PM sat next to a man with knife down his sock

The man dressed in a skirt didn't raise suspicion at CWEA

Do play with your food?

You know how your Mum always told you not to play with your food, and how modern Mums are forever telling their tech-obsessed kids to stop playing with their tech toys at the table (mobile phone, iPod, etcetera). Well, here’s a kid’s answer to both complaints.

One of our E-talers found this little gem while checking out the eclectic Boing Boing website. It’s an arcade-game themed cake. Not sure how great it would be to eat — all that food colouring — but as a kid’s birthday cake it’s certainly original, and much better than those tired old Barbie and Disneyesque children’s birthday cakes.

There’s also a cute Gameboy cake with Tetris extras generously smeared with coloured icing — just the thing for inducing party-ADD in techy (and tetchy) offspring.

Mac the Knife

It was lovely to hear about Prime Minister Helen Clark’s attendance at this year’s Computerworld Excellence Awards. While we here at

E-tales weren’t invited, we hear tell that the PM was great, spoke well and knew about ICT (always an alarming prospect).

We also hear she was attended by an impressive security detail, consisting of three large burly fellows, complete with ear-pieces and a keen eye for detail. Pity they missed the man in the skirt with the knife down his sock.

Perhaps Peter Macaulay, now head of digital strategy for the government, didn’t look too threatening in his clan tartan, but the cutlery he brought along raised a few eyebrows. We were interested to learn that, in accordance with true Scots tradition, it was attached to his belt by a short chain — lest the kitchen staff take a fancy to it, no doubt.

Sailing beyond the sunset

It is our sad duty to report that the feline brains behind public relations firm Botica Butler Raudon has shuffled off this mortal coil. Butler provided a keen sounding board for younger staff members, was a firm paw on the tiller of commerce and had a fine nose for fine liquor.

However, Butler’s passing won’t mean a name change for the company, at least at this stage. BBR is pressing on after piping aboard its new director: Bosun. While Bosun may be less feline than Butler — being a Newfoundland hound that’s not surprising — you’ll need to make an appointment if you wish to see him as Bosun’s on a very strict timetable when it comes to office attendance, owing to a slight bladder problem brought on by an over-abundance of enthusiasm.

Oh, that we could all be so happy about going to work in the mornings.


Hot on the heels of last week’s BITE acronym, honorary e-taler Mac spotted this beauty: Australian Association for the Abolition of Acronym Abuse, Regional Group Head Office, Strategic and Tactical Operations and Planning — AAAAARGHSTOP!

Sodis for pure software

Still on the subject of acronyms, US professor Don Gotterbarn spoke to the Computer Society earlier this month about SoDIS — that’s a Software Development Impact Statement, not a rude exclamation with a lisp. However, when E-tales searched for the acronym on the web, all we could find were a lot of references to water purification by natural ultraviolet light. Only by adding “software development” to our search terms could we get to the right meaning.

Gotterbarn’s response to being told this was loud laughter. “We’ve actually trademarked the acronym,” he said. “But the water purification guys are very good publicists.”

Their SoDIS, incidentally, is the Solar Water Disinfection Process. But we reckon the related SPOWTS, for Solar Powered Ozone Water Treatment Systems, gets the higher mark for acronymic ingenuity.

Daleks fall silent

While trolling through the British media, E-tales learnt that the man who was the original voice of the Daleks had died recently. It seems the reason the early Daleks had that truly scary, hiding-behind-the-sofa-whimpering effect was because of Peter Hawkins’ voice.

Apparently, Hawkins treated the job like a proper acting gig and put a lot of emotional range into the role, despite its being voice-only.

“The early Daleks were menacing, raucous, scheming, frightened emotional creatures, not the staccato, monotonous bores they became in later years,” wrote The Stage, complimenting the deceased 82-year-old actor.

This E-taler can’t quite remember when the Daleks became less terrifying. Perhaps the memory of the nightmares that followed those sob-inducing, sofa-scuttling episodes is still too strong. But, we’re still Dr Who fans down here at E-tales HQ and, apparently, there is a new Dr Who generation coming up. A colleague says his four-year-old daughter watches the latest Dr Who with skin-crawling, cushion-munching fascination, torn between conflicting desires to stay or flee.

We remember the feeling well. Incidentally, Rose’s recent meeting with the last of the Daleks covered the full emotional range — it ended in the last Dalek, body exposed to the air, dying. Maybe we’ve traversed the full emotional circle here.

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