James and the Giant Mac

A week of IT

James and the Giant Mac

He looked at the screen then picked up the mouse and looked underneath it for the missing button. And just where do you switch the thing on, his furrowed brow said?

What was it that so perplexed our man? It was Apple’s new iMac G5 and it outfoxed James, our very own IT man. We’re being a little unfair, of course, as Apple’s gleaming new artifact is very different to some of the PC dinosaurs James has to deal with on a daily basis. Why, it’s even got a remote control thingy that looks like an artificial sugar dispenser.

Scooped again?

Damn! We hate it when we’re scooped, especially by television. TV One’s early morning business programme item last week about IBM’s 50th anniversary in New Zealand told the world that IBM no longer makes computers — it’s now a business consultancy.

It seems this was news to IBM, too, when we made the polite but sniggering inquiry.

Number 8 fencing wire wins

He handles three times as much money as flows through the New Zealand economy and gets his hands on the newest tech toys first, even if he doesn’t have time to play with them. But it was New Zealand’s agricultural background that helped Kiwi Chris Liddell bag the number three job as Microsoft’s money man, reports the Dominion Post. Apparently, when he heard about the number 8 fencing wire Kiwi mentality, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer opined what a great national emblem it would make.

And that toy Liddle doesn’t have time to play with — it’s the Xbox 360.

Massaging egos

Of course we know that computing in its various forms often includes an element of creative play. Maybe that’s why Wellington website company 3months.com has so many toys at its Wellington office, including ping pong and various games. But a massage table? We know, we know, all those aching shoulders and sore neck tendons caused by being hunched over a hot computer, coding away. Thankfully, further enticements to staff and potential staff are more mainstream — the firm has just opened a small office in lifestyle centre Nelson.

Picture perfect

Here at E-tales we love a good gadget. Phones, laser keyboards, USB coffee warmers, you name it. But, best of all are GPS-enabled devices. It’s like holding science fiction in your hands.

But you have to be careful with them. Take the case of the young woman pictured above, whose image is taken from an ad for Navman. She really should have cleared her screen first. I can just imagine the conversation she had with the police officer.

“Do you know how fast you were going?”

“No, officer, but let me check my Navman ... Ay carumba! I’ll never make that turn into K Road.”

Broadband blues

The constant — and justified — whingeing over New Zealand’s paltry broadband service seems to be having an effect.

The issue looks to be climbing up the Government’s to-do list. Governor-General Silvia Cartwright recently mentioned the need to make our telco sector more competitive and to encourage faster broadband uptake.

And communications minister David Cunliffe plans to undertake a major benchmarking study on broadband.

Whinge on, we say. It’s obviously working.

Intelligent by design

Finally, some common sense from the God boys. The Catholic Church’s chief astronomer, George Coyne, has come out and declared that intelligent design “isn’t science, even though it pretends to be”.

He added that it should not be taught in science classes. God is not “continually intervening, but rather allows”, opines Coyne.

It is interesting that the Vatican’s astronomer should make the remark — it was made informally at a conference held in Florence, according to French news agency ANSA.

The Church has a long history of scientific controversy, most famously concerning the father of astronomy, Galileo. And it was at his home in Florence that Galileo endured years of house arrest.

The symbolism here would not be accidental.

E-tales is edited by Jo Bennett. Send your tales of wit and woe to etales@computerworld.co.nz

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