Fuzzy - not just a name, a way of life

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Heathrow - a love/hate relationship

So here I am in Heathrow once again. My god I used to hate this place. I think I went through here 20+ times in 2003, and every last bit of dirt, every crap cup of coffee, and every surly service person in the known universe must have congregated here to magnify my loathing. You know a place is really like some deep-in-the-mire corner of squallor when its only redeeming feature is the Pink Elephant parking service ... the bus to freedom, as I used to think of it.

But Heathrow ... all is forgiven. The BA Terrace lounge at terminal 1 (where I type this while watching the FA Cup final, and drinking a fine vintage port that will surely infuriate Stilly) has made up for all the sins of the past. How has it done this? The answer is, after 26 hours of flying cattle-class, tossed around like some kind of human salad, this place includes its own corner of Nirvana. An eight-jet super-massaging shower, with more hot water than the entire Canberra catchment probably has in all its dams :-) And it only gets better, because Man U have just been denied a goal for off-side. The Qantas club membership is money well spent.

Well, back to the life of Riley. Mmm, more vinatage port I think (oh, wait, they've got 15 year old Glenlivet as well. Mmmmmmmmmmm)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

End of the TiVo Torture Test

It's time to end the TiVo Torture Test. Stilly, Simon and Anthony have been teased enough as I've meandered my way to a working TiVo (hacked Oz style, of course). So tonight, I rebuilt it, ran through guided setup, and am now listening to the gentle hum of the guide data building itself.

It's already had its first "success", as Lindsay couldn't believe that CSI:TrailerPark (or whatever version is usually on Wednesdays) had been dropped in favour of PackerVision's latest gutter-journalism - Schapelle Corby: Stupid, or What? (again, probably not its real name, but I claim artistic licence). But no, the great and mighty OzTiVo guide says they've made the switch ... and the TV is obediently moving to the opening credits of said piece of pulp nonsense.

So the TiVo is now in business, just in time to record a billion and one episodes of MythBusters, CSI:*, Law and Order, and Top Gear. My next mission will be to provide the hack for Transact+Foxtel via a single Motorola set-top. But I'm in no hurry :-)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Always enjoy the little things ...

... because you may look back in years to come and realise they were the big things. Saw this on someone's sig the other day, and remembered I'd had the same motivation many years ago ... just after some loonies flew several planes at several buildings.

We're off on one of our adventure jaunts, which this time includes scuba diving off Greek islands, hiking (well, actually just walking) in the hills of Provence, and battling with the urban combat zone that is the Oxford Circus tube station (seriously, the only place in the world where one wrong step will see you plunge 20 feet, break several limbs, and have your carcass faught over by duelling buskers, winos, beggars, and bible-bashers. Truly scary).

Just when I thought "Hey, not a bad itinerary", word comes in from our friend Srim, aka the uberwebmaster. Srim reports that the other day, she grabbed a mountain bike, looked down from the top of the Andes in Boliva, and plummeted down the "64km Bolivan goat track of death" - a road (and she uses that term loosely) that apparently kills a great many car drviers every year, in part because sections of it are indistiguishable from sheer cliff faces. I can picture the thoughtful signs in Spanish that translate to "Do not be with this sign ... there is no road here, only death".

So the adventure rating is all relative :-)

Monday, May 02, 2005

Marketing - just like the undead, only with better teeth

Marketing - just like the undead, only with better teeth

I've spent two days thinking about how people find other people's blogs, blogging about blogging etc. I wrote about a cranky customer, with several motivating factors. I knew that I'd exhausted any real avenue of redress for the issue at hand. I knew that it was symptomatic of the perennial effort/reward conundrum that software development typifies. But the message became a victim of a greater problem - trying to "market" the idea of blogs to people who don't care, or worse, fear such disruptive technology.

I was away from the office the day several of our "best and brightest" attempted to convince several of our "other best and brightest" of the merits of blogs, and that opportunities would benifit those who moved fastest. (you'll note everyone around here is "brightest" ... some are just "first among brightest" . .. George Orwell, eat your heart out). The fact that private blogs were happening was used as verbal ammunition in the argument, for reasons most of you can guess.

So that's how the head of the area came to read my blog. And he had kittens. How could I allude to a minor product failure in public? Why didn't I raise the issue with him? What if competitors read what I write? It's sad to see others only slowly realise that you'd asked yourself these questions prior to blogging. We agreed to disagree after I pointed out that I hadn't mentioned names of people, products, etc., that I had made (fruitless) efforts to get the problem fixed which he couldn't remember (trusty audit trail was quite handy here), and that if our competition is reading my blog, they must be in far worse shape than we thought.

So not the best way to market blogging to this person. The self-censorship comes in to play now as this happens more and more - shoot the messenger, don't fix the underlying problems. Arguments were made about blogs not being the place to report bugs ... funny that, it wasn't my intention then, nor will it be in the future. The idea of communicating with other people for purposes greater than simple work seemed to be lost. Oh well, time to get a bullet-proof vest (or a Pope mobile!), because there are sure to be more shots taken at this particular messenger.