E-tales: It's brown and going down


It’s brown and going down

“Health informatics is like Brownian motion — all over the place.” Dr Harry Pert got his message across with a real medical simile at this month’s Health Informatics (HINZ) seminar on shared electronic records.

For the record — Wikipedia’s actually — a Brownian motion is “a random movement of particles suspended in a fluid”.

Doesn’t really improve the mental image, does it?

Just wait 'til you ‘send’

A local email going the rounds at E-tales headquarters provided a perfect example — yet again — of why one should wait before hitting the “send” button, especially when the red mist of rage is fogging up the mental vision.

Anyway, this person didn’t wait before sending her reply to a colleague miffed at being towed away after “stealing” a company car park space. We won’t reproduce the whole nasty exchange here, but words — many in lovely capitals with lots of exclamation marks (always a bad sign) — like “phsycho” (not our spelling) and “your pathetic little scraps”, as well as threats of harassment charges give a flavour of the exchange.

So, remember people, in moments of rage, take a deep breath and… don’t press the “send” button or you too will be a bi-ach, even if you’re a bloke.

Wheels within wheels

Some of us remember when Gen-i’s lower-case “i” was red and the software developer was staunchly independent. Then came the Telecom takeover and scaffolders could be seen crawling all over the face of the company’s offices, changing the letter to a slightly greenish blue.

At last week’s Radar ’08 conference, organised by Gen-i, blue-and-white were the livery of the day, right down to the sweeties at the registration desk. And a brochure about the company’s “Unified Communications” product suite continued the theme, showing a blue gear wheel meshing with two white ones.

It would have been a powerful symbol of Gen-i facilitating the interlocked operations of business except that odd numbers of gears don’t mesh quite like that.

If the blue gear were to go clockwise then both of the white ones would try to go anti-clockwise. This would result in an awful grinding noise and the mechanism either jamming or detached teeth flying about.

Not a good marketing image.

Winding back A Nother Generation

Those of us with longer memories still, will recall Gen-i had an even earlier incarnation, as Wang (NZ). Then chief executive Garth Biggs signalled the change in 2000 with a press slide-show which ended with some wordplay involving Wang’s old name: “We Are Now Gen-i”.

But such poetry passed some people by, and a certain other publication ended up calling the company “i-gen”. Ah well, bloopers happen. We can’t swear Computerworld is guiltless.

Can we have 100Mbit/s broadband too?

Now, here’s a thought — UK telco BT has just announced that it is to roll out super-fast broadband to 10 million homes, by 2012. So, why don’t we all write to, lobby, cajole our very own telco, Telecom, which is now headed by ex-chief executive of BT Wholesale Paul Reynolds? It’s not as if BT isn’t privately owned too — it was, of course, the first public telco to be sold off.

BT is investing £ 1.5 billion to provide the 100Mbit/s service which will be the country’s largest-ever investment in broadband. But, well before the 2012 date, “step-change speeds of 40Mbit/s and then 60Mbit/s will be possible via fibre-to-the-cabinet, even with copper still connecting houses to the cabinet. This network will also be available to other ISPs.

BT chief executive Ian Livingston says, “Broadband has boosted the UK economy and is now an essential part of our customers’ lives”. And the service will be urban and rural — see our Open Circuit section for what rural broadband could do for us.

And the impetus? Analysts reckon it’s down to the competition from cable group Virgin Media, which is rolling out faster broadband.

Go faster grannies

And now for something really silly — a tale of two boxing grannies, also in the UK, caught E-tales’ eye.

It seems a couple of ladies — in their 90s — at a Sussex rest-home have got hooked on Wii boxing. Mind you, one of them, 98-year-old Rose Sanders, used to fly Spitfires while in the WRAF (Women’s Royal Air Force) and her boxing mate, Violet Gyves, a sprightly 95, is a big fan of British boxing legend Henry Cooper, so it’s obviously in the blood.

E-tales was keen to find a suitable boxing picture, but to no avail. However, we did find these Gran National “Racing Grannies”, which sort of capture the right feisty spirit.

Apparently, the wind-up toys are funnier the older you are — and they’re even available locally for wannabe desktop racers, from the “I want that” website.

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