Friday, April 15, 2005


International Textual Signage

It has been decades since international efforts to develop signs were completed; but we are still seeing confused and lost tourist because they don't understand local signage.

It is ridiculous that in many places you are unsure of the toilets; when the symbols is simple and a sticky sign is cheap. I guess some proprietors favour bad decor over their customers.

But some signs can't be boiled down to a symbol. For example, what would be the international symbols for mandarin, apple, and paw-paw?

It would simple for one progressive tourist authority (NZ perhaps) to translate common text and provide signs in common languages; and soft copies. And perhaps charge a small fee for uncommon text.

It may be useful to provide a language in several common languages. But which languages to choose? You need to keep the number low otherwise it becomes intractable and unreadable. But they need to be common, but different.

This is most likely: English, Hindi, Russian, Arabic & Mandarin


Although this options is tempting: English, Russian, Arabic & Mandarin.


I originally suggest English, Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin.


This is the most useful but unfortunately is likely to be too many languages.


So which languages were short listed? Mandarin, there are a billion people in China and many more overseas who use it natively. China has secured a place as a world player and a focus of trade and politics. It scores extra points because it is distinct.

Hindi, there are a billion people in India and many more native users overseas. But India is not as uniform in language as China, and many speak English. India is securing trade and politics and a place as a world player.

English is important as an intermediate language. While the number of native users is smaller it is widely known and used as a second language; especially in business, science and technology. And it is increasingly transferring in widely distributed cultural junk food.

Spanish is widely used natively across the Americas. On numbers it can probably match any other. It also has advantage of being a Romance language close to many other European languages; and so easier for their users to learn, like Italian.

French is used in Diplomacy (but losing to English). It is not as widely spread as the others, but it is used natively in Africa. But, it is another Romance language.

Russian was widely spread by the old USSR; and is also significant for being Cyrillic.

Arabic is another distinct language. Its influence has spread further through the Qur'an. It is often stated there is at least a billion Muslims; many knowing Arabic.

Monday, March 21, 2005


Would You Like Credit With That?

I am hoping the National (NAB) hasn't fallen victim to a great marketing evil.

After completing my over the counter transaction ($3.00 Fee), I was asked if I was thinking about buying property. It is one of the most annoying marketing schemes in history, asking the customer if they want something other than what they asked for. Especially in a bank where you are going with a distinct purpose.

I would have been especially annoyed if I had waited the usual half an hour in the queue.

Perhaps the National should improve its poor customer service, before it starts adding ads to our banking.

More likely they will try ask the questions before, when they know you aren't likely to run screaming.

Sunday, March 20, 2005


Patrick v Virgin, Quantus Wins

Richard Branson must be upset. He just lost control of a Virgin branded company: Virgin Blue.His 'partners' Patrick now have a controlling share and an ego. Will Patrick doom Virgin Blue? I don't know.But they wont hurt Quantus.

I have flown Quantus and Virgin and the differences are not much. Quantus and Virgin have been slugging it out over airfares for a while. The question is have they learned the lesson?

Coles Myer has two different supermarkets: Coles and BiLo. Coles ihas the greater variety, better locations and longer hours. BiLo has the cheaper products and lower costs. And Coles Myer is better for the difference.

Quite simplely you can't please all customers with one product. And customers also like an apparent bargain. If Quantus can sustain Jet Star as a different airline, they will get they benefit of both ends of the market and the apparent bargain. Flying to Cairns for fifty dollars less each way will make the mark [sic consumer] believe the trip was a bargain and encourage them to go. Meaning more travelers, volume and profit.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Pages Per Minute

Most of the time when I look at a printer's specs, I don't care about it's pages per minute speed.

However, at work I have realised that pages per minute can make a big difference to you liking a printer. The time you spend waiting for a colour forty four page, two up, double sided printout (eleven sheets) can be huge. Especially when you are printing five copies out for a review. Our new HP prints about six pages a second for that configuration. That's nine minutes wait for a print job. Which unfortunately is well beyond the patience level of the ADD generations.

Colour matching is also a concern. This printout was design in black, greys, dark blue, dark orange, and dark brown. It colours came out as black, red, blue, and orange; not leaving a good impression.

Colour printers will never be an office staple unless they can match the black and white speed of twenty four pages a minute (two and a quater minutes for the above print job), and produce closer colour matching.

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