Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact
The events of Sept 11 are all over the media right now and you can't turn
on a radio, TV, or pick up a newspaper without being reminded of this fact.
So, having said my bit on the subject yesterday, and noting that there's
really nothing significant on the tech-wires today, I've decided to just
mention a few odds and ends that have popped up over the past few weeks.
Just a reminder at this stage that I'm running low on material for Friday's
Lighten-Up section so if you've spied something funny, stupid or just
plain interesting on the Web, drop me a line.
e-Government or e-Archives?
Now we all know that the current Labour-led government is very hot on
the concept of e-government, and good on them for that.
However, it seems that as is so often the case, there's a bit of a void
between the spin and the reality. For example -- check out
on the govt.nz website.
I'm sure that Lila Hare and a few others will both be most pleased to hear that
they're still on the ministerial payroll even though they lost their seats at
the last election (TWO months ago).
Surely the Net is a media designed to eliminate such tardiness?
But wait -- maybe that was a single page that got forgotten in the
rush to form a new coalition?
Nope, I guess not.
The glaring errors on this page
are also indicators that parts of the .govt.nz site appear to be orphaned
I'm sure that the pages linked above will have been "put right"
by the time some of you read this -- but one has to wonder how much *real*
priority the government is giving to providing information (as opposed to dis-information)
through the Net if these examples are anything to go by.
Okay, I'll admit it, I've spent an hour or two sitting in front of the
You've got to ask yourself why anyone would want to fork out hundreds of
dollars to buy a box that is really only good for one thing -- playing games.
Sure, the games are great -- but not that much different to the huge list
of titles available for the PC platform -- and your PC will also surf the
Net, rip CDs to MP3, "backup" DVDs to SVCD, let you listen to Net-radio
stations, balance your chequebook, write reports, send email, etc, etc.
However, the real benefit of something like the Xbox becomes apparent only
when you're sitting in front of one.
Unlike a PC, there aren't masses of cables and connectors to cope with. Even
a 10-year-old could easily plug the game-controller(s) into the box and the
audio/video leads into the TV.
Likewise -- you turn it on by pressing a button and within a short period of
time it's booted up and running. However, the unit provided by Microsoft
has on a couple of occasions given me a "green screen of death" which
advises that "Your Xbox is in need of servicing." I suspect (hope) this
is simply a result of this particular unit having been couriered all over
the countryside and thereby having been given a pretty hard life.
Powering down/up fixes the problem though and all that's needed to play a
game is to insert a CD.
Another odd trait is the fact that you seem to need to set the clock and date
each time you boot the box up. Maybe its internal clock battery is dead,
maybe they're just saving pennies by not having a battery-backed up clock?
I'll be offering a full review of the Xbox next week -- but if anyone has any
specific questions or things they'd like me to comment on then just drop
me a line in the meantime.
That Tivo-like Box
Okay -- I've got a whole lot of webpages here ready to upload which document
progress on the Aardvark Tivo-like box to date.
While I'm getting around to that you can bookmark this page
which will become the index for the project.
I should get the first section (a review of the tuner/capture card) up
Have your say.
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