E-tales: beyond pizza — grub for serious gamers

New comms minister gets a life

New comms minister gets a life

Variously dubbed “six-million dollar man” and the “Dark Prince”, new comms minister Steven Joyce is a self-made millionaire radio-station entrepreneur who got himself a life after his company was taken over, against his wishes, by CanWest. But the grocer’s son did get six million smackeroos in compo.

So, at 38, he found himself at a loose end, and… got himself a life. He got married, had a daughter and discovered the gym… ohh, and furry animals, too. He’s got lots on his Auckland lifestyle block.

His possible effect on telecomms infrastructure? Who knows. But that “prince” moniker smacks of Machiavelli and he is Key’s former campaign manager.

BIF to be biffed?

E-tales reckons that despite National’s pre-election commitment to broadband — $1.5 billion to be spent on a nationwide super-fast broadband network — this may be slower in coming than we might like given the present post-credit crunch reality. We may very well see the end of the popular BIF (Broadband Investment Fund) initiative in the meantime. The fund was to underwrite various local broadband initiatives and has been over-subscribed.

Before the election National said they’d junk it and now applications have been iced, but the local nature of the these could mean they’d be pretty effective — Kiwis are good at small business, we have to be. And, given that some the initiatives proposes are wireless (so are a lot cheaper than the in-the-ground variety) they could be quite effective.

Mind you if, God forbid, we get into Depression territory, a national fibre-installation programme would be a viable infrastructure project that could take to edge of unemployment and give us the modern network necessary to stimulate enterprise.

Obama to go cold turkey?

What with Michelle slapping his hands at the kids’ sports games to get him off his Blackberry, crackberry addict US president-elect Barack Obama could be in for a tense time before he finally makes it to the Oval Office. The security guys have said no more Blackberry emails, because of the security risk, which will no doubt include no more informal communication with lovely actor Scarlet Johanssen. Obama’s a big twitter fan, so we’re talking seriously geeky guy here. Apparently, Obama will also be the first pres to have a laptop on the big desk.

About Michelle’s hands-on treatment of the new pres — he’s only human, she says, and I want people to realise that. Go Michelle.

Beyond pizza — grub for serious gamers

We’re not sure we should be talking about this, given the recent story of the Swedish lad who hospitalised himself after playing World of Warcraft’s latest for 24 hours. But, maybe such would be better than the almost nothing he ate. Anyway, an enterprising US firm has come up with a range of gamer snack foods that, apparently, boost your brain. Yeah, right. But they are crumb-free, which is good news for the keyboard. One of the smackeroonies, Strategy Chocolate, is meant to “boost your core gaming systems”. It contains nuts, chocolate and cherries. Hardly gourmet or seriously nourishing but still an improvement on greasy pizza and coke.

Xmas Wii-ne

And now for something seriously trivial to Wii-ne about. The Guardian’s tech blog has raised the horror possibility that all those Christmas Wiis bound for Western stockings are in danger of being hijacked by Somali pirates, as they round the Cape of Good Hope.

The politically aware Guardian is actually a little chipper about this, as it figures it might cause the often politically unengaged geek community avert its collective gaze from the screen long enough to look at what’s happening in the world at large. Apparently, the Somalis are now attacking cargo ships on a daily basis, so there is real cause for concern here.

Sword-play

There is some connection, an e-taler supposes, between how usable a computer application is and the ease of opening the package.

Whatever the logic, the OpenX dual-blade package opener handed out as a souvenir at Wellington’s recent Usability Day breakfast is a helpful gift, he says. Who hasn’t been frustrated by the effort of trying to prise open those tough plastic bubble packs that enclose many small pieces of merchandise?

Next question: how do you package-up a package opener? Answer — use cellophane shrink-wrap, which is almost as frustrating to break open. We’ve known people resort to their teeth to make that vital first breach in the tight enclosure.

However, our e-taler swears by his Samurai sword-shaped letter opener. Don’t ask where he got it; he can’t remember.

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