Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Category

Schools and Belief

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Most of us have a case of "you don't know what you don't know": we don't know the range of what's possible, so we continue doing things as we've seen them done before but with slight improvements. I think of it as being in a dark room: by looking at ...

Education and Technology

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

I've been in the position of being a geek talking with teachers for a while, and I've found it best to approach the whole area of education with humility. In education, as in business, you can't just thrust technology into a situation and magically get the best possible result. ...

Holiday Road Toll

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Every long weekend we hear how many people died, as though it means something, but there's never any analysis beyond whether it's more or less than last year's number. It doesn't help me know what's going on: are we better drivers or worse? What's the point of measuring if you ...

2011 in Books

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

I've been conscientiously using Goodreads to review every book I read. I've used the Goodreads API, some Perl, and some Javascript to boil down my year's reading. Without further ado, I present ... My Year in Books$(function() { $('.bookspermonth').sparkline('html', { type: 'bar' }); $('.starspermonth').sparkline('html', { type: 'bar' }); ...

National Standards, Charter Schools, and a Pint on the Future

Monday, December 5th, 2011

tl;dr: Charter schools aren't a panacea, they don't appear to be compatible with the emphasis on National Standards, and this seems like the top of a slippery slope which will result in us all being as stupid as Americans. Background New Zealand introduced "National Standards" last year. In the past, the curriculum ...

Libraries: Where It All Went Wrong

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

It was my pleasure to address the National and State Librarians of Australasia on the eve of their strategic planning meeting in Auckland at the start of November this year. I have been involved in libraries for a few years now, and am always humbled by the expertise, hard ...

Innovation is a Moral Good

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Pondering the New Zealand fishing industry, I had an insight today. Forgive me if it's old news to you. You have three options to make more money: Lower costs. Sell more of the same stuff. Make new types of stuff to sell. In quota-limited systems such as fishing, you can't catch more fish because ...

Questioning University

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

There's a trend now to question the value of a university education. It used to be that simply possessing a university degree gained you access to a Better Class of Job. That is no longer the case; now you have access to The Same Class of Unemployment Benefit. ...

Two Upcoming Auckland Gigs

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Our band has two gigs coming up in Auckland and we'd love to see you there! We play The Thirsty Dog on K Rd on Sunday, and the set is shaping up to be a good 'un: the songs we were playing last year have really bedded down nicely. We ...

100% Pure Chickenshit

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

New Zealand has, for a long time, marketed itself as 100% Pure. In the last year, this slogan has taken a beating. The climax seems to have been when BBC Hardtalk interviewer Stephen Sackur gave Prime Minister John Key a colossal roasting over the discrepancy between reality and ...