Friday, June 29, 2007

The Tipping Point

While in conversation with one of my friends the other night regarding jobs, we touched upon the subject of tipping in the workplace and our conflicting attitudes towards it. My friend was of the opinion that if he provided good service to the customer at the bar, he deserves a tip, simple as that, and that is he didn’t the customer was “rude”.

My own opinion is that tipping is a complete load of nonsense and a totally unfair practice.

My first major qualm with tipping is that it is almost completely industry specific, if you work in the bar or hotel industry, it seems quite acceptable to expect a tip and be rather peeved off about it if you weren’t to get one. However, if you provide great service in another area of business/life you don’t get a tip…because you just don’t. An example that I have witnessed recently springs to mind, in a supermarket where I used to work, a sales assistant brought a rather confused lady around the shop and helped her with her shopping upon request, then proceeded to walk down the road and bring the multitude of bags to her car for her (as opposed to walking from the bar to the table about 12 ft away ohhhh the exertion), did he get a tip, no, did he want or expect one, no.

My second issue is I find the idea that because you provided good service you deserve money on top of your wage slightly socially criminal, it is part of your job to perform to the best level you can, but equally your social responsibility to be as nice and helpful to everyone financial incentive or not. In a way it holds the general public ransom, either give me a tip, or expect crap service next time.

I know people try to defend tipping by saying they are going “above and beyond their job”, the fact remains you have chosen to pursue employment in the SERVICE industry, therefore a requirement of the job is just that…service, and guess what, you are already being paid for it, its called your wages.

I admit that if someone finds that they have received truly admirable service and would like to reward the barman, hotel porter etc they should go right ahead and do it, but to have this unspoken rule and pressure of the norm almost forcing you to do so is just not fair and doesn’t make any sense. And just to make things fair, next time a policeman is particularly nice to you, or a nurse in a hospital gives you great attention, or a fireman decides that he will save your life for his basic wage, or teacher decides to teach you with enthusiasm and a smile on their face(both optional extras)….throw them a few extra euro.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

UCD in the "summer"

I was bringing in my lovely broken Dell laptop to the business school (last 2 pics) tech support office earlier in the week and thought it would be nice to take a few pics of the good aul college during this lovely "summer" weather we are enjoying...go team rain!I'm sure this will bring back loving memories to students past and present...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Traveller death rates

On today I read the shocking figures that have come from the new book Travellers' Last Rights: Responding to Death in a Cultural Context, A study which has analysed health statistics from the last 2 decades. The figures show that the death rate among the travelling community is on par with the general population....back in the 1940's

Some of the more shocking figures were

  1. 50 per cent of Travellers die before their 39th birthday and some 70 per cent fail to live past the age of 59.

  2. 10 per cent of Traveller children die before their second birthday, compared to just 1 per cent of the general population

  3. 2.6 per cent of all deaths in the total population were for people aged under 25 versus 32 per cent in the Traveller data.

  4. Men exclusively accounted for all suicide deaths among Travellers, over three-quarters of whom were aged less than 39 years

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Rest, Relaxation and Recycling

It may be the tinge of green running throught the government now, but I found myself mildly amazed by some of the figures on recycling that I read last night. These figures are somewhat vague in terms of how they calculate them, but interesting none the less.

1. The energy saved from recycling a glass blottle rather than making a new one can run a 100watt lightbulb for 4 hrs.

2. Recycling 15 two litre plastic bottles can be used to make 1sq foot of carpet, an XL t-shirt AND filliing for a ski jacket.

3. For every kg of paper recycled, if turned into newpaper it would save 1 kg of green house gasses.

4. Each tonne of paper recycled saves 17 trees, those 17 trees can absord 250 pounds of CO2 from the air.

5. Recycling one aluminium can saves enough energy to run a TV for 3 hrs. !00 million aluminium cans are sold in Ireland every year.

Very interseting food for thought, and if I hear the term Carbon footprint ONE MORE TIME....I will go crazy

Friday, June 22, 2007

A slow motion

According to the BBC show "working lunch" yesterday was international "slow day", a movement which began with the founding of the "slow food" organisation in protest to the takeover of the trend towards the McDonalds way of fast food.
This theory of slowing down can of course be applied to most aspects of life, no more so than your working life. In a world where people work 60 hour plus weeks in order to "beat the competition" and "lunch is for whimps" Carl Honore offers us three simple tips in order to improve our life by slowing down.

1. Work less - quite a simple concept to get your head around, work less, leave more time for yourself. Done by working smarter rather than harder, and putting quality over quantity

2. Turn it off - as great as technology is, sometimes it can become an over bearing burden and distraction, sometimes using the off button is your best option

3. Have fun - If you are not having fun in what you are doing...DONT DO IT

Monday, June 18, 2007

Coke - I still remember

I remember when I was but a young whippersnapper every summer would bring the Coca-Cola special offer. The offer would be that if you could collect 30 labels off the coke bottles you could redeem a "prize", upon mature reflection this prize tended to be fairly crappy, among them was

1. The Bug - an earpiece radio
2. Sunglasses - that were actually pretty good
3. Coke watches - which were also fairly usable.

The whole initiative really made a bti of a buzz around Coca-cola, and made people buy far more coke than they probably would have considered sane under normal conditions. (also helped create some addicts....*looks in mirror and cries*)

One of the methods I and some of my friends would use was to walk the streets lookig for empty bottles left on the side of the street, and other more daring friends would just walk straight into a shop, take the labels off, and walk straight out! Either way it created a talking point about the brand.

Todays offers on Coke bottles are pathetic in comparison, its all "text in to win" and to be honest, im pretty sure NO-ONE texts in, I DEMAND the reinstate the crappy prizes

Friday, June 15, 2007

Internet Observations

In the last week I have read two pretty interesting articles on the Internet, the first, based on a recent report compiled by Ofcom, showed that per capita Ireland and the UK have the greatest amount of Wi-Fi hotspots on the entire planet... just not really something you would expect.

The second was an article I read in The Irish Times about the possible adoption of a city wide..FREE..WI-FI Internet service implemented by the government. The first project of this type was pioneered in Norwich city center last year, when 200 Internet transmitting antennas were set up, effectively creating a hotspot that covered all areas of the city and gave Internet to the masses.
I must say that this would be an amazing idea, and would allow work, entertainment etc ANY time to ANY person with a computer for free. Although still in its pilot stage, the Norwich project cost a modest £1.1million so would not break the bank.

I wonder what current internet providers would make of all this though, those selling Internet to the average man, which most of them do, will be severely put out of business. TAKE THAT Irish Broadband!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Today while looking through my usual list of blogs, The site "doodlenow" was brought to my attention by Mr David Pogue. And dear god it is pretty freaky, you can doodle on a white screen on your browser..but get this....other people are doing it real time...on the same page.

this can lead to at times brilliant drawings, but invariably some idiot comes in and starts scribbling etc. Try this one out, there is something really fun about it.

Put your Money where your mouth is

Great ad!

Friday, June 8, 2007

"My Internet" vs "The Internet"

The Internet is full of great content and great websites but I have realised recently that I only really go to about 15-20 websites with any sort of regularity and probably about 30 overall, so "my internet" is considerably smaller than "the internet"

So for any readers of this blog, I ask that for the good of my brain, and anyone else who cares to look, that you suggest 2 or 3 decent sites you think are worthwhile.

My three
1. -
basically forums on any issue you could imagine wanting to talk about, be it
your college, favorite sport, TV show etc

2. - videos from the
annual TED conference, had great videos from Richard Dawkins on Atheism to Jane
Goodall on chimps. Hours of real education

3. - A website that has blog entrys
from around the world on any subject you can think of, you can also post your
entrys on this site, and people from around the world will have access to your
posts in a relevent category.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Lessons from basketball v2.0: job rotation

Playing basketball in secondary school under the great Conan Doyle taught me a lot of important lessons that can be applied in many areas of life. Through team sports things that you learn about teamwork, training and commitment not only serve you in terms of sports but also in the business world, and more importantly in life in general. One of these lessons I learnt was the concept of job/task rotation.

From an early stage in your basketball days, you tend to be set in a certain position “you are a point guard” and trained to be good at performing the tasks expected for that role. For example if you are the point guard, you become great at bringing the ball down the court, calling the plays and getting the right pass to the right player. If you are a post player, your job is to put yourself in the right position to get the ball and control the area around the basket. You eventually become so familiar with your role that you can get stuck in a rut where you view everything through the viewpoint of your position exclusively.

The major problem with this, is that the player in question often becomes totally ignorant as to what the other players on the court experience, usually leading to arguments over "why didn’t you make that pass", "why didn’t you get open" etc. One of the ways this can be easily countered is to switch around the roles on the court, for instance get a player who usually receives to bring the ball down the court etc and vice versa.

When you experience what the other party has to do on a regular basis, it increases your ability to understand the situation as a whole, rather than from your closed viewpoint, and can give you a much greater appreciation for your team-mates contribution.
Now the passer realises how hard it is for the player to make space for himself, and the receiver now understands that making that pinpoint pass really isn’t all that easy.

Michael wade of Execupundit offers a good example of this situation in a work environment
Prior to the job switching, there was a tendency to think, "I'm the only person who does serious work around here. My co-workers just cruise through the day."

After playing musical chairs for a while, however, each one confessed to a failure to appreciate the challenges faced by their co-workers. Not one expressed interest in a long stay in the other positions.

A good example that I have seen benefit from task rotation is fistfulofboomsick's own Matthew Kelly, a good friend and team-mate of mine in secondary school, Matt was set as a guard from a young age, more recently was forced to play an alternate position for a different team, and although at first he didn’t like it, he has become a much more versatile player, capable of filling many roles and has got a much deeper understanding of the game of basketball and other players’ on-court experience. So much so, that last year he was selected for the Irish u-20 team.
If you want a group of people who truly understand how your organisation/team works and appreciates other members contributions, rotation is where its at.

Big Brother Controversy

Today the Big Brother race saga continues, the contestant Emily Parr was seen to use a racial slur towards Charlie, a black contestant. And in the early hours of this morning, Emily was evicted from the house, and no doubt will be put to a trial by media.

My personal opinion on the matter is that, in something that bills itself as a REALITY program, any content that arises from the real situation should remain uncensored and as natural as possible, the only real point of the programme at all is to see how people react and relate to each other, and to take away the grittiness of real life is ridiculous.

The offening parts of the conversation were...(bare in mind only Emily was evicted

Emily: (referring to Charley dancing/pushing her hips forward) You pushing
it out you nigger.

but then....

Emily: Somebody has already used that word
in this house.

Charley: No way. (Pause) Yeah, me. I'm a nigger.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Insult to injury

I got a lovely message from Irish broadband today telling me they have had "problems with my payment" so i shall be internetless for a while, this on top of the fact I have injured my knee in a most inconvinient manner, leaving me on crutches and in bed mostly....
Fun times for all

I also had to miss my first day of work today so...i think there is some phrase about problems coming in groups..too injured to remember

Monday, June 4, 2007

When Steve met Bill

For those of you interested in computing in anyway shape or form, the recent joint interview at the "D: All things digital" between Mr. Apple, Steve Jobs and Mr. Microsoft, Bill Gates provides interesting viewing. Below is a compilation of the highlights form the interview, but the rest can be found on youtube.

I find the differences in personalities between the pioneers to be vast, Gates is a quiet and reserved well...nerd, and Jobs is a great speaker and storyteller, at one stage taking over a story being told by Gates half way, because he wasnt doing it justice.

Quizzed about the relationship between himself and Gates, Jobs recalls the line from a Beatles song

"You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead"

Ferris Bueller's day off

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Freddo Facts

Five fantastically fun facts about the greatest chocolate bar to grace our shelves

  1. Invented/Born in 1930
  2. Brainchild of Harry Melbourne pictured above
  3. Freddo is available in Australia in a wide variety of flavours, including strawberry, peppermint and "Rainbow crunch"
  4. An Incredible 98 million Freddo frogs are sold in the land down under every year
  5. When Mr. Melbourne died last January, his coffin was draped with a Freddo frog flag

Friday, June 1, 2007

NHL finals 2007: Stephen Stills vocal crime

Now I know I'm no expert on music...BUT, I am fairly sure that this weeks game 1 of the NHL finals witnessed THE worst version of the American national anthem. The folk singer Stephen Stills strode out onto center ice, put the mic to his lips, and just let loose, with his "singing voice".
I am fairly certain I could do better.

You would think that someone would have actually seen if he could sing the damn song with any level of competence, especially considering it is viewed by many millions around the world.
I would imagine this is somewhat comparable to allowing Dustin the Turkey sing Ireland's national anthem.

Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you the only video of the vocal crime on youtube
(Only the audio for some reason...I think that has been a cover up)