Google world takeover reaches NZ
Wairarapa winery Mebus Estate is refusing to confirm which of the two still-boyish billionaires likes a drop of the Kiwi nectar. But, yes, it’s true that one of the Google lads — Sergey or Larry — is buying into Michael Mebus’ 25-hectare winery. E-tales has mixed feelings about foreign investment. Indeed, we’re not the only ones — the Overseas Investment Office is presently checking out the deal. Some of you may recall the row back in 2004 about Canadian country music star Shania Twain and her husband buying up two adjoining Otago high country stations — for $21.5 million.
The couples’ application was originally turned down by the OIC as not being in the national interest, according to the Christchurch-based Foreign Control Watchdog online newsletter. But a mollified OIC eventually gave the couple the go-ahead after they installed a public walking track.
It will be interesting to see what happens with the Google billionaire’s investment plans.
Tiki escapes leopard seal on Nintendo
E-tales’ editor is going to admit straight-out to not being a big fan of old-style arcade games, but anyone interested to hear that what Wikipedia describes as “a timeless 1988 original”, The New Zealand Story Revolution, is not only now available for the Nintendo DS but should also be getting a wider audience now that distributor Ignition has been bought by Indian media company UTV (it bought a 71% stake in December).
Starring Tiki, a plucky Kiwi bird, the game-play revolves around him rescuing his kidnapped friends from the clutches of a villainous leopard seal. The graphics have been updated from 1988, but the locations are pretty familiar: Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Mount Cook, Waitomo Caves, Hamner Springs and “Strait Cook”.
Enough excuses already, Xtra
We know, we know, it’s getting a bit late for New Year’s resolutions, but here at E-tales we just wish Telecom would make a big one regarding its Xtra service.
The new year has scarcely begun and Xtra is playing up again. Apparently, the latest hiccup with the on-again, off-again service was a fault with the technology that authenticates internet connections.
However, as long-suffering users know, Telecom’s internet service has been dodgy for some months now. But Telecom spokesman Nick Brown says the latest hiccup is not to do with Yahoo!Xtra Bubble. Readers may recall that tens of thousands of users were left email-less when the service was launched in August last year.
One of the problems Kiwi users have is the limited number of broadband suppliers out there — see story above. Well, help may be at hand. New Scientist magazine reports that a new technology, plastic optical fibre, could hail cheap super-fast broadband.
It promises to make replacing slow old copper cable for the “last mile” to the home, as it is dubbed, as cheap as, well, replacing copper.
At present, the telcos are baulking at replacing this with glass optical fibre because it’s so expensive — and newcomers are even less keen to do this. The result has been the broadband speed bottleneck, and a big curb on competition, too. Now, hopefully, a better service is on the horizon — fuelled by those lovely twin-drivers: cheap new tech and competition.
Tech skills no bar to Darwins
Spotted online, on Ananova “quirkies”, the 2007 Darwin Award winners — these go to those unfortunate souls who, through their own spectacular stupidity, managed to wipe themselves out last year.
He was only a runner-up, but a nameless 29-year-old computer tutor was killed by on-coming traffic in California while driving and working on his laptop at the same time. And we thought mobile-chatting and applying make-up while driving were bad ideas. The winner was an alcoholic who died after giving himself a sherry enema. Perhaps the sherry was too rot-gut to ingest the normal way. We’ll never know now.