The longest journey

It takes 240 U-turns to get from Pennsylvania 19020 to 1579 North Brunswick, New Jersey, says Google

The longest journey

On the subject of the weird and wilder, there’s gnarled, very gnarled and the Gordian knot — and then there’s Google Maps. One of our E-talers who delights in these things came across map instructions for getting from Pennsylvania 19020 to 1579 North Brunswick, New Jersey. For some reason beknownst only to Google this state-highway journey involves making no less than 240 U-turns.

All Black in Wonderland

Here at E-tales, we’ve always found the world of marketing to be quite weird and wonderful, if not downright contradictory. Anyway, the chaps and chapesses down at Dick Smith Electronics were certainly in two minds when they got Daniel All Black Carter to help launch Microsoft’s ever-so-long-awaited Vista last week. It seems the media were allowed to mention Mr Carter by name, but not that he was an All Black. But, if he hadn’t been an All Black no one would have wanted him to help launch Vista. Go figure.

A quick home try-out of Vista on the modest home Dell PC confirmed the truth of one of major complaints about Vista — it is too demanding on more modest hardware, necessitating the purchase of new boxes if it is to work. Sigh.

Fiddle fun for academics

What is it with academics and fiddling — with computers, with figures, with whatever? Last week’s Computerworld carried an intriguing tale of academics at Victoria University hacking passwords to hove into the uni’s budgets and change the numbers. They’ve been so naughty that the VUW’s tech guys have had to beef-up the security on the university’s BI (business intelligence) system. We’ve heard of academic freedom, but this is ridiculous.

Telecom’s annus horribilis

Telecom’s annus horribilis (or bum year) continues well into 2007, if a note sent to applicants interested in what sounds like a thankless job is anything to go by.

The job, Internal Communications Manager, involves persuading Telecom’s own staff what a great company it is, at a time when “brand favourability is at an all time low and antagonism towards us has heightened,” the note says.

“What’s more we’re moving into an increasingly competitive landscape where (our traditional) rational product and cost advantages cannot be relied upon to attract and retain customers,” it says.

Yeah, especially when those products include a faster broadband service that is actually slower than its predecessor — this E-taler’s home experience.

Hope the pay is v. good, indeed. A degree in psychology might help, too, given the mental manipulations such a job surely entails.

Om on the Waikato range

It must get a bit tedious being a regional council. Maybe that’s why, in seeking a new computer solution, Environment Waikato (EW) has asked for a “mantra”. Normally, such things are called policies or platforms, or even strategic directions, but mantra, as in must “support [the] EW mantra of a single, consistent view of customer and land” is what EW is calling it.

Out of curiosity, this E-taler looked up “mantra” in the dictionary and found “incantation” or “prayer”, or “magic spell”. Mantras are also characteristic of the Eastern Buddhist and Hindu religions. Maybe EW has such a big tech problem to solve it is praying for a magical solution. Mind you, Hinduism and the Waikato do have one thing in common: both revere cows.

Google, world domination and NZ

Now, we know Google is an extremely ambitious company — that Mountain View probably fosters delusions of grandeur. And, here at E-tales, we do appreciate that some of the best ideas come from batting around the wildest and wackiest, but Google’s long, long whiteboard — our memory-challenged E-taler describes it as “ginormous” — definitely takes the Griffins biscuit with its suggestion Google “Buy NZ”.

Perhaps that’s what the Google chaps and chapesses are after: our superlative biscuits, chocolate fish and God-given pineapple lumps (see the TV ad). But, then again, some of Google’s other ideas are pretty way-out, too. They include teleporting, time-travel, creating a Terminator, making mind-control chips for George Bush (hasn’t this already been done?) and hiring rogue scientists. Aah! They’re the would-be world-dominators who want to buy us so they get unlimited pineapple lumps.

In other Google news, a Google project in Sydney was halted after a plane chartered to make more Google maps was grounded due to safety concerns.

The price of broadband

There’s quite a bit of irony in the fact that the ex-missus of Alan I-made-a-mint-and-more-out-of-the-sale-of-Telecom Gibbs can’t get proper broadband. Jenny Gibbs is worth a bit, too — around $30 million. And, to be fair to the lady, she does complain that the current broadband advert’s promise does not match up to infrastructure reality. But, if ex-hubby had thought a bit more about the real nature of telecomms competition back in the 1990s, when he helped flog off Telecom, Ms Gibbs and the rest of us might not be in the position of not having a proper broadband service now. But, then again, he’d probably be $450 million poorer, too.

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