E-tales: Cops call for thermal waxers

Computerworld receives some unusual requests and, as usual, we are happy to help.

Computerworld receives some unusual requests and, as usual, we are happy to help. The New Zealand Police document examination section uses various printing processes in forensic document examination work, including thermal wax transfer printers. These devices use ribbons with bands of coloured, waxy ink, but police document examiner Delwynne Walsh says the printers are increasingly rare and samples of the process ever harder to obtain. Consequently, she has issued an appeal to buy such printers or would work out an arrangement to use an organisation's thermal wax machine. Anyfing we can do to help, Officer. Email Delwynne for details.

Phone moan 1

A Computerworld staffer recently called the headquarters of a fairly significant government department, asked for the IT manager and, when told he wasn't at his desk, asked to leave a message on his voicemail. "We don't have that here," the receptionist promptly, and a tad curtly, told our hapless reporter, who verbally gave his contact details. Oh well, you can't expect a cash-strapped government department to have all the mod cons.

Phone moan 2

In a smilar vein, how many times have you tried to contact someone at an organisation when their voicemail system asks you to type out their name using your touchpad. The system would work well if every phone touchpad had numeric lettering, but of course, they do not. One such phone is operated by another hapless Computerworld reporter, who is known to find such technology rather perplexing, particularly when it doesn't offer the alternative of a receptionist, which is often the case.

A change of undies

Local e-tailer JenniferAnn.com's launch of an online travel booking site should help broaden JenniferAnn's appeal beyond the lingerie market. And of course if your suitcase happens to "accidentally" go missing during your trip, they'll be sure to give you a good deal on a bag full of new knickers. We’re sure the fit is entirely coincidental.

Desktop DVTs

As if bad eyes and RSI weren't enough, heavy computer use may cause deep vein thrombosis, say New Zealand scientists. The European Respiratory Journal reports that a young Kiwi guy nearly died after developing DVT following long periods of physical inactivity in front of his computer. The man spent up to 18 hours a day using a computer, causing a massive blood clot to travel from his leg to his lungs. Researchers, led by Dr Richard Beasley of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, warn that the widespread use of computers may put many people at risk from developing DVT.

Those using computers for long periods should have regular screen breaks and undertake frequent leg and foot exercises, Dr Beasley told BBC Online.

Cyber climbs

Telecom’s excuses are running out for not providing decent broadband in our remotest corners. The grandson of Sherpa Tensing is to open a cybercafe on the slopes of Everest next month. Tsering Gyaltsen Sherpa, 32, will open the cafe on the Khumbu glacier at 5300m to give climbers web access. The cost to get online: $2000 for climbers, who typically spend $120,000 on an expedition. Proceeds will fund new transmitter equipment as well as the removal of rubbish from the 8850m peak. Not to mention a retirement home for relatives of the great Tensing.

Bush banking scam

And finally, beware of a new Nigerian-style spam scam, apparently involving US President George ‘Dubya’ Bush. UK IT news website The Register reports what we hope is a spoof email, which has a return address of president@whitehouse.gov. In the style of other so-called 419 email scams, the appeal it appeals for funds to help get rid of Saddam Hussein and secure Iraq's oil supplies. The "new venture" may cost $US100 billion to $US200 billion. "I pray that you understand our plight. My family and our colleagues will be forever grateful," the message goes. Send all donations to the above address.

But wait, there's more from ...guess where?

“Due to the high level of fraud/money laundrey [sic – and that’s the last one we’ll put in, take it from us all other misspellings are original] in Nigeria by some top Government officials, contractors, business men, unpatroitic citiziens using fake name/positions such as deacons, pastors, ministers, governors, top military officials, chirman of banks, president, top men of the society and the NNPC.

“Anti fraud committee [special duties] currently sitting in Lagos…

"President of Nigeria in conjuction with his decision making board, formed this Unit and mandated us to carry out a careful and comprehensive review of all over due payments to contractors who have completed thier contract obligation.

“Also foriegners that their kin has died and left them an inheritance in this Country by effecting payment immidiately so as to sanitize the image of our Great country caused by the embarrasment.”

So, the Anti-Fraud (or “Anti-Fruad”) Unit tells us, there is still hope, if we jump through the right hoops, that the money those Other Nigerians failed to send us might end up in our bank accounts after all.

We wouldn’t think it needed saying that you’d have to be doubly a fool to fall for this one; but there are a surprising number of fools out there on the ends of those wires.

As a more harmless kind of spam in the present touchy climate of international politics, we must give a mark for impudence to the correspondent last week who resurrected the old hippie slogan “make love not war” in the hope of selling us some Viagra.

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