E-tales: Pdf rUlz, HTmL suX

Perhaps it's a plot by pdf supporters at the Law Commission's web design headquarters?

Wheel-in the gorilla

Newish Telecom CEO Paul Reynolds recently told a radio interviewer that, after being distracted by regulatory matters and suffering a profit downturn, the company is re-weighting its priorities more towards “customer service… er, customer satisfaction, I should say.”

Pardon us if we don’t see the subtle distinction, Mr Reynolds. Surely to produce satisfaction you must provide good service. Or do you think customers will be “satisfied” by another ad campaign featuring cute stuffed animals?

Not so poker-faced hckrs

This is already turning into the Year of the phisher — and that of every other kind of cyber-crim activity. But this e-taler, who has had early experience of ID theft, reckons there are subtle ways to tell — and they’re called “tells”, too.

Poker players look for them — chin-stroking; eye ticks: signs of what’s in the opponent’s cards à la Casino Royale. These are detectable online too. Two dodgy emails received at E-tales’ HQ this week contained them, in the form of spelling errors.

There was the “Please intall critical Windows…update”. This was closely followed by the alleged request from a Trade Me member to “Replay Me ASAP!!!” Aside from the latter’s spelling error, E-tales reckons the caps and exclamation marks are subtle giveaways too.

Why? Well, those up to no good often behave badly or carelessly — they can’t be bothered to spell- or grammar-check; they’re often rude or demanding (!!!) or they give away that they’re liars. (The Microsoft “update” said it was “obligatory” — MS updates aren’t quite that heavy-handed).

Awesome cool

E-tales is finally cool. Last week we wrote about the Hamburger phone (see photo on the right) that features in teen hit-flick Juno — the one about the up-the-duff, motor-mouth teen with attitude written, by feminist-stripper (really!) turned scriptwriter Diablo Cody (her blog-name). Anyway, this e-taler’s resident teens were open-mouthed to discover a local source of “Hamburgers” had been tracked down, and, yes, they want one, or two even, complete with rattle.

For the uninitiated, Juno — the film’s pregnant teen — has a “Hamburger” in her tip (whoops) bedroom which she has to shake before use. However, Cody prefers iPhones, she tells the UK Guardian.

Pdf rUlz, HTmL suX

Government web standards tell agencies to avoid pdf documents for display on screen where possible and always to offer a plain HTML alternative.

But, faced with a 222-page report, one of our e-taler’s thought it more convenient to download everything in one file rather than to navigate a hypertexted version split into pages or, sometimes, sections of only a few paragraphs. But having downloaded and read the pdf of a recent Law Commission report... he took a look at the HTML version out of curiosity. It still looked like this:

Perhaps it’s a plot by pdf supporters at the Commission’s web designer?

The $500 choccy bar

What is all this stuff about alcoholism, workaholism etcetera? They’ve got nothing on chocoholism. At least that’s what E-tales thinks, after discovering that a chocolate aficionado has just paid £200 (NZ$495) for a bar of “Wispa” chocolate put up on eBay — and it was well past its sell-by date too. And, yes, it really was found stuffed down the back of a sofa.

According to online news-site Ananova, British student Rebecca Wells was fossicking around behind a sofa and fished out the old-but-definitely-gold choc bar — they stopped making Wispas in 2003. She thought of munching it, but no… wise girl.

Rebecca’s not only smart, but good too — she donated the money to the LAM Action charity (LAM is a rare lung disease).

Truly pain-free dentistry

Those of you old enough to remember the torture rooms of the Kiwi children’s free dental service or its British equivalent — will sigh with relief at this: online dental check-ups. Yippee! They can’t touch you with a virtual drill.

Apparently, a London dentist is giving check-ups over the internet via webcam. Mind you, if he finds a cavity in there, you’ll still have to face the dreaded chair. But now you’re grown-up and get charged heaps for anything tooth-related — and can hit out effectively if it hurts too much — there are really good painkillers available. Funny that.

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