Anti-DRM protesters disrupted Bill Gates’ keynote speech

They were sensibly dressed in bright yellow hazmat suits, which provide great coverage, albeit at the expense of a certain style

Colour me blind

We commented last week on Sun boss Jonathan Schwartz’s pony-tailed resemblance country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, but we failed to note another possible trend-setting aspect of our man’s personal presentation at the recent JavaOne conference – namely, his suit. Or was it two suits: the jacket from one and the trousers from another, subtly mismatched in colour.

Schwartz’s sartorial choice caused much debate here at E-tales HQ. (Yeah, we know what’s really important.)The question is, is our man at the forefront of a new geek fashion that has yet to arrive in Godzone or is he just plain colour-blind? Whatever, we’re just grateful he has foregone the free-and-independent style affected by some American clones (sorry, developers) – the polo-cum-jeans-plus-loafers look. So last century.

Apple’s new black

We’re not the only one concerned with all things stylish, it seems. The UK Guardian’s Charles Arthur has been angsting himself about the new MacBook and whether the white or the (pricier) black is coolest. And, whether the extra 90 pounds (NZ$265), for the black paint job plus extra 20GB of disk space, is worth it. Unsure, he sought fashionista opinion. The answer: black, of course, silly.

White, apparently, is the sort of colour “Chantelle” would choose. For the fashion-uninitiated, just think white stiletto boots and short lycra versus, say, Audrey Tatou in black courts and fitted navy (Sophie in the Da Vinci Code).

Turning yellow

Still on the subject of clothing – but definitely not the fashionable sort – check out these bright yellow hazmat (hazardous material) suits sported by anti-DRM protestors at Microsoft’s Seattle WinHEC conference last week. They provide great coverage, albeit at the expense of a certain style, but they have great street cred. They were worn by Free Software Foundation protestors, as part of their Defective By Design anti-DRM (digital rights management0 campaign.

The demonstrators disrupted Microsoft boss Bill Gates’ keynote speech at the conference. Their message: Microsoft Vista’s anti-DRM feature turns your PC into a hazard, harming your life instead of making it better.

The Bard and nothing but the Bard

He was the master of language and he would surely have been amused that someone has come up with a novel guide to his old home town, Stratford-upon-Avon, using a PDA.

Stratford has long traded on its connection with Shakespeare, but the trouble is guides not only date, but don’t always hit the right note either. For instance, googling Stratford-upon-Avon gets you a guide that, first off, points one to the town’s multi-storey car park. Only a bureaucrat could dream that one up. See Bottom, the man-with-the-ass’s head, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, for ideas on how the Bard might have responded to such ass-headed marketing.

In contrast, the PDA aide allows for a tailored guide-on-the move, using a series of wi-fi hotspots across Stratford town. So, say the kids want Maccas and Shakespeare Lite; while you want the real thing and some quirky info — in theory, the PDA guide should deliver both.

Reviewing the successful Stratford-on-PDA venture, The Times newspaper applauds the local universities/town council/Hewlett-Packard/BT initiative. But, it also says a good guide needs to understand its audience and sometimes be irreverent.

The Stratford Unplugged team is now keen to put other tourist towns on the PDA map. Here’s hoping the guide-model chosen is more Lonely Planet than that thrown up by our Google foray.

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