Geeks in Paris
Kiwi ancestors steam online
Way back when, early internet buffs were looking for killer apps, but it seems they never thought the family history search would prove to be one of them. Probably because buffs aren’t interested in such, but lots of people are and such sites have proved so popular they even make money.
Now, further fuelling the lust for origins knowledge, the Britain’s National Archives has released passenger lists of the ships that carried our ancestors to New Zealand and elsewhere online for the first time, according to a Reuters report.
Passenger manifests for 30 million people who sailed from Britain’s ports between 1890 and 1960 have been released online, via the findmypast.com website. One ship was the steamship Remuera, which arrived in New Zealand in 1923 with its consignment of hopeful immigrants seeking a sweet new life, 12,000 miles away from their original home that maybe wasn’t so sweet.
Wii Christmas — a real cracker
Now, we know E-tales said 2006 wasn’t really a cracker tech Christmas, but, it seems we were wrong. It was — literally. One of our E-taler’s teen offspring was at scout camp recently and was told about the cracking time had by some young Wii players. “Don’t play it without the hand strap,” she was told. It seems a number of television screens are now very much the worse for wear, and are sporting great big cracks after enthusiastic young players inadvertently sent their untethered controllers flying, smashing the screen on the parental TV.
Gives new meaning to the Paddy phrase: “Just for the craic”. But at least it got the kids off the couch.
Microsoft and the shame game
Child, Youth and Family social workers, and their alleged shortcomings, have recently been the subject of a most robust blog. The blog has excited much media interest but, given its possibly defamatory nature, it is proving tough to discuss it without — in these googling times — giving the game away as to where to find it.
One Radio NZ reporter, struggling with this conundrum, tried to be circumspect. “We’re not going to give the name of the website,” he said. He then recited several key phrases which made it not exactly hard to trace.
One of our nosey E-Talers duly typed in “name and shame” and “MSD” — CYF being a division of the Ministry of Social Development. Ever-helpful Google then asked: “Did you mean ‘name and shame MSN?’” Apparently, there are 115 people in New Zealand alone who have it in for the Microsoft network or its staff. The internet is certainly proving a most effective medium for venting anger.
Two-thirds of Americans polled in a recent survey said they spend more time with their home computer than with their spouse or partner. However, PCs aren’t exactly perfect partner replacements, according to the survey, which was carried out by Kelton Research. Respondents wasted an average of 12 hours per month, over the past three years, on computer problems, and just over half of those polled said they felt anger, sadness or alienation dealing with a computer problem during that time. So computers aren’t really that different from spouses and partners, then.
Kiwi vision of Mars
It’s commonly said that New Zealand punches above its weight on the world stage, but it seems our fair country could soon to reaching out even further — literally to the stars — if one of Auckland University’s course offerings is anything to go by.
The university is advertising a most intriguing evening class, Colonising Mars, for the coming academic term. The course promises to describe how we might go about colonising the Red Planet, using robot-human missions among other things. The plans, the pleasures, the pitfalls… one of the biggest of human dramas may be about to unfold and some Kiwis obviously long to play a role. Indeed, at least one already is — see story below.
Kiwi Mars machine-builder
We maybe marooned in the Southern Ocean, but we’re not so far from the big action after all, it seems.
One Kiwi chap, who now lives in the UK, is on a Mission to Mars. Lester Waugh is a space engineer of a special kind, reports The Guardian.
A polymath, his Jack-of-all-engineering-trades skills have secured him the job of systems engineer in charge of the overall design of the ExoMars Rover, dubbed Bridget, which is being built in the UK by his employer, the European Aeronautic and Defence Space Company.
The hope is that in the near future Rover will be sniffing his delicate mechanical way across the dusty red surface of Mars.