Archive | July, 2008

And a big yellow taxi took my girl away

30 Jul

I have never been one for public transport. I use it when I have to and well I am beginning to think taxis pose a better argument for travel than that of trams.

Sure it’s something great to gloat about in a city as livable as Melbourne. Everyone seems to brag about how amazingly easy and incredibly convenient it is.

And now I hear, they (whoever they are…) are attempting to glorify the network by calling portions of the tramline ‘light rail’ whatever that means.

But as I wait for over 25 minutes in peak hour traffic, waiting… Watching the road and all the cars with their drivers contentedly driving by, I felt my temper seething. Light rail? …right …easy? …riiiiggght. Conveniently forgettable I say.

As I continually glanced at my ipod touch, which so effortlessly remembered my last web page visit, I wondered why consistency of such a commonly used tram network couldn’t provide me with the same clear experience that they talk about.

Not only was I waiting alongside a small army of Melbournians, the number continued to grow as the minutes passed by, so collectively in fact that 4 trams worth of people were waiting at my tram stop. Metlink, a note to your affable tram drivers, 1 missing tram; forgivable. 3 missing trams? Unforgettable.

Irritable and unfashionably late, commuters poured onto the tram which was quickly becoming reminiscent to that of a tin of sardines as we continued.
I’m not sure what became more unbearable, being too closely jammed onto a tram and having to listen to the affectionate couple beside me and their shameful sound effects, or maybe the Podcast of ‘marine biology and how you can make a difference’ from the gentleman behind me combined with being completely squashed together with the rest of humanity whose elbows, pokey bags and knees are in your face – everyone on their worst behavior trying to be the first on and first off the tram.

tin sardines anyone?

Nicely accompanied with standing until your feet hurt and your mind shuts down.
Again, thankyou to Apple for the ipod.

The 25 minute commute felt like eternity in real time to public transport conversion, but nonetheless to say, I did arrive at my destination with a story to tell and sigh of relief. Walking never felt so good.

I do ask this of you Metlink; please don’t keep telling me you’re such a great network and so conveniently on time.

Show me.

Prove to me that you can arrive on time and we can call it bygones.

And then, maybe then I will start to trust you again.

Home is where the heart is

26 Jul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I call Melbourne my home now, I think I always will. It’s a place I feel close too, dazzling and inimitable. There is always something atypical and mysterious to stumble across that holds a smile to my face.

I’ve fallen in love with parts Melbourne; the laid back streets, the unique culture and hidden secrets behind every laneway or corner. I love being able to walk down a city lane way and be surprised by a man reading poetry to his wife or a band of performers playing music throughout the city streets.

The fact you can find small pieces of architecture, art and design that tell stories about its people and their dreams, keeps me feeling proud to call this city mine.

Once you skip past the intense traffic jams and clouded grey skies, there is something that makes Melbourne intrinsically different. Something that will let me miss it more than any other city, something nostalgically out of the ordinary in its culture, life and city streets that holds a special place in my heart.

It’s interactive, iconic and historic all in one.

Too often its beauty and freedom are taken for granted.

I was sitting on a sky bus the other week, heading into the city, surrounded by a mass of tourists with their guide books out and trying to fit in as much of Melbourne in to their trip as possible.

I couldn’t help but smile, it’s funny how easy it is to overlook the streets we walk across everyday.

Digital vs Traditional (again)

21 Jul
There has been a lot of speculation lately and a lot of talk as to the argument of digital media overcoming traditional media. And yes I do think it is happening. Digital is a cut above the rest when it comes to communication and has high end capabilities that still are being uncovered as we speak. Yes that’s right folks, the possibilities are endless. Or something to that degree.
However (and there’s always a ‘however’), I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone that many forerunners of twentieth century print media are now suggesting something slightly contrary to Web 2.0. The question is basically, ‘Is Google is making us stupid?’. (As written by Nicholas Carr)
Which made me think about this slightly in a traditional form. Least surprising and quite transparent are the pervasive effects of web browsing on our thought patterns. Point-and-click reading is sadly the preferred method of reading for many now, regardless of age.
So here’s a experiment for the point-and-clickers playing at home…
Read this blog, start to finish. No stops, no breaks, nothing to drink that you didn’t have when you started initially. No TV, or youtube, no opening tabs or flashy web banner distractions. Do not click on another link. Then when if you fail, having read only the first few lines without distraction, revel in the irony. Considering that you may have been once well-read, yet now cannot sit through a blog due to nefarious distractions and technically, it demands a little too much time.

But yes, I know, there are too many flashing, clickable things to go and see. A whole world of them in fact.

Guilty as charged (on occasion). If you want my attention now it better be good, right?

During many long sittings I will get up all too often for a drink, maybe some chocolate and of course a distraction by a desire to read something a little more thought provoking.

The flashed word is now virtually as good as the printed one. And sells better. Traditionally, the printed page tends to hearten a more disciplined reading practice than that of a web page. How many people can really sit and read an online document for more than 10 minutes?

But seemingly true as it is, I just can’t come to terms with the idea behind ‘Google making us stupid’.

The argument seems to be that “immediate access to such an incredibly rich store of information” united with the idea of common online communication, may cause it all to change, the way with think and how much we need to use our brain.

Our thought processes will always change. Concentration and focus on careful reading has always required effort and everyone is at their own level.

While we work to provide information, it’s important to realise it is not Google that makes us stupid. Insightful practices get lost in the hysterical pace of today’s world.

Google and Web 2.0 for that matter, work to help people to be more connected to each other, not just to the vast asset of information that’s accessible via the internet. Its our job to supply the exceptional questions and encourage reflection .To help make interpersonal connections that encourage conversation and challenge thinking.
But its Google that can help us to be smarter; “its not about searching, its about finding”.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s an Obama-thon

19 Jul

This just in…

It’s only for those seeking a change.
When the standard is just not enough anymore… Why not try an Obama Blend. Available within the hearts of all good Americans …and apparently Campo’s Coffee.

Waiter… What the hell is that in my cup?

19 Jul
A trip to the Gold Coast has made me realize how much I appreciate need good coffee. After discussing the consistently amazing coffee available from Melbourne’s St. Ali to Sydney’s Campo’s with my good friend, Amelia and we found ourselves reminiscing the consistently bad coffee too.
The Goldcoast, bless the sunshine and hideously kitsch souvenirs, cannot for the life of its tourism, bear a cup even reminiscent to the concept of drinkable coffee.
In front of me sits a form of coffee that smells so scorched, that Satan himself could have very well excreted it. It bears a sour bitterness that only the most naive American tourist could enjoy. With an unsatisfied palate and gut-wrenched nerves I shudder, and that will still be $5.50 thank you very much.

Resisting the urge to stamp a rather sharp fork through the hand of the highly incapable barista, I pass my coffee on to much more appreciating hands – The trash by the door.

 Real coffee, believe it or not, is not that hard to come across. Once you bypass the generic array of Starbucks or Gloria Jeans franchises that appear to be taking over in a rampage of flat, flavourless, bland frappee affairs, you will find it. The wonderful world of preeminent places that makes me proud to call Melbourne home. 
I remember being possibly two Gloria Jeans away from topping myself when I stumbled over a unassuming yet tasteful caffeine trading hole in the wall. The room was full of life and an intoxicating aroma that was almost enough to satisfy my cravings alone. I found myself akin to the bottom feeding students and arrogant BMW driving socialites that surrounded me. All of us in search of one common denominator; real coffee from a place with no attitude, no fancy gimmicks and certainly no replica coffee chain.
Now excuse me whilst I order another long black.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time to start going places.

17 Jul

I want to look,
I want to see, rings loud when all concentration gives way to the folly of a mind comfortable with day dreaming.

What happens when it’s just not enough? The everyday life, little pleasures and little dreams. I want the bigger picture, The best part. It’s time to start making it happen – far from this little place called home.

Waiting for more innovation?

8 Jul
can opener

Sometimes, just sometimes, it is so frustrating being left-handed in a right-handed world.
Given that we make up one in ten of the population you would think that we would be accommodated a little better wouldn’t you?

Today I proceeded to open a can of tomatoes. The task took a frustrating 5 minutes to open. How can something as innovative and simple as a ‘can opener’ be so complicated to employ? The hindrance behind using this, forced me to actually open the can in reverse. But in the end I won out. And felt like I had overcome a challenge. For opening a can.

Anyway, as a gadget, the ‘right-handed’ can opener is a reasonable concept …with many flaws.

But it did draw my attention to the fact everywhere we go, left-handed people come across tools that were designed for the right handed.

Innovation with products alike this should have been considered from the start. The very start – none of this right-handed and then left handed tooling. (Yes I am aware of left handed can openers)

If a product works, consumers are hooked and will remain loyal to the brand over the course of their lifetime… or well, until something better comes along. And no one wants to change who they are to be able to actually utilise a product, this includes using right handed tools.

And to the companies out there looking to improve everyday products and provide a broader range of consumers with a little more than what we have – I suggest a trend in customer-innovation. Get your customers to help co-create products.

Working with each other, to develop new products, services, processes or marketing. This trend is being witnessed more and more, and not just in the FMCG industry where this kind of innovation has been common for some time now.

Which brings me closer to the idea of ‘open innovation’ (Yes, you know it, open beats closed…every time, every situation …right?)

The central idea here is all about obtaining widely distributed knowledge, sourcing processes or inventions and applying them to your brand or product to provide us with the best possible solution. Every time please.

Today, information and innovation can be transferred so easily that it seems impossible to prevent. So therefore innovation would state that companies cannot stop the phenomenon of improvement, they must learn to take advantage of it.