E-tales: Gift ideas for tech heads/music snobs

T-shirts tell it like it is in the elitist mind

He who needs no introduction

Last week saw Auckland host the innovative Digital Summit — complete with Second Life participation. A colleague flew around the virtual conference room but didn’t find many of the conversations very interesting. Sounds pretty much like the real world.

However, what did raise a smile was master of ceremonies Rod Oram telling delegates that TUANZ (Telecommunications Users Association of NZ) would help them find their way around the venue.

“You’ll be able to recognise the TUANZ people,” said Oram. “They’ll be wearing red TUANZ badges.

“Well, all except Ernie [the boss, Ernie Newman]. He doesn’t have to wear a badge. Everyone knows Ernie.”

Our E-Taler couldn’t help noticing that the speaker for the next session, ICT Minister David Cunliffe, was sporting a large name tag around his neck. Could it be that the minister is not so confident of his celebrity status?

Summit lowlights

Tiredest catchphrase of the Summit: “Number 8 fibre.” This didn’t even get a laugh the first time — when David Cunliffe said it. And the most garbled mixed metaphor of the event? “Drive forward the knowledge backbone” — Cunliffe again. Sounds like a whiplash injury.

And for those still learning the alphabet

Initials are much easier to remember when they’re pronounceable as an acronym — or perhaps alphabetically. The prize for the best new acronym goes to the new Labor Aussie government, which has just appointed a Federal Minister of Broadband, Communication and the Digital Economy. It’s a pity they decided to drop the “Arts” tag included in the previous government’s unpronounceable DCITA (Department of Communications, IT and the Arts). The Ministry of ABCDE sounds like a winner, and much better than the minister of BCDE.

Sex in space – did the Earth move for you, dear?

Yes, yes, we know, we’ve not even had Christmas yet, but, being part of a tech publication, E-tales likes to look ahead, reach for the stars and stay abreast of new developments.

Anyway, it seems both the Americans and the Russians have tried space sex, according to a UK Guardian newspaper report. No surprise there, but there is a serious side to the “research”, as it envisaged that in the future, married couples might spend lengthy periods in space. In the interests of science, 10 positions have been tried out by computer simulation, before — wait for it — a couple of amorous guinea pigs were turfed into zero gravity to see how they managed them. Apparently, only four positions proved possible without mechanical help — the rest needed props.

Wishing you a green and quirky Xmas:

E-tales has come up with some quirky Christmas gift ideas with a tech bent. We thought about taking a traditional gadgets-and-more-gadgets approach, but decided we could do better, so here goes…


We loved the “Power House”, a project kit for kids aged 12-plus that is designed to teach youngsters about sustainable housing. It costs US$130 (NZ$170) from Amazon and includes all the bits to build a mini eco-house frame, but also a motor and electric train that can be solar- or wind-powered.

Music snob

Less rad but still quite cool, for the tech-head in your life who is also a music snob — yes, they often come in the same package — is the Venn diagram T-shirt pictured. As you can see, it tells it like it is in the elitist mind. As an alternative, there is another “T” that simply states: “Nothing is good if other people like it”. Find them at the “deiselsweeties” website.

Roadkill fluff

The E-tales prize for the most off-the-wall possible prezzie goes to the Road Kill Teddy range of soft toys (www.roadkilltoys.com). Twitch the Racoon comes complete with squished intestines and a tyre-print across his back. Weird creator Adam Arber reckons they’ll appeal to anyone with a sense of humour but “not anyone who is easily upset”.

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