E-tales: cows are magnetic

A WEEK OF IT

All too easy access

Security is about more than just focusing on IT. Solnet House, in Wellington, was recently hit by burglars. The Department of Labour, which has its home there, lost several computers, as did Solnet itself. The problem? Apparently, building management left a master access card in a box outside the building so that contractors had easy access.

All Black on twinkling form

E-tales hears that the Kiwi contingent to a recent Canon event held in Sydney should, perhaps, be auditioning for Dancing with Stars.

Former All-Black Alan Whetton revealed his showman side twice-over during his sojourn in the Emerald City — first in performing the Haka, facing down former Wallaby Peter FitzSimons. He then went on to show his twinkle-toes form, by performing a dancing duet with tiny songman Leo Sayer, who sang his 1970s signature tune, You Make Me Feel Like Dancing.

Anyone got any embarrassing pictures?

Privacy overload

Last week was Privacy Awareness Week, and Computerworld was reminded of the fact during the week, with regular press releases arriving in the inbox about different aspects of privacy and privacy law. So many, in fact, that at one stage, it was beginning to seem like an invasion of our privacy. Of course, it wasn’t, as, being part of the media, Computerworld has an interest in receiving such things. We’ve just never seen so many emails from one place in a single week.

Media release ridiculosis

One of our e-talers doesn’t know whether to be annoyed or amused. “Just received the most ridiculous press release ever,” he says. “Orcon buys three new Minis (a ‘fleet’) and gets its public relations company, Pead, to send out a release about it.”

Apparently, the baby telco has a new fleet of three Mini Clubmans, which are cheap, green and look great, and, yes, can accommodate the lankiest techie in “the iconic 60’s panel van. They are peppy, sporty, smart, and punch above their weight — just like us,” says CEO Scott Bartlett.

And we thought Orcon was all about providing some much-needed telco competition.

BIFfing is sweet FA — or not

One of the fun things about working in ICT is getting your head around new acronyms every week or so, and one of our e-talers in particularly keen on spotting newbies.

He’s already noted the none-too-appealing BIF, for the Broadband Investment Fund, but is now even more bemused by the detailed instructions on how to apply for funding that went up on the Digital Strategy (DS) website last week.

If you want to apply for BIF funding, you can start off with an optional EOI (expression of interest). Then, if allowed to proceed further, you might get an ADA (applicant development assistance) grant to…er… assist you in applying for the main grant — this being done by way of a Full Application, or FA.

Our e-taler wonders at the wisdom of this particular abbreviation, given FA is freighted with other meanings. He reckons that if, after going through all this sweat, you get BIFfed away, and end up with FA in funding it won’t be so sweet after all.

Magnetically attracted

Cows are magnetic… no, despite jokes about animal attraction and lonely Kiwis down on the farm, it seems cows really are attracted to the Earth’s magnetic fields.

New Zealand is home to several million cows and as they munch their way through the fields they do so carefully lined up pointing north.

Now, every farmer knows that herds tend to align themselves in the same direction, but Google Maps has revealed this is not — as has been thought — because they are huddling together to stay warm or basking in the sun. Google Earth satellite photos of 308 herds on six continents have revealed that they all line up facing either the North or South Pole. Migratory birds do the same. Check out New Scientist news for the full story and research links.

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