E-tales: Girls go fly

A flying broomsticks witch arcade-game prototype is the latest example of broomsticks boom

Wot, no documentation?

"Fortunately the person who programmed it is still around." DoC spokesman on RadioNZ Morning Report, on the need to adjust the seismic detector on Mount Ruapehu, after it fail

Wot, no documentation?

“Fortunately the person who programmed it is still around.” DoC spokesman on RadioNZ Morning Report, on the need to adjust the seismic detector on Mount Ruapehu, after it failed to warn of the eruption this week.

Natives 2.0 — almost with us

If anyone ever wanted a reminder of how long computers have now been around, a recent Ministry of Education document one of our E-talers came across alerts us in one short phrase: “[The] net generation [is] starting to become parents.”

The generation of “kids” we think of as still being in need of being kept safe on the internet is beginning to have children. Digital natives 2.0 are already among us — or will be soon.

The only consolation is that Natives 1.0 should surely be better at guiding Natives 2.0 online — and figuring out what they’re covertly trying to do — than the digital immigrants.

Girls go fly

Just as in the West, the Japanese have a thing for Harry Potter-style broomsticks and the like, and a flying broomsticks witch arcade-game prototype is the latest example.

Boing Boing gets its rocks off laughing at Gizmodo Japan’s weird translation: “In the witch the sky of the necessity the broom type controller which it flies, etcetera.” But a commentator hits back with a proper translation: “Who is this witch that we see riding a broom? Sally? Or maybe Kiki’s Delivery Service? This broom-shaped controller is a necessity for any witch.”

Not surprisingly, the story generated lots of comments. We can see the potential for innuendo, but E-tales is sticking with family interest — check it out at Boing Boing gadgets. Cute game idea, whatever.

Dumb phones, Episode 34

Software company Business Objects’ Australian office notified one of our E-talers last week that he was “calling outside our normal business hours” — yes, he’d forgotten we’d advanced our clocks and they hadn’t in Sydney.

Anyway, after the usual “press 1 for sales” spiel, he was advised “…or wait to leave a message.” He waited for the standard beep, opened his mouth to reply… only to be hit with: “Warning. Your call may be recorded.”

Really?

Perhaps the clue is in the word “may” — was it a discreet warning that the message may not be recorded?

BT bill blow-out

With all the recent talk about Vodafone’s new billing system, E-tales thought it timely to point out that British Telecom also had a recent glitch in its billing system. According to UK website Ananova, Tyrone and Dawn Chadwick, from North Wales, recently received a bill for £74,585.39 plus VAT (that’s NZ$200,462.78 plus GST) for a seven-minute phone call. Dawn, who opened the bill, told the local Daily Post that her husband had had a heart attack just after Christmas, and if he’d seen the bill “he would have had another one”. BT attributed the mistake to “a computer error” and waived the bill.

Vodafone lost in DST-land

However, Vodafone isn’t totally out of the woods. Last week — just in time for more winter weather — New Zealand got early daylight saving time. Its advent was greeted with whoops of joy by IT techies up and down the country, as they tried to tweak the nation’s computers in time for DST Day. It also saw local tech entrepreneur Rob Drury griping on his website: “Voda miss daylight savings for Curve”.

He quotes Vodafone’s website: “BlackBerry models running software version 4.2.2.129 or later already support the new DST rules and will be fine as they are. The BlackBerry 8310 is also already compliant with the new DST rules.”

But, apparently this isn’t so. Our man has “a brand new Curve 8310 running v4.2.2.151. The time is out by an hour. If I make changes all my appointments might be out.

“Very, very sloppy Vodafone,” he complains.

However, to be fair, we haven’t done much better on the DST-front down here at E-tales headquarters — despite “fixes”.

You shall not be heard

We’re not sure if this is legal – it shouldn’t be, given telcos provide such a vital service. Boing Boing reports that former Big Bad Boy AT&T (very big in antitrust suits back in the 1960s and ’70s) is getting really heavy with its network customers. Its new terms of service state that AT&T can terminate their connection for conduct that “tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries”.

As Boing Boing says, it seems AT&T customers aren’t allowed to say or write critical things about AT&T, its billing practices, or its cooperation with illegal NSA (National Security Agency) wiretapping, on pain of having their connections disconnected.

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