Back to uni soon

It’s back to uni this Friday, and I’m looking forward to it. We go straight into a studio photography module that focuses on flash lighting, which should be great. I’m a big fan of available light photography, where available light is defined as any goddamn light that’s available1 – I’ve been interested in flashes since long before uni, and have been playing about with2 the strobist methodology for over a year, so that’ll hopefully help. We start with digital SLRs, then move onto medium format film. I’ve never used anything larger than 35mm, and it’ll be interesting to see the quality differences. 

My tutor’s introductory email said:

the first session will involve shooting film stills – so please consider the genre you might aim to emulate and dress, and bring props, accordingly

My first thought was obviously ‘superheroes’. I’m sure I can talk everyone else into it.

As regular readers may have gathered, I’ve been a bit introspective and whiny lately, so I’m looking forward to having proper things to think about. It’ll also be good to get some new project shots going. I love my little niece, but she’s completely taken over my Flickr stream this summer, and baby shots are only so interesting if you’re not a relative 🙂

This term is also the first time anything counts toward my degree – everything last year was just practice. But this week saw the first person drop out of the course, which is a shame. There were 20 of us, but we once spoke to a 3rd year student whose class had dwindled to 6. Eek. Hopefully this doesn’t mean it’s about to get much tougher.

  1. this comment ripped straight from Joe McNally‘s The Moment It Clicks []
  2. I was recently told that ‘playing’ is not an appropriately professional word, to which I say: pretentious businesswank bullshit. Nobody ever learnt anything without playing around. I’m sorry that ‘business’ despises anything indicating people are anything more than ultra-efficient money-making automatons, but this is how things are, and I can’t be arsed figuring out nonsense concepts of pseudoreality for the sake of don’t-make-me-think ‘professionalism’. The advisers were trying to be helpful, which was nice, and I don’t have anything against them, but I’m not currently not in a position that I need to play such stupid games, so I won’t. Ah, I feel better now. []

Ugly, ugly email disclaimers

What do you think of email disclaimers? The kind that say things like:

This confidential e-mail is for the addressee only. If received in error, do not retain/copy/disclose it without our consent. You must delete it immediately and return it to us. Please do not infer from this communication that we like you. We are not responsible for any damage caused by a virus or alteration by a third party after it is sent. Outgoing attachments are scanned prior to leaving our server but they are opened at your own risk and you are advised to scan incoming email for viruses before opening any attached files. Don’t think we won’t sue your ass. We give no guarantee that any communication is virus-free and accept no responsibility for virus contamination or other system loss or damage of any kind. Nothing you do is our fault. Nothing that happens is anything to do with us. Emails are not necessarily secure. Opinions held within this document and/or attachments are those of the author and not necessarily those of the company. We as a company operate under a groupthink principle, and no advice or help given by an individual is of any use whatsoever. We as a company take no responsibility for anything, but demand money nevertheless. Even this disclaimer is not to be trusted. It may have been altered by a third party. Any advice given herein should not be followed without consulting appropriate legal counsel.

I hate them. They repeat themselves, clog up inboxes, are normally all HTML, make email conversations ridiculously hard to follow, must take up insane amounts of bandwidth and have the air of businesswank. I also find them dubious. I send an email to the wrong person, and my telling them to delete it actually has any legal bearing? And surely there must be rules regarding the liability of a virus-laden email – does saying ‘it might have, but it’s nothing to do with me’ make any difference? I am not a lawyer, but that sounds dodgy. Research suggests that they’re advisable rather than legally binding, but nevertheless it seems OTT.

One of my clients has been told to put these ridiculous things in their emails, and it looks dreadful. I’ve recommended they put a link to disclaimer text hosted on their website. It’s still a bit of HTML, but far better than all that kak. Of course, nobody’s going to read it. But nobody reads it anyway, so what’s the difference? But maybe I’m wrong – any opinions?

Putting the customer first

I just came across this impressive piece of corporate-speak:

 As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, we at IRIS are committed to assisting you to achieve the transition from XP (or older operating systems) to Microsoft Vista when you are ready to make the move.

However we recognise that the launch also co-incides with the busiest time of year for many customers (self-assessment/ payroll year end). So we have decided to phase the introduction of Microsoft Vista compatibility into IRIS software over a period of some months to enable us to make this transition easier for you.

Aren’t they nice? They’ve seen that I’m doing other things, so they’re kindly ensuring their software won’t work with any new computer. It’ll be less hassle for me, you see – I won’t have to worry about setting it up, doing actual work, or anything.

I can’t help admiring the optimism, though.

Control of Google

From TUGW:

A Pension fund with a holding of over 4700 in class A Google stock, wants a change to eliminate a tow tier voting structure. This change would funnel the control of Google from its main three executives, Brin, Page, and Schmidt.

Yes, well. They would. I can’t see any way in which this is a good idea for anybody except the shareholders themselves.

Sack Me

Well, this was originally a short little post with a link, but it turned into a full-blown rant…I wonder what I’ll think of it in the morning 🙂

I was just reading this article from a company whose interviewees turned out to have blogs. A couple of things struck me.

First of all, some companies clearly don’t live in the real world. Oh no, this person has opinions of his own! How unprofessional!

But it’s best for job seekers to leave their personal lives mostly out of the interview process.

Yes, right. Fine. I forgot that the definition of professionalism is ‘being a mindless money-making automaton’. Silly me 🙂 Why, take the following:

Several committee members expressed concern that a blogger who joined our staff might air departmental dirty laundry (real or imagined) on the cyber clothesline for the world to see. Past good behavior is no guarantee against future lapses of professional decorum.

May I suggest that you’ve made that up. Anybody who expresses themselves publicly automatically lacks any standards of politeness or decency, apparently. And what, may I ask, is it that you’re afraid of? Perhaps you could just, you know, not give people reason to complain about you? Or, if they do, you could look at their grievances? If they’re a crank – fine. Say so, back yourself up, and anybody with any sense will agree with you. If you got it wrong, sort it out, or explain yourself. Is that so hard? I grant it’s not how things have been done in the past, but there’s this thing called the Internet, now, and it’s kinda changing the way that people talk to each other.

But no, this isn’t the way the business world works, is it…I’m terribly, terribly na