Hot geeks behind girly tech

Apple designer and Myspace co-founder on list of men who really understand women

Hot geeks behind girly tech

It’s an open secret that mixing the masculine and feminine sparks creativity of all kinds.

Modern testimony to this recently came in the form of a quirky article, in the British newspaper The Observer, about “The 50 men who really understand women”.

“Gorgeous George” Clooney heads the list, which is dominated by medicos — Carl Djerassi, 86, for example, who invented the pill, gets a big thumbs-up — and arty types such as shoes-are-heaven designer Manolo Blahnik. Just two geeks made the cut: Apple designer Jonathan Ive, the “Essex boy” (occupies the same social space as West Auckland’s Outrageous Fortune) responsible for making tech girl-friendly with the jewel-bright iMac, and Myspace co-founder Tom Anderson.

Both get the hot thumbs-up from the ladies for feminising tech — Ive was also behind the iPod, which persuaded younger women that tech was okay. And, according to The Observer, Anderson’s Myspace “revolutionised the way relationships evolved. Suddenly, it became okay to meet online. From the safety of their desks, women were able to communicate with strangers, and build friendships with like-minded folk.”

Not only that, but the new girly tech makes heaps of dosh, too.

NZ: not home to war

A Computerworld journalist and E-taler spent the best part of a morning recently trying to contact a specific person at the Defence Ministry. It seems it is a State secret at the Defence switchboard whether or not a ranking officer may or may not be available. Some hours and many phone calls later he tracked down a public relations spokesperson. “What if I wanted to declare war!” our frustrated reporter asked. The swift reply: “There’d be nobody here to take the call. You’d have to call the government.” Yeah, right!

What’s in a name?

Oooh, the dangers of owning all the variants of your domain name. Last week one of our E-talers clicked into the HiGrowth website from a NZ Trade and Industry link only to find himself confronted with a lot of medieval-sounding gobbledegook about, well, a lot of rubbish really (“When feet; so they to the unwelcome desire, she amused obtained more than of the grove one of the women have the prerogative by submission, as your woorshippes land at all ...”).

Intrigued, E-tales called HiGrowth’s head honcho Garth Biggs, who laughed and said, although he liked to be creative, the weirdo site (www.higrowth.org.nz) was not down to HiGrowth. Apparently, it belongs to a Seattle-based company called Luxco Developments.

It’s a shame HiGrowth couldn’t afford to register all of its domain name variants, but the site did amuse. As Biggs said, “It seems to be owned by someone who is practising his or her prose for the next very tempting offer of generic pharmaceuticals, shares that are about to go ballistic, or anatomy enhancement opportunities to appear in your in-tray soon.”

For the record, HiGrowth can be found at: www.higrowth.co.nz

Not so remarkable recycling

Recycling is very much flavour of the year — and we’re only in February — for the very good reason that if we don’t recycle we’re in danger of turning the whole planet into garbage. Not only that, but discarded computers are big polluters. So, one of our E-talers was quite buoyed up by a recent Computerworld article about Vista possibly driving PC recycling (page 3, February 12, 2007). That is until she got to Dell’s recycling efforts. Apparently, if you live in Wellington you can hand in your old PC to Dell’s local partner Remarkit. But if you live elsewhere it’s going to cost you a courier fee. Isn’t the “green” cost meant to be included in buying price of PCs these days? The toxic-landfill problems of old PCs are hardly news.

Message to Dell: you could do better, guys, especially given the good job you apparently do of dismantling old machines once you get hold of ’em.

Vista PC blues

On the subject of Vista, one of the issues surrounding it is the old, old one about new software = new computer. One of our E-talers says he is currently contemplating the 10GB on his old-style desktop PC — Vista is way greedier than that — and finds a subversive tune keeps coming to mind. Way back, a bunch of digital animators subverted the Rolling Stones’ “Start me up” for a cynical video when was Windows 95 launched. It went something like this:

“Snapped it up / Got it home and tried to boot it up/ Woe is me/ I find my memory is not enough

“This Windows ninety fi-i-ive/ It’s eating up my dri-i-ive

“My CPU/ Is obsolete/ I have to buy myself a brand new machi-ine!”

As the French say: “The more things change the more they stay the same.”

Anorexia goes mobile

And you thought anorexia was just confined to the catwalk. Well, it’s alive and well (sort of) in the tech world too, with the big vendors fighting it out to see who can weigh-in with the lightest devices — fashion victims obviously haven’t the strength to heft a big phone. Anyway, Samsung has just thrown down the gauntlet yet again for the world’s skinniest phone with its latest offering, the U100, which is just 5.9mm thick — or thin, depending on your point of view.

It is one millimetre thinner than its predecessor. It is inspired by the ultra-slim iPod nano.

E-tales is with the small-is-beautiful thing, so long as it packs a big enough tech punch — the earlier nano, with its 1GB hard drive, now looks a bit light on tech specs.

But, with a 3 mega-pixel camera, Samsung’s little protégée sounds not bad at all.

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