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Thinking about this communication thing we do, and how to make it all work better, innit? Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this weblog are solely those of the writer and are not in any way those of any firm or any other individuals that he may or m

Last Build Date: Fri, 20 Dec 2002 04:07:28 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2002 Karl-Peter Gottschalk

Latest Health Report.

Fri, 20 Dec 2002 04:07:27 GMT

Too ill to work right now. Not assisted by the heat in this office.

40 Degrees and Rising.

Thu, 19 Dec 2002 08:57:29 GMT

40 degrees outside and it feels even hotter. more stifling, in this unairconditioned office. No sign of the promised airconditioning ever appearing. Little wonder work is hard to get done.

The Yellow CAT Thing.

Wed, 18 Dec 2002 05:11:43 GMT

Discovered late Friday that the Yellow CAT is not due to run until the Monday after, despite the evidence of the signs.
      I had to take time off to work at home Monday and Tuesday so could not put that to the test. Walked to the office from West Perth today, on a route far from that of the Yellow CATs.

Red CAT Splits And Turns Yellow.

Fri, 13 Dec 2002 01:46:26 GMT

The free commuter Red CAT inner city bus service has now split into Red and Yellow, according to the evidence on the special CAT signs and bus stops.
      Except that there ARE no Yellow CAT buses. I arrived at the CAT bus stop near the train station this morning, late and needing to get to the office fast. The sign indicated that the Red no longer goes near the office, and that the Yellow does.
      Now, the Red runs every 5 minutes (theoretically) as always, and the Yellow runs every 10 to 15 or more, according to the information. And the Yellow takes a direct route down Wellington Street, instead of all over the riverside parts of East Perth before it gets anywhere near here. Theoretically a much, much faster trip.
      Waited for this wondrous Yellow CAT, and none appeared. I did not want to walk today because I was carrying too much on me. I saw far more Reds than I ever have before, appearing more frequently than I have ever seen, but no Yellows. So I walked again, as usual.
      I do not catch the CAT from East Perth into the city, as the service ends well before I finish work each evening. Luckily the Claisebrook train station has reopened so I can now take the train to Inglewood again.

The Same Thing in The Richer Suburbs.

Thu, 12 Dec 2002 02:38:14 GMT

I remember a co-worker telling me he had the same problems, although not as bad, when he lived in the well-off North Shore suburb of Armadale. It too is in a public transport dead zone.
      Armadale is primarily residential, but there are some important businesses located there such as AtLab. It is very difficult to get there at any time day or night other than by car. Yet the surrounding suburbs are very well catered for.

Sydney and Its Transport.

Thu, 12 Dec 2002 02:35:56 GMT

The planner said that Sydney’s public transport system is the envy of many an American city. That is all very well, but it is not saying a great deal. The rail system contains big dead zones north and south, stations or groups of stations in the near west where trains rarely stop and the buses are also very bad.
      I stayed in one of those dead zones for a while, and I would often get home at midnight each day after waiting on a cold draughty platform in the middle of nowhere for 2 or 3 hours, followed by a long long walk through pitch black and unlit streets. The trains to the outer west were expresses that zoomed past without stopping. They ran reasonably frequently compared to the ones that actually stopped in any of the three adjacent stations in the dead zone.
      Bus, train, another train, often yet another train again, wait for hours, and then walk. All to get to a spot just outside Parramatta, in the geographic centre of Sydney.

Back To The Presentations.

Thu, 12 Dec 2002 02:25:32 GMT

Uncovered some bugs in the presentation that I am carrying around to show people. Have to fix them immediately. Working on some more self-marketing material too.

Sydney To Be Six Separate Cities?

Thu, 12 Dec 2002 02:22:31 GMT

A planner in a major Sydney architectural firm was on the radio this morning, talking about how he recommends that Sydney reconstitutes itself as 6 independent cities rather than one huge one, following the model established by the Midlands in Britain.
      Sydney’s population continues to grow by about 50,000 people each year, he says.

Very Hot, No Airconditioner Still.

Thu, 12 Dec 2002 02:18:06 GMT

The guys here at the office in East Perth were apparently promised airconditioning by the real estate agent. No sign of it still, and the agent seems to be avoiding them now. There is talk of issuing an ultimatum, before looking for alternative accommodation.
      I’d hate to not work out of my beloved East Perth, but as the uninsulated end office of this whole building it is insanely hot in here.

More on the Catalog.

Thu, 12 Dec 2002 02:16:11 GMT

Oddly enough, there is no email address or website URL on the catalog. You have to phone them or fax in order to place an order with them. Very old world.

Pen Retail Catalog Appears.

Thu, 12 Dec 2002 02:11:24 GMT

A copy of a pen retailer’s catalog appeared in the weekend issue of The Australian. It is produced by a shop in Adelaide called Pencraft, in Adelaide Arcade.
      I remember the store from years ago, when I last passed through that odd little city. Tiny store, huge collection of stock, all pens and pen-related, back then, and by the evidence in the catalog still packed full, including lots of fountain pens of all brands and prices. The catalog has every major brand and lots of wonderful things by each maker. There is even a shot of a bottle of Sheaffer Skrip ink, in the latest version made in Slovenia.
      There is a little corner store in Perth that sells pens, but it is really an old-style tobacconist that has a handful of pens on the side.

Internet Access Desperately Slow Today.

Thu, 12 Dec 2002 02:05:24 GMT

It is just millimetering along. It is not even inching. Can’t collect email successfully, can’t read the usual morning slew of web sites. The office ISP is iinet, a firm that is always having technical problems it seems.

The Fountain Pen Saga: The Paper.

Wed, 11 Dec 2002 09:20:28 GMT

Most paper you buy now is either too absorbent, or too slick and waxy. That means you need to use really good fountain pen nibs, and good ink that does not feather and bleed. Otherwise your letters spread, or you can only write on one side of the paper. Wasteful.
      Or you resort to ballpoints and produce unreadable scribble.

How I Use Fountain Pens.

Wed, 11 Dec 2002 09:15:45 GMT

I write my first drafts in Jet Black, with a Sheaffer calligraphy fountain pen and fine nib, and then make my revisions in Peacock Blue using a fine or medium nib. Then I write the next draft on the computer, in BBEdit and then InDesign so I can see what the words will look like in print.
      I write in black plastic-covered perfect-bound notebooks that I found in a little newsagent in Morley. I bought up all six that they had. There are none left, and I have not found any more of them anywhere. They are not stocking any more of them. The paper in them is good but not great. It is better quality than all other notebooks that I have found.
      Because they have soft covers, the notebooks do not damage expensive equipment or other books when placed in my backpack. The other notebooks available all have wire spiral binding, that ruins other objects when it rubs up against them.

New Ink From Slovenia.

Wed, 11 Dec 2002 09:07:28 GMT

Sheaffer’s new ink is made in a factory in Slovenia. I have a number of cartridges of it, and it does work better on the same papers as the old ones. But enough of paying through the nose for cartridges. Too wasteful, too expensive. I just need a bottle at home, and one at the office. With cartridges on hand in case I run out on location.

The Fountain Pen Saga: The Ink.

Wed, 11 Dec 2002 09:02:46 GMT

Plastic ink cartridges for fountain pens are becoming harder to find now. Those for my Rotring pens are almost impossible to locate anywhere. Sheaffer cartridges are a little easier to find, but there is limited choice in colours. You can have any colour so long as it is Blue. Or Jet Black.
      I use Peacock Blue, for editing corrections because it stands out well, and Jet Black. Those shops that stock cartridges in their boxes of 6 have taken to selling cartridges separately, instead of by the box, at a premium price. Under $2.00 per cartridge. That makes a box under $12.00 now, almost double what they were before.
      I have convertors for both Rotring and Sheaffer pens, that allow you to load them with ink from a bottle. The problem is in obtaining bottled inks, now. Local branches of the national chains where I used to buy all my writing supplies no longer stock Sheaffer ink, my preferred brand as its current formulation works better with current writing papers. Less strike-through, or bleed, less feathering, improved ability to handle the very absorbent or waxy slick-surfaced papers prevalent now.
      Parker Quink Ink is available most places, even in Black, but Sheaffer’s ink works much better. And Sheaffer is the only brand that has a Peacock Blue. I finally found a store that has agreed to ask the distributor to supply them with bottles of the new line of Sheaffer bottled ink. They had plenty of the old stuff in stock. Here is hoping for success.

The British Experience.

Wed, 11 Dec 2002 08:45:03 GMT

Britain is certainly not as design and art conscious as the French, the Germans and the Italians. And the best British designers generally do far more work for non-British clients than local ones.
      But what really woke up the British business community to the need for quality design was an announcement by Thatcher in the 80s that there would be a design-led business recovery. And so there was.
      Little Johnnie is hardly going to make the same kind of announcement any time soon. I suspect he is barely conscious of art and design in any way. His own personal interests appear to stretch no further than watching cricket.

Taking This Thing We Do To The Next Level.

Wed, 11 Dec 2002 08:40:15 GMT

Had a great meeting this morning with the principal of a design firm who wants to take things to the next level with his clients. He was wondering how to do that, and I hope I had some useful suggstions.
      I have made a number of observations of how creatives are regarded, and how they work with their clients, in other cultures, and many of the lessons can be applied here.
      The big point of difference though is that designers in Europe are to a large degree culture heroes, covered in the newspapers, even the tabloids, as well as the colour supplements, specialist magazines, and glossy consumer and fashion magazines. Many people in the street can name some famous designers from having read about them there or from having seen them on TV, or shows in public spaces. Or from heavily publicised awards and public honours.
      The average person here would be hard-pressed to do so. A design fan would certainly be able to name Marc Newson, the London-based Australian product designer who had a retrospective at Sydney’s PowerHouse Museum last year, but that would be the extent of it.
      Clearly that is not going to change any time soon, so we need to find another way of gaining more control over the process, more input even before the client issues the work order.
      I experienced first hand how British designers are called in before specific projects even exist, in a process of ongoing research, observation and consultancy, so that they often initiate projects themselves based on their perceptions of how their clients would best benefit. This can work here.

Joe Clark Writes About Flash Accessibility.

Tue, 10 Dec 2002 03:18:56 GMT

Web accessibility expert Joe Clark has been interviewed about the current state of accessibility of Flash MX, by the people at Slashdot. Worth a read.