E-tales: Prescient sparks

A WEEK OF IT

Prescient spark

One of our e-talers is feeling very chuffed this week on account of being so prescient. Last week our e-taler wrote how he couldn’t figure out why Auckland airport is deemed strategically important and electricity isn’t— following the news that Wellington’s Vector network had been sold to Chinese interests.

The network is responsible for the Beehive, the Defence Department, the embassies, national civil defence … the list goes on. And, of course, it was the Beehive — including the Civil Defence bunker, supposed to be the centre for disaster planning — where the lights went out last week when 14,000 Vector customers lost power.

The PM was not amused, but then nor was our e-taler.

• Not exactly prescient — but heading that way… Computerworld’s Kordia story last week (page 9) indicated that the Telecommunications Service Obligation, also known as the KiwiShare, could get a shake-up soonest. And, yes, it is. Comms minister David Cunliffe says that a new TSO system is presently being hammered out to bring broadband to rural NZ.

Security hands out malware

If you thought the Vector tale above was a tad embarrassing, our cuzzies across the ditch have got an even more egg-on-your-face tale, but this one concerns telco Telstra. In a seriously embarrassing snafu, the big telco handed out malware-infected USB drives to attendees at — wait for it — a security conference held on the Gold Coast recently.

A spokesperson for the AusCERT conference, Claire Groves, apologised and said Telstra hadn’t known the USB drives, now recalled, were infected.

Southern man still alive — and kicking

The big goodbye bash for 500 that recently saw Robbie Deans, the former All-Black and Crusaders coach who has now taken on the Wallabies, farewell these shores show the ditch between the two islands is almost as deep as the one to the west.

Paul French, software company Greentree’s communications chap, revealed that the divide still runs very deep indeed. Among the banter at the event, the MC told the partisan Southern Men at the bash that the only three northerners allowed in the room were Greentree’s Graham Hill (Greentree was the event’s sponsor) and honorary southerners Colin Meads and the Mad Butcher.

Hill did get in on the photo op — pictured, left, with Deans and Greentree’s Philip Morgan.

Betting proven to be a mug’s game

We all know deep down that gambling on the gee-gees is a bit of mug’s game. If it wasn’t the industry wouldn’t be so rich. But internet gambling’s Betfair has proved it’s worse than we thought — and across most sport, too. The New York Times reports that Betfair says betting patterns give “strong indications” about race and game fixing, and that some gamblers are profiting from inside information.

London-based Betfair’s founders have a stock market background and have brought these analytical skills to bear — to reveal very dodgy betting patterns indeed. Of course, Betfair is now benefiting from all this, having built “a better mousetrap” which allows Betfair’s million customers to wager against each other and set their own odds, and for a much lower fee than that charged by traditional bookmakers.

Wikied Aussie kids on course

Kiwi kids with a tech-bent will probably envy their Sydney counterparts next year, as the latter will be able to study Wikipedia as part of their English course for the HSC — the New South Wales equivalent of our NCEA — if they so choose.

Of course, some techie kids aren’t very interested in English and, indeed, can struggle with words, so this might prove a boon topic to them. But it is a serious topic as not only was Wikipedia chosen because it “reflected notions of the global village” but, by exposing kids to the “good, bad and ugly sides” of Wikipedia, they will learn to be more discerning about information, says the Sydney Morning Herald report.

This is because Wikipedia is open to “abuse, vandalism and the selective telling of history”. Sounds a bit like normal history to E-tales.

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Tags TelstragreentreeTsokiwishare

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