The Introduction ends…

Return to the Rental…

Well, it is done; safe or not.  If I can get this over and done with before June and I’ll be back in the Hamptons just as the summer begins – only a few important parties missed.  In June, the real party season begins, boating, drinking, mingling and women.  If I’m to be successful in my new life (living off exnzpat’s money) I’ll need to make the right acquaintances with the right connections – to do otherwise – well, that would be foolish.  I must take the opportunity while I have it.

There was a little more wrangling than I had expected but with the last signature from exnzpat’s physiatrist in hand I made an appointment with a judge and my little excursion with exnzpat was approved.

Leaving the judicial chambers behind me I walked across the park to the Council offices to secure a deputy to guard exnzpat while we did our business at the rental.  Entering the building I ran right smack-dab into Becky.  Her long brown hair was pulled back behind her head in an untidy pony tail.  She was wearing a garishly colored dress with fish on it.  She was, as I remembered, striking.

“Hi… where have you been?  I haven’t seen you for months.” While she said it sweetly enough a frown of concern creased her pretty forehead.  Not waiting for me to answer she burst out, “you look so thin – are you eating right?”

“Sure, I’ve been working out – on a regular basis.”  I boasted.  Continue reading →

    Google ditches MS Windows after security breaches

    Google to employees: ‘Mac or Linux, but no more Windows’

    by Michael Rose |  TUAW on May 31st, 2010 [US time]

    We first heard rumors of this policy change a couple of months ago, but now it’s made the papers: the Financial Times is reporting that Google is phasing out the use of Windows internally, as employees are migrated to either Linux or Mac OS X on machine turnovers or new hires. The policy change was precipitated in large part by the security breach attributed to Chinese hackers; Google’s IT leaders apparently feel that Microsoft’s OS represents too great a risk across the enterprise to leave it in place.

    The story says that in January, subsequent to the security breaches, Windows installations on desktop computers were no longer allowed, although laptops were still eligible for Windows at the employee’s discretion. Many Google staffers, however, were already heading for the Mac as a security measure, and at this point things have been pretty well laid down in stone: “Getting a new Windows machine now requires CIO approval,” according to one anonymous Googler quoted by the FT.

    Read on at TUAW

    Financial TImes story

    Watch out for an official denial/clarification any minute. (But I think it’s true, and based on experience. Bad experience.)

      Stephen Fry on the joys of swearing

      I agree with this:

      “The kind of people who say swearing is the sign of a poor vocabulary,
      usually have a pretty poor vocabulary themselves.” — Stephen Fry.

      Click to watch video after the jump or 'more..'

      That said, I’ve seen the real ‘shock’ effect an outburst of hot, emphatic ‘foul’ language can have on people, including kids — but it’s the intent and tone, I think, rather than the words themselves that can have that impact, in my view. Nasty, cutting remarks or bullying abuse are quite a separate thing to using ‘naughty words’.

      My wife tells me there’s research that indicated swearing increases one’s tolerance for pain — women in childbirth etc. I don’t know about that, but it sounds right. Continue reading →

        RIP Merata Mita

        Film director Merata Mita also acted — here in 'The Piano' (image:

        Our household was sorry to hear of the death of NZ filmmaker and pioneer, the courageous Merata Mita yesterday. Merata was a contemporary, mate and colleague of many in what we used to call the ‘Maori Rights’ movement … but so much more.

        Her film Patu! about the civil disobedience protests around the 1981 Springbok Tour and was filmed and compiled in the face of awful opposition — almost like a war — from many sides, some unexpected, but also with the support of many brave souls who shared her vision.

        Likewise, her film about the occupation of Bastion Point — which, as a Wellingtonian I first heard about in a song from the Topp Twins — “Bastion Point is Maori Land…”.

        She will be remembered by us for these and many other achievements — and as a contemporary of Tungia’s and, with her, part of the cutting edge of NZ filmmakers, Maori filmmakers, and ‘activists’ … when there was real risk in being so labelled.

        Farewell, Merata. RIP Continue reading →

          Insurance against DISGRACE? Really? You can get that?

          image: South Florida blog (click for link)

          Disgrace insurance? I didn’t even know such a thing existed! Live and learn, I guess.

          From this article in the Herald on Sunday:

          The documents revealed a year after [Comedian Mike] King was recruited as the face of pork in New Zealand, officials became nervous when the comedian left an obscene phone message* for the writers of Eating Media Lunch after they lampooned his show Mike King Live.

          King said, in part of the expletive-filled message: “You have f***** with the wrong person, you f****** jumped up little s*** head”.

          NZ Pork chief executive Sam McIvor confirmed that “death, disability and disgrace” insurance was sought as a direct result of the adverse publicity from this incident.

          The policy cost NZ Pork $29,000 a year, but insurers refused to cover obscene phone calls under the “disgrace” portion of the policy.

          A representative of underwriters Marsh wrote in December 2003: “The NZ Pork industry is aware at the time of buying the insurance that Mike King is liable to make similar outbursts in the future.”

          King said, in hindsight, insuring against the possibility of disgrace was a wise move by his former employers: “I was pretty out there in those days.”

          Food for thought. (And how typical — don’t you think? — that the insurers would refuse to cover the very thing that prompted the policy to be sought!)

          I like Mike King and enjoyed his latest on-stage persona at the Gala opening of the recent Auckland Comedy Festival. The guy’s had a journey. Good on him.

          * I received a live-and-in-person phone call much like that last year from an excitable (strictly amateur) comedian who, apparently, also does celebrity impressions as part of his routine at his umm, ‘seminar’ appearances. He’d be a good candidate for Disgrace Insurance — along with some of the other operators I write about here.

            Nostalgia … Chris Rea – On the Beach

            A friend and I were shootin’ the breeze earlier about more songs that are the soundtrack of our lives. (In the last little while we’ve discussed James Taylor, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan here at The Paepae — who all easily make the list.)

            Graeme and I recently went with our wives to dinner and the James Taylor & Carole King concert along with muso and living treasure Dave Dobbyn and his wife and some other friends. Dave’s music makes the list, too, of course, and he’s great company as well. My student flat in Willis St used to rock to DD Smash: Outlook for Thursday and The Devil You Know. (I think Dave’s lyric, ‘The best of the worst you can handle’ is brilliant!)

            Anyway, this song is another one of mine … Chris Rea’s On the Beach — classic!

            On the Beach (click for the video below the fold)

            Click more to watch… Continue reading →

              Internet ninja cowboys … or schoolboys?

              Hilarious! A few hours after I set up’s new Facebook page yesterday, overnight we had a sudden surge of email… with a lot of ‘Please confirm your subscription to our mailing list’ messages.

              It seems someone (who? I wonder) had a bit of time on their hands and submitted’s email address (not disclosed on the Facebook page, so no ‘leak’ there) to a bunch of mail list subscription pages.

              Like a lot of ‘internet marketing’ ruses, these juvenile tricks might have worked in the past, but fortunately they’re pretty easy to spot. See the message (click thumbnail) from the robot gatekeeper administering the Boulder County list server which — as well as shutting down the silly game — gives some insight into the possible motivations for such spoofing tactics:

              This is usually done in retribution for having posted something on a public forum which made the perpetrator lose face. …

              … in most cases this person will be a technically skilled individual who will know what steps need to be taken in order to hide one’s track. It is usually much easier to identify the perpetrator using traditional investigative methods, such as looking for technically skilled individuals that the victim has recently angered.

              Gee, what a hoot. It’s almost like reading someone’s horoscope.

                Q: Is this a Shaun Stenning product? A: Er, cough. Well, yes and no …

                There’s not a lot of pride evident in this.  A friend recently emailed me a link to this mealy-mouthed interchange on the support FAQ page — about the founder(?) and chief salesman of the new ‘internet marketing’ scheme, Shaun Stenning. It seems to back up my earlier thoughts.

                Shaun Stenning: name association with big promising failed internet marketing venture Geekversity? (Click)

                Presumably this Frequently Asked Question (!) flows from the stigma attached to Shaun Stenning’s damaged reputation following the implosion of Geekversity which he had been so prominent in promoting (YouTube clip). As we discussed, Stenning appears conspicuously absent from promotional material for Australia — wherein the Sorcerer’s apprentice, Instant Expert and former Geekversity affiliate Dean Letfus features as The Man who makes a lot of money through internet marketing. (Oh, really? Of what? Internet marketing schemes?)

                Look at this revealing double-talk Q&A from the support FAQ: Continue reading →

                  New Facebook page for

                  Click this picture to visit the Facebook page

                  We’ve set up a Facebook page for The Paepae … visit it here, if that suits you.

                    “Analyst” pfah!

                    John Gruber, talking about something completely different (a rumour Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer was due to speak at an upcoming Apple event) says something I’ve thought myself over the years about the property market:

                    It never ceases to amaze me the sort of crazy speculative bullshit people will take at face value if it’s attributed to someone whose job title is “analyst”. After following this stuff for so many years, I find that information from “analysts” is generally less credible than average.

                    You tell it, brother!

                      A good (simple) retrospective look at Europe’s economic woes

                      I heard from a friend of mine who works in Banking (with a capital B) in Geneva recently that things ain’t good in Europe. ‘European economies are in real trouble. I have had a deep sense of foreboding about the global economy recently’ he wrote to me — which is alarming considering what he and his colleagues have already been through in the last three years …

                      BNZ Chief economist Tony Alexander wrote his update this week (27/5/10) from Brussels — which he described in his covering note as:

                      Tony Alexander BNZ Chief Economist

                      “… the most financially disturbed part of the planet at the moment. It is very unclear when this current period of uncertainty about European government debt management will end and very unclear to what extent it will spill over into a new banking crisis because of the exposure of European banks to European government bonds. For now the risk seems to be that things get worse before they get better and although various forecasters remain confident of positive growth near 1% for the EU this year, and a tad better next year.

                      For NZ the main implications of what is happening over here are high currency volatility continuing in the short term because of our classification as a risky currency, downside risk to exports to the EU and UK, plus tightening credit availability once again because interbank markets are again contracting in Europe.

                      His (longish) essay is worth reading. (I’ll leave it out of blockquote to make it easier to read, or you can download the PDF of his whole report (12 pp) at the BNZ site or it’s here in media library.)

                      In Brussels

                      by Tony Alexander BNZ Chief economist

                      I’m in Brussels at the moment located some 200 metres away from the European Parliament having just spent two days attending the annual Brussels Economic Forum. The title for this year’s forum was “Strategies for a Post-Crisis World”. Be certain that there was no shortage of comments from speakers noting that the conference theme had been decided a long time ago when no-one really anticipated the current new crisis underway.

                      To say that there are some very confused people over here would be an understatement. There are also many very embarrassed ones, and a rapidly growing number (the public) who are getting angry about their deteriorating economic prospects and confused about exactly where Europe is going. There are growing concerns about the rise of extreme left and right wing parties in response to the crisis, the financial sector is concerned about new taxes and regulations which are being applied haphazardly by Germany, and in the more extreme commentaries issues are raised such as whether the Euro can survive and even whether the European experiment has failed.

                      What is happening is this. Continue reading →

                        Off to a good start?

                        Oh boy. This guy is off to almost as good a start as Brian J Hogan the iPhone prototype finder-keeper/thief/seller …

                        Brian Corman, Columbia Valedictorian, PLAGIARIZED Patton Oswalt In Graduation Speech

                        … leaving the university, home of the famed Columbia School of Journalism, embarrassed…

                        It has come to our attention that a portion of our Valedictorian’s remarks at this year’s School of General Studies Class Day was taken from a comedy routine by Patton Oswalt. As an institution of higher learning that places a core value on respect for the works of others, we were surprised and disappointed to have learned of this matter today.

                        Columbia University and the School of General Studies do not condone or permit the use of someone else’s work without proper citation. The student speaker has appropriately issued an apology to his classmates and to Mr. Oswalt for failing to provide such attribution.

                          Speak up

                          REAL ESTATE ALERT from Neil Jenman

                          Thursday May 27, 2010

                          Dear Subscriber

                          A few weeks ago, my wife and I got an extortion demand – take down your web sites, abandon the publication of your book, Stitched! or your children will be targeted. On Friday May 14, Channel Seven ran a story about the threats to our family. If you didn’t see it, it can be viewed here:

                          Click to watch the video below the fold — or click (more...)

                          The police have been notified and so, too, has the children’s school who are taking it seriously. It has been quite an emotional time for us, however, we have had hundreds of lovely messages of support. One of the most common questions is: “What can we do for you?” Well, your wonderful support is enough. And, of course, if you are ever selling or buying real estate, I’d be grateful if you’d give our financial supporters your support. Without them, we could not do our consumer protection work. You can find details of our supporters at the link below…



                          As I have for a long time, I salute this man’s courage. And his family’s.
                          … And yours, if you dare.

                          Many saw evil. They dared to stop it.

                          Continue reading →

                            If you missed him last time …

                            Leonard Cohen as I saw him in Montreal.
                            (Image: Reuters)

                            Leonard Cohen and his nine-piece band will return to New Zealand for three shows later this year.
                            Concerts in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch will form part of a nine-city Australasian tour in October and November. — NZ Herald today

                            If you know who he is, I can’t recommend this highly enough
                            — it was an uplifting, brilliant, powerful, moving, holy experience both times I’ve seen him perform live. Wonderful. Cohen’s poetry and song encourages and challenges me to be more, and resonates with my spirit.

                            Footnote: How interesting that Cohen has come up the day after Dylan.

                              RIP Paul Reynolds

                              Farewell Paul Reynolds. A genuine ‘internet expert’ and a good and generous human being. He died on Sunday, unexpectedly.

                              I was so sorry to hear this today. What a lion he was!

                              I recall a seminar where Paul gently, quietly, affectionately, but oh-so-effectively pierced some hyperbole that had been released into the room by yet another vapour merchant.

                              I liked his style. A lot. And admired his intellect and his vision.

                              A sad loss. – P