The Time Has Come (the Walrus said) Archives

Friday Photo

Today’s Friday Photo is a pair…

Cricket practice:

Cricket Practice 1 Cricket Practice 2

I particularly like the facial expressions :)

Click to go to full size.

Understanding – again

Following the previous post about understanding – a few more comments are worth passing, about people, things, and practices that get my goat.

Open Plan

Lets start with the evils of open plan offices. If ever there was something designed by a lunatic from a fun-factory, it would have to be open-plan.

Small groups, working together in the same space can work fairly well. But putting 20, 40, or 200 people in one big zoo and expecting it to work well is fantasy. All the excuses given about creating team spirit, opening the lines of communication, and so on are bullshit. Some people believe all this stuff, especially architects (another profession, who, with economists, we need less of).

Mainly, managements like open plan because its cheap. Few will actually admit that. What it does, more than anything else, is make a constant undercurrent of noise which is distracting at best, and destructive of thought at worst.

It’s common in open plan offices for some staff to wear headphones or ear-muffs. The high-tech savvy people get noise-cancelling headphones.

It’s likewise common for people to try and work from home to avoid the distractions, or to go find a quiet meeting room somewhere.

And the real dills are the people who use speakerphone in an open plan office. Take the silly mongrels out and shoot them.

How are all these things indicative of a good, productive work place? They aren’t. Indicative of control freak management, cost cutting, and woolly-headed thinking, more like.

Where open plan CAN work, is for groups who need to come up with creative ideas – advertising agencies spring to mind. Chuck a few ideas around, start to finish on a job might be 2 weeks. Here, free flowing discussion is a good thing.

For the professions who need thinking time, and where complex problems need to be solved over a period of a month, a year, or two, its all a disaster. How many university professors work in an open plan office with their PhD students? I’ll tell you: NONE. And for good reason.

Laptops, Lifelines, and Lifestyle

All those people with laptops who pull them out on plains, trains, and during a drive somewhere. Or who think they can do some work in the lounge with the kids running around (”oh, golly, with this I can change the way I live and spend more time with the kids.”).

Yeah right. What utter tosh. If you are some big nob who reads the work of others – maybe. If you have the attention span of a small dead ferret – maybe.

If you have to prepare a presentation, analyse financial accounts, write software, prepare a legal judgement… you won’t be doing it in the lounge with the kids running around. You won’t be doing it on a plane, or in a train. You won’t be doing it using the Blackberry or the 3G-HSPDA-WCDMA-3GSM-blah-blah iPhoneDangled thingy. Because none of those things, toys, or situations let you THINK.


With all the toys, and all the bullshit work environments, all the emphasis on noise and action, it’s a wonder anything gets achieved at all in some workplaces. A triumph of image over substance.

Activity without thinking leads to the death of enterprises. So why are so many trying to do just that?


In a brilliant post, here, Raymond Chen makes a nice point about UNDERSTANDING.

By crikey, I can identify with that. (Work colleagues who might read this – I’m generally not referring to you!).

I used to work years ago with guys writing software, who never really knew what they were doing. Their attitude, and they would say it aloud was “Hmm, that didn’t work. I’ll just TRY THIS.” And then furiously bash away at the keyboard some more. It took enormous will power to stop from bashing their fingers off the keyboard and yelling “stop, think!”. Instead I had to patiently sit with these guys and walk them through a process of stopping, thinking, evaluating, considering, looking at their coding – and only then, changing something in a slow an considered way.

I wanted an old fashioned school teachers yard-stick (metre long ruler, these days), to WHACK THE HANDS of those who rush in where anybody should fear to tread.

Programmers who furiously rush in to change things without thinking give the illusion of being terribly active and busy. Busy without thought does not produce results. Thought, then busy, works better.

The rush to action was, I think, motivated by laziness. However, to think first, and then act is even lazier. Another reason I prefer it.

The photoblog

OK, after a few Phriday Photos, the time has come for the photoblog to be activated. I’ll gradually be putting photos up, and will link a featured photo from here each Friday.

The previous Friday photos are now re-linked to the (new) photoblog. The image sizes are now all a uniform 800×600 pixels (instead of the previous thousands), the files are smaller, and the images will load A LOT FASTER!

The photoblog is here.

Friday Photo

Sculpture in the Hobart Botanic Gardens

The Huon Pine sculpture in the Hobart Botanic Gardens.
(Click for full size)

It’s now a photoblog, and the images there are smaller and faster to load. And you can navigate them!

Not good enuf

To recall why this series is here, go to this original post. Or I”ll just summarise it yet again – The City of Tea Tree Gully banned a few naked images from their 2008 community art exhibition. One was a naked bust.

So, to show their petty narrow-mindedness, today we bring you images from the tomb of the great emperor Napolean, a big chap in France, did a bunch of very important things – like law, justice, and fighting a few wars.

And when you celebrate an emperor, what better way then in a huge big building, with a thumping great casket, and of course, naughty bits:


This chap seems to be standing at the feet of the great emperor – but seriously, do we really need the willy? It seems it’s fine for the French. But this would NEVER be good enough for Tea Tree Gully.

From the what the heck are they thinking files…

She Who Must Be Obeyed bought a nice loaf of dark rye bread.

Spot the two total dipstick marketing statements:


The first is “Country Grains”. All @$%^$# grains come from the country! Who ever saw a paddock full of wheat or rye in a city? For crying out aloud, save us from this shit. It’s as bad as the yogurt called “Forest Berries”. I think I want to poke my eye out with a fork.

But number 2 is even more stupid. 83% wheat free. Soooooooo, for those who can’t tolerate wheat / gluten, it still has 17% wheat. In other words, IF YOU CAN’T EAT WHEAT, SUCKED IN, YOU STILL CAN’T EAT THIS.

Whoever dreamed up this crap should be taken out and shot.

No, that’s too good for them. Force feed them on 83% crap-free turds for a week (mix real turds with wheaten flour) and see how they like that. Then shoot them.


The bread is actually quite nice. Shame about the moron who made the packaging.

Phriday Photo

Vegetables at the Willunga Market

Vegetables at the Willunga Market

Not good enough

Gee, these Wednesdays roll around with monotonous regularity. Wednesday means it’s Not Good Enough day. The day when we celebrate nudity and naughty bits in all their various forms, because the City Of Tea Tree Gully (or is that Teat Ree Gully?) won’t allow it.

Today, we show just what those naughty statues get up to when you leave them alone.

They molest the women folk! It’s just not good enough! Lock up your daughters, they must be protected from the statuary!


OK, OK, so maybe they were cleaning the grime off.

But its still not acceptable – those poor women were most likely terribly offended and upset, and bore their task with stoic dignity.

The irresistable draw of naughty bits. Good enough for Germany. Not good enough for Tea Tree Gully.

The national broadband plan…

… has been changed again.

It seems all the tenders were sufficiently non-compliant that the government has decided to do it themselves.

Oh. Dear.

The government once had a company to do all this, with the technical know-how. Howard flogged it off. It’s called Telstra – aka still the Elephant In The Room.

Mixing technology and politicians is like mixing oil and water… they dont go, all you get is a rainbow sheen of reflected bullshit.

Friday Photos

In another change here, I’m planning on running a weekly photo. Not quite changing to a photoblog – the usual ranting and raving will be here as well. But Fridays will be photo day.

Each photo will be a small web-pic, which, due to the wonders of modern technology will be clickable – yielding a picture as large as your screen can make them. Beware, though, the full-screen pictures will be big files!

To get things started, here’s a preview:


** Update** It’s now a photoblog.

There is no such thing as white chocolate

Some of you (the occasional 3 readers) may have figured out that now and again I write a review for Chocablog.

This has, perhaps naturally, led to questions from colleagues at work – the most contentious being “What do you think of white chocolate?”

Work colleagues can stop reading now – you know the answer, having seen the fits of apoplexy into which the subject makes me descend.

My feelings can be summed up very similarly to Kath, who in her recent TV interview on Today Tonight, remarked “Oh no, it offends me”.

Seeing that, and the lunch table conversations of the last few weeks prompted the desire to write a rant.

Offends, yes. Not only is it horrible, but it’s a cunning marketing ploy to get rid of a waste product – being the excess cocoa butter used in the manufacture of proper chocolate or cocoa powder. Have to do something with that junk that’s left. Animal feed? I know! People feed. Let’s find a good name!

Calling this stuff chocolate at all should be illegal. It is not chocolate, it is a mixture of sugar, cocoa butter, and perhaps some milk or milk solids. In other words, it’s FAT and SUGAR, with a bit of white stuff.

Just like Carob is not Chocolate, nor is that white crap chocolate either.

Please, please, stop offending our senses using this clearly wrong name. Calling that muck chocolate amounts to misleading and deceptive conduct. Something the trade practices act does not allow. Grr!

And don’t even mention Top Deck and other such confections used as a means to move more of this muck. Yuk.

Ziz iz not good enuff!

To recall vy zis zeries iz here, go to ziz original post. Or look at any of ze uzzerz in ziz zeriez – you find zem each Wednesday.

Today ve haf ze naughty Madonna – ze original, in ze stone, in ze Paris. Ziz naughty gel, she iz showing all zoze attributes! Zere iz nuzzing original in ze world, no?


She iz zitting not var vrom ze Eiffel Tow-air, on ze full view of effrybody! Ziz is Ok on France, vere ve like zees zings, but ziz iz NOT OK IN ADELAIDE vere ze zity of Tea Tree Gully vould neffer tolerate zuch smut!

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