Archive for September, 2009

DocNetwork <3’s the Gadget Girl

I regularly browse the blogosphere, looking for inspiration for new articles, and in some cases, just for a laugh, so I was pleased when Trapper, one of the many readers I have met personally, passed on the URL for a blog I have previously hadn’t visited, specifically the blog of the Queensland Courier Mail’s Technology Writer. Under normal circumstances I don’t visit the blogs of staff writers, as nine from ten, they are either as tabloid as the papers they work for, or they are simply not that entertaining…

The Gadget Girl just happens to be the exception to that rule, as not only does Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson cover all things tech, a task I would love to be able to do, but she shares the DocNetwork’s ambition to ‘Fight the Good Fight’ so to speak, and has on several occasions, she has spoken very critically of Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and the Mandatory Internet Filter with a number of rants akin to my own, the difference being, is that she gets paid to do it, and her following is at least four times that of mine.

This witty Brisbanite has been working at the Courier-Mail for a number of years now, moving from Pop culture, to a place that she has become quite adept at, that being technology reviewer and all round Gadget-girl. I encourage all readers of the DocNetwork to pay her blog a visit, as its a great read, and it’ll give you something to do between my updates.

While I regularly visit her blog and enjoy her articles, it is doubtful that she has reciprocated, even if our presence has been made known to her.

The Gadget Girls blog is updated on average twice a week, and can be found at http://blogs.news.com.au/couriermail/hitech/

iFreaking don’t believe this!

In June of this year, Kraft Foods released a new version of Vegemite with an alleged new taste, and a twist to the ingredients. Now I haven’t tried this new spread, or know of anyone who has, but its existence has generated a lot of publicity, and met a lot of scepticism, akin to the ‘New Coke’ product launch of the ‘80’s. Like the original that was first introduced to the world in 1923, the naming of this supposed reinvention of a classic, was put to the masses to name it.

And last weekend, they picked a name, from 48,000 submissions, unfortunately, it seems that Kraft had collectively lost their minds, the announcement was made during the AFL Grand final that they had picked their winning name… and that name was not something harking back to the original name, or something fitting for a new piece of Australiana. It was of course, iSnack 2.0.

I’ll let that sink in a little.. no I didn’t think so either, and apparently neither has the rest of Australia. The reasoning behind it, according to Kraft, “the winning entry was chosen for its personal call to action and clear identification of a new and different Vegemite.”

You want to run that by me one more time, chief? Last I checked Vegemite was something you put on bread and ate as a meal, not some revolutionary product meant to spark the next technological advance. I mean all it is, is Vegemite mixed together with cream cheese; that’s it folks, not particularly exciting is it?
Though, even if you put this name alongside some of the other choices like ‘Ruddymite’ and ‘Snackimite’ that Kraft executives had to choose from the name still looks ridiculous. Now this as some commentators have mentioned, may have something to do with an American company picking a name for what could have been an Australian Institution, but I personally wouldn’t have minded Snackimite… though don’t get me started on Ruddymite.

As soon as news broke that Kraft where indeed genuine about naming the product iSnack, the Blogosphere became full of articles, most of which criticising Kraft for their decision, all of which run the gamut of criticism, some ranging from simple commentary about the complete failure of Kraft to connect with their target market, to one news.com.au journalist, making the statement that this is the worse name for a product in the entire universe.
Kraft Communication Director Simon Talbot agreed the name was polarising — with  Gen Y liking it and the Baby Boomers “not quite getting it”. Unfortunately, Most bloggers are Gen Y, and they seem to be doing a lot of the criticising, so I don’t think it’s the Baby boomers who are ‘not quite getting it’ I think its the Kraft Marketing Department that need to rethink their strategy.

Now I Wouldn’t go that far to say that the iSnack is the worst product name in existence, as it already exists in the marketplace, as a Sandwich maker, and Breville have not commented if they will be suing Kraft for the use of the name they trademarked in 2000. 
I must, however,  agree with a few of my fellow bloggers, either this was the best marketing ploy gaining free publicity through being so bad that people have to talk about it, or its the dumbest decision made in the history of Kraft and that the product will be renamed soon, or it will forever disappear from shelves.

Posting Challenge Entrant: Harley-Quinn

For reasons known only to those who entered the Posting challenge, only one person actually submitted something for the Posting challenge, and that was of course the DocNetwork’s Number 1 Fan, Anne-Marie, aka Harley-Quinn. There is a trend on the Internet at the moment that she felt she needed to address.

 

‘Yes I’m a Girl, No I wont be your friend’

If there is ever a reason for me to not want to be an online entity, like Harley-Quinn, its the fact that every morning I wake up to find my email inbox filled with at least 25 emails from Facebook, of these at least 10 will be new friend requests from older guys of an age bracket 6-20 years older then me, granted there are a number of girls in the mix, but its mostly guys. Now I don’t want to appear as a bigot, or a stuck up blonde chick, but more often than not, most of these will be from the Middle East, namely from Lebanon.

Now I want to go out on the record and say, that I have no problem with the Middle East, and I do know that as a whole they are great people, the thing I have issue with is that these guys feel that because I am a blonde, somewhat attractive girl, with a small Online following, that I immediately must be their friend, and that I must be attracted to them. On the other hand, it would seem that there are people online that believe that because I too exist partially online, and I have varied interests, that I am expected to be friends with every pervert I encounter. The problem is that the internet is a wild and wonderful place, and while I can look after myself, it is even getting on my nerves.

Unfortunately, no matter how many times I cancel these friends request, I seem to get two more to replace it. For every person I do add as a friend, and the only time I do so is because I actually know the person, I have to ignore at least nine people I don’t. Like most girls I know, I also have to semi-regularly perform ‘purges’ where I check to see that the people that I have added, are actually who they say they are, and are not one of the million fake accounts that exist online. This feat isn’t helped by any when most of these people that I ignore either don’t speak the same language I do, or they can’t get it through their own skulls to take the hint that I’m not interested.

Now, it seems that I am not the only girl with this problem, but I really wish they would stop, I mean the rest of the world, and especially Caucasian girls, are not online just for the seedy perverted side of society to try and chat up, and furthermore, just adding someone you met on an interest group, and commenting that they are sexy, or using only a string of words that don’t even form a sentence is not the right way to get them to add you.

Please stop, if you want to get to know me, then sure, but until then DON’T even try and add me

ODST: OMG… aka Doc rides a Warthog

While I technically don’t get my copy of ODST until tomorrow morning, I did go down to Penrith’s EB for their Midnight release, making the first time I have done so for a game, I have ordered from another store.

The reason why me and Tikara skipped out on St John Training to pay the Plaza a visit, was the presence of the $200,000 WETA Workshop Prop, the LRV Warthog.

I mean this thing is freaking huge, its at least 8 feet tall, and freaking awesome… ah yeah, I did get a little be carried away.

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Yarr ye salty scallywags

Ahoy mateys, it be a long time since I availed you all of tales from across the seas, but this old seadog has been busy searching the murky depths of the electronic oceans, looking for pieces of eight to share with me crew.

It be International Talk like a Pirate Day, Mateys, originally created in 1995 as a joke, and now has become a yearly tradition, now while I was aware of this holiday, this is actually the first, where I have actually remembered it was on.

As soon as I had woken that day, I was already yarring and ahoying just about anyone I came across, though by about lunchtime, it was actually hard to string words together into near coherent sentences, so by my brothers Birthday party, I was back to talking like a normal person.

Though I am aware that there are a number of people that spent all day speaking like a pirate, in fact I am well aware that a number of people that I know, that are devout Pirates.

Well ya salty Fiends, Have a flagon of Rum on the DocNetwork, and enjoy this pseudo-holiday, for this is one week, that I have more things on, then time to write about them.

So how far is too far?

I just received a message from one of my media sources, an employee of gaming retailer EB Games. It was blunt, but it stated that yet another highly anticipated video game has been banned from sale in Australia. It can be confirmed that, Left4Dead 2, survival horror sequel to the highly praised Left4Dead will not be available for sale in Australia, and there is only one man that can be blamed for this. For once, it is not Stephen Conroy.

While it may not be the deluded Conroy, it is a man as bad, if not worse, in fact, many have gone as far to compare the two men, he is of course, South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson. Anyone who is a serious gamer, would be well aware of this name already and his stance. For everyone else, Mr Atkinson, is the sole reason why Australia does not have an R18+ (or adults only) rating for video games, the reason? because he still believes that only children play video games ergo, Australia doesn’t need an adult classification, this is despite repeated studies over the last four years that shows information that is not the case.

Unfortunately such a decision as allowing an adult rating for games required an unanimous agreement by all the Attorney Generals in Australia, so far, Atkinson, is the only one who is against it, meaning that content that would otherwise receive an R18+ rating, or content that received a similar rating overseas, is predestined to be Refused Classification, and thereby legally unavailable for sale in this country.

In the past a number of highly successful games internationally have been refused sale in Australia for one reason or another, most notably, most of the most recent Grand Theft Auto games, for instance, have all at one point, being RC in Australia, but have been edited and being allowed sale under the MA15+ rating, however, most of the time, a lot of these games are still too violent/gory/horrifying/adult for the rating, but the game was released, an R18+ rating would just prevent these games from falling ideally into the hands of those that would be affected by it.

According to Atkinson, the ‘younger generation’ (I am not sure if he is referring to me, or those in Gen Y who are younger than Tikara) are extremely tech savvy, and that they can get around most measures in place that would prevent them from accessing R-rated content…despite the fact that they already are, illegally. I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times, if a kid is determined enough to see stuff he isn’t allowed to, he will find a way and there isn’t a thing anyone can do about it.

While there will never be a system that will work on PC’s Consoles have always had Parental block on them, where parents set which ratings they want their kids to be allowed to play, the problem is that most parent’s don’t understand the technology they are giving their kids, and most especially, most Politicians have no idea that gaming technology has evolved passed the twin directional knob.

In the end, this falls to the Parent’s taking accountability for their actions, parent’s should be looking at the game seriously that little Timmy wants to play, and if the 14 year old wants to play Left4Dead2, then the Parent should inquire if this game is appropriate for their child, then afterwards if they still believe that the game is okay, then its their responsibility.

Now we at the DocNetwork believe in no forms of censorship should be enacted, but there are some things that children should not see, but proper education is the way to solve that problem, not preventing the masses their right to kill Zombies.
Protests and petitions seem to not want to convince Atkinson, or even Conroy, that their stances are wrong, hopefully someone in power has the sense to do something.

Humanity is doomed

I received this in an email from a colleague of mine… it shows the response of a kid who had their World of Warcraft subscription cancelled.
Unfortunately even if it is fake, it brings to light a current and somewhat disturbing trend in electronic society, that is that people, like our dear associate below, have developed an overdependence or near social obsession with an electronic life or persona.

So when one of these external stimuli are removed, the results can often be disastrous, and if recorded, can be embarrassing if published, so much so, in this electronic world with the proliferation of devices capable of not only recording but distributing content to YouTube or Flickr. Even if most of the content being posted to hosting sites, usually depicts teens as the root of this eAddiction, there is also a growing number of dissatisfied Adults turning to the cyber realms, and using real world money to pay for it.

 

That being said, what exactly should be the proper response to this problem? Is blocking access to Online content an appropriate response considering that so many are already addicted to the Internet? or is the method employed in China, where addicts have their obsession with the web beaten out of them?

Most of this problem can be addressed purely by an old parenting technique, one that my parents performed, and that is, be involved in their life. The Computer/Gaming console is NOT a baby sitter, any more than the Television is, tell them the real world consequences of spending excessive amounts of time on the net, and further more, teach them that there is some things that just do not work online, when compared to their real world equivalent.

While it may seem that simply cutting off the payments to a gaming subscription is an adequate response, look at it from the eyes of the addict, to them the game is their life, and by denying them of this outlet, you have effectively ‘killed them’. While I am not condoning these actions, simply talking to the addict and informing them of what you are going to do may in the short term, prevent outbursts such as the above video.

And for the record, we also don’t a clue as to what he is doing with that remote control.