Lots of political clamour about immigration and the volume of low-paid workers ‘taking’ from the British.
I worked on the gangs of East England for a few years back in the early 90’s. You’d wait on a street corner at 4am for a transit van to come and pick you up (if they hadn’t arrived by 5 you knew there was no work for the day), drive to the fens for an hour or two and then stand in a line and work.
The work varied, sometimes it was flower bulbs that needed to be sorted and packed, at others it could be cauliflowers or broccoli that needed to be cut and packed. For all of the rich variety you’d be paid piece-work. If the sharp stanley knife slipped and cut your hand, you wouldn’t meet your target and you wouldn’t get paid. Better be more careful (yet fast).
The mushroom huts were full of toxic spores. All the huts were freezing.
One time, the gangmaster didn’t show up on payday (which was in cash of course). He didn’t show up again. A few days later the police did. Turned out he’d run off with the lot (a few hundred quid). Wearily the cops asked me if I’d testify if it went to court. Turned out I was the only gang member they’d been able to trace, everyone else had given false name/address to the gang. I didn’t testify in the end, not sure it even went that far.
The gang wasn’t made up of immigrants - there were a couple I remember, but the rest were English. Who knows why they hid their identities - could be benefit fraud, could be anything really. I don’t really care. I do remember that it was hard hard work, for very little money - and it doesn’t matter to the gangs who does it, just as long as they are careful and fast.
To say that gangmasters specifically recruit immigrants or exclude English doesn’t ring true to me, they truly don’t give a fuck who works for them, but maybe… just maybe, some people who cannot find work elsewhere but want to work, maybe these people work a little harder, and are more willing to stand on that corner at 4am.
I had a knee reconstruction operation last week, and although for the first few days I was pretty much a potato, now I can move about a bit more, and sit in one position for more than 3 minutes. So I’m trying to make good on a promise made to a friend for a personal pic, a pencil drawing of a hydrangea, that most glorious of 1970’s flowers.
Lots of talk around sketching interfaces and sketchnotes for talks in the UX community right now, but I really find it helps me focus and it makes the ideas go in my head. So I sketch chapters from my course textbook. I even look up the writers to try and approximate little caricatures (it’s all in the hair).
The Open University, locations of students on my module.
I’m going to map this against the frequency and number of forum posts as well (as a way of avoiding my set reading & assignments).
It’s going well, cumulative average score across all modules so far is 80%, not a distinction, but it keeps my motivation high. Better grades than my undergrad BA, but I don’t spend every waking hour in the pub/club this time. It’s interesting stuff too; although the course is limited (the OU is withdrawing all Psych. courses and re-structuring, thanks Tories) it’s bloody excellent, interesting stuff.
Too often though, ‘testing’ in the form of under-defined and confusing prototypes, or shoutie & pre-determined focus groups, or even ‘lab’ tests with leading questions and alien environments, is touted as ‘good tests’ of a UX design.
But a test can be bad. It can be a badly defined test, a poorly run test, one made by someone with no concept of the innate problems of logicity and psychology. These bad tests are no killer of flawed design, instead are all too often the harbinger.
I was at a conference recently in Berlin: Cognitive Cities. The bulk of the day was centred around the data generated through ‘use of cities, and the patterns seen and mapped (during or afterwards). Some interesting stuff happening then but one speaker summed it up for me when he said