This must be the best new storyline for a Monty Python sketch in ages.
"In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has
banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government
permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration
for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and
strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is 'an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation.'"
You gotta hand it to the Chinese government; they can be amazingly creative when it comes to sticking it to the Dalai Lama.
IBM are now offering a downgrade from Vista to XP for customers who've bought an IBM/Lenovo machine with Vista pre-bundled. I ordered my CD today.
Given the horrible Vista experiences of some folk, the IBM website copy is a wonderful example of first class euphamism...
"Have a Microsoft Windows Vista Business or Microsoft Windows Ultimate
system, but need to continue using Microsoft Windows XP for awhile? For
a limited time Lenovo is providing Windows XP Recovery CD media as a
way to downgrade from Windows Vista"
Can I be bothered to go through all the pain involved in downgrading? Not sure at this point, but if I continue to have the same levels of Vista pain after I've had my ThinkPad T60 motherboard replaced (don't ask...), I probably will.
I really like the user interface, but am beginning to loathe the slow applications, endless 'not responding' messages, frustrating home networking and moody PDA connectivity.
First of all, let me say state that I am a huge fan of innovation. I find most 'new stuff' pretty exciting - and worringly seductive. Which is why I was surprised to be almost in tears on the tube earlier today reading a couple of articles in Metro.
There are two new products for kids/teenagers on the market. The first is UK made - a knife-proof hoodie made from Kevlar (like military body armour in Iraq), which recently protected a 15-year whilst he was slashed at a cash machine.
This is his hoodie. His back was OK, but his hands took a bit of punishment.
It would appear that "the hoodies have also proved a hit with female joggers and dog walkers - prompting makers Bladerunner to bring them out in baby blue and pink".
The second is from the US, and as this youtube promo shows, just as bleak.
"I’m going to make a long speech because I’ve not had the time to prepare a short one" goes the famous saying of Churchill.
The same applies to charts, graphs and visuals. I don't know about you, but in my time I've seen way too many graphics (usually embedded in scintillating corporate Powerpoint presentations) that reflect half-formed thinking.
At the other end of the spectum is this wonderful visual by James Dutton.
Many marketing folk are trying hard to figure out how to measure the elusive 'customer engagement' metric. James moves the discussion along with insight and elegance.
I had a cracking day at the Edinburgh Festival yesterday - blue skies, T-shirts, tasty nosh, a so-so comedy show and a great play.
The play, Breaker Morant, told of how three Australian lieutenants were court-martialled for executing
prisoners and a German missionary as a way of deflecting attention from war crimes committed by
their superior officers during the Boer War.
Harry Morant, the leader of this bunch of 'Bushvelt Carbineers' (commandos who make mayhem and kill behind enemy lines) was also a poet whose touching blunt Australian lines make for many a wry smile.
The play is essentially a fast-paced courtroom drama - think LA Law in 1902 army uniforms. Highly recommended.
The obvious parallel is with Abu Ghraib and Donald Rumsfeld's shenanagins, but I was also struck by another military milestone - the formation of the SAS by David Stirling in the early 40's during the Second World War.
One of the many subtexts running through Breaker Morant was the disdain that the British Army held for these volunteer Bushvelt Carbineers, who were 'irregulars' without formal army training. The army especially disliked the informality of the relationships between the officers and the men, which if you've ever worked in any antipodean organisations, you'll immediately appreciate (vs. the sometimes stilted worker/manager relationships still existing in many British organisations).
These irregulars however, were experts in their craft - living off the land deep behind enemy lines and killing Boers. They employed unorthodox and highly successful tactics; sitting Boer POWs in open carriages at the front of trains to stop them being blown up for example.
Jumping forward 40 years - David Stirling formed the SAS to operate deep behind German lines in North Africa. His unit also employed unconventional and highly successful (although not always) methods that came to the attention, and disdain, of a few senior army officers. His view of warfare 'just didn't fit' with how it 'should be done' and many tried to have his maverick unit disbanded. It took a personal intervention by Churchill to keep them going, and onto greater things.
I'm pretty sure that this scenario still plays itself out in many organisations today. Someone with a bit of passion at the sharp end of the business has a well-considered slightly risky idea that the CEO would love to see piloted. But it doesn't get off the ground because there are too many vested interests in the way.
"For some it's the status of their portfolio, or the health of an aging
parent. Others want to know if their friends are online, the upcoming
weather, the score of a game, if the fish are biting, or if there's
heavy traffic on their drive home. These are examples of information
that is neither worthy of interrupt (push), nor worthy of investing
time (pull). This type of information should be glanceable, like a
clock or barometer. We call this ambient information, and we've created
the technology to deliver it".
Thanks to Russell Davies for his recent post that got this on my radar.