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Monday, 26 October 2015

Computer-assisted language learning

More than a tool that facilatates the language learning process, computer-assisted language learning is an umbrella term meaning any means of language learning that use computer applications. It involves a wide range of information and communications technology applications and approaches to teaching and learning foreign languages, ranging from traditional drill routines to the more recent usages of Web-based distance learning. It also comprehends Computer-mediated communication (CMC), language learning in virtual worlds and mobile-assisted language learning. Some earlier forms of computer assisted learning fell out of favour with language teaching professionals since the focus should be on students, not on instrcution. A student-centred approach has always proved more effective than teacher-centred approach.

Designing CALL materials takes into account principles of language pedagogy and methodology, often based on existing learning theories (behaviorist, which students react by stimula, cognitive psychology, memory, problem-solving, creativity, reasoning, and constructivism, which posits that humans derive knowledge through experiences and interactions with the real world). Second-language learning theories also come into play when devising CALL materials, such as Krashen's monitor model (an input-based hypothesis that focuses on information received by learners).constructivist) and second-language learning theories such as Stephen Krashen's monitor hypothesis.

Taking a pedagogic approach is all too important when designing software intended to help in CALL. As language leanring methods are always changing, they keep constantly going back to grammar-translation, direct method, audio-lingual and a variety of other methodologies and back to communicative approaches. It's often necessary to employ more than a language specialist to work on good CALL software quality:

-  a programmer who is familiar with the chosen programming language or authoring tool.

-   a graphic designer, to produce pictures and icons, and to advise on fonts, colour, screen layout, etc.

-  a sound engineer and a video technician since sound and videos are a necessary asset of quality CALL material.

-  an instructional designer. Developing an effective CALL package calls for some background in cognitive psychology and media technology, and adequate technology use should always be aligned with the cognitive content of the material.

CALL inherently supports learner autonomy, so the learner will be in control of his learning environment and resources and decide on accurate learning goals.

Software designers developing CALL material should avoid the comfortable route of producing a batch of multiple-choice and gap-filling drills and veer toward creation and management of an environment supporting a constructivist approach to language learning, where learners are able to learn through experience and their interactions in the developed environment, entirely assuming responsibility for their learning. In this sense, the teacher acts as a facilitator rather than a purveyour of knowledge. A constrcutivist approach to second language learning places emphasis on the fact that writing, speaking . reading and listening are interrelated and add to each others' meaning in discourse so they should be avoided being taught separately. Even though teachers are supposed to encourage students to construct knowledge through their own experiences, they still have a role of facilitators and managers of the learning environment so they should intervene whenever necessary to help students redirect their efforts towards more fruitful endeavours in the language acqusition process, especially those of low-ability learners.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Stickle Bricks

Stickle bricks are a construction toy aimed at toddlers. Owned by Hasbro and manufactured by Flair Leisure Products, it consists of individual colourful plastic shapes with appendages on one or more edges which can interlock with adjacent pieces, which allows them to be arranged in further different shapes. They are also called thistle blocks.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Crosby's zero defects quality

     Philip Bayard CROSBY was along with Joseph Juran and Edwards Deming one of the greatest quality gurus of management. Starting a career as quality director of INternational Telephone and Telegraph, in the early 1960s he created the concept of zero defects in service/product delivery. The main idea behind this concept was that people were supposed to make as their goal getting as close as possible to perfection. Product flaws should not be considered normal so analysis on what areas are the main sources of errors and the ensuing corrective measures should be standard practices in the work force to cut back on product defects. His focus on zero defects is strikingly similar to the focus of the Six Sigma program of continuous improvement. According to him, zero defects quality didn't start at the assembly line but at the management , who was responsible for fostering an environment more favourable to employees' creativity and responsibility. The four basic requirements of quality management often championed by Crosby are:

-Quality is defined as conformance to requirements, not as 'goodness' or 'elegance'.
-The system for causing quality is prevention, not appraisal.
-The performance standard must be Zero Defects, not "that's close enough".
-The measurement of quality is the Price of Nonconformance, not indices.

Defining Corporate Governance

     Corporate Governance is a regulatory framework for monitoring a company and making sure business is conducted in a proper way. It's more about making certain that the interests of shareholders and stakeholders don't conflict with the executives'. Allowing external auditing systems and following legislation intended to regulate the way that business should be conducted is widely encouraged for good corporate governance. Therefore, the framework is decisively defined by company ownders and lawmakers. Company-specifc corporate governance in its entirety consists of relevant laws, directives, corporate philosophy and business practices.

     So far there is no single definition nor understanding for corporate governance or what it exactly means or includes. The general understand is that it is a set of international and national laws, regulations, values and principles aimed at organisations and intended to define how they should be led and monitored. 

     Good corporate governance is responsible for guaranteeing the transparency of the company and on the long term ensuring that the organisation's interests are aligned with those of citizens, society,shareholders and other interest groups which are affected by the company's core business.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Douglas mcGregor's Theory X and Y

A theory that is used to describe the pattern of employees a supervisor is likely to have at this disposal. The theories underlies the root of the workimg force's motivation towards their labour rotine. Understanding of these theories presumably helps managers tailor their approach towards employees' attitudes and decide on a course of action that is best suited for each situation. In Theory X, the manager relies heavily on immediate punishment and threats. This is done as employees are inherently work-adverse and should always be pressured into working more. On the other hand, Theory Y takes a more light-hearted approach, viewing personel in a more positive light as if they were the best asset a company has. According to this theory, employees have an inborn penchant for work and should be encouraged to take on their daily routine in a cosy and amianle environment that encourages creative thinking and problem solving.Anothger tenet if theory Y is that workers don't need to be told what to do, but rather inch on their own to seek out challenges for themselves.

The theories aren't mutually exclusive. A company's work force might not too be inclined to perform at their best, even though they used to beaver away at their coorporate chores.

Theory X and Y in a nutshell. Source:

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Summary of the First Series of Kaiji

A lot has been said about Kaiji in the past, but there has never been  a comprehensive guide of kaiji's misadventures. The article below looks to provide a short description of the major plot occurrences in kaiji as well as the profiles
of the main characters in the series:

Anime Cover
Kaiji is a Japanese manga series about the art of gambling, written by Nobuyuki Fukumoto. It is published by Kodansha in Young Magazine. The first part of the manga (13 volumes), was adapted as a 26-episode anime television series called Kaiji, which began airing October 2007.

Tobaku Mokushiroku Kaiji is considered Fukumoto's most famous work, and is well known in both Japan and Korea. In 1998, it was the winner of the Kodansha Manga Award in the General category.


After graduating from high school in 1996 in Japan, Kaiji moves to Tokyo to get a job, but he fails to find steady employment because of his eccentric disposition and because the country is mired in its first recession since World War II. Depressed, he festers in his apartment, biding the time with cheap pranks, gambles, liquor and smokes. Kaiji is always thinking about money and his perpetual poverty frequently brings him to tears.

Kaiji's unrelenting misery continues for two years until he is paid an unexpected visit from a man named Endo, who wants to collect an outstanding debt owed to him in Kaiji's name. Endō gives Kaiji two options - either spend ten years to repay this outstanding debt, or board the gambling ship Espoir ("hope" in French) for one night to clear the debt. Using a con, Endo pressures Kaiji into accepting the deal, believing he will never come back from the voyage.


Kaiji Ito

    The main character of the story. Kaiji is in poverty - he lives by himself in a slum and is constantly in debt. He bides his time by playing cheap gambling games with neighbours, though he always loses. In spite of this, when his life is in danger, he displays a remarkable hidden capacity for gambling, which allows him to endure the hardships he faces in the manga. He is shouldered with a 3,850,000 yen debt at the beginning of the story by a coworker who convinced him into consigning a loan, leaving Kaiji with the full weight of the debt compounded over a year.

    Masato Hagiwara, the voice of Akagi Shigeru reprises his role as lead in the second anime adaption of a Nobuyuki Fukumoto work, opposite Masane Tsukayama who again plays an elderly, refined villain.

Hyodo Kazutaka

    Wealthy socialite and president of the powerful financial consulting firm "Love Emperor" (TEIAI), not to mention owner and sponsor of underground gambling tournaments like those onboard Espoir. He is believed to be seventy years old and worth several hundred billion yen. Driven mad by wealth, conventional hobbies fail to entertain him, so he funds gambling tournaments to watch the destitute of society struggle against overwhelming terror and despair.

    He meets Kaiji in the final segment of the first series of the manga adaptation, where Kaiji is selected by lottery to compete in the "Castle of Despair". Hyodo's talents for winning in anything have earned him the title of "king" by some, though others merely call him "very lucky". His first full manga appearance was in volume 8 - prior to that, all readers saw of Hyodo was his finger tapping.

    In many ways, Hyodo is quite similar to Washizu Iwao, who was also voiced by Masane Tsukayama.

Endo Yuuji

    A dirty loan shark with ties to the yakuza. He lends out large sums of money to the desperate, but charges an absurd (and illegal) interest rate. He tracks down Kaiji after a client of his, Furuhata, disappeared without repaying a loan, which Kaiji cosigned in an act of weakness. Recognising Kaiji could never repay the loan, Endo offers him the opportunity to board the gambling ship Espoir, where he would be able repay his debt and make some money as well.

Part 1 - The Ship of Hope, Espoir


    One of the veterans of previous voyages on Espoir, Funai is an excellent conman and uses the fears and worries of the other competitors to his advantage. He "befriends" Kaiji during his first night and explains the unofficial rules to him, and the two agree to form an alliance - both will exhaust their number of gesture cards without having to lose any star pendants. However, at the last minute, Funai backstabs Kaiji and scams him out of two star pendants, leaving him with a single card and a hopeless situation. He is defeated by Kaiji and loses five star pendants to him in a sudden death gamble near the end of the voyage. In many ways, he is similar to Urabe from Akagi.

Takeshi Furuhata

    Debtor and one-time coworker of Kaiji. One year before the first tournament on Espoir, he lured Kaiji into cosigning a loan for him, making Kaiji liable in case Furuhata did not repay the loan. Although believed to have disappeared, Kaiji discovers him on Espoir and makes an alliance with him after Funai's betrayal. Furuhata is the sharper of Kaiji's allies, and is able to follow and quickly adapt to Kaiji's strategies. He is also more honest and loyal than any would have believed. However, Furuhata also betrays Kaiji and attempts to use his funds to escape the ship.

Mamoru Ando

    A bespectacled, fat man who forms and alliance with Kaiji and Furuhata after losing all of his gesture cards. Unlike Furuhata, Ando is more opportunistic and tried to backstab the group within minutes of it forming. He usually has to have Kaiji's strategies explained to him by Furuhata. After the gamble of Restricted Rock, Paper, Scissors ends, he betrays Kaiji, and has no regrets about it.


    A clear-headed man who came up with a strategy of buying up all the rock cards and holding them constant; as the other cards deplete, he and his men then prey on those who have scissors. However, he was surprised to learn that Kaiji discovered the same strategy and purchased all the rocks, so in turn he purchased all the paper cards, effectively making Kaiji's strategy useless. After defeating Ando and Furuhata, Kitami approaches Kaiji and admits he was impressed another contestant figured how to manipulate the game, offering him the honour of being his final opponent. He is outsmarted by Kaiji, then blackmailed into selling all of his paper cards to him.

Part 2 - The Skyscraper of Darkness, Starside Hotel

Mitsuzi Ishida

    A debt ridden man who opted to participate on Espoir in an effort to clear his debts, but failed. He was saved from death on a whim by Kaiji, but to spare his wife and son from debt he agreed to participate in another gambling tournament, the Human Derby. In the first leg of the race, Ishida accomplished second place, earning a certificate redeemable for 10,000,000¥. During the second part of the race, while overcome by immense fear, Ishida recognised that he was not a man born to be a success in this world, and entrusted his certificate to Kaiji, who he felt had the skill, power and confidence to survive. He urges Kaiji to go forward and not look back, and while Kaiji is concentrating on maintaining his balance, Ishida falls from the steel bridge, covering his mouth so Kaiji would not hear his screams.


    Kaiji's younger co-worker at a convenience store he found employment at following his survival of Espoir. Sahara dreams of finding his big break in life, and like Kaiji feels he is getting nowhere with his dead-end job. He begs Endo to permit him to participate in the Human Derby, despite warnings from Kaiji. Sahara's youthful strength and impulsiveness benefit him greatly in the gamble, and he gets a strong lead on the other racers, earning first place in Kaiji's block and receiving a certificate redeemable for 20,000,000¥. In the second leg of the race, Sahara is the first to reach the other side of the second bridge - however, before he can cash his earnings from the Starside Hotel, he falls into a trap set up by Kazutaka Hyodo and is killed.

Yukio Tonegawa

    A powerful business magnate and the third highest ranking executive in the financial firm Love Emperor. He serves as the host and overseer for both the Restricted Rock, Paper, Scissor and Human Derby games while acting as the opponent for the E-Card gamble. A stout man of middle-age, Tonegawa is a staunch realist, believing those who risk their lives in Love Emperor's tournaments to be street rubbish at the mercy of society and those with superior abilities and initiative. By reputation Tonegawa is a master of human psychology and the art of observation, displaying acts of insight so profound his abilities appear supernatural. He is defeated by Kaiji in E-Card and thrown out of power by Hyodo; with his downfall a power vacuum appears in Love Emperor's inner circle, leading to chaos among the management. Many of those who are loyal to Tonegawa's faction within the company, notably Kaiji's debtor Endo, disappear without a trace. Tonegawa himself is lead away after his defeat and is never seen again.


Restricted Rock, Paper, Scissors 
    The game featured in the gambling tournament the first night Kaiji spends on Espoir, with an average survival rate of 50%. The rules were outlined after the issuing of war funds, which were done a minimum of 1,000,000¥ and 10,000,000¥. The money was in effect a loan, equaling the debt of the contestant and compounded at 1.5% every ten minutes for the four hour voyage; contestants who hold onto their funds for the length of the trip would have to pay 140% of what they invested, thus putting an incentive to finish games early. Money that exceeded the amount needed to repay the loan to the Espoir hosts would be pocketed by the contestant.

    This gamble is similar to the original game but with a twist - the hand gestures are represented by cards, and contestants are given four cards each with the same gesture for a total of twelve. Contestants are also given three plastic stars as collateral to bet on each round of play - whenever one loses a round, the winner gets a star from the loser. To survive the night, contestants must maintain their three star pendants and lose all of their gesture cards, while earning enough money to repay the interest owed to the Espoir hosts. Cards cannot be destroyed or thrown away, to do so is subject to instant disqualification. Unofficially, however, the star pendants can be traded using the war funds for around five or six million yen each, and they are typically how contestants manage to meet the interest demands of the Espoir hosts. Officially, stars can be exchanged for cash from the hosts for one or two million yen each - this forces those who stay late to sell stars to needy players.

    Due to the simple nature of the game, single matches can be completed within ten seconds, and players can lose in a matter of minutes. Winners are allowed to go upstairs, where any extra star pendants are exchanged for cash and they lounge in a small cafe. In the event of a loss, individuals are taken to a secluded, black room where they are stripped and are forced to wait until the gamble has finished, where they remain on the ship after it has returned to shore and are never seen again. This particular room has a tinted glass pane between it and the main gambling room, allowing for strategic individuals to "tunnel" (cooperative cheating) to scam other players. Cheating itself is not forbidden by the rules, nor is it punished after it has occurred - in order for contestants to be punished for cheating, they must be caught in the act.

Human Derby 
    The gamble seen during Kaiji's competition at the Starside Hotel, consisting of two parts. In contrast to Restricted Rock, Paper, Scissors, contestants are not briefed on the rules of the Human Derby, and are unaware of the nature of the gamble until they accept participating in it. Contestants are loaded into numbered "coffins" and are elevated several floors up the Starside Hotel to a platform overlooking a concrete courtyard. Contestants are expected to walk across four long, steel beams - the first to arrive on the other side of the beam nets 20,000,000¥, the second place finisher 10,000,000¥. The steel beams become more narrow as the contestants begin to cross them, though touching the beam with hands at any time disqualifies the contestant. The pushing of contestants to get out of the way is not condoned but is in fact encouraged, since the contestants are being bet on by spectators below, who enjoy the struggle from them. Contestants who fall from the beams suffer severe injury - depending on how and where they land, their injuries can range from serious to fatal.

    Once the winners of the first leg of the race have been identified, they are given coupons redeemable for their prize with a set time limit. To cash the coupons, the contestants must cross a similar but more dangerous bridge twenty two stories above the ground. Falling from this bridge is instant death. To correct individuals touching the bridge to keep their balance, a mild electric current is run through the steel beams - while not powerful enough to cause serious injury or be fatal, the current is enough to stun contestants, causing them to lose balance and fall from the bridge. At the behest of contestants, the electricity may be disabled, but to do so forced the contestants to forfeit all rights to any prize money. Psychologically, this bridge is much more challenging because of the greater peril involved.

    As the name suggests, it is a card game. Like Restricted Rock, Paper, Scissors it also has psychological strategy to it and it also uses three card types. There are three cards Emperor (koutei), Citizen (shimin), and Slave (dorei). The game is meant to be a simplification of society that Hyodo refers to right before the game begins. The Emperor has ultimate power to give money (ie. most powerful card). Citizens cannot disobey him because they want money (ie. Citizen loses to Emperor). The Slave has nothing to lose and has no use of money, therefore the slave can defeat the Emperor (ie. The Slave loses to the Citizen card but wins over the Emperor card). The game is played with one side having four Citizen cards and an Emperor card (Emperor side). The other side having four Citizen cards and a Slave card (Slave side). Since it is much harder for the slave side to win (as Slave cards can only defeat Emperor cards) the players of the Slave side get five times more winnings. Each game is played with 12 matches each match having each player set down one card. In the case of Kaiji, since he had no money. He was given the choice of: A device that would extend a spike to his ear based on the wager of the game if he lost (which would destroy one of his ears), or a device that extended a spike to his eye based on the wager if he lost (destroying one of his eyes). Both devices could also be used to monitor the blood pressure, body heat, heart beat and breathing rhythm of anything in contact with the device, allowing Tonegawa to monitor Kaiji and therefore find out when he was about to play his match ending card.

    The minimum wager was 1 millimetre (mm) and the maximum 10 mm; the chosen organ will be destroyed after the spike extends 3 centimetres (cm). Kaiji chooses the left ear and initially set the maximum wager per match, eventually opting for smaller wagers of 1 and 2 mm as he begins to lose. Later on it is revealed that the maximum length the spike could extend was 45 mm, and that the player could choose to bet any amount of mm as long as it didn't exceed that length. Generally, no one would choose to extend the spike past 3 cm, since damage past the eardrum could turn out to be fatal.

Tissue Box Raffle 
    Unlike the other gambles, this gamble is made by Kaiji himself. After completing E-Card he prepares to leave the hotel but then steps on a tissue box and notices that its sides are open, which he finds fascinating. Upon further investigation of the box Kaiji decides to challenge the Chairman to a raffle gamble and rigs the tissue box to contain the winning lot on the side of the box (ie. the winning entry of the raffle is pre-placed allowing Kaiji to take it).

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Gèrard Vergnaud's Theory of Conceptual Fields

     The objetcive of the Theory of Conceptual Fields is to provide a framework for research on complex cognitive activities, mainly on scientific and technical learning. It's a psychological theory about the conceptualisation of reality. It allows for the indetification and study of the affilitions and ruptures between kinds of knowledge in terms of its conceptual content. Examples abound in many conceptual fields such as additive structures, multiplication, logic and algebra.

     Piaget places great emphasis on the adaptation process and balancing and unbalacing whereas Vygotsky defends that language, socialisation and symbolisation are the central processes of cognitive development. Influenced by the theories of Vygostky and Piaget, Gerard Vergnaud developed the theory of conceptual fields to argue that schemes are the focus o cognitive development. According to Veergnaud, cognitive development is like a great repertoire of schemes, which constitute different aspects of human activity which are given rise through experiences to adapt to situations. Experience involves a gap between the activities, help from others, and an analysis of the different stages of the activity. Thus, it is through the development of organisational forms of activity (actions, skills, interactions, language activities) that the schemes are built and modified, becoming cognitive development.

     A scheme is universal and can give rise to different sequences of action, information gathering and control, according to the characteristics of each situation. It is not the behaviour that is invariant, but the organization of behaviour (Vergnaud, 1998, p. 172). 

     A scheme is made of 4 componentes:

1- goals and anticipations
2  -action rules and control 
3 - Operational Invariants ( Invariantes opératoires)
4 - Possibilities of Action-Inference (reasoning to figure out thr rules and anticipations).
     Operational Invariants of a scheme are responsible for the recognition of the relevant elements of a situation. In short, whenever you come across something weird which takes a while to sink in, it's you operational invariants taking stock of the situation and figuring out what that is. Except that it's used to understand how children perceive algebra. The operational invariants can be divided in:

a) Propositions - susceptibe to being true or false;
b) Prpositional Functions - properties and relations of algebra.
c) Arguments - the object.

     The way that Vergnaud sees schemes, it's possible to draw an analysis of the way that individuals handle a new situation and they form concept. As they start to master the dimensions of a concept, they start to make sense of it. A concept is gradually learned when the individuals amplify the possible ways of representation and relationships with other different situations. A concept doesn't exist on its own, but rather is  part of a network of concepts, which Vergnaud calls conceptual field.

Figure 1: Processus de conceptualisation selon la théorie des Champs Conceptuels de Vergnaud.

Wangling free dinners at expensive restaurants

When you’re on a budget, it's temptingh to cut down on life's simple pleasures such eating out. But if you're a savvy saver, you don't need to. There are a couple ways to get around the need to tighten the belt and keep enjoying food that you don't have to cook yourself:
1. Invitations 
Don't be such a snob who doesn't need to socialise with people who invite you out for lunch or dinner. Happily take anyh invitation you get for eating out as an opportunity to widen your social expertise and reward them with your delightful company. Only drawback is that youcan't eat to your heart's contents lest you be ostricised for stretching the tab beyond socially acceptable limits and no longer be invited to eat out. Avoid guzzling down and eat a notch or two below acceptable standards.

2. Let the Boss Take You to Lunch 
Apart from being labelled a bootlicker, there's nothing quite like being with the big man talking shop with him and impressing him with your social savviness. Again, be mindful of how much you gulp and try not to appear like you're starving, even if you are. Behaving like you're used to navigating posh environments like a fine restaurant gives the impression that you frequent these haunts often, and your boss will positively recall the experience when considering someone for a higher position. Just don't come off like a glutton.

3. Watch Out for Leftovers
Get in the habit of lurking around food courts and any venue that features other people having a meal. When you catch sight of a table that is just being vacated, get over there before it's cleared and check for any morsel that could be of use to your tasting buds. It goes without saying that you should be careful of who was just handling the food as there is risk that germs may on it. Keep an eye out for everyone who is health-looking enough that you don't risk coming down with some weird disease for 'cleaning' after them.

4. Fill in the Survey on the Receipt
 Okay, so this requires that you actually fork the necessary amount of money to pay for a real meal. But check before shouldering the expense that the restaurant you're eating at offers this program. Take the receipt, go to the restaurant's website and fill in the form with the information on your receipt to get a free extra meal. Some eateries have online surveys that f you fill in accordinglu, issue some certificate that is also redeemable of some kind of freebie.

5. Sign Up for Restaurant Promotions
Become a coupon hunter and use them extensively. After a while, you will no longer feel an ounce of guilt and will acquire a fine taste in a variety of foods and beverages.

6. Hit Local Happy Hours and Score some new friends
If you have a real razor sharp wit, are fun and outgoing, like making new friends and are unafraid of talking to strangers, you can actually cold approach a set having a whale of a time at a local happy hour and make yourself acquainted with the group. If they enjoy your company, you may have an appetiser or a small plate paid for by one of your new friends.
It's possible to nosh on wings, pizza and sandwiches, besides pleasantly whiling away the time with neat company.

 7. Use Social Media Apps
If you own a smartphone, you can install a batch of apps that allow owners to offer specials for first-time walk-ins. It's usually a strategy intended to make people become regular customers. You just need to use the special offered once to fulfill your goal.

8. Volunteer at a Catered Event or Fundraiser
Feeding a large crowd is almost a sure-fire way to get something to eat in return. It's unlikely that there will be nothing left since the sponsors are usually more concerned about feeding everyone to excess lest there is a food shortage with people still on the queue waiting to be served. Wait long enough for your turn to eat.

9. Work at a Restaurant

They often provide meals to employees. You can also take a few bites if you work handling food.

10. Book a Hotel With Free Breakfast

When on holidays, try a hotel that offers free breakfast. Bonus points if the breakfast service includes an all you can eat buffet as you can feed yourself enough to last you a whole day without having to pay to eat anything else.

11. Get a free 30 day Tastecard
These offer 50% off dining/buy one get one free meals.It's unlikely you will ever find one that covers the full price. Still, you can take one and use it for as long as possible before its trial period is up.

12. Find Events With Free Refreshment

Look out for events like lectures or seminars where free eats is offered to guests.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Maori Basics

The Māori language (commonly called Te Reo, or the language) is the first language of the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Māori, as a treasure (taonga) and many Pākehā (white people) are now trying to learn it. It's the official language of New Zealand along with English and New Zealand Sign Language. A number of Maori words have entered the common English lexicon in New Zealand and many places are of Maori origin. Being able to pronounce Maori words correctly is a valued skill and locals will show appreciation when a visitor makes the effort to use them efficiently in a conversation. As in most languages, the vowels keep their sound wherever they appear in a word. But an important distinciton should be made with short and long sounds. Any vowel can have both, but a common convention is to use a macron (bars or dahes over the letters), a graphical sign used to signal that a vowel is to pronounced in its long form.

     as for consonants, there are only 10: h, k, m, n, p, r, t, w, wh and ng.Nothing new here, apart from the r is said with a flap. It sounds like the Spanish r, but shorter. ng is pronounced like ng in thing while wh is pronounced as 'f'.

Basic phrases:


Hello (informal)     Kia ora
Hello (to one person)   Tēnā koe
Hello (to two people)    Tēnā kōrua
Hello (to a group of three or more)   Tēnā koutou

Welcome     Haere mai 

How are you?     Kei te pēhea koe?
I'm good     Kei te pai ahau
I'm great     Ka nui te ora

What is your name?          Ko wai tō ingoa? (i ngo a)
My name is ______          Ko ______ tōku ingoa
What is his/her name?        Ko wai tana ingoa?
His/her name is ______    Ko ______ tana ingoa

Good-bye (to the person staying)     E noho rā
Good-bye (to the person going)      Haere rā

Yes     ae
No     kāore


1     Tahi
2     Rua 
3     Toru
4     Whā
5     Rima
6    Ono
7    Whitu
8    Waru 
9    Iwa
10  Tekau 

To say numbers greater than 10, say Tekau +ma+  number;
11   Tekau ma Tahi
12  Tekau ma Rua
13  Tekau ma Toru
14  Tekau ma Whā
15  Tekau ma Rima
16  Tekau ma Ono
17   Tekau ma Whitu
18   Tekau ma Waru
19   Tekau ma Iwa

For 20, 30 40...n, it's number+Tekau
For numbers in between, you say number+tekau+ma+number

21     Rua Tekau ma Tahi

Geographical Places:

ana     cave
awa    river, channel
iti     small
manga    stream 
maunga    mountain
moana    sea, lake 
motu     island
ngā     the (plural form)
nui     big
one   beach, sand, soil, shore
kohatu     rock
puke    hill
rangi   sky, heavens
roa    long
roto   lake
tai    tide, sea
tapu   sacred
te   the (singular form)
toka   rock
wai  water
whanga  bay, harbour
whenua   land

Saturday, 10 October 2015


Paideia was a term commonly used in the culture of ancient Greece. It means the rearing and education of the ideal member of the polis, the ancient Greek concept of life within urban boundaries. The approach to implementing paideia consisted of practical education coupled with subject-based schooling aiming for the successful socialisation of individual within the social ladder of the polis. LIberal arts like rhetoric, grammar and philosophy and scientifc disciplines like maths and medicine were a common staple of the paideia schooling system as well as physical activities such as wrestling. The ultimate goal of paideia was the crafting of men in possession of intellectual, physical and moral refinement. The rearing of a well-rounded Greek male was common throughout the Greek-speaking world, apart from Sparta.

Difference between Known Error Database and Knowledge Base

A Knowledge Base logs knowledge items that are useful to end users and customers, describing how systems should work and provide training on how to operate a certain Configuration Item. A Known Error Database contains known errors to events with an impact on business processes. To address those a workaround is usually associated to them in the database.

A cribsheet of ITIL Service Operation

Service operation is responsible for the activities, technology and processes to deliver and manage service at agreed levels to business users and customers.  Service Operation includes 5 processes and 5 functions:


1- Incidente Managment- ensures that service is restored as quickly as possible and that business impact is kept to a minimum level. An incident is an unplanned interruption or reductrion of quality of an IT service.

2- Problem management - seeks to proactively prevent incidents form happening and minimise impact from incidents which cannot be prevented. In ITIL a problem is the unknown cause of one or more incidents. It's usually described as unkown because at the time it happens the root cause of said problem isn't visible so further inquiring is needed to find out about teh issue.  A known error is an error to which a workaround is known with a documented root cause. Known errors are recorded in the KEDB - Known Error Database-. KEDB is created by Problem Management and is accessible for Problem and Incident management. A workaround reduces or eliminates the impact of an incident or problem for which no ultimate solution has been provided. Workarounds for problems go in the KEDB. Workarounds for incidents without related problem record go in the incident record.

3- Event Management - main activity of IT OPerations. The goal of EM is to monitor all Configuration Items and generate identification numbers for any alerts, warnings and information based on their performance. If the performance of a specific CI drops below the level agreed in the SLA (service level agreement), event management is supposed to send the notification to the right team responsible for fixing the malfunctioning CI.

Differences between event and alert

Sometimes staff members conflate the two things.ITIL has it that an alert is a notofication that a threshold has been reached. It can also be sued to signal a change or failure. It's best to use system management tools to generate these notifcations as they need to be under constant surveillance to ensure ongoing availability of the IT infrastructure, a common goal of implementing IT Governance in an organisation.

AN event is any significant change in the management of an IT service. The term can also mean an alert created by the suspicious IT service, configuration item or monitoring tool. Events often require IT personnel to take action, leading to the logging of incidents. In short, an alert is a sort of event. Or more succintly, every alert is an event but not all events are alerts.

4- Request fulfillment - process responsible for managing the life cycle of all requests. A requests consists of low-impact but frequent activities in the IT environment and often include hardware replacement and software application updates. Impact is the effect of a change, incident or problem on business processes based on how service levels are affected. Impact and urgency are used to determine the priority of an event.

5- Access management - responsible for the Confidentiality , INtegrity and Availability of assets by ensuring that only the right personel have access and modifying rights to the right company resources. Access management is mainly responsible for implementing information security measures. A set of widely accepted standards for information security management can be found in ISO 27001.

Sunday, 4 October 2015


The iambic pentameter is there, albeit without any semblance of octave and sestet pattern.

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

Aimed at a statue whose legs are half sunk in the desert sand, it purports to mean the inevitable decline of any leader, however power he is at the moment. The statue is possibly the same that arrived in London in 1821 and was made after Ramesses II, an Egyptian King reputed to be worthy of praise.

Another possible inspiration for Percy Shelly's Ozymandias

List of ITIL Processes and Functions (2011 edition)

List of ITIL (2011) Processes and Functions

Cribsheet for processes and functions according to ITIL:(btw, it should be clearly obvious from this list that processes are a cluster of activities to achieve a goal. A process takes one or more defined inputs and turns them into defined outputs. Processes define actions, dependencies and sequence.
A distinctive feature of any process is measurability, which is performance-driven. Responsiveness to specfic triggers allows a process to routed to a specfic trigger. A function is a team of people (and the tools used by the same) supposed to carry out a process or activity.


Service Strategy

   -Strategy management for IT Services - assess the service provider’s offerings, capabilities, competitors as well as current and potential market spaces in order to develop a strategy to serve customers and ensure the implementation of the strategy adopted.

   -Service Portfolio management - manages service portfolio, ensuring that it has the right mix of services to meet business outcomes at reasonable levels of investment.

   -Demand management - seeks to understand, anticipate and influence customer demands for services aligned with capacity management to ensure the demand can be met.

   -Financial Management - budget and accounts.

   -Business relationship management - it's about being friendly toward customer

Service Design

   -Design coordination - coordination of everything in service design.

   -Service level management - discuss Service Level AGreement with customer. 

   -Availability management - define, analyze, plan, measure and improve (sounds awfully similar to DMAIC) all aspects of the availability of IT services, ensuring that all IT infrastructure, processes, tools, roles etc are appropriate for the agreed availability targets. Basically a gear check to make
sure you're ready for battle.

   -Capacity management - just make sure you can follow the SLA within time and financial limits.

   -Supplier management - ensure that all contracts with suppliers support the needs of the business, and that all suppliers meet their contractual commitments. Trust but verify.

   -Information security management - confidentiality, integrity and availability of iunformation,   data and it services.

   -Service catalog management - Service Catalogue should be produced and maintained, containing accurate information on all operational services and those being prepared to be run operationally.

   -IT service continuity management - plan for disasters. You have to think of the worst possible scenario. Next, you ensure the business customer that IT services will ALWAYS be available at 
minimum agreed levels. Meanwhile, you should plan for the recovery of IT services when disaster strikes.

Service Transition

   -Change management - the hallmark of Service Transition. Ensure that changes have minimum disruption to running IT services.

   -Release and deployment management - manage releases in both test and live environments. Fiddle with it all you want while in the sandboxed confines of the test environment. Just make sure you don't screw up the live environment, aka where IT services are already up and running.

   -Knowledge management - spread of knowledge

   -Transition planning and support - process with noticeable overlaps with Project Management as a discipline, aims to plan and cordinate the deployment of a major release. As with Capacity management, it should be conducted within agreed financial, time and quality standards.

   -Change Evaluation - assess the plausibility of major changes.

   -Service validation and testing - will the deployed release really meet customer needs? Can IT operations support the new service?

   -Service asset and configuration management
- another stepping stone in the history of IT service management. Enter Configuration Management System (CMS) and Configuration Management Database (CMDB). Configuration Items get logged in databases.

Service Operations

   -Incident management
- any disruption to IT services should be dealt with to restore IT operations as quickly as possible

   -Problem management - the unknown source of one or more incidents.

   -Event management - the ongoing monitoring of CIs and IT services and use of filters to decide where to ask for appropriate actions.

   -Request fulfillment management - requests are low impact but much more frequent than incidents. Examples include adding new hardware or software programs to a host machine in order to facilitate the use of an application of a business-related activity. Just handle these requests accordingly and nothing can go wrong.

   -Access management - manages the right level of access to the right user to make use of the right resource.

Continual Service Improvement

   -7 Step Improvement Process - not quite a process, but a guideline to pinpointing shortcomings in services and processes and come up with solutions. It's made up of:

  • What should you measure? - the 'vision' (strategic and/or operational) will feed into this step

  • What can be measured? - what can IT and the business actively measure that will be of benefit to the organization

  • Gather Data (measure) - gather the data based on the metrics defined in the previous step

  • Process Data - figure out the collected data

  • Analyze Data - trends, discrepancies and subsequent explanations thereof are prepared for discussion with customers.
  • Present and use information - the business/stakeholders are informed as to whether the goals have been achieved or not.
  •  Implement Corrective Action - document improvements, add to the Service Improvement Program (SIP), create a new baseline and start the 7 steps again.



  • Service Desk - the go-to resource for the end-user. The first point of contact with the customer of the IT services.
  • Technical Management - provides detailed technical skills and resources needed to support the ongoing operation of the IT Infrastructure. Technical Management also plays an important role in the design, testing, release and improvement of IT services. In small organizations, it is possible to manage this expertise in a single department, but larger organizations aretypically split into a number of technically specialized departments (2011, ITIL p 194)Application Management - manages applications besides also being responsible for testing, designing and improving of applications part of the IT services.
  • Operations Management - monitor and control IT services and IT infrastrcuture. A key difference between Operations Management and Event Management is that Operations Management is made up of people responsible for performing the organization’s day-to-day operational activities (2011, ITIL p 229) while Event Management often relies on automated routines to check whether CIs' performance does not drop below agreed quality standards.
  • IT Operations control - responsible for executing routine checks on It services and the underlying infrastrcuture. I'm at loss to elicit the difference between operations management and IT operations control. Maybe they're one and the same?
  • Facility management - Management of the infrastrcuture housing the It services. This function also extends to power and cooling, building access management and environment monitoring.


Birling is s game commonly played by timber cutters whose objective is too see who can stay longest on a log that is afloat in a body of water. According to CBC News, July 26, 2014, enthusiasts are trying to get the sport rolling again with colleges here and there introducing it in recreational form and summer camps adding logrolling to their offerings. Other key woodsmen skills include tree climbing, axe throwing, bow sawing and cross cut sawing.