E-tales: Be afraid… be very afraid


Do you know who I am?

This would be sad if it wasn’t a little strange. It seems a lot of people checking out the recently set up New Zealand e-government blog have some very basic questions on their minds.

One might have thought some quite specific government and ICT-related questions, to do with broadband, standards and services etcetera would be top-of-mind, but, no, the top-ranking query is: “What is identity?”

A symptom of the uncertainty of the post-modern age, perhaps? But it’s a little worrying that those searching for a sense of self should be expecting Government ICT to tell them what it’s all about, philosophically speaking. However, the site does address the topic, at: http://blog.e.govt.nz/index.php/2008/07/09/just-what-is-identity/

The web is where it’s at

Microsoft is finally taking the full leap to the web. An etaler at the Professional Developers Conference in sunny California, witnessed the announcement of Microsoft Windows Azure (www.azure.com), its cloud-computing platform on which developers can build and host their applications.

Then, the software giant announced its Office suite will be available online — in a Google Docs-esque fashion — enabling dynamic collaboration across the PC, phone and web. The sharing experience “across the PC, phone and web” was repeated like a mantra at the PDC keynote, where instantaneous syncing was successfully demoed.

But, what a lot of people were talking about is how to pronounce Azure. The Americans pronounce it [a-shur], like “as” directly followed by “sure” with the emphasis on the “a”. But how will we pronounce it in New Zealand? This, not the technology, was debated at a Kiwi delegate dinner.

With reps from companies such as Jade, Provoke, Mindscape, Winscribe, Intergen, Integral, Vista Entertainment and Next Window, this PDC has the biggest number of Kiwi delegates ever.

Incidentally, one Kiwi journo pointed out that azure is defined as the colour of a cloudless sky, which is kind of funny.

Be afraid… be very afraid

Going online can be scary for sensitive types, but news-sites like Stuff are usually pretty tame — unless you visited on October 22, when pictures of four scary masks somehow dominated its pages at the same time.

First there was a review of weirdo band Slipknot’s Auckland show, held at the Waitakere Trust Stadium, described as “a bizarre mix of pure metal, high school pantomime and A Nightmare on Elm Street”. Apparently, front-man Corey Taylor’s mask (pictured) isn’t the nastiest. Right above that was a mysterious face said to be found on Mt Cook.

Then, when you turned to the tech pages, as is etales’ wont, you found a review of the game Dead Space, (which the reviewer says “allows for colourful sprays of body fluids and bone fragments to litter the screen. It’s messy, but beautiful to watch.”) illustrated by a Ironman-like masked character. Right below that was a freaky sock puppet mask illustrating a story about the delayed delivery of Sony’s LittleBigPlanet game.

Dumb and dumber Facebook folly

Why do people persist in their myopic view that info posted online to Facebook is somehow private?

Maybe it’s the folly of youth. Twenty-one-year-old Kyle Doyle, who works (did work?) for telco AAPT, in Sydney, recently told all his Facebook friends that he wasn’t going to work that day — “I’m still trashed. SICKIE WOO!” he proclaimed.

Trouble was, his boss is obviously a Facebook “friend” of his and, after requesting a doctor’s certificate — which was refused — emailed him his Facebook words. Ouch! As happens with such classic tales, the email is now doing the global rounds.

And the moral of the story? Your boss really can’t be your mate.

Young love triggers hacker

Normally, E-tales isn’t a big fan of hacking, but we loved the recent tale of young love told via a cute YouTube video which sees a young college boy and gamester propose to his girl on Chrono Trigger. The wannabe groom did so by artfully hacking into the game and getting one of the characters to propose to his “maiden” — on bended knee with virtual ring.

Her reply? “You are such a huge nerd. I love this!”

Not surprisingly, the little video got lots of stars and a comment from a chap applauding its romance, and saying it sure beat his Dad proposing to his Mum as she came out of the bathroom. Severe romance deficit or just a chap finally getting the nerve up and being unaware of his surroundings?

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