Tuesday, September 25, 2007

This (h)as upset me today.....

I have a colleague at work. I shall call him Dave (for that is his name). He's a nice bloke, we look at each over a partition all day, every day, and if you spend that much time with someone you soon work out whether you like them or not.

Our work involves being presented with technical problems via an online system, to which we are required to write technically precise responses, which will allow the person at the other end to hopefully progress with their task, happily enlightened with the wisdom that we have imparted. All good stuff you will agree.

But as always, there's a fly in the ointment (isn't there always). Dave is from the West Midlands. This means in normal speech he has tendency to speak in a rather monotone manner and drop his aitches. I don't mind this. I love that in the UK we have so many accents and that despite the increasing amortisation of society, our accents continue to survive, evolve and invent new colloquialisms to entertain us. Some accents I like more than others but I will also accept that's just personal preference.

However, and here's the rub, Dave has unilaterally decided that the letter "h", when used at the start of words is no longer required in written speech. This means he regularly will write sentences such as "You ave to update the table as it as an index." or "Your colleague needs to apply the patch to correct is problem" or something similar. Granted, that sentence is an accurate representation of how he would speak but it is not how it should be written. Dave, to my eternal frustration, also agrees what he has written is incorrect, and even more frustratingly, he also agrees that in certain contexts, it will render what he has to say completely meaningless but he continues to do it. He just doesn't think it's that important.

I lost my rag with him today. I'm still shaking. Am I being unreasonable?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

In the News Today....

This is going to sound like a rant from Barry Beelzebub (just not as good) but so what. As far as I can tell, the news today has been dominated by two stories. The morning news - top item on BBC Breakfast - was Jose Mourinho no longer being manager at Chelsea. It's news I s'pose. It would certainly merit top billing as a sport related item but I'm not sure it should be top of the heap in the main news broadcast. Chelsea, a club with a chequered history at best, is in most people's immediate memory, best known for the psychopathic and aggressive nature of a proportion of its supporters. They have recently been better known for buying limited league and cup success through priapic but wholly unhealthy injections of dubiously gained Russian cash. Mourinho also managed to scare the bejeesus out of Alex Ferguson for a while for which he should be congratulated but recent form suggested he'd somewhat lost the plot. But it ain't real news.

The afternoon news seems to dominated by the crooked goings-on of a children' television programme and the fact that despite holding a poll of their viewers they decided to name their new on-screen cat Socks instead of Cookie. Of course we're told it's the principle of the matter, a breach of trust blah blah blah but come on, get real here. Is this really significant news? Apparently so. Doubtless some poor production assistant will get the sack as the BBC flops around trying to shut up some spittle-spouting, faux-indignant tabloid columnist.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

What's in a Blog?

This blog will never amount to much. The competition is just too good. I have neither the time nor the imagination to produce something of a similar standards to the blogs I read day in and day out. I'm sure there are lots of published lists about how to blog well, but rather than look them up I thought I'd have a go at writing my own top ten list of what constitutes a good blog.

1. Write about something you know. That may simply be yourself but the ill-informed blogger will soon run out of steam trying to talk about something they are not passionate about.

2. Post regularly. At least daily seems to be the norm. This is where I fail the test. People get hooked on the minutiae of what you have to say and hang on your every post. It's a voyeuristic thing.

3. Answer all comments personally. This is a tough one - but the best bloggers always answer each and every comment. I wish I was smart enough to have an answer for everyone.

4. If you get an abusive comment, be polite or be funny in your response. Online abuse between two people can be funny for a while but it gets boring. The best bloggers defuse the abusive commenter with humour. They seems to realise answering abuse with abuse just doesn't work but a witty put-down will almost always subdue your protaganist.

5. Have an understanding of grammar, punctuation and spelling. Blogs are usually read by other bloggers or people who have an interest in reading - slovenly writing will lose you your smarter readers. The occasional mistake is acceptable, but persistent poor work will not be tolerated.

6. If you're going to write about yourself, include a good degree of self-deprecation. Nobody likes reading about what a smartarse you are.

7. Be honest. The best blogs are clearly written with complete honesty. Maybe it's a cathartic experience for the blogger. I try but I always bottle it at the last minute.

8. Link to other blogs you like and comment regularly on other people's blogs. They will appreciate it and come and visit you in return.

9. Sorry, single issue blogs about your triumph over a terminal illness just don't do it for me. You may think you have a story to tell but it will have to be exceptionally good to sustain a regular readership of people who have not had a similar experience. Writing about your illness may help you through your experience but don't expect everyone else to be interested. For the passing reader, these blogs are just too self-analytical and bleak.

10. Read and/or comment on my blog and I promise to comment on yours and link to you. All abusive comments will be answered by me personally in a civil and humourous manner.