Today’s Ramblings…

Remember the 80s band Midnight Oil? Peter Garrett – the band’s lead singer – has long been an “environmental activist” in his native Australia, and now he can put his money where his mouth is: incoming Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has appointed Garrett as Australia’s “environmental minister”.

This is kind of neat: a new free web service called PrinterAnywhere lets you (or your friends, colleagues, etc.) print documents over the Internet! Let’s say that you often need to print reports from a particular program at work. For whatever reason, you can’t install this program on your home computer, so if you want to read a report at home you have to print it at work and remember to take it home with you. With PrinterAnywhere you only need to sign up for a free account, install their software (which shares your printer) and print it from your work computer… and it’ll print on your home printer! This could be a godsend for people that work from home, or for small companies that have several offices but lack an IT budget to connect them all via VPN. A bit of a warning though: print jobs are held in a queue on PrinerAnywhere’s website… so your home computer doesn’t need to be on all the time; as soon as you boot your PC, the software connects to the Internet and downloads the print jobs. This might squick-out the security-minded types out there.

A lot of European luxury goods makers are in trouble as of late. It seems that top-shelf names like Gucci and Prada are outsourcing much of their production to China. In some cases, the posh companies are importing goods that are 3/4 complete and doing “just enough” work on them in Italy to be allowed to legally put “Made in Italy” labels on them. In other instances, they’re stamping the “Made in China” label in the most inconspicuous place possible (like at the bottom of a purse’s inside pocket), or are stamping it in black ink on black leather. Some of these companies are even brazenly removing the “Made in China” tags and replacing them with “Made in Italy” ones. And believe it or not, some of these companies are even importing illegal Chinese workers to do the work for them: the Tuscan town of Prato – long the center of Italian leathermaking – now has Europe’s second largest Chinese population after Paris. That’s right: there are more Chinese people in a tiny Tuscan town you’ve probably never head of then there are in London, Berlin or Madrid.

Ever heard of It’s another one of those “Internet humor” sites, but Zug is also known for the pranks their users play on people. One of the “Zugsters” – John Hargrave – got sick and tired of hearing the credit card pitch that U.S. Air announces over the loudspeaker on every U.S. Air flight… so he called the company’s marketing guy at 5am – to pitch his own credit card! Read all about it here; be sure to read page 3 of the prank, which has a complete transcript of the call – you’ll bust a gut laughing!

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