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Technological elections

Rumour and Humour: Estonia intends to conduct its next general election via the Internet, while technology continues to hassled customers

Bye-bye ballot box, hello cursor. If you’re dreading the slog through snow and slush to vote in a spring election, technology may soon step in to help.

The March national parliamentary election in the Baltic state of Estonia aims to become the world’s first conducted via the Internet. The voting will take place by inserting state-issued ID cards containing electronic chips into a reader attached to a computer, and then entering two passwords. Sure beats shuffling to the local library in a blizzard.

And how does a country test this high-tech hammer of democracy beforehand? By selection the “king of the forest,” of course. Thousands of testers voted for 10 mammalian candidates, including moose, deer and boars. There was no word on whether Canada’s indefatigable beaver was included.

Sadly, the winner of the “king of the forest” vote apparently remained a mystery, as no final count was performed. All bets – even those for Big Foot – are off.

Monty Python

Britain has always been celebrated for its humour: Monty Python, Benny Hill, Sasha Baron Cohen, the list goes on. But a recent revelation from British Telecom’s Home IT Advisor service – of its quirkiest conversations with tech-hassled customers – may be right up there with the best of U.K. comedy:

They include:

1. Customer: “I keep getting inappropriate pop-ups on my computer and don’t want my wife to think that it’s me.”

Advisor: “I will remove them for you.”

Customer: “How do I get them back when she is not in?”


2. Advisor: “Press any key to continue.”

Customer: “I can’t find the ‘Any’ key.”


3. Customer: “My mouse mat isn’t wired up.”

Advisor: “I’m not sure I understand, your mouse mat shouldn’t have any wires.”

Customer: “Well, how does it know where my mouse is? Is it wireless?”


4. Customer: “How do I change channel on my monitor?”

Advisor: “Your monitor won’t have channels like a TV.”

Customer: “But I was watching the Internet channel the other day and now I just get the word processing channel.”


5. Advisor: “Can you click on ‘My Computer’?”

Customer: “I don’t have your computer, just mine.”


6. Customer: “My 14-year-old son has put a password on my computer and I can’t get in.”

Advisor: “Has he forgotten it?”

Customer: “No he just won’t tell me it because I’ve grounded him.”


7. Customer: “My iPod will only play one song.”

Advisor: “Which other tracks have you downloaded from iTunes?”

Customer: “Do I need to download tracks?”


8. Customer: “My family in Australia use BT Softphone, I can see them but they can’t see me.”

Advisor: “What brand is your Web cam?”

Customer: “What’s a Web cam?”

Comment: cdnedit@itbusiness.ca