AA Rewards no more – how annoying!

I go to use my AA Card when buying petrol at BP and discover AA Rewards no longer exist. AA Rewards (which was simple to understand) has been replaced by AA Smartfuel (which is incomprehensible – to my way of doing things). What has been an enjoyable squirrelling away of points (since 1989) to pay my annual AA membership has been whisked away without so much as a by your leave. Sure I got the glossy AA Smartfuel guff and the new bright yellow membership card in the mail but it didn’t sink in.

OK here we go; AA issued a press release on 11 October 2011. Stink.

© Michael Jeans | +64 27 496 3802 | galleries | michael@michaeljeans.co.nz

Talking of mailboxes; Shakespeare Street, Leamington, NZ

Misplaced letterbox 59, Shakespeare Street, Leamington 3432, NZ 4/12/2010

It’s just a pity some folk find it necessary to disrupt the lives and peace of mind of their neighbours. OK, so in posting this I run the risk that someone will get a thrill because their handiwork has been noted and is on the Internet. Equally, I would hope a quiet word from one in the know along the lines that one’s free time might be more valuably spent could be a good outcome. It’s the small things.

Cambridge New Zealand Community Directory 2011

Cambridge Community Directory 2011

In the mailbox this morning. So, I guess this is launch day for the new online version. Now, I’m wondering – well, I have been for some time – the ability to login and store numbers? Facebook et al. capture? OK, social networking interactivity (the site looks naked without any share buttons) and something I know even less about – the capture of numbers to your mobile address book – is this built in or is there an app? – am I talking through a hole in my head? And while I’m imagining a bright shiny new future how about wifi for the CBD – unrelated but related – just saying. Oh and also unrelated but related how about this then?

Google stats. – yeah well!!

Idle curiosity, on my part, as michaeljeans.co.nz lurches toward 50,000 page views in 19 months. Here are the page rankings (Google) of selected Cambridge NZ related and / or based websites (a stab in the dark guestimation – there are somewhere between 500 – 1,000 ‘Cambridge NZ’ websites – probably closer to the lower number).

  • ew.govt.nz | Google PR 6 | Google index 7210 | Age 11/5/2000
  • waipadc.govt.nz | Google PR 5 | Google index 2110 | Age 1/3/2000
  • cambridge.co.nz | Google PR 5 | Google index 180 | Age 6/12/1998
  • stpeters.school.nz | Google PR 5 | Google index 243 | Age 28/11/2000
  • quoteunquotenz.blogspot.com | Google PR 5 | Google index 269 | Age n/a (at least 10 I think)
  • cambridgemuseum.org.nz | Google PR 4 | Google index 349 | Age 12/12/2002
  • shoof.co.nz | Google PR 4 | Google index 157 | Age 20/5/2000
  • michaeljeans.co.nz | Google PR 2 | Google index 839 | Age 30/8/2000
  • accommodationcambridge.co.nz | Google PR 2 | Google index 109 | Age n/a (3 – 4 I think?)
  • yourcambridgenews.com | Google PR 2 | Google Index 7 | Age n/a (< 2)
  • quemagazine.co.nz | Google PR 2 | Google Index 8 | Age n/a (< 1)
  • cambridgerealestate.net.nz | Google PR 1 | Google index 283 | Age 28/2/1989

Tracking Google stats., for a variety of reasons, is both frustrating and, well, more frustrating – I’ve been following Cambridge’s internet profile for some time – but what it really, really means I truly have few ideas.

That Environment Waikato‘s site is the most SOE friendly is of no surprise. No surprise, also, for one of the lowest ranking; Your Cambridge News which is almost completely PDF based and essentially invisible to Google. Que‘s site while most probably well engineered does not feature enough unique material to rank. But then I can’t explain Cambridge Real Estate at all as Google Alerts delivers listings almost daily, from this site, depending upon the configuration used.

Looks like WordPress.COM does SOE better than Google’s own Blogspot platform as Stephen’s blog has a much higher profile than mine.

Cambridge Museum publishes its visitor figures; the most recent being for March 2010 (3491 visitors with 41,226 page views) – michaeljeans.co.nz for the same period (1500 and 2500) – so no comparison really. But, and this is the bit I fail to grasp fully, in this admittedly biased and skewed ‘sample’ I come in 3rd in terms of page indexing – though it is page indexing I am looking for.

My mission (obsession?) to put Cambridge NZ stories (OK, so most of my stories are photographs) on the web stands at: Cambridge (485), Lake Karapiro (109), Leamington (197) not to mention other Cambridge catchment related material (800+ pages). In early 2010 I’ve temporarily eased off Cambridge (as I work on other projects). BTW my website also has a significant Taranaki focus and a recent spike in traffic is related to the recent women’s surfing tour – something I have had absolutely nothing to do with – and photographs I published 15 months ago. If you are interested the most popular list down the right hand side of my site gives you a quick snapshot of what is currently popular here.

So what am I saying? I’m saying the slog – and it has at times been a huge slog – to provide variety and depth to the Cambridge ‘stories’ permanently available on the web is evolving – but slowly. My score ‘Could do better’.

BTW my website costs are approximately $1300 a year – (breakdown: website including domain name $50 pa, image server $170 pa, video server $100 pa, broadband $960 pa (250GB). Content: priceless :) I dare not think!!

Everything is hosted in California.

If anyone has any thoughts I would love to hear.

Notes Google PR 0 = not good, 10 = best. SOE = Search Engine Optimised / Optimisation. For the purposes of this discussion I am completely ignoring website linking – which I currently do not pursue.

I did not know that

It has been a funny old day. I’ve been scanning images for kwtjubilee. Discovered there is a WordPress Word Camp in Wellington the weekend beyond next. Thommo’s memorial service is on Thursday not Friday as I had surmised from the transposing of days and dates in the weekend’s paper. At West End Bowling Club which is close to Northgate and NPGH – at 3PM. There was a frost this morning – a surprisingly heavy one – I have spent the day, a day which has been bright and sunny, inside in airconditioned isolation. The mystery that is Twitter, as opposed to the Twitter of ‘media’ reputation, is beginning to dim as I slowly see it’s potential. New folk are following me. I rather like Russell Brown‘s take – an RB original I am sure –

Essentially, Twitter is poetic, and Facebook is administrative.

My use of both will fall into the adminstrative camp. I may be wrong. Friends, real live actual friends continue to find me on Facebook which is heartwarming. Having folk follow me on Twitter is gratifying and is beginning to shape how I use it to amplify posts here at my blog. I read bits of Until Next Time and will return to it. And this sublime eulogy.

And honest I did not know this. If you are on a PC and reading text in any contemporary browser ( FF3.5, EI8, Chrome or Safari 4) place your finger on the Ctrl key and roll the scroll button on your mouse. So simple, so obvious  – but who tells you these things until someone randomly mentions it – Duh – I think it may have been there for a while.

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Shakespeare Street surface failure

There has been much discussion around here, of late, about the state of Shakespeare Street. Shakespeare Street both north and south of the Leamington ‘commercial centre refurbishment contract’ is in a sad state. Significant parts of the late March early April 2009 surface application have failed. A bad batch of tar/bitumen? (I really have no idea). Aggregate wet when applied? (ditto) though this photo [2:34PM 23 March 2009] seems to suggests otherwise for the later.

This is what the northbound lane, just a little north of the above shot, looked like on Friday the 15th of May 2009. Apples and oranges I know – different lorry load of chip, different part of the pile – and in fact the south bound lane (top of picture) looks OK here. That is loose gravel/aggregate/chip in the bottom of the photo.

Same area on Monday morning the 18th of May 2009.

Council and contractor have set to work to sort out what went wrong with whatever metrics it is you use to decide such things. Folk with clip boards have come to look and record their observations. And the contractor has been busily removing the dislodged chip – cause of the most disagreeable aggravation – the noise.

Now, Shakespeare Street sees a constant flow of traffic, some of it heavy, – truck and trailer units including full milk tankers – day in and day out. 

I guess my question is; does the maintenance regime in place for Shakespeare Street match the usage it sustains? And secondly; is Shakespeare Street, and I use the above image taken this afternoon as illustration, correctly formed and structurally sound?

All the photos.

See here also. And just for good measure a full blow by blow coverage of Thursday 6th of November 2008.

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Cambridge BIG little town

Once more we suffer the indignity of the big little town Cambridge retailers window display competition. Poor, inappropriate and downright inaccurate branding offers nothing to Cambridge – and its partner in this endeavour – National Fieldays.

A promotion which does not call a spade a spade is a failure. Cambridge the Waikato town – most probably the largest Waikato town – functions, in large part, as an agribusiness hub – supplying its hinterland and beyond with goods and services. It is a busy place.

The sillyness of ‘villagising’ Cambridge and reducing commercial activity to the level of comic hayseediness is just wrong. Cambridge is in the business of attracting punters to buy its goods and services. National Fieldays is a celebration of businesses that thrive on innovation and all that other fancy go-get stuff people like to talk about.

This promotion fails both by subverting the strengths, aspirations and branding of both enterprises.

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Beckham, Auckland and authenticity

I was thinking about messages, advocacy and autheticity when taking the photos of the parade yesterday. The angels got me thinking. I quite like Beckham the footballer. I am not a recreational sports watcher – sport goes on all about me all the time – in one ear and out the other. But some stuff sticks.

Beckham’s fluidity of movement and boyishness has seeped through to me as much has Tiger Woods determination and Daniel Carter’s zen. All three are most interesting men and though not a fan what they do, well, fascinates.

Mt Smart’s marketing of the Beckham visit seemed odd from the start. There was no leveraging of his joyful visit of a year ago. I know about the fun because I talked with a friend in the Cake Tin by phone while it was all pumping. In fact until late last week Auckland seemed to have forgotten that Beckham had been here at all. I wonder was this a marketing ploy?

Didn’t work.

Edited 17:56 8/12/08: Typo

Wassup! Te Reo

I wrote this five or six weeks ago (last edited 25 June) and have been waiting for a suitable image to accompany it. I had wanted to photograph the badges but everyone I spoke to around here has returned theirs to Wellington.

Why is such a beautiful name, Manurewa, mispronounced by so many on radio and teevee. OK, I am far from perfect but I do try to get it right most of the time. Pronunciation that is. My pc or university pronunciation, of te reo, is remarkably different from the Anglicised versions with which I grew up and painfully different still, at times, from the joyful music of ‘native tongue’ speaking friends (who I must add speak perfect New Zealand English). Continue reading

The Bush Cinderella revisited

The Film Archive has been in touch sending through this lovely promotional material. Not sure that you will be able to read the poster. The salient facts are The Bush Cinderella at 2PM tomorrow afternoon Saturday the 19th of July at The Plaza, Kensington Street, Putaruru.

The Telephone number there is 07 883 8596. Enjoy.

Also Big Moments Sunday 20 July 2008, 12:30PM Victoria Cinema, Hamilton.

If you want to be on The Film Archive mailing list go here.

The Bush Cinderella

For those wanting to go to The Pictures on Saturday The Plaza is, apparently, in Putaruru. The screening is at 2PM Saturday the 19th of July 2008.

Caption: Yes, this moving picture screening is both in the common era and our corner of the Known Universe – just down the road a way in the fine South Waikato town of Putaruru.
Not actually sure if it is this lot. More than likely it is these folk. But I cannot find an online reference to the showing here. Or for that matter here. Ah! The Plaza has a website oh! but no screening info.

Update: I have found it (sorry I do not think it is a permalink). I think I have heard of this site before. Thanks Google.

The No 8 wire attitude

This does get on Dad’s wick, and mine. The number of folk who insist on inverting the meaning of the phrase a No 8 wire solution. Just in the past couple of weeks, in a letter to the editor of The Herald, a couple of learned blokes from somewhere down the line opined that we need to lose our No 8 Wire Attitude, confusing it I am sure, with another Kiwi favourite ‘She’ll Be Right‘.

To us the term means innovation and creativity. Finding a practical solution for an immediate need. Utilising scarce resources with lateral thinking. Above all it is about delivering a solution that works.

No 8 the soft, low tensile wire used for fencing New Zealand was still ubiquitous as I grew up. It took me a week to find this. As it happens it was under my nose just a few hundred metres from here. A No 8 wire solution of beautiful, minimalist simplicity.