All posts in category Random Thoughts
Just my random thoughts and perception of the world.
A couple of times in the last 6 months ive come across this term in IT – “Best Effort” – Which to me is completely contrrary to what the words actually mean and it kind of drives me nuts. I saw in a presentation a while back a set of service levels defined – Category A being urgent, critical response going to category E which was “Best Effort”. I guess what they mean is “do your hardest but it doesnt really matter if you manage to solve it or not”.
For me though if someone asks me to do my best effort, i will drop everything and focus until the task is complete to the highest standards i have. Its something to be aware of!
If someone tells me these days they will do their best effort – i am sceptical.
Posted by Owen Richardson on March 2, 2013
Items, as well as people have a history – the T-shirt i was wearing in bed last night was brought for my by the mother of an ex -it was made in brazil, and has travelled. Sometimes i think it would be really interesting to know some of those places some of my things have been.
The best curry i ever made – i put in a packed lunch box then accidently left it on the bus! I wonder what happened to that – sure it ended up in the bin… but where? who found it? Some of the things we take for granted come from all over the place. The iPad that I am working with at the moment has components from all over the world in it – to meet mass production requirements of such a device means companies like apple has to rely on people doing long hours for minimum wage. Having lived in a third world country I can honestly say its hard to even perceive the benefits that we take for granted in countries like UK or Sweden.
On the flip side though I wonder what would happen if such things didnt exist. The minimum wage Chinese guy working on an iPad takes that job for a reason – it strikes me he/she doesn't have much choice – so in a way they are fulfilling a need. Those conditions are undoubtably terrible but what would happen if those options were not available? Would that person starve? Could China support all the people who need to live off the land? In some quarters China has been hailed as the new India and its economy is booming. I cannot help but wonder how much money is going back to the people and improving their way of life because to be honest industrialization seems to be taking its toll on Chinas landscape – if it carries on any semblance of the pre industrial era will be lost. Wealth of a country doesn't inherently tell us anything about how well it's people are treated because wealth even in communist countries is not evenly distributed to all.
Every gadget we have is made of parts which can come from many places. Every part has a history. If you start to look at it every device we own, even the clothes on our back are the results of thousands if not millions of people – in my jeans a different company probably makes the thread to the denim- that company probably uses machines with thousands of parts, each part originating from a different company, with its own people, if you follow it back further the dye used is probably made by another company – ad infinitum.
Once upon a time companies used to only sell things that they made from their own hands and in som parts of the world that still happens. Sadly the fact the world is a smaller place now we have tech like the Internet and cheap flights – to survive companies have to more and more compete in the global market place. Small shops increasingly shut down to make way for bigger ones. There's a quote in a movie Time Bandits – made by the character “Evil” – he said “god doesn't care about digital watches” and goes on to make a speech about technology. The author basically implies technology is evil, and it's an interesting point.
I love my gadgets; technology has undoubtably played a large part in how many of us live our lives. Personally I don't think it's evil – to me evil implies an intention, and technology like everything else in this world has pros and cons. Choose your evil – mine has an apple on it! :)
Posted by Owen Richardson on October 25, 2012
I like to watch the world. Theres a lot going on in it, and many people out there wearing many different styles of clothes. Clothing and fashions these days seem fairly far removed from the past – the whole fashion industry is about creativity not functionality – functionality in clothing used to give different parts of the world a very distinctive style but the world is getting smaller and thanks to things like the media cultures influence each other, and collide. It isnt totally about style – guys wear trousers, girls wear skirts (forget the scottish). It probably comes from thousands of years back – bearing children in a skirt would be a lot easier than in trousers. As time goes on, social values change and girls wear less and less – or is that just a testiment to global warming? How our kids are dressed has also changed – I saw a documentary a while back where some parents were campaigning to get a high street store to stop selling mini skirts for 6 year olds – kids are being forced to grow up earlier and that's also reflected in fashion. Hell even the size of clothing in general says something about how fat and lazy we have become (though I am losing wieght !)
Clothing doesn't just keep us warm any more, it makes a statement about who we are, and how society is changing. Its interesting to take a look at clothing from the last few hundred years and to think on the question “what do those clothes say about the society and the place they come from?”
Posted by Owen Richardson on October 15, 2012
I am a bit of an appohollic and I admit it – it's cool to browse the AppStore on the iPad and to buy new stuff even if sometimes I already have an app to do a job. 7kr to keep me out of trouble is a small price to pay. And most of what I get there does cost 7kr. I don't like buying apps over 50kr, and my average spend per month is 70kr. It's not a habit that is out of control.
Apple did well with the AppStore and with iTunes – making it so easy for people to find music and apps has definately paid off for them. I don't really use iTunes for buying paid music though – I originally kept my old mp3s in my iTunes library but now it is empty on my iPhone because surprisingly I really like spotify. I say surprisingly becuase you only rent your music there and I have never been a fan of renting anything. Spotify is cool yet I am thinking of maybe dusting off the iTunes library a bit – why?
…Becuase of Siri – Siri knows about iTunes and can play music from it – Siri can't play music from spotify. I am hoping that the Siri API is,made available and used by dev, because Siri is starting to change how I work. It can set reminders really quickly.
My only gripe is the British version of Siri only had a guys voice, silly I know. I can switch to American English but its amazing how that impaired its ability to function. I do like apple still, even though I don't agree with everything they do. But Australians out there (you know who you are) – you won't annoy me by saying your android phones are better, becuase I will say the same thing as I have been saying about this kind of tech rivalry since I was 10 (BBC vs Spectrum) – they are both good in their own right, each have their own pros and cons, so deciding what is best comes down to what your taste is, and what you want to do. It's a personal thing, I love android too, but am not such a fan of Windows phone – not because the tech is bad but in my case I don't like the Microsoft look and feel. So don't try to wind me up :) it won't work!
Posted by Owen Richardson on October 10, 2012
Four square for those who don't know enables you to check in at different places, sometimes you get discounts at stores (rarely) and it gives you points for check ins and allows you to see how many points your friends have and it ranks you and allows you to share your checkins on Facebook
Well it seems my friends are a bit competitive…! My friend (we will call him “Bruce”) was winning and just for fun I checked into a load of places that I didn't actually go to (eg from work I can check in to the pizza place next door!). Of course that led to a shaken fist and a “damn you!”
From there we were checking in everywhere we went; on the train to work we would pretty much check in at every station, but we wouldn't check in just anywhere.Enter Geoff, another friend who also checks in on four squared – and to be honest beat us both on points hands down by checking in everywhere !
Somewhere along the way because there were points involved we all lost track of the purpose of the app – to share with your friends where you are, rather to spam everyone. When checking in becomes a chore and you spend your entire trip to work looking for new places to check into you know you have gone too far!
Time to deinstall it – until I feel social again!
Posted by Owen Richardson on October 2, 2012
I kind of occasionally laugh because on a few occasions I’ve heard these words uttered by non swedish people in Sweden. The world is a smaller place these days than ever and pretty much every major city in the world is a mix of people from all corners of the globe so what makes a person a foreigner? I think the traditional use of the word is fairly redundant.
For me I think it’s when people have no respect for the culture they are in,. Having lived in brazil I learned to really appreciate some of the basic freedoms that you have in Sweden – Its safe, clean, with a reasonably fair government. Sure I think the taxes are too high and there are definitely issues in the same way as there are in any country – and I will never be swedish in the traditional way – some of the typical swedish traits are really different to my way of being.
Just like anywhere else I have been people from the same cultures tend to congregate together, and build communities within a country – some nationalities seem to do this more than others – as an Englishman the closest I have come to such things is going out for the occasional beer with English / Australian people. I have friends from different countries and cultures within Sweden and its interesting to see their attitude – For me, foreigner has nothing to do with the country you were born in any more, now that we are a global community – For me a foreigner is a person that doesn’t work with the community or country they are in – it’s a person that isolates themself.
I am an Englishman, and will always be english, and my swedish language isn’t perfect – but having lived here in Sweden for a few years now I do not consider myself a foreigner. The world being how it is, communication being easier, the internet being in many homes nationality has less importance than it once did.
- Am I english? Yes
- Do I live in sweden? Yes
- Does that make me a foreigner? No.
Posted by Owen Richardson on September 26, 2012
Swedish people are non confrontational – one of the first things I learned working in a Swedish company was what someone says and what someone does are two different things; of course there are exceptions, and I am generalizing. In my case the first time i saw this was relating to Swedish language – when I was working I specifically asked if the the language was important and I was repeatedly told no – Because I had English customers. That turned out to have been a point of resentment I later discovered -my boss at the time told me they hated the fact I wasn't speaking the language.
I am I mention this because getting on the underground in Stockholm I often see people cheating at the barriers – going through two at a time for example. The guy at the station just watches – almost as if he is afraid of a group of kids – and maybe he is – kids these days have no respect and violence is relatively common place. I pay 790kr per month for a ticket, only to get on an over crowded train – well three of them technically because of works on the line that run months on end. I don't know who is stupid – me for buying a ticket or the people who cheat the system.
Of course I can imagine SL thinking that fares are high because of the people who cheat the system, but I have no idea how true that actually is. Maybe it's just about the area I live in – there are lots of not nice people there – such as the guys that vandalized the car the other week and the people who cheat the system.
Stockholm does of course have Transport Police, but doesn't have them on every station. Since I have been here I have only been asked to see my ticket on the underground twice – if I look at it mathamatically it doesn't make sense for me to buy a ticket – if I get got fined every time I had been stopped and asked for a ticket I would still be spending significantly less that I do on trains now!
I am just so honest it's annoying !
Posted by Owen Richardson on September 25, 2012
A random fact about me: I have a chipped front tooth – which you wouldn't notice looking at it. It happened when I was 16, and I learned a really important lesson – don't strip wire with your teeth!
Posted by Owen Richardson on September 11, 2012
I am not sure how I managed to find Phillip on my linked in – for some reason linked in seemed to be going a bit crazy – it suggested I may know people at Umeå University – and in point of fact i do, but not through any of my professional connections, so i thought. It’s amazing how many people within the companies i have worked for in Sweden are involved with that place. The biggest surprise was Phillip being on that list. Phillip I know from when i was working in the TV/Magazine production industry – for a couple of awesome years I worked with him.
He is without a doubt a really kind person, and a ton of fun to be around – last time I actually saw him was indirectly – I had been asked to help another friend out – and she had a lunch appointment with him, so we went out had a couple of drinks – and lunch time turned into an entire afternoon. It was the kind of impromptu get together that cannot be planned! So his linked in profile took me to his website –
- It turns out he is now working in Los Angeles as an actor which is no great surprise as he’s been working in the industry for years, in various roles.
I can remember one time outside our local pub a woman was smashing up a car and people were either watching or ignoring it – she was clearly upset – he was the only person who went up to her, and asked her what her problem was. it turned out that her husband was cheating and Philip told her to just calm down and think straight, because if its going through court her actions out of anger could make life difficult for her. On the flip side he was also law-abiding, so i held her in an arm lock until the police arrived – to both stop her from getting away and smashing the car.
I don’t know that many people who would get involved in a situation like that.
Posted by Owen Richardson on September 1, 2012
I’ve been looking at new iPad cases because mine is looking a little battered. After an hour or two of looking (yes i really did spend that long wandering around the shops) i came up with the perfect smart case, only to find it was for the iPad 3 only. I don’t know if I want to upgrade to the new iPad. I call it an iPad 3, but of course Apple are now calling it the “New iPad”. That is going to get confusing when the next one comes along. I kind of liked the fact that apple were numbering their products before – you knew clearly what you were getting – and it greatly simplified the whole buying process – now its just the iPad you are looking at treating these things just like cars – you have to know which year it was produced in and i cant help but think it will confuse things. The case I liked – the smart case – was labelled “for the iPad” which didn’t help me to know if it would be usable with an iPad 2. Apple are loosing their edge, though i think for now they still have one, im hoping the next iPhone and iPad don’t screw things up.
A special note goes to the makes of the executive iPad case i saw – which incorporated …. a pen and notepad! I can’t help but think they are missing the point here – putting in a pen and paper with an iPad – if you cant use your iPad for quickly taking notes then you probably shouldn’t have one. What is the world coming to!
Posted by Owen Richardson on August 15, 2012