E-tales: Welcome back, again

Find an old kiwi schoolmate websites are multiplying, a sick cat in England is famous and a survey shows some people are so frustrated with the internet that they thump their workmates...

Websites helping friends reunite appear to be growing faster than the crowds at the school reunions they help create. And the competition from free ones may just make the others dump their charges for premium services.

The mushrooming Trade Me family of websites has joined the reunion party with Old Friends. The site lists 2500 New Zealand schools and workplaces. It follows on from Friends Reunited, created by Formation of Auckland, the more internationally based Kiwis Reunited; plus School Reunions, Reunion, Find A Kiwi and Find A Schoolmate, which has a New Zealand section. They operate in addition to other related sites all over the world, including the UK-based Friendsreunited.com, which helped one of us track down a few schoolpals from Wetherby High School in west Yorkshire.

Tragedy or comedy?

Security software vendor Symantec thoughtfully sent out free press tickets to Much Ado About Nothing, the Shakespeare play performing this summer in Albert Park, Auckland. We naturally assumed anything the title of the play was telling about Symantec’s thoughts on security was totally ironic.

Private parts

Good things take time, so they say. At an event last month, Microsoft Great Plains Australasia head Richard Johnstone enthused about the seemingly imminent arrival of “web parts” — snippets of info such as customer sales history or business card that could be pasted on to web pages created by employees.

Sounded interesting.

So being horrendously ignorant of most parts, for the most part, under any type of hood, we did a quick search on that great tool of the lazy journo, the internet, and found the following press release (note the date): “Microsoft Announces Web Parts: Internet-Standards-Based Components That Deliver Content and Services to Digital Dashboards ... ORLANDO, Fla. — June 6, 2000 — Today at the Microsoft TechEd 2000 conference Microsoft announced ... ”

Sick mog

A website charting the recovery of a pet cat injured in a road accident is attracting thousands of hits. Frank the cat is recovering from a broken pelvis at his Cambridgeshire home, and thanks to two webcams placed by owner David Donnan his progress can be seen at www.cathospital.co.uk.

Four-year-old Frank even has x-rays of his injuries. Vets say it will take a further five weeks before he fully recovers. Cat-lover Lauren from Hamilton, New Zealand cares:

“You obviously have owners who care about you very much, as you look as if you are being extremely well looked after! May you recover soon, and I hope you haven’t used up too many of your nine lives!”

Fishy story

The internet is affecting our concentration so much that users often have the attention span of a goldfish. Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Ted Selker says the web and its information mountain means we are switching websites so much our attention span can drop to nine seconds. Psychologists at Nottingham University have meanwhile noted the “seductive” nature of emails, with people eager to open them, despite having more important work to do. And quickie movie breaks are also becoming more popular. On shortspan.com, movies are less than two minutes long. Now, what was that web address again?

All the rage

Slow or faulty internet connections are making office workers violent, says a UK survey. More than half of 1000 people questioned say they experience internet frustration at least once a week. Many thump their computer or desk when the computer crashes and 2% actually hit the person sitting next to them, claims the MORI poll, conducted for the relaunch of the Abbey National Building Society website.

One IT manager admitted smashing a $6000 laptop when a web page failed to recognise personal details after six attempts. Top irritations were sites taking too long to load, help buttons which don’t work and excessive requests for personal details.

What a racket

Guests at the lonely Kinlochbervie Hotel, in scenic Sutherland, Scotland, can use a new creche for their mobile phones. The phones are placed on portable deckchairs and hotel staff will answer the phone 24 hours a day, taking messages to pass on later.

Hotel owner Stewart McHattie says people can take their cellphones with them, knowing they are available for emergencies, but need not be disturbed by more trivial calls until they check out. McHattie says his hotel caters to many stressed-out executives and he hopes the creche will help guests immerse themselves in the peaceful Scottish highlands.

On the pull

Lads can test their boozing and chat-up skills online in a new game set for launch next month. UK-based nDreams wants 500 beta-testers for Lads on the Pull, its first shareware release. The game has been developed over six months and allows you to visit nightclubs, drink beer and pull women. “The more attractive the women (and the better in bed!), the higher score you will achieve. The more you drink, the more attractive the ladies look to you, so you might be in for a shock in the morning ...” warns its website, .

Segway sale

You’d better start saving up if you want a Segway, aka “IT” or “Ginger”, before everyone else. Amazon.com is running a charity auction of three models of the much-hyped two wheel scooters created by Dean Kamen. Already bids have topped $US100,000 ($240,000) and the sale has until March 28 to run. The Segway’s officially go on sale later this year for $US3000 to $US8000. Kamen plans to personally present the first transporters at the Disney Epcot centre on April 25.

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