Random Rants

I've had some interesting exchanges with people who've been sending me connect requests of-late. My usual approach - that I will connect with people 'with whom I have done business, or who I know personally' - tends to result in me fending off unsolicited connection requests from a swathe of people who fit into neither category. Of those, one can usually classify the request as being:

  • A recruiter, looking to recruit me for a role
  • A recruiter, looking for a role for a candidate already on the books
  • A recruiter, looking to expand their network in order to potentially action either of the above at some point in the future
  • A jobseeker, looking to make connections in order to find a role for themselves - and these are often offshore candidates (plenty from India, Pakistan, Bangledesh, Sri Lanka and South East Asia in general)
  • A Sales Manager, Account Manager or Business Development Manager looking to draw attention to their latest innovation that they really want to sell you
  • One of the aforementioned three ultimately trying for the same outcome, but being more subtle about it (playing the long game).
  • Someone else from the Industry, engaging their LION (Linked-In Open Networker) - basically expanding their professional network for as-yet-unqualified reasons (but in my experience many LION types are also sales-and-marketing focused at some level.)

All of the above - except perhaps the job-seeker and maybe the LION type - are looking to ultimately make money from me. Thus all of them are, fundamentally, sales or revenue-driven networkers who are playing off the numbers - if even 1% of connections over the course of a day/month/year engage with me for business, it's worth the relatively small mechanical effort to click 'connect'.

I was amused to see the NZ Police Commissioner claiming "Prevention Approach Pays" as a win.

Whilst I actually give the Police their dues in a general sense - they seem to have done fairly well in terms of the 'usual headaches' that the holiday season would present - any attempt to suggest that the reduced speed tolerance is in any way responsible for significant reductions in road deaths during the holiday period, is something I would object to strenuously.

The Commissioner is relatively brief in his statement regarding the road toll:

Many of you will be as saddened as I was by the number of people killed on our roads during the official holiday period. The 12 deaths were four fewer than last year, but that still means 12 victims and a dozen grieving families too many.

The official holiday period ended last Tuesday, but many thousands of people are still away on leave, and I know our staff will continue working hard to keep people safe on our roads.

But it doesn't take much looking to find the table of holiday road tolls over the last several years.

What is obvious:

  • In the last 5 years, the number of road deaths in this last holiday season runs 3rd-equal with 2010-11
  • 2011-12 had the most, with 19 deaths
  • 2014-15 had the next most, with 16 deaths
  • 2010-11 had one more accident for the same number of deaths. I'm not sure that matters.

Amazed that even 3 years later, nothing's changed.

... so which sign-in button do I press?

For future reference, the right hand one of the two is the correct one. This is what you get if you click the left one - a screenshot I took >6 months ago:

Of note, Tweets from 2012:

https://twitter.com/nzpost/status/277911174501261312

https://twitter.com/paul_shannon/status/277655639658987520

... their whole process has been broken for at least 3 years and hasn't changed.

This years Tweets:

https://twitter.com/BlakJakNZ/status/624465695913439232

https://twitter.com/BlakJakNZ/status/624468510912184320

After having to challenge yet another unsolicited connection attempt on LinkedIn today I was inspired to throw some words into Google and see if anyone else had published anything regarding LinkedIn Connections.

I came across the following interesting reads:

So... it's been a while since I blogged - and i'll detail more on that elsewhere - but I felt singularly inspired after a story my wife told me tonight, about NZ Couriers. Again.

She arrived home yesterday afternoon shortly after 4pm to find some courier-delivered packages on the doorstep.
This on it's own wouldn't be a problem except that at least one of them was 'signature required'. That is, it's not meant to be delivered unless someone signs for it.

So Liz hits up the NZ Couriers website and does a track-trace on the delivery ID - to discover that it was signed for at 2.25pm - when she wasn't home!! (I know this as she was in the CBD with me... !)

Seriously, what the hell?

So... Delivery guy forges the addressee's signature and just leaves it on the doorstep. Today Liz gets a response from NZ Couriers to say that this is "industry standard practisr". Err... Wut?

Not the first time we've had problems with NZ Couriers, to be honest. Late last year Liz ordered an item from a company based in Penrose and was to have it couriered to to our home in Birkdale. The company tried to tell us that if we wanted delivery during the month of December we'd be best to pick it up from their depot (in Mt Wellington). (For those who aren't aware, Mt Wellington and Penrose are immediately adjacent, on the wrong side of the Harbour Bridge from Birkdale!) Track-and-tracing of the item at the time showed that it never got beyond being picked up by the courier. Then they couldn't find it. Then after much nagging on our part, the courier finally found it and delivered it... but had to get his teenage daughter to come to our door as he couldn't face up to us!!

I was surprised at the stink that the use of the term in a Police Media Release apparently caused.
Mainstream Media in NZ didn't use the term themselves in much of their coverage but the Police themselves issued an apology.

Here's some coverage from Radio NZ News.

A google search suggests that i'm not the only one who's posed this question before now.

Growing up in Manurewa - the middle of South Auckland and a cultural melting-pot of ethnicities and skin colours - I didn't think twice when folks used the term.
So I was surprised at the furore that erupted here.

Good grief folks, is this the PC brigade gone-mad - or is there something to this in your opinion?

I came across http://vilain.net/blog/2010/12/93-vilain-v-vodafone.html via Twitter yesterday. I've met Sam Vilain, though I don't know him well - but I know him by reputation as a clever guy. That, and this being an issue I have strong interest in, had me keeping my ear to ground for the outcome of events.

In short, Sam was taking Vodafone to the Disputes Tribunal over the cost of international roaming on his Vodafone cellphone.
For anyone who travels frequently, you'll be aware of the facts involved - that roaming is horrendously expensive and that there's no way that the end-user costs associated with roaming data are in any way proportional to the actual operating costs of the service. Indeed there's plenty of media coverage about the insane costs of roaming (despite Vodafone making such a big deal about it's worldwide service).

A simple Google Search reveals headlines like:

So I share in Sam's dissapointment at the ruling but will also be interested in the followup. From my perspective:

- Vodafone have been far too inspecific about the costs of data use in their billing system; if a customer wants by-session information they should be able to have it!! Landline broadband can already do this.
- The rates are expensive; the fact it's cheaper to buy a local sim card than use your own number is actually a bit of a joke when it's usually pretty obvious that at a network level, costs are barely above local data costs. The host networks own local charging rates should sent the benchmark for a roaming guest. This case is serving to give yet more exposure to what many consider is a rort.

I've been dreaming about setting up a dash-cam for ages, as I get to see this sorta crap daily. Motorists, seriously, wtf?

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Up until recently i've been a stalwart supporter of Dick Smith Electronics - yes, I'm a former employee. That was 10 years ago, however.

Sadly though they've seen fit over the last few years to drop out of a lot of their 'specialist' electronics stuff and focus instead on the consumerware that is otherwise found in places like Harvey Norman and Noel Leemings. DSE have the advantage of being far more numerous, and thus, more accessible. I used to also believe their staff were sharper, but this remains to be proven in the current climate.

Of course, DSE still carry more 'eclectic' stuff (they're a hybrid Harvey Norman -> Jaycar bridge, now, really) but there's one thing you need to be very careful of with DSE; check the pricing on what you're after and make sure it's infact sane.

Here's an example.
End of last year I picked up a Bluetooth Handsfree Kit (aided by the law change requiring their use).
The unit I picked based on cost:benefit was the DSE EA0054.

Here's their photo ripped from their website:

This retails at $79.95. Pretty sure that's about what I paid for it nearly a year ago, too.

Then I spied this at the local supermarket the other day:

It's the same damn unit with a different brand name printed on the front. And it's $49.95. Or 62% of the price.

Frustrating, really. I'm seeing no significant advantage to having the DSE brand name on my handsfree unit. Not enough to translate to nearly half-price at my even more ubiquitous supermarket.

So, DSE; what's your markup on EA0054? Can you justify being that much more expensive?

As previously blogged our company (the one Liz and I operate privately) has received unsolicited advertising from 'Pieroth Wines NZ' at least once before. They gain our details via the Companies Office Register.

This has been further validated; Last week Liz updated our details with the Companies Office now we've relocated to Auckland.
It didn't take long to receive more junk from Pieroth, addressed to 'Dear Lover of Fine Wines' at our registered address.

DO NOT EVER TRADE WITH PIEROTH WINES! This sort of harrassment-style direct marketing is rude and obnoxious. I'm not a wine lover, no matter how many times you try to suck me in with your faux-manners!

Most of my previous rant on this subject remains entirely valid. It's postal direct marketing, so it doesn't fall under the UEM Act... It could potentially be argued that using the Companies Register for purposes other than for which it is provided, is in breach of its terms of use. Yeah, that'll stand up to scruitiny... ??

Are people stupid enough to actually respond to these mailouts with enough frequency to make the cost of doing them worth the grief?

Why do I have to live with the fact there's absolutely no way to protect myself from this sorta crap?

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