Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Finding Time

After kidding myself by giving excuses (it's a tough watch, and so can go anywhere), I finally stopped wearing my trusty G-Shock watch together with workwear when the battery went flat. Not a moment too late, on hindsight.

The result? A couple months of nothing on my right wrist. (BTW, I have been wearing watches on my right hand even though I'm right-handed ever since I can remember wearing a watch)

Prospective choices have come and gone, and I've pretty much set my sights on a few "must-have" features for my workwear watch.
  1. black rubber strap - more durable than a leather strap, less common than a metal strap
  2. black watch face - white text on black background is so much classier
  3. silver metallic rim - you still need some contrast
Optional considerations include a multi-hand dial, and yellow or orange text.

My search? It goes on...

Monday, January 28, 2008

INTP Personal Growth

INTP Personal Growth
Quite a cool page on my personality type. Yep, i'm a INTP...This page is slightly different from the rest in that it gives you tips on how you can work on your weaknesses, and become more balanced.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Access to justice

otbp agrees with consumer nz. A similar situation is happening in Singapore also.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Costs of Finding Love

The Simple Dollar
I quite agree with the points made in this post, not that it makes me any more at ease whenever "such" thoughts fill my head...

Friday, January 04, 2008

Learning time management can help your uncluttering efforts

Great article linking uncluttering and time-management, but I also totally agree with the 1st comment, which I reproduce below...

Posted by Kirk Roberts - 11/07/2007

I totally agree that time management is important, and a vital skill to hone.

Personally, though, I discovered over time that looking at blogs (and investigating links from blogs) was one of the biggest time sucks in my day. The irony was how much time I wasted reading personal productivity tips.

To each their own, but if you’re interested in time management I would suggest checking a book out of the library rather than surfing (blog, rss, web, etc). “The Now Habit” is pretty great.

I've often found myself reading more about "how to GTD" than actually physically practising GTD...

Would you answer this question honestly?

Synovate In:fact June 2005
Interesting survey done on the honesty of survey respondents (and also indirectly, a test on how accurate surveys are)...


Do people respond to survey questions honestly? This is a critical question to anyone who commissions market research. After all, what use are surveys if a lot of the respondents are great big fibbers?

Synovate recently set out to test the honesty of 2,640 survey panellists in the US, Germany and Thailand.

Hook 'em up to the polygraph?

It's not much use to simply ask someone, "Are you telling the truth?"

Fortunately, market researchers have developed a range of devious ways to ferret out honest answers. The technique used in this case is called "projective questioning".

This involves asking subjects how they think other people will react to a particular situation. The answer actually reveals the subject's likely behaviour.

I cannot tell a lie

In general, Synovate found that US respondents are more likely to provide truthful answers than Germans and Thais.

We learned this by asking neutral projective questions. For example, "How likely is it that most panellists would share answers honestly about the number of research surveys they have taken part in over the previous three months?"

Of American respondents, 82% indicated we could expect honest answers to this question, versus 68% of Germans and 62% of Thais.

Benchmarking honesty

That ratio may be regarded as the standard cultural difference between the honesty of answers from Thais, Germans and Americans.

Of course, the survey topic under discussion has a big influence over the degree of honesty that can be expected. In general, our study identifies three types of issues: Safe Issues, Careful Issues and No-go Issues.

No Pinocchio nose grows

SAFE ISSUES are those that elicit an honest response from most respondents most of the time. Surveys about daily activities such as television viewing and shopping can be considered safe.

But regional differences often apply. While a person's average weekly amount of exercise is generally a safe survey issue everywhere, honest answers are significantly more likely from Thais (78%) than from Americans (54%) and Germans (51%). This also applies to questions about religious worship.

On the other hand, the Americans and Germans are more likely to be truthful about impulse shopping than the Thais. And Americans are especially honest about whether or not they hang out at discount stores.

Economical with the truth

CAREFUL ISSUES are topics that moderately elicit an honest response. For example, when it comes to personal finances (except for discussions about charitable contributions) an equal number of people would provide honest answers as not.

In surveys about the consumption of stimulants, alcohol and illegal drugs, the honesty of answers depends on the social acceptability of the substance under discussion. So 58% of Americans would be honest about cigarettes, 37% about alcohol and just 14% about illegal drugs. The Thais are more frank about alcohol and drugs, the Germans, less.

There's also much country-based diversification about ethical issues such as sex education, abortion and gun ownership. While 75% of Americans will offer honest opinions about sex education in schools, you'll get frankness on this subject from only 62% of Germans and 55% of Thais.

Liar, liar, questionnaire on fire

NO-GO ISSUES are the unmentionables of survey topics.

Synovate learned that at least 60% of all our respondents would lie about sexual relationships, especially when it comes to taboo subjects like marital infidelity and sexual dysfunction.

Issues such as sexual orientation and the quality of marriage may appear safe, but in fact would receive only 44% honest answers in the US and as little as 23% in Germany.

Lies, damned lies, and surveys

OK, some respondents don't tell the truth — does this mean that surveys are inaccurate? Thankfully no. Studies like this one allow the honesty of responses to be calibrated against topic and demographic.

You may ask, "But can that calibration be accurate if the respondents don't answer survey calibration questions honestly?"

Actually, the degree of inaccuracy is insignificant — marketers can rely on the results of a carefully designed and calibrated-for-honesty survey.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Getting Things Done

My 1st book purchase in a very long while...I finally gave up trying to borrow the book from the library, and returning it 3 weeks later without completing the book.

1st target: to finish reading the book
2nd target: to put the book's recommendations into actions while reading

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Another angle to the lack of parity...

Re: my post below this one...

Just remembered that I wrote about a similar issue after coming across a Guardian article a few months ago in my other blog, evozero.blogspot.com

First posted 27th September 2007 from evozero.blogspot.com
Too much to bare | Features | Guardian Unlimited Film
The issues mentioned in the article mirrors what is happening in the Chinese film market, with the most prominent (and recent) example being Ang Lee's movie, Lust, Caution.

Nicole Kidman is an award-winning actor. So too is Maggie Gyllenhaal. So why do they - and other talented female Hollywood stars - still have to expose their bodies in order to get into the public eye? Kira Cochrane despairs

Thursday September 6, 2007
The Guardian

Flicking through the newspapers yesterday I was stopped in my tracks by an image of the new Vanity Fair cover. This shows Nicole Kidman - two-time Oscar nominee, one-time winner - with a military cap on her head and an open-mouthed expression. Said expression is, I guess, supposed to be a Monroe-esque pout, but just makes her look (though it pains me to say it) completely bloody vacant. Beneath this vacuous visage, for no apparent reason, she is holding her shirt open to expose her white, bra-clad breasts. There is something strangely passionless and perfunctory about the pose - as though, off camera, a doctor has just shown up and told her it's time for an impromptu mammary examination. (Or, indeed, the magazine editor has just told her she is off the cover unless she gets on with it and gets 'em out.) "Nicole Kidman Bares All" screams the coverline.

And this image arrives just a few days after the release of photographs from the new Agent Provocateur advertising campaign, featuring another highly lauded actor mugging shamelessly in her scanties: indie favourite and two-time Golden Globe nominee, Maggie Gyllenhaal. The full series of pictures are due online this Friday as part of a book of "adventures" called, very cheesily, Lessons in Lingerie, in which Gyllenhaal stars as a character called Miss AP. Those released so far show Gyllenhaal, variously: reclining in a basic black push-up bra and pants; gazing coquettishly over her shoulder in lacy knickers and a pair of stockings; cavorting in a bubble bath in a striped one-piece (so heavily styled and made up that she resembles another young actor, Brittany Murphy, far more than herself); her breasts pushed up in a tight pink corset, looking as awkward and unhappy as Kidman; and, in the most provocative shot, trussed to a strange wooden chair, legs spread wide, in just her bra and knickers.

The general take on the Gyllenhaal pictures so far has been that they are fabulously sexy (indeed, the Sunday Times's Style magazine used them as a peg for a piece about "girl crushes"). So why did I find them - and the Kidman shot - so supremely depressing? It can't just be because they feature women as sex objects. After all, there's a constant parade of woman-flesh on the newsstands each day, and while I find the half-clad photos of Hollyoaks stars and Big Brother contestants depressing, too, they don't have the power to surprise these days.

But photographs of genuinely acclaimed actors in their underwear affront me every time, whether it's Angelina Jolie draped in a silk sheet for US Esquire, or her great rival, Jennifer Aniston, baring her breasts for US GQ. There seemed something sad to me about the controversial GQ cover of Kate Winslet a few years ago, not because of her legs being digitally lengthened, but because I couldn't understand why the youngest woman to receive five Oscar nominations had to be togged up in a basque. And as for the Vanity Fair cover of Teri Hatcher, in which the story of her childhood sexual abuse was illustrated with a just-out-of-bed shot of her in nothing but a white top and white knickers, well ... words fail me.

I think what I find so incredibly discomfiting about these pictures is their suggestion that, no matter how talented a woman is, how many plaudits she has received, how intelligent her reputation, how garlanded she has been for depicting one of the most talented writers of the last century while sporting a huge prosthetic conk on her noggin, at the end of the day, if she wants to stay in the public eye, if she wants the magazine covers and the leading roles, she has to be willing to reduce herself to tits and arse.

One of the most blatant demonstrations of this came last year, when Vanity Fair (them again) published their Hollywood issue. Put together by the fashion designer, Tom Ford, the cover featured Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley, two talented young actors, completely naked. Rather bizarrely, Knightley was being sniffed by a fully-clad Ford. Inside, it was explained that Ford's appearance had been a last-minute addition and that a "certain young actress" had been slated to appear as part of a "gorgeous female threesome", but hadn't understood the nudity requirement and "bowed out when the clothes started coming off". Said actor was Rachel McAdams, who, at that junction last spring seemed on the brink of stratospheric fame. She had appeared in three successful films in 2005 - Wedding Crashers, Red Eye, The Family Stone - and, some might have argued, was worthy of a fully clad Vanity Fair cover. Since declining to bare all, McAdams' career has gone strangely quiet (she has apparently turned down some offers of sidekick roles), while the fame of Knightley and Johansson has soared. Coincidence? Well, maybe.

That example suggests that it is a simple equation - get your clothes off, see your career rocket - but, of course, it is not. It is a hugely risky business to disrobe (the same people who laud your sexiness will think much less of your talent), and it is a risky business to leave them on (see McAdams, and, no doubt, many other aspiring, principled actors throughout the decades). Actors such as Kidman and Gyllenhaal must recognise this edge of risk, which brings me to another depressing spectre. For many women, it seems, no matter how successful they are, the need to be pleasing to men, to say, "However powerful and clever I might seem, I'm just a playful, bra-baring bunny underneath," trumps everything. Excuse me while I wipe the tears off my keyboard ...