The Week That Was

Neil Finn: “Hey, I am quite enjoying the feeling of being unpopular. There is something liberating in it.” Neil is in a battle of small phrases on the battlefield of the print and TV media. Neil: use the power of the intarwebs to fight back at ’em!

It seems my twittering on the Eurovision song contest has inspired Paul Foster to blog. Dude, I thought you were all over this European Union stuff!

New word: obscurantist. Used both by Paul Keating in relation to John Howard, and by Thomas Freidman in The World is Flat. The good news is that I’ve finished the book. It seems that both sides of Australian politics may be grokking the need to invest in education.

Lessons learnt: Stockholm Syndrome and Lima Syndrome. I realise the key variable here is time, and that the emotional hold works both ways.

Two key editorial comments in the last day put a religious slant on the use of technology: Howard Anderson in Computerworld IT in “A cynic rips open source” and Michael Singer in “Why doesn’t Microsoft Have a Cult Religion“. Microsoft, with thousands of bloggers and far-reaching impact, does not really foster a cult-like following. In Australia, it is called the Tall Poppy Syndrome.

The culture of information exchange with Microsoft is extremely open. Anti-obscurantist. It is difficult for cults to survive where knowledge is spread. Putting spin and machiavellian manipulation just doesn’t work. I think Microsoft is missing a cult following because it not obscure enough.

Maybe that is why the spinmeister Tony Blair and over-spun Scooch are the losers of the week. As quoted from Chris Saad over on the Particls blog: Rupert Murdoch on Media 2.0 ‘Media companies don’t control the conversation anymore

Australian Government Do-not-Call List

In light of the recent shenanigans of AMEX, its time to list my numbers in the “Do-not-Call List”

URL to register:

As per the Government’s web site:

Will it stop all telemarketing calls?

Registering your telephone number on the Do Not Call Register will not stop all telemarketing calls to your number. There are some exemptions which enable certain public interest organisations to make telemarketing calls. Exempt organisations include charities, religious organisations and registered political parties. You can also still receive calls from market researchers.

Hmm. I’ll still get push-polling recorded calls from politicians, and people asking for “market research”. All I want is no fricken’ calls from people I don’t know, fullstop.

Now, the site is broken and melting down. Ooops, Coldfusion just went hot. Dear webmasters: always overestimate the stresses on your sites. (Fixed at around midday.)

20th Century Charging kills 21st Communication

Twitter to/from SMS suspended for Australia:

I’m with Leslie: the mobile phone networks in Australia suk0Rz. Big time. The devices are like bricks in pretty colours and think the world revolves around some backend that locks you in via your goolies.

There is all this talk about open source software, open source protocols, open source content, open source file formats – yet we have no alternative and freedom in the airwaves. Ham radio isn’t going to cut it.

TCP/IP is going to be everywhere one day. It isn’t going to matter what device you have. You’ll be online streaming up and down “stuff”

Oh well, thanks to Twitteresce, It’s not so bad. (ooh, 0.6. Time to upgrade)


Dear American Express Marketing

I use your products daily. A Corporate Charge Card, a personal Gold Card and your travel services are excellent. I pay my bills on time, and use the online services to reduce the load on your call centre staff. Where I have called your staff, they’ve been helpful and solved my problem.

The online services help me correctly calculate the forex charges, and the ability to use my Amex points as Qantas Frequent Flyer is good too.

But for the love of god, please stop sending me junk mail attempting to sell me another “financial product”. And please stop calling me, on my unlisted phone number, attempting to cross sell me a product from this junk mail your latest tie-in. “I’d like to ensure you understand the information we’ve just sent you.”. Guess what. I chucked it out before reading it. Have been for 5 years.

And those people at shopping malls and airports who are pushing your credit card (For the 20th time, I do know the difference) on me is starting to tarnish your name. In fact, because of this pushiness, I refuse: repeat refuse to ever own one. Sometimes backing off might actually sell more.



Difference of Opinion: Digital Age

It has been an excellent week for the ABC. The Curtin “docu-drama” gave a portrait of a man of his time: Prime Minister John Curtin during the 1941 through 1942.

Last night, Jeff McMullan did a standard “journalistic show” wrapped as debate on new technologies, and the impact on community on “Difference of Opinion: Growing Up in the Digital Age“. Captured inthe freshness of the moment, this Podcast captured by Chris Saad of Particls. Discussion boards on the topic are interesting to read.

Another essence is that people’s online and digital life is real. It is a part of generation-y identity. The base-level morals and ethics still apply; and probably more so in a world that is flat and always on.

How surreal is this?

Nick, Mr. Excel UK, and I are in cross-licensing discussion regarding our respective names.

Next time I am in the UK, I reckon it’s time for a beer. My shout.

The top is a picture of Nick P Hodge near the US Whitehouse, and Nick J Hodge near the UK Big Ben in London. Nick P is from the UK, and I work for a US company.

(and thanks to Bruce Satchwell for prompting me to connect!)

Compare and Contrast


Nick Hodge, Microsoft PR Shot

Avril says the above picture “is me”.  That’s the effect of a great boss, company to work for and a job that’s “you”. Remember, finding what you love doing is the best piece of career advice any adult can provide.

to my last Adobe PR shot, which I just found:

Nick Hodge, last Adobe PR Shot


I remember the day the Adobe shot was taken: the local management team were in the midst of a deep discussion about a pretty stressful situation that had arisen. Perfect environment for a serious shot. I wasn’t sleeping much in those days, either.

Internal Culture Clash

Big mergers are the way of the IT industry. Small guys get bigger, and yet are swallowed by the larger fish. People make lots of money, and drive their Ferraris around the twin coasts of the US. Then it goes around again.

Mergers of two companies, such as Macromedia and Adobe, from the outside seem a “joining of likes”. A marriage made in heaven. The perception that the companies were very alike is external only.  I doubt since the acquisition that Adobe executives sleep better at night.

We are seeing the internal cultural difference exposed externally: the smart auntie Adobe of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator’s fame and friendly attitude being smashed by the boys-club, leather booted Macromedia cowboys.

This is probably one major reason why I am no longer at Adobe. Forgetting who your customers are has to be the first big strategy of big companies aiming to be smaller. As a customer of Adobe, and with many friends who still work there – I would be saddened to see this strategy working. [edit: I would be, not am]

I am at Microsoft as they recognise that forgetting your customer is a sin that must never be committed.

So, as an Adobe user (daily), shareholder: tone it down, talk to customers and don’t forget customer base.

Nick standing outside Adobe Systems, San Jose.  April 2002

Google Rethinks Pets At Work

Sleepy Korat

(yes, this is an excuse to put a picture of one of our Korats on my blog)

According to The Inquirer out of the UK, Google is rethinking its ‘pets at work’ program. This was due to a pet python (animal, not language) going feral at the New York office. And the name of the pet is Kaiser. What the? Valleywag had blow-by-blow coverage earlier this week.

I’ve never got the deal with taking your pets to work in the US. OK, I can take goldfish if people get over the fact they seem to die weekly.

Taking your beloved pets to visit the animals you work with just smells like animal cruelty to me.