What your girlfriend can teach you about online communication

“Chat?  That is for my teenage daughter!”  Yeah, right.  Only while you are busy pretending to be serious, she and her entire generation are learning communication skills you need to work on.  Some best practices to think about:

  1. It is easier!  From a scientific point of view it is well established that we use much less energy processing computer related situations than we do with face to face interactions.  You don’t need to constantly scan eyes, body language and all those other non verbal cues which are brains are optimized to scan through thousands of years of evolution.  Everyone keeps harping on about “stop emailing, get face to face!” but there are many situations which demand reversing that thought.
  2. Urgency indicators.  The great thing about modern technology is that you can, if you want, decide when to respond.  This goes for chat too.  As long as you let it.    Most people have a mental map of how urgent each channel is.   “Email for slow things, guess he will respond today or tomorrow maybe; Facebook chat for the quickies, if he is online, he should write back briefly immediately;  SMS for urgent, telephone for really urgent stuff.”   Make sure you are clear everyone knows how you prioritize them.
  3. Sort of not synchronous communication.  Telephone is live, immediate.  Email is not.   That sort of dichotomy however melts away if you think of a Skype call.  You might send a message like “is this a good time?” and then ten minutes later actually do the video part.   Or maybe some parts of the meeting will involve exchanging documents in the chat window and discussing them.
  4. Emoticons.    Do you know why there are so many?  Because we need them!  They are the fastest way to recover from a written statement which may be misinterpreted.  Emoji, Kimoji, whateveroji away.  You can put across emotional support instantly when you need it.  There is more diplomacy or even cunning power games in a well placed smiley than you could get through three paragraphs of artful writing.  In terms of filling in for physical presence they can help with body language, intonation, facial expressions or even alluding to touch.
  5. Devil in the details.  In terms of the girlfriend analogy of the title, this is the equivalent to a couple trying out news things.  Go to a different restaurant, pick an unusual holiday style.  Same with online chat.  I noticed today that in Viber you can change the background of the chat window.   Before you say “oh, just a silly gimmick!” try it out.  It changes your mood dramatically.  In fact every single messaging technology I have tried over the past decades feels different.  It puts you in a different mood.  Always try it first before dismissing it because some of the differences are very hard to explain.

I could add many other big or small items on my list, some would seem silly in a business context.  But they are important.  And much like any other communication, whether it is with your girlfriend or your boss, it is all about picking the right channel and the right time.

Don’t think about it.  Try it out.

Facebook screws up on the international business etiquette

“Right now you may only reach 16% of your fans each week.  Reach Generator guarantees that you reach 75% of your fans…”   This is Facebook’s grand plan to show us they know how to make money?  Instead of “connecting people” or “helping us share with the people we love”…  Facebook is openly admitting to allowing advertisers the right to dominate our timelines!

The idea is of course nothing new.   It’s just advertising.   Google has been taking money to tweak search results, make items disappear from autocompletion and promote certain results for years.   But they don’t tell everyone about it!   Not even pretty high ranking Google executives know the whole picture regarding what you can make disappear from Google if you have enough money.   Only people and companies with…well, enough money, know that sort of thing.

It could be some twisted campaign to show that Facebook is opening up regarding privacy.   But no.   This is just inexperience of global corporate rules.     Worse still they are testing out a similar thing for consumers as the “highlight you want to be sure your friends see”.  If I am going to pay 2 New Zealand dollars for that luxury, I might as well make my own website Mark!   People already distrust Facebook big time (not so much Google).

This is not the way to beat Google.  Take a page out of Apple’s book instead.   You don’t like Android?   Go out and buy 2-3 mapping companies and produce a spectacular rival to Google Maps for starters.   Buy a company and throw in a free Siri for people to start relying on that instead of Google search.   Give us freebies so that we use your service.

But maintain appearances please!

A scientific exploration of why ouzo gets mirky with water

Spectroscopy at the service of your cocktail!

Here is the short version as I understand it: put the water first and then the ice.  Depending on how much alcohol the ouzo has it will react differently to extreme cooling.  Don’t overdo it cooling this drink because you then kill the aroma.

And here is the long version:

“Anethole is a rather nonpolar compound. The solubility of the ancthole contained in the Greek liqueur Ouzo is in a range in which the compound crystallizes out in the deep cold whereas it is still soluble in the beverage at room temperature. This effect can easily be observed in a Greek restaurant. When Ouzo is served as a well-chilled aperitif it appears cloudy due to precipitated ancthole crystals. On standing and warming, the cloudiness disappears by dissolution of ancthole in the aqueous ethanoL There is no other

Looks to me like the scientists had one too many ouzos!

flavour component in Ouzo which undergoes this change. Therefore, it can be used for a simple selective separation of ancthole just by filtration of the cold liqueur. However, it should be kept in mind that ancthole has a rather low melting point of 22 °C\ This has to be taken into consideration during any separation operations. All equipment used for filtration h3s to be precooled to avoid loss of ancthole by liquefaction.

It is not to recommend to cool the liqueur still more than described here because then water ice also begins to crystallize. If you cool several brands of Ouzo you will find that the degree of crystallization of ancthole is different, which gives a hint about its varying content in the liqueur.

3.2  Method

Λ 500 ml volume of Greek liqueur Ouzois allowed to cool in a deep freezer at -20 °C overnight. The viscosity of the solution increases. Anethole crystallizes in the form of colourless leaflets, A sintered glass filter funnel is precooled in the same freezer and used for the filtration operation. The Ouzo is filtered by suction, which requires 30 min because the glass filter easily tends to become blocked by the ancthole crystals. To avoid this, it is to recommended to scrape of] the material from the filler surface occasionally by means of a pre-eoolcd spatula. During filtration, the temperature at the funnel should not rise above -12 °t.   Finally, a colourless crystalline mass (300 mg) is scraped out of the sintered glass filler funnel, put into a glass vial and immediately evacuated with an oil pump at 20 Pa and 15 °C to remove traces of water and ethanol Colourless crystals of pure anethole (150 mg) remain in the vial, which, depending on the storage temperature, can be kept as a solid or a liquid.”

Ouzo drinking etiquette

A few things you need to know about how to enjoy ouzo from this great article:

“Here is some ouzo etiquette you may want to keep in mind if visiting the beautiful country of Greece:

  • Though you can have it neat, it is recommended that you dilute it with some cold water and ice. When water is mixed into the ouzo it will turn milk white or cloudy because of the presence of the oil of anise.
  • It is poor form to drink Ouzo ‘dry hammer’, or without eating anything, because this will get you tipsy quicker, and getting drunk may not be as well tolerated in Greece. Eating slows down the rate of intoxication so it is best to eat along with your ouzo.
  • It is also a terrible idea to mix ouzo with other alcoholic drinks; it could have disastrous results.
  • The idea with ouzo is to get into a good enough mood to relax and unwind and perhaps philosophize about life in general. And if you get into an argument about philosophy with a Greek person and they shout at you; it probably means they like you!
  • Don’t ask for double ouzo in Greece; their measures are far more generous than at other places.
  • It is an aperitif and is best had before a Greek meal; it will clear the palate without overpowering the subtle flavors of the food.
  • To avoid hangover and dehydration, make sure you drink water along with your ouzo. The alcohol can quickly dehydrate you; this is particularly important on a hot day.”

Greek food – greek ouzo: things you need to know

A great article we found here summarises a lot of important main points about ouzo.

“In Greece, ouzo is not just a drink but is way of life; an anise flavored alcoholic aperitif that all Greeks enjoy.

As real scotch is made only in Scotland, as real champagne is the sparkling wine that comes only from certain regions of France, so ouzo is made only in Greece; and no drink made outside of Greece and Cyprus is permitted to be called ouzo.

Though the word ouzo is derived from the Turkish ‘uzum’, which means grapes, this is not a grape based drink. The thing to watch out for with ouzo is that it has a kick like a mule, but one that is not instantly obvious.

Its alcohol content is not all that high, but it is the sugar content of the drink that can be misleading. So at first you may think that the drink is not hitting you but it does later because the alcohol takes time to get absorbed into the blood stream.

Photo Credit: sifis