Saints & Sinners


I managed to get a copy of the Sunday Tribune for a change, though I never seem to be able to get the magazine. One of the first things that I noticed is that that they ran the same pages in the sports section of the paper twice on S19 and S26, which caused no end of confusion. However Fergus Cassidy wrote a great article on how corporate websites and ecommerce sites are losing out since they are optimised for Internet Explorer (and Internet Explorer doesn’t play nicely with W3C standards). Particular unrepentant ‘straight-to-hell’ sinners in my book are people who use forms on Active Server Page vended sites.

One of my friends sent through this great link to an ecommerce site that talks you though Apple laptop repairs and sells you the bits for a song (well at a reasonably good price at least).

UPDATE: Fergus has posted his article on his blog

Reputation as CEO, rather than customer interaction

There was a well written think piece written on AlwaysOn Network by Heidi Sinclair of Burson-Marsteller. It provides CEOs with advice and justification on why they should have a PR campaign to promote them. Its an old argument, when I worked for The Weber Group we used to have a slide that had a piece of internal research on it showing that companies with prominent CEOs outperformed their NASDAQ peers by 30 per cent. Sinclair claims in the article that 50 per cent of a company’s reputation depends on the CEO, I don’t think that this necessarily true. I think that the article very dangerously ignores much of the real hard work ensuring that all customer interaction from product or service usage to contacting the company delight the customer. No mean feat, yes demonstrate that your company is not being run by a dribbling moron, but don’t pretend that turning the CEO into Victor Kiam will really fix product or service issues.

Diary section (back of PR Week)

Thought you all may appreciate this from the back page of PR Week (October 1, 2004):

PR fails to impress, finds CHA research

Workplace communicatons agency CHA has commissioned research in to how proud Brits are of their workplace and their employers. Unfortunately, the results were a bit too revealing.

Out of 1,158 respondents, only two said that they would be proud to work in PR. A shocking result that PR Week, of course, immediately assumed must be a mistake.

But according tho CHA account executive Gregor Ridley it all makes perfect sense: ‘There is obviously a strong disconnection with the people who want to get into PR and the general impression people have of the industry. ‘

But what to do, eh?

UPDATE: The report in question can be found here as a PDF file.

Oprah Time: Six Days – How the 1967 war shaped the Middle East by Jeremy Bowen

I recently finished reading Six Days – How the 1967 war shaped the Middle East by Jeremy Bowen. Bowen is a famous BBC journalist who seems to have researched the book well and writes in an easy-to-read style. Bowen was in the region at the time and has supplemented his experience with later research.

I decided to read the book as I was curious to read more about the Six-Day War. The war had been  an important event in Moshe Dayan’s autobiography. If you have the chance, Dayan’s autobiography Story of My Life is a great read for a counterpoint to Bowen.

Bias

Bowen tells a story that no one involved will be happy with and covers the shooting and sinking of the USS Liberty in such a way that it prods your mind to search for answers.

The book is as much about the failings of the surrounding Arab states and the Soviet Union as it is about Israeli aggression, though Bowen’s telling of the story leans heavily in favour of the Arabs. So long as you are aware of this slant its fine. His work doesn’t editorialise that much about it.

Moshe Dayan

Dayan was painted in the book as a political opportunist, at the expense of illustrating his now legendary pragmatism. I found the internal strife and prejudices between different groups of the Israelis very interesting, particularly the way the Zionists born in Israel looked down on the Jews from the disporah who had survived world war two as being weak.

In conclusion

I would recommend that anyone interested should read this book. The Six Day War was an event that shaped the modern Middle East as we know it. I would also recommend that you do not rely exclusively on Bowen’s version of events and interpretation of events. Its a complex issue and you need to read multiple viewpoints. Bowen’s book is a good first start in your reading about the war.

Surloin – only the best cuts served up here


Its been a while so I thought I best bring you up to speed on the fresh cuts that have undergone heavy rotation at Chez Ged. Overall the summer had been quiet for quality house tunes, I had been fortunate to pick up Soha – seas and sirens, but this was the exception that proved the rule. Things have picked up over the past few weeks and here is the latest purchases.

  • WAR – Galaxy (re-edit) Ballroom Records War’s Galaxy has been re-edited to make it more DJ and dance floor friendly without taking out the quality

  • Ananda Project – Kiss Kiss Kiss (pt II) Nitegrooves Some nice mixes on this from a renowned US deep house label

  • Pixel – Do you miss me? Counterpoint Simple no nonsense sound with a hint of acid

  • Bambu – Elevate your mind Bitches Brew Classy cover version of a 70’s soul/disco classic

  • Roy Davis Jr – Chicago Forever Ubiquity Records Pure class, from the cover style as a homage to the mighty Blue Note sleeves through to some quality house served up on nicely pressed vinyl. Things do get better than this, but not often.

  • JoVonn – Nite shift EP Nextmoon Trax I had been after this one for over a month, when it first came into London in August it was as rare as rocking horse excrement. Quality deep house

It makes sense to deal with these two together Abe and Blake Baxter have worked together, Abe acting as engineer on Baxter’s record and Blake adding guest vocals on the Abe cut. Both are high class house trax with stylish acid overtones. Baxter along with Jamie Principle and Robert Owens is one of the defining vocalists of Chicago house.

  • Blake Baxter – Poetry and rhythm session two Detroit The Sound Republic

  • Abe Duque – What happened? Abe Duque Records

Old School

I went down to see a new meeja agency in Camden and had a few minutes to spare so nipped into Flashback Records on Essex Road. There I picked up:

  • Smells Like Heaven – Rhythms des Londres Cowboy Records I have been a sucker for Cowboy Records stuff and liked the diversity of the label from Steve Wonder cover versions like Secret Life ‘As Always’ to progressive house classics like The Aloof ‘On a mission’. Rhythms des Londres are better known for their London Strut track on Deconstruction.

  • Unique 3 – The Theme Ten Records Back to 89 with this bleep classic (whistle posse make some noise!), my copy was looking tatty, when I came across this tidy picture sleeve with old school grafitti signage. The illustrations of the band on the bottom however makes them look like a bunch of Boys Town Gang / Village People wannabes rather than working class rave pioneers from Bradford very funny.