Currently, the most frequently used programs on my PC are XP (but only the basic standalone functions), Word, Excel, Firefox, Thunderbird, WinAmp, a music encoding type application, a DVD viewing program and a local firewall and virus checking product.

And that is it.

Except for XP, Word and Excel, all the rest are open source. And I can easily substitute Word and Excel with OpenOffice as well as move away from XP to one of the many Linux distributions out there. Even if I choose to stay with MS Office, I cant see I would need any additional functionality from new versions. Currently, I hardly use more than 20% of the functionality anyway.

Basically except for security patches, I cant really see any reason why I need to upgrade the software I use.

I may upgrade hardware – specifically hard-drives and maybe a bit more RAM but so far, if I dont upgrade XP and Office, I wont really need a faster processor / motherboard. The performance of my 2.5 year old 1.7 GHz / 256 Mb PC is more than satisfactory.

So conceivably, unless I do something silly like start playing games or vendors find that I need some cool new functionality which requires more processing power, I think I may have reached my software/hardware stable state.

If this is true for myself, it’s probably going to be true for a substantial portion of the market as well. Which means in turn that if I was a software vendor (like Microsoft) I might start getting a little worried about how I’m going to sell more software. And the same for hardware vendors but at least, for them hardware does wear out unlike software.


This is from a comment I posted to another journal to do with general negotiation within a relationship context. It’s pretty much standard negotiation skills.

Successful communication depends on a fair amount of planning beforehand.

However, this in turn depends on knowing what you want from a relationship (without regarding the other person’s desires or second-guessing them). This may sound selfish but is essential as a foundation for pretty much all communications in the future. It doesnt have to be too detailed and ideally you would both want the same thing. For eg: I want a reliable lover who places minimum demand on my time and energy.

Then, it’s a matter of outlining the objectives of the conversation. It may be useful to actually highlight this objective before the conversation so that your partner isnt hit from out of the blue about an issue and has some time to prepare. For eg: I want to convince my lover that he is calling me too often and that he should only call once a week. Mind, some objectives are healthier than others. An example of an unhealthy objective is “I want to make my partner feel like the miserable worm he is”.

Setting out your objectives clearly also then gives you the opportunity to review how realistic your objective is and allow you to assess the likelihood of success.

If it’s tricky, you may want to outline a fallback position to yourself which you wont budge from. For eg: “sms is acceptable more than once a week”. In line with this, having a clear idea of what you would do if you dont achieve your objective is essential. For eg: “If i dont get what i want, i’ll suggest a cooling off period and a further meeting two weeks down the track.”

With those in mind, you can then decide on the negotiation strategy to achieve those objectives. For eg: “i will list all the times he has called too often and the impact it has on me.” This may also include acceptable tradeable items in order to achieve your objectives.

Other tips include knowing when to step away. For example, If I get angry or if he starts to shutdown (or raise his voice), I’ll suggest a timeout of an hour or so and set another time to talk about it later.

Another tip is having a good debrief activity after the talk is completed. Something to reward both of you for good communication – for example a nice dinner out.


Two takes on the noun of the day.

take one.

This morning, I picked up a cryptic crossword from the Age for the first time in a year or so and surprised myself by getting more than half of the clues out. Either the Age in line with its ongoing pursuit of ever lower browed readers have been watering down its cryptic crossword difficulty levels or my crossword skills inspite of zero practice have somehow increased in that time perhaps due to my newish very nerdy habit of pulling out my pda and looking up every single word I dont know (often in company and in mid conversation).

take two.

At work in an all day long sales meeting (which sucks in every way possible considering most of the people in that room were the ever lower browed readers pursued by the Age and owned by the Herald Sun), in a desperate attempt to stave off boredom and despair I puzzled over the means of turning the traditional sale process into a board game and making a lot of money using the very same sales process to move lots and lots of units into the unsuspecting marketplace.

The game I came up which I named SELL THAT THING! resembles monopoly to a degree.

Every player is allocated a starting number of products. Rolling dice moves each player’s counter around the board. There are three types of opportunity squares: sales, investment and marketing.

Landing on sales square means that that the player gets to sell a product to a customer of choice. If the customer is owned by another player, a risk like battle of the dice ensues depending on the number of value points the competing products have. If the customer is not “owned” by another player, the value point of the product has to be over the customer’s resistance points. Every customer generates a set amount of revenue each year which the player can use at the investment and marketing squares.

For example, product value points can be increased through investment and marketing. As well, credibality points (which lower customer resistance points) can be increased in similar ways. Investments include R&D, user forums, CRM investment, sales staff development, gun sales executive recruitment, product development (very expensive). Marketing includes market research, advertising, marketing campaigns, brand development.

Even though players would be able to do cool things like poach each other gun sales executives and buy out a failing player’s products and there would be wild cards like Government Panel Contract, Sudden Commodification, Falling Value Proposition, Total Product Recall, Complete Failure to Deliver, I stopped at that point because I realised that playing SELL THAT THING! would only be marginally less painful than being in an all day sales meeting.