Sunday, October 9, 2011

Please confirm your email/phone/other visible field

Am I the only one who is frustrated by the idiots who think that asking people to enter their email address twice will improve the quality of the data in their databases?  The "re-enter your password" pattern exists because when people enter their password, its not visible, so you have no way of knowing if you've made a typo or not.  Applying this pattern to email address, or vehicle registration numbers as Citylink do, makes absolutely no sense!

Rant over.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Women in the workforce

An unpublished letter to The Age:
Stephanie Peatling reports on more claims of the need for more women in the workforce (Tax breaks for childcare including nannies).  I'd like to point out two parts of the discussion that are missing.

The first is that the issue of higher rates of workforce participation is misleading.  One of the many reasons for childcare costs going up in the last 30 years is the lack of volunteers.  At primary schools the notion of parents running the canteen is fading.  Both of these are symptoms of our communities dying; they are dying because government policy is killing them.  We are being encouraged to pursue careers at the expense of all other needs.  In this case its at the expense of time with our families.  On Tuesday we were told we needed to be able to move around to suit our careers (dump costly stamp duty).  Overall there is a trend of ignoring community needs where they are in the way of a larger economy.  At the same time we wonder why we have increased rates of crime, homelessness, and more disputes among neighbours.  I say to the policy makers that we have a society that is out of balance; our policies are to blame for this, and we should start thinking about more than just the size of the economy.

Secondly, this is not purely a feminist issue.  As an involved father, I also have the same needs that many mothers do when returning to the workforce.  Yet thanks to the flexibility of my manager, I am able to be home for dinner with my childcare aged children at 6pm each night, including collecting them from childcare when my wife is travelling for work.  To Ms Hutchinson - having your employees leave work at 7 is creating a time bomb.  If you are wondering why there aren't more parents in the workforce, perhaps you should look closer to home for the reasons.

Dmitri Colebatch
Father, Husband
Child care volunteer
Career minded professional

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Governance, and dangerous dogs

I have a dog, who I love dearly, so when the issue of dangerous dogs came up in the press last month, I took an interest.  I should say that I have two interests in this, firstly I'm interested in the policy, and secondly in the governance process (legislation was rushed through parliament).  To get some facts, I wrote the following email to the minister (
Hi Peter,

I see myself as a balanced dog-lover.  I'm not writing this email claiming that the current focus on reducing the damage done by dogs is a bad thing, however I am concerned to learn that our state is about to embark on a campaign of killing people's pets.  Rather than a long winded diatribe, I have a few simple questions:

1. Is the proposed legislation available for public review?
2. Why is there a need to rush through the legislation?
3. Is the intent to kill dogs, or to force owners to comply with legislation?  Today's Herald Sun article suggests that as long as a dog is registered, it's safe from this legislation, however I've heard from others that this isn't the case.
4. Has the department done any investigation into the proportion of dangerous breeds, and the proportion of un-registered dogs, that are involved in serious dog attacks?
5. Will the new legislation also consider mandatory training of dangerous breeds?  

I'd welcome a response to the above.

Not surprisingly, I didn't get a personal response from the minister.  However I was surprised by the response I did get:

Am I on the only one who thinks that the minister shouldn't need to get advice from the department in order to answer the first two points?