And the crowd goes mild

This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)


Is it just me, or did the long-awaited PlayStation 3 launch last week lack the online buzz generated by last year’s Xbox 360 debut?

Like Microsoft’s 360 last year, Sony’s PS3 missed the Christmas market this year. However, the 360 wasn’t hitting a market already packed with its main competitor’s whiz bang product.

During the lead-up to the 360 launch, message boards were littered with threads about who was going to queue to buy the beast, what games looked to be the best and what reviewers were saying overseas. This time it’s all been pretty quiet. So quiet I almost forgot it was happening.

The price may well be another factor in the low-key arrival of the PS3. Overall, at just on $1200 it’s okay value for money, taking into account the built-in high-definition Blu-ray optical drive, but it’s still a lot of dosh for most people _ especially those who just want a games console.

However, it’s early days yet and things move fast in the world of gaming so who knows, maybe the buzz is about to happen.
Speaking of message boards, here are some hints for anyone pondering the use of these online minefields:

  • If you see a thread titled how much do you spend on your child for Christmas, don’t respond. The title is simply a ploy to get you to name a figure that you will be ridiculed for. Whatever you spend it will be too much and you’ll be labelled a show-off fascist with spoiled children.
  • If you see a thread titled how much do you spend on groceries, don’t respond. Again, it’s simply a method of gathering prey for ridicule. Whatever figure you name will be far too much and you’ll get to feel the wrath of some other poster who manages to feed a family of 23, including their dairy-intolerant triplets who have ADHD, on a budget of $10.
  • If you see a thread titled advice, please don’t respond. No advice is being sought, it’s simply another poster who requires you to agree with them. Failure to do so may well result in an online slanging match.
  • If you see a thread titled is your 4-year-old doing this, don’t respond. Whatever your 4-year-old child is doing or not doing will become ammunition for the perfect parent brigade who will tell you all about their 3-year-olds who can recite Shakespeare and split atoms. They will also remind you what a terrible parent you are.
  • If you see a thread with the word nappy in the title, don’t respond. This one is two-fold tricky. If you use disposable nappies you’ll get slammed for killing the environment but if you use cloth nappies you’ll be made to feel inadequate by members of the aforementioned perfect parent brigade who now spend every waking minute making what they call modern cloth nappies, or MCNs.

There are even websites dedicated to the things with instructions on how to make and wash them and choosing the nappy system that works for you. My mother dealt with good, old-fashioned cloth nappies eight times without needing a nappy system.

Come on guys, they’re nappies, do you want a medal?

(Note: This column won me the 2008 Qantas Award for best internet and communications technology columnist. Woohoo!)


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