Resistance is futile

A week of IT

Textual intercourse

Ah, the joys of being a new staff member. You remember what the first day at a new job is like, right? Here at E-tales HQ, new staffer Ulrika Hedquist is rediscovering that children’s Christmas Morning feeling — new parcels to open, new toys to play with. We’ve given her a state-of-the-art PC (pre-Y2K. Hey, if she can’t cope with that she’s in the wrong job, right?) She also has an extension number all of her own and a shiny new SIM card with a work cellphone number on it.

Imagine Ulrika’s surprise when she received her first text message on her newly booted phone. This must be from Vodafone welcoming me to their network, she probably thought. Sadly, no. Instead her first text message read: “Ass whole :)”, which probably isn’t a standard Vodafone greeting.

Here at E-tales, we’re interested in the meaning behind the message. Is the sender referring to an entire donkey, perhaps? Or maybe this is an oblique reference to not doing things by halves? Only time will tell.

Cellphone-nanny with attitude

We love it. And we can just imagine how it could be used, too. “Ella. Ella. This is your mother calling. Answer this phone, right now!”

It’s the cellphone nanny, as reported in New Scientist magazine’s new inventions section And it comes with two benefits — for parents, that is.

You can track down missing offspring nicely, with the software embedded in the phone, which tracks the number of unanswered “just checking” calls already made and, after a certain number, switches to auto-answer. This turns the phone into a live microphone which can listen in on whatever is going on. This obviously has some embarrassment potential, although one can pretend not to have heard certain things.

What is potentially far more embarrassing is the ability to remotely switch the mobile over to speaker phone. This allows one to shout very loudly down the phone’, “Are you okay, darling?”

The anti-cool effect of this measures, oh, eight, on the uncool-a-scale. Just knowing this is probably enough to keep most naughty-little-stop-outs in line.

Shopping while BLOTO

It’s the epitome of the anti-glam shopping expedition. Being female, this E-taler’s idea of shopping bliss involves a chandelier-bedecked department store, featuring deliriously desirable dresses and a latte-heaven-with-mags coffee shop — for after the heavy spending has been done. But not all shoppers are created alike. Some, it seems, prefer instead to extend their after-the-pub-has-closed debauch to include drunken online shopping, according to UK news site The Register.

Some online shoppers also prefer to shop in the nude. Whether they are drunk and nude is not stated. But it is suggested that retailers take the inebriated state of some shoppers into account.

They probably do, judging by the acronym that has emerged to describe this anti-shopping experience — BLOTO, or Buying Loads of Tat Online.

The traditional after-the-pub curry was surely cheaper — and more fun — than this.

Be afraid, be very afraid

We know, Halloween has been and gone, but we couldn’t resist these images from the Blogosphere. They are a couple of winners from the Engadget Halloween costume contest. The big winner came as a camera — the prize on offer was a digital camera — but looked a bit boring. We at E-tales preferred these two costumed dudes.

There’s the Daft Punk — sort of Darth Vader breathing mask meets motorcycle helmet. Then there’s our personal favourite: cyborg boy. Engadget thought the latter, which is described as a terminator/robot mask was “freaking insane”. It put us more in mind of Star Trek’s “resistance is futile” Borg.

We’re afraid, very afraid — but it’s a neat mask. It didn’t win, but did score a special prize just for being cool. The mask generated a lot of posted comments, too, particularly on whether it was made or bought. Apparently, it was made. The wearer replied that he cased his face in alginate and plaster, to make a model, then painted it and added raw plugs and old electronic bits.

Million-dollar tadpole

We’re not sure if this one is a joke or a symptom of a pathological-sized ego — it’s the man with the million-dollar sperm for sale, courtesy of the internet.

Controversial American film-maker Vincent Gallo is offering his sperm to any lady with a cool million to spare in the pursuit of an IVF baby. She is assured of no deformities and a big boy down below if the result is a boy child. Should the first IVF attempt fail, Gallo is willing to go au naturel in a further sprog-making attempt — providing the lucky lady is a looker, that is. Gallo does admit to having “sharp and extreme” features, but feels these might blend well with a “softer, more subtly featured female”.

Oh, well, it’s good to know the man’s ego has some limits. Catch his offer, appropriately, on his merchandising site.

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

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