Water Cooler Conversation

It’s only my second day in the office here at FT Adjusting and I’ve already developed a slight attachment to the water cooler in the corner of the office. Like the animals in the African savanna, us office-dwellers have long been drawn to the nearest water source for refreshment, particularly when the air conditioning has been overworked in the heat of the Aussie summer.

Elephants

Image: pexels.com

For many years conversation around the water cooler was the perfect opportunity to ponder life’s unanswerable questions (like why on earth did Apple remove the headphone jack?) but with the rise of social media the office bulletin boards have been reduced to measly 140 character tweets.

And with the rise in social media use in the office, reports Insurance Business, comes a higher risk of cyber breaches in the workplace. Insurance Business believes that human error is one of the most common causes of cyber breaches. Yikes.

With mandatory breach notifications recently passing through Parliament, Lennon* noted that he expects to see the cyber insurance market continue its growth over the course of 2017 as businesses learn that cyber risk is an issue that reaches far beyond the IT department.

With this prediction we can expect to see even more ridiculously complicated password requirements. So stay hydrated, folks, maybe the water cooler isn’t so old school after all.

*Nick Lennon, country manager at cyber security firm Mimecast.

Words by Skye Jamieson

Ich möchte mich kurz vorstellen!

After spending one year studying abroad in Cologne, Germany, and after much travelling and beer drinking, I have made the difficult decision to come back to the real world of offices and paperwork as the new social media manager at FT Adjusting!

Very much looking forward to sharing with you all my love of pizza parties and eccentric ramblings: but here’s hoping that such an extended period of time living amongst Germans hasn’t dulled my sense of humour.

German Trumpet

Image: Pixabay.com

Ich möchte mich kurz vorstellen – I’d like to quickly introduce myself! I’m currently completing a Bachelor of Communications and International Studies; I have recently rediscovered my love for all things Vegemite and am entirely obsessed with Border Collie puppies.

I would like to thank the team at FT Adjusting for their warm welcome and am looking forward to what’s next. I would also like to say a big thank you to Jenny and we wish her every success in her future endeavours!

Words by Skye Jamieson

Food Glorious Food

It’s no secret that, here at FT Adjusting, we love our food.

My office always smells like something edible (a consequence of working near the microwave). Monthly pizza lunches are observed as religiously as the Ten Commandments. We are still working our way through the Chinese New Year leftovers crowding our tea/coffee station. And speaking of Commandments, I’m pretty sure keeping those Tim Tam lookalikes stocked is one of them.

Coffee and macarons

Image: pexels.com

Now, I came across a transcript from a recent interview with Shankar Vedantam, a social science correspondent for NPR (National Public Radio). He was talking about how people often eat the same food when they eat together, and described a series of experiments run by Ayelet Fishbach and Kaitlin Woolley from the University of Chicago. Fishbach’s thesis was that:

Food is about bringing something into the body. And to eat the same food suggests that we are both willing to bring the same thing into our bodies. People just feel closer to people who are eating the same food as they do. And then trust, cooperation, these are just consequences of feeling close to someone.

PIZZA!

Image: pexels.com

So she and Woolley tested the effects of eating certain foods when people were together. In one experiment, volunteers played the role of managers and union reps agreeing on an hourly wage. Pairs were given either sweet or savoury snacks, and when they ate the same kind of food, they reached an agreement much faster than when one person ate sweet and the other savoury.

It might be unconscious, but it seems like food (specifically, eating the same food as someone else) plays a key role in promoting trust and cooperation between people. And frankly, I have no shame using that as justification for our ongoing pizza parties.

…not that we needed much justification for those in the first place.

Words by Jenny Ryan

RIP IT

Today has NOT been a good day for my computer. It’s rebooted itself five times in the last four hours, and the only indication I have of something being wrong is a wildly unhelpful “:(“ face. Because when you’re panicking about losing your work – and your mind, given how frequent this nonsense is – the “:(“ face is the ultimate reassurance.

Sarcasm aside, tech problems are pretty rotten, both to experience and to try and resolve. Geoffrey is our de facto IT guru, which means that he regularly gets dragged away from his work by people like me who provide vague descriptions and then expect precise problem solving. I am exaggerating my level of tech illiteracy, but the daily struggle of the truly IT impaired is all too real.

Teapot pouring water on laptop

Image: pexels.com

If you’ve ever felt like a bit of a klutz when it comes to computers, just read through these help desk stories from Spiceworks:

  1. I was walking through an office one day and a user said to me, “At last! It’s taken you long enough. I pressed F1 (help button) over 2 hours ago!”
  2. I got a call about a monitor not working. When going through the standard debugging steps, user said there were no lights, he could not find the power button, etc. Then I ask, “Is there actually a monitor on the desk?” and answer was, “No.” Someone had moved it.
  3. One of my favourite repeating requests is, “I can’t remember my email password. Please email me a new password.”
  4. Call from user: “my PC is screaming at me.” Found out the computer was beeping because the keyboard tray was holding several buttons down.
F1 HELP!

Image: freestockphotos.biz

And for the grand finale:

Person entering data on a floppy disk was told that she had to make a copy at the end of every day to provide a backup. About six months later, the disk became corrupt; so the technician asked if she had the copies. She opened a filing cabinet drawer and pulled out a stack of paper; on every sheet was a photocopy of the disk.

So rest assured that, even at your worst, you’ll never be in quite these dire straits!

Words by Jenny Ryan

Technical Difficulties

You may have noticed (or not – who am I to assume?) that there was no blog post on Wednesday. Well, friends, that’s because I ran into what you might call ‘technical difficulties’.

These past couple of weeks have not been kind to FTA’s social media. For one thing, I’ve been spending a good deal of time learning how to perform administrative duties around the office, and it’s hard to write blogs when you’re neck-deep in invoices.

Sorry, no Internet today

Image: linkedin.com

And for another thing, Twitter and LinkedIn have been playing functional tag with each other – as soon as I resuscitate one, the other grabs its chest, keels over and dies! You can’t manage social media if you can’t even log in to your accounts.

So it was that I found myself on Tuesday afternoon, with nothing to my name but a headache from all the hair-pulling and death-staring.

Things to do when your WiFi is down (infographic)

Image: pinterest.com

Thankfully, however (and barring any unfortunate relapses), things seem to be getting back to normal. Twitter is behaving itself (at least for now), and as for LinkedIn… well, even if I can’t get it to work simultaneously with Twitter, I can at least get it to work on a different machine. Good news for the blogosphere, even if it’s temporarily inconvenient for me.

In the world of technology, you win some and you lose some. As Clive James said:

It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are.

Words by Jenny Ryan

Get an Earful

And now for something completely different!

Here on the blog, we tackle the big issues, like alien abduction insurance. So today I’ve decided to speak to you about a very important topic: advertising!

Before you run screaming for the hills, fear not! I’m not about to spruik some random product. It just so happens that, in my search for insurance-y news this morning, I came across this article on News.com.au talking about a recent TV ad by AAMI (see? Insurance-y). And boy, it has caused something of a stir.

Recorder girl

Image: news.com.au

The ad featured a couple with a broken down car and a daughter armed with the one thing no child should ever be allowed to grasp: a recorder. The shrill shriek of this instrument, as played by most youths, is usually enough to send people sprinting for the aforementioned hills. And, originally, the recorder in this ad was no exception. I remember seeing it on TV myself and having flashbacks to high school classes conducted near music rooms, where the Year 7s were learning to play. Lord – the memory is still raw.

Unfortunately, what was probably intended to be a funny addition simply ended up annoying people. Following customer feedback (and suggestions that the ad team be retrenched – woah), AAMI replaced the audio with something a little more pleasing to the ear.

Blocking ears

Image: pqmonthly.com

Apparently, the problem wasn’t just that the recorder was grating on people’s nerves; it was, according to one consumer, troublesome for hearing aid wearers and migraine sufferers. This begs the question: how much foresight should advertisers exercise? Those of us who don’t suffer migraines or wear hearing aids never have to worry about them. But if we’re making stuff for people who do, should we make it our business to worry, too? Or is it impossible to plan for everything?

Several questions, no easy answers. I must say, this blog took a slightly more serious turn than I was expecting. I guess we do tackle the big issues here – or at least the moderately-sized ones, anyway.

Words by Jenny Ryan

I’m Not Saying It Was Aliens…

…do I really need to finish the meme?

'It was aliens' meme

Image: archiveofourown.org

Monday was the 4th of July, and you know what that means: it was Independence Day for our American friends! I took the opportunity to make what I’m sure was an incredibly witty and completely original joke on Twitter, referencing the 1996 film of the same name (because I know squat about the 2016 sequel):

But wait, dear citizens! Should we really be joking about this? Shouldn’t we be just a little more concerned that maybe – just maybe – aliens are coming for us? Don’t we need to prepare ourselves for that possibility?!

If you answered ‘no’, ‘yes’ and ‘heck yes!’ to the above questions, in that order, then boy, do I have the insurance for you! That’s right, folks, I’m talking about alien abduction insurance: ‘the perfect policy for anyone who thinks they have everything covered’!

Men in Black

Image: giphy.com

Brought to you by Florida’s time-honoured UFO Abduction Insurance Company, alien abduction insurance offers $10 million coverage for – here’s the kicker – one payment of $9.95 (that’s US dollars)! What a steal! That’s by email, though; by post, it’s an extra ten bucks. But that’s beside the point.

Naturally, you need to be able to prove that you’ve been physically removed from our planet. Naturally. But since 1987, over five thousand people have bought policies, and a handful of those have secured payouts! That’s a whole one dollar a year for ten million years! I mean, what’s not to love?!

As always, folks, remember that this blog does not dispense professional advice.

Really. Truly. Seriously.

Deneuralizer

Image: giphy.com

Words by Jenny Ryan

Doughnut Holes

Today is a momentous occasion for three reasons:

  1. I’ve been typing away behind the scenes for a whole month. Happy anniversary to us!
  2. After some trial and error, I finally learned how to Tweet GIFs – go see them for yourselves.
  3. It’s National Doughnut Day!

Yes, you read that correctly: National Doughnut Day. It’s the deep-fried treat that can’t be beat. Whether you prefer churros or loukoumathes, icing or sprinkles, filled or unfilled, what’s not to love? But alas, this is not a doughnut appreciation blog. We must exercise some self-control in the face of precious food.

Lord of the Doughnuts

Image: b3ta.com

Luckily for us, I’ve found a loophole! Ever heard of the ‘doughnut hole’? Outside the obvious context, that is.

Basically, Medicare plans in the US have a feature (Part D) that subsidises their prescription drugs. Now, these subsidies only account for so much, so eventually customers have to pay the remaining costs up to a yearly limit (at which point the plan kicks in again). But it’s that gap that the plan doesn’t cover that’s relevant to us. Because what’s it called?

That’s right. The doughnut hole.

If you weren’t already beforehand, you are now enlightened. And probably hungry, too. Such serious matters really shouldn’t sound so delicious.

Drizzling doughnuts

Image: giphy.com

Words by Jenny Ryan

An Unfamiliar Face

It’s the first Friday of the month, the sun is shining and winter is (probably not) coming – new beginnings are in the air! Today we say so long and farewell to the spectacular blogging styles of our social media manager, Natalie, to welcome an unfamiliar face: mine.

#SAYWHAAAT

Image: ftvlive.com

(It’s not this face, though – that may or may not come as a relief to you.)

Yes, there’s a new kid on the block, and she’s hoping her Google skills and love of Tim Tams will be enough to make this an easy transition. She’ll also stop referring to herself in the third person starting from now. I think that will be best for everyone (ah, yes, much better).

We wish Nat the very best of luck as she moves into future endeavours – we know you’ll do a fabulous job and are very proud to have had you with us.

As for what’s next for us – well, just watch this space. I’ve got some big shoes to fill, but I hope you’ll enjoy what I bring to the table.

Words by Jenny Ryan

FTA Investigates: Weather

There’s a lot of talk about the weather. And it’s more than just your standard idling-by-the-watercooler talk. I mean serious business talk.

Whether you’re yay or nay climate change science, it’s undeniable that something’s a bit off lately.

We’re in autumn now, but we’re sweating like it’s Christmas shopping season and there’s a nationwide shortage of antiperspirant.

In fact, Sydney is currently sweltering through thirty-three consecutive days above 26°C, and it’s expected to continue for another week.

CFyrJ0gWYAAQ3U3

Severe storms and hail are common in this sort of weather, since storms are caused by heavy moisture and rapidly rising warm air.

Hail is usually formed in an unstable air mass, and is produced by thunderstorms with strong, tilted updrafts.

A common trait of both weather events is the extensive damage which ensues, both in terms of flash flooding and property destruction.

It is estimated that severe storms have caused nearly $15 billion in insured losses and $25 billion in direct economic loss (statistics courtesy of Insurance News).

Words by Natalie Shoebridge