Is this thing on?

A week of IT

Is this thing on?

National Party IT spokesman Maurice Williamson was in formal mode answering a pre-election written question from InternetNZ. “What does your party consider to be the minimum speed (download and upload) required for an internet connection to be considered broadband?”

Answer: “The National Party has no policy on such an operational matter.”

Williamson, talking to rival David Cunliffe in less formal mode and accidentally on-mike before an InternetNZ webcast on the same topic: “Look at some of the crap we’re being asked: ‘What does your party consider should be the minimum upload speed?’”

The Nats’ spokesman was also asked what his party’s view was on amending the Copyright Act to allow format-shifting of copyrighted works for personal use. (InternetNZ appended a helpful note here, saying it was currently a breach of copyright to shift the format of copyrighted material. For example, making an MP3 copy of a song from a purchased CD is verboten.)

This time, Williamson waded right in. “No formal party position,” he replied. “But I copy stuff all the time between PC, CD and iPod, and think that should be perfectly legal.”

Where is Winston Peters when you need him? ‘National’s aspiring minister admits to breaking the law and stealing from Kiwi musicians.’

We can just see it.

China settles for bronze

E-tales is kept afloat partly by the machinations encapsulated in various company press releases. So this week a big ‘thank you’ must go to Trend Micro for its misleading-titled PR missive, Korea and China Main Sources of Spam.

A quick look at the handy-dandy spam chart accompanying this fictional work, which also comes courtesy of Trend Micro, shows this to not be entirely the case. It appears China is still playing catch-up with Uncle Sam.

Would it be unkind to point out that we receive two copies of every Trend Micro release? It probably would.

Resistance is futile

A New Zealand internet source who shall be nameless suggests internet pioneer Vint Cerf has been “assimilated” into the commercial internet world to the accompaniment of the words: “Resistance is futile.”

Star Trek fans will recognise this as the refrain of the Borg, a race of rapacious aliens intent on taking over humans and other sentient life-forms. Rather like certain ICT companies, really.

And another thing

Should you wear Googles when you Cerf?

Just thought we'd ask.

Too busy for life

There are some awfully busy bees in Britain where, it seems, some people are now outsourcing their lives.

The Times Online reports on a trend towards online personal assistants, but with a twist — many are located in India. There is actually a sensible reason for this, however, as the UK has a sizable Indian population. But we at E-tales think outsourcing may have gone too far when a chap thinks it’s okay, as the story tells it, to use an online PA to help him argue with his wife.

“It’s hard to get much more passive-aggressive than bickering with your wife via email from a subcontinent halfway around the world,” chirps the chappie concerned.

It used to be that corporate wives got cross when their domestically-challenged hubbies got the real-life PA to buy them a birthday present — but at least they got a pressie, rather than a long-distance row.

Content versus vapour

A puzzling sentence on an author’s website: “This website is content driven.” Which led us at E-tales to speculate: what other kinds of websites are there out there?

Possibly there’s: "This website is format-driven" — just there to look pretty and chew up your download allowance with an infuriatingly over-elaborate look and very slow loading.

Ballmer and the anatomy of denial

Now we at E-tales understand about denial. Some of us have been there and some us now have kids who are there.

There’s the “I don’t know who ate all the chocolate biscuits” version of denial, and then there’s the: “What me? I do not have a temper!” said extremely firmly.

This is the stage we think Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is at. He admits to still having a potty-mouth problem, but recently told the UK Daily Telegraph that he put a lid on this nine years ago. He does concede there have been “one or two transgressions” since then, but, apparently, one of these did not include his reaction to being told by Mark Lukovsky that he was off to Google. Did he curse? He’s not sure. But he definitely didn’t throw a chair, he protests. A denial which, unfortunately, creates the impression it might have been a table, an ornament or some other piece of furniture which allegedly sailed across the room.

Now Steve, where are those chocolate biscuits? I am sure there were some left ...

E-tales is edited by Jo Bennett. Send your tales of wit and woe to

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