Father’s Day Massacre

Mobile missiles launcher allows Dad to declare war on his friends and shoot yellow tubes at them

Losing twice-over

We winced when we heard this one — or rather received the press release, concerning Microsoft moving its public relations account to two new agencies, Porter Novelli and Consultus. The media release came from Text 100, which has just lost the account after seven years. Ouch!

A “disappointed” Text 100 will help with the transition to the new guys, until September 30. This is quite understandable, but surely the new guys could have sent out the media release concerning their business win, rather than the loser?

Oh well, it’s all billable hours for Text 100.

Sorely spoofed

It wasn’t exactly a case of biter bit, but it sure felt like it. Computerworld got spoofed last week, with our reporter Juha Saarinen being pointed to a spoof page featuring a story about a forthcoming hacker conference.

The fake story’s writer, Hack Sore, asks if the November Wellington conference, Kiwicon 2k7, signals a new wave of cyber attacks. Apparently, “noted internet terrorist Steve Gibson is attending, and will unveil a nanobot raw socket army” and “a shadowy underground hacker group known only as The Sons of Southern Darkness” is also said to be involved.

So far, so juvenile, but a bit of fun, too.

Xtra extra-challenged

E-tales’ editor is not happy. She knows Telecom is finally gearing up for a bit of real ISP competition, but does getting it together technically have to result on no email over the weekend of August 18-19? This situation lasted into the following Monday, as Telecom geared up to provide all the extra goodies Xtra customers can now get. The E-tales editor’s nearest and dearest was trying to do some work, but emailing his client on Xtra was a no-no. Fortunately, there was Gmail, but really, when one pays for a service and doesn’t get it that’s actually a contravention of trade practices law.

Telecom should expect a big exodus once the new ISP services get bedded down if it doesn’t seriously lift its game. And what will that do to the share price?


It seems it’s not only Westerners who display a penchant for seriously stupid kids’ names at times. News site Ananova reports that a Chinese couple want to name their child “@”. They are seeking, they say, a distinctive, modern name for the child. The only saving grace, as far as E-tales can see, is that “@” — when pronounced as “at” — apparently sounds like the Chinese phrase “love him”.

The Germans ban this kind of nonsense, with good reason. Playground life will be hell for this kid, unless Chinese kids are different from Western kids, which E-tales doubts.

E-tales isn’t normally in favour of the nanny state, but, in this case, hopes the Chinese police, who issue national identity cards and so have the power to say no, do just that.

Father’s Day Massacre

With Father’s Day fast approaching, E-tales has been thinking hard about guy pressies — never easy. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we came across a Jaycar newspaper insert, featuring all sorts of boy goodies, from battery chargers (really) to retro turntables, to noise-cancelling headphones, to mini remote-controlled helicopters. So far, so predictable, but then there was the “RC Mobile Missiles Launcher”, which apparently allows Dad to declare war on his friends and shoot yellow tubes at them.

Who thinks these things up? This delightful toy is suitable for eight-year-olds upwards. E-tales recommends last week’s story about the marshmallow shooter as being more like it for Dads: violence and lollies. All that’s needed now is some beer.

What are blogs really for?

There’s a lot of blog drivel out there. E-tales certainly appreciates the urge that drives people to want to communicate and that the blogosphere means many more people can do so, and there are some great blogs out there. But we have sometimes wondered: exactly what is a blog is for? As in, how is it distinct from other, more traditional forms of writing?

Well, there must be something in the ether because someone, a poet no less, has just come up with a great definition.

Interviewed in the Guardian, Ethiopian British poet Lemn Sissay says blogging is an accessible way of saying: “Look, I existed then too”. But, more importantly, he says a blog is neither a diary nor a journal but includes elements of both.

He’s good poet too; check out his poem “Gold from the stone”, at the civil expression blogspot, about what it’s like to be a black adoptee in a white family. Madonna and Angelina Jolie beware.

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