Archive for July, 2007

The subtitle of Chris Anderson‘s book The Long Tail is “How endless choice is creating unlimited demand.” Well, I’m a bit hacked off with Amazon — the poster child for long-tail economics. We use Amazon all the time. The problem is that — and not for the first time — something that their online catalogue promises will arrive in one to two weeks, is not coming any time soon. In fact, the size 5 basketball that should now be playing a crucial role in developing the hand-eye coordination and core stability of the Knackered brood, won’t be arriving until November. This, of course, means that in reality it won’t be arriving at all.

It would be nice if Amazon were to admit defeat, or have a slightly better explanation as to why this item is so much more esoteric than Elegance: Exquisite Doily Patterns Charted for Cross-Stitch (Paperback), currently number 986,204 in Amazon’s sales rank.

So, today I am mostly not buying the long-tail argument, unless I can find an alternative supply. Suggestions of UK suppliers would be most welcome.

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The Knackered Hackette has, once again, spent too much time in the dictionary. She writes…

I had a niggling feeling that the about section didn’t offer a full and fair definition of “knackered”, so will attempt to set that right here. Non-philologists and those of a squeamish or prudish disposition should look away now.

There’s an illuminating investigation of the term at World Wide Words, offering connections to sixteenth century bridle-makers — “knackers” — and trinkets that gather dust on the mantelpiece — “knick-knacks”. It continues:-

But there‚Äôs another slang sense of knackers, for the t*sticles, which grew up a little later, possibly also from knack, but possibly from yet another sense of knacker, that of castanets (which could be an altered form of knockers, but might come from an obsolete sense of knack, to knock or to make a sharp, abrupt noise). To knacker, therefore, is to castrate.”

Ouch! Continue reading ‘proper cream crackered’

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Five years ago, I wrote a letter to the bow tie-wearing Bloomberg editor-in-chief Matt Winkler. Finally, today I get an email back from the company. But, you guessed it, through the passage of five years they have managed to entirely miss the point of my original proposal! They want me, the Knackered Hack, holed up in the long-tail of journalism to promote a podcast they have done with Nassim Taleb. If you are me, there is a rich irony in all this. If you are not me, it is Friday afternoon and you have better things to do.

As I recall, the gist of that old letter to Winkler was to say what a good idea it would be for his news organization to be less hierarchical and develop a more networked model of journalistic interaction. My experience had suggested that that was the way large editorial groups needed to operate to have a chance of scaling our ever more complex news environment effectively, by sharing expertise more readily in real-time. Those people who know the Bloomberg news organization would probably tell me that I didn’t have a prayer. Continue reading ‘bloomberg not real-time at all’

Donate and help me buy back my Fender ('About' tells you why)

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Tweet Sport is usually about expanding one’s aerobic capacity. Knackered Downunder spots a story where that logic gets turned upside down A 15-year-old who was born with a rare congenital heart defect, or “functional single ventricle” — which means she is missing one of the four chambers of the heart, and the blood vessels are […]

Tweet My over-eating is not going away, and I am still gaining small amounts of weight against an increasing amount of training. This is reversible, I know, if I could stick to a good diet. But it just shows how persistent cravings can be, even when you know what you’re doing, and are exercising enough […]


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