E-tales: Meccano or girls?

Mournful advice on how to keep custody of your Meccano collection

Sweet-smelling boys

Is it a game; is it a sweatbox? No, it’s both. Last week saw the local qualifying champs for the World Cyber Games, with over 700 computer gamers meeting to see who was the best and the fastest in the Kiwi gaming world. A rather bemused television journalist reported on the Auckland event and E-tales was amused to note that not much has changed in the gaming world — this E-taler once worked on a gaming magazine. The atmosphere was as ripe as ever. The boys weren’t sleeping much (one had his duvet wrapped around him); they still kept themselves going on the traditional gamer foods of burgers, fizzy drinks and donuts, but… there were some bottles of deodorant among the desktop debris. Now, there’s an advance.

Net activists save 800 cats

Now, all you doubters out there who think the Chinese government has complete control over the net, well, there’s one sort of activist who is allowed free rein — the animal rights activist. Chinese animal lovers recently answered an internet call to save 800 cats from ending up as stir-fry.

Activist Huo Puyang posted a message online, after her daughter discovered two trucks stuffed with cats in Shanghai, according to news site The Register.

The cops and 30 activists all piled in, but, because the moggies hadn’t been stolen — cat stir-fry is an acceptable dish to some Chinese palates — the cat lovers had to buy the sad cargo, at a cost of 10,000 yuan (NZ$1,708).

Nerd heart-throb fits the bill

Now, here’s a thought… heard on the radio the other day: who do Chinese women think is the biggest heart-throb they’d most like to have babies with? No, it’s not Brad Pitt but his Chinese equivalent, Andy Lau. Bill Gates comes in at number 2. Now, there was a time when, allegedly, the billionaire had a little difficulty attracting the ladies, but no more, it seems. And why do they like him? Well, he’s rich and clever. It seems, over the long-run, nerds beat jocks in the romance stakes.

Annoyingly easy

There are some devices that are just so annoying they shouldn’t have been invented. This is certainly the case with US stationer Staples’ “red button” device. A booster for advertising people, it has the word “easy” printed on it which, when pressed, says, “That was easy”, in robotic Americanese.

One of our E-talers was introduced to the device at a recent Wellington conference, on team-based software development, by Equinox’s Paul Ramsay, who was, thankfully, restrained in his use of the device. Staples recommends it as a confidence-booster, to be pressed whenever the owner completes a task. We don’t think it would catch on in New Zealand. For those of you thinking how much they’d like to hack the easy-button device and insert a somewhat different phrase just go to: www.impulsedesign.com/easy_button.pdf.

Meccano or girls?

I’m going to have to tread carefully here. In reply to some begging for E-tales contributions, the editor pointed me to his blog (www.nzbc.net.nz) and mournful advice from the New Zealand Federation of Meccano Modellers Magazine about divorce and how to keep custody of your Meccano collection.

Tips include: form a trust and transfer ownership of assets before the relationship commences; make gifts to clear the trust indebtedness to you; make gifts of cash to the trust for future purchases; minimise the paper trail of purchases and sales to reduce hard evidence and keep the essential remainder out of sight or off the premises; keep all records on removable media and off the computer hard drive; and do not discuss individual items and their financial history/value with anybody (especially your nosey in-laws).

We don’t know exactly who the chap concerned is, but our Ed obviously felt for him — has he a secret stash of the metal obsession stored somewhere, I wonder?

E-tales reckons blog commentator Mrs Smith has the right take on all this. “My goodness,” she said. “People like that shouldn’t ever consider getting divorced. They should think themselves fearfully lucky to have someone to marry in them in the first place.”

Beer, beer, we want more beer

It seems that’s what it takes to win mobile customers in China these days, where white-hot rivals China Unicom and China Mobile have entered into a beer bidding war to win customers. Unicom started it off with its offer of 12 bottles of the amber nectar then, not three days later, China Mobile upped the ante by offering two crates, according to the UK Financial Times.

Homeless legend on Facebook

The world of social networking can be quite democratic. Whereas in the world of films and television it’s the hunks and the beauties who tend to dominate the screen, on Facebook you can be, well, a tramp — literally.

The UK’s Sun newspaper reports that Gordon Roberts, 78, who lives in and around the not-very-sunny English southern coast holiday town of Bournemouth, has had a Facebook site dedicated to him on account of his extraordinary ability to tell what time it is within two minutes, despite not having a watch.

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