Grindergirl keeps geeks on the hop

Also in E-tales: Rotund green alien lands flat on his face

Telstra: not talking now

You know, sometimes it is better not to know. And it’s even better not to let everyone else know. And that’s especially true when it comes to letting everyone know something you’d rather they didn’t over the net.

These are some of the thoughts that should have occurred to Telstra before the company asked, via its “Now We Are Talking” website, who people thought was responsible for blocking high-speed broadband for Australia (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?)

Well, a whopping 97% of respondents blamed Telstra, rather than the government, the telecoms industry or the regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Cue a flurry of PR panic activity, resulting in spin statement from Telstra, saying the poll had been (shock! horror!) rigged. Apparently, the poll had been hijacked by a “computer program”, although some previous polls had also been less than kind to the telco, reported The Sydney Morning Herald.

Telstra claims it’s a rort, although it doesn’t know who the rorter is — except to say that a group of 12 Telstra rivals called “Tell the Truth Telstra” immediately sent out a gleeful press release calling attention to the poll. The group denies it had anything to with the poll.

Is that one or two own goals?

Sparky girl keeps geeks on the hop

The out-there girl pictured right is Grindergirl, a character on the David Letterman show, whose metal bodice is even more interesting than it looks in the picture — our girl periodically takes an angle grinder to it, to shower sparks on people at will. And no,

E-tales in not going any of the places that immediately come to mind…

Anyway, Grindergirl featured at the JavaOne conference After Dark Bash, held in San Francisco recently, to which one of our E-talers jetted-in. It was “uber-geeky” she said. And what’s the uber-geek’s idea of fun — apart from dallying with spiky-chested girls who it really hurts to come near? Well, there’s playing BattleBots, consuming lots of hotdogs and beer, and hanging out with one of the Mythbusters guys. So far, so stereotypical, but the uber-Bash also featured a midget band dressed up as ’70s rock-glammers KISS, called, appropriately, MiniKISS.

Email blues

“Interwoven is a global leader in content management solutions…” so goes the blurb for a company whose PR agency sent one of our E-talers a curious email last week.

The email, from Lewis PR, concerned a survey by Interwoven found that 52% of the Kiwi respondents it polled agreed that “streamlining the document lifecycle… would result in increased levels of compliance” — E-tales thinks this means email is getting out control.

Lewis PR seems to have an email control problem itself. The press release, which arrived last week, was dated April 2 and came with an apology from the Sydney-based company, saying the email had originally been sent way back when, but, because of IT problems, the company had no record of whether email traffic was moving at the time.

Flying the flag, not

It used to be that conference sponsors were happy with a few discreet logos and an acknowledgement that they’d stumped-up to help put on the show. No more. The recent Oceania 07 wireless conference, held in Wellington, featured a two-metre tall version of sponsor Tomizone’s mascot — a rotund green alien. Sadly, he toppled over, landing flat on his face, sending rather the wrong message just before the session detailing Tomizone’s wi-fi service, which was launched at the conference and is now being resold here by Orcon.

... or two flags

By the way, Tomizone has the only website ( we’ve seen which displays British and US flags as links to two versions of an animation about its services.

Clearly, it considers (southern) English and (northern) American to be two different languages.

Robo-dogs on the ball

What’s the first thing you think of if you’re into robotics but want a bit of fun, too? No, no, not that. You think of soccer, the international sports obsession that rivals our Kiwi obsession with rugby.

Anyway, robot dog football is big news — and getting bigger. The 11th annual RoboCup soccer event is being held at the Georgia Tech campus, in Atlanta, in July. Around 218 senior teams and 140 junior teams from over 20 countries will compete.

And this year, for this first time, there will be a Nanogram League — a competition between microscopic robots. A magnified broadcast will be used to show what’s happening on the tiny field.

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