'Tossable peripherals' get gamers off their bums

Also in E-tales: Long-nosed marionette promotes wireless

Wires and fingers crossed?

E-tales is a quite taken by the choice of character to illustrate nzwireless' recently launched WiMax-based broadband offering. It's a beautifully drawn marionette that bears a striking resemblance to Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio,complete with the famous liar's long nose. We couldn't think of a truer way to reinforce the message that "Wireless is better" if we tried.

Connecting with originality

The strapline for Telecom's latest ad campaign looked awfully familiar to E-Tales. Here it is:

The scribbly type can't hide the the fact that the strapline is not very different to the one used by Finnish mobile telephony giant Nokia:

This, of course, has E-tales wondering if perchance the same ad agency worked on both accounts?

Couchees get active

You know how we all collectively fret about the slothful, tummy-expanding perils of too much gaming (okay, some of us do). Well, a frisbee-style games controller could be about to solve the problem.

New Scientist reports that a Californian inventor (why are we not surprised it’s a West Coast beach idea?) has developed what he calls “tossable peripherals”. The idea is to get gamers off their bums. Shaped either as a Frisbee or a ball, the controller connects via wi-fi to games consoles such as the PlayStation Portable.

The healthy, running-around bit comes about because it also contains an accelerometer, an altimeter, a timer and a GPS receiver, which means you can play catch games, with the winner being the one who racks up the most points. A head-mounted score display device is a possibility for those wanting a more hardcore gaming experience.

Very shades of Californian near-future sci-fi writer Kim Stanley Robinson, whose characters often indulge in futuristic sports.

Tech dinosaurs still thriving

Is it a generational thing or is there an inverse relationship between how big a business person you are and attitude to technology? We ask this in the interests of scientific inquiry because the NZ Herald recently commented on how Bob Jones hates mobile phones — he has his minions do all that stuff for him, as, apparently, do a number of other big business boys (not sure about the girls). It put this E-taler in mind of a boss she once had who loved all phones but regarded the PC that was installed in his office (under duress) with venomous disdain. And, no, he never deigned to use it. Amazingly, this all took place in the telco industry (but across the ditch) and, no, it did his career no harm whatsoever.

The law of large numbers

A fine of 2.3 cents for sending a spam email seems pretty reasonable. However, as most spammers send out junk emails by the multi-million, such a measure results in million-dollar fines. That’s what Australian business seminar promoter Wayne Mansfield found out recently when he became the first person to be convicted under Australia’s anti-spam laws.

Mansfield and his company, Clarity1, were recently fined A$5.5 million (NZ$6.3 million) for sending approximately 321 million spam emails after the Australian spam act was passed in 2004. That works out at 2.3 cents per email.

Mansfield was a keen spammer prior to the passing of the act but somehow couldn’t shake the habit once it became illegal. Bravo, you might say, but, as Australian lawyer Patrick Fair told The Australian, most spam originates from overseas, so Australia’s stringent anti-spam laws won’t have much impact on overall spam volumes.

Insensible English

Perhaps it’s not fair to make light of someone’s lack of fluency in English on a website. You could argue it reflects the “imperialism” of the internet, whereby users need to express themselves in English — however haltingly — to get a reasonable audience.

But we couldn’t let this one go by. The discussion forum section of a site on computer crime, www.crime-research.org (which seems to be run by Russians, Ukrainians or Poles) bears the following delightful warning:

“Note: After pushing ‘Publish’ button your comment will be world-readable. Do not leave any private or sensible information here.”

Excellerating into space

Charles Simonyi, the father of Microsoft’s Word and Excel products, is set to become the 450th person to rocket into space — and one of a handful who will go into orbit as a fee-paying client.

Simonyi is paying Russian firm Space Adventures millions of dollars to take him up to the International Space Station, providing he passes his training and medicals first.

Tech website The Register couldn’t resist saying this of Simonyi’s planned journey: “This is not a one-way trip paid for by hacked-off accountants and people who look like they might be writing a letter.”

Dating dilemmas

From the early days of the web, dating sites have been an internet stalwart, but they throw up a fundamental dilemma with the guys pretending to be searching for true love, when all they really want is casual sex, and the girls putting up glamourous pictures of themselves that bear as much resemblance to everyday reality as a made-up, on-the-red-carpet movie star does to her off-camera, slobbing-out self.

Now, after intensive research, Sam, the thirty-something chap who writes the Sydney Morning Herald’s boy blog, has come up with the answer: the guys should take lie-detector tests, while the girls should have to screen bikini videos of themselves. That should sort the problem out.

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