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Ant Bytes — AA28


By Stephen Sammartino


CrackBerry, with benefits
While entrepreneurs typically relish a 24/7 relationship with their labour of love, many professionals have been dismayed by the encroachment of work on their personal time since the introduction of email-enabled mobile devices. Even the staunchest advocates of the liberating properties of new technology have found themselves enslaved by the omnipresent ping of their BlackBerries. Now, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), the union representing the country’s bureaucrats, is demanding more pay for its always-reachable members. “If you want that degree of availability, you have to pay people for it,” said a PSAC spokesman, whose name happened to be Cashman.
Declining Greenback all too real

Everyone is now familiar with the sliding value of the US dollar. But if you were in any doubt, the enterprising souls at men’s magazine Maxim have established (through some amusingly elastic syllogisms) that seven video game currencies are stronger than the US dollar. For instance, a Rupee in The Legend of Zelda is, according to Maxim, worth US$3, because 100 rupees = a magic shield and a “crappy shield on eBay = $300”. A Sim dollar (Sim City) is worth US$611,000, as an in-game baseball stadium can be bought for 1,000 Sim dollars and the new (real-life) Washington Nationals stadium cost US$611 million. It’s enough to make our friends across the pond nostalgic for the heady ’90s (though not quite nostalgic enough to put a Clinton back in the White House).

Start-up entrepreneurs rate VC firms online
The antipathy between start-up entrepreneurs and venture capitalists is alive and well following the launch of TheFunded.com, an online community where venture-funded start-up entrepreneurs can leave anonymous feedback about their experiences with venture capitalists. The site has reportedly raised the ire of Silicon Valley’s Sand Hill Road VC community – something Techcrunch.com played upon in an April Fool’s joke post stating that the VCs had fought back and launched a rival site TheUnfunded.com, where VCs could bitch about entrepreneurs. It was not taken in good humour by all. Too close to the bone, perhaps.
An online patent database just for Australia
The Federal Government’s intellectual property agency, IP Australia, has launched AusPat 1.0, an online patent search system that allows anyone to access patent applications lodged and granted in Australia since 1979. www.ipaustralia.gov.au/auspat/
Charge your laptop on the run
aa28-jun-jul-2008-ant-bytes3Modest battery life is still the principal gripe of laptop computers users. Now, US company Voltaic Systems has designed a laptop bag that uses solar panels to recharge your laptop. The Generator bag uses a single solar panel to produce 14.7 watts of power – enough to fully recharge most laptops, PDAs, mobile phones and iPods from a full day in the sun. The bags are made from recycled soda bottles, making them tough, waterproof and UV resistant. The Generator retails for $649. www.rushfaster.com.au/ecobags/
SMS revolutionising the job-seeker market
Two new offerings by Australian companies are giving employers and prospective employees greater flexibility and reach. Queensland-based RB Recruitment has released “Pigeon” technology. It sends SMS messages about job vacancies in nominated fields to members. The patented technology can contain over 2,000 words, logos, images and interview tips and industry information. Another online/SMS service, PloyMe.com.au, is focussed on the casual, short-notice employment market. Job seekers fill their profile with information about their skills, experience, availability and geographic location. Employers pay $25 (plus $0.30 per SMS) to place an advertisement on the site when they need to fill a shift, and an SMS about the vacancy is sent to a shortlist of the most suitable candidates. The first to respond gets the shift.
Virgin Blue’s all-inclusive Lounge offers a range of attractive benefits for members to enjoy in a sophisticated and stylish environment.
Located in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra domestic airports, The Lounge is the place to do business or simply relax and indulge with a premium beer or bubbles after a long day.
Until July 31, 2008, Anthill readers can purchase Annual Membership to The Lounge for only $349 and a once off Joining Fee of $49 – this is a total saving of $150.
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Forget advertising in Anthill (no don’t!), the internet is fast becoming the first place customers head to when scouting out new products or services. And what site does everyone visit first? Google, of course. It has been estimated Google receives tens of millions of unique searches every day. That’s a lot of potential customers in any marketing director’s books. That’s why Google has stumped up $50 worth of free Adwords advertising for every Anthill reader! To take advantages of this opportunity simply go to
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