E-tales: April 1 whoopsie

The good and the bad of April Fool

April 1 whoopsie

You can certainly understand the good folk at IDG’s newswire not getting Computerworld Australia’s recent April Fool’s prank. Apparently many Australians didn’t get it either.

Here’s a note from the newswire:

“The Computerworld Australia story, ‘Breaking news: Telstra will split for NBN’, that was posted to the newswire Tuesday has been removed from the wire. The News Service was not made aware that the story was an April Fools’ joke at the time it was submitted to the wire.

“It is our policy not to run prank news stories on the wire. Online editors are asked to remove it from their sites immediately and print editors are asked not to use it. Inquiries should be directed to etc ...”

If you were wondering how that little number would have affected Telstra’s share price, wonder no more: it rose 5%, according to The Australian, as brokers emailed the story around. Mental note for next year: make your jokes more obvious.

More April 1

Not all jokes went bad on April 1. E-tales’ favourite was from the UK Guardian, which announced that after 188 years of print and ink it was now going “Twitter only”.

Saying the move consolidated The Guardian’s position at the “cutting edge of new media technology”, the story said content would now be delivered in 140 characters or less.

Laying it on even more thick, the piece said a mammoth effort was underway to rewrite the newspaper’s archive in Twitter.

Some examples:

“JFK assassin8d @ Dallas, def. Heard second gunshot from grassy knoll WTF?”

“1832 Reform Act gives voting right to one in five adult males yay!!!”

A rewritten version of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech?

“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by”...

The article says this eliminates “ the waffle and bluster of the original”.

It’s all good. And nobody’s share price was affected.

The Greeks had a word for it

Reports now released on the abandoned Government Shared Network show lack of clarity in several areas. One of the very minor places where haziness is evident is in the term used to describe an ICT initiative that aims at benefitting a range of government agencies.

Back at the beginning of New Zealand’s E-government effort, the accepted term was “whole of government” – which, rather unfortunately, abbreviates to “wog”.

Incidentally, reference sources favour the explanation that this is simply an abbreviation of “golliwog” – such coinages as “worthy oriental gentleman” or “working on government [business]” are dismissed as retrospective interpretations or “backronyms”.

So the favoured abbreviation became AoG for “all of government”; but our E-taler was interested to notice the occasional “WoG” usage still lurking in the jungle of GSN papers.

We’re waiting for the Assembly of God church to claim copyright on AoG.

Independent consultancy Starfish, which wrote a set of reviews of the ill-fated network, reaches back to the Greek and calls them “pan-government” projects. Not connected, we hope, with the hedonistic goat-footed deity.

Repelling all Googlers

UK tech site The Register reports the UK village of Broughton has repelled a “German” Googlecar’s efforts to photograph its lanes, ancient and modern. The good — and apparently rather well-heeled — citizens were afraid being on Street View would encourage crime.

Describing the Googlecar concerrned as an “Orwellian black Opel”, El Rego says householders formed a human chain to stop the car and gave the driver an earful.

According to Google, people can request their house be removed from Street View, but they still have a right to take the photograph first.

Quite right. We here at E-tales think it is the citizens, or rather vigilantes, of Broughton that need to be sorted out. A few days in the slammer might give this latter day Dad’s Army a sense of perspective.

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