E-tales: Major city

Has Christchurch shrunk drastically, or has Sky City got a whole lot bigger?

Testing on live subjects

One of our readers sent in the following observation: “I love this quote from Microsoft in [a recent] article in Computerworld… about Trade Me.

“Trade Me has the capacity to stress-test and use Microsoft’s products in a live environment. ‘I can’t think of a better place to test our technologies,’ says Microsoft Business Solutions marketing manager Ben Green.”

The reader goes on to say: “My own view is there are lots of better places Microsoft should be doing their testing (before they release the product would be nice), and certainly not in a live customer production environment.”

Of course, this resurrects an old complaint — what is it about the computer industry that arranges things so that buyers get to spend up large on half-developed, often bug-ridden products that the purchaser has to beta test for the maker?

Major city

The organisers of a recent InternetNZ council meeting were considering the feasibility of hosting a meeting of the international Internet Engineering Task Force in New Zealand.

“Christchurch was investigated as a venue but it wasn’t big enough,” notes on the meeting revealed. “Sky City in Auckland is just big enough.”

Has Christchurch shrunk drastically, or has Sky City got a whole lot bigger?

Easter makes me see pink

E-tales’ editor has mixed feelings about Easter — partly centred around the deep philosophical question of: what do pink Easter bunnies etcetera have to do with big, scary crosses and related events?”

Anyway, E-tales reckons the “pink bunny” fixation must explain the latest Dick Smith “Easter” catalogue — it features a pink tool-set, a pink camera, four pink phones, on one page (a pet hate)… then another one overleaf, plus a hot-pink MP3 player.

Someone should tell these marketing bods that most girls are out of the pink phase by age eight.

Landscape… or battlefield?

E-tales appreciates that organisations have to cover themselves legally for every eventuality, but sometimes the exclusions can be a bit excessive.

One of our e-talers recently received the following, on registering for a meeting of the Telecommunications Users Association:

“TUANZ is not responsible for any loss or damage as a result of a speaker substitution, alteration, cancellation or postponement of this event. If the event is altered, re-scheduled, postponed, cancelled or rendered inadvisable, impracticable or impossible due to a fortuitous event or unforeseen occurrence TUANZ shall not be liable for any loss or damage directly or indirectly arising from a failure to perform any term of this contract…”

And this is before we even get to the clause about Acts of God, fire, riots, “terrorism or an act of terrorism” — is there a difference? — etcetera, etcetera.

And all this to avoid any refunds for a free “After Five” event to discuss “the telecommunications landscape” — our e-taler was almost too nervous to go.

’Ear’s a good excuse

You know how it is, you’re driving along, mobile clamped to your ear and the cops pull you over. No worries here in Kiwi-land, where it’s still not illegal to phone-and-drive. However, in Germany it is illegal, but online news-site Ananova reports one man’s cracker of an excuse for phone-driving: “It’s me ear, officer. I was warming up my cold little ear.”

Amazingly, the judge bought lorry driver Walter Klein’s story. Mind you, he did produce a phone bill showing he wasn’t chatting while warming himself with his mobile.

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