All together now, it’s coding time

 Education, Grumpy Old Man Gripes, Latest, Technology  Comments Off on All together now, it’s coding time
Dec 072015
 

There’s been quite a bit of talk in and around Australia about teaching kids to code. By and large, I don’t believe that this is a really good idea, and I’ve had some vigorous discussions about this with many people, on the radio, in person, and on Twitter.

Some people disagree with my opinion (as evidenced by the fact that many seem to believe it to be a good idea) and that’s fine; I’m always up for a good and vigorous debate.

Mike Hadlow has posted his views (with which I agree) on this matter in a well written blog post, and he has put his views much more eloquently than I could hope to have done.

Backflip with Pike: 7 Points

 Grumpy Old Man Gripes, Latest  Comments Off on Backflip with Pike: 7 Points
Sep 062013
 

With a degree of difficulty of just 3, it was somewhat reassuring to see that the Shadow Minister for Sleazy policies has executed a perfect backflip with pike in terms of the attempted resurrection of the internet filter.

This whole concept has been roundly – and correctly – criticised as a waste of time and money; a policy that is simply too difficult to implement, but yesterday afternoon we were greeted (for a short time) with the sight of the LNP hammering their collective heads against the nearest brick walls, as they tried to defend this insanity.

Thankfully, they all very quickly complained that they were getting headaches, the policy statements had been misinterpreted, and that they would be taking a powder as a result.

What a bunch of absolute idiots.

But the really sad part is that their (unwritten) policy is to drag us forward, kicking and screaming, into the 1850s. The LNP simply does not want to have the Australian population well informed and well educated; they would much rather see us devolve into a country of taxi-drivers and waiters in restaurants.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with taxi driving or waiting in restaurants, but as a nation, we need ensure that we, and and our kids, have access to the very finest educational and research facilities.

So, for fucks sake, stop building massive edifices to all of the mainstream popular sports, and instead, let’s see those dollars invested in education and research facilities, and centers of excellence.

And yes, let’s have a proper, FTTH NBN, not the half-arsed accountants’ solution that the LNP is proposing.

Australia Post Fails Geography 101

 Grumpy Old Man Gripes, Latest, Poor Customer Servce  Comments Off on Australia Post Fails Geography 101
Sep 032013
 

Talk about a bunch of total losers. Australia Post has got be amongst the most incompetent (dis)organisations in the country.

Clearly, they were not satisfied with their previous mammoth set of fuck-ups, just one short week ago.

Today they attempted delivery of the replacement products – the originals of which are still unaccounted for, and about which Australia Post flatly refuses to do anything about.

So, fair enough; nobody was home when they called, and they left a card telling us that the goods are waiting for us at a post office. But not the post office that’s just down the road, on the corner of our street, just 300 meters away. That would be way too simple!

Oh, no; putting it there would be satisfying their customers’ needs, or making it easy for their customers.

Instead, this bunch of meatheads has sent it to a post office in a neighbouring suburb, over a kilometer away.

What sort of idiots are employed in Australia Post? Clearly, these are idiots of an extra special kind, as it really takes special talents to not provide any semblance of service at this level.

Where is Australia Post’s management team? AWOL, I suspect: there is less than no evidence that they are running the joint.

Jackson’s On George

 Fine Dining. Or Not, Latest, Travel  Comments Off on Jackson’s On George
Jun 222013
 

So, Last night, before heading to the Sydney Opera House we decided to pop in to Jackson’s On George (George St, Sydney) for a pre-symphony bite to eat. That was not one of my better decisions, I’m afraid.

Generally acceptable for a weekday lunch, Friday evening dinner (or early evening snacks, as it were)doesn’t seem to be their forte. Or even their pianissimo.

Let’s talk about their Nachos. As most of us would know, this is a Mexican dish. Mexico is, what, maybe 7000 or so miles from Italy? So, chef, how about you try to make your Nachos at least a little bit like it might have come from Mexico?

Let’s start with your ingredients: Mozarella cheese is not found on Nachos. Neither is bolognese sauce. Nor is cress. Talk about clueless dipshit chefs! How about you use some cumin and coriander as seasoning for your meat. Shredded beef, or ground, is fine. Chillies? Yes please.

If you can’t find Jack cheese, then you’re not trying, but rather than mozzarella, try some cheddar, at a pinch.

Maybe some salsa on the side. Or the top. And perhaps some Guacamole. Not made in a blender.Of course, judging by last night’s fare, getting you to make a half decent guac would, indeed, be a challenge.

Maybe you should stop watching Masterchef, and learn about different regional cuisines? Perhaps by getting off your arse and visiting those regions?

Let’s now talk about the shared seafood platter. For two. For two little kids, that is. The portions were that stingy.

Three pieces of calamari, four miniscule slivers of some sort of white fish. Battered and deep fried to within an inch of their lives. Indeed, a couple these pieces were, in point of fact, air fish: there was lots of air inside the fried bubble of breadcrumbs, but very little fish. Two slices of smoked salmon, a couple of scallops and a half dozen prawns fulfilled the remained of the seafood contingent here.

Below the alleged seafood we there was a platter of Mediterranean antipasto. This was acceptable, except that we’d ordered a seafood platter, and I don’t recall seeing this mentioned on the menu. Ah well.

Next time we’ll dine elsewhere.

 

May 232013
 

For pretty much any organisation, the concept of customer service – and what comprises good customer service – is not an option; it’s compulsory.

A few days ago I wandered into a store in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, with the specific goal of wanting to buy one product. On past visits to the store I’d experienced difficulties in obtaining this product because they’d run out of stock.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – the product I was wanting was a perishable product, produced fresh on a daily basis. As I was calling in to the store in the late afternoon, and the product was being freshly made every morning, it stands to reason that on some days I might call into the store late in the afternoon and they would have sold out.

So, on this particular day, I called in to the store in the morning. 8am.

My logic was that surely there would not be any stock issues at that time of day.

Wrong!

The product was being made in a central, corporate facility, and not due to be delivered until around 10am.

Here’s the delimna: I’ve contacted the organisation in question and spoken with their management. The reasons why the product is centrally made, and not delivered to the store are honorable and reasonable. As a result, the 10am delivery timeframe is somewhat unavoidable, even though it’s really not acceptable.

Not from my point of view. And from our discussions, also not from theirs.

As a general rule, I take the viewpoint that I am in the store when I am in the store, and as I am there to buy products, those products should be available at the time that I’m there. With that point of view in mind, it then follows (to me, at least) that when the store staff are telling me that I should come back later, they are, effectively, being quite disrespectful to me.

Why should I come back? I takes me time. It takes quite some effort: the store is located in an area that is a real beast to get to. I don’t like going there at the best of times, and being asked to return is really quite unacceptable. It also presumes that I have the time to come back (I might not) and that it will be easy for me to accomplish.

Those presumptions are wrong, and by expressing themselves to me in this manner, those employees are being somewhat disrespectful towards me. Probably that’s not deliberate, but that doesn’t change the eventual outcome.

Now, here’s the problem: how does the business address this very real problem? They acknowledge that there’s a distribution issue, but as noted above, this is caused by a couple of very real underlying production issues that they correctly prioritise as being more significant than just selling product. I respect and accept that without reservation.

But it leaves them with the problem: they don’t have the product available in the stores at the time customers wish to purchase, and from a business management perspective, that represents a serious customer service issue.

What to do?

I really don’t pretend to have any answers here.