FryUp: Oh, easy dee… enough alreddie

Telecom makes an art, and a spectator sport, of Ernie baiting; search for cool Web 2.0 sources; and Meccano goes off like a bomb

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- You must be this smart to ride the interwebs!

- Oh, easy dee… enough alreddie

Kewt bakery ad

Safe bet it’ll upset Maori though.

- Gingerbread haka

Pod jacta est

The Rob and Ulrika Show continues unabated.

- Podcast: Interviewing computing historian John Pratt

You must be this smart to ride the interwebs!

Until Uncov came along, there hasn’t been a good Web 2.0 voice. Yes, there’s Richard MacManus and Read/Write Web, plus the people who write for him, but… Richard refuses to swear and poke fun (Hey Ed: can I write: “use muscular fuck-off prose and take the piss”?) (Go write ahead. Ed) at some of the sillier aspects of the new stuff.

There’s Valleywag I guess, but Uncov is better. Read and enjoy, especially the piece on Steve The Rube. (Thanks to FryUp reader MF for the tip.)

- Uncov

- ValleyWag

Oh, easy dee… enough alreddie

The cruellest aspect of the present Telecommunications Quandary is the regular OECD figures rows. You see, the real reason we’ve got rubbish broadband that costs a fortune is because of a cunning ploy devised by Doctor D and his sidekick, The Gattung.

That pair has a particularly refined sense of humour, some would even call it sophisticated I think. Round about 2003, they noticed that it was quite easy to provoke Ernie Newman of TUANZ into things like media appearances and pushing out press releases on telco matters.

So, they would do things like release 128k DSL and then call it broadband just to see what Ernie would say. He’s quite predictable, though, so just about anything like not investing much of the huge profits Telecom reaps from its state-protected monopoly into improving NZ’s telecommunications, gets a huge rise out of Ernie.

He goes on TV, radio, the papers, you name it. There’s a pool going at Telecom even, with odds on how many media outlets he’ll appear on after a certain piece of news appears. It makes it much more fun to manage Telecom. Instead of just having an icy hand scrunching the country by the telco testicles, Telecom management can now do so with a smile. That smile should incidentally become full laughter soon, as the government – maybe the next National one – folds and hands over a cool few billion dollars to Telecom to build a replacement for the copper last mile network, but that’s another story.

Anyway, I’m sick and tired of the Ernie-baiting. Poor man will have a heart attack soon if it doesn’t stop. I don’t know about you, but it does seem a bit socially irresponsible as well.

- Telecom rejects TUANZ claim of gross lack of investment

A complex arrangement of cogs, strings and chains

There is a link between Meccano and computing… and you’ll find it here, in New Zealand, at the Auckland MOTAT museum.

It’s the only original Differential Analyser in the world, in a complete state, and it was used for amongst other things, by Barnes Wallis to design the bouncing bombs used by the Dam Busters.

If I understand it right, the Meccano Differential Analyser No. 2 won’t make an appearance in Peter Jackson’s Dam Busters remake however. The device was largely forgotten until recently, which is a pity.

- Meccano ‘Dam Busters’ computer stars at MOTAT

- Story makes wikipedia


Cartoon by

Robert X Cringely

Dell's hot new line of business

Cringe regular DF believes she may have discovered how Dell plans to turn itself around — by engaging in new and more provocative side businesses. DF, an east coast reseller, asked Dell for a couple of quotes on systems for her clients. All was well until she called the toll-free phone number listed for the Dell sales rep and was treated a recorded message inviting him to "jump into fun exciting live talk now" for just $2.99 a minute. Either that, or Dell customer support now answers the phone with "Hey there sexy guy, welcome to an exciting new way to go live one on one with hot horny girls just dying to talk to you." (Which would be a heck of an improvement, if you ask me.) DF says that when she said she wanted a laptop, Dell must have thought he asked for a lapdance. Happens to me all the time, only usually in reverse. But it seems Dell is not the only high-tech company urging its customers to let their fingers do the walking. Reader JS (gender unknown) reports receiving an email from Secure Computing's IronMail service following a DDOS attack on its servers last week. Within the message was an 800 number for domestic customers to call for tech support. That's right. Not only was it a sex talk line, it was the same one employed by Dell's sales rep (1-800-PASSION, if you're interested in researching this further). An embarrassed customer service rep says the number was a typo, and the company thought they'd caught that mistake before the email was sent out. The correct toll-free number for IronMail support is 800.700.8328. On the other hand, they could always keep the number and change their name to "IronMale."

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