E-tales: Girly net future?

The future of the net may be teenage and female

Girly net future?

Checking out the Neilsen/Net Ratings site as to whom had beaten us in the top ten newspapers and magazines website ratings — Computerworld came in at No.4 — we came across an intriguing story that suggests the future of the net may be teenage and female. Apparently, in Hong Kong, 40% of all web surfers are girls aged 16 and younger. And they just wanna have fun. They’re not doing their homework online; they’re seeking out chat rooms and entertainment sites.

Maybe we could ink-up somehow? No, we don’t think so — teenage girls, fickle is thy middle name.

Ghost of Theresa

She has finally moved on… but has she? The now ex-CEO of Telecom, Theresa Gattung, still graced the telco’s website last week, on the “contact” page. E-tales actually wouldn’t mind contacting her. We can think of lots of questions we’d like to ask, most especially what’s going on with this accusing people she doesn’t like of being communists? This is, apparently, one of startling revelations to emerge from her farewell interviews.

Ah well, it’s an old technique, attacking the messenger not the message. Our Theresa should consider a career in politics. She could go far.

Telecoms game gets interesting

We may have our criticisms of our cousins across the Tasman, but at least they’ve got a proper broadband service. Three years ago, when this E-taler lived in Sydney, we enjoyed fast, reliable broadband that consistently delivered a 3Mbit/s service. Today, in Auckland, our “unconstrained” service never delivers more than 1.5Mbit/s. Our Sydney service was also massively cheaper, as the Aussie market is competitive — ISPs have long been able to stick their DSLAMs (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexers) into Telstra’s exchanges.

But we’re not holding our breath that newly appointed Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Ross Patterson, a returning-from-Sydney Kiwi, is going to find it easy to deliver the same here. He may be a specialist in “competition law, telecommunications law and competition policy initiatives”, but he’s going to need all his skills and more to budge Telecom, which has so far demonstrated spectacular foot-dragging and courtroom-pacing skills. Oh well, at least it should prove an interesting game to watch.

Twisted lines

E-tales doesn’t know what’s wrong with a certain government agency’s phone system. But last week one of our E-talers hung onto a ringing line for about ten minutes, on first call, before giving up. Then, on the second try, the switchboard answered and our E-taler got as far as asking for the IT manager.

He was put on to another eternally ringing line which, eventually, recycled back to the operator. “Didn’t his voice-mail work?” she asked in a puzzled tone. “Well, theres nothing I can do then, I’m [just] a telephonist.”

Not wanting to go down the line of what a telephonist’s duties are, we plumped for the choice that no journalist likes to resort to — the public relations department.

After a mere four rings, the PR team’s line was picked up… by the IT manager.

Access at your peril

Delving among historic documents on the e-government website, an acquaintance of this E-taler found an implementation plan for a “customer-centric portal” to government websites (circa 2001-2004). It was full of good stuff about trust and accessibility, but the document came up sideways. No worries, he thought, there’s a button on Adobe Acrobat that rotates documents through a right angle.

He pressed said button — and his Adobe PDF reader promptly crashed.

It seems to work all right with ours, but shouldn’t the document have been the right way up in the first place?

Nintendo faces future head-on

Once upon a time, computer games were just for couch-potato kids. No more. Fun games for everyone, like SingStar and Buzz, and, more recently, Wii, have expanded gaming considerably. Nintendo has gone a step further and moved to help oldster gamesters keep pert and firm, with a face-training game designed to tone-up sagging jowls (a partner for the company’s brain-training games for oldsters, no doubt).

There’s also Wii Fit, a “balance board”, featuring a pressure-sensitive wireless pad that helps users do aerobics, yoga or gym in front of the TV.

But should anyone get bored with all this worthy stuff, there’s also Wii Zapper, the brand-new shooter that brings shoot ’em ups right into the living room.

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