E-tales: Ctrl+C

The government's education and science committee don't seem to know about the print function. Or are keen to pass the printing cost burden back to the hardworking taxpayer.

The government's education and science committee don't seem to know about the print function. Or are keen to pass the printing cost burden back to the hardworking taxpayer. A reader got this message in response to a submission he made by email: "Thank you for your submission on the New Organisms and Other Matters Bill. The committee have resolved to only accept submissions where 20 copies have been provided. This enables each member of the committee and committee officials to have a copy. Copies are also required for the committee's records, the news media and the Parliamentary Library. All copies should be sent together to ..."

Los testĂ­culos grandes

The organisers of the fightthepatent.co.nz website are pretty upset with James & Wells, the law firm that's sent out patent infringement notices to New Zealand online retailers on behalf of Canadian company DE Technologies. They've even made an animated image of a piranha, the motif James & Wells uses on its website, as the victim of a school of smaller, presumably angrier, fish. For lifting artwork off the website of a law firm specialising in intellectual property, fightthepatent.co.nz gets the inaugural E-tales Big Balls Award.

The gall of it

At a recent vendor presentation on the subject of security, attendees were treated to a series of pictures of a pair of thieves performing the ultimate act of cheek -- robbing the premises of a video surveillance equipment manufacturer. They got away with a lot but, as you would expect, the company the thieves were identified from footage and quickly caught.

The gaul of it

If you want to communicate via the internet with a branch of the French government, you don't email them, you courriel them. The culture ministry has banned the use of email -- the term -- in government agencies. Courriel, short for courrier electronique, has been approved. The irony is, courriel has its origins in Quebec, not France, so it's still technically a foreign word. The French are still working on translations of spam and other common English internet terms. Good luck to that, given the prevalance of "le weekend" and "le rosbif".

A trawl of it

Be a little wary of selling your home via the internet. Thieves took off with $A150,000 worth of sports memorabilia from a Sydney house after viewing the inside of it on the web, Sydney police believe. Cricket bats signed by Don Bradman and Mark Taylor were among the sports gear taken from a home in Kellyville a few days after the house was put up for sale and a room-by-room internet virtual tour offered to would-be buyers. While there is no proof the thieves got their inspiration from the photos online, police believe it's "a pretty big coincidence". A Sydney detective, speaking to PC World Australia, said "I think these [websites] are a great asset for selling houses, but people using them have got to be mindful of what's on display."

The internet lies, again

Telecom is rapidly upgrading its network to cope with greater demand for the DSL-based fast-internet service it calls JetStream. It says it plans to cover 85% of the country, but E-tales was unnerved to discover a list on the Telecom site which says all the exchanges are now enabled (though "this is subject to change without notice"). Should you be alarmed at the idea of Telecom removing JetStream capability from your neighbourhood, don't be: we're reliably informed it's simply a mistake on the website.

Tracking those you love

Apple cofounder Stephen Wozniak has pulled the wraps off a new company that's planning to sell electronic tags to help people keep track of their animals, kids and cars. Wheels of Zeus, whose name stems from the Woz in Wozniak, says it's signed deals with two large electronics makers to produce systems based on its technology. WozNet, for that's what it's called, uses radio signals and GPS to keep track of tags close to base station. The tags, which are expected to cost about $40, will be able to alert the owner if their child, dog or vehicle goes walkabout.

Lowering the tone

An online story about bill-inflating dialler pop-ups, originally published in the Manawatu Evening Standard, managed to pull in a musical note. "He said Bevan tried to avoid the computer dialling up to the site by pulling a chord out of the modem and resetting the computer." It's as much as any of us can do to get a decent single-line melody out of ours.

Edited by Mark Broatch.

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