Archive for February, 2004

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CUTTING OFF YOUR NOSE TO SPITE YOUR FACE

Recently, I was helping a friend manage the registration process of a regional IT conference in Palace of the Golden Horses. This event had about 600-800 attendees. Suffice to say, some of us had to work to wee hours of the morning to get the preparation done together with the event organisers.

You’d think that for an event of this type and size, the use of computers was a no-brainer. In fact, it would have been plain WEIRD if we were to use a paper-based system. Those of you who know what event I’m talking about, would notice that the registration process IS, for the love of God, paper-based.

You see, we were given four Twinhead notebooks with preloaded Microsoft Windows and nothing else. No MS Office, No Open Office whatsoever. When asked what ofc productivity software we are supposed to use to churn reports and tags, the answer was “IE”.

“Because that’s the only free thing that comes with Windows.”

Probed further, the organisers felt that they should NOT use MS products because they were ardent supporters of open source, EVEN if it meant having to do the registration onsite WITHOUT computers.

And to think that MS is one of the sponsors of this event.

In the end, my colleague and I had to use our personal notebooks to get the job done. The pre-event work was also done using MS Excel and Word, because really, who had the time to figure out how Open office can work with our office printers, train the temps on Word and Spreadsheet Processing 101 with Open Office?

Now I’m all for taking down monopolising giants a peg or two, but do we necessarily have to use slings and stones? And what happens when it is at the expense of your paying customers, who are none too happy about having to wait in a long queue and a hot place while you flip through files like some government department on a Friday at 3.45pm?

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THE LONG GOODBYE

Have you ever been in a situation where you bump into a work acquaintance or even an old friend in, say, a supermarket, and after the perfunctory greetings, you say your goodbyes but because both of you are shopping in the same place, you keep walking into each other? And then you either find something to talk about each time or you just smile awkwardly or worse, even try to avoid the other person so as not to make it even more uncomfortable? And then u end up like saying goodbye like a thousand times – once in the sauce aisle, once in the fresh produce department, once in the checkout . It can seem just plain stupid.

I recently bumped into an old school friend of mine whom I keep in touch with on a relatively regular basis. We were at a hotel I was staying in with my hubby along with another couple, just a Valentine’s day get-together, and after exhanging loud, surprised exclamations, we just went our separate ways. However, because we were staying in the same place, we kept bumping into each other. Not wanting to encroach on each other’s privacy because it was a sort of ‘dirty’ weekend where we were supposed to ONLY be with our spouses, we ended up walking around like total strangers even though I might be having makan with this friend in a week’s time or so.

Weird, huh?

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