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July, 2008:


It’s hard to imagine a world without tabs, they are absolutely everywhere.  They come in all sizes and forms: divider, suspension file tabs, index card tabs and in the realm of computing.  Think of Excel without tabs – ah wait a minute that was Lotus 1-2-3.  But not that long ago, just over one hundred years ago in fact, there were no tabs.

Image: Flickr User – Takashi [^]

Technology Review has an article on the history of the humble tab:

And whether our tabs are cardboard extensions or digital projections, they all date to an invention little more than a hundred years old. The original tab signaled an information storage revolution and helped enable everything from management consulting to electronic data processing. [^]

The index card, a product of the French Revolution, gave the world a “randomly accessible, infinitely modifiable arrangement of data”.  But it took the tab to make the index cards truly manageable!  Although the index cards was invented by the French it was an American, James Newton Gunn, who invented the tab almost one hundred years later in the 1890’s.  In 1897 Gunn was awarded a US patent for his invention, by which time he was working for the Library Bureau a company founded by Melvill Dewey, the inventor of the Dewey Decimal System.

It would be easy to understate the importance of the tab and the small part that it has played in the information revolution.  Massive changes in society all come from small steps forward, the tab is one those steps – thank-you Mr Gunn.

Sources: [^], [^], and [^]

Email Checklist

Email Icon Have you ever been on the receiving end of an escalating email war. One that started as a innocuous inquiry and ended up with everyone from the CEO down being cc’d?  They start all to easily, but the escalation can be avoided by applying some simple rules.

Seth Godin has an email checklist on his blog that should be compulsory training material for everyone with access to email.  My favourite is, ask yourself if I had to pay to send this email to each address listed (like you would for snail mail), would I still send it to everyone.  Others include:

1.   Is it going to just one person?
13. Am I angry? (If so, save as draft and come back to the note in one hour).
14. Could I do this note better with a phone call?
Source: Seth Godin Blog [^].

They are all common sense, but it is surprising how infrequently they are applied.  How many email flame wars would be avoided if these simple rules were used?  The corporate email environment could be a much more productive and friendly place if these rules, or a customised alternative were incorporated into company induction and training programs.

Paid to Spend a Penny


People in rural India given the opportunity to get a dollar, simply by spending a penny!  The trial in Musiri, a remote town in Tamil Nadu state, is aimed at cleaning up the streets and providing basic hygiene in an area where urinating in public is common.  Agriculture officials are also investigating if the waste can be used as a crop fertiliser.

Anyway you look at it, getting paid about a dollar to spend a penny is the best return anyone is going to get in the current economic climate.  No wonder people are queuing up!

Story via: [^] and Reuters [^]
Photo Credit:  Flickr User Colin 30d [^]

Sunday Rose v Sunday Roast

When news came out that Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban’s child was to be called “Sunday Rose” CannibalRabbit’s ears pricked up.

Way back in 1990 there were a series of ads that ran on TV for Lamb.  In one of them a pretty girl wins a radio competition for a dinner with Tom Cruise that night.   The young girl is surrounded by her cheering friends and family, but she replies that she can’t go because she is having a lamb roast tonight. 

Now in the back of CannibalRabbit’s mind was the idea that the young lady was Nicole Kidman.  Wrong, however we have discovered that it was in fact Nicole’s friend, Naomi Watts.  There was a later ad that ran with a guy turning down a date with Nicole, but I can’t find that one anywhere.  So much for the “from Sunday Roast to Sunday Rose” post that I thought of!  But here’s the Naomi Watts anyway.

Ah well, that gives me a chance to run a quick post about the Sam Kekovich Lamb ad from last year.  This is good Aussie fun!  And it is amazing to see how far advertising for the same product has come in the past 17 years.

Sydney Censorship – Henson Follow-Up

Brizbunny has had two big posts here on the whole Henson Teen Photos controversy; original post here, and further explanation of some of the issues as we see them here.  With the events over the past couple of weeks a follow-up post is called for.

No Prosecution.

The NSW Director of Public Prosecutions has advised that there is little chance of the NSW Police managing a successful prosecution.  In light of this the police have now dropped the case against the gallery and Bill Henson. 

The NSW Assistant Commissioner of Police, Catherine Burn noted that the case was a result of complaints received, which the police were obliged to investigate.  As part of the investigation the photographs were seized, as possible evidence, from the gallery.  The photographs have now been returned to the gallery and the exhibition has re-opened.

This is a case of the police acting in the manner in which they are obliged to under the law; they received a complaint, investigated the complaint, and seized evidence that would support any prosecution.  Once an investigation had been conducted and it was clear that a conviction was unlikely to be obtained they returned the evidence.  There was no attempt at censorship, it was a case of the police doing what they are paid to do.

The collapse of the prosecution case is centred around the concept of the “sexual context”.  As far as the law is concern nudity is not a sexual context; it is this that separates nudity from pornography.  No matter what anyone’s concerns are this is the law, and Henson’s work appears to be within the law.

Gallery Response.

The gallery responded to the news by announcing that the exhibition would go ahead.  However there is a twist, on re-opening the exhibition was open to appointments only, and the appointments were vetted by the owner. 

Before the police raid on the gallery the Henson exhibition was open to the public, with the more explicit work available in a private area for serious buyers.  Was this in attempt to keep the non art-lover’s away, and make sure that only appropriate people could see the material that would not be appreciated by the general public. 

The exhibition is now closed, and likely to head overseas.

Links: Sydney Morning Herald [^], [^], The Australian [^].