Saturday, March 10, 2018

Free Education Online

As a one-time adult educator and training manager, I've had a long-term interest in education, training and development. I've also spent many years mentoring students and employees and although now retired, still hold an interest in anything to do with education and training.

That being the case, I was very interested in this article by Bob Rankin
Free Online College Courses (Ask Bob Rankin).

There is a rich harvest of opportunity at Bob's link and it's all free!


Friday, February 16, 2018

The Small Things Make a Difference

My wife and I were delighted to move into our new house at an over 50s village. We've lived in a number of houses, but this one is new. There's no smell like you get with a new car, but it's still nice to have all fixtures and fittings modern, shiny and new.

We'd chosen the flooring and curtains and all we had to do was have our furniture and effects delivered and settle in. This will be our last house.

The Australian Open tennis was being shown on television and our daughter, who had travelled 1500 km to help us with our "stuff", wanted to watch it, so the first thing we did was connect the TV.

The antenna didn't work and it was the weekend. No TV. So off we went to buy a "rabbit's ears" antenna and resolve the problem.

Next, a security door at our laundry didn't work most of the time and a door latch on a patio door didn't latch. I was able to fix both with minor adjustments.

When we went to lock our sliding windows before going shopping, three of the windows wouldn't lock because the holes drilled behind the locks didn't line up.

I could have fixed those but didn't. I called the person responsible for repairs and maintenance who sent one of his carpenters around to fix it.

Our house is one of eight in a cluster, all built on behalf of the retirement village and onsold to people like us - retired or close to it. People who don't want to spend any more of their valuable time mowing lawns and pruning trees or cleaning guttering.

The question I asked the manager of the repairs and maintenance team was whether someone had done an inspection of the houses on completion to check that everything was in order. Much to my surprise, they hadn't.

In the Northern Territory, from where I had just moved, before a house can be occupied, a Certificate of Occupancy must be issued that certifies that everything meets Australian standards, is safe and fully operational. Apparently, that's not the case in South Australia.

If I was the Chief Executive Officer of an organisation that spends several millions of dollars per year on new housing, I'd insist on a pre-handover quality inspection and some sort of process to indicate that everything was in order before paying the bill. If it wasn't, I'd get the builder to fix it before anyone moved in.

The lesson here is that if you do a job, check to make sure it is done properly before moving on. Did the person drilling the window holes check their work? What about the antenna installation? It seems not.

Paying good money for anything that doesn't work as well as it should doesn't make sense.

What do you think? Have you had a similar experience?


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Do You Have a Contingency Plan?

Most people eventually draft their Last Will and Testament knowing that one day they will die and be unable to take all their earthly possessions with them. It's good practice and saves a lot of angst for those we leave behind.

Sliding Gate - Stuck Open
But, few if any, have a Contingency Plan* for other things that can go wrong about the house. This was highlighted to me recently while house-sitting a friend's house while he and his family are on holidays interstate.

The house is full of electronic and equipment whizz-bangery; a water softener, swimming pool filter and Dolphin machine that runs about on the bottom of the pool picking up leaves and seeds that have blown into the pool. There's an external video security system and last of all, an electronically operated sliding gate. It's with the gate I ran into challenges.

The gate decided, for some reason better known to itself, to begin operating erratically. Instead of pushing the open button and having the gate slide right open, it would jerk forward about three inches and stop. So it took dozens of presses of the remote to get the bloody gate open.

Press close and it closes one time and doesn't the next. Now it won't go anywhere. (See photo above).

I rang my friend to find out where he keeps the key to the controller box and to ask if he has a user manual. He has no idea where the key is and no user manual. Not to worry, I quickly accessed an online manual (ain't the internet wonderful?) which was of little use because I can't access the controller box.

Probably because I'm a pedant and highly organised, I have a special folder where I store all of my user manuals. And I mean all, from wristwatches to washing machines. When I no longer have the product, I give the manual the flick so that I don't get bogged down with a lot of useless stuff.

I have a special place for keys and each has a tag identifying what it unlocks.

When something goes amuck, I can find the manual and if there is a key or something else associated with it, like spare blades, I know exactly where to find them. It's not exactly a Contingency Plan, but it works as a Contingency Plan.

The point is, I can't do anything to rectify the gate issue and will need to leave it open until the house owner returns.

Do you have a Contingency Plan for something that may unexpectedly go wrong in your life? Although you can't prepare for everything that could possibly go wrong, you can still have a plan to deal with high probability events eg, like a flat car battery.

Better to be organised than inconvenienced.


* A plan to deal with something that might happen unexpectedly