E-tales: Hedge fund circles Telecom


Hedge fund circles Telecom

E-tales is still digesting the interesting bid for two Telecom board seats by US hedge fund Elliott International, which holds a mere 3% of shares. The fund wants to totally hive-off the new retail division of Telecom from the wholesale and networks divisions. However, such a move was actually considered, and rejected, by the government before it enforced the operational separation of Telecom into three business units.

Such a radical break-up might be good for shareholders, but telecomms is also vital infrastructure and modern business relies heavily on it nowadays, so some more information is needed here, otherwise the bid looks suspiciously like stirring.

Pink droid

The rejection by Aussie users and telcos of the Australian federal government’s internet filtering trials (Computerworld, August 4) has been summed up in a song by a member of civil liberties group Electronic Frontiers Australia.

The song is a parody of Pink Floyd’s The Wall, which will be more familiar to our older readers — Generation Y, ask your parents. You can still find the whole bleak operatic vision of a dictatorial society at: www.thewalldvd.com.

The e-version of the song is addressed to Aussie Comms Minister Stephen Conroy:

We don’t want no net filtration

We don’t want no net control

No spies controlling our net usage

Conroy leave our net alone

Hey... Conroy leave our net alone

We want a free net not your firewall

We want a free net not your firewall

EFA member “Sarah” would like to make a video of the e-song. The original featured English school students, but no schoolchildren will be harmed in the digital version — Sarah plans to use suitably costumed adults.

Lego PC a real brick

This has got to be one of the quirkiest home-made projects ever. One of our e-talers found it at: http://home.hawaii.rr.com/chowfamily/lego/, and it works too, as well as being cheap.

“Winston” says he uses his home-made Lego PC as a second computer but reckons it would also be great as a kids’ PC in a networked home.

Parts cost US$330 to $380 (NZ$477 to $549), he says. However, this doesn’t include the Lego bricks — his were donated by his cousin, Lucille. But this cost is for all new components. In fact, Winston had many of them already — as many geeks do — and just bought the motherboard, RAM, keyboard and adapters.

“Maybe Lego can create a new niche market for itself by making ATX, Micro-ATX, or Mini-ITX form factor pieces with some metal shielding,” he says.

For she’s a jolly good fellow

An e-taler was editing a story for publication in Computerworld when he stumbled across a seemingly incongruous line: “The report, ‘Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2008’, by Gartner vice president and fellow Jackie Fenn...”

Now, several IT vendors have honorary ranks for distinguished staff titled “Fellow”; IBM has “Distinguished Fellows”. Our e-taler has actually come across numerous such Fellows while editing stories quoting them, but Gartner’s Jackie Fenn was a first for him — a female Fellow. As most of these Fellows are older, techie types, they’re predominantly male, but not always.

Ferrit ignores the fall

Some pictures just don’t need many words to support them. This one captures Ferrit staff celebrating on the day of Telecom’s 15.5% fall in annual profit with booze and a barbie. Ouch!

Seeing not always believing

If China isn’t careful it could soon be case of: “There are lies, damned lies and the Beijing Olympics”. The various untruths emerging are rather worrying — especially the digital trickery discovered to have been employed to ensure television viewers saw the Opening Ceremony’s giant “footprint” fireworks in all their glory — only one of the 29 footprints was actually captured on film.

Does it matter, one might ask? Well, yes, images appearing that are not really there imply things can disappear too. And, even the seven-year-old who “sang” Ode to the Motherland was not actually the girl who sang the song — the Politburo had the real singer switched after judging her not pretty enough, although her voice was still used. News of this was also swiftly excised from the internet.

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