Maybe it’s the time of year, but it was a week for giving this week, with several tech companies in New Zealand announcing charitable initiatives that couldn’t help but give you the warm fuzzies.
It started with our round-up of the nominees for Microsoft’s altruism accolade, Citizenship Solution of the Year, awarded at the company’s Partner Awards in November. We looked at the work done by NV Interactive helping with the Canterbury business community recover; Enlighten Designs encouraging staff at Te Wananga o Aotearoa to shape up; and eventual winner Provoke Solutions providing a platform for Child Cancer Foundation staff to collaborate and communicate. Kudos to all concerned.
A day later came the news that daily deal site GrabOne was partnering with Kidsline, a teen/tween support hotline run by year 12 and 13 students. GrabOne provided the funds for Kidsline to redesign its website, and has also set up a special donation page on its website so users can do their part.
On the same day, HP announced it was expanding its e-smiles campaign, which provides printers to Ronald McDonald Houses around New Zealand and Australia, and invites members of the public to email uplifting messages and images which can then be printed and displayed. Ronald McDonald Houses provide accommodation to families of children in hospitals, and the happy messages will certainly not go unappreciated.
Not to be outdone by the big boys, Auckland-based web design and marketing company Tomahawk announced a day later that they would auction $10,000 worth of web design services, with every dollar raised to go to the SPCA. Again, this is an excellent cause, so if you know anyone who could use a new website – or an update – be sure to let them know!
Still on the subject of giving, New Zealand Facebook users received a generous gift this week, the social network announcing we would be the first place in the world to receive a public rollout of its newest feature, Timeline. The site’s management have been cautious about rolling out Timeline – perhaps owing to this recent slap on the wrist – and say they will roll the feature out more widely ‘in the near future’. Of course, anyone else who wants Timeline that badly has only to jump through a few technical hoops, but it’s still pretty cool.
Speaking of cool, the New Zealand TV market got a little colder this week with the announcement of Igloo, a joint venture between Sky and TVNZ that will compete with Freeview for digital TV supremacy. Igloo is a set-top box that will retail for under $200, will offer access to all the free to air channels, and will allow users to add 11 special channels such as Comedy Central and UKTV for an additional $25 per month, as well as special pay-per-view content. The product will be launched in the first half of next year, in time for the analogue TV switch-off.
In entertainment news of a different kind, websites bearing the controversial .xxx suffix went live this week, in a move that will either slow or hasten the spread of adult content throughout the web, depending on who you talk to. Proponents say .xxx will act as a virtual red light district where users can be protected from malware and non-users can be protected from content. Detractors say it’s just another capitulation to the sleaze merchants.
Finally, internet culture chroniclers Know Your Meme have released their list of 2011’s top 10 memes, including the planking fad which originated in New Zealand and Australia. The list also includes Rebecca Black, Scumbag Steve and Nyan Cat; other kiwi efforts like Nek Minnit and Piri Weepu’s ‘Everybody chill the f**k out’ didn’t make the cut (although they were vastly superior in our opinion).
See you Monday, folks.