Chris Croft's Personal Blog

March 26, 2011

Designing cars to look deliberately ugly?

I’d be interested to hear from anyone with a good theory about why Skodas don’t look as nice as Audis. Don’t get me wrong, Skodas are brilliant cars, especially for the price – the days of quality problems are long gone. But they don’t LOOK as good do they? Possible explanations why cars from the same company vary so much are:

a) Quality somehow shows through – better-made and better-functioning cars just will unavoidably be a nicer shape as well
b) The difference is in my head, I just can’t help being biased, and if Skodas did cost more than Audis I would find myself preferring the look of the Skoda
c) Audi pay their designers more because they have more money from the sale of the car. The Skoda designers just aren’t as skilled
d) it costs more to manufacture a better-looking car
e) Audi deliberately reduce the attractiveness of the Skodas so they don’t impinge on the sales of Audis (but can you imagine them saying “Design something ugly please” or “sorry, that car is too good looking, bin that design?) If this is really the case it can’t be much fun being a Skoda designer, when you KNOW you could do better but aren’t allowed to.

I find all of the above five hard to believe. Did I miss one?

I am told that although Skoda are part of the Audi group they are totally independent, Audi have no power over Skoda, so maybe e) can’t happen. But then, the other options aren’t very convincing…

thoughts anyone?


PS – am amusing discussion thread is going on at


March 17, 2011

Toothache – what can you do?

Filed under: Random stuff - uncategorisable — chriscroft @ 10:25 am

Just some notes which I hope may be useful for fellow sufferers…

Yes, you can get toothache in a root-canal capped tooth. An x-ray will tell you whether the bugs have somehow managed to get in under it.

Toothache can’t spread from one tooth to another, so a cracked filling in the one next door really is just a coincidence.

It starts as an itchy feeling in the tooth, then a feeling of pressure, which throbs with your pulse, and then it may move on from a dull ache to a sharp splitting pain.

The only option is antibiotics / penicillin, but the key point is that they take three days to kick in, so
a) take them as soon as the initial itch begins (I didn’t)
b) don’t panic if after 2 days they still haven’t worked (I did)
c) you WILL need pain killers to get you through the three days

Different bugs are immune to different penicillin. I was given the classic Amoxycillin, but that didn’t work (you have to wait three days to find that out!) so I as then given Phexin (aka Ceporex) which thankfully did work. But that meant six days of tooth ache!


The obvious ones are paracetamol and ibuprofen, and since they are independent you can take both if desperate. they only last four hours, so that gives you two problems – one is that at the end of the four hours they start to wear off, and so you take another, which takes 15-30 minutes to kick in, so you get maybe half an hour of pain. So my method was to overlap the cycles, taking paracetamol at say 10 and 2 and 6, and taking ibuprofen at 12 and 4 and 8 etc.

You have to be really careful no to overdose on painkillers, and most pills that have names like Oronac, Codeine or Nurofen etc have one or other of the above two in them. Some of them are a mixutre of aspirin and the above two. I think pure aspirin might be another independent pain killer you can take, but don’t quote me! Anyway, my point is read the labels really carefully to make sure you’re not overdosing.

The other problem is that when you go to sleep after 4 hours the pills wear off and you wake up in agony.

In the end I was prescribed some brilliant 12 hour release pain killers called Voveran, which got me through the night. I’m not really sure what it was, and I was told to not take any other pills with it, but it certainly worked for me. Because it was slow release I did find it look almost an hour to kick in, but other than that – brilliant!

I did try the idea of ice cube / pressure on your hand between your thumb and first finger, but it didn’t work at all. Maybe if you get someone else to do the pressing it might work, but I don’t think it’s as good as big pills!

Cold showers, especially putting my head under the cold water, did work for a while.

Sipping cold water from a cup, and slurping in some air as well so it flows over the tooth, worked last time but didn’t work this time.

Once the penicillin has finally got the bugs under control you can get the tooth drilled or whatever. Don’t decide to leave it since it’s feeling OK again – it’ll come back again at some point! I am having my tooth pulled out tomorrow, so that’s an end to it. Happy days!


March 15, 2011

Management websites

Filed under: Managing People, Project Management, Time Management — chriscroft @ 10:18 pm

Here is a list of the various sites that I have created over the years – you might find some of them useful:

My main website for my training courses:

A summary of project management:

Click here to see me doing a free 15 minute e-learning mini-course on Project Management

And here I am explaining how to produce a Gantt chart using Excel

A summary of time management


A 20 minute time management mini-course 


A story about delegating and not accepting monkeys from people

The First Book of Management (aka Being a Good Boss)

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Everything you need to know about accredited management courses

Archive of tips of the month

Online time management course

This blog!



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