E-tales: Retro-neato

Newest technology married to the old in a retro-cool product

Whistleblower a winner

In an ironic twist of fate, John Holley — the local IT manager who recently alerted Computerworld to the horrendous difference in price between the US and New Zealand for Microsoft’s Office 2008 for Mac — has found himself holding a free copy of the new suite.

Holley had been looking to buy the software for his personal computer when he discovered the package cost 40% more in New Zealand than in the US. But Microsoft wasn’t trying to bribe him into silence with the gift. Holley won a copy at the Office 2008 launch last month.

“I won it by answering some questions. They didn’t ask my name,” he says.

Trade Me Sam’s got a heart

It’s good to see young Sam Morgan, Trade Me entrepreneur, putting some of his millions to good charitable use.

Apparently, he funded development of Kiwi pharmaceutical scientist Ray Avery’s invention, the Acuset IV device, which makes delivering drugs intravenously a cinch and will be used to help poor people in the developing world.

Avery runs a not-for-profit organisation called Medicine Mondiale, which will distribute Acuset. The device could save millions of lives, as it’s much safer and easier to use than old-school IV devices, which go out of whack easily and so can deliver either too little or too much of a drug. They also cost a whopping US$2,000 each, where each Acuset will cost just US$6 (NZ$8).

How not to sell

Dell has just launched its “charitable” RED-branded PC campaign in New Zealand. It’s great to see all this philanthropic activity — but the publicity does nothing to promote the laudable “Fight Against AIDS” campaign here.

Apparently, Dell and Microsoft — the PCs concerned are Vista-equipped — will give between US$50 and US$80 per machine to the Global Fund for every PC sold, but this is how the story is told:

“Dell <http://www.dell.com> and Microsoft Corp. <http://www.microsoft.com/> will offer customers a simple way to make a difference in the fight against AIDS in Africa through the purchase of unique (PRODUCT) RED http://www.joinred.com/ branded personal computers and a printer…”

And it continues:

“Adding to the premium experience, all Dell (PRODUCT) RED PCs are powered by Windows Vista Ultimate <http://www.windows.com> “

Come on guys, you don’t sell your PCs or software like this, so why promote your charitable activities in this lack-lustre way?

Rogue popularity

E-tales’ editor flatters herself that she has a sophisticated view of blogging — it’s great for comment, but boy you have to sift through a lot of tedious stuff to find the nuggets. However, last week was golden.

First, we had new blog: jerometherogue. That’s French trader Jerome Kerviel, who’s been accused of a $9.3 billion banking fraud — the biggest in history, apparently. The light and fluffy blog isn’t his obviously, but E-tales did like the comment: “So here I am, one of the most popular names on the internet, coming in a close second to some porn star no doubt… Well at least some are saying I’m good-looking. I guess one has to be grateful for small mercies at a time like this.”

Here’s looking at you

Yeah, the internet can be merciless when it comes to looks. For example, good-looking Aussie movie star Heath Ledger’s recent death caused an internet frenzy, as people piled online to find out what had caused the 28-year-old’s demise. It all rather overshadowed the earlier news story about 60-years-older Everest hero Sir Edmund Hillary’s funeral.

Shows the truth in the old song that trills: “Keep young and beautiful if you want to be loved.”

Retro-neato

Now here’s an idea — the newest technology married to the old in a retro-cool product. Gizmodo recently featured this Cassette SD MP3 Player. The idea is that it behaves like a normal cassette tape but has a slot for MP3s and can be controlled by your car’s head unit.

YouTube got Seoul!

Nineteen-year-old Essex girl Rebecca Strachan loves Korean music, so she and her Dutch friend Sharon Schilperoord got together and posted a video on themselves singing a popular Korean song on YouTube.

The result? Over 130,000 hits and an invitation by Korean recording executives to come to South Korea, where they want to polish up Rebecca and make her into a “singing sensation”. Rebecca loves Asian music, speaks Japanese and taught herself Korean. No lucky hitster then.

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