Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Everything in the universe goes by indirection. There are no straight lines.

The silence of snow has a quality that most of us crave. Everything is softened, dirt, rubbish and scarred landscapes are smoothed over, made ageless, as the flakes fall. The Peloponnese grew olives when they weren't making war. Fat black Kalamata olives and Spartan warriors, the best the world had seen. And Corinthian columns - they invented columns to hold up temples.Flitting across the water like dragonflies: Like beggars, we must patch the universe as best we can

Wedding-Night Nerves Roads To Happiness
At the end of every life is a full stop, and death could care less if the piece is a fragment. It is up to us, the living, to supply a shape where none exists, to rescue from the flood even those we never knew. Like beggars, we must patch the universe as best we can.

This claim could stand as epigraph to Cold River …

I have nearly all my flashes of inspiration (such as they are) when I'm doing something else - talking to someone, cycling, putting the clothes on the balcony to dry; [Maybe it is all about the old adage that sex sells. Perhaps all of us, especially the punditocracy, really are puerile adolescents at heart. When love and work collide: hanky panky at the World Bank-y ; O m' god. I'm having a serious attack of Irony Overload. This is no joke. In the last few days, the news has been saturated with extreme instances of Natural Irony. It's dangerous stuff. Left unchecked, you know, IO can progress to Morbid Cynicism (MC), which is terminal. The cases to which I refer are not your run-of-the-mill family-values preacher caught pants-down with a male prostitute. These are more colorful, more exotic performances. Paul Wolfowitz, World Bank prexy and ferocious campaigner against corruption and nepotism, "directed" that his very own girlfriend or house mate or whatever she might be called, be hired at a handsome tax-free salary at a State Department agency where she's to be guaranteed superior evaluations and inordinately large salary increases. It's a variety of cronyism that we can call "nepotistical irony." Consistency Is For Other People ]
• · Too crazybusy for smelling the roses? Then bring your BlackBerry to bed Almost everyone is too busy. We are all running faster and faster on our pointless, addictive wheels of busyness and we have become inefficient, frazzled and fractious. We are so busy responding to random demands we are losing sight of the things that matter. We have stopped thinking and are wasting our lives. Blogging to Build a Community; The appearance of blog-advertising agencies is giving Malaysian bloggers a chance to cash in through online advertising. King Island filled with working bees and bloggers

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

For some unknown reason more than usually bunch of friends have been sending quotes this week and some are worth sharing:

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness; touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is a grace.
-Fred Buechner

Fall seven times. Stand up eight.
-Japanese proverb

Monday, May 28, 2007

Leaders are formed in the fire of experience
– Carlos Ghosn, CEO, Nissan Motor Company

Bob Dylan Turned evil 66(6) last week ... I have to admit to something I do not know whether I can actually say here: Coflict is a bit like cooking at least in terms of temperature range. If the temperature is too hot (shouting like Ian Faulks or showing deep depressed aggression like Bob Lorraway) everyone gets burned; too cold and you have to stoke the fire or nothing gets cooked. I am always willing to dive into the conflict and transform it. Like the sun and the tide, conflict is a powerful force that only fools like Ian and Bob pretend to have mastered ;-) I love to drop a pebble into a pond and then follow the ripples out and see where they take me. There are people on either side of the pond who have absolutely no relationship to each other, except they’re joined by this ripple. Most people are happy just to show the pebble hitting the water I prefer to follow and swim the cold river of strange inhumanity … As George Santayana in the publication Life of Reason (1905) said Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it

As the Seattle PI puts, Debbie Macomber isn't known well, just read well, and she may be the least-known best-selling writer in the Northwest. They say she has 70 million copies of her books in print. One driver of her success: Macomber has a mailing list of 75,000 readers. These are not lists I have bought; every one of those readers has been in touch with me personally. Every city I am going to, I send out postcards to everyone on my list in that city and neighboring ZIP codes. I have a staff of three who help me with that. So I'm bringing a lot of people into the bookstores where I appear. Port Orchard's Macomber isn't known well, just read well

Reviving Literary Revolutions: Truth and common sense CAN prevail Why Not a Bestseller? Game of nods and winks
Denver Post writer Douglas Brown's proposal for JUST DO IT, about his adventures having sex with his wife at least once a day for 100 consecutive days, has become quite the blog bait.

The enduring line comes from NY Mag's Vulture: "what a great stunt-based book concept, like A.J. Jacobs, but with sex." While enjoying the attention, agent Daniel Lazar at Writers House notes that the blogs have focused on "the two salacious paragraphs of a 60 page proposal that the editors already know is really about marriage and falling madly in love with your spouse again, even after years together." (We've deleted all references to a word that would make our mail get blocked by your servers.)

• Messy Life and odd links ;-) Proposed Vulture; ["We are making an exponentially greater impact on the market. Just imagine seven hundred new titles a year hitting the shelves with one logo rather than twenty-one different logos. If nothing else, we are affecting the perception of the retailers who stock the shelves Eliminating Imprints Helps ; FEW things strike fear into the human heart like a receding hairline, but a path-breaking study released overnight points for the first time to a genetically-based remedy for hair loss. Resources For Entrepreneurs ]
• · Chicago Tribune article discusses ethical aspects of lawyer blogs Bringing clarity to the regulation of lawyer blogs in Kentucky by launching this blog as a "test case" early last year. How Kentucky's Attorney Advertising Commission is now treating blogs by Kentucky lawyers. The article was apparently prompted by the proposed changes in New York's rules on attorney advertising, which appear to place significant restrictions on lawyer-authored blogs. The Federal Trade Commission has criticized the proposed regulations. The Tribune article reports that, "there were so many public comments to the proposals that the state extended the deadline by two months, to Nov. 15." Blogs and Liars; The origins of the spectacularly successful Macquarie Bank model started, paradoxically, in a dud investment in the privatised Loy Yang power station in Victoria. The investment was housed in a fund known as Infrastructure Trust Australia, established in December 1996, that underperformed the market. But in a hallmark sign of Macquarie Bank persistence, the fund was renamed Macquarie Infrastructure Group in 2000 and became a prominent investor in a series of toll road operations. If your place is anything like mine …
• · Vicki Jayne, Management (New Zealand), March 2007, pp.54-59. As a profession it’s still in junior league. At a performance level - project management still depends too heavily on its natural ‘heroes’. How best to build consistent performance management success? People process & performance - how to get the recipe right?, ; Globalisation is a bit like Australia's film or Australia's water crisis - we can see it is going to accelerate but we don't know what to do about it. The antipodean egos have landed;-)
• · · When The Prince of All That Is Evil Matthew Saville knows a thing or two about sticking to his guns; I hold journalists who spend half an hour asking me about my work and then devote all their article to my girlfriend in complete contempt Brendan joins the big time
• · · · You need to carry in these books and put them on these tables.' Our inventory is a reflection of the community Title Wave Books; It's completely surpassed anything I expected We'll only sell out if someone offers us enough money. Things have been looking up for Australian film. Two years ago, Wolf Creek, Little Fish and Look Both Ways all carved a niche at the box office. Cine of the times
• · · · · Last year, it was Kenny, Jindabyne and Ten Canoes. Then, at Christmas, came the phenomenon known as Happy Feet. Made in Sydney with Hollywood backing, director George Miller's penguin musical was an international hit and won an Oscar for best animated feature. Film; Art
• · · · · · Phillip Adams wasn't always my favorite columnist. His views on celebrities are not mine, and I was reminded of that one Saturday. Why celebrity portraits are just fake art ; ON September 7, 1943, Rudolf Vrba saw something that astonished him. Given who he was and where he was at the time, his capacity to be astonished should have been long exhausted. Vrba, a Slovakian Jew, was a prisoner at Birkenau, by far the largest of the component camps that made up Auschwitz. It was at Birkenau, housing as it did crematoriums II-V and their accompanying gas chambers, that more Jews died at the hands of the Nazis than any other place. By then it was already on its way to becoming the largest cemetery on earth. Window on the ghetto

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Picnic at Bronte

Fifty years ago Ayn Rand published Atlas Shrugged, a colossal 1200-page novel which carefully explains and vigorously defends the morality of rational self-interest ... It is lovely to have friends who know the meaning of unconditional friendship Christopher, Lidia, Gina, Richard, Davina, John ...
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Thursday, May 24, 2007

For leaders to move towards a state of emotional creativity, they need constantly to be in touch with their feelings and express them in appropriate and creative ways...

As Aristotle said: Anyone can become angry – that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way – this is not easy.

Two trains from North and South Korea crossed the heavily armed border on Thursday, restoring for the first time an artery severed in the 1950-1953 fratricidal war and fanning dreams of unification. Today the heart of the Korean peninsula will start beating again. The trains represent the dreams, the hopes and the future of the two Koreas

Can we change the heart of politics? Heckuva job: A Bad Case of Irony Overload (IO)
This is a totally useless article. I suggest stop reading right now and come back to this column next week. Have a nice weekend.

If you are still with me, this article deals with the question of whether it is possible that a diamond polishing plant operated by the Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and would-be-again diamond miner Alan Bond may be facing similar legal and reputational challenges in marketing their output.

Alan Bond ; [ALL OF a sudden John Howard wants more transparency in government. He told us so this week. Twice. But it's not his government he's unhappy with, it's those other ones; the ones run by the states. Unlike the US, Britain, Canada and other democracies, Australia has no full-time watchdog organisation that fights against government secrecy. The media coalition has now promised to fund one. That would be a first, vital step towards forcing the major parties to commit to make Australia a truly open democracy. But with an election so soon, time is fast runnning out. Heat's on Howard to jemmy open the vaults ; Parting with the art of war - Like most wars, former federal minister Graham Richardson's fight against the tax office is mixing long periods of boredom with brief bursts of drama. War and conflict, of the heart and the battlefield, are hallmarks of the 54-year-old's oeuvre ]
• · Forbes Misery And Happiness Indexes ; Macquarie Bank Gets More Income Overseas Than at Home Allan Moss's remuneration totalled $33.49 million. Most of us could work for several lifetimes and not earn anything like $33.5 million, but that's how much the Chief Executive of Macquarie Bank got for his efforts in the last 12 months. Rich list ...
• · Bribes to former Oregon prison food buyer Fred Monem went on twice as long as earlier suspected and totaled more than $1.1 million Prison bribes lasted 6 years, Corrections chief ducks; In the April.May 2007 edition of Pink magazine there is an article that addresses the progression of women committing more crimes as they move up in the workplace. The FBI reports that embezzlement by women increased 80.5 percent from 1993 to 2002 and that the total number of women incarcerated increased 138 percent from 1994 to 2004. Women Committing White-Collar Crimes
• · · Tax Cheat Rap Sheet: The Senate's recent look at ways offshore tax havens escape IRS enforcement got me thinking about those scofflaws who do get caught. Inaugural Tax Cheat Rap Sheet; If you were going to commit tax fraud, would you and your partner in crime exchange checks for the same exact amount to the penny? That's among the evidence that caused Inn-Chung Chen (aka Daniel Chen) to plead guilty to tax fraud. Some Rather Blatant Fraud
• · · · Telecommunications Entrepreneur Concocts Grand Scam: Off-Shore Accounts, Smart Business Planning or Underhanded Tax Evasion? Anderson’s scheme was not some small ploy to avoid paying a few dollars: Rather, it has been coined the largest tax-scam ever; In what it called an “Information Age undercover investigation,” the U.S. Secret Service announced the arrest of 28 people from eight states and six countries allegedly involved in a global organized cybercrime ring. Charges filed against the suspects include identity theft, computer fraud, credit card fraud, and conspiracy. The investigation was code-named Operation Firewall Secret Service Busts Internet Organized Crime Ring

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Breakaway was the host boat and on board was the retired Independent MP for the South Coast, John Hatton. Some of the planned developments that didn’t happen in JB were the Nuclear Power Plant (true!!), the steel works (!), the major Naval Base, sewage outfall, high-rise development - instead what happened was the Marine Park, so the Bay is now preserved. John had a hand in all this, and also instigated the Lady Denman Maritime Museum. He is not a Johnny-come-lately as he has resided in Huskisson since 1959. John gave us some history and anecdotes of the Marine Park and is probably remembered most for his campaign against police corruption which ended in a Royal Commission. John crewed on Breakaway on the return voyage to Sydney with his compatriot and old mate Arthur King.
Resident Hatton ...

Can we change the heart of politics? John Hatton: Old crusader fights tide of high-rise
Old crusader fights tide of high-rise
John Hatton at his home in Huskisson where the council wants to lift height restrictions from three storeys to six.

Catharine Munro Urban Affairs Editor
May 22, 2007
NEW rules allowing multi-storey development on Jervis Bay have pushed the retired anti-police corruption MP John Hatton back into crusading mode.
In the early 1990s he was instrumental in setting up a royal commission into the NSW police. This time it is state and council representatives and their relationship with developers that concerns him.
The last straw was a decision by Shoalhaven City Council to lift height restrictions from three storeys to six in his beloved home town of Huskisson on Jervis Bay.
"It's an open door to developers and a door slammed shut in the face of residents," Mr Hatton said.
In 1994, as the independent MP for the South Coast, Mr Hatton gained the numbers in State Parliament to establish the Wood royal commission. He classed the NSW police as "out of control" and alleged they were spying on government ministers.
When Justice James Wood vindicated his allegations in 1997, Mr Hatton had been out of office for two years, steering well clear of politics.
His sense of outrage has again been aroused. Reports last week in the Herald that Crown land was being leased off and developed to fund the upkeep of public facilities throughout the state stoked his anger.
He fears the rise of eco-resort developments on caravan park land, such as one proposed for Ulladulla, will mean working class families can no longer take cheap holidays.
"Where are the middle- to low-income families going to enjoy coastal facilities in NSW if this trend continues?" Planning controls Mr Hatton helped defend as Shoalhaven Shire president in the 1970s were now being thrown out, he said.
Late last month the council voted to change height restrictions in Huskisson. At the same time it resolved not to consult community groups if "in the council's opinion they become involved in any political activities against the federal, state and local government of the day".
Mr Hatton was furious. "I never thought in public life - and I have seen it all - I never thought I would have an elected body that uses a Stalinist approach."
One of the independents, Cr Gary Kearney, said councillors were unaware of the individuals who donated to their group because the money had not been personally targeted.
He said the new height restrictions were necessary to encourage development in the Shoalhaven, where unemployment is higher than in many parts of the state.
Cr Kearney accused some groups of trying to misrepresent themselves as being from the council and said the resolution on consultation was aimed at them. One group that expects to have its status with the council axed is Huskisson Woollamia Community Voice, run by Margaret Piper . "There are council elections 18 months away. We will keep going for as long as it takes."

Sad Developments Down South; [Slideshow: Huskisson building row ; The man who instigated the Wood Royal ommission into the NSW Police force has cast doubt over the ability of future corruption inquiries to attract key witnesses. Whistleblowers at risk, says ex-crime crusader ]

• · Arthur King Against Crime, or Police in a Community?; Larger than life ... the crime reporter Morgan Ogg was one of the key background figures in the establishment of the Wood royal commission into the NSW Police Service. Dedicated foe of corrupt police
• · · There is a lighter side to John Hatton the poet, musician and the student of native light Meeting the Artists Kim Hatton and John Hatton Elsewhere: James Lockhart writes in Management (New Zealand), March 2007, The ‘agency problem’, ie. the opportunistic or self serving manager/employee, has shaped our understanding of governance. But have the resulting prescriptive constraints enhanced performance or merely added an additional burden? What happened to trust

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

On my very birthday Google Moves Towards Unified Search and an emotional Philippa Yelland described the first moments of her dramatic reunion with her missing children as like meeting strangers ...
Google has announced it is making steps towards a universal search model that aims to search all Google’s content sources and deliver an integrated set of results. It has also updated its home page design and is testing out a new experimental search service. On my very birthday Google Moves Towards Unified Search

While River of Amazon Plays Apple's Song Amazon, the hugely popular online bookshop, has unveiled long-awaited plans to launch a music download service to rival market leader Apple … Amazon said it will sell "millions" of digital music tracks in the MP3 format, free of the copy protection technology that limits where consumers can play their music. Sleeping giant of digital music awakens

Going going Real Estate Virtual
An internet real estate site in Australia is breaking new ground.

Called, it forces real estate agents to compete with each other to sell a property. The web site was founded by Dan Winblad, who discovered this selling idea in Sweden. He noted that the seller puts up details of the property for sale on the site. The property's postcode is automatically matched to real estate agents in the area and they get an email alert. They have to make bids on fees and the price of the property and the seller makes the choice. The operator gets 10% of the agent's commission when the property is sold. The web site gives smaller real estate agents a chance to compete with larger groups

• The Australian Financial Review 17/04/2007 Swedish import woos agents ; [An even better website that gives you the owner control over the sale of your property, Owners online ]
• · If you have ever had doubts about the power of imagination and the power of icons to evoke emotion, this incredible sculpture will silence them. At 20 meters high with a wingspan of 54 meters it soars from its grassy hilltop as a beacon for the skills, the achievements and the stubborn courage of the people of the North-East. Move over Rio. Hello Gateshead... The Power Of Icons; You might have caught up with a list of predictions made in 1900 by the Ladies' Home Journal. Our passion for speed is captured by the prediction that English will be a language of condensed words expressing condensed ideas. We call it texting. Our love affair with takeout food is predicted in detail – they just got the delivery system wrong. Pneumatic tubes never made it... Looking Into The Future
• · When I joined Saatchi & Saatchi, I knew I had to have at my side the most inspirational person I could find in this new world of ideas and creativity. That this person was Bob Isherwood turned out to be one of the most amazing strokes of good fortune I've had in my life... Honoring Bob Isherwood; Honoring Dr Cope
• · · Australian companies are starting to twig that Web 2.0 isn't just the latest trend for designing web pages - it can be a vital business tool. It's web take 2.0

Friday, May 11, 2007

Quick word association: What are the first two words that come to mind when you hear “Cold River?” If you thought “cold” and “snow,” you’re not alone …

Barbara Tuchman tells us: Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Choose Books!
That is one of the key things I learned in these years, and I learned it the hard way. Anybody who thinks that "it doesn't matter who's President" has never been Drafted and sent off to fight and die in a vicious, stupid War on the other side of the World -- or been beaten and gassed by Police for tresspassing on public property -- or been hounded by the IRS for purely political reasons -- or locked up in the Cook County Jail with a broken nose and no phone access and twelve perverts wanting to stomp your ass in the shower: that is when it matters who is President or Governor or Police Chief. That is when you will wish you had voted
The voice of Hunter S. Thompson in my head helped me write Cold River A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point of doubtful sanity

Mix of Ideas Wishing to do things early in our lives
The amazingly well informed blogger Bill Ives, who looks at May 2, 2004 as a day when he started his first post, notes that Jim McGee had a great post on the Fast Forward blog, Balancing diligence and laziness.

He begins with a reference to the work of General Erich Von Manstein (1887-1973) on the German Officer Corps. Erich mapped a 2 x 2 matrix with laziness/diligence on one side and smart/stupid on the other. He said the stupid lazy people can be ignored as they do no harm. It is the stupid diligent people that are the biggest threat to the organization. The smart diligent people become middle management and the smart lazy people become senior management. Jim adds to this, …our Puritan/Calvinist heritage still dominates reward and evaluation systems. Regardless of the actual importance of thought and reflection to long-term organizational success, you are better off looking busy than looking like you are thinking.

The Laziness – Busyness Dimension; [Blogging for dollars There are many other ways to make money that the Globe did not mention. It is hard to keep track of them; There is no end to the wonders of the web for someone who grew up in the 50s and 60s Bob Dylan on You Tube ]
• · St Clare’s College in valuing knowledge, integrity and community in the Franciscan Tradition, equips each young lady to continue her life’s journey so that she “may go forward securely, joyfully and swiftly on the path of prudent happiness” First Letter of St Clare to St Agnes of Prague They also value areas Where Wikinomics Meets Learning ; In the 2007-08 Federal Budget, the Government announced the following measures concerning film production: * a new Producer Rebate, to apply from 1 July 2007, will replace the Div 10BA and 10B schemes - it will provide a 40% refundable tax rebate for eligible domestic feature films, and a 20% refundable tax rebate for other eligible domestic media productions, including TV series and documentaries; * from 1 July 2007, eligible international films will receive an improved Location Rebate of 15% (currently 12.5%) on qualifying expenditure under the international component of the producer tax rebate. This producer rebate incorporates the refundable film tax offset; NEW TAX INCENTIVES FOR FILM PRODUCTION: On good authority, merging of film bodies signals action
• · Finding a distributor is the last link in the Hollywood chain holding back the indie filmmaker from reaping the profits,” says Cicchino. “I created as an alternative.” Exhibitor of the Week: ; A new kid moved onto the block
• · · Since I began this blog, people have been sending me blogs and websites they like and love. The quality they share that jumps out at me is personality and imagination. Top of my list has got to be the wonderful website written, or should I say created, by actor Jeff Bridges...The Iron Curtain Man ; YouTube is currently the world’s hottest technological phenom—allowing any one who wants it the ability to make his or her own short movie and stream it online to a worldwide audience. That’s sort of the same concept Guy Magar had in mind when he began the Action/Cut Short Film Competition four years ago. YouTube ; Book Not Ready for Print? You Can Whip Up an Audiobook for a Podcast for Now

• · · · If you only use one telephone with one phone number, this column will not be of any interest to you. Skip to another article, you eccentric, you. But first, count your blessings. Millions of people have more than one phone number these days — home, work, cellular, hotel room, vacation home, yacht — and with great complexity comes great hassle. Solving the phone number blues - Find phone number anywhere in the world; LET’S SPEAK TANGO! Why not Karina & Fabian Suite A, 263 Broadway Road, BROADWAY - Sophia & Pedro Alvarez
• · · · · Restaurant Recruiter Blog ; A pill might one day achieve the same calorie-burning effects of vigorous exercise New Drug Counteracts Overeating; The urge to cook honest Italian food has taken a low-key cafe to culinary highs. Gelateria Caffe 2000 Homemade and handmade. A quick trip to a trattoria in the back streets of Rome; The Women's Weekly series is excellent (Cooking Class Cakes is a recent release), well illustrated, inexpensive and most importantly, all recipes are tested three times. Rise and shine

Thursday, May 10, 2007

It is heartening to know that the media organisation Reporters Without Borders ranks Australia below Ghana, Bolivia and Bosnia in the international pecking order of media freedoms, but we still can link to budgets and parliamentary debates …Rudd fires back over schools Rudd the builder plays it safe for ALP
AS is the tradition in Australia's oldest parliament, the Speaker-elect, Richard Torbay, had to be dragged to the chair by two MPs in a theatrical display of anti-tyrannical modesty. But he made little pretence of resisting. Mr Torbay, the first independent speaker in modern parliamentary history appointed by a Government with a clear majority, proudly took his seat yesterday amid warm applause from both sides of the chamber. Dragged to the chair FROM potato peeler to political powerhouse, Richard Torbay's evolution prompts comparisons with the proverbial cream that has risen to the top

Can we change the heart of politics? Time to show abc of manners in the bearpit
He hit the ground running when he joined the national broadcaster.

Back in early 1990s Mark Scott looked around the parliamentary cafeteria in late 2000 he looked around at the former ABC site in Brisbane and was struck by the number of young women in the crowd, their faces lined with concern. It didn't take long before the question was asked. It was the question his wife, Briony, had put to him only days before. "Would you let your daughters work here?" It was more daunting than the protest of 50,000 people he had faced down as a 26-year-old political staffer for one of NSW's most controversial ministers, Terry Metherell. And it was more confronting than being the Fairfax executive at the centre of a messy union dispute, which resulted in The Age newspaper not getting out on AFL grand final day.

ON the face of it, Mark Scott could easily be seen as the ABC's worst nightmare, but then he exchanged glances with Paola Totaro and other angels who helped him to get through the landmines Divine provenance: Aunty's 'nightmare' new boss generating goodwill Story worthy of archiving for Google on Scott
• Aunty's latest boss is its most surprising one yet - an evangelical Christian who's fluent in management-speak. One year into his tenure, Mark Scott talks to Caroline Overington about his big plans for our cultural behemoth Scott of the ABC ; [Now that Ian Faulks took retrenchment from NSW Parliament expect another Sunday profile soon about chief od staff in some office other than Paul Gibson's Sunday Profile ; ABC internet advertising attacked Glenys Stradijot of The Friends of the ABC fame has condemned the prospect of advertising on the national broadcaster.Ads … ]
• · NSW Parliament network manager Neil Dammerel, whose face has been around for many years in the corridors of power, said the government department has always taken extraordinary measures to ensure the privacy and integrity of its information and this agreement "sets a new precedent" for data protection. NSW Parliament gets managed security ; SHE'S been in the "bearpit" for just one day, but the newly elected Opposition frontbencher Pru Goward reckons it's the most male-dominated and "ruthlessly sexist" place she has ever worked. Ruthlessly sexist place she has ever worked.;
• · AUSTRALIA'S biggest media companies have formed a rare coalition to fight a steadily declining level of free speech they say has seriously eroded Australia's democracy. Matthew Moore; More battles rage in the war against freedoms It is heartening to know that the media organisation Reporters Without Borders ranks Australia below Ghana, Bolivia and Bosnia in the international pecking order of media freedoms. We've slipped two spots to No. 35, equal to Bulgaria Richard Ackland

Friday, May 04, 2007

Google faces a brain drain as high-flyers it has made super rich fly the nest … When Dennis Crowley and Alex Rainert, quit Google earlier this month, their parting shot caused a stir. The young dotcom entrepreneurs, who met at university in New York, had sold their Dodgeball social networking website to Google in 2005 - some estimates put the deal at $30m (£15m). But for them, two years with the Californian internet group was enough. "It's no real secret that Google wasn't supporting Dodgeball the way we expected," said Mr Crowley, in a terse statement on his website. "The whole experience was incredibly frustrating for us." The decision to quit, he said, was "tough" and "disappointing". It highlights Google's growing problem of retaining financially independent staff Money can't buy you loyalty

Generating ink Rupert raids Wall Street Journal, not many casualties (yet)
I pretty much saw everything in the 20 years I spent clerking and libraring at NSW Parliament House: shady deals, dubious preselections, Kerry Packer’s voice coming from the speaker in Ministerial offices, AVOs. Some of the shenanigans were reminiscent of "Dynasty," the 1980s soap opera about a wealthy family.

And to your left or right - Mark Latham said it first in his diaries:
Thursday 11 March 2004: “... trekked out Cavan to meet with Lachlan Murdoch and John Hartigan. They wanted a get-to-know you opportunity, so the Evil Empire must think I’m a chance. No harm in turning up to see what they are up to. Paul Kelly was right about this duo: lacklustre and over-rated ... Two main political issues: AWAs and Foxtel. Murdoch’s company has the highest number of AWAs in the country; all their journalists are on individual contracts. Hartigan pressed hard for me to drop our policy dedicated to their abolition, but I told him there was no chance of that.”

• It is my understanding that I was born in Kezmarok Crikey’s Blogwatch …The end of 'he said-she said' journalism?; [Editor David Patterson has a parody offering letter in the New Republic from an agent shopping a memoir by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, I DON'T RECALL Fake Memoir On Offer ; Curiously enough, fruit has popped up into the Australian political debate quite frequently in recent years. Fruit in modern Australian politics ]
• · Since coming to office, Peter Costello and John Howard have flogged off almost everything that wasn't bolted down, including the Defence Department headquarters at Russell Hill, something you can't imagine the Americans doing with the Pentagon - Singapore's rich splash out with a vengeance
Singapore owns more of Australia than Australia; Not everyone is happy about the enclave's plan to lure the super-rich and their bankers Robber barons calling Singapore home
• · He will tell a story that I think will make people's hair curl. But he's been waiting a long time to tell this....And he'll also say---this is a very important part of this---that, on the question of what would happen in Iraq after the invasion, the CIA pretty consistently warned, 'You have trouble ahead. You will not be able to unite this country. Sunnis and Shiites are gonna be 'at daggers. Making Your 'Hair Curl: It's Heart to Heart crossed with Devil Wears Prada ; Most people in America want an easy read. I call it McFiction - books which pass right through you without you even digesting them. I don't mean a book that has two-syllable words. I mean chapters you can read in a toilet break. Happy endings. We are more of a TV culture, and that is a hard thing to go up against for any writer The great unknown
• · · "The prospect of a buyout by News Corp would not be good for the newspaper, its employees or for the people who rely on the Journal for information Failure looms for Murdoch's $5bn offer to take control of Dow Jones ; Last year Dan Wickett, a former quality-control manager for a car-parts maker, wrote 95 book reviews on his blog, Emerging Writers Network (, singlehandedly compiling almost half as many reviews as appeared in all of the book pages of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In recent years, dozens of sites, including, The Elegant Variation (, maudnewton .com, and the Syntax of Things (, have been offering a mix of book news, debates, interviews and reviews, often on subjects not generally covered by newspaper book sections. Are Book Reviewers Out of Print?
• · · · I’ve got more time than I have money, motivational speaker Mick Hager says. So when he decided to try to boost sales (and, in particular, the ranking) for his upcoming book, he took an inexpensive but labor-intensive route. He spent 300 to 400 hours, but just $180, in his bid to drum up sales. How One Author Tried to Boost His Ranking ; Amazon is offering an exclusive two-page excerpt from Khaled Hosseini's forthcoming book… Of more interest, the site has also posted 15 short pre-publication reviews after querying their top 100 reviewers in early March for their appraisals. A Thousand Splendid Suns PS - Amazon Fools Them Again - Wall Street was prepared for a lackluster Q1 earnings report from Amazon, and instead the e-tailer announced better than expected results, with sales of $3.02 billion, up 32 percent, and improved earnings of $145 million, up 38 percent from a year ago.
• · · · · The news comes as Israeli police fly to Australia to question billionaire businessman Frank Lowy about a racketeering scam started by former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert.

For a number of years Levy was Lowy's top UK rent boy and was reported in the UK press as having earned over $600,000 in kickbacks from Lowy's mobster cartel business dealings. Cash for peerages cops focus on Lord Levy and the 9/11 massacre; Joshua Gliddon 06/01/2007 The Australian Financial Review, Page 6
There has been controversy about a Microsoft project. In early January 2007, Microsoft sent a free gift to some 90 bloggers around the globe. The company sent each blogger a free Acer laptop computer loaded with Microsoft's Vista Ultimate operating system. The idea is that each blogger will review the Vista Ultimate system and post a review on his or her blog. Bloggers are gaining in influence and have real power. Critics argue that Microsoft should have disclosed details of this project earlier, to ensure that it was not seen to be trying to "buy" the support of bloggers Blogger takes free laptop in his stride

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Among the many philosophies I want to share with the world in May is the philosophy of reading and blogging… I guess I’ve always been a blogger waiting to happen. I am fond of the phrase uttered by the NY based countryman of Slavic fame Andy Warhol. Who is not aware of his oft-repeated comment, that one day everyone would be famous for 15 minutes? Well today the slavic inspired can of soup saying is rather rusty. Like most Media Dragons who swam the Cold River I too hope make a relevant observation. In Technorati age - every man, woman and child in the world will one day have his or her own blog! No longer does a person with a cause (or a grudge) have to write for a newspaper or make friends with a magazine editor to foist strong opinions on fellow humans. All it takes to become a blogger is about five minutes, and it’s mostly free. The search engines love blogs because of the freshness The truth is that the book and newspaper businesses share the same dreadful fear: that people will stop reading.... In the past, newspaper executives understood the symbiotic relationship between their product and books. People who read books also read newspapers. From that basic tenet came a philosophy: If you foster books, you foster reading. If you foster reading, you foster newspapers Book Prizes awarded; Everybody, every Good reader, that is, Loves Media Dragon: Is Google Love Too Powerful? ; Coffee Books looks hot and makes us look cool ; Out of the parliamentary dust, the promise of higher and higher heavens … Sweat

Ranking World Search Engines Grant Traffic, Not Love
I dont think any one blogging and ranking service shows the whole picture.
Technorati Ranking - Provides the number of links from blogs to other blogs, and is the most commonly referred to blog ranking system. It relies on quantity of links from other blogs combined with the number of blogs doing the actual linking.

Alexa - Measures the number of visitors to a site based on Alexa toolbar installations on peoples computers. The data tends to favor the type of blogs were ranking, but can be easily skewed and is more accurate for the most popular sites out there.
Compete - Uses the number of unique visitors to a site based on USA visitors only. This data is also based on a panel like Comscore. Unfortunately this data is for the the USA audience only. It also only attempts to rank the top one million sites, and a few of the blogs in these rankings had no data in Compete.
Quantcast - A newer entry to the data sites, Quantcast measures site traffic by analyzing data provided by ISPs and various partners. They also allow website owners to put their code on your site so they can more accurately report your data. They also provide some other cool data about your site if you do this, and it can be very handy if you need to provide demographics to advertisers. A few blogs in these rankings also had no Quantcast data, so Id recommend they ad the Quantcast code to make sure they get ranked.
Google Pagerank - Yes, I know Pagerank is just a number and doesnt mean anything, but I think everyone can also agree that a site with a pagerank of 7/10 has a higher link authority than a site that has a 4/10. What that means for search results is irrelevant for these rankings, its more of a way to try and get some link authority into our data.
Yahoo Links - Googles link: command doesnt provide a full set of data, and were using Pagerank already, so I used Yahoo! Search to get a more full set of links to a site. Why do this when we have Technorati? Well, Technorati is only tracking blog links, while Yahoo is getting links from any type of site.

Web Revenue Blog Rankings ; [Always make sure the top post on your blog has unique content that is attractive to a first time visitor. Bloggers write a lot of different things, including personal rants, news, link lists and lots of content that directs visitors to other resources and sites. While this is great, it can have massive effects on new visitors who stumble onto your blog; after all, the first thing they get to look at is the top post. The main homepage of your blog will be the strongest page for rankings and branding, as well as offering the best opportunity to win new subscribers and visitors. 10 Rarely Used Tips to Supercharge Your Blog ; How Google Blogsearch Ranks Your Posts...
In Their Own Words! (or Not) ]
• · If in offline there is no such thing as bad publicity, then in online there is no such thing as a bad link. There are those in the marketing fraternity who are becoming sceptical about the power of citizen journalism and that brands can build equity using the blogosphere.Well it is true that for every blog worth reading, there are a myriad of drivelling diatribes that are simply a waste of good electrons. The growth of blogging as quasi-intellectual pastime has almost been its downfall. Blog search engine Technorati buys Personal Bee Never underestimate the power of blogs ; Google has removed paid links that advertised seemingly legitimate Web sites but actually tried to install nefarious programs on PCs. The links were displayed as "sponsored links" after visitors entered specific queries into Google's search service. Clicking the links would ultimately go to a legitimate site, but by way of another site that attempted a "drive-by installation" of password-stealing software Miscreants placed the links using Google's AdWords service for advertisers
• · Power on Mark Cuban: You Are What Your Search Results Return (And So Are ... ; Which Blog Search is Best?
• · · As the blogosphere continues its meteoric rise security measures need to be implemented … Anyone who has participated in the blogosphere in the past two months knows the troubling story of Kathy Sierra, a prominent blogger who was the victim of online threats that included violent sexual acts and murder. When the harassment spread beyond her own blog to two others that were affiliated with other prominent bloggers, Sierra became so terrified that she canceled an upcoming speaking engagement and took a hiatus from blogging. The difference is, with 70 million blogs in existence today and 1.4 new blogs created every second, according to blog search engine Technorati, there are just more people participating in online discussions, and "the more crazy people you've got reading them, the wilder the whole blogosphere can become," says Richard Silverstein, who advocates for a peaceful approach to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his blog. According to Derek Wood, vice president of clinical operations at PsychTracker, a journaling site for people with mental illness, the harassment comes in two general forms: trolls and cyberstalkers. Fighting spirit Five ways to defeat blog trolls, cyberstalkers ; Real estate agents like Keith's diligent blog entries -- up to three or four a day -- were pushing the magic buttons of search engine Google, which ranked Keith's blog near the top ... Brokers in Blogsville
• · · · In a new book, former Sydney Morning Herald pictorial editor Michael Young recalls his humiliation at the hands of John Alexander, now PBL chief executive An editor spoiling for a fight