FryUp: Into the sunset

Sing, sing a song, Sol. And back to the future with Castalia

Into the sunset

He rode into town, flanked by Greg Winn, Bill Stewart and Phil Burgess. He was Sol. Half daemon, but a total chief executive. Many were the gunfights with ACCC and the government. Sol bought some bullets in the big ones, like the tender for the Australian National Broadband Network. He won a few battles too, like getting that mighty fast 21Mbit/s mobile network out of the door in no time at all. Sol restructured hard. Unions? What could they do? Watch how their members were made redundant, that’s what. Sol’s guns blazed in the hot Australian sun. The financial comancheros were tough though. They wanted to tar, feather and railroad Sol out of town when the share price dived. Then Burgess quit. Winn quit. Sol only had one Amigo left to yak with around the campfire. Sol had enough. He rides out of town end of June. Here’s Sol singing his song: Sol's song (YouTube) Telstra boss Trujillo resigns Telstra boosts Next G to 21Mbps Trujillo's $11m salary is abuse of system - PM

Who you calling a Castaliar?

We’ve been saying for a while now that it’s not that hard to build a fibre network to everyone’s premises, and that we should do so as soon as possible. In fact, we should've done it ages ago. This, however, is one area where the telco industry regulation as introduced by Labour’s David Cunliffe could be said to be holding back development. Cunliffe’s regulation encouraged investment, but in the existing copper network. The telcos obliged, which is good, but it’s very late in the game. Copper doesn’t cut it anymore and really, we should be replacing it with optical fibre. Tell that to the likes of TelstraClear, Vodafone and Telecom, and you’ll see their corporate countenances turn a very sickly green indeed, at the thought of all those millions invested in DSL and old school telephony gear that would be rendered almost worthless when fibre reaches customers’ premises. That’s the backdrop to the recent report from economists Castalia. Unsurprisingly, the Big Three Telcos commissioned the report but you’d have to ask why? Yes, we can all appreciate how annoying it is for them to go along with the regulator, spend money, and then be told that it’s time for something completely different. In commissioning the report and publishing it, however, all the Big Three have managed to do is to annoy everyone. TUANZ, InternetNZ, reporters on the tech beat have written it off as a throwback to a past that we’ve struggled to get out of. Didn’t anyone advise the Big Three about that, and just how bad it would look publishing a report that Keith Davison of InternetNZ rightly says lacks vision and reiterates tired arguments on whether or not New Zealand needs a fibre network? The report did cause one amusing thing to happen though: virtual verbal fisticuffs between NZ Communications Tex Edwards and Vodafone spokesman Paul Brislen, over at the TUANZ blog. Edwards and Brislen have crossed swords in the past, when the latter edited Computerworld and ouch, there are some wild punches being thrown around… Simon Hendery: Cardigan crew's report has whiff of bad old days Vodafone, NZ Comms in social media stoush

XKCD Pep talk

Cartoon: www.xkcd.com

Robert X Cringely

Facebook, MySpace, and social (media) diseases Social media is on the rise, and so are the privacy and security risks. Is it time to dial back on the whole Web 2.0 'friend' thing? The social media honeymoon is officially over. While it may not yet be time to fly to Reno for a quickie divorce, you might want to start thinking about sleeping in separate bedrooms for a while. Example du jour: Over the weekend, a rogue application spread across Facebook, warning users about bogus errors in their profiles. Clicking on the "Error Check System" app causes it to send false warnings to your entire FB posse, per the unofficial AllFacebook blog. There doesn't seem to be any payload associated with that app besides driving traffic, but the potential for abuse is obvious. But a bigger problem on social nets is an old familiar one: spam. So far, spam only accounts for about 5 to 25% of all email passed on social networks, versus 90% of regular email, says Adam O'Donnell, director of emerging tech for Cloudmark, which filters spam for some large social nets (but won't identify which ones). As more people start tweeting about what their cats ate for lunch and share their Facebook profiles with near-total strangers, though, that number will only grow. The type of spam on social networks is different too, says O'Donnell. Think fewer fake Viagra come-ons, more social engineering scams. In other words, the junk you get on social networks is more likely to be aimed at stealing your credentials or your identity — and thus much more dangerous than garden-variety spam. Cloudmark recently released "the seven deadly sins of social networking spam." I've expanded on them just a bit: 1) Dating spam. Sorry to break it to you, but "Sultry Svetlana," that 23-year-old hottie from the Ukraine who thinks you're fascinating, is really Ugly Ivan, a 46-year-old scammer from Minsk. Take a cold shower and forget about her. 2) Profile and IM lures. Suddenly, you're Mr Popularity — only your newfound friends want to lure you to a fake profile page or IM conversation, where they can steal your information. The moral: candy + strangers = bad news. 3) Redirection to dangerous sites. Uh oh, somebody has posted naughty pix of you at an external site -- better go look. No, you won't find naughty pix (at least, not of you), but you might get a drive-by malware infection. 4) Nigerian attacks. That same deposed foreign minister who wanted to share $35 million in embezzled funds with you on email now wants to do it on Facebook. Let me know how that works out for you. 5) Fake jobs. A fantastic job opportunity awaits you. And if you're lucky, your new "employer" will only clean out your bank account and not steal your identity and/or get you arrested along with it. 6) Competitor social network lure. Lesser social networks may try to steal you away by posting comments on your page pretending to be from your friends. Is that pathetic or what? 7) Religion-based spam. Have you accepted the Alien King Rondelay as your one and true savior? Spammers may use social networking sites to convert users for various religions. God help us all. It's not just spam. The Register reports that government employees in the United Kingdom may soon have their Facebook posses vetted before they get security clearance, quoting an anonymous techie who works in the British gov. The problem? Promiscuous friending could allow the bad guys to sneak into your social circle, giving them access they wouldn't otherwise have. Quoth The Reg: "...the message is clear: what you put out on social networking sites can come back to haunt you. When it comes to vetting, it's not just the embarrassing pictures that matter; embarrassing friends — and possibly even friends of friends — may matter as well." Have I scared you away from Facebook yet? I didn't think so. But before you wade deeper into the social media waters, remember that as the amount of information you share increases, so does the risk — and the more personal that info is, the worse the consequences may be. As mom used to say, it's all fun and games until someone loses their identity.

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