E-tales: Standard bearer

We try to stick to grammatical standards, but the IT industry seems intent on ignoring these standards, if a display at the Microsoft "partner summit" in Melbourne was anything to go by.

Rather than randomly stringing words together, throwing them on a page and hoping others understand what we’re talking about, we at least try to stick to grammatical standards. The IT industry, it has to be said, seems intent on ignoring these standards, if a display at the Microsoft “partner summit” in Melbourne was anything to go by.

A Computerworld reporter was partly amused, partly horrified to hear a presenter using the word “learns” as a replacement for “lessons”. He spoke at length about the learns he had gained from a mini-MBA course, whatever that is. Obviously “learns” are the new “takeways”. (And no cracks about Microsoft ignoring standards, please.)


And speaking of standards, at the same summit Microsoft Business Solutions head of Asia Pac Dave Knorr drew an analogy between the birth of the railway industry — how various tracks had different gauges, thus impeding the flow of goods and people across America — and the lack of interoperability between IT devices. Nice comparison. Pity he didn’t go on to say how the US government dealt with the railway problem: by busting the railway monopolies and forcing them to work together.

Portal or Port Hills?

We know the Prime Minister’s influence spreads far and wide, but how much of the e-government portal has been shaped with Helen Clark in mind?

State Services Minister Trevor Mallard told the recent launch in Panmure, Auckland, that it “deliberately” contained content on walking and camping, and even accepts online bookings (www.govt.nz, for those not paying attention).

“Instead of the PM hanging on the phone when she’s meant to be in cabinet, she can make a booking at 1am or 2am when she’s finished reading her papers,” Mallard cracked (quacked?). Judging by the time set on her computer, when the PM often emails ministers, the early hours may be the time when she may make them, the minister added.


A recent strand of conversation in the nz.general online newsgroup led to comments on internet country-codes being used without due care or respect.

“Some are using Western Samoa (.ws) as an indicator of ‘web site’,” one contributor notes. “.cc [Cocos and Keeling Islands] is of course useful for mail ... ‘.to’ has been used for a lot for things like zoom.to, jump.to etc”.

We will always recall in that last connection the comment of a Kiwi deep in the technicalities of domain-name administration: “It grieves me to see a nation [Tonga] pissing its domain-space up the wall like this.”

In response to the newsgroup thread, one of our staffers proposed “those a little ahead of .to, are already .at (Austria)”. And struck last week by a domain-name aliasing organisation’s Italian address, dns2go.it, our man pondered the possibilities of that part of the world.

Yes, goto.it has already been claimed, as a portal to promote internet communities and marketing channels in “travel, jobs, cuisine” (prosaically translated by Google as “kitchen”) and certain, presumably leisure, pursuits under the untranslated and musical-sounding heading “divertimento”.

By contrast, the site www.gofor.it carries only two lines of type, in English, on a plain white background: “This site is under construction (please don’t get too excited).” We can hardly wait.


Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. A colleague last week received an email concerning the New Zealand Film and Television Conference where one of the speakers was a certain Julie Christie.

As a relative newcomer to our shores, he wondered for a while if this was British actress Julie Christie, 61, who delighted audiences with her roles in movie classics like Dr Zhivago, Billy Liar, Fahrenheit 451, Far From the Madding Crowd, etc, etc. But reading further down the release, it was apparent that this was our own Julie Christie of Touchdown Productions, responsible for such intellectually demanding TV fare as Treasure Island, Hot Property, Changing Rooms and Ground Force. However, US website Reality News Online seems a bit confused when writing about Touchdown gameshow The Chair: “And the executive producer for this show is none other than the actress Julie Christie, who was so fantastic in Dr Zhivago.” We really never knew that.

Slip slop slap

Computerworld was invited by a telecomms outfit to go out on the harbour in January for the finals of the Louis Vuitton Cup. We were warned to bring our own seasickness prevention pills, “as health regulations do not permit us to dispense seasickness medication”.

That got us thinking about whether we should report another host, a data warehousing specialist, which took a gaggle of journos out on the water last week, to the Health Ministry. In what was obviously a clear breach of health regulations, sunscreen was given to the guests to rub on before they set sail under the sun.

King Henry the Turd

After teething troubles, Britain’s 1901 Census is finally online. And what a wealth of information it contains.

IT scandal sheet The Register reveals our Victorian ancestors were not just dour Sunday school sorts who sent small boys up chimneys. At a time when giving false information to a census officer might have mean transportation to Australia, The Register admires the pluck of people who signed themselves off with names like Arthur Arse, Margaret Piss, Valentine Fart and other unprintables (see here). Of course, they could be real names. If so, our apologies.

Short and curlies

To: info@spametropolis.co.nz

Re: Brazilian wax

Dear Spam Etropolis,

I did not subscribe to this. You do not even bother with the consideration of an unsubscribe link. However, call it audacity, or honesty, I have never encountered a spammer who uses the word spam so effectively in their domain name. But why does a firm that uses email promotions not have online booking? As for the $40 Brazilian wax, should I allow my children to visit this website?

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