Not an online dating agency
Under the just passed Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act, the job of policing spam will fall to the Department of Internal Affairs. This comes on top of policing online gambling and pornography. Tech issues are obviously taking up a growing amount of the agency’s time. Which probably explains InternetNZ’s crystal-ball gazing when, in its press statement on the new anti-spam law, it called the DIA the “Department of Internet Affairs”.
Paint it cat
E-tales well remembers the Bonsai kittens saga. If you don’t, it involved the sale of tiny kittens kept deliberately small by being confined to jars — hence, Bonsai kittens. It was an internet spoof, of course, but so good it fooled the FBI, and one tearful child, who had to be shown the FBI story before she believed it was just a Photoshop joke. Well, now we have painted cats. Very beautiful, as the picture shows, but how do you keep them still enough to paint them and do they then lick the paint off?
It’s another Photoshop spoof, of course. And this time a New Zealander, author Burton Silver, is involved, (on second thoughts, given his name, maybe he’s an American import). Anyway, he co-authored the book the picture comes from, Why Paint Cats?, with Heather Busch. The two deadpan nicely, too — a note at the front of the book talks of an experiment in “inter-species morphic resonance [which] … is designed to test the hypothesis of formative causation.” The joke continues, with an email about the book currently doing the rounds.
Telecom goes small
E-tales has been reflecting on another local saga, too. This one concerns Telecom’s forced refund of around $130 to all its not so-Go Large customers, for delivering an oh-so-slow service. One of our E-talers is not sure that the situation has actually improved much, however. He says download speeds remain so low — dial-up speed at peak times — that downloading different versions of Linux (as he does for review purposes) is impossible at home, as it takes three days compared with four minutes at work. He suspects that it may be to do with the fact he uses Bittorrent and other file-sharing applications to do so, and Telecom assumes he’s engaging in a bit of illegal movie downloading.
Trouble is, if a bit of quiet policing is going on here, creativity — the kind that can lead to new products — may be being squished.
Martians not allowed: Wikipedia
Yes, we found this choice little quote tucked away in a recent New Scientist interview with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. It’s official: “Wikipedia is not controlled by the CIA, Martians, or Elvis.” Jimmy says so.
To be fair, he didn’t just come out and make such a bald statement. He was answering a question that implied the CIA had doctored the site to remove links to conspiracy theories about the agency (allegedly) killing President Kennedy.
MSN drops the ball
You know how rugby is the closest thing New Zealand has to a national religion? Well, the folks at MSN obviously don’t (probably because most of them reside in Australia). Anyway, not one but two of our E-talers were disgusted to find, when checking out the rugby news over the weekend, that there was zilch on the new, allegedly Kiwi, msn.co.nz site. There’s wasn’t much later in the week either.
“Who’s this Grant Hackett?” one of them exclaimed. There was lots of stuff about him (he’s an Aussie swimmer) and even more about Sydney’s gay Mardi Gras festival, but of the Super 14 rugby? Nay nothing. What’s happening here? We know ninemsn, which part-owns the new online news site, is part Aussie-owned and that the Aussies are bigger on Rugby League than Union… ah, maybe that’s it.
Speaking of Kiwis being left off the map, our outraged E-taler seems to have spent what time he wasn’t glued to Super 14 rugby (union) fiddling around online and, in the process, discovered another interesting fact, while perusing greatfirewallofchina.org, which lists those sites the Chinese Government deems appropriate for its people to view. Well, readers will be pleased to know that Computerworld New Zealand gets the big tick, but not geekzone. Our very own Juha Saarinen is heavily involved with said site and we know he can be a bit rad, but the site is not known for expounding dangerous political dogma.
And yet more from our outraged rugby fan who, while fooling around with Lotus Notes this time (he really should get out more — to a rugby match, maybe) typed in “rugby” and got “Rugby”. The latter is an English town, but, even though his spell-checker is customised to English-NZ, he had to teach it “rugby”.
Well, what can you expect from an American spell-checker and country that thinks football involves armour and crash helmets, and whose players certainly couldn’t bend it like Beckham.