E-tales: Vaseline ‘pods’ smoother

Computerworld discovers a new use for Vaseline

We interrupt this interruption story…

Most of us know about the power failure at the Telecom telephone exchange earlier this month, which cut off communications to the Police and Fire Service emergency response centres. One e-taler was in the middle of hearing — from Police ICT manager Rohan Mendes — about how the failure occurred, just two days after a database consolidation, when the fire alarm went off in our Wellington office building.Fortunately, it was just a drill.

Boys, girls and the other kind

I’m convinced there are three genders in life — male, female and contractors.” Senior IT manager at a government department vents his frustration over the singularities of the three.

Buy, but don’t take away

One of our e-talers was on a recent business trip to Sydney when he noticed the newsagent next to his hotel advertising “stationary phone cards”.

A strange Aussie way of referring to cards for use in the dwindling population of street phone booths, he mused to himself? Given the shop was also selling “confectionary”, it’s more likely the writer meant “stationery [and] phone cards”.

Written in stone

A study by IT security firm Sophos found that 54% of UK computer users admit to hitching a ride on someone else’s wi-fi connection. A few days after that research morsel was reported on CNet’s BuzzOutLoud podcast, a listener phoned in to inform the show that wi-fi thievery was, in fact, an offence against God’s law: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wi-fi,” quoth the listener.

Vaseline ‘pods’ smoother

Computerworld has recently ventured into the world of podcasting (go to computerworld.co.nz and search “podcast”) and, in the process, discovered a new use for Vaseline.

It seems that if one talks while podcasting with normal “sticky” lips, the listener hears a weird smacky sound. The solution: apply a slick of Vaseline to achieve that smooth podcast sound. Computerworld’s podcast producers are still trying to work out how to apply that advice to studio guests.

Virtually real heist

This tale made the E-tales editor’s head swim with the existential questions it raises. Basically, a Dutch kid has been prosecuted for stealing imaginary furniture — to put in his imaginary room — from social inadequate networking site Habbo Hotel (the joke comes courtesy of the Inquirer, which obviously takes a dubious view of such sites). Anyway, the enterprising 17-year-old apparently nicked €4,000 (NZ$7,721) worth of furniture — bought with Habbo credits but paid for with real money — after hacking into other players’ accounts. We’re with the Inquirer in being fascinated by the implications of Second Life type “reality”.

“Philosophers around the world are even now arguing over the existentialist implications of the heist,” says the “facts & friction” newspaper.

Boot Camp for ‘death’ gamers

“I don’t have a problem. Seventeen hours a day online is fine.”

So says Korean cyberspace addict Lee Chang-Hoon, who at just 15 has been sent to Internet Boot Camp to wean him off his compulsive internet use for fear it could kill him.

A number of South Korean youths have already “gamed” themselves to death, after staying online for days on end in this the world’s most connected country.

The solution: a camp that in some cases introduces boys, most addicts are male, to the joys of reality. Exercise and group activities like horse-riding are used to encourage emotional connection with the real world rather than the virtual one.

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