That’s assertainment!

Commuter tunnel turned into a giant, executive colon to advise workers that there's a better way to get a job than crawling up the boss's behind

Kiwi cuts Amazon down to size

That old idea that digital media would lead to the saving of lots and lots of trees seems to be particularly wooden-headed when things go legal.

A recent interesting example of this is provided by outraged Kiwi blogger Peter Caveley, who is trying to get the US Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO) to take another look at the 1-Click patent it granted to Amazon.

According to his latest blog entry, Caveley now has 26kg of paperwork relating to the re-examination case — that’s the weight of a medium-sized dog or Swedish military bicycle.

Caveley’s beef is that, he says, the patent is invalid because other companies got there first. We hope he persuades the USPTO of the justice of his assertion soon for the sake of the Amazon — and all the other forests.

Incidentally, Amazon is supporting its claim with the aid of 32 Wikipedia articles, despite the USPTO taking Wikipedia off its list of acceptable research resources last year.


There are some “products” which just scream: what’s the point? One recent example is Telecom’s public webphone. One of our E-talers spotted — and snapped — one of these machines recently at Auckland’s Sylvia Park shopping mall and put it up on his website. Telecom may call it a webphone, but our E-taler calls it “Fugly” — twice. It seems to be a batty attempt by Telecom to utilise all those useless public phones now the world and its aunty has gone mobile.

That’s assertainment!

Anyone who has ever watched a German film knows Germans aren’t shy about body parts and also enjoy telling it like it is — sometimes quite graphically. Well, the cheeky advertisement above certainly does that.

The work of Hamburg advertising agency Scholz & Friends, the creators certainly know what the Average Joe (and Jo) finds a bummer — ass-licking the boss to get on at work.

So, to advertise their client’s services (a German job-hunting site) the agency came up with this assresting image, turning a commuter tunnel into a giant, executive colon to advise workers that there’s a better way to get a job than crawling up the boss’s behind. Now that's not a bum idea.

Just a slot in the schedule

How do delegates to a meeting know they’re second in line — that the same event has already been held the elsewhere recently, using the same Powerpoint slides?

Not that there’s anything wrong with that — it’s best to spread knowledge around and sometimes a talk’s better second time round. But it’s a dead giveaway when — as was the case with a recent talk our E-taler attended — the first slide is dated “28st (sic) March”.

Pet shop boys back in town

One of our readers has taken issue with us about E-tales’ disparagement of ’80s band the Pet Shop Boys (see E-tales, March 26). We asked when the lads had last had a hit. Well, says our irate fan, their most recent (March) release was She’s Madonna, a duet with Robbie Williams, which reached No. 16 in the UK charts and No. 1 in the Euro charts. And the boys recently performed at a sell-out concert in Australia (and here).

OK, we give in. The boys are still cool in some circles — even if they do spend their leisure time reading about health service IT scandals in UK scandal rag Private Eye.

Boy and girls come out to play

Despite not being big on computer games, our E-tales editor is nevertheless a keen observer of the games market. So, in the interests of research, she got her young teen to give her an update on the real deal with the new Sony PS3. Said teen is one of those rarities: a girl who has worked her way through the Gameboy, Nintendo and the PS2. And, it seems — despite the 2005 rootkit scandal — that Sony has got some things very right with the PS3 and new PS2.

The PS3 definitely has boy appeal, says our young chappess — partly because you can actually move the steering wheel while crashing your car in racing games. And the pink PS2? She thought a hot-pink machine very “cool”.

It’s all very similar to Lego’s very successful strategy of developing boy and girl Lego. Our E-tales’ editor says she loved her bro’s non-gender marketed Meccano but mainly used it to build cars for her dolls. Mind you, if she’d been a boy she’d probably have hung the dolls from the Meccano cranes she also built, after undressing them to see their “boobies”.

‘Cattle class’ confirmed

You know how it is once you get inside a company — even just digitally — you sometimes get to see how it really is. The Register reports that this was certainly the case when Mark Rison was perusing Easy Jet’s website and checking out what help was on hand for elderly passengers. Quite a bit, apparently. Pity the helpful reply was undermined by the “livestock” customer category listed on the left of the site.

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