Saturday, February 27, 2010

Come back.

I wonder if anyone is still reading this? I haven't been, so I can't expect anyone else to now can I?

Thought I would make a bit of a comback and get back into this. It helps to vent frustrations. I was reading through some of my older posts (didn't take long!) and I thought I must have been a grumpy wee sod. Or at least frustrated with a bunch of stuff. I still am, but I think I've mellowed slightly. Unless it's like a pot on a stove. You know, the kind that keeps boiling back up again, which I'm prone to do.

I work in the telco industry in NZ and it's been interesting to watch how reliant we all are on mobile networks and technology today. It's not until it's gone do we fully realise how much we need to stay in touch. I grew up in NZ before we all had cellphones and I don't really remember it being all that bad. You had a phone at home, and people called it. If you were there you answered it, otherwise you didn't. It was all very simple.

Computers I guess fall into the same category. Again, we didn't really have those until I was in my early teens, and even then they were pretty basic affairs. No real internet either.

I'm beginning to wonder what it was that I did with my time.....I do remember it being a lot of fun though. Treehouses and swimming pools and flying foxes and BMX tracks. All good fun.

But I'm older now with a wife and two kids. And things definitely have become more complicated. But in a very good way. I'm enjoying it all at the moment.

Life in Auckland NZ is really very nice. It's a lovely sunny February day and everything is alright.

Caught up with a good mate last night for dinner as we had a night off from the kids. Stayed with my parents. It is such a change of pace when you aren't trying to entertain and manage two little ones. But at the same time you find yourself thinking about them and missing them. And that's really what it's all about. Technology and all that comes with it, pales into insignificance when you have a family you love and which loves you.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Inspired? Kind of.

I was reading an article in today's NZ Herald about a Richard McManus and his blog Read/Write Web and it inspired me to polish this blog up a bit and add a few things, like the Technorati links to the left.

Nothing to fancy but hopefully I can add some more soon. Once I get my head around some of the more intricate aspects of html and blogging etc.

I'm not suggesting I could possibly ever make any money blogging. Ha. Like that would happen. But it did get me thinking that maybe I should put a bit more effort in. And maybe that might mean my blog might go up the rankings a bit. That's my first goal anyway.

For that to happen, some people would need to start reading it though, and that hasn't really happened much yet. Apart from friends and family.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A long drinks break....

Yeah, sorry about that. Some people (one in particular) were getting a bit pushy about me conitinuing this thing. Don't know why given that virtualy laughed me out of the house when I said I was writing a blog.

I still don't think I need to do this blog all the time. It was only meant to be a bitch and a moan about things when they got to much, and to also highlight some of the good news stories that are around.

I see it more as a commentary, rather than as a diary. So just hold your horses Brett!

I laughed about this story the other day. During the election in 2005, the Government promised that if re-elected they would provide free childcare for children aged 3 and 4. "Free" seems to be a relative term for this Government. You see, whilst the childcare is free, it's technically only subsidised to a certain amount per hour. And if that amount isn't enough to cover expenses, then the Government has told the childcare centres that they might just have to put up rates for the under 3's to cover the costs.

So instead of the Government paying for it all out right, the Parents of the children aged under 3 will have to subsidise the "free" childcare for children aged 3 and 4.

It's just madness. Parents are effectively being asked to subsidise a Government policy!

Next thing to grate me was this website naming and shaming incompetent CYFS workers. I don't really have a problem with the website, as I believe that if you are in the public service you have to expect a certain level of criticism. Particularly if you are as incompetent as some of these people appear to be. I do have a problem though when a lot of personal details get published which can possibly lead to nutters going around and harassing the families of these workers. It hasn't happened yet, but I bet it won't be long before it does.

There is quite a bit of history though surround CYFS and there poor performance in the past. It wouldn't surprise me if it's a minority of case workers who are making them all look bad. I'm sure there are plenty trying to work the system so that it assists those familises who really need it. At the end of the day, they are constrained by rules and procedures set by a bunch of muppets in Wellington, rather than the actual people on the ground who have to deal with the problems every day. Sometimes you can't help feeling sorry for them really.

Christmas and New Years were good this year. Our first with a baby in tow. But she's such an angel and makes it all so easy. Bring on the next one!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Nearly a month

I don't know which is worse. The fact that a whole month has gone by and I haven't managed to write anything in this blog. Or the fact that a whole month has gone by and nothing notable in my life has happened in my life to warrant me writing anything in my blog!

My mate Eden finally popped the question to his girlfriend of 12 months (?). Is that all? Only 12 months. They have "known" each other previous, but I think have only officially been together for about 12 months. I could be wrong on the time frames, so don't quote me.

Anyway, it's good news. And they seem very happy together, which is a good start.

Which just leaves Brett. He's already said he's feeling the pressure. I don't envy his situation though. He wants to get married and move into a new house at the same time. That will take some planning, and a decent wad of cash. Organising a wedding is stressful enough, without the added pressure of moving into a new house! But if that's what he wants to do, good luck to him. And I'll try and help in anyway I can.

It's great to see mates getting married. Having known Eden since we were in primary school, Graham since we were 13/14, and Brett since I was about 16, it's pretty cool to watch life events happening.

Speaking of life events: my little girl just keeps on growing. 7 months (coming up to 8) now. Healthy as can be. Although she did have a bug the other week which knocked her for six. Went for about 5 days, up and down. Things were coming out both ends. Not pretty. Poor little thing was really sick and lost a lot of weight. Her smile still hung in there though. She was trying to be happy and healthy but the bug kept pulling her down. Both Linda and I got it. But we only had it for about a day and a bit. We felt like rubbish after only that short period of time, but Sarah had it for much longer, so I can only imagine how she must have felt.

All good know though. Back to her normal self. Although she has started waking up in the night since she got over the bug. We think it's a combination of her normal pattern being out of whack and her little body trying to catch up on about a week of not really eating anything. The night before last she slept through, and last night she only woke up once. So we feel we may be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

A new touch rugby season is starting up soon. End of October I think. This year I'm actually going to try and get fit to some degree so that I limit my liability risk on the field. Maybe. Anyway, I'll let you know how that goes.


Thursday, August 31, 2006

Yes, I'm a redneck.

Well, that's not entirely true.

But I can't help thinking that we should kick these Zimbabwean overstayers out of the country. If we could find them of course.

Somehow we let these disease riddled refugees into the wilds of NZ without any controls or tabs on them. Now they have disappeared and we are quite happy to sit back and say "Ok, so you've got AIDS. No problem. Turn yourselves in and we will grant you residency and you can stay here and leach off our health system."

What a joke. If we could find them, why don't we just put them back on the boat they arrived in and send them packing? Why is it our responsibility to look after a bunch of people who are basically seeking so called refuge in our country, but fail to take the necessary steps to ensure their safety and the safety of those they come in contact with?

Just call me Billy Bob, pass me my shotgun and can of Bud, and I'll sort out the problem for ya. Yee-Ha!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Are they listening?

It is becoming increasingly apparent to me (and no doubt many others), that no matter how hard we try, "they" just don't listen. They either don't care, or are so convinced that they are right, anything anyone else says is nonsense and irrelevant.

I'll give you three examples of varying weight and importance:

1. Auckland City and the rates
2. Labour Party and it's denial on the pledge card expense
3. Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and the USA

Before I begin on this one, I should let you know that I am not an Auckland ratepayer. I live in Manukau City, and to be frank, I don't mind paying rates. That could be because mine aren't exactly astronomical, but somehow we have to pay for the services we have. There may be a better way, but as yet I haven't heard one. I guess we could try a "user pays" system, but I'm not sure that would really work. I mean, who wants to pay to enjoy a walk in the park? So how do they fund that then?

I've always had a problem with Dick. Ever since he got in, I've looked at him and wondered if he could do the job. So far, not a lot seems to have happened.

Which I guess is half the problem. Councils (and Governments, but we'll get to that later) seem to take your rates, and it seems to disappear. It's very rare for you to actually see something being done with your rates. The only thing I see on a daily basis are the Parking Wardens roaming the streets trying to put a ticket on my car. Of course there's bound to be a whole heap of things going on in the background that we don't know about, of which a huge percentage is probably pointless.

And what can we do about it? Not a lot. Sure we can organise a petition for them to ignore, we can march down Queen St shouting "No More Rates" and they won't listen, we can send emails and write letters for them not to read, we can try and phone them, but good luck getting through to anyone who actually cares or who has any real power.

Simply put there's no accountability. Except for election time, when we'll make them pay, oh yes we will! We will vote this mob out and vote the next mob in who will promise to listen, but won't. Who will promise not to raise rates more than inflation, but will. And will blame the previous councils for the under investment and thus why they need to put the rates up. And why this is wrong and why that's not working and why you are still sitting in traffic going no where and why the trains are still rubbish and why the buses still suck.

Number 2. Helen, Labour, and the pledge card. A quick recap: Last election, Helen decided she would use the money set aside for the PM's office to produce a pledge card promising that a she as Labour PM will do this and that etc etc. Problem is, she's apparently not supposed to use the PM's office petty cash tin to promote her party when it's election time, if at all. I guess we probably wouldn't be worrying about it if it was only a couple of thousand dollars. But it's not. It's around $450,000.00!!! Nice cash if you can get it.

Helen and Labour don't think they need to repay it, as the rules do not specifically say you can't use it. What it actually says is that Operational resources are not provided and many not be used for "producing or distributing promotional or electioneering material by mail or other means of communication for the purpose of supporting the election of any person or the casting of a party vote for any political party."

Seems pretty straight forward to me.

The annoying, frustrating and downright blood boiling part of it all, is that as soon as you make a mistake when dealing with a Government department, you are penalised, asked to pay the money back, and put at the back of the queue. Be it tax, or a benefit payment or such. They will wring you dry, and wish you luck in trying clear your name. Ha bloody ha. Evil I tell ya. The NZ Herald told the story of just such a poor woman who has been hit with a bill to pay back a little over $3k, because WINZ over paid her when she was on a benefit. Or so they reckon. But the problem was, it was the Government departments fault that she was over paid, not hers. Yet, she is the one that is getting penalised. And what would happen if she said "No, I'm not paying, you screwed up, it's not my fault". Well she would probably get taken to court, lose, have to pay court costs, and then get penalised even more for not paying her debt when she was supposed to. Makes ya sick.

But does Helen get such a big stick waved at her? No. And will she get penalised for spending our taxpayers money inappropriately? No. And can we make her accountable? Sure. In about 3 years, at the next election. Thanks for voting.

And last but not least, is number 3. What to do with the bombs dropping on civilians trapped inside the hell that is Lebanon right now. Israel would stop immediately if the USA told it to. But it won't. Why is anyone's guess. But likely it's because it would quite like Hezbollah to get a bit of a hiding (who wouldn't?) and should a few innocent families get obliterated in the meantime, ah well. Absolute madness.

I understand that Israel needs to stop these nuts from chucking stones over the fence and breaking a few windows. But do they need to destroy the whole front verandah, living room, and part of the kitchen?

A few aptly timed and well planned commando raids would probably have done a better job, surely?

They tell these civilians to get out while they can, but where are they going to go? Most of them don't have anywhere to go. And it's not like Israel makes it easy for them. They drop a bunch of leaflets telling them to leave, and then bomb the petrol stations and roads getting out of town!

They bomb a bunch of Kurdish farmers packing vegetables into a truck and then have the audacity to say they shouldn't have been in that area and that it was a suspected Hezbollah HQ. Puhleeeeeeaaaase. Do we honestly look that dumb? Well, apart from the Bush Administration, that is.

The UN Security Council trys to do something about and then gets blocked by the USA who would prefer to work towards a more "meaningful, long term" ceasefire, than a quick stop now to allow some people to leave and some aid to get in. In the meantime more families get killed.

Now we see a massive environmental disaster brewing from a bombed oil terminal and power station on the Lebanese coast. And will Israel stop to allow any of this to be tidied up? Doubt it.

I would like to finish with a profound and well thought out commentary on the above, but I can't.


Because no matter what I say, or you say, nothing will change. We will still be lead by incompetent fools who never listen.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Jelly for brains

As some of you may know, I work for Telecom. I like Telecom. Yes, I know, am I nuts, blah blah blah. But it's not such a bad place. People tend to harass it and say it's a bloated monolith intent on disrupting all telecommunications in NZ. Which obvioulsy is nonsensical and counter productive.

The way I see it, Telecom has struggled for years to operate in an environment that enforces it to try and strike a balance between providing a "cheap" service to the public whilst giving access to it's networks so that it's competitors can use the infrastructure Telecom owns to take business off Telecom. Some of the stories that have floated around are crazy, and some to the restrictions that Telecom has to operate under are downright uncompetitive. For example, did you know that Telecom can not offer a price that is lower than a competitor offer without a significant compelling event? Sure it can match it, but you can't blame Telecom for keeping prices artificially high. And did you know that it was the Government which forced Telecom to take on CDMA technology for it's mobile network when it actually wanted to go with the more popular GSM technology which Vodafone use's? If it had been able to, you would have seen the two biggest mobile carriers in NZ using the same technology and thus providing for a much easier and level playing feild. No doubt also ensuring that consumers would have got the best technology.

That's fine. We are not complaining. But you have to expect a certain amount of patch protection. You have to expect that Telecom is going to try and obstruct access as much as it can in order for it continue to make money and remain a strong company.

The problems I have with though is that it seems to have been so worried about protecting it's patch that it has utterly failed to deliver a true world class service which it so easily could have done. The service I refer to is broadband. We/You/I have to admit that it's pretty pathetic. And in order for Telecom to do anything about it, the Government had to wade in, albeit late, and tell Telecom that enough is enough. The time has come for the "local loop" to be unbundled and for Telecom to allow it's competitors unfettered access to it's network.

As I have talked about previously, TG has said that Telecom will not get in the way. It will be an obstacle no more. Good stuff, I say. I just hope they stick to it, otherwise it will be a PR disaster. Already things have been somewhat muddled on the PR front, which no doubt has something to do with the fact that Telecom was blindsided by the announcement from the Government. Still, whoever's in charge of PR should be fired. A blind deaf mute would have seen the writing on the wall. It was not and "if" but a "when". And if nobody had a plan on what to do, then that was just plain stupid.

I don't circulate in the upper echelons of Telecom by any stretch of the imagination. But I get the feeling that things are pretty much business as usual. Which is a bit of a concern. Sure they have announced a restructure, and I guess they have to weigh up the options given the Govt have not actually announced any hard plans. But it would be nice to think that someone was going "Right. It's all changed. What can we do before Helen sticks her beak in again and screws it up even more?"

Personally, I would be running around to each box in the country and upgrading it. So that when the otehr ISP's finally do get access (1) there won't be any room for thier crap and (2) Telecom will have the fastest network anyway so don't waste your time. Spending some of those hundreds of millions they have been creaming for so long.

But that brings us back to the beginning a bit. You see instead of investing or banking the cash, they gave it back to the shareholders. Which is nice for them, but not so great now.

So where does that leave us? In a bit of a mess really.

Telecom looks very likely to follow a BT route in that it will seperate it's wholesale and consumer divisions into two distinct entities. But that is still at least 12 months off, if not 24 months or longer.

Vodafone has just been given access to Telecom's landline business. Which means there will be a definite push by Vodafone into not only the broadband market but also the general consumer market. It will be interesting to see what happens.

And I will try and offer a few insights from inside as well.