May 2005

Rejected politician replaces rejected politician with rejected politician

Doh!De Villepin appointed French PM

Dominique de Villepin has been named as Frances new prime minister, following the countrys rejection of the EU constitution in Sundays referendum.

The former interior minister replaces Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who tendered his resignation following the vote.

as a career diplomat never elected to public office, [Villepin] of all candidates most typifies the French elite so roundly rejected by the French people on Sunday.

Good to see Chirac listening to his electorate and not simply tinkering desperately to save his own political skin.

Quote of the Day: The joys of dubbing

Good luck with the phrase That giraffe spunk wasnt gloopy enough.

- Steve Pemberton on recording the DVD commentary for League of Gentlemens Apocalypse, as found by Twitch.

Crisis non management

Kevin Vandever provides an all too familiar list of the way in which management really doesnt help when the shit hits the fan.

One major roadblock is to schedule a conference call or a meeting to discuss the situation. This might be helpful to some extent, but in most cases it turns into a chance for upper management to pontificate and state the obvious to those in the trenches trying to solve the problem.

Yep. Been there. This one is particularly annoying when the issue is one that is very straightforward to resolve but has a very large impact on the business. In cases like this, I find myself spending more time explaining what I intend to do - to non technical people, who really dont understand the explanation - than I spend actually fixing the issue.

This becomes even worse when you have a process orientated manager in the hierarchy. It then becomes impossible to do anything until all eventualities have been documented, signed and approved and all arses are covered.

is also a time when the importance of the issue is explained to the group, which also falls into the stating the obvious category, but I give it its own billing because it so frustrating to those trying to solve the issue. The problem is that many times, the folks in the trenches already know what steps need to be taken to troubleshoot or solve an issue and most of the time they also know the graveness of the situation.

Of course, the process orientated guy seems unable to believe that anyone in his department might realise an issue might be important until its been logged, classified and prioritised in his issue tracking application of choice - preferably both of them.

The long-winded meeting usually serves to waste the time of those who need to dig in and it also frustrates them so that when they do get back to the job at hand, they do so with a less than positive attitude.

No comment.

Another favourite roadblock to productivity placed by management during a crisis is the constant need for status updates.

This one is relatively easy to deal with. If you promise to provide an update - preferably by email (managers like having stuff in writing) - by a fixed time, you can reasonably ignore all requests for updates.

The trick, of course, is to promise to provide an update about an hour after you expect to have fixed the problem. That way, not only do you satisfy the need for status, but you also get to look like a hero for fixing the issue faster than expected.

Having said that, I am reminded of the time that our email stopped working. The infrastructure group sent out a status update every hour, on the hour by email.

Of course, managers need to know what is going on - if only so that they can effectively keep things clear for the support people so they can do their job - but there is nothing that they can do directly to help solve a critical issue. Ive seen a number of managers - at various levels - who would do well to recognise this.


Anti-poverty bands made with forced labour, Oxfam says

White wristbands sold by the Make Poverty History coalition were made in Chinese factories accused of using forced labour, it has been disclosed.

Church seeks alcoholics

Pleading for priests on a beer mat

Beer mats and posters on the London Underground are being used by the Catholic Church in a more unusual attempt to try to slow the declining numbers of priests.

Sounds like a good way of getting Father Jack back into the church.

King of the Flies

Bizarre animation from Scary, found via sp3ccylad

Textspeak is older than you think

Heres an interesting observation, found via Different Day:

In English the circumflex, like other diacriticals, is sometimes retained on loanwords that used it in the original language; for example, rôle. In Britain in the eighteenth century, which was before the cheap penny post and a era in which paper was taxed, the circumflex was used in postal letters to save room in an analogy with the French use. Specifically, the letters ugh were replaced when they were silent in the most common words, e.g., thô for though, thorô for thorough, and brôt for brought — a precursor of the ways in which trendy young people nowadays abbreviate text messages. This could have led to spelling simplification, but did not.

Its worth bearing in mind that every populist scare story - be it the end of proper English, yobs in hoodies or the media driven end of society - is a retread of an older and equally nonsensical moral panic.

Useful Link of the Day: SBBFC

SBBFC Logo sbbfc has been designed primarily for students and teachers whose subjects involve the topics of media regulation, film, video and DVD classification and censorship. There is another BBFC site dedicated to primary school-aged children and their parents and teachers: cbbfc - Childrens BBFC

(via The Melon Farmers)

What was I voting against, again?

Doh! In an article on the consequences of the French no vote, EU Observer came up with this little gem:

The TNS-Sofres poll also showed that 40 per cent of the French said No to the Constitution in order to show their dissatisfaction with the government, and 46 per cent rejected it due to higher unemployment in the country.

Not surprisingly - given that the no vote was largely due to an unpopular and distrusted leader - Blair is trying to get off the hook already.


As expected, the French, fearful of ever increasing globalisation, have voted to leave themselves wide open to the effects of ever increasing globalisation.

Well, that was smart.