Tag Archives: apple

An Informal Study of Australian Click and Collect Services

Click and Collect services have been increasing in popularity over the last couple of years with the vast majority of major bricks and mortar based retailers in Australia now offering a click and collect service when purchasing through their website. This service offers a way to utilise existing stores and logistics networks to distribute online orders that can vastly improve the customer experience, offering an advantage over online only stores that can help to garner positive customer relationships and brand loyalty.
The risk though is that if it is not handled well it can also have the complete opposite effect, turning customers off your brand altogether.
After all, the term “click and collect” suggests one thing, click online and place your order then collect it in store at your convenience. The term does not offer any indication of waiting or delay. So it creates an expectation of freedom to collect at your convenience, which could be 5 minutes or 5 days after placing the order. Obviously some semblance of reason has to come into play. We all know there is some delay to the internet, even an email can sometimes take 5 minutes to get from me to you and then there is the time for a store representative to pick the order and place it at a collection point. Nevertheless, the internet has also created an expectation of immediacy. What does that mean for the customer experience?

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Leadership in IT

In this brief article I will have a look at the types of leadership found in some major information technology companies and what impact it has had.

Transformational leadership and its impact on organisations has been studied in depth and has been found to be a key driver behind innovation with leaders of large IT companies such as Lou Gerstner of IBM cited as examples (Jung, Wu, & Chow, 2008, p. 582). The hands-on direct connection of leaders within IT companies, such as Bill Gates of Microsoft and Michael Dell of Dell Computers has resulted in employees in the 21st century wanting an immediate relationship with their leader before giving their full commitment to their work (George, 2004, p. 34). George has defined this as being an authentic leader, a leader who is able to build a trust-based relationship with people in their organisation. It’s suggested that this relationship with followers garners from them a “deeper commitment to their work and greater loyalty to the company” (George, 2004, p. 34). Hartley has described the leadership style of Microsoft’s incumbent CEO, Steve Ballmer, and Dell’s Michael Dell; which, as a result of their organisational strategies, fits in closely with the definition of transactional leaders (2006, p. 283). Michael Dell has further been described as one willing to “sacrifice his own interests for the good of the organisation” (Hartley, 2006, p.283) also puts him into the transformational category. These leaders have been described as able to separate their managerial ability from their technical knowledge so that they can allow their followers to effectively join in the leadership role as appropriate and participate. In doing this, these leaders have enabled their followers to take ownership of their roles and generate positive outcomes.

Photo by Greenbay
Photo by Greenbay

Utilising a completely different leadership style, Steven Jobs of Apple Computers prior to his removal and reinstatement at the company, has been described as a visionary and proselytizer (Westley & Mintzberg, 1989, p. 23) who pushed the design of computers to be light and trim so they would not scare the infant market. Steven Jobs is referred to as an evangelist for the future potential of his products with an uncompromising idea about what his company should be (p. 25). Westley & Mintzberg have shared the suggestion that this unwavering stance not only built the company but also led to his removal from it. This is a clear example of the organisational lifecycle that was described by Ogbonna and Harris (2000, p. 771) where the leadership style has influenced the organisational culture but when the lifecycle has reached the point where the culture has come back to influence the leadership style, it would not be redefined. This idealism and perfectionism contributed to the culture, but limited his leadership and caused low morale among employees (Westley & Mintzberg, 1989, p. 25). Ahmed suggests that the leadership failed prior to Steven Jobs removal from the company, as it was not focused on creating an environment that could innovate (1998, p. 42), in other words, it was not a transformational style of leadership. Rather it could be described as an outcome oriented directive leadership style that manifested negatively in this IT company.

References

Ahmed P. K. (1998). Culture and climate for innovation. European Journal of Innovation Management, 1(1), 30-43. doi: 10.1108/14601069810199131

George, B. (2004). The journey to authenticity. Leader to Leader, 2004(31), 29-35. Retrieved from http://www.leadertoleaderjournal.com/

Hartley N. T. (2006). Management history: An umbrella model. Journal of Management History 12(3), 278-292. doi: 10.1108/17511340610670188

Jung D., Wu A., & Chow C. W. (2008). Towards understanding the direct and indirect effects of CEOs’ transformational leadership on firm innovation. The Leadership Quarterly, 19(5), 582-594. Retrieved from http://www.journals.elsevier.com/the-leadership-quarterly/

Ogbonna, E., & Harris L. C. (2000). Leadership style, organizational culture and performance: empirical evidence from UK companies. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 11(4), 766-788. doi: 10.1080/09585190050075114

Westley F., & Mintzberg H. (1989). Visionary leadership and strategic management. Strategic Management Journal, 10(1), 17-32. Retrieved from http://smj.strategicmanagement.net/

My Work Area

Over at Onextrapixel they have just done a showcase of the work areas of 88 designers. I was invited to include my work area, however, it was Good Friday that I received the invitation and being the Easter long weekend, I didn’t really get my act together in time. However, since I took a photo anyway, I figured I might as well put it up here.

My primary work area:

My Work Area
Where most of it happens.

Most of the work areas shown on Onextrapixel seem to me to have been tidied up before hand, this is mine though, how it is 90% of the time. I do every few weeks have a tidy up, but for the most part this is it, filing and everything.

The machines you see are as follows:

Macbook Pro

This goes everywhere with me and probably gets more use than the workstations! I love it and it is great for most purposes. It is a 15″ Unibody Macbook Pro with an Intel 2.4ghz Core 2 Duo and 4gb of RAM.

Mac Pro

My favourite machine of the lot and now my primary workstation, this is a beautiful computer to work on. It is an 8 core machine with 2x 2.8ghz Intel Xeon CPU’s with 8gb of ECC Registered Memory. The screen I’m using for it is a 23″ Samsung (beautiful screen).

This is the beast that does all the heavy lifting. All the big graphics jobs are done on this machine. It also has a Logitech Di Novo Keyboard for Mac (much nicer than the standard Apple wireless keyboards and feels a lot like the Macbook Pro keyboards) and Apple Magic Mouse (multi-touch for a desktop computer = awesome), so it’s just like using a Macbook Pro, but with more power than you know what to do with.

Windows 7

The third computer you see is my old workstation which is now running Windows 7. I haven’t gotten rid of it yet simply because it is still a nice computer. It’s running a 2.4ghz Intel Core 2 Quad (Q6600 from memory) with 4gb of RAM, so it is still quite fast, even faster now with Windows 7. It’s complimented with dual 19″ Samsung LCDs.

I use it primarily for email management and testing on Windows. I do run Windows virtual machines on both my Mac’s, but sometimes it’s just quicker and easier to use this computer. It is also where most of the games are played (when I occasionally have time to play them).

What else is there?

Hidden in the recesses under the desk is also a Thecus N4100Pro NAS which handles data and most of the backups for all the computers. You’ll also see I have lots of filing and an Epson Multi-Function Printer. I did have a whiteboard, but I honestly don’t know where it is. I put it somewhere before I went on holidays over Christmas. It’s now MIA. Kicking around on the desk somewhere is an 8 port Ethernet switch, 4 port Ethernet Gateway and an Airport Express. There are cables everywhere beneath the desk – it’s a bit of a nightmare, especially considering there is also a NAS and a few UPS’s down there!

So that’s pretty much it, my work area. Ideally I want to put in another desk and move the Mac Pro to it and set it up with a better drawing space. As you can see my current drawing area is fairly limited and requires me to move keyboards before I can do any drawing.

I do have to admit, I like the idea of a minimalist style workspace, but there is just no chance of it happening, there is just too much that has to go somewhere in my work area!

Where else do I work?

One of my favourite places to work is actually on the sofa on my upstairs balcony. I love it up there. I take the laptop up there for a few hours at least once a day. It’s an excellent change of pace and results in some excellent design ideas. I’m thinking about starting a YouTube channel for TerraMedia which will probably be filmed on my balcony.

What do I do with all those computers?

As you may know, I am primarily a web designer. I own TerraMedia, a web design and development business where I specialise in Drupal websites and Drupal theming. My clients include small, sole trader businesses such as myself through to medium sized companies and online enterprises including e-commerce websites and online communities.

You can find me on Twitter at the following accounts:

Or you can find my on my other websites at:

Applying Patches to Drupal or Modules on Mac OS X

I’ve had to run a number of patches to Drupal modules before, and I’ve always done them on my Windows machine simply because that is what has the most instructions available to do so. At the moment though I am away on holidays and only have my Macbook Pro, so when I needed to run a patch I debated going to the effort of doing it through a Windows virtual machine that isn’t set up for it, or set up Eclipse and run it through their software. After much debating, I decided to look up the instructions again and see if there was a recommendation. While I was hunting around, I noticed two very, very useful things:

  1. Apple’s Xcode suite allows you to run Drupal patches.
  2. You can patch files using the OS X terminal without any need to install special software such as what I needed to do to run patches through the Windows Command Prompt. You don’t even need to have Xcode installed!

I already have Apple Xcode, as does every Mac user (if they choose to install it from their OS X disc), so that seemed like it would potentially be the easiest option, then I saw the instructions to patch a Drupal module using the OS X Terminal. It is so easy I can’t believe I didn’t start patching on my Mac sooner!

The process to patch a Drupal module on Mac

  1. Place both the original module file and the patch in the same folder.
  2. Make sure that they have the same name, with different extensions, so you would need my_module.patch and my_module.module.
  3. Open up the Terminal application. Either search for Terminal in Spotlight, or go to Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
  4. Navigate to the folder containing your files using the Terminal cd command. By default Terminal will start in your user directory, so if your files are in a folder called patch/my_module inside your user directory, you would type: cd patch/my_module. A little trick here to save yourself some trouble is just type cd and then drag the folder into the Terminal window. OS X will auto-fill the folder path for you.
  5. Run the patch using the patch command: patch < my_module.patch

That’s it! Simple as that.

If you would like to take a back up of the original patch file, type: patch -b < my_module.patch and a backup file will be created for you entitled my_module.module.orig

If you are patching Drupal core, the process is slightly different, you need to use the -p0 attribute to stop patch from asking you what file to patch, so you would do this as: patch -p0 < my_module.patch

Those are probably the main things you’ll use, but for more information, here are some other references:

One other thing to note is that if your .patch and .module files don’t have the same name, then Terminal does sometimes have issues with it. I’m not sure why exactly.

Hope that helps! If you’ve got any other tips for patching on OS X I’d love to hear them!