Biodegradable boom, boom

We're not sure if it's a recycling wonder or if it's a joke

Rich, dead rellies and fame

Our very own Fry-up editor, Juha Saarinen, is famous, it seems. But he’s not sure whether he wants to be. Last week he received his very own 419 scam email — addressed to him by name — telling him that a rich unknown rellie of his had snuffed it in Togo, leaving him lots of lovely muuuuuuuneey, as the unknown relative, his wife and only daughter had all exited this world in a fatal car crash.

All our Mr Saarinen had to do was email his telephone details… Well, it’s slightly more subtle than “send me your bank details” right now.

E-tales’ editor once got one of these but wasn’t distinguished enough to be named in it or have a little story worked-up in it. Juha should be flattered.

Post-spam spam

The Anti-spam Act, which comes into force shortly, has caused at least two big companies to indulge in uncharacteristic acts of generosity, with the aim of getting customers to “opt-in”. This is so they can continue to receive lots of thrilling, not-to-be-missed sales emails which the companies will no longer be able to deluge the punters (sorry, customers) with once the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act (the Act’s official name) comes into force.

Genesis Energy offered one of our E-talers the chance to win $1,000 for “opting-in”, before putting on the green burn by telling our E-taler that email saves trees — this in a glossy mail-out.

Our E-taler has also been spammed with offers by Telecom, which is not his telecoms supplier. And another of our E-talers has had four such goody-dangling spams from Telecom, and he’s not interested either.

Personally, E-tales’ editor would be more impressed by offers to discount future bills. Fat chance.

A blog for the worst of times

Normally, E-tales is a fun sort of place, but occasionally we feel the need to get serious. This is one of those times. Some time ago, a curious story was doing the rounds. It concerned YouTube’s “Lonelygirl15”. It turned out to be a clever viral marketing campaign, featuring the somewhat older-than-15 Kiwi actor Jessica Lee Rose.

But it seems there really is a lonely girl out there, a London girl who spent nine months living out of her car through the cold of a British winter because she had no one to turn to. In voiceless desperation, she wrote a blog about it all, called Wandering Scribe, while huddling in libraries during daytime. And, while all around ignored her, and sometimes humiliated her, warm emails poured in from around the globe. A truly Dickensian tale of our times, when someone can totally alone but totally connected online.

The scribe now has a name, Anya Peters, and has written a book, appropriately called Abandoned, about her experiences. As she says, “It was terrifying how easy it was to fall off the radar and into that spiral downwards.”

Steve Jobs outed

E-tales’ other favourite story of the week is more light-hearted. It concerns the outing of the fake Steve Jobs as a Forbes editor, Dan Lyons, by a New York Times reporter.

“El Jobso”, as he has been dubbed, parodies the many less-than-candid CEO blogs out there in his satirical blog, as well as skewering other targets — including, memorably, blasting Linux fans as “freetards”.

This E-taler especially enjoyed his nailing of Jobs on management with this pithy “fake” quote: “Hold people to an impossibly high standard, but here’s the twist — don’t tell them what that standard is. And fire them if they fall short.”

Speak at your peril

Now, here’s a management idea for the real El Jobso. One of our E-talers likes a beer and regularly joins other drinking techie types for NZ Computer Society meetings at Wellington watering holes. Recently, the chaps and chappesses adjourned to the appropriately named Dog and Bone (which features a sign with a phone — think cockney rhyming slang) for a congenial NZCS meeting. Our E-taler was intrigued to find that the space for the speaker was a podium recessed into an alcove — with a dartboard behind it.

Be careful, be very, very careful what you say.

Biodegradable boom, boom...

Our designer came across this quirky little product the other day. We’re not sure if it’s a recycling wonder — it’s part-made of cardboard, which is wonderfully biodegradable — or if it’s a joke. It’s actually an iPod/MP3 player speaker set (yes, the speakers are real). The mini, fold-it-yourself cardboard boom box speaker-set comes complete with two AA batteries. We’re not sure about the price, but the company selling the product is called Suck UK.

It says it’s a manufacturing and wholesale company, which is a wonder in itself — the “making” part, that is.

E-tales thought the Western world had given up on actually making stuff.

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