Monday, July 22, 2013

Gentse feesten 2013


Gentse feesten 2013, a set on Flickr.

Gentse feesten 2013.

Monday, July 8, 2013

OmniGraffle Pro

I'm actually writing this as sort of a memory refresher for future needs in case I have to do something similar all over again. I've been fixing a Triple Play configuration, you see, at my son's apartment, and a few hours after I started, I got so confused and frustrated with the networking  and the cables surrounding me. It was the first hot day of the summer too, and without air cooling, I been sweating like a pig. After hours of work I got it all up and running, but I then thought, how about future maintenance? Imagine things change or need upgrades, how the heck am I gonna remember what I did ages ago? Or, how do I communicate to my son what I actually did if he needs to understand the role of a given cable, for instance, and what happens if someone pulls it off the socket? Eh? Simple queries really. The cables are usually so messed up (not to mention device power cables) and unless you know exactly what cable connects to what port you can be in real trouble. So, I decided to document what I did, as a matter of 'good practice', like we used to do as expensive consultants for customers long ago!

I use OmniGraffle Pro for simple diagrams, meaning objects connected to each other with simple lines. It's easy to do this in OGP as each object used (images, icons, the like) receives automatically connection points that act as magnets. Once a connection with a line is established at any of these magnet points, moving the object around on the canvas moves flexibly the connection lines with it. Very useful. Some people try to draw similar diagrams with Powerpoint instead, but the sheer absence of magnets in Powerpoint makes it really hard. 

In terms of objects OmniGraffle offers a large variety (object types and connection lines) and it's Mac version also offers a large collection of Apple artifacts. Problem is, what happens with other objects? Well, this is what I'll describe here to remember if I need to do this again.

As a matter of illustration, suppose I needed an image that looked like my own simple HDMI Switch, for instance. Here are the steps:
  1. I go to Google images and put 'HDMI switch' in the search field. A myriad of images appear. I scroll around and pick one that looks almost identical with what I was looking for.
  2. I drag and drop this image into Photoshop. Photoshop puts the image on its background layer. Double clicking it creates a new layer and background is no more. I want to get rid of all white space next, and create transparency instead. This can't be done when the image stays on the background layer.
  3. After the image becomes a regular layer, I use the Magic Wand to select all the white space surrounding the object. I do the necessary to select it all. I then hit backspace, the white disappears, and is replaced by the transparency surface symbols. That's it.
  4. If cropping needs to be done, I do that next. I then save the image as a PNG file that I know maintains transparency. It's a good image format that PNG, although for plain vanilla small size file format for the web, I'd still select JPG instead.
  5. Job done. I drag and drop the newly saved image PNG onto the diagram and there you go. If now one object gets obscured by another and the latter maintains its transparency the result will be a lot more pleasing, as the obtained transparency will allow parts of the former (the obscured) to appear behind the latter (the obscurer)  in a more natural way, and not behind the white frame that a JPG format would have caused (even with strict cropping).
  6. Another hint. Magnets are positioned on an object's  frame contour, and, unless you crop it close to the actual object, you risk to have your connections hanging in the air, at a distance (example: see the lines with arrows pointing to the Plasma TV above). In that case, you can create another new object with its own magnets (I prefer a text block), and position it inside the original object (see the white text 'HDMI switch' in the image to the right of the TV above). Connect next your lines with the magnets on that text object rather than the image's. 
I don't believe there's any object for all practical purposes that Google Search won't return, if you describe the criteria properly, that is. I was able to find pictures of the most improbable devices. Trust me on this. Amazing what these guys can go find for us to use. Good stuff. Now, in the unlikely event you can't find something, or you don't like the image Google served you with, then, all it takes is to shoot an image of the object by yourself. Put it against a white background (or any monochromatic so you can pick it up easily with reasonable small range pixel tolerance when using the magnetic wand), light it up well without shadows, shoot the frame and process it, and continue from step 2.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

iOS 7

Following the recent WWDC announcements I decided to pay the necessary fee and enroll as a 'developer' for both, Mac OSX and iOS programmes. As such I was allowed to download previews of the upcoming versions of both products and 'experience the magic'.

I can't say I was too impressed by either one. The least of the two was Mavericks... I wonder if it's even worth the launch for only so little added new functionality. On the other hand Apple claims that most of Mavericks' spicy bits were hidden under the hood and were invisible by them casual users. Anyways, I won't spend much energy going over the same descriptions that have already been written and explained a million times by scores of bloggers and reporters before me. I sincerely hope Apple engineers add some extra pizzazz in both products by the time they move them into commercial availability to make them worth the upgrade, even more so if Apple plans to ask a fee for either one.

All being said, in iOS 7, I must admit, the changes seemed far more conspicuous than in Mavericks. It's a far reaching overhaul of the UI for sure. Johnny Ive put his fingers deep into the UI look and feel this time. I must say, if you despise skeuomorphism as much as I do (sorry, Scott), and prefer minimalism instead, you are going to love this version. They really did their best in reinventing far more natural and intuitive ways to interact with touch screen devices. With a touch of Apple class of course. To make St-Steven proud up there in heavens, watching over their shoulders every step in the way. What else is to do up there anyway? Talk to those old bores about eternity and the meaning of life in a timeless world? Monty Python did that before and far better than the Bible itself. Nay! Nothing for Steve. Nonetheless, many smartass Apple haters rushed to blame it right after the keynote suggesting Apple designers 'copied' Google's UI (my ass). Now we all know quite well who copied whom on this, don't we? One ain't born yesterday, right? Anyways...

Above all, the upgrade to iOS 7 is 'normally' quite fast and straightforward. At least, if you do this the right way... I know that for a fact as I already upgraded two devices so far, a slow iPad 2nd Gen and a much faster iPhone 5. The iPad I even had to do twice to get it right. It was a scream! It was my first attempt, and of course I screwed up big time. Eventually I managed to fix it deep into the night (or early morning hours better said). I initially undertook the upgrade as a mere agnostic (a dumb ass, that is) and ignored simple common sense. That would teach me...

Actually here's what happened. To ensure the minimum of piracy, Apple requires iOS devices to be registered via their respective UDIDs by duly enrolled developers before upgrades can take place with success. That UDID (Unique Device Id) is usually hidden behind the serial number on the summary tab in iTunes. So, the correct sequence is, to first register an iOS device under an annual subscription iOS developer role, and then upgrade it so that the upgraded firmware gets effectively activated by Apple. In one single developer subscription one can actually register 99 devices in total; quite a generous offer indeed, good to supply 'copies' to your entire Sicilian mob familia.

Me, being me of course, I obviously reversed the regular sequence... So, I upgraded the firmware first and eventually had to find out the harsh way when the system reacted with a frustrating message 'activation impossible, first register the device by its UDID and then try again'. That is, I had to roll back the device to its earlier firmware version (6.1.3 in my case), copy its stupid UDID from iTunes, register it at the developer's site, and start all over. And Bob's your uncle, nooot? Easier said than done, folks. Reinstalling an older version of the firmware has always been harder than one should think. System software is not usually designed to fall back to previous versions after upgrades (unless you are called Microsoft). That's shootin' your right foot, innit? Some monkeys on YouTube even go as far as to terrify casual users by claiming that if you get the 'no activation possible' pop-up means that your device is doomed into a useless scrap and no cure is possible, never ever. Better throw your iPhone to the dogs, they say. Unless you listen to them, of course, as they gallop to your rescue. Beware of such idiots. They crawl out of your browsers in shedloads!

Anyways, reinstalling the previous version of the iOS over and above version 7 wasn't only doable, but proved quite simple after all, at least if you are handy at certain Apple witch-doctor skills. BTW, all I'm describing is explained much better over here.

Step one, you need to download a copy of the earlier firmware package, a file with a lego cube icon and a file extension of .ipsw. Most iOS junkies have known these files well, ever since Jobs launched the iPhone 1.0, and subsequently the wonderful tribe of jailbreakers emerged out of the woodwork. In Step two, the locked iOS device is put back onto its (infamous) DFU mode with a tricky combination of pressing the 'power' and 'home' device buttons in a given sequence and for a certain number of seconds.

So, on a device that is powered OFF and connected to iTunes (I mean really powered OFF, as it happens when the Power button is pressed until a red horizontal slider appears on the top):

1 Power button : Press for 3 secs
2 Power and Home button together: Press for another 10 secs
3 Home Button: Keep pressing (while letting go the Power button) until iTunes confirms the DFU mode is reached.

The rest is much easier. In DFU mode, you 'option' (alt) click Restore and point iTunes to the previous version (6.1.3 here) .ipsw file. The restore process starts and a few minutes later, the device is put to its previous iOS firmware, connects to iTunes and it's data appear on your Mac or PC (iTunes application). Picking up next the UDID is trivial, by right clicking the serial number in the summary tab. As the click reveals the UDID, the right-click enables you to copy it (it's got far too many digits to be any good if you wanted to type it manually; life's too short for this) and paste it in the device registration panel, in the developers' pages. Of course, this process only works for 'developers' as I said earlier, that is people who paid a hundred bucks for a year's subscription. Most end-user cheapos of course want to do the upgrade without activation, the 'illegal' way... 100 bucks still seems a lot of money in many places around the globe. Eventually, the firmware activation is the kind of thing that scores of hackers put their arms around to find a way out (called a workaround). Some folks suggested that if you force an 'update' instead of a 'restore' you bypass activation altogether. I wouldn't really know. I been 'legal' and paid my dues.

Second time over, of course, I did it in the right sequence. First, I registered my device's UDID, and only then I upgraded. All in all in less than fifteen minutes, done and over with it.

The 'user experience' with 'bauhaus' lookalike minimalism has been cool so far. Most functions seem to work as by design. I was even unexpectedly called into a Facetime session from overseas from an iOS 6 device and it all worked like a charm. So far I have migrated about sixty-seventy apps (pretty complex stuff, I can assure you) but other than a few crashes here and there most of them seem to run just fine. Only shortcoming, as I reckon they're still working on code optimisation, responses weren't as snappy as I would have liked. Especially on the iPad 2nd Gen. It felt like Galaxy, so to say... Apparently iOS 7 requires a lot more horsepower to make minimalism happen. Less is more, as Ive sez. Thus, the lew look is likely destined to their top hardware performers, and undoubtedly their new upcoming designs, with faster processors, SSDs and peripheral connections.

It's hard to advice anyone, especially those with only one device to 'waste', to upgrade to iOS 7 now for the sheer pleasure of an early preview. If you can afford the expense and you're brave enough, then why not, just do it. Being ahead of the masses in experiencing brand new products and technologies is a kind of addiction too. It's better than watching soccer anyway. Or the Tour de France. At least, to some of us it is...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

From product to... experience

When I started my career, back in 1980, we used to sell products. These were thingies, physical objects to be accurate, with a touch and feel and sometimes... a smell, depending what they were used for. The science and practice of Marketing then was all about the notion of selling physical objects to customers. And above all, positioning them in their target market segments. And about becoming market leaders in those same segments. It pays off to be a market leader, you see. The experience curve math easily proves why. It's a question of profits and price setting. The more units you sell (the closer you are to a market leading position, that is), the cheaper it'll cost you to manufacture a product, and the higher your margins will be. So, if a smart ass, ranked after you in market share, decides to challenge you in your leader's throne with a cunning price war, you simply drop it to a level they eventually end up subsidising the darn thing (selling at a loss) to be able to sell anything at all. And eventually get their ass kicked out of the market. This is the sort of thing that was occupying the minds of marketeers back then. The 4 P's that later became 5 or 6, I guess. I lost count... Or is it still 4? Who cares anyway... Nobody was thinking about the fundamentals of the product 'concept' per se, then. In other words, what is a product? Existential questions kinda thing, like, is there a God after all? Sort of... Up to the late eighties, questioning the concept itself of a product didn't quite seem to be that much of an issue. A product was a product, no question about it...

Although existing for much longer than then, during the 80ies another business line started picking up in terms of real revenue volumes. It was the Services Industry. Countless business enterprises were created to provide all sorts of consulting services to companies, HR related, Marketing, Organisational Strategy, Market positioning and strategy, and last but, by all means, not least, IT consulting. It suddenly sounded unnatural to talk about products in the services business. There was little evidence of a 'physical' product, other than a 'final report' or project documentation. Reports in book form so to say, bound and bright with the consultant's and customer logos nicely printed on the front cover, in three or more copies for a client company's management to 'study' and 'classify' them (often vertically). Paying millions of dollars for those books (if they were to be considered the equivalent of tangible products) was simply a hilarious concept. Each and every page of those reports should have been printed with platinum ink on golden pages to be intrinsically worth the price companies paid for those reports and services. So, the physical 'product' concept wasn't too natural to grab if it was all about delivering a service to a customer. How about hospitals then? Treating a patient for a disease and curing him in a hospital, for instance. What do you call this? The patient is the customer, right? He comes in sick, he gets out hopefully alive and cured to join the living again. Where's the (physical) product in that case? Is that the medicines the patient consumed? Or was it the single bed facility that cost twice as much than the next multiple bed facility available? Patients pay loads of money for doctors and their hospital stay, that's for sure! But, where's the product? Same situation for banks. Actually, if you come to think of it, the only task one does with banks is to either deposit or withdraw money. That's all. Nevertheless, banks, who never talked about 'product' for as late as the back end of the 80ies (at least in this country), all of a sudden discovered the concept of 'products' and kept slapping them flat onto our gobs ever since. Not to mention those 'monkey business', hedgie inspired, 'structured' products, and the obscure financial engineering constructs that led to the global financial disaster of late 2008 with no recovery yet in sight. Banking is a 'service' too then, and products in their lingo is nothing else than packaging yours and mine financial resources (loans and deposits) in a myriad different ways. Still, no feel and touch, or smell of a physical thingie product...

How about restaurants then? Are they a service or a physical product provider? That's a tricky one. If you think of the food dishes in a menu, yep, they look and feel, and even smell like products, but what's the difference between using those same products (eat them) at a restaurant or carry out (and bring 'em) home? Is there a difference? Is that same difference, if any, that makes a restaurant take up a dual role, that of a physical product provider's and of a service provider's the same time? Worth mentioning, there have been some smart cookie restaurant owners, who defined their business as a genuine services business from the outset. Lemme explain. There's a scholar's definition claiming that 'services' business distincts itself from a classic object product business in the sense that in the former case the customer (consumer of the service) participates in the production process! A hospital patient sees and feels everything undertaken upon his/her body during the recovery process. A banking customer is also in the middle of each and every banking transaction. A company that hires a consulting firm participates via interviews, information gathering, validations, and collaboration of any color and taste during the entire course of project execution.

In services in other words, it seems that customers start off in State One, participate in a 'production' process, and end up in State Two, whereby State Two is different (and preferably augmented) vis-à-vis State One. In this case, the actual 'product' must really be the process itself that moved a customer from One to Two. A patient was cured. A hungry one got his stomach full. A tired hotel guest paid for the shelter, to get relaxed after a night's sleep and a good morning shower and shave. It's a typical fact we find in learning services too, for instance. People enter a training course with their brain neurons reflecting a state of knowledge A and, if they didn't fall asleep for much of the course, concluded the programme with new neuron synapses in their brain leading to incremental knowledge A+. That participation and incremental status change idea led a few smart cookies in the restaurant business to organise their establishment like Japanese stake houses, where trained chefs prepare delicatessen in front of you, as you stand there dressed up in enormous white napkins like a ghost (I always hated that bit in those tents). Again, customers here participate in the production process, by observing their dishes being prepared in front of their eyes... A primitive experience reminiscent of the years we all sat in the kitchen as kids watching our moms and grannies do the same the good ol' granny way. The Tokyo originated Benihana restaurants (Japanese Stake Houses) are a franchise like this, having introduced the concept to the US long ago by a Japanese ex-boxer, turned entrepreneur. This venture became so notoriously successful that they were soon made into a business case for MBA students at the Harvard Business School, of all places.

Market analysts, especially in the IT industry, as are the likes of the Gardner Group and Forrester Research, love reinventing the business lingo of the industries they serve. They love to invent new words, or use old ones in new contexts, and have participants of their industries talk just like them. Visit one of the Gardner group Annual Conferences and you are guaranteed, at least if you attend their sessions and didn't hang out instead on bar benches sipping Marguerita's, to go back home and talk to your spouse and kids or show-off at the office using terms from the Conference...

One of such concepts most probably reinvented by a Gardner type industry analyst was 'solution selling'... that was the next big thing that came right after products, during the mid nineties. Who exactly launched the term the first time, I have no clue. If you happen to know, feel free to write to me. I know though that Industry analysts and Professional Sales Management trainers sucked the term like a candy. Solution Selling sort of gave a way out of the conflict between 'physical' products and 'intangible' services offerings of the eighties. Suddenly all of us started to sell 'solutions'. Products became a tête de Turc, a piece of crap that nobody wanted to touch, like it got infected by some allele of the Ebola virus. No sir, we are not selling you products, we don't even want to talk to you about them buggers. No, we are just trying to understand your issues and problems and come up with a real tangible solution that will make you successful. We are on your side, we almost do that altruistically, simply because we care for you. We are your friends and partners. And we simply want to make you happy. And if we need to use a competitor's products to achieve that (that argument was used by the most courageous among ourselves), so be it. Come to think of it, one of them companies who really meant it and did actually do this after all, was Almighty Big Blue, a.k.a. IBM. IBMers are all about getting the deal and deliver an entire 'mega-thingie' (the bigger the better) with good profits, that's what counts, without necessarily benefitting individual 'products' of their parent house. Good for them. Takes a lot of cojones to propose that.

Almost forgot to mention. Solution selling aiming at 'customer satisfaction' was actually the complete concept those days. What are any solutions good for if they fail to make you happy? At the least they are good for nothing, not worthy to be called solutions after all. So, happy customers had to complement any solution selling whatsoever, and that's exactly what they did. Solution selling without customer satisfaction was simply considered an oxymoron. It couldn't possibly be a solution at all if customers didn't like it or felt bad about it. Customer satisfaction then... the indispensable part of the sales lingo of the 90ies that no salesman, who respected his commission profoundly, ever forgot to place in the 'favorites' folder of his vocabulary. Until... until the next big term was invented. Forget customer satisfaction, it's no good no more, it almost sounds like a case of sexual harassment, almost certainly if those customer reps happened to be female. So, a new and better objective had to be found to aim for: Solution selling for customer success. Who cares about satisfied customers? The aim is to make them successful with your solutions. Whether they'll feel happy about it is entirely their problem. At least we can think about the dough they spent on us as 'money well spent'. And time passed by...

So, for about 15 years and change we have been 'selling solutions' for 'success' and kinda buried the classic notion of 'products' six feet under.It was so bad that in some cases it was almost impossible to identify what the real product was. After 2000 Apple championed a new sales approach leading to their dominance of a number of digital media markets. People referred to this new phenomenon as 'establishing an entire ecosystem'. Thus, another great lingo thing emerged again. The ecosystem. Take iTunes for example. If you'd consider iTunes alone, Apple actually loses money on its exploitation, or breaks even at best, but they can still maintain their overall company margins north of 40%. iTunes is a subsidised 'platform' in other words (another mega popular term this platform thing, not to forget 'subsidised') that created it's own ecosystem, where suppliers meet customers to exchange products and 'experiences' for money, with Apple being the law enforcement and the administrator responsible for transaction processing, third party contracting and the ever growing technical platform maintenance. Selling music, apps, games, books, videos, media, stuff!

And then came the infamous 'user experience' by. I've heard it so often the last five years that it slaps me in the face each time I witness it time and again, and it almost gives me a headache watching or reading IT presenters, reporters, technologists, entrepreneurs, evangelists, geniuses, or whoever, mention it during keynotes, training sessions, articles, blogposts or interviews. They all seem to have forgotten 'solution and product' selling altogether, and all they now seem to talk about is 'the user experience'. Especially in the market of video gaming. A 60 Billion dollar market annually. The only area in which Microsoft seems to still be doing well, by the way. Who started that 'experience' tsunami, I wouldn't know either. I suspect Apple were instrumental in the adoption of the term. Johnny Ive simply loves to talk about it! You gotta admit it. It sounds quite orgasmic. User experience is all about emotions. The more emotions the better. Emotions, like in casting memories into the human brains, are the kind of thing that ties you firmly to an object and turns you into an addict. 'Experience' is a pretty strong concept! I'd tend to believe that the boys from Gardner definitely had a say in that too. Or they simply sucked it, as usual. And became 'user experience' evangelists, again. As a parenthesis, quite hilarious indeed, I've witnessed many young salesmen selling simple smartphones to plain vanilla technology agnostics in electronics supermarkets or Phone shops, and over(ab)using 'user experience' beyond belief. It's quite funny to see them doing that. They look like anorexics dressed up in XXXL garments. They sort of seem to swim in the wake of their (pretentious) lingo. Especially when selling to cranky geriatrics like myself. Totally unsuspecting, they do their best to overwhelm me and others like me using a sort of rhetoric like: "C'm on grandpa, I'm gonna show you granny's... girl thingie".

Dedicated to all Greek Women.

I recently heard this story I'm about to tell you from a friend living in Greece. The stage: a comfortable and fully equipped living room of a Greek middle class family. The happy owners, in their mid-fifties. The wife, Miranda, is a genuine Master of the house, doing anything it takes to take care of housekeeping and a family with a husband and 2 daughters in their mid twenties, which actually boils down to earn a living, cook for them, wash their undies, care for the family fortune and property(ies), the girls' studies and their future, and all things small and large. The husband, Yanni (half the Greek men are called Yanni), is an earner too, but he's providing far less than the wife, working in a boring public servant job; he worships socialising with alcohol and fags, and of course, what else, he just loves all those tasty Greek meals. He mostly wanders around the house in his boxers' underwear, covered in a dressing gown, loves to zap the TV, and is proud of his sexy 'good' looks. Occasionally, he tries to show-off his iPhone, especially when visitors are around, but, being a total technology agnostic, an internet immigrant as they call them these days, he doesn't even know how to make a simple device 'reboot'.

The day of the story Miranda is busy on a task with a lady friend of hers about an upcoming wedding event. They both seem reasonably busy, planning, arguing, organising. Yanni meanders in circles around the two women like a male bee, and needs strongly to see them both paying attention to him; he's a man after all, the man about the house. He already tried interrupting them to offer his 'help' but they politely turned him down. At one point he utters to the wife: "I feel painfully hungry, Miranda! Honey, why don't you prepare me a plate with some niceties to have a bite?". Can you believe the SOB? However, Miranda leaves her exchanges with her lady friend in the middle of a task, walks to the kitchen, prepares a full plate with delicatessens from the fridge, hands it over to him with a smile, wishes him a 'bon appetit' and walks back to her friend. "You forgot to bring me something to drink", he argues, rather annoyed. With a goodhearted smile, she storms back to the kitchen, grabs an ice cold beer, and she's back and says: "Here you go, my pasha, enjoy it, my darling". "This damn beer is far too cold, sweetie, my teeth are aching", he utters as he takes a sip. "Don't worry, darling" he says next, "you don't have to fetch another one, I don't want to interrupt you, ladies, too often. You seem pretty busy to deal with me, I know. Let me be, in my own misery". Soon afterwards he turns to them with a brand new and ecstatic remark: "Oh, that was good shit; girls, why don't you fix yourselves a plate to have a bite too?". A few minutes go by and he falls asleep in the sofa snoring heavily in front of a muted TV playing the game of the day.

If you are a Greek and read this story, you are like, why the heck this could be a story at all? Where's the problem? That's normal stuff! For those of course, who have been domesticated in the households of Central and Northern Europe, far away from the macho worlds of the countries washed by the Mediterranean, this is definitely a story! First crossing our minds, what's wrong with the dude? Is he paralysed or something? Why can't he walk to the fridge himself, and swallow whatever his heart desires without bothering the spouse and her friend? Why can't he even fix something along for the two busy ladies too? What is this with Greek men expecting to be served by their wives and partners? Who's to blame for these abysmal manners?

This a chronic problem in Greece for as long as I remember. Honest to God, I NEVER saw my dad walking to the fridge and pick- up anything. Even water. I mean, NEVER! EVER! He never prepared anything for us, me and my sister, let alone my mom, to eat or drink either. An apron would be the last thing he'd wear, he used to say. Better starve instead! He wouldn't even ask my mom for food. She knew him inside out, she picked his body language hints I presume, and would serve him like butlers do in TV soaps staged inside Victorian England. I wrongly thought that, as time passed by and Greek women got emancipated, this would have changed. Apparently not. Greek female emancipation seems to be a thing of smoking cigarettes and talking slang with a heavy voice alone. For the rest they are serving like slaves the men of the family, husbands, dads and their sons.

Who's to blame? Who started this? This is the simplest question to answer. It's not the Greek men at all !!! Philotheos Pharos, a preacher like no-one else I heard before, often said that too, as clearly and loudly as possible. And the Greek gifted comedian Lazopoulos as well. He hints and exposes the problem in almost each and every episode of his hilarious 'al tsantiri news'. It's the Greek women who cause all this damage to their men. This behavior eventually turns back on them as an Aussie boomerang. They start by spoiling their boy offsprings, whereas their husbands have already been spoiled previously by their own mommies. Boys are the Greek mothers's 'kanakarides' and pashas, their pride and treasure. They call them boys their 'children' (παιδιά) whereas they call their daughters simply that (κόρες). Girls don't count. Only boys. It's almost worse than in China!

As Pharos claims (and he's quite right too) Greek women turn their male offsprings into notorious arrogant and spoiled prats, and in later life the 'boys' expect to be treated by their wives and girlfriends the same way too. And those incredible Greek women simply accept this fact and just do it. Some of them even feel proud about it! Blimey! The number of times I asked my mom as a teenager to bring me water, regardless whether I was doing something useful or simply lazying off is beyond belief. And the poor thing, would stop whatever she was doing and would just go bring that to me. Would I be angry if she didn't? Probably yes, that is then, but I feel awfully embarrassed about my behavior right now, even as I write this down. Why do Greek moms do this? Why is it any good for? Is that an expression of motherly 'love' and 'care'? What Greek moms consider 'good' for their boy offsprings is a formula for disaster in their men's adult life. And a curse for their respective spouses. As for me, I found out the 'harsh' way. Years later, when I shared an apartment as a college student in Athens, I had the nerve to ask a glass of water to my room mate, another kid couple years older, and he was like "Who TF you think I am? Y'r fokkin' servant?". Yeah, that did the trick! I was shocked and felt ashamed, and I remember, I kinda missed my mom that moment real hard, but, as I said, I learned the savoir vivre pretty damn quick. The rest of my life was spent in an entourage where it's exactly the other way around, where most men are expected to get their 'shit' together and be responsible, meaning, showing some respect to their 'other halves' for their toil in keeping the house and family going. And do their respective parts. The fact that most women work and support the family financially over here in the 'North' for far longer than the case in Greece, might have something to do with this.

So, Greek ladies, lemme give you some wise advice: Stop spoiling them buggers. Apply some elementary to-do's and stop serving your kanakarides, dads, husbands and sons, cause they ain't worth sh!t to be served like pashas. Some practice in preparing their own food and fetching their own drinks won't harm their soft souls and fat ass. If anything, it'll give them some exercise to do and possibly make their lives less of a bore by offering them something else to think about than just sex and booze.