Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Leighton Beach discovery

I was photowalking with a few friends on Friday when I saw this:

Ants Attack!

Some poor kid must have lost one of his "Ants Attack!" Crocs sandal. This photo was taken at somewhere between Leighton Beach and Port Beach, East Fremantle, Western Australia.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Photowalking in Dullsville

Well, it turned out that there are so much more about "Dullsville" that I have never known. I've lived in this beautiful city for some 20 years now and I often discovered "new places" that fascinate me.

This is an interesting month for me "photographically" speaking. 2 photowalks in 2 weeks. This is definitely the first time where I have done photowalking on consecutive weeks.

On the 15th Feb this month, a bunch of us went to the "historical" suburb of Guildford. Guildford is the only town in the Perth metropolitan area classified by the National Trust of Australia. Close to the Swan River and just 25 minutes drive east of Perth, Guildford is the gateway to the Swan Valley's new food and wine trail.

Here is an interesting read about Guildford from http://www.walkabout.com.au/locations/WAGuildford.shtml:

"Given that it is now part of Greater Perth it is hard to imagine that its origins lie in Captain Stirling's determination to establish three settlements in the Swan River area - a port at Fremantle, an administrative centre at Perth, and a rural centre at Guildford. Thus the market town and inland port of Guildford is as old as Perth and Fremantle. There is even some evidence to support the idea that Guildford would have been Stirling's first choice for a settlement and certainly, when the Government established the first schools in the area in 1834 they appointed three teachers - one for Fremantle, one for Guildford and one for Perth."

No wonder so many historical buildings are being preserved in Guildford.

Here are some of the photos I took at the photowalking session:

Guildford Hotel (by autumn_leaf)

Post Office at Guildford (by autumn_leaf)

Early settlers (by autumn_leaf)

Afternoon light in a park (by autumn_leaf)

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Deception of IT software vendors?

I have been in the IT sector for now some 13 years now. In my 13 years of working, the last 8+ years have been with a financial institution, whilst the first 4+ years have been 2 different Independent Software Vendors (or ISVs).

In the past, when I was working for ISVs, I had the idea the clients I had to deal with were usually not that bright. They would ask me questions which I would consider bordering dumb or naive.

Now, having worked my last 8 years as client of software vendors, I am sitting across the other side of the fence, I sometimes feel that the vendor guys are not that cluey either.

This set me to think that either my perception is totally warped or I just happen to have a string of really unfortunate less cluey people to deal with.

Well, the truth is... all these perceptions are true to some certain degree. Perception is a funny thing. When I was working for software vendors, I used to think that the clients (who too, were developers) didn't know or have a clue what they were doing. They often asked the simplest and "dumbest" questions about the software products I was supporting. What I have learnt now that I am sitting over the other side of the fence is that often software vendors failed to realise what would consider "the most obvious and simplest" things about their software often turned out to be difficult to understand for their clients. Often the software applications were not built to the quality the clients expected before they are released to the market. Often, the sales people or the professional services people over sold the capability of their software which led to unrealised expectations. Often features sold by the software vendors are NOT that rich and yet often pitched as the "best things since sliced bread" or the "best of breed"!

Trust me, most ISV sales and professional services people are liars or "keen exaggerators" at best.

Very often support staffs of software vendors do not realise the frustration of in-house software developers and programmers where things are not easy to use or do not have features that they were led to believe. I, too, are often frustrated by what I would describe as being the recipient of blatant deceptions by software vendors. Perhaps during the days when I belong to one of the guy working for software vendors, I too, am guilty of similar "blatant deception", rubbishing clients for their "lack of ability" to use the software "properly" as intended for.

Anyway, I am right now dealing with a software vendor. I felt that my company has once again fell into the trap of purchasing a software / technology at an enormous cost but result is dismaying results. What can I do but resign to the fate that we have to simply just "live with it"!

Friday, 8 February 2008

Chinese spectacle for students on Chinese New Year Day

Students of Winthrop Primary School were treated to a colour lion dance performance this morning. The performance was held at an assembly and was organised as part of the Chinese New Year celebrations welcoming the Year of the Rat. Some pre-primary students donned the traditional chinese costume called qipao added to the festive mood.

The students marvelled at the acrobatic performance presented by the Chow Kwoon Yarn Yee Tong lion-dancing troupe.
Lion dance - Lift stuntThe two lions even did a few laps around the assembly hall with students trying to touch them for "good luck" and picking up scraps of lettuces from the floor after the lions 'Picked the Green'.
Up Close and Personal with a Lion

The green here referred to the lettuces which were tied to a piece of string which also had a red packet attached. The string was hung on the wall some 2 to 3 meters high, and the lions 'ate' both leaves and red packet. Lying on the floor the leaves were 'chewed' by the lions while the ensemble played to a dramatic rolling crescendo. The lull was broken as the lion exploded back into activity while spitting out the lettuce leaves. This symbolic act of blessing by the lions, with the spitting out of the leaves, signified that there will be an abundance of blessings in the new year.