Bikini blues

Worldwide messaging has revealed an annoying bias in favour of the northern hemisphere

Sound of one-hand clapping

It wasn’t an auspicious start to the annual government computing conference, Govis, in Wellington last week. The keynote speaker, IT and Communications Minister David Cunliffe, was delayed, so the waiting audience was entertained with a technology video. Unfortunately, there was no sound for some time. As one attendee dryly commented: “That’s about typical for government computing”.

Don’t say it in pink

We just wanted to give the thumbs-up to our sister publication Reseller News’ blog, which asks, in relation to Mother’s Day (but it could be a general question): why is it that whenever tech companies think of women, they think pink? They also often think tacky bits of diamante and cutesy butterflies too, but pink is the most enduring theme — as in pink PS2 consoles, pink cellphones and pink iPods.

Now, it’s true that many girls go through a pink phase at about age four, but, except for the truly colour-retarded, it’s all over by age nine. One female e-taler can think of lots of tech ideas and toys that appeal to women and, guess what, none of them come in pink and they definitely don’t come splattered with sparkly diamante stickers.

You get what you don’t get

Opening the Convergence Oceania 07 wireless conference in Wellington last week, Communications Minister David Cunliffe started his speech with the surprising assertion: “Broadband matters — and average Kiwis get it.” Our e-taler was waiting for someone to protest from the floor that, no, we weren’t getting it — real broadband that is. But, of course, Cunliffe meant “get” in the sense of “understand”. Shame really, we’d prefer it in the more concrete sense.

Bikini blues

As we slide into winter in here New Zealand, one thing we don’t need — especially if one happens to live in Wellington and have all those Southerlies to look forward to — is a spam email headed: “Summer is almost here. Be ready.” (It was peddling bikini-enhancing weight-loss drugs).

This e-taler’s irritated view? Worldwide messaging has revealed an annoying bias in favour of the northern hemisphere which has not been tackled by anti-discrimination law yet. We’re gonna call it “hemispherism”, and we say it should be stamped out.

Baby steps for grown-ups

Stories of “digitally native” children putting their parents to shame with their technology skills abound and sometimes the youngsters can be quite sarky.

One e-taler who has endeavoured to do as little mobile texting as possible — protesting that a tiny 12-key keypad was never meant to be a typing device — was recently forced into texting, as the cheapest way of communicating from Sydney with his daughter back home.

He unravelled the mysteries of “predictive text” — which, for example, reckons “nun” probably means “Mum” but, curiously, reckons “pumpkin” slightly misspelled probably means “quorum”. Go figure.

Anyway, a friend was looking over daughter’s shoulder as a message arrived. Daughter said: “My Dad’s texting now.” “Oh that’s great,” enthused friend. “I was so proud when my parents learned to do it.”

Hamsters shred the way

One of Gizmodo’s latest inventions gives new meaning to idea of being on the hamster wheel with Hammy’s wheel being hooked-up to a paper shredder. As such, it gets Hammy in on the oh-so-modern chore of shredding all those sensitive documents before the tax people or the lawyers get their hands on them. But, then again, hamster poo is probably nothing compared with wading through Enron or White House dirt. Better get two hamsters so you can cross-cut.

Perils of modern princesses

It’s tough being a modern girl — especially if you’re also a princess. Two young Brit princesses, Eugenie and Beatrice, have just discovered why venturing into cyberspace can be a bit challenging. Eugenie, just 17, got in a spot of bother last week for pasting up her family details on her MySpace page. It was all rather innocent really. She described Queen Liz as “Supergran” and said her parents — Andrew and Fergie — got on well despite being divorced.

A spokesman for Prince Andrew told British tabloid The Daily Mail: “The girls don’t use MySpace any more. They think it’s a bit too open. They are now using Facebook [which is invitation-only].”

Trouble is, the MySpace pages for both princesses are still up there and a dirty dog called “Nick” has just added a piece to the friends’ comment section detailing, among other things, the interesting growth of his intimate parts. Ah well, even princesses have to learn not all boys are nice.

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