You've got my vote

A week of IT

You've got my vote

Sometimes there’s a fine line between a lead story and an E-tale. Take National's telecommunications policy, for instance. It should be a lead story including much analysis, after much effort spending pouring over policy minutiae, but sadly this was not to be.

National’s entire telecommunications’ policy runs to just 84 words and consists of three points: generic competition law is the cornerstone of any telecommunications regime; property rights must be respected; and Telecom must have right of court appeal against any decision handed down by the telco commissioner.

Really, it's hard to parody something like that.

57 channels and nothing on

Sky TV chief John Fellett launched the My Sky personal video recorder (PVR) to a rather large group of media types last week and E-tales managed to sneak an invite.

Astonishingly, Fellett sold us on the service by complaining bitterly about the lack of good programming on TV.

“Why is it that when you're home sick on a Tuesday there's nothing to watch?” he complained.

We don't know, John. Why is that?

Oxygen makes its staff well

Memo to potential buyers of Carter Holt Harvey IT consultancy Oxygen: One of its staff perks is “well days”. Oxygen staff are allowed the normal number of sick days, plus two days a year, in addition to their annual leave, on which they can “call in well” and do something else for the day. There's also free fruit, rather than free soft drinks, at Oxygen.

It's not easy being green

It's not often we at E-tales learn something novel from a press release. So, we were delighted with a recent Telecom press release about Xtra installing broadband in Auckland kindergartens, which regaled us with a toothsome tale about frogs. Apparently, they have ’em — teeth, that is.

“[Most frogs] have a ridge of very small cone teeth around the upper edge of the jaw. These are called maxillary teeth,” says the Telecom release.

“Frogs often also have what are called vomerine teeth on the roof of their mouth. They don't have anything that could be called teeth on their lower jaw, so they usually swallow their food whole… Toads, however, do not have any teeth.”

Not a lot of people know that.

ET phones home

Sometimes supporters of worthy causes get carried away. Take the case of a certain Wellington software developer who is keen on SETI (the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence). Downtime on a company computer was made available for our ET enthusiast to process the vast amount of cosmic radio noise that emanates from space — he hopes there will be a message from ET embedded in all the racket one day. However, our man’s boss began to wonder why the company’s systems were running so slow. He eventually discovered that the SETI search was taking priority over much day-to-day business.

ET has now left the building

The money or the bag

Microsoft's recent annual technology fest, TechEd, went off without a hitch. However, there was one wee issue — the bag.

Many regular TechEd attendees were concerned about what style statement this year's bag would make. So, it was with a happy heart that E-tales’ staffers turned up at the event safe in the knowledge that this year’s backpack rated highly on the geek-o-meter.

Imagine our astonishment then when E-tales’ reporters were handed a different bag, a leather satchel no less, and told, “media are getting these special bags this year”.

Actually, the media specials are quite stylish — even the logo is discrete. What is odd though is that the only laptop E-tales can find that fits in the bag is an Apple Powerbook.

Who's leaking?

One of our staffers is in contact with a “whistleblower”. Said person has told us — and shown us evidence — that he is closely following a number of people who may possibly be involved in an illegal activity. Not the kind that will make headlines in Computerworld but interesting nevertheless.

Anyway, a couple of months ago, our nark set up a temporary email account, strictly for the purpose of communicating intelligence anonymously to the appropriate government agencies — yes, he does know enough to fudge the “X-originating IP” header. The account has not been used by anyone but the whistleblower and two agencies concerned.

Last Wednesday it got its first spam message.

Hire-a-hubby on e-Bay

A Belgian woman is hiring out her husband — via e-Bay. Nadia Manfroid, of Brussels, told the local Het Niewsblad newspaper that she was sick of spending all her time with her husband, Denis, but because she didn't want him to be lonely when she takes time out for herself, she is hiring him out. Denis will do anything — except have sex. Nadia had inquiries ranging from asking if Denis is a good kisser to whether he can iron.

Boys just want to have fun

It seems, when it comes to computers, girls use them to help them study, while boys, well, boys just want to play.

This is the conclusion reached by a recent UK study into students’ use of the computer. The concern is that using the computer to play games rather than for homework purposes is, not surprisingly, impacting on boys’ grades.

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