E-tales: Reigning typography Key to broadband

It's a pity a couple of nasty typos weren't picked up by the sprucers

Lost in location-land

Following all the recent fuss about cellphone location data and its accuracy, Computerworld received an interesting email from Christchurch’s Roelant Hofmans, who says he often uses Google Maps on his mobile phone. The beta version on his phone uses the closest cellphone mast as a reference, he says.

“Using this technology, I regularly plan my trips around the South Island,” the mortgage broker says. But sometimes things go a bit skew-whiff.

“On two occasions now I have noticed that when approaching Springs Junction in the South Island my cellphone tells me I am in Berlin, Germany!” says Hofmans.

“I presume from this that Vodafone’s unique identifiers for cellphone masts are not yet without duplication.”

This goes some way to answering that pesky question about the accuracy of location data, we think.

Reigning typography Key to broadband

The National Party obviously took a lot of time sprucing up John Key’s broadband policy, presenting it as a smartly formatted PDF document, complete with Key’s portrait and plenty of blue trim. So, it’s a pity a couple of nasty typos weren’t picked up by the sprucers.

In his policy statement, Key says National appreciates the danger of new broadband funding leading to Telecom “reigning in” its plans for cabinetisation. The spelling is strangely appropriate when it comes to describing the incumbent provider. Maybe Key was thinking about Telecom resting on its laurels but we’re sure that’s not what was meant.

Later in the document, Key goes on to say that a mixture of fibre, wireless and satellite technology might be necessary to reach some parts of the country because of “the typography of many of those areas”.

E-tales has long suspected Times New Roman travelled long distances more slowly than plain old Courier.

Someone’s improving themselves

One of our e-talers was recently listening in to the NZ Confederation of Trade Unions on the radio telling us that our skills and productivity could be increased — and Kiwi jobs saved — by improved use of technology.

Interested, our e-taler sought further details and, after being passed through two NZCTU officials (who provided some comment and background) was told that the person who knew all about it was away for the rest of the week “on professional development”.

Our e-taler wondered if this included computer-skills training.

Honey bunny, miss messy and the drama queens

Many people welcome the anonymity the web can bestow, but it seems some people — especially teenagers — give themselves away oh so easily. Not that this is necessarily bad, but E-tales was intrigued by a recent New Scientist story about how people’s mere choice of email address can reveal so much about them.

The shrinks at Germany’s Leipzig University Department of Psychology recently asked a 100 people about the personalities of 600 teenagers based on the latter’s chosen email addresses. They found that most of their guesses agreed with what the teenagers said about themselves in a personality survey.

Mind you, if many of the email addresses were of the not-uncommon honey.bunny, drama.queen or messy variety it can’t have been that hard to deduce who is narcissistic or conscientious, etcetera.

Living in Glasshouses

Those of us blessed — or cursed — with a Catholic education are familiar with two kinds of lies: the lie outright and the one by omission. Well, dunno know where Bebo and Craigslist reside on the moral map, but a recent tale we came across has us wondering.

During a Glasshouse salon interview, Bebo co-founder Michael Birch was opining about how absolutely brilliant and all that he is — Bebo’s success “was mainly due to (his) pure brilliance” — he said, all tongue-in-cheek.

But, said interviewer and Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster, you’re no longer numero uno in the UK, Facebook having overtaken you. However, continued Buckmaster magnanimously, “You still have New Zealand and Fiji”.

The two rattled on like this for some time with neither thinking to mention that Bebo was recently sold to AOL for US$850 million until the audience brought it up.

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