Music industry in wrong key
The music industry really does know how to bite off the hand that feeds it — at least when it’s picking out a tune. Not content with stopping people downloading music — not unreasonable until you consider that here in Godzone you can’t get iTunes — now it wants to stop kids downloading guitar tabs (musical notation for guitar), reports The New York Times.
This is because the industry also makes money from publishing music books. Again, this might seem reasonable until you consider that a number of such books of popular music deliberately render songs in the wrong key.
Maybe that’s why the industry is also trying to shut down online guitar discussion groups — the kids might figure out what key they should actually be playing the hot songs in. It is possible to transpose keys, but this is hard for neophyte musicians.
Dell rises phoenix-like
PC maker Dell, currently best known for its spontaneously combusting laptop batteries, is looking to put a more positive face on its image locally.
Accordingly, it has invited Wellingtonians to “the first free computer recycling day in New Zealand”, to be held at the WestpacTrust Stadium car park, on September 2.
“Visitors will be able to empty their garage and cupboards of any brand of computer, monitor, printer and even mice, and drop them off for environmentally conscious and free recycling,” says Dell.
We applaud the company’s efforts, but the image of a phoenix keeps coming to mind. The legendary bird achieves immortality by “recycling” itself in flames from the ashes of its former self.
E-tales also thinks Dell should have made it clear it only wants the electronic mice out of users’ garages and cupboards — not the live ones.
There are always one or two wags prepared to take up such an offer literally.
One of our E-talers was recently faced with the task of upgrading some software online. After exploring the vendor’s rather complex website, he found what looked like the appropriate link, paid up and received a download authentication code that didn’t work.
As there seemed to be no way of communicating with customer support online, our E-taler opted for the 0800-line waiting game. Eventually, a courteous Australian helpdesker answered and gave him another code — which didn’t work either.
To get the update he had already paid for, our man eventually resorted to a personal contact who knew someone in the right part of the company. So, problem fixed, he emailed thanks to all concerned. A few days later came an “I understand you have a problem” email, to which he replied, updating the vendor on its belated achievement in fixing said problem. Following this, he received a “How was your recent support experience?” email.
It’s ironic, he says, that a company that was so difficult to contact when he needed help now won’t leave him alone.
Texting queens in rude space
We’ve been waiting for this — the word on texting etiquette.
This E-taler’s two (obsessive) texting teen-queens do it everywhere: in the car, at the dinner-table — in mid-conversation or mid-munch — or under the desk at school (we know this because replies to parent texts never have to wait until break-time).
But now we have the final word on texting and modern manners, from London’s The Times no less.
Texting is a no-no when it comes to “dumping, sacking, or letting your friend know you can’t make it for dinner one hour before you’re due,” it says.
All bad news must be delivered face-to-face — but you knew that really, didn’t you? Everything else is cowardly.
But texting comes into its own for making plans and conveying information. But, and here’s the bit we like, texting in company is “definitely rude” and is somehow even more offensive than taking a phone call, says The Times.
Ahh, that explains the red mist that obscures the vision when the always-fingertips-away phone is activated for texting purposes mid-chat and mid-chew by the aforementioned lasses. And for grown-ups: newly rude is texting during the film at the cinema.
A content-management vendor employee’s commitment to his job (and brand) made an impression on an E-taler recently. While lunching with said vendor rep, the scribe noticed the well-travelled software salesman was wearing cufflinks in the form of his company’s emblem. A subliminal branding technique that’s a lot more subtle than company ties, caps and T-shirts, we think.
How much work makes a slave?
A few weeks ago E-tales, along with a lot of other media, castigated Apple over the alleged use of slave labour at the Shenzhen, China, factory making its iPods.
Well, since then Apple has been over to check out said factory and it says its okay, reports The New York Times.
But we’re not sure. Perhaps Americans have a different idea about slavery to us Kiwis, but then, given their rather recent history with the practice, maybe that’s not so surprising.
Apple found that weekly limits on work hours at the factory were exceeded more than a third of the time — the limit is 60 hours with at least one day off — but there was no forced or child labour.
However, two dormitories used to house workers had lots of beds and lockers in an “impersonal” open space. Employees had also been disciplined by being forced to stand to attention.
But, no, none of this constitutes slavery, even though it seems like modern servitude to us. But Apple is not alone in its use of such sweatshops. Intel, Sony and Dell apparently use them, too.