Security company promotes code-crackers (in film)

Maybe not a crack-hot idea

iCheap shuffle When the iPod was generating huge excitement – and commensurate amounts of money for Apple last year – one E-tales cynic suggested that Apple had done well to charge so much for what was essentially a mini-hard drive. Now, at last, someone else has got the same idea and, while the Japanese company concerned won’t be making Apple-sized dollars, we’re sure it will still make a tidy profit on commoditising the must-have consumable of 2005. Evergreen is selling a cut-price MP3 digital music player for just ¥999 – about NZ$13. The DN-2000 weighs in at just 30 grams and is about six centimetres across and 1.5 centimetres thick. It comes equipped with headphones but no memory – users plug in a $20 memory stick pre-loaded with their choice of music. It doesn’t allow users to programme the order of songs either, but neither does the iPod shuffle.

Bursting out all over … again

It’s official: the dotcom days are back.

Not only do we now have a buzz-phrase (Web 2.0), but the marketing companies are indulging in their wasteful ways again. IT journos of yore would discuss the merits of hats vs bags vs umbrellas for hours on end. There was never any relationship between said items and what the company concerned actually did, however.

Now, a company which shall remain nameless, so as not to assist in with its marketing in any shape or form, has sent us a lovely selection of marketing gifts. They include a cap, with company logo; a mug, with company logo, and a bag of freeze-dried coffee.

And then there’s the press release which starts: “Are you looking for the most newsworthy and content relevant items for your publication? I thought so...” It continues: “I’m bursting to tell you all about the great things that are happening here!”

We didn’t read on.

Code-breaker?

On the subject of giveaways, we reckon Symantec may have scored something of an own-goal with its latest giveaway — tickets to the forthcoming controversial film of the up-market airport thriller, The Da Vinci Code.

Given that the code of the book’s title is eventually cracked in Dan Brown’s book, we’re not sure it’s altogether a good idea for a security company (whose aim is surely to prevent security breaches) to associate itself with a code-cracking book.

In its invitation, Symantec says that the association between the book and itself centres around hackers, who are seeking the “Holy Grail” that is your information.

Eh? Nice freebie, but the thinking behind it is not so crack-hot.

But then, nor is the thinking in Brown’s book either. It’s a cracking good read, but it’s definitely no literary masterpiece.

Txt queens

Here’s one for the thirtysomethings and more: a couple of Wellington teens have got together to teach “oldies” how to text — with spectacular results in the case of one 81-year-old whiz, who now sends around a dozen texts a day, complete with weird txting abbreviations. The Dominion Post reports that the first course (a steal at a mere $6) attracted 48 “oldies” — aged 30 to 80-plus.

Texting seems to be a bit of a girl thing, though — perhaps it’s to do with thumb-size? Boys do text (wanna contact a teen? Do it by text — the reply will be back in minutes; a call never returned), but it is girls who are the real text queens. They seem to view texting as a natural extension of social chit-chat and can’t get enough of it.

Not so White Tower

Telecom’s Bruce Parkes’ view of Telecom as inhabiting the earthly equivalent of the White Tower — of Lord of the Rings’ fame — has us worried here at E-tales HQ. The telco’s head of regulatory affairs is a big fan of Tolkien’s blockbuster, which prompted the question about Telecom and Middle-Earth in a recent interview with the New Zealand Herald. Asked what he thought Telecom’s equivalent might be in Middle-Earth, Parkes suggested the White Tower of Minas Tirith.

While the cynical retort might be that Sauron’s Black Tower is surely closer to the mark, we’re not so sure. A quick flick through said book reveals a tyrannical, mad Denethor, Steward of Gondor, high on drugs, intent on igniting his unconscious son, Faramir, on a funeral pyre, inside said White Tower. Perhaps Parkes might like to re-think that one. What are they putting in the coffee at Telecom HQ these days?

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