advocate

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 - 7:59pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Tue, 14/02/2017 - 8:02pm in

The glaziers and carpenters have been busy these past few weeks and a new store is taking shape at Coffs Central.

[…]

A leading Australia men's clothing brand, GazMan provides contemporary, casual and business attire for every occasion.

Men's polo shirts, chino pants, denim, knitwear sports jackets and business wear will line the about to be completed display racks.

Wow. Forget I.F. Stone or Seymour Hersch. If I'd just written a piece like this, I would have to consider hanging up my word processor for good. When it comes to local journalism, it really does not get much better than this. At the pinnacle of any profession it's all to easy to rest on one's laurels and say that there's nothing that one cannot do. It takes a special kind of crusading spirit to declare that there's nothing that one will not do.

Monday, 6 February 2017 - 8:23pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Mon, 06/02/2017 - 8:40pm in

Through trial and error Joel overcame a range of food intolerances which lead him to identify a niche in the market. Around one in four Australians suffer a food intolerance of some description and as a solution, Joel has developed a range of fresh, healthy meal choices that not only taste great, but also accommodate a wide range of common food intolerances.

One in four? According to whom? Any even mildly debilitating health problem suffered by 25% of the population is a major public health issue, not something to be solved by plucky food truck entrepreneurs. Actual medical research, as opposed to self-reported conviction, puts the figure at about one-tenth of that (eg. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.2008.03184.x), but let's not permit science to get in the way of a little entrepreneurship.

If you're going to make claims of medical efficacy based on "trial and error" and a sample size of one, why stop at one in four? Why not get into the diagnosis market and make that three in four? Coffs is hardly short of well-to-do cretins desperate to be cured of imaginary ailments.

Give me gluten-free flour, or give me death! I want to take my snake oil as a burger to go. Ooh, and a kale and chipboard smoothy. And a side order of those healing crystals. My spirit guide says they're delicious.

Thursday, 2 February 2017 - 6:07pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Thu, 02/02/2017 - 6:10pm in

THE Real Estate Property Guide team stepped into a suburban oasis this week at Boambee East.

Unrealestate principal and selling agent Kerry Hines said the home is a true escape from the everyday grind.

"It has a central location, close to everything, yet it's almost a private oasis," she said.

"Close to everything"? I've lived in Boambee East and the isolation almost drove me mad. You are close to nothing except mile after mile of Colorbond fencing and hopeless despair. It's the country's largest open-air prison.

Walk the streets of an evening and I guarantee that before long you'll see a miserable middle aged man sitting alone on an upturned milk crate in his garage, listening to his Cold Chisel and Meatloaf records, over and over, and reaching into the carton on the floor beside him for another joyless can of rum and coke.

You'll also see the occasional old man or woman grimly pushing a walking frame down the middle of the road, because there are no footpaths, and in any case the grass verge is full of cars; the tiny prefab half-block houses necessitate using the garage as living space, and four or five car households are the average, because walking or public transport are out of the question, despite being so wonderfully "close to everything".

Kick the juice bottle bongs, empty opioid packs, and petrol cans out of your way, make sure the guy unconscious in a pool of urine is still breathing, and within an hour or two you'll get to the nearest pub. Recent renovations can't hide the fact that it's basically a livestock shed, optimised for slopping out rather than ambiance. In any case by the time you get there, they'll be stacking chairs and locking up.

So yes, a social, cultural, and intellectual desert is the perfect spot for a suburban oasis. Enjoy!

Friday, 27 January 2017 - 9:56pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Fri, 27/01/2017 - 10:17pm in

My heart has been rent in twain by the gross injustice of a hard-working entrepreneur defamed over nothing more than a good old-fashioned lockout. The poor man has written to our local MP:

You have helped the workers by helping the company obtain a supervised repayment plan for the superannuation and taxes due to the ATO. Your assistance gave the company a chance to recover and for the workers to keep their jobs.

These two gentlemen tirelessly give, and give, and give, by… erm… not giving. But honestly, what employee would be so churlish as to refuse an extension of their Christmas holiday to February? Especially if about half of it might have been paid for.

The company has paid all wages through to 18 January 2017. This has been allocated and is being processed. The Australia day public holiday has delayed these payments being processed.

I am dismayed that a tiny contingent of Trotskyite entryists (they're everywhere, I tell you!) and chardonnay-sipping elitists in the press have dragged the reputation of this thriving concern through the mud - after everything that Mr Van Vliet and Mr Hartsukyer MP have done for the workers and their community.

Picture the day a delegation of grimy but loyal workers visited Mr Van Vliet's office in Malaysia, wringing their flat caps and begging "We just can't in all good conscience accept any more superannuation payment after all what you done for us. It's a crime that a gent like y'self should have to pay tax, an' all. Please go see Mr Hartsuyker, for we hear he's a kind man with a heart open to the struggles of the multinational CEO. There's no shame in that, sir!"

What nobody seems to realise is that it's not only Mr Van Vliet; there's a whole parent company with (according to Bloomberg) a whopping eight employees, ranging from himself all the way down to the lowliest Vice President. Just imagine them, weeping into their hotel pillows, and explaining to their professional companion for the evening how powerless they are in the face of the Australia Day public holiday!

I suggest the workers, duly chastened, should have a whip round and post a money order to Renewable Fuel Corp's Las Vegas mailing address. Include a note instructing Mr Van Vliet to go down the road and put it all on black. The first rule of the entrepreneur is never gamble with your own money.

Update 30/1/2017: Voluntary liquidation. You could have knocked me down with a feather.

Sunday, 25 December 2016 - 12:51am

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 25/12/2016 - 12:52am in

Great. Sleigh-people entering our homeland, radicalising our young with their degenerate something-for-nothing culture.

When I was young, our parents would crucify us at Easter - not all the way of course, and we'd had our tetanus jabs. But that principal of making an investment of excruciating pain, and often permanent maiming, to earn the right to eventual Christmas gifts of subscriptions to the Economist or the Financial Times, made us all appreciate the exchange value of our personal misery.

It's time to turn back the sleighs, and crack down on the Christmas cheats. Those children need to know that they enter the world in debt, and must spend an otherwise meaningless lifetime paying it back. That is the economically sustainable Christmas message.

Monday, 12 December 2016 - 6:29pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Mon, 12/12/2016 - 6:36pm in

Airport a leading regional air hub
COFFS Harbour Regional Airport has reached another significant milestone.

Funny. I was there just yesterday thinking "This place is a hub. A total, complete, and utter regional hub." I suppose I was being processed at the time, though I couldn't tell if it was during a peak period. I expect it's tricky identifying a peak in a subdued environment. Are there any particular signs we should look out for?

I'm glad there was a specific strategy involving the development of detailed proposals and extensive negotiations, resulting in outcomes. I have just a few trifling details that could perhaps be cleared up: what was done, by whom, and what were the consequences?

Also welcome are the current works that will be completed, but I think some future works may also be in order. I'm no expert, but I don't like the sound of projecting growths. Sound like precisely the sort of thing you don't want, especially in a peak period. Could have somebody's eye out. Or trip up a small boy, resulting in a grazed knee, miles from the nearest bottle of Dettol. Mind you, he might be consoled by the splendid parking facilities, so it's not all bad news.

Monday, 12 December 2016 - 9:24am

Published by Matthew Davidson on Mon, 12/12/2016 - 9:32am in

THOUSANDS of Australians are turning down jobs so they can live on Centrelink, as workers turn up their nose at physical jobs like picking fruit.

Some regions, including Coffs Harbour in New South Wales are even accused of having just as many on welfare as in actual employment, according to Human Services Minister Alan Tudge.

It's all very well to blame the disadvantaged for society's ills (for this is indeed important and valuable work), but where is the reward for the industrious journalist who put this piece together? There is no byline on this article! It must have taken literally minutes to copy and paste, then strip away any remaining scraps of relevant context. It's no surprise to anybody familiar with the Advocate that work of this quality constitutes an "editor's pick", so where is the recognition for its "author"?

I'm sure that everybody in our community who has ever had the pleasure of dealing with Centrelink will want to personally congratulate this hard-working sleuth for blowing apart popular misconceptions, and finally exposing the cushy ride that is the life of a welfare recipient.

In the face of this shining example of how much one can contribute to society through dogged diligence, a lot of our local idlers will today quit turning up their noses to instead hang their heads. You deserve the moral high ground Advocrats! We can all see exactly how hard you work!

Thursday, 1 December 2016 - 3:56pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Thu, 01/12/2016 - 3:58pm in

This week Country Rugby League announced plans to scrap the current model and replace it with an Under-23s competition.  It means the chance to represent the Northern Rivers or North Coast is effectively finished for anyone over the age of 23.

I just… I don't know how one can recover from a shock like this. So much of the North Coast culture is built around the tradition of short fat men with broken noses, cauliflower ears, and no necks groping each other in the middle of a muddy field.

From an early age I was cursed with being tall and good-looking. So I was left on the sidelines, fending off a barrage of advances from attractive women, wishing that I too could one day fully appreciate the smell of male armpits and the endless comic potential of drunken cross-dressing.

Pushing people in their prime out of ritualised violence is just a gift to the reading and thinking lobbies, who will be glad to sink their claws into these vulnerable young men. We can't let them destroy our cherished way of life. How will our health care industry survive without a steady stream of knee injuries?

Thursday, 3 November 2016 - 8:35pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Thu, 03/11/2016 - 8:38pm in

Fifteen Key Employment clients have been given the opportunity to complete a certificate II in Horticulture.

The TAFE course has been designed to help clients gain skills, increasing their chances to find work in the Woolgoolga area.

Horticulture? Surely the skills with the highest payoff are those necessary to be a Job Services provider. Add an unemployed person to your books: ka-ching! Give them some perfunctory training: ka-ching! Breach them for some trivial failure of "compliance": ka-ching! Take credit when they get themselves a job: ka-ching! Get them back on your books again when they're illegally sacked: ka-ching!

Actually, I take it back. There are no skills required in order to profit from human misery. Learning to move dirt around is probably more socially useful, or at least not actively harmful.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016 - 1:12pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Tue, 01/11/2016 - 2:00pm in

COFFS Harbour company Janison has today launched a cloud-based enterprise learning solution, developed over several years working with organisations such as Westpac and Rio Tinto.

Really? In 2016 businesses are supposed to believe that a corporate MOOC (Massively Open Online Course; a misnomer from day one) will do for them what MOOC's didn't do for higher education? There are two issues here: quality and dependability.

In 2012, the "year of the MOOC", the ed-tech world was full of breathless excitement over a vision of higher education consisting of a handful of "superprofessors" recording lectures that would be seen by millions of students, with the rest of the functions of the university automated away. There was just one snag, noticed by MOOC pioneer, superprofessor, and founder of Udacity Sebastian Thrun. "We were on the front pages of newspapers and magazines, and at the same time, I was realizing, we don't educate people as others wished, or as I wished. We have a lousy product," he said. That is not to say that there isn't a market for lousy products. As the president of San Jose State University cheerfully admitted of their own MOOC program, "It could not be worse than what we do face to face." It's not hard to imagine a certain class of institution happy to rip off their students by outsourcing their instruction to a tech firm, but harder to see why a business would want to rip themselves off on an inferior mode of training. Technology-intensive modes of learning work best among tech-savvy, self-modivated learners, so-called "roaming autodidacts". Ask yourself how many of your employees fit into that category; they are a very small minority among the general population.

The other problem is gambling on a product that depends on multiple platforms which reside in the hands of multiple vendors, completely beyond your own control. The longevity of these vendors is not guaranteed, and application development platforms are discontinued on a regular basis. Sticking with large, successful, reputable vendors is no guarantee; Google, for instance, is notorious for euthanising their "Software-as-a-Service" (SaaS) offerings on a regular basis, regardless of the fanfare with which they were launched. You may be willing to trade quality for affordability in the short term, but future migration costs are a matter of "when", not "if".

Pages