Online column

A weekly tech column written for The Southland Times, a company that pays well enough to keep me in handbags and Drambuie

It’s nice to be told when systems fail

It’s nice to be told when systems fail

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) The wee meltdown that meant our lovely newspaper wasn’t published on Tuesday shows how damaging technology can be when it decides to have a bad day. The whole frustrating situation showed both sides of technology: the agonising epic failure of no printed newspaper on one side of the coin with the ability to get the message out there via our website to let readers...

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Net invaluable in winter whiteout

Net invaluable in winter whiteout

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) That lovely wee polar blast that blew through town early this week was certainly a shock to the system. No matter what it’s doing, we all like to talk about the weather: it’s too hot (yes, it does happen), it’s too cold, too windy, too whatever. I know there are people out there who think snow is wonderful stuff but I’m not one of...

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Tuned in to the weather

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) I suppose I should get the obvious conversation-starter out of the way now by saying ‘how about this interesting wee spell of weather we’re having at the moment”. I was talking to someone earlier this week who lives in Singapore but had just arrived in Sydney and he was telling me how chilly it was at 16 degrees Celsius. There was a stunned silence...

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Battle of the social sites begins

Battle of the social sites begins

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) A few years ago, the internet was all about email, chatrooms and pornography sites, but as the younger generation infiltrates the web, that focus has moved to social networking.  The question has to be asked: does this mean being on Facebook is the technological equivalent of getting a dose of the pox? What with all the friending, unfriending and poking going on, it’s a...

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Plonking: my kind of craze

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) It’s hard to keep up with all the latest fads being adopted by all those crazy kids out there but I think I’ll pass on the planking and go straight to the plonking. “Plonking” I hear you say … ”what’s that?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Plonking is much safer than planking (also known as the lying down game or extreme lying down) and...

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Are people tiring of Facebook?

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) Has Facebook peaked? Has the bubble burst? Will it still be part of our lives a decade from now. I’m sure these burning questions are  on everyone’s lips after the Inside Facebook report this week that shows as Facebook gets close to having 700 million users around the world, the social networking site has actually had a decent drop in traffic in the United...

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iThis and iThat fatigue

iThis and iThat fatigue

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) Apple guru and single-handed supporter of the black turtleneck jersey industry Steve Jobs has announced the latest iDevelopment and it’s got the geek world abuzz. It’s that mid-winter “feels like geek Christmas” time of the year again when Apple holds court at its Apple Worldwide Developers’ Conference and everyone else trundles out their latest goodies at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3, to us...

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Time for crooks to show manners

Time for crooks to show manners

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) I know the disgruntled gloom merchants out there reckon we’re all packed into a handbasket and heading for that rather warm place where the maitre d’ has horns and a pitchfork, but until recently I’ve thought their predictions were a tad negative. However, lately I’ve noticed a level of bad temper and equally bad manners among the wannabe scammers out there that is beginning...

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It’s the end of the world as we know it

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) Well, I suppose it was a good thing that old preacher dude got his dates mixed up about the whole end of the world thing but now that we’re going to be around a bit longer I suppose I’ll have to pay that pesky power bill. Then again, maybe it really did happen: they (the well-balanced folk spending their life savings to tell us...

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Star wars: Celebrities and their super-injunctions

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) As the internet grows, it is becoming close to impossible to control, making for some interesting dramas. Here in New Zealand, our most high-profile case has probably been the the court name suppression breaches that got the legal fraternity’s knickers in something of a knot via Cameron Slater’s Whale Oil blog. On the other side of the world at the moment, there’s big debate...

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