Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cue the gospel choir swaying..... now.


So one of blokes in the know that I've met in my internetty travels commented quite eloquently on why Australia's Defence Materiel Organisation, Defence Science Technology Organisation and Defence generally have the unwavering and universal respect of frontline ADF personnel when it comes to procurement projects.

In fact, this guy in particular was nice enough to let me quote him directly... call me unoriginal, but this really did deserve a repost...

"It generally ends up like this:

Year 1:
MAJ x says his thingy should be better and more like someone else's thingy. Now Maj x has never fired/used/physically seen the thingy but he's certainly read about it and he knows that it could be more like someone else's thingy aka better. Eventually MAJ gets promoted to LTCOL and gets to influence the procurements cycle.

Year 6:
LTCOL x now gets to influcance his mates at Capability Development Group to recognise that his thingy is old and could be better. CDG investigates a better thingy.

Year 8:
By investigate, they mean, fly around the world staying in plush hotels looking at other country's thingys. All the contractors who used to do the LTCOL's job in their countries, who make the thingys sweeten the deal and really put on a good show for CDG.

Year 9:
CDG comes back with its hair blown back saying to DMO how great someone's thingy is and how we would have a far superior force if we had one and how much of a budget it would save by buying twice as much.

Year 10:
DMO consults with DSTO about CDG's recommended thingy. DMO and DSTO have never physically seen the thingy either, but they also hear how awesome it is.

Year 11:
DSTO consults with its PhD wizards who do a feasibility study of using the thingy while wearing lab coats in an Adelaide/woomera paddock testing the "unique Australian requirements". DSTO determines that the thingy is the bees knees but they need to add widget y to it for it to meet "unique Australian conditions".

Year 12:
DSTO spend years working how exactly how to bolt on the widget and ignore the pre-made widget that the supplier gave for free because that widget doesn't meet "unique Australian camouflage patterns".

Year 14:
The thingy is released to much fanfare. The defence minister talks about how it's going to save lives and how the thingy will help make our troops more combat effective.

Meanwhile no one looked at how the digger was using it, why the digger was using it, what the digger thinks of it and what does the digger think is a better thingy.

Year 15:
The digger finally gets to see the thingy. He does a complicated course that's been bastardised by the ADF on the suppliers actual course. The thingy turns out marginally better than the orginal thingy if at all. In the last 15 years there have been some significant technological changes and since the thingy was identified and procured a much newer/better thingy version have come out but can't be bought since DMO and CDG haven't signed off on them as they signed off on thingy version a.

Meanwhile LTCOL x is now discharged, working for the contractor making a killing, the supplier paid big bucks to have someone deeply familiar with the ADF procurements process (read old boys network). Since LTCOL x has never actually used the thingy he still thinks it's the bees knees. When he hears about diggers complaining about it he just says that they are using it wrong and that all the bugs were fixed in the next version if only the ADF would buy it (and he gets the kick backs).

In the meantime we continue to say how we are the best equipped in the world, that our thingys are superior to other countries thingys. Even if they have newer thingys we say they don't use them correctly and that our way is better with older thingys.

Then one day a MAJ reading Australian Defence Magazine sees a really cool thingy that's kind of in his area..........."

It's just as well no-one on the internet actually reads what I post here (Hi Gran!!!)... we wouldn't actually want our elected leaders, senior ADF officers (who actually care for the greater good more than their own careers) and the associated bureaucracy to cotton on and actually handle Defence matters with any kind of common sense now would we (so much for obtaining an indirect fire capability other countries had seventy years ago)?

Quoted for Truth.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Too Late... I've bred.

I'm a Dad!

Now, as much as I'm sure there would be some folks who would not view this as a positive event, I can assure any concerned netizens that my daughter will be brought up in a responsible, balanced, and positive way so that she can eventually become an upstanding member of society.

Oh and just from a design point of view, all linkeys now open in a new window.... Like this one (Seriously don't open it... too late...? Gah, ok, use this or this)

My daughter's arrival just happened to coincide with the release of Diablo 3, which may actually be considered problematic if I was ever actually a Diablo fan and had any interest whatsoever in playing it. Needless to say I'm looking forward to all the fun stuff that parenting holds in store... like cleaning up poop.

I'm liking the look of the new Civ 5 expansion, hopefully between it and the release of the "Source" by 2K, the game might actually get some fresh life as well as a bit of depth, injected into it. Plus I'll be able to play as a bunch of furs-clad wild northeners... all the game will need then is the ability to counter the inevitable Mass Denounciations by pestering all the other leaders with "WINTER IS COMING!!!"

Friday, May 4, 2012

Nick Xenophon and the New Straits Times

Sooo... this is usually a blog that is less than entirely serious and typically contains some pretty off-colour humour, if it is inspired by more mundane or serious aspects of life. But if I can, I'll take a moment to discuss something serious.

Why has the New Straits Times misquoted an Australian Senator so bizarrely?

Well, it's not conspiratorial, nor that bizarre. It's politics, and makes complete sense when viewing it from a Malaysian political perspective, rather than an Australian one.

GE12 saw the ruling Barisan Nasional loose it's customary 2/3rds majority. If things looked bad then, it looked even worse for BN when it hamfisted a response to the 'Bersih 2.0' rally in July 2011, it's participants calling for unfettered media access by all political participants, indelible ink, and cleaning up of a very suspect electoral roll to name but a few reforms that should fall into the 'No-Brainer' category.

Since then, with the rise of social media and alternative media outlets which are available online that do not necessarily toe the government line, BN has been facing ever increasing pressure to reform and an ever decreasing ability to control the information read by that the voters it ostensibly has to satisfy. Thus it's forced to at least undertake the pretence of reform, even though in doing so it risks losing it's decades long hitherto unchallenged hold on political power.

Recent scandals involving government contracts, MPs embezzling millions of Ringgit in public funds, as well as recent discoveries that the two top officials in the Malaysian Electoral Commission are in fact paid-up UMNO (and thus BN) party members have compounded long term allegations of corruption in the Police, the EC and other public institutions.

So what does this have to do with Senator Xenophon?

Well the good Senator was in Malaysia at the same time as the Bersih 3.0 rally last weekend, specifically for the purpose of consulting with Malaysian politicans about, you guessed it, the state of Malaysian electoral processes.

Things become even more complicated when the Senator a) meets with a highly controversial opposition leader in Anwar Ibrahim, and b) gets shot with teargas during the rally's aftermath, thus creating significant unwelcome international attention to what is already a tricky situation for BN. The resulting controversy around the government regulations that local Subscription TV provider Astro cited as the reason for censoring it's BBC World Service and Al Jazeera partner reports of the rally didn't help.

With "GE13" already acknowledged by Malaysian domestic and international observers as inevitably subject to the same endemic corruption that has been a hallmark of public institutions during BN's administration, it becomes an imperative to pre-emptively discredit any external or internal criticism in the minds of the Malaysian electorate.

By taking a single word "Scientology" and replacing it with "Islam", UMNO-owned media outlets (UMNO is the largest and most powerful party within the BN coalition and makes no secret of it's ownership of either the NST or the Malaysian Star) immediately colour the Senator and by extension the Australian government in the minds of the average Malaysian as being at odds with fundamental Malay cultural and religious values. This allows them to write off any protest or criticism coming from Australia or it's elected officials in the wake of what will surely be a less than free and fair GE13 in Malaysia.

Combined with the Senator's association with Anwar, and the Senator's documented stance on what the Malaysians refer to as "LGBT" rights, it's perfect BN ammunition to feed to a conservative, culturally and religiously sensitive electorate via a UMNO-dominated mainstream Malaysian media.
Selamat Datang, Mr Xenophon, Selamat Datang.
PS. Also, Cocks.