Sunday, 29 August 2010

Disapora Open Source Social Network Needs Facebook

Don't you find it curious that Diaspora aren't able to promote themselves by explaining what they do? They can only explain themselves by explaining what they are not. The Diaspora social networking site has to mention the more famous name of Facebook (who they aspire to usurp) in order to gain any traction for their idea. In other words if it wasn't for Facebook (the very social networking site they criticise) they wouldn't exist because they position themselves as 'anti facebook'. So they must admit that they really don't have an original idea, because the original idea belongs to Facebook. They have come up with a less creative single loop solution to criticisms of the original they have not re-invented the concept which requires true creativity and innovation. If they are lucky they might the Oasis to the Beatles.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

You Can Believe What Is Untrue and Disbelieve What Is True

Mary Ann tweeted a link that led to a fascinating site about faith, belief, and scientific thought. For Richard Dawkins "Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence".

This is an argument that has to swim against a tide of thought that argues that to have faith is good because of the very fact that it is irrational. Well someone clever came up with that dead end rebuttal. I fear lack of open mindedness. I fear ideas that are resist counter evidence. I fear dogma. Reading on from the link that Mary Ann posted I thought the following quote from Craig Lee Duckett was worth posting.

"Beliefs oftentime give the appearance of pleasure and peace, because beliefs are almost always personalsubjective and don't push back. People typically believe in those things that make them happy, alleviate their fears, give them hope, and promise to fulfill their wishes and dreams. Life-after-death, living in eternal Paradise with your loved ones, seventy-two virgins, inheriting a vibrant young 'spiritual' body, all knowledge revealed, seeing wicked people get theirs'—these are just some of the things that motivatetempting, the endings neat and tidy. Seeking truth and knowledge, on the other hand, typically produces the opposite effect by eventually uncovering the self-deception and denial underlying most untested belief systems "

Cold Calling Leaves British Customers Cold

When you get a Cold Call in the evening and it's obvious the cold caller is using a cold calling script doesn't it just drive you mad? Cold calling scripts are invariably stilted and its often impossible to get the caller away from the set line of conversation. Ceri Stanaway of consumer magazine Which is right when she says that cold calling is "At best a nuisance and at worst an intimidating intrusion into our lives.” The self -referencing rhetoric of direct mail and selling organisations is that its all about providing service, and making people aware of choice. The dirty little secret of course is that it's a high pressure sales led activity that knows it can use the gullibility of customers who feel under pressure to win a few extra dollars of turnover. According to the BBC they report that a significant majority of Britons believe Cold Calling Should Be Banned

The question is very simple. Why do organisations conduct cold calling campaigns? Is it driven by an altruistic concern that we aren't aware of the best deals that just might transform our lives? Are these organisations being philanthropic choosing to call us in the early evening to save us the hassle trudging around stores and surfing the web to ensure we know just what's on offer? You're having a laugh aren't you? No profit driven organisation does anything unless there is something in it for them and that something is 'incremental sales'.

People who wish to exploit the gullibility of others are masters of 'the situation'. Control the situation and you control the person. So, 'get them when they are off guard in their own homes, get them at meal times when they are likely to agree to anything to get you off the line'. Cold calling is an aggressive activity that exploits the vulnerability of people. Worst of all are the cold calling pariahs who call elderly people. I have personal experience of this with my father. Cold called by a utilities company they tried to 'aggregate' his policies into one 'easy to pay plan'. Sounds great until you do the arithmetic and  his payments would have trebled!

The people who design cold calling campaigns sit in their office planning how to exploit people. They now that the majority of people are not skilled in rebutting their selling techniques, they know that people often struggle to say 'no', they know most people have never heard of 'bait and switch', 'low balling' and the host of other manipulative techniques they deploy to get a 'Yes'

I recommend the Telephone Preference Service to get these leeches off your case. The real issue for customer choice is the right to choose when to speak to an organisation, when to ask for information and when to spend their money, and how to spend their money. It is not the right of a business to decide when a customer does these things. So stop there, don't tell me these businesses never do these things, don't give me the shallow nonsense about 'providing a service'. Cold calling is the professional equivalent of aggressive begging and the perpetrators should be named and shamed. In the meantime it would pay to learn about their dirty tricks. Customers are not gullible.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

20% Of Americans Wrongly Believe Obama Is A Muslim

How ironic. 20% of Americans 'believe' that Obama is a Muslim. Belief is a curious thing. One in Five Americans are too lazy to be bothered to find out the facts. To get the evidence. They would rather depend on belief rather than data. A fifth of Americans are playing a tit for tat faith game. They presume Obama's faith is Muslim when he is a Christian. They believe that Obama's faith isn't as 'good' as their 'faith'. They believe he has the wrong faith. This is a problem with faith. It requires you to believe without any evidence. When such thinking seeps into the ordinary everyday ways of the world rather than staying in the meta-physical place where such thinking belongs then we have trouble. There is an equivalence in ignorance here between this 20% and the Taliban who 'believe' that their beliefs should direct day to day affairs. This 20% lack of intellectual sophistication translates into a huge number of ignorant people.

This is worrying. Why are they content to 'believe' rather than put effort into getting the facts? Perhaps its because so much of their life, it's meaning and it's purpose is prepared like a 'ready meal' for them to consume by Big Media and Big Business. With yet more irony, what more evidence is needed for evolution! The brain skill of researching for evidence, analysis, synthesis and placing of meaning has been de-selected. An evolutionary branch that has no need to 'gather evidence' has started in 20% of the population of the USA. In a couple of hundred years they will become a sub (sic) species of human. Unable to understand information, incapable of thinking for themselves, reliant on rote and routine to get them from waking to sleeping.  The Washington Post  report on the survey should worry anyone who thinks deeper than foam on a Starbuck's cappuccino.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Scattering Raoul Moat's Ashes In Rothbury Was Scatalogical

Scattering Raoul Moat's ashes in the river at Rothbury can only be described as scatalogical! That said so matter how heinous a criminal Raoul Moat was there is no reason why his family shouldn't mourn his passing. In many ways the violence of his life and death was a waste and a tragedy.

What is utterly astonishing is the empathy bypass his surviving family members have had. What possible rationalisation can they have for scattering Moat's ashes in the river at Rothbury? Surely this is indicative of the 'nature' of his family and upbringing. A callous disregard for the feelings of others. An inability to sublimate one's own feelings in relation to the feelings of others. You really have to question how his family 'see the world'. Did it not occur to them the level of insensitivity that their act would demonstrate. Quite simply scattering the ashes of Raoul Moat in Rothbury is an insult.

In our politically correct times we are given to the post modernist gullibility of according equivalent value to words and deeds regardless of who does them. No thing is any better or worse than any other thing. There is no absolute right and there is no absolute wrong. This then becomes a justification for the less philosophically sophisticated to justify their right to do anything they please! In the Moatian Parallelverse anything goes. Well I don't go along with the POMO's. Ok so there might not be an absolute version of things like truth, but we can have a consensus, and the consensus could say in non PC terms that the members of  Raoul Moat's family are thick, unfeeling, self absorbed, dead heads.

Actions are born from ideas. Ideas are indications of a world view. The Moat view seems to be 'me -centric'. Their lack of respect for the people of Rothbury is shameful. It might be argued that they lack intelligence. What is without doubt is their complete lack of emotional intelligence.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Ground Zero Mosque A Challenge To Basic Christian Beliefs?

Let me clear at the outset. I have absolutely no grasp or comprehension of the nature, scale and grief of the families and friends of the 9/11 victims. It is because of this that I find the the challenge put before us to 'turn the other cheek' such an incredibly demanding thing to ask. The phrase comes from Jesus' Sermon On The Mount and is reported in the Gospel of St Matthew as:

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."
Matthew 5:38-42, NIV

Putting aside any discussion of religious freedom, I presume senators such as Mr Harry Reid are Christians. Therefore I believe he is being given a truly demanding test of his christian faith to sublimate his anger, grief, thirst for revenge etc and allow something to happen which his core instincts find so deeply wrong.

Notwithstanding the fact that some of the Americans killed by the 9/11 terrorists were in fact Muslims, the issue seems to be much deeper than one of religious freedom. It is a test put at the philosophical basis of Christianity. Turning the other cheek is a philosophical 'turn' (sic) in direct opposition to the historical Jewish approach of 'an eye for an eye'. It is a 'catch phrase' if you like that sums a very deep insight into human nature that shows that an eye for an eye philosophy will degenerate into a viscous circle of vendetta. Because our natural (basest?) instincts are confronted with such a challenge marks the incredible difficulty if the task, because the greater the grievance the greater the challenge of turning away. The philosophical demand to forgive increases in proportion to the scale of the hurt.

Of course with elections looming I'd never say that any of the Senators were turning this into a political vote catching issue rather than a philosophical or theological issue. That would be mean I was being rather gullible.

More... read Rationally Speaking
The Mosque Analysis Part 1 Technorati

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Obama Ground Zero Mosque Recognition of All Victims

The negative reaction to a Mosque being sited at Ground Zero is irrational. President Obama is wise to point out that "Our [The United States'] commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable," There is a clear distinction to be made between the spiritual and religious choices a person makes and terrorist actions. If this were not the case then our prisons would contain people who there because they were 'Christians','Sikhs',or 'Shintoists' rather than being there because they are murders, burglars and fraudsters. There is no necessary connection between a religious faith and terrorism. There might of course be a correlation but this is not the same as a 'cause and effect'.

The people (sic) that committed the September 11th 2001 attacks in New York were terrorists. They killed at least 50 people who follow the Islamic religion. They didn't care about them either. There seems to no logical reason why people of that faith cannot have a place of spiritual reflection at the site of the 9/11 atrocity the same as other people can. The small minded and simplistic retort of Sarah Palin that "to build a mosque at Ground Zero is a stab in the heart of the families of the innocent victims of those horrific attacks" is breath takingly ignorant of the facts, juvenile in its sophistication, and un-educated in terms of philosophical, theocratic and social grasp.

Although as Mick Glossop points out on Twitter " it's not a mosque, it's a cultural centre, and it's not at Ground Zero, it's 2 blocks away, but I agree.... "

A New Yorker speaks

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

UK Government Plays Hardball With Playground Schemes

So playground schemes are the latest victims of the bank induced financial crisis. Playgrounds like the one picture here at Cotgrave in Nottinghamshire are going to increasingly rare because "Education Secretary Michael Gove has frozen grants to 122 councils for building and running up to 1,300 schemes" according to the BBC. Now call me stupid, but didn't I just read about the £billions that our state owned banks are now making. Why can't the culprits of our financial crisis (The Banks) invest in the youngsters of the communities they have created personal havoc in? Are they hellbent on ruining the vital playtime and playspace of our children like they have blighted the lives of countless people in small business and the public sector. How about Fred the Shred stumping up some of his ill gotten gains, and putting up the money to support our children in their communities. The role of the playground for developing social skills of sharing , collaboration, burning off energy, stimulating the imagination is crucial. This government edict will have systemic consequences. With luck and from the lead of the USA in continuing to fund public projects, their systemic grasp will dawn on our penny pinching ministers.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Beware Of Games Design Myopia

One of the problems that powerful incumbents have is the myopia created by the success of their past business models. To underplay the ambition and capability of Ronnie Screwvala, chairman of media & entertainment company, UTV Group would be very dangerous indeed for the western and Japanese dominated games development and publishing industry. Sure we have had international games development teams plugging themselves into the extant industry structure to get their creative content to market. That doesn't always have to be so. India and other Asian are vast. The gameplay is likely to contain cultural norms and references that are different to what has gone before. The whole dimension of narrative will be alternative. The customers don't have be European, American (N&S) or Japanese. Of course the platform base has to be there, but UTV getting in early is a wise strategic move.

One of the problems of paradigm, of world view, is that it can quickly become a psychic prison. Just because it 'has been' doesn't mean it 'will be' in the future. I worked for an edutainment publishing in the 1990s and was told by retailers that kids aged 4 couldn't ever use computers and no one would by software for them. Really?

I'm not so sure that Piers Harding-Rolls, an analyst with Screen Digest, will be proved correct when he said that it was a "tough market" to launch new brands, and when he said that releasing new IP into a mature market was not without risk., surely he is missing the point by defining 'the market' by its current parameters.

The Boston Ice companies overlooked left competition with similar thinking, and whilst not directly analogous it serves as a salutary lesson to keep an open mind about what business you are in and who your competitors are. To do anything else would be rather gullible.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Blackberry Ban Echoes Gutenberg Reaction

The Blackberry Ban of the UAE and Saudi Arabia echoes the reaction of authority in Middle Ages to the Gutenberg printing press. The fear of authority to people sharing their own ideas, to having alternative interpretations to the 'official' line and making new meanings is a familiar response to 'new technology. The printing press preciptated the development of scientific thinking which lead to the Enlightenment and the split between Theocratic explanations of the world and rational scientific explanations. It led to the democratisation of knowledge.

The need for the State to protect its secrets and defend its borders is a natural right. When censorship intrudes on everyday conversations and exchange of information there is the distinct whiff of Medieval media control in the air. The UAE TRA director general Mohammed al-Ghanem claims that the Blackberry restrictions are due to something quite different to control of communications. He said "Censorship has got nothing to do with this. What we are talking about is suspension due to the lack of compliance with UAE telecommunications regulations." Cue Mandy Rice Davies - "He would wouldn't he"