special Report) June 30, 2008 -
http://www.consortiumnews.com/2008/062908.html
(It covered up the CIA-run Republican propaganda system that pays media entities to spread propaganda. News Corp. and UPI are among those paid.)

Exhibit B:
The CIA and the Media: How Americas Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up
http://carlbernstein.com/magazine_cia_and_media.php
(At that point 400 CIA agents had infiltrated the media, sometimes with the cooperation of upper-level management.)

Remember: You didn't hear about this from the mainstream media.

Check out Sibel Edmonds to see how even the sale of nuclear secrets by members of Congress is not being reported widely.

September 13, 2009 1:40 AM


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Is Australia losing it's religion?

To play mp3s in your browser, you will need to have Javascript turned on and have Flash Player 9 or better installed.

A interesting exploration for theist and non-theist alike (via http://twitter.com/misssandy)

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

And who should appear

Yesterday I posted on the discussion and today as I am catching up on my RSS feeds (in my breaks), Dave Snowden provides the necessary expansion. In my argument, I represented that as human's are natural, they can not violate nature. I think that the introduction of Niche Construction might better represent the point of the argument, showing that there are differences between the knocking down of a tree to dam a brook and mass irrigation depriving the Murray mouth of fresh water. Or am I missing something?

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Gladwell to find them


Over the christmas break, a friend slipped me a copy of Malcolm Gladwell's Blink. I consumed that in my festival of literature this year, which lead me to listen to Outliers from Audible. And finally, Tipping Point via the library. Completely out of sequence, but none of the effect was lost.

Firstly, I would like to point out that these other methods of consuming books, audio or hiring from the library may share the risk of getting a bad book, but the good books will still need to be purchased. I have saved nothing here.

Anyway, if you are looking at a way to re-evaluate the way you think about thinking, well Gladwell is as good a place as any. Some other good books that have kept me interested this year, of a similar ilk are:
  • The opposable mind - Roger Martin
  • Did you spot the gorilla? - Richard Wiseman
  • Quirkology - Richard Wiseman
  • Tribes - Seth Godin
Finally, my obsession with mind mapping has lead to the included representation of Tipping Point


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Public Enemies

With a quality cast including cult classics Johnny Depp, David Wenham, Christian Bale, Billy Cruddup and Branka Katic; Michael Mann told a tale of crime in the mid to early 1930s. Strangely, this a film that Julie and I could agree on (there really aren't many). Although, Julie probably was drawn to the Indianan references and the vague familiarity of John Dillinger because she really did shy away from the blood.

What cinched to film for me was the not so subtle relevance to the 'War on Terror'. The formation of the FBI to combat crime from a national standpoint, which exploited the power vacuum to use methods preminscent of Gitmo and Abu Ghraib.

I am left with a Watchmen reference; Who watches the G-Men?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Greatest Songs of All Time

Triple J is doing another Hottest 100 of all time, the first of which was conducted in 1989 and was won by Joy Division's Love will Tear Us Apart. The second was held in 1998 and won by Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit (hat tip: Michael Landsberg for picking up the error). I have slapped together my ten nominations, what are yours?

Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart
Pearl Jam - Jeremy
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Alice in Chains - Heaven Beside You
Tool - Sober
Johnny Cash - Hurt
Nine Inch Nails - Closer
Queensr├┐che - Operation: Mindcrime
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Weeping Song
You Am I - Berlin Chair

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Twitter killed the facebook...

I have long been thinking about posting on how my twitter fetish has killed off any hope for my Weblog, but I kept myself from posting. The main reason was that I am certain that it had all been said before over the three years of Twitter's life. It is quite natural that a disturbance in the force results in a renegotiation of how to fit everything in.

What inspired this post has been the recent barrage of complaints on Facebook about the twitter updates that apparently consume facebook 'news' feeds. From what I understand, by tweeting some of my friend's walls are consumed by my activities... but isn't that the point?

What is it about web2.0 that these people aren't getting? but if I went down this rabbit hole, I would be just as bad. So instead... Things that @#$% me about Facebook:

1. Being bitten by Vampires/superwalled and poked
2. Friends' statuses about the current domestic that they are having
3. What this quiz can tell me about me
4. You can control your news feed
5. This is where your mum is now

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Shameless Promotion 1

On the behalf of my mate Schnitz:

Footy season is nigh and I thought I’d make it interesting this year by coordinating an AFL footy tipping comp. Go the mighty Crows!

Just to make it worth your while, I am going to throw in $500 of my own hard-earned cash as the major prize at the end of the minor round. I will also give a $30 Boomerang Books voucher to anybody who picks 8 winners in a round. But we all know that the biggest reward of all is bragging rights!

It’s free to join – just follow these steps:

- Go to http://www.footytips.com.au/jc.cfm?c=130316&P=btefootytipping

- Select the ‘Join this Competition’ button at the bottom of the page

- Complete the paperwork and you’re done. Don’t forget to enter your tips before each round!

The more the merrier, so please pass this on to your friends.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Cynic loves the organisation

When you pick it up a tool should fit your hand and way of working (like my Macbook and social computing in general) rather than requiring me to bio-reengineer my hand (and often my brain) to fit some idealistically designed and all too often fetishistic tool. 

Whilst Dave used this in a rant referring to KM approaches and Social Networking, but I am overwhelmed by the relevance to Lean and other forms of Business Process Re-engineering.

This relevance refers to some recent exposure to some zealots who have perpetuated every case-study of failure I have read of the Lean approach. It always seems to be a failure of leadership... I mean really, if it is always the same failure mode, surely one would've figured out the cure...

Or maybe Leadership is really just a figment of one's imaginations... but that is more the realm of Scott Adams.

So what does leadership do? Well it appears that they convert the low-level non-believers to this one true way of Business Improvement, but the hardened rebels and cynics are culled to make way. This then appears to constitute 'Success'.

So if you need to reengineer your organisation to make the approach work, maybe it is not the right tool... 

The title is also attributed to Dave Snowden

Monday, February 9, 2009

You Might Be In a Cult if...

  • There are rituals that validate the hierarchy
  • Everyone wears the same clothes
  • There is one true way
  • When the one true way fails, it is always due to a lack of faith
  • Dissent is treated as a lack of faith
  • Information is controlled
Sound familiar?

Monday, January 19, 2009

2009: An Odyssey

Whilst I am not one to regularly make New Years Resolutions, I have decided on a couple of goals for 2009 to address some frustrations that spring to mind about 2008.
  1. iPod Zero = I am to achieve a steady-state of no greater than One Week's backlog (6.5h at current rate)
  2. Weight = 95kg +3/-0 for 3 months or longer
  3. Read 12 books (already @ 3.3)
  4. Complete MBA (Advanced) - and avoid having a specialisation in anything Finance-related.
In 2008, I was a late comer to the wonderful world of podcasting & iTunesU, but I really did attempt to fill my head as much as I could. That currently leaves me with a backlog of 17.7 days, so by any means I choose I must reduce the levels to no greater than one week's backlog - iPod Zero. This strongly supports Goal 2, as the longer I run/gym the more audio I can consume.

The other goal worth explaining is my realisation that I had completely stopped reading books, instead engulfing myself in RSS feeds, skim-reading articles and podcasting the nights away. Thus, a modest book a month I think is a reasonable re-introduction.

I don't think the list is exhaustive and there should probably be something that helps me prepare for the Bundle of Joy expected in Winter. As always, I am open to suggestions for additions or appropriate rewards

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Rick's Aussie Music Intro Disc 2

As started yesterday, below are the details of Disc 2 in the compilation. This leads me to Bleg: What would you put on Disc 3?
  1.      Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again The Angels
  2.       (He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River TISM
  3. .     Trampoline                                                The Grates
  4. .     Black Bugs                                                Regurgitator
  5.       Middle Of The Hill                                    Josh Pyke
  6.       The Weeping Song                                    Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
  7.       Three Dimensions                                    Something For Kate
  8.       Better                                                            The Screaming Jets
  9.       Tarantula                                                Pendulum
  10. Beds Are Burning                                    Midnight Oil
  11. Highly Evolved                                    The Vines
  12. . I Will Not Go Quietly (Duffy's Song) The Whitlams
  13. Holy Grail                                                Hunters And Collectors
  14. My Ex-Girlfriend's Boyfriend            Machine Gun Fellatio
  15. Woman                                                Wolfmother
  16. Purple Sneakers                                    You Am I
  17. Skeleton Jar                                                Youth Group
  18. Six Months In A Leaky Boat                        Little Birdy 

1.            Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again by The Angels. 1970 saw the formation of Adelaide, SA band The Angels. The Beer-drinking classic Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again was released in 1976 off the self-titled album.

2.            (He’ll Never Be An) Ol’ Man River by TISM.  This Is Serious Mum (TISM) are of the great Australian genre of Piss-Taking, where nothing is sacred as you will find in this hit off the Machiavelli and the Four Seasons (1995).  This song is a reference to River Phoenix’s death which raised threats from Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s Bassist Flea. TISM have an interesting and mysterious history and are the first live band I saw in their 1998 tour in support of Regurgitator. Cultural Note: Piss-Taking is derived from “taking the piss,” which is Australian slang for “making fun.”

3.            Trampoline by The Grates. Hailing from Brisbane, Queensland The Grates managed 4 songs off their debut album Gravity, Won’t Get You High in the 2006 Triple J Hottest 100, but Trampoline wasn’t one of them. The Grates are lead by the high energy Patience Hodgson.

4.            Black Bugs by Regurgitator. The headline act of my first live gig at Festival Hall in Brisbane, their hometown, was Regurgitator. Black Bugs comes off the Rock/Electonica band’s second album, Unit (2007).

5.            Middle Of The Hill by Josh Pyke. Josh Pyke’s first hit single was Middle of the Hill off the Feeding The Wolves EP. This track got this Sydney, NSW Artist recognised with a 19th place in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2005.

6.            The Weeping Song by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. Nick Cave is a bawler hailing from 223 miles NW of Melbourne, Victoria and started his music career as the frontman of the Birthday Party. He joined with the Bad Seeds in 1984 with The Weeping Song coming off the 1990 album The Good Son.

7.            Three Dimensions by Something For Kate. Melbourne band Something For Kate formed in 1994 lead by Paul Dempsey whose voice could break a heart at a thousand yards. His wife is the hot-as-hell Stephanie Ashworth who passed up an offer from Hole to play with the band. Three Dimensions is taken off the 2001 album Echolalia rating at #13 on the Triple J Hottest 100 of the same year.

8.            Better by The Screaming Jets. A hard rock band hailing from Newcastle, New South Wales, Screaming Jets formed in 1989 and are still playing today. Better is the hit single from their debut album All For One.

9.            Tarantula by Pendulum. Off the Perth drum and bass band’s debut album, Hold Your Colour (2005), Tarantula is the #88 song in the 2006 Triple J Hottest 100.

10.            Beds Are Burning by Midnight Oil. A classic Sydney-based Australian Rock band who played from 1971-2002 before frontman, Peter Garret retired his crazy-dancing shoes to join the Australian Labor Party and is currently the Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts. Importantly, this protest song was in support of the Australian Aboriginies  and particularly tied to the ‘Sorry’ movement. Peter Garret was in his political capacity when the apology was made by Prime Minister Rudd in 2008.  Beds Are Burning was released in 1987 on the album Diesel and Dust.

11.            Highly Evolved by The Vines. Formed in Sydney in 1994, The Vines were the first Australian band to be on the cover of Rolling Stone (2002) since Men At Work in 1983. The band succeeded in crafting the album Highly Evolved (2001). It turned out that the frontman, Craig Nicholls was having some issues with drug use and was quite erratic on stage leading to a significantly degraded live presence.  The track Highly Evolved achieved 19th place in the 2002 Triple J Hottest 100.

12.            I Will Not Go Quietly (Duffy’s Song) by The Whitlams. The Whitlams are part of the Australian music brotherhood with You Am I, Machine Gun Fellatio and The Cruel Sea. This track I Will Not Go Quietly is named for a TV character Duffy from a one season Australian show called Love is a Four Letter Word. The TV show was the zeitgeist of frustrations of the Live Music scene centred on a Sydney pub that was besieged by noise complaints. Released in 2001 on the Torch the Moon album and it achieved #42 in the Triple J Hottest 100.

13.            Holy Grail by Hunters and Collectors. This classic band Hunters and Collectors formed in Melbourne in 1981 and disbanded in 1998 with the album that this rendition of Holy Grail is taken from, Under One Roof recorded at the Coogee Bay Hotel, Sydney. This song was originally released in 1992 on the album Cut. Holy Grail has become synonymous with the Australian Football League.

14.            My Ex-Girlfriend’s Boyfriend by Machine Gun Fellatio. The third song on the compilation by MGF, this one showing their truer nature of playful hurt.

15.            Woman by Wolfmother. These Sydney Rockers obviously draw their roots from Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, but I will out them here as having some very close sounds and lyrics to Uriah Heap! They formed in 2004 and disbanded in 2008, with this hit track being released in 2006 on the self-titled album. On the way to the Jan 2005 Big Day Out, I stopped to buy the Wolfmother debut EP and played the four tracks on infinite loop from the Smith St exit to the Gold Coast Showgrounds… which on Big Day Out day takes about an hour. Luckily, Dan and Andy got to enjoy it!

16.            Purple Sneakers by You Am I. This track is not the best You Am I track, but most importantly it was my conversion to the alternative genre. Thanks to Brad Wheeler, I have never looked back. You Am I formed in 1989 and have released 11 albums. Purple Sneakers was released on the Hi Fi Way album in 1995 achieving #24 on Triple J Hottest 100.

17.            Skeleton Jar by Youth Group. Youth Group start their story in Canberra, ACT but now reside in Sydney. They shot to fame in 2006 with a cover of Forever Young, which was used in the TV show The OC. Youth Group released Skeleton Jar in 2004 on the album of the same name.

18.            Six Months In A Leaky Boat by Little Birdy. Six Months In A Leaky Boat is a cover of New Zealand brothers Tim and Neil Finn of Split Enz and Crowded House fame. Little Birdy have their roots firmly in the Perth Music scene including other bands such as The Sleepy Jackson and End of Fashion. This eerie track is taken of the tribute album She Will Have Her Way (2006).

 

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Rick's Aussie Music Intro Disc 1

Those of you who follow me on Twitter would've noticed the mention of a Mixed Tape... And despite some of the feedback it is not as old school as you think... but the same rules apply. I refer of course to those in High Fidelity. The Mixed Tape is an introduction to Aussie Music for my partner's brother back in Angola, IN.

And this is it:
  1.  Propane Nightmares              Pendulum           
  2. Hold Me Close                         Bertie Blackman   
  3. Heart's A Mess                        Gotye
  4. One Crowded Hour                        Augie March 
  5. Skywriter                                    Ash Grunwald      
  6. Rollercoaster                                    Machine Gun Fellatio   
  7. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (Live) AC/DC
  8. Nobody Likes A Bogan            Area 7 
  9. The Boys Light Up                        Australian Crawl        
  10. ...And We'll Dance On The Ashes Of What's Left   The Beautiful Girls
  11. The Familiar                                    Faker          
  12. The Game                                    End Of Fashion   
  13. Comfort Me                                    Pacifier 
  14. Are You Gonna Be My Girl            JET    
  15. Numb All Over                        Dallas Crane       
  16. Unsent Letter (Acoustic)            Machine Gun Fellatio    

 

1.            Propane Nightmares by Pendulum.  Propane Nightmare is a hit off Pendulum 2008 album In Silico. Pendulum are a Drum and Bass outfit from Perth, Western Australia who formed in 2002. Julie and I are going to see them at the Big Day Out Festival on 30 Jan 2009.

 

2.            Hold Me Close by Bertie Blackman. Hold Me Close is the hit single off the Bertie Blackman 2006 album Black. Bertie Blackman is a local of Sydney, New South Wales commencing her musical career in 2003.

 

3.            Heart’s A Mess by Goyte. Heart’s A Mess is Gotye’s track that achieved number 8 in the Triple J’s 2006 Hottest 100 off his album from the same year Like Drawing Blood. Gotye (pronounced gore-ti-yeah) was born Wouter DeBacker, in Belgium but was raised in Melbourne, Victoria. If you get the chance check out the film clip.

 

4.            One Crowded Hour by Augie March. One Crowded Hour is the Triple J Hottest 100 2006 winning track by Augie March, who hail from Melbourne, Victoria. Augie March formed in 1996 and released the album Moo You Bloody Choir in 2006.

 

5.            Skywriter by Ash Grunwald. This Surfer-rock/Blues/Roots sounding track Skywriter taken from his 2006 album Give Signs. Ash comes from Melbourne, Victoria and released his first solo album in 2002.

 

6.            Rollercoaster by Machine Gun Fellatio. These guys were completely nuts, and one helluva stage show. Rollercoaster was a hit-single finishing sixth in the triple J Hottest 100 of 2002 from Paging Mr Strike album.  Machine Gun Fellatio were from Sydney, New South Wales and disbanded in 2005.

 

7.            Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap by AC/DC.  Does this band even need an introduction? AC/DC formed in Sydney, New South Wales in 1973. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap  was released in 1976 on the album of the same name.

 

8.            Nobody Likes A Bogan by Area 7. Nobody Likes A Bogan is the track taken from Melbourne, Victoria –based Ska band Area 7’s album Say It To My Face. Cultural Note: Bogan translates to Podunk.

 

9.            The Boys Light Up by Australian Crawl. Coming out of Melbourne, Victoria in 1980, Australian Crawl released The Boys Light Up the second single taken off the album of the same name. The track was nearly banned due to its suggestive lyrics implying that ‘light up’ was a reference to Marijuana.

 

10.            …And We’ll Dance On The Ashes of What’s Left by The Beautiful Girls. In the Roots genre The Beautiful Girls have a few good tracks making regular appearances at the Falls Festival and are currently on their 6th tour of USA. …And We’ll Dance On The Ashes Of What’s Left is taken from their 2005 album We’re Already Gone.

 

11.             The Familiar by Faker.  Faker formed in 1996 in Sydney, New South Wales but it was their first studio album Addicted to Romance that shot them into the popularity in 2005.

 

12.            The Game by End of Fashion. End of Fashion formed in 2004 as an offshoot of fellow Perth, Western Australia –based band The Sleepy Jackson after a spat. The Game was the second single from their self-titles album released in 2005.

 

13.            Comfort Me by Pacifier. Pacifier were formerly and are currently known as Shihad, changing their name in 2002 out of concern that the USA fanbase would associate them with the 9/11 attacks by sounding similar to jihad. Shihad formed at school in Wellington, New Zealand in 1988 but moved to Melbourne, Victoria in 1999. The one album released under the name Pacifier was self titled and released in 2002.

 

14.            Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet. This Melbourne-based band catapulted into fame with Are You Gonna Be My Girl off the Get Born Album (2003). This track even got included in Madden NFL 2004 but most importantly was the #1 JJJ Hottest 100 track of 2003 and is classically attributed the my housemate and I coming home from such a party to turn everything upside-down.

 

15.             Numb All Over by Dallas Crane. Dallas Crane formed in 1996, but this rip-snorter is taken off the self-titled album of 2004. The track came in at #83 in Triple J Hottest 100 of the same year.

 

16.            Unsent Letter by Machine Gun Fellatio.  This acoustic version of an MGF tearjerker was selected to wrap up Compilation Disc 1, leaving you wanting more. Originally released on 2000 album, Bring it On,  this particular version is taken from the Rollercoaster Single of 2002.