Not so fast, Budde
There’s a reason journos like talking to the formidable Paul Budde, telecoms analyst extraordinaire, and that’s his quick-draw supply of sound bites. Budde didn’t disappoint in that respect this week, when he took some pot shots at the government’s Ultra Fast Broadband plans. Firing from the hip, Budde’s aim seems to have been a bit dodgy this time around though, and the consensus is that there were more misses than hits in his salvo against the UFB. Traditional telco strategies don’t sit neatly in a world of fast IP connectivity, made possible by huge advances in integration that lower costs and facilitates deployment, and it’s surprising that Budde skipped that seemingly important set of facts. Ernie and Chris of TUANZ are right to be perplexed and disappointed by Budde’s broadband bombardment, which seems to be a complete reversal of his position in the past. Budde isn’t the only one to have a go at the new network plans though, and his seems to be part of a larger fusillade featuring Don Brash and sundry others wheeled out to delay the rollout of fibre to premises, again in opposition to their earlier statements when they thought broadband was a necessary good. All this campaigning might be in order to keep the copper network humming a little longer, perhaps with dodgy hacks like bonding multiple pairs of wire for increased DSL throughput, this despite there being no customer premises equipment that supports it. Now in whose interest would that be? — Government ‘asking for a disaster’ on broadband — TUANZ disappointed by Budde’s broadband blitz — Telecom’s fibre conundrum — Minister welcomes Brash broadband commitment — Government's telecomms package - reactions — Brash report doubts broadband plan
End ACTA © kiwiright from nu4mz on Vimeo. What would hobble any network plans more effectively than Budde and Brash broadsides? Treaties like the “anti-counterfeiting trade agreement” and its copyright crimes adjuncts like the S92A and S92C guilt-upon-accusation statutes, of course. Frisking the data streams of every single internet user regularly to see if any copyrighted material is in transit goes against the grain of any notion of freedom of thought and speech and existing laws, but that could be the reality. Needless to say, the cost for business to deploy monitoring systems to deal with this would be intolerably high and this needs to be said loudly and clearly. Not only that, but draconian copyright enforcement laws could put an end to the networked future that we've been envisaging for the past few decades. Who in their right mind would invest in internet companies burdened by costly legal requirements to police their customers’ activities? Our politicians owe it to those who elected them and the NZ ICT industry to end the secrecy around the ACTA “negotiations” and tell us what’ll happen next year. — Opinion: Secret ACTA deal to change IT forever — Documentary recounts battle over S92A — Clare Curran: What’s the need for secrecy? — European ISPs lash out at secret ACTA negotiations
We’ve written before how the cost of spamming is low and, therefore, the returns rather high. Spammers hijack others' resources such as broadband connections, email services and even webhosts to hock their rubbish wares. Therefore, it’s good to see the US FTC lance that particular boil and slap a certain Mr Atkinson with a NZ$21 million fine for spamming. It took a while though: in 2004, Lance Atkinson was the first case brought by the FTC under the US CAN-SPAM Act, together with Mike van Essen. — Kiwi lands multi-million dollar fine in US for spamming — NZ connection in US spam prosecution
XKCD Spinal Tap Amps
Robert X Cringely
What color is your death screen? The Windows 'Black Screen of Death' is striking terror across the Web, but whether it's actually striking any PCs is debatable. Cringely suggests other colors we might consider Just when you thought it was safe to click the Start button and get on with your life, a new Windows Boogie Man (sorry ladies — Boogie Person) has emerged to haunt your PC dreams: "The Black Screen of Death." Sounds very Pirates of the Caribbean, don't it? This mysterious malady surfaced late last week when an obscure UK-based security company called PrevX brought it to everyone's attention. According to PrevX, the black screen could strike users of XP, NT, Vista, or Windows 7 who have just installed Microsoft's latest round of security updates — which includes, well, just about everybody except those wacko Windows 98 holdouts (you know who you are). PrevX also posted a free "fix" to the problem, though they didn't guarantee it would actually work. That's all it took to get bloggers running off to the races. Because, really, who can resist a headline with the words "Windows Black Screen of Death" in it? I certainly couldn't. Now that the smoke is starting to clear, though, it seems the BLSOD may be less widespread, less black, and less deathy than first reported. (It is also not Microsoft's attempt to give equal opportunities to other error screen colours besides blue, no matter what you might have read.) For one thing, Microsoft says that it isn't getting a whole lot of tech support calls about the BLSOD, nor can it reproduce one in its labs.
Microsoft sent its security
goons team after PrevX, which began backpedalling faster than Lance Armstrong down the side of an active volcano. First, PrevX noted that the BLSOD is triggered "spasmodically" and not by those security patches, as it had originally implied. It then apologised (twice) to Microsoft, and claimed its original blog posts had been "taken out of context."
"Regrettably, it is clear that our original blog post has been taken out of context and may have caused an inconvenience for Microsoft. This was never our intention and we have already apologised to Microsoft. Microsoft is a valued partner and our fix was developed to ensure its customers were able to quickly resolve the Black Screen issue without having to reinstall Windows as some users indicated."
Is the BLSOD real? Apparently so. Has it affected millions of users? Apparently not. Is it Microsoft's fault? That's a little harder to determine. But notice how quickly everyone believed it was? That's what 25 years of incompetent coding will do for your reputation.
Still, I think expanding the range of color-coded error screens is an excellent idea. It could be like the Department of Homeland Security terror alert system — meaningless yet also strangely soothing.
Naturally, I have a few suggestions:
The Red Screen of Danger: This indicates your system has been infected by a nasty bit of Russian malware, and he's invited all his mobster pals to the party. Please put your head between your knees and kiss your data good-bye, comrade.
The Gray Screen of Indecision: For those moments of indecision brought on by Vista's annoying User Account Controls. Do you really want to allow that program to do what you just told it to do? Are you really really sure you want to Continue? The GSOI grays out your screen until you're at peace with your decision.
The Green Screen of Cash: This money-coloured screen would pop up and render your system inoperable until you fork over more simoleons to update your software subscriptions. I can see Symantec and McAfee jumping all over this one. In fact, I'm surprised they haven't done it already.
The Yellow Screen of Fear: This could indicate an urgent email from the big boss, a sudden all-hands meeting appearing in your Outlook calendar — anything that makes you want to turn off your PC and hide under the desk.
The Brown Screen of ______: You don't want to know.
And that's just the beginning. I envision an entire spectrum of error messages — a rainbow coalition of craptitude on your computer. Thank you, Microsoft, for making this possible.
What other colors would you like to see on your PC? Post them below or e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org