Thursday, March 06, 2008


People who think "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach" are aiming too high...

Friday, November 30, 2007

When world (views) collide

When faith meets reason, faith puts its fingers in its ears and goes "La la laah".

When reason meets faith, reason won't get any sensible answers because faith is too busy with its fingers in its ears...

Monday, December 04, 2006

What to do, what to do?

Purchasing and cost-cutting in a large organisation is a tricky and, sometimes, emotional subject and it was no different at Pan Galactic Corporate Bank.

For example:

The CIO blogmeister, and a few other top brass, get personally involved with a commercial wiki provider (that happens to have at least one connection with ICANN). They've made new friends (good for the career – me? cynical?), see that the software has promise though still in development, and the world is good. Obviously the thing to do now is to hand over a large amount of money to continue that development, tell the IT department to install the software and make public announcements.

Then it's discovered that PGCB has been using an open-source wiki in house for 4 years already that's: a. free and b. perfectly good...

What to do, what to do?....

Well, what would you do? No really, it's a serious question.

Obviously it's whatever prevents senior management from losing face! Tch, silly question really. This includes having a half-time person fully devoted to proselytising the 6-figure software.

2 years later and Throgmorton finds himself “off message” looking after the still free and open source wiki. It has 17,000 pages whereas Nepowiki(tm) is being used for only 3,000! Throgmorton gets on the internal blog (there to aid internal communication) describing the silliness of the situation, and proposes looking after Freewiki.

“No you can't”

“How about in my own time? Evenings and weekends and stuff”


Eh? Freewiki is used for all the business critical systems documentation! Losing this data is absolutely not an option and there's no migration plan. Everyone using Freewiki knows this is mad but most people are keeping their heads down e.g. Throgmorton is receiving comments like “you're dancing around the feet of elephants mate”...

It then turns out the hardware used for Freewiki is being decommissioned in two months – it will take 3 person months to migrate the data from Freewiki to Nepowiki (Nepowiki is still under-featured and there's no migration tool) whereas just a person-week to install Freewiki, at the latest version, on borrowed hardware (and would save the company a quarter of a million quid).

What to do, what to do?...

The upgrade obviously.

But secretly.

Ooh, the ire. The wailing and nashing of teeth from above when the job is finished! Much conversation is had on the blog (improving conversation daily) debating the merits of this, that and the other culminating in the UK IT head (nee Accountant) proclaiming “I don't care what you do in your own time on your home computer. Your opinion is of no relevance to me, only that you adhere to my decisions”.

Now, Throgmorton is made of sterner stuff then to be bothered by abject rudeness. But the management technique of “ignoring those with the real experience” is pointy-haired and exasperating to say the least.

Word then comes down that I've “rattled the cage too hard” and I'm asked, by direct boss, to help with the migration from the, still without cost, Freewiki, to the, still under-featured, Nepowiki.

What to do, what to do?

Of course I'll help.

I'll give them all they need – which is far more than they want!

But, word of advice. Never ever, ever, EVER send out an email containing the phrases “keep this to yourselves” and “kybosh”.

The next day I'm suspended – escorted from the building! cooo! - and I send out a text to a whole bunch of my chums along the lines of “that's something that's not happened before...”

Without fail my female acquaintances respond with “OMG, r u ok!”, “I'm here if you want to talk”, “tell me more”, “do you need an employment layer” etc. etc. Bless.

On the men front: Lumpy replies “Well done, job well done” and Bob (the builder): “That's interesting, do you want to earn some extra dosh?”

Men know how to deal with these things...

Responding to Bob: “err, I'm on enforced paid leave 'till the inquest. Contract says I can't take any other work”

“Say no more, say no more, I quite understand. But my sister-in-law's mum's house has a few walls that need knocking down and Christmas is coming up and I've got this brown envelope with your name on it...”

“Well, if you put it like that.”

Two weeks later PGCB actually get around to sacking me. Yes all but top brass agree with you, yes you were following your duty to the company, yes it would have saved money, but the word Kybosh suggests “Willful Disobedience of a Manager” which is, unfortunately, “Gross Professional Misconduct”.

Shucks (and, since then, I've figured out how to re-word that email to achieve the same objective without getting sacked).

But I have to admit operating huge power tools for a short job is fantastic therapy – using a 2000W angle-grinder to put door-holes in walls is SO much fun I really couldn't have given a toss.

So PGCB stopped paying my garden leave on Nov 26th, and I started at HardLine ISP 2 days later as UK head of “Read my Visio and Put That There” - which, laugh out loud, is a much better job.

So why write this blog? Spite? Catharsis? Just for fun?

Well it occurs to me, would you least like work with: someone who is absolutely hopeless at office politics, or someone who's very, very good at it?...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Women are insane

Yes, all of them.

Well, all the ones I meet anyway, but maybe I just like "eccentric" ones...

Her: Are you getting fed up with me?

Me: I adore you

Her: But we don't get to see each other much

Me: Yeah, but that's just the situation, I'd love to be with you more

Her: So you aren't getting fed up with this

Me: Look, do you like me and fancy me?

Her: Ooh yes, yummy.

Me: And I fancy you and adore you too, so that's great yes?

Her: Are you sure you aren't getting fed up with this?

Me: NO!!!!

etc. etc.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Musing 4

Why bother?

There's two, and only two, reasons for doing something:
  1. It's fun
  2. It's an investment for something in the future that will be fun
If it's neither of those then, really, find something else to do!

If you're being paid then at least that can be an investment: we work today so we have a roof over our head tomorrow. But if your job is really that bad then there is bound to be something else you can do!

Investment corollary:
  1. Learning stuff is an investment in the future
  2. Asking questions is the first step of learning

Saturday, July 08, 2006


I seem to be going out with someone who's a bit Catholic, so we don't talk about religion very much... But she just sent me this joke :-)

A lady goes to her priest one day and tells him, "Father, I have a problem. I have two female parrots, but they only know how to say one thing.

"What do they say?" the priest inquired.

"They say, "Hi,we're hookers! Do you want to have some fun?'"

"That's obscene!" the priest exclaimed, then he thought for a moment.

"You know," he said, "I may have a solution to your problem. I have two male talking parrots, which I have taught to pray and read the Bible. Bring your two Parrots over to my house, and we'll put them in the cage with Francis and Pete. My parrots can teach your parrots to praise and worship, and your parrots are sure to stop saying that phrase in no time."

"Thank you," the woman responded, "this may very well be the solution."

The next day, she brought her female parrots to the priest's house. As he ushered her in, she saw that his two male parrots were inside their cage holding Rosary beads and praying. Impressed, she walked over and placed her parrots in with them.....

After a few minutes, the female parrots cried out in unison: "Hi, we're hookers! Do you want to have some fun?"

There was stunned silence.

Shocked, one male parrot looked over at the other male Parrot and exclaimed, "Put the beads away, Frank. Our prayers have been answered."

Friday, June 23, 2006

Musing 3

Manliness is a state of mind, not a physique (though being fit never hurts :-)

Walking straight up to someone and getting something done: this is manly.

Getting into a sulky rage and fighting: this is not manly.

Leading, enabling and encouraging growth: manly.

Bullying: this is the mind of a child.