Friday, November 27, 2015

Puppet Power!

Who's the dummy?!
If you're tired of the same ol' ventriloquist and puppetry acts - y'know, wooden dummy sits on human dummy's knee, taking the piss out of human dummy in tired slapstick routines, dubiously half-funny back in the '50s - well, be prepared for a massive sea-change!
Puppetry just got supa-COOL! In the video clip below, puppet master Alexander Jorgenson does a phenomenal performance with his marionette Barti, controlling more than 40 strings to make this puppet come alive. Barti plays the piano and sings Lucille (a big hit for Little Richard in 1956) for a cabaret crowd, and afterward Barti even steals a few kisses from some of the ladies in the audience!
This must surely be the most stunning marionette work you'll ever see!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Old Friends DO Die...

Don't it always seem to go, that we don't know what we've got...
'til it's gone. Ahhh, how true.
Many people have reconnected with friends, acquaintances and schoolmates over the years, on the kiwi website But soon they'll have to find a new platform.
Old Friends, a subsidiary of Trade Me, is going to be shut down in Jan.2016 and all its data deleted (as required under the Privacy Act).
Spokesman for Trade Me, Logan Mudge, says it's not a decision made lightly: "We have to focus on what we can and cannot do. We haven't been able to give it the attention it needed so it was time to close." He said it wasn't a financial decision as the site was making a modest income, but rather so that Trade Me could focus on bigger business opportunities in its core areas.
Over the last few months, 600-1,200 users accessed the website daily. In comparison, Trade Me had 848,000 daily users. But saying that, Old Friends had other impressive numbers. These included 1,621,577 members - nearly half the NZ population - plus 2300 schools, 36,000 workplaces, 7100 clubs, 164 marae etc etc. But even those numbers weren't able to be converted into any sort of income. So it's goodbye, Old Friends, coz dollars talk.
Many Old Friends users have tales of reuniting with friends they haven't seen in decades - some have even caught up with childhood sweethearts.
Nothing will be launched to replace Old Friends. Users have been emailed to tell them the website is closing down in mid-late January. They've been urged to download and save any information, photos and data they want kept.
It seems to me such a shame that the service could not have been outsourced to save it. Surely, with the existing infrastructure in place, a couple of part-timers could have maintained Old Friends from a home base...?

Note: Sam Morgan, who founded TradeMe, NZ's largest online auction site, sold it in 2006 to Australian media company Fairfax for over NZ$750 million.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Does This Count As A No-Ball?

A game of backyard cricket, in a property bordering the Avondale Racecourse in Auckland, could have ended badly for one of the participants last Saturday.
A wayward shot resulted in the ball soaring skywards and on to the Auckland racetrack near the 1000m mark...just as the field jumped from the barriers for the start of Race 2.
Soon after, a young man, who didn't appear to be in a great rush, wandered onto the track to retrieve the ball as the field thundered towards him...
After realising a race was in progress - and he was right in the middle of it! - he ducked under the inside running rail when the thundering hooves were within 75m of him.
The course manager spoke to the cricketers at the property, and a racecourse staffer was posted on the back straight for the rest of the day.
Club president Alan Boyle: "Safety requirements obviously demand an investigation. Firstly I need to talk with the track manager and club committee member responsible for track safety, so it's a bit premature to comment until that is done."
I'd suggest in the meantime, NZ Cricket officials might like to measure the length of that hit, and see whether the batter is worthy of recruiting for the Black Caps!