ETALES

A WEEK OF IT

Teddy goes remote

One of our E-talers sent us this cute, if slightly deformed, Teddy Bear remote control – use with your iPod or even the boring old TV. Whatever. We’re with karmagirl who, commenting on remote Teddy, said she loved “soft” electronics.

Curiously, the instructions for making Teddy, which call for some machine and hand sewing, as well as a bit of light soldering of the RF circuit board, describe the project as “difficult”. But it’s the sewing that’s deemed difficult, not the electronics. But we reckon this would be a cinch here in Kiwi-land where every second female has access to an overlocker sewing machine (that’s the industrial, four-thread kind for the uninitiated).

This is the result of Kiwi lasses being forced to make their own clothes long after Aussie and Brits girls had defected to the mall. It’s also why we have such a thriving fashion industry.

You never know, perhaps a melding of fashion and electronics is a Kiwi opportunity waiting to happen here. RF Teddy shows the way. Check him out at: http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2006/05/how_to_make_a_teddy_bear_remot.html

Taking the shine off Rakon

E-tales sends a hearty “well done” to Rakon, for its successful float and the huge surge in interest in the new tech stocks index that followed this. But a huge slap across the chops with a limp haddock to the mainstream media for insisting on telling everyone that Rakon makes bombs that kill innocent civilians.

For the record, Rakon is very, very good at shaving tiny slivers off blocks of quartz, for use in all manner of radio devices — cellphones, watches, GPS devices, etcetera. And, yes, some of those tiny slivers of quartz do end up being bought by US equipment makers, who then install them in radio systems and locator beacons that could then be purchased by US defence contractors, who put then them into missiles and radar tracking equipment, and so on.

But we’ll say it again: Rakon does not make bombs. Currently, it makes profits and that’s something we can all be happy about.

Leaky Telecom in spin?

E-tales is beginning to wonder about the recent Telecom scandals and leaks, and whether there’s not some PR spin going on.

Leaving aside the unbundling leak, E-tales was intrigued by a comment made by Telecom CEO Theresa Gattung in her controversial we-telcos-have-all-been-confusing-customers speech to a bunch of Sydney analysts.

The New Zealand Herald printed an abridged version of the speech recently, towards the end of which Gattung comments that “anything we say at the moment is potentially the next Tui billboard”. Couple this disingenuous comment with the fact that the speech was tacked up on Telecom’s website and you start wonder whether the “confusion” gaffe really was a gaffe. Was it, instead, part of some deeper game of spin the PR.

Boomers just wanna have fun

Marketers may have to think again after discovering the over-50s just wanna have fun too. It seems the older generation is as keen on iPods and PlayStations as their kids, according to a Sydney Morning Herald article.

Middle-aged boys scooting around on in-line skates, plugged into MP3 players, hairy knees on show, maybe a gruesome sight — here in NZ as well as overseas — but it seems they’re here to stay. A recent consumer study by ad agency George Patterson Y&R has turned up the surprising finding that the MP3 generation takes in the pensionable, too.

One theory here is that having the young stay at home for longer means parents are getting to see how much fun can be had with the new tech gadgets.

As entertainment it sure beats Coronation Street and Shortland Street on the box.

Only the lonely

Google trends lab reveals that Auckland is third loneliest place on planet — after Dublin, and Melbourne.

This sad information comes courtesy of Google Trends, which provides “insights into broad search patterns”.

Sydney, London and Perth follow hot on the heels of the first three “lonely” cities. But that’s the point isn’t it: they’re all anonymous cities which nowadays feature a lot of MP3-connected strangers bustling about, avoiding eye contact, in case, God forbid, they should “connect” with another human being.

But that’s the answer, isn’t it? As E M Forster famously wrote in his novel about loneliness in Victorian days, Howard’s End, “Only connect…”

Web surfer fired

Web surfing at work has become a way of life for many people — sometimes it even has to do with one’s job. But, as a way of quietly skiving or just mitigating against the boredom of many desk-jockey jobs, it sure beats gossiping on the phone. It’s also much more discreet.

Sadly, surfing’s days maybe numbered, with one employer at least firing a shot across surfers’ bows.

New York City Council recently fired an employee, of 14 years standing, for recreational web-surfing at work — despite a judge’s ruling that the chap’s actions were the equivalent of chatting on the phone.

Bit of a dumb move for the NYC’s Education Department, we reckon. There are more disruptive of whiling away the downtime at work — just check out the satirical sitcom, The Office, for ideas.

And that’s even before you recall the looming issue of worker shortages affecting the developed economies.

Nice one NYC.

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