May you burn in Dell

Laptops can't take the heat

It may fly

Here at E-tales we have watched Vodafone's mayfly ad multiple times (and its YouTube mocked-up mashup version too). For us, it brings to mind BBC2's classic TV show, Not the Nine O’clock News. Those of you who are younger than 30 won't remember it, but its version of a "Day in the Life of a Mayfly" was far simpler than Vodafone's version: its tiny fluttering creature is born, eats, shags and then dies.

Says it all really.

Keep taking the tablets

In announcing the latest schools’ ICT grant recently , the Ministry of Education made great play about New Zealand’s first “tablet classroom” at Brooklyn primary school in Wellington. Students there will work on tablet computers, using a stylus, rather than use pens and exercise books. This innovation may eventually be extended to other schools, promising a nice little earner for HP, one of the few surviving makers of tablet PCs, which is partnering the Ministry of Education in its CHaOS project.

Hang on a minute … yup, you did read that right, the ministry does have a project called chaos — as in “CHaOS through IT.” It’s another tortured acronym, of course, and stands for “Children Have Ownership of Schooling.”

Parents might think this all sounds like a recipe for chaos, but, apparently, it's actually about changing the balance of decision-making in schools. The idea is that students choose their own projects, as a means of exploring curriculum topics, and then choose the method that best suits their individual learning style.

Maybe CHOOSe would have been a better acronym here, but, no doubt, the temptation to be too-smart-by-half proved irresistible to whatever bureaucrat dreamed up CHaOS.

Vintage OS

The ICT in-jokes flowed as steadily as alcohol over the IRC channel during the recent multi-site InternetNZ AGM. One took the form of a complaint concerning the drinks available in Auckland.

“The DOC champagne tastes terrible,” opined said correspondent. “Do we have any RTF champagne?”

On Italian wine labels, DOC stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, an assurance of place of origin. But the joking reference was, of course, to Microsoft's proprietary Word document format as contrasted with the more open Rich Text Format.

Perhaps there’s a gap in the market for fizzy wine for open-sourcers?

Burn baby, burn

Here at E-tales we thought readers might like a peek at just what they could be getting for their money should they purchase a Dell laptop.

Now, we have no objection to cheap products, especially given the monopoly dollars so often garnered by tech firms, but products should work — regardless of price.

Given this, it’s worth checking out these photos of burning laptops that all appeared online last week.

The first comes courtesy of “Henrik”, from the US’s Tom’s Hardware site, where Henrik tells of spotting an engineering colleague’s burning laptop from across the office.

“The battery burned its way straight through the laptop, creating the beautiful hole depicted in the picture. The fire department showed up. The police department showed up … we jokingly called the engineer a terrorist as he was being asked a few questions by the friendly officer.”

The other picture comes courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald and shows a burning laptop from Singapore – part of the December recall of dodgy Dell laptops. Then the UK’s online news site, The Register, reported that there have been dozens of burning Dells. It also says has another problem: with its desktop machine, the GX520, which doesn’t like snuggling up to mobile phones — apparently it shuts down if said phone rings or receives a text message.

The other picture comes courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald and shows a burning laptop from Singapore — part of the December recall of dodgy Dell laptops. Then the UK’s online news site, The Register, reported that there have been dozens of burning Dells. It also says Dell has another problem: with its desktop machine, the GX520, which doesn’t like snuggling up to mobile phones — apparently it shuts down if said phone rings or receives a text message.

Grannies hit the G-spot

And on a lighter note, it’s good to see that overseas seniors looking to make a buck can get beyond Trademe trading — the latter having become something of an obsession with some Kiwi seniors keen to earn a crust using the internet.

British online news site Ananova reports that Polish grannies in the mountain village of Koniakow have moved on from more traditional tablecloth and doily-crocheting money-spinning ventures. They have turned their nimble fingers to crocheting G-strings and sexy undies instead — and they’re doing awfully well at it too. As a female, this E-taler can testify that the undies are gorgeous; the girls modelling them are pretty too. E-tales reckons the women concerned are savvy too — crocheting a G-string takes a lot less effort than making a full-sized tablecloth.

Baby blog

And on an even lighter note, one of our E-talers came across this cute little posting, of Baby McClusky advertising his parents’ respective blog sites on the quirky Boing Boing website.

Remembering back to baby days, this E-taler’s immediate thought was: how sensible, two suits – one on the babe, one in the wash. E-tales also enjoyed the delicious twist of a family advertising itself via clothing rather than, as is so often the case on our logo-infested planet, advertising the clothing company.

I’ve always been of the view that clothing companies — indeed all companies — should pay me to sport their logos on my — or my baby’s — bod.

Hot and flustered PCs

Another hot story about computers and the possible need for a redesign. One of the side-effects of the heatwave which is causing our European cousins to wilt is that their computers are wilting too.

This E-taler spent some time living in Sydney — certainly a place where in summer only mad dogs go out in the midday sun — and discovered then that PCs don’t like the heat.

As the mercury climbs to a not unusual Aussie 40c they close down — until the temperature cools down. Heat tolerance limits are around 35c for most computers.

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