Archive for July, 2006

Lego update

July 18th, 2006

I’ve finished the star destroyer…

Lego Star Destroyer

Some pictures of the construction in the rest of this post.

Read the rest of this entry »


Ever wondered ‘do I have that book or not’?

July 17th, 2006

Brilliant ‘new’ (well, new to me) feature for LibraryThing: LibraryThing Mobile. At last you can check to see if the book you’re looking at is in your catalog or not. Well, so long as you’ve kept your catalog up to date, that is.

So when will someone make a DVDThing???


Today’s laugh

July 17th, 2006

From The Register:

“I had the company solicitors give your contract the once-over. As impressed as they were about the numerous strange clauses in your contract – their favourite being the extortionate penalty payment for remaining at work after a UFO sighting in the vicinity of the building – they believe that there’s nothing to stop us using you to provide services to other companies.” […] “Who was it?” the head of IT sighs sadly. “Him,” the PFY says, pointing at the Boss. “What?” the Boss asks. “When?” the head of IT asks, ignoring the Boss. “Moments after we got the word that we had to write up a spec,” the PFY adds happily. “WHAT?” the Boss asks. “You would have been standing by a window,” the head of IT says bitterly, a painful memory of his first week in the company rising to the surface. “And one of these two would have said something like ‘look at that, is it an Airbus 320 or an Airbus 340’?” “The actual question was ‘is that a 747-200F or a 747-200C’?” the PFY says. “Yes?” the Boss says. “And you said something like ‘I dunno’ didn’t you?” the head asks. “Well, I don’t know anything about planes,” he replies defensively. “And what do we call a flying object that you can’t identify?” the PFY asks

Perhaps I should remember this when renegotiating my AWA…


Is Stupid better for sales assistants?

July 15th, 2006

Over at Marginal Revolution Tyler Cowen is suggesting that stupid sales assistants might be better for smart consumers:

Customers cannot talk for so long to a stupid person. So if you know what you are doing, you might prefer that the sales people be stupider. Stupid people will spend more time, in percentage terms, helping the already informed.

I’m not convinced. Firstly, smart people might break away from a stupid salesperson, but what about other stupid people? My experience has tended to be that the longest waits I’ve experienced waiting for help have been due to the other customers, and not to the sales person.

(I’m resisting the temptation to throw together some equations or a spreadsheet model of this).

I think the overall economics of sales assistants is simpler, but far more cynical. Good, knowledgeable sales people will, on average, require a higher rate of return due to the human capital they’ve built up. Bad sales assistants on the other hand will not require as high a wage. Businesses will only hire a good sales person if they provide a better return than the bad ones, and I suspect that’s not the case – as Tyler says, any idiot can point out where the batteries are.

(And, I suspect, there’s a bit of a premium on stupidity and dishonesty in some areas of commission sales).


Stupidest lawsuit ever

July 10th, 2006

No further comment needed: 

A Northeast Portland man is suing basketball superstar Michael Jordan and Nike founder Phil Knight for a combined $832 million. Allen Heckard filed the suit himself, June 29th in Washington County Court. Heckard says he’s been mistaken as Michael Jordan nearly every day over the past 15 years and he’s tired of it.

(Via Overlawyered).