Dead ducks for dog's breakfast

Mixed metaphors describe the Probe project

Google flush with success

We know Google is so flush with success these days that it could happily flush millions, if not billions, down the loo and not worry about it — which is some commentators’ opinion of what it did when it spent up very large indeed (US$1.65 billion) on You Tube — but this is ridiculous. Or, possibly, it is the Google guys and gals’ idea of a joke.

What it is actually is an advert for Google’s latest venture — the beta of its TiSP in-home wireless broadband service.

Weird. We’d like to get to the bottom of it. But it’s probably just that tech and toilet humour are never too far away from each other.

Tardy texts thwart young love

Around Christmas, E-tales received a number of complaints about the interminable amount of time it was taking for text messages to get through. At first, there was a suggestion that it was the telcos playing games — that is, the slowest messages were between the Vodafone and Telecom networks. But now the same problem has arisen again — and it’s playing havoc with young love. One young texter wails that she has had a fight with her boyfriend about why he had not bothered to reply to her text messages, while he, in turn, asked why it was taking her three hours to do same.

The current problem, however, seems to be just with Vodafone. Said young texter has two phones, one for each network, and a very busy text-dependent social life, and says “027” messages still go through quickly, but “021” messages don’t. What E-tales wants to know is: what’s going on with Vodafone’s service?

Vodafone’s communications manager Paul Brislen says the issue is very simple: “Very few people use Telecom’s network to send messages of love.”

Of dogs and dead ducks

Scouting around among those once associated with the government-backed Probe broadband scheme, one chap was most unimpressed, referring to said scheme pre-emptorily as a “dead duck”.

He wasn’t dismissing the scheme as ineffective, he hastened to add, just as old news. In his view, much of its lauded community benefit has since been superseded by the government’s “Broadband Challenge”.

Hmm, Minister Trevor Mallard says Probe is “a dog’s breakfast”, now someone says it’s “dead duck”. We have a strange and alliterative bag of mixed metaphors here. Might be worthy of a cartoon. Any offers?

Website shows whey to go

You know that old joke about watching paint dry? Well, apparently such activities are not quite as boring as many of us thought. Here at E-tales, we’re always on the hunt for quirky websites and the Cheddarvision website definitely falls into the quirkily amusing category.

The brainchild of the UK’s West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers, it involves a webcam which has been set up to watch the Somerset cheesemaker’s cheese mature — a process which takes three months. Recently there was a flurry of activity when cheesemaker Tom Calver used a corer to test how mature the 44lb cheese was. This involved him taking a sample and sniffing it. Oh, the excitement.

Believe it or not, half a million people do find it exciting — at least that’s how many people have viewed the three-month-old website, a number of kiwis among them. But then, given our large dairy industry, we have a professional interest.

Mind you, those involved do have a perspective. Company chairman Philip Crawford says: “Some might say this is the most boring website of 2007, but our cheese is worth waiting for, so it’s better than watching paint dry — just.”

It may be a slow website, but as a marketing exercise it’s very sharp indeed.

When X meets embarrassment

We know Telecom isn’t exactly flavour of the month among the forward-looking, but we weren’t quite ready for an apology for still dealing with them — from a communications entrepreneur who shall be nameless.

Asked for his email address, he said: “Well, I hope you don’t mind but it’s an Xtra address”.

Perhaps he was just discomfited at not having a personal or company domain. But then again, perhaps not.

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