In this edition of Online Insights we find a meeting calculator that pulls no punches, get inside information on Fringe events, go where few angels dare to drive, and get all avatar-like.

Avatarise yourself

Steve as Avatar

Steve as Avatar

Every year it seems a new design style enters popular culture. The most recent example was the Obama Hope poster design which spawned the Obama Icon Me website, which we profiled last year on Online Insights. The most recent design craze is related to the movie Avatar. I have seen Avatar-like people and designs popping up all over the place and the latest manifestation to cross my social path is avatarise yourself.

This French website allows you to upload your photo and turn yourself in to one of the avatar characters.

It is easy to use and does a pretty good job. One of the best things about this type of custom image promotional site, is that it actually allows you to download the image and do it all without registering. This is perfect. The sponsor’s logo is in the image, the movie name is in the image, and YOU are in the image. No strings attached. A little fun and no fear of being stalked by a marketing machine.

Surprise your kids or use it as a fun exercise over the next holidays by avatarising your whole family at the promotional website.

Meetings are murder

If you are in a job that requires you to sit in on regular meetings, then Meet Or Die is a site that will help you survive. It is a tongue-in-cheek meeting cost calculator, designed to give you a notional cost estimate for a meeting.

The calculator works by getting you to enter the duration of the meeting in question and list the calibre of people involved (everything from General Manager or CEO down to ‘stapler guy’ (I told you this was tongue-in-cheek – some of the quirky options seem to change regularly)).

It is probably best not to list your company name because results are posted on the site, including cost of meeting and name of organisation. They do, however, make for some interesting reading, for example:

  • Amnesty International USA, $32,692, “Meetings ought to be necessary, not psychotherapy sessions. Ugh.”
  • eWomen Network, $16,817, “Women Network has meetings at the drop of a hat and the sad part is every meeting has like 75% of the company since the company only has 12 employees. The executives can’t make up their own minds so pull everyone in and makes everyone fight with each other. They hold these 4 hour impromptu meetings at least once a day. This company is such a joke.”
  • Fidelity Investments, $1,644, “Useless meetings are the biggest timesink at Fidelity, especially those run by project managers and managers that let other’s set the meeting agenda.”
  • AAA, $1,677, “This money wasted in figuring out how to delegate more responsibility away from upper management to already over-worked middle management. Who’s up for lunch?”

So take the test and see whether you should meet or die or at least meet more briefly.

Fringe Benefits

Adelaide Fringe is here again and although you have the Fringe website and guide for show information, Fringe Benefits can offer some grassroots insights on what people think of shows, as well as some discount ticket offers if you are aged 18-30. However, I would note two things if you are over 30, firstly the site will still give you a sense of what some fringe goers and thinking about shows in the reviews section and, secondly, it appears that you can join Fringe Benefits online and it’s free. This means if you “look” under 30, you might as well sign up and get some fringe fringe benefits.

Another way to find the latest bits of gossip involving the Adelaide Fringe is to search for #adlfringe on twitter.com (or just click that link, I’ve set it up for you). This will give you a mixture of the helpful, the inane, and the obscene. But it is a busy channel and sure to give you something interesting.

Today I saw ticket giveaways, links to cheap printing for Fringe artists needing flyers, commentary on Fringe happenings and links to reviews.

The 19 most complex and dangerous roads in the world

Guoliang-Tunnel-Road

Guoliang Tunnel Road - don't use that mobile!

I just love this page of road photos and I think that after looking at it, you might be glad you have a simple, boring, daily commute because at least you know you have an incredibly high chance of making it home safely.

The opposite can be said for people who traverse the stretches of road on this site. Examples include:

Leh-Manali Highway, India: It is almost 300 miles long among the Himalaya mountain range and as it ducks and weaves at about 3 miles above sea level, it throws extra challenges at drivers such as snow, landslides and haphazard terrain.

The road of death, Bolivia: The North Yungas Road 43 miles long and is scraped into the side of steep mountains. It is just a single lane and boasts extreme drop offs, and lack of guardrails. When you are lucky enough to endure fog and rain, visibility becomes poor and the road surface muddy. Between 200 and 300 travellers die on this road every year.

Guoliang Tunnel Road, China: The road in the Taihang mountains was built by 13 local villagers headed by their chief, Shen Mingxin, and took around five years to finish. Many villagers lost their lives in accidents during construction of the tunnel but the others continued relentlessly. The 1.2km long tunnel is 5 meters high and 4 meters wide and known as “the road that does not tolerate any mistakes”.

Click here to see these complex and breath-taking roads.

Bonus: Sean as Avatar

Sean as Avatar - good looking man!!

Sean as Avatar - good looking man!!

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