Tangled Web

From corny videos to email jokes and cutsie animal photos, Southland Times online editor and internet columnist Jillian Allison-Aitken tours the wonders of the (often) weird wide web.

An intrusion by the boss

05:00am 17 Apr 2014


Is your boss your Facebook friend? Do you want the person who oversees your work also having an overview of your private life?

While chatting with a friend this week, she commented that her boss has friended all the staff at her office and not everyone was happy about it. However, they faced a dilemma: do you reject the boss's friend request and put him or her offside? Ignore the request and hope they don't mention it again? Or, as most of them had, do you feel obliged to hit the approve button and live with the knowledge that your boss is now privy to your drunken escapades, romantic meltdowns, "I hate my job" tirades and all manner of other outside-of-work information?

While most businesses have some sort of accepted code of conduct for face-to-face interactions between bosses and staff in the workplace, the online version is often overlooked. Sure, there are usually rules and guidelines for when, where and how you can surf the net (do it in your lunch break, stay away from naked people sites and don't download dodgy stuff), but I've never heard of a company with a policy covering the social minefield of social media on a boss versus staff level.

So, should your boss friend you on Facebook? I think probably not: they are in a position of authority and you may not feel you have any choice but to accept their request because of that imbalance.

If you want to be their friend on Facebook, then that's fine. But they should allow you to be the one to make the first move.

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Quite a display for April Fool's Day

05:00am 03 Apr 2014


Phew, I'm glad that's over with for another year: I managed to get through April Fool's Day pretty much unscathed, unless you count a slightly demented cat trying to ankle tap me from under the bed as an April Fool's Day prank.

Avoiding the many and varied pranks that populated the internet wasn't really particularly difficult, since I spent most of the morning stretched out on the couch reading, making the most of an extended long weekend off work.

As usual, Google had a range of jokes, ranging from the not- particularly-believable Google Maps Pokemon Challenge to the ridiculous but sadly too believable Gmail Shelfie that popped up on logging in to your email.

With the Pokemon Challenge, Google explained you'd need to use the map to find nearby Pokemon, then catch them by going to the location in person before adding them to your Pokedex (is.gd/ 23BPFO).

While I'm sure there are plenty of fans who would be keen to take on the role of Pokemon Master such as my nephew Zeke), I'm pretty sure there would be few people who wouldn't have twigged that this one was a prank.

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Video: Feel-good Friday

02:35am 28 Mar 2014


We hear so much these days about bullying both online and in the real world, so even though this video has been around for a while it's certainly worth a revisit for a feel-good Friday moment: not all young'uns are bad, not everyone falls into either the bully or victim role.

Yes, there are some nasty critters out there but there are also plenty of young people who are doing their families, friends and schools proud.

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When even the weather app throws up its hands

05:00am 06 Mar 2014


It's been an interesting start to autumn so far, with the new season appearing to arrive hand-in-hand with winter.

This follows on from our remarkably summer-ish spring and a decidedly "a bit of everything" summer so who knows what we'll get by the time the calendar says winter is here; perhaps a tropical cyclone and a heatwave?

Even the weather man seems to be struggling to deal with Mother Nature's current mood swings, with the handy dandy wee MetService app on my iPad effectively throwing up its digital hands in dismay and shrugging its digital shoulders in an "I dunno" move, listing absolutely no forecast details for the start of the week when I checked on Sunday.

The only person in our house enjoying the weather at the moment is Norman the cat, who seems determined to show just how absorbent one small cat can be by sitting in puddles and gazing adoringly at the falling rain.

She usually follows up that little party trick by running inside, climbing on one of her trained staff (usually me) and sharing her sogginess.

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Video: Just 5 seconds ...

03:47pm 26 Feb 2014


Have you ever wondered what would happen if the world lost oxygen for 5 seconds?

No, well I haven't either, but let's just pretend we had, shall we? Any-hoo, what would happen in those 5 short seconds? Quite a lot, it would seem.

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