January 29, 2014
January 3, 2014
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
January 1, 2014
Reprints from some of my old email tips of the month in case you missed them:
PPPPS – Inspiration corner: it’s an old clip now, but I just love seeing the change in Simon Cowell’s face – http://youtu.be/VSrAJsWvEIc – Susan Boyle’s utter self belief is so wonderful to see.
PPPPPS – Not that SuBo is really my kind of music. This is more the sort of thing that does it for me http://grooveshark.com/#!/search/song?q=The+Smiths+Well+I+Wonder Every note he sings is luscious, and Johnny Marr’s guitar is equally great.
PPPPPPS – finally, thanks to Richard Loader for sending me this site which brings back many happy childhood memories of my Spirograph, with green biros etc: http://www.subblue.com/projects/guilloche Where have those innocent times gone?
PS – Radio 4 – Mark Steel is back in town continues to be brilliant.
PPS – Inspiration Corner: inspiration corner – http://youtu.be/W86jlvrG54o Much as I hate the x-factor and the plastic music it promotes, I had to love this.
PS – Radio 4 “Analysis” was great today – they had an Australian finance expert Steve Keen talking about why the problems are happening and what needs to be done. Listen again at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01j5h51
PPS – Want to know when the sun (remember that thing that was in the sky briefly two weeks ago?) is going to set? Or when it will reach and then disappear behind those trees? Well I learned last week from my son Miles (great when you can learn from your kids!) that if you hold up your hand at arm fully stretched out in front of you, with fingers horizontal, each finger is 15 minutes of sun movement. So if there’s one finger between the sun and the trees / horizon you have 15 minutes of sun left, and the width of your hand is an hour. Impress your friends by predicting sunset!
PPPS – If you go to http://streema.com/radios/ECHOES.gr_Netradio there is an excellent free internet radio station playing chill music. Lovely!
PPPPS – Make your iphone/smartphone louder when you want to listen to music using just its little speaker by wedging it into the corner of the room – if there is a table or shelf that goes to the corner. Stand the phone on edge and put it 45 degrees to the corner, diagonally. It works really well! Putting it into an open drawer also works a bit – give it more bass anyway. I was told that putting it into a cup works – empty cup of course! – but I tried that and it didn’t.
PPPPPS – Saw a great pub the other day in Stoke, called The Holy Inadequate. http://www.yourround.co.uk/Pub/Stoke-on-Trent/The-Holy-Inadequate/ST1-5PE.aspx
Can anyone do better? Send me your best pub names and I’ll publish a list some time….
PPS – I have discovered Pinterest (behind the curve or ahead of it?) which is a fun place where you can save/collect any pictures that you like. You might have collections of things you like, design ideas, places you’d like to live or travel to, colours you like and might use for your upcoming redecoration, cute kittens, whatever. You can follow people like on twitter, and ‘Like’ like on facebook. As people’s attention span shrinks we have gone from 5 minutes maximum on you tube to 140 characters on twitter and now to just pictures on Pinterest. Still, I like it.
PPPS – Not leaving the UK this year? I’d certainly recommend Scotland, which was amazingly beautiful, unencumbered with traffic, and without exception the people were friendly, even to someone English like me.
PPPPS – TRIZ – thanks to Archie for the Contradiction Matrix: how to improve one aspect without damaging another – http://www.triz40.com/ Amazingly clever.
PPPPPS – A small start towards making people happier would be view my video on the management potato and really understand it and then actually do it! I mentioned it last time, but here it is again: http://youtu.be/foroXR7KFa8
PPPPPPS – May the Fourth Be With You was fun, but we all know that Star Trek is better than Star Wars. So here are some leadership lessons from star trek – http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2012/03/05/five-leadership-lessons-from-james-t-kirk/ It’s actually quite a useful list! There’s a Jean Luc Picard list as well http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2012/03/13/five-leadership-lessons-from-jean-luc-picard/ and I personally think he’s a better leader than Kirk (much as I love that first series). Less ego, more calm, more consultative. Enjoy!
PPPS – and while I was on youtube doing my videos I uploaded a short film of my colour changing candle, mentioned in last week’s tip – how fab is this? And don’t miss the exciting angle-change half way through…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CVtLVhiiK4&feature=colike
PPPPS – Phew, what a boat race! I feel sorry for the athletes who’ve given up a year of their lives to train for it only to have it ruined. Personally I wanted to see who was going to win – it was the closest one for years. If only it could be run again next weekend!
PPPPPS- my favourite song at the moment: Childish Things by James McMurtry http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Childish+Things/j3vJ4?src=5
PPPPPPS – This is an amazing article about creativity in Operations Management in the service sector http://www.triz-journal.com/archives/2003/12/d/04.pdf so if you run a cleaning company or a council or part of the NHS, have a look at this as a way to think of new approaches to doing more and better for less cost.
PS – Twice recently I have managed to fix a virus on someone else’s computer and been a hero, despite very little computer knowledge, so I’m thinking that this might help some of you at some point (apologies to the experts out there who will already know this). You start the computer and press F8 repeatedly while it’s starting up. This should take it out of the normal startup and get you a black screen with white writing, and by using the up and down arrows (your mouse won’t be working) you select Start up in Safe Mode. Once it has started you then choose Restore and go back to a previous restore point – just pick one a week or two ago, before you got the virus. The computer will then sit there for about 5 minutes as it slowly turns its clock back to where it was in the happy days before it got the virus. You won’t have lost any documents, just any programmes (and the virus) that you installed during that time. Job done! If this doesn’t work, call an expert!
PPS- If you like Adele then you might want to consider seeing Joan Armatrading – tracks like ‘Visionary Mountains’, ‘The weakness in me’ and ‘It Could have Been Better’ could easily be Adele songs, though I think they’re better. Merchant of Love http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Merchant+Of+Love/2vqHBu?src=5 is a little bit like Adele’s undeniably great moment ‘Someone Like You’. Anyway, these days Joan can’t even sell out an intimate little theatre in Yeovil, which is a travesty, and I’m going to see her there for £27 on 22 June http://www.octagon-theatre.co.uk/events/2012/june/joan-armatrading.aspx See you there maybe?
PPPS – My mum accidentally bought some Air Wick colour changing candles and they are brilliant – they’d make a great present for anyone who you were visiting etc. They cost about £4 from Sainsburys or Asda and they are a real wax candle that, when you light it, the bottom of it changes colour – how on earth does it work? I have no idea but I love it. They are both beautiful and amazing. http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/#/sainsburys-price-comparison/light_bulbs_and_candles/air_wick_colour_changing_candle_pink_sweet_pea.html
PPPPS – I recently discovered that when you use one click ordering on amazon it usually defaults to first class postage. But if you go Add To Basket and then change the postage to 3-4 days you get the postage free. This is saving me several pounds on everything I order from amazon – a great discovery!
PS – Astronomy Corner says “Ooh, look at Venus and Jupiter putting on a marvellous show in the early evenings in the south at the moment”. You can’t miss them, they are massively bright compared to everything else. The lower one, which is the brightest, is Venus. If you look at the other one, Jupiter, through binoculars you can see at least 4 of is 12 moons, which are a really beautiful sight.
PPS – And talking of wonders of nature, I went Walking With Wolves on Sunday – a good present if you have a relative or friend who has everything, and likes dogs. Not that they are much like dogs when you get up close to them – they look you right in the eye and are quite scary! http://ukwct.org.uk/index.php?page=walk
PPPPPS – Good to see that Count Arthur Strong is back on radio 4’s 6.30 comedy slot – Tuesdays I think, and of course on Listen Again R4 website
PPPPPPS – “Haute Creature” – someone showed me this and I thought it was hilarious and also strangely brilliant – http://hautecreature.co.uk/index.html – for the people who have everything and for animals who have disabilities or are just pampered. Which takes me nicely to….
PPPPS – Music discoveries – Peter Murray is a cross between Jack Johnson and Del Amitri which can’t be bad! And a hint of Jethro Tull style flute in the middle… http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Fall+Your+Way/4rLZj6?src=5 or in case you can’t access Groove Shark then this: (though with annoying adverts) http://www.we7.com/listen/Pete-Murray/Fall-Your-Way+/radio?song=3645127 thanks Miles for that one.
PPPPPPS – only just discovered that on Wednesdays you can get 2 pizzas for the price of one at Pizza Express if you are on orange (or know someone who is). Doh! So that’s where you’ll find me from now on, Billy No Mates, eating two pizzas…..
PS – Estate Agents: your time is limited too. The Internet Cometh! Unless you can be really special you will survive, but only in small numbers and in tiny niches…
PPS – Observant readers will have noticed in my last tip’s PS section that it’s Comet who are being sold for £2, not Dixons. Who knows how near Dixons are to a similar fate though – I have said for a few years now that unless they are cheaper than the internet, or can give better service, they will fail, so it does seem inevitable sine they do neither. For example an iPhone cover in Dixons costs £20 and is out of stock, when on amazon it’s £3.99 with free shipping…
Official disclaimer – the items above might be slightly different (maybe!)
Part of my dislike of Dixons is that if there was justice then companies with good management would prosper and those with poor management would struggle. Have a look at this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/2740458/Chairman-Sir-Stanley-Kalms-Dixons.html and you’ll see that near the end it says “He still makes surprise visits to stores on a Friday and claims never to have found one completely to his satisfaction”. What a negative management style! Remember the Management Potato? How sorry I feel for the poor employees!
PPS – Italian cruise ship disaster.
Whatever happened, it was the captain’s fault: http://www.chriscroft.com/captain_of_the_ship.html
Is the same true for Murdoch etc that they are responsible for the phone hacking that their journalists got up to? Yes, for sure, if they knew then it’s a crime, and if they didn’t know then it’s a different crime.
And what about Fred The Shred and his knighthood – was he responsible for the failure of RBS? Could he have foreseen the collapse of the whole system? Or are we just looking for someone to blame? I don’t know enough to comment, though by all accounts his management style was pretty unpleasant: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23981171-fred-the-shreds-rage-over-pink-wafers.do
PPPS – I mentioned this incredibly beautiful orrery a while ago, and I’ve now realised you can get it as a screen saver (best for your home PC – check with IT whether you are allowed them at work!) so you get to see the beautiful planets going round and round when you come back to your computer after lunch or a meeting – you can either just view it here http://www.dynamicdiagrams.com/work/orrery/ or go to the bottom and click on “download the screen saver”
PPPPPS – Something you could listen to while watching the orrery: http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/If+The+Creek+Don+t+Rise/3CEWCs?src=5
Though this is probably more suitable: http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Oxygene+7/3AtB1L?src=5