Friday, 7 January 2011

Newsletter Issue 195, January 2011



Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 195, January 2011
Hi guys,
This time we consider some of Joe Bennett's thoughts on blatant consumerism from "Hello Dubai" in Hello Mall below.
We check out the 2010 Characteristics of Good Managers, according to Leadership Management Australia's 2010 LEAD Survey. 
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Hello Mall

For those of you who remember the film "Shirley Valentine", you will no doubt remember Shirley uttering those memorable words "Hello Wall" in a monologue to the wall, which reveals her innermost spirit, and by degrees, how narrow, confining and boring her life has become. Shirley wants happiness, challenge and change.
Entrepreneurs and service workers have flocked to Dubai to get an economic bite of the wodge of oil dosh that is transforming this splinter of the East into the West. On the surface, the Dubai development looks like it could bring both the immigrants and the locals happiness, challenge and change, but Joe Bennett isn't so sure.
I have just been reading Joe's latest travel book - this time he delves into the UAE, in "Hello Dubai: Skiing, Sand and Shopping in the World's Weirdest City". As with "Where Underpants Come From" (2008), Joe's writing is most entertaining, with him gently poking his finger at both the Western and Eastern cultures.
However, I was most struck by a couple of paragraphs on pages 60 and 61 of his book, regarding consumerism, and our consumer society, which read:
“Malls are easy to despise, but they are merely covered markets and markets are as old as agriculture. But what a mall offers is far more than agricultural surplus. It offers the ideal fantasy world as seen on television and in magazines. And nothing is permitted to disrupt the fantasy: no weather, no thugs, no traffic, no dirt, no distress. There are security guards, piped music, and cooled synthetic air. Malls are the apex of the consumer society that Dubai has come to represent. And of all societies in history the consumer society is the least social. It emerges from Fortress Home only to make raids on stuff, to take that stuff home in a sealed car, haul up the drawbridge, drop the portcullis and then watch television in order to learn what to get next.
“It is so easy to forget how constantly we in the West are bombarded with a single lie. It is the notion that the things we buy – the cheese spread, the duvet inner, the all-in-one barbecue tool - will make us happier than we were before we bought them. The lie is bellowed from the radio, the television, the newsprint, the roadside billboards. Experience tells us that the lie is a lie. Yet some instinct continues to respond to its siren call, and the balloon of hope keeps re-inflating.
“In our world the call of advertising is as constant as the call of the muezzin. Commerce and religion use identical marketing strategies. The mall is effectively our mosque and, like a mosque, it is built to impress. Like a mosque it is a focal point, the place where people gather to do a culturally important thing. Like a mosque it confirms a belief and gratifies a need. And if Dubai had to choose between mosques and malls, it would choose malls. Indeed, though it would never admit it, it already has. Just as we have chosen them over cathedrals.”
Having not watched TV for fourteen months, Joe's comments give me hope that my consumer edge is becoming dulled. I certainly feel no pull to buy the latest supercallifragilisticexpialidocious goods. Mind you, that could be the results of building a new house and being poor, and having an intense aversion to malls. But I digress.
Buy Joe's book, and support a good, transplanted-Kiwi writer. It is a thought-provoking read.
Bennett, Joe (2010). Hello Dubai: Skiing, Sand and Shopping in the World's Weirdest City. UK: Simon & Schuster.

LMA Characteristics of Good Managers

Leadership Management Australia has published their annual "Characteristics Of Good Managers" list, which is drawn from their Leadership, Employment and Direction Survey of more than 3,000 employees across Australia (86%) and New Zealand (14%). This survey is taken from the employee point of view.
This year, the following characteristics made up the top ten:
  1. Is trustworthy and open in approach (last year; 7)
  2. Clearly communicates where we are going (last year; 1)
  3. Gives me the "space" to do my work, but supports me  (last year; 5)
  4. Listens to and respects my input into decisions (last year; 4)
  5. Gives regular and honest feedback on how I am going (last year; 2)
  6. Is fair and even handed/makes reasonable demands (last year; 3)
  7. Provides the resources I need to do my job (last year; =11)
  8. Recognises me for extra efforts/results (last year; 10)
  9. Coaches and develops me (last year; 9)
  10. Trusts me with challenging work (last year; 8)
An item that didn't make it from last year, at number 6, was "Supports me in the decisions I make". This year that came in at #11.
It is suspected that the change of the top item is a direct knock-on effect of the global financial crisis. Check it out at the source at http://www.leadershipmanagement.com.au/Newsletter/dec10/trustworthiness-openness-jumps-to-top-of-list.html


QuickLaunch Toolbar for Windows 7

I rely on the QuickLaunch bar to access my most frequently-used applications. However, Windows 7 no longer has it.
Oh woe!
I can get QuickLaunch back in Windows 7, but in a "Redmond-knows-better-than-you-stupid-users" way. QuickLaunch can be turned back on, as part of the main Taskbar. This means that QuickLaunch takes up Taskbar space needed for open programmes, system tray and other activity indicators, and it is not separable from the Taskbar. Not a great fix.
However, TechRepublic are promoting a little application by Idris called "the App Launcher gadget". It does what QuickLaunch bar did, but from the desktop itself. Adding programmes is a snap - just drag & drop. You can also configure the number of display icons per row, chose alignment and change the background image.

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:
  • RAK, Random Acts of Kindness. A nice TLA to start the New Year on.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
Over the next few newsletters, we are going to look at all you can do with Function keys. This time it is F4:
  • Excel, Frontpage, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, Windows, Windows Media Player & Word "Quit or close open page/window/box" Alt & F4
  • Excel, Word, PowerPoint "Repeat the last action" F4
  • Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, Word "Repeat previous Find (Find Next)" Shift & F4
  • Frontpage, PowerPoint, Windows, Word "Close active page/window/box" Ctrl & F4
  • IE "Display the Address bar history (display a list of addresses you've keyed)" F4
  • Outlook "Open the Find text box when in an email" F4
  • PowerPoint "Quit PowerPoint" Alt & Shift & F4
  • Publisher "Open or close a list box" F4
  • Windows "Open the drop-down list box on the toolbar. Pressing F4 again moves the keyboard focus back to the previously used item, or opens the Save In or Look In in the Save As or Open dialog box" F4

Hot Linx
To create email newsletters with a bit of pizzazz, check out what MailChimp has to offer at http://www.mailchimp.com/. To view some resources about what they can do for you, go to http://blip.tv/file/1741558
If you want the low-down on what is new in the slightly bizarre and unusual sense, check out http://portent.org/.
The webby awards have been and gone, and you can view the results at http://www.webbyawards.com/webbys/current.php?season=14. I find the awards these days tend to go to websites that do not follow the accepted principles of design, layout and simplicity! Or maybe it's just me :-)
Sao Paulo's Clube Amostra GrĂ¡tis (free sample club), allows members, for an annual membership fee, to sample up to five items a month in exchange for online survey participation on the sampled items. Go to http://www.clubeamostragratis.com.br/ if you can read Portuguese!

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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