— S Day
— Helen goes
— Nudie DSL speedbump
Complete and utter rubbish
In last week's FryUp, we speculated that Telecom's Consumer COO Kevin Kenrick had fallen on his sword due to Yahoo! Xtra Bubble launch debacle, and speculated he was going to Sky City.
This is incorrect. Kenrick has in fact taken up a position with the House of Travel as its chief executive. FryUp regrets the error.
Telecom appears to have overcome its separation angst with Doc Reynolds' hand on the tiller, and decided to work with the government on future regulation rather than fighting it.
While the previous strategy of aggressively combating regulation reaped handsome dividends for Telecom, a new one of harmony and cooperation may indeed be the wisest way forward for the incumbent. Comms Minister Cunliffe and the MED Mandarins have more than enough evidence on their hands to support the position that a natural monopoly smothering competition and generally being a law unto itself is a bad thing, even in telecommunications.
There is widespread political support for this, mainly because anything else makes you look like a free market banana republic proponent (sorry, ACT).
That said, we are, as Cunliffe says, playing catch-up with the rest of the world still. It's not clear that the new regime will propel us to the fore either. Sure, it'll sort out some of the worst mis-steps of the past, but they've been so bad we need more than reining in of the single incumbent.
We need to get over the Telecom Era, because it's not a good model for the present, let alone the future. No more sucking a tiny margin out of Telecom's old-tech network, but instead, build your own.
There needs to be incentives for infrastructure builders and investors for this, such as reduced bureaucracy for fibre-optic network rollouts. The government has been working on some of this, but an injection of anarchy to encourage more small network builds throughout the country wouldn't go amiss.
We were all surprised to see Helen Robinson pull up stumps and decamp Microsoft a mere two years after joining the software giant's New Zealand office.
A very pleasant and professional person to deal with, Helen will be missed by us. At the same time however, we're curious if the locals are busy jockeying for the top position or if the Australians have decided to insert one of their own into the New Zealand office, which rumour has it is a tad political compared to the rest of the group.
We'll soon know, no doubt.
Nudie DSL speedbump
Providers have been salivating at the idea of so-called Naked DSL — that is, access to a copper line and the DSL data signal over it only, minus the PSTN voice component. They're hoping this will let them create cheaper broadband and Voice over IP products for customers that in turn have better margins than the current slim ones reselling Telecom's wholesale stuff.
It's perhaps understandable then that Kordia-owned Orcon threw a cow when it was told by Telecom that it could only sign up one or two customers a day.
In the past, Orcon's been arguably the most aggressive marketing new telecommunications services, so it must rankle to go slow with an attractive proposition such as nDSL. New Orcon retail manager Larrie Moore says the provider's been in talks with Telecom on this since July and expected to be able to go balls to the wall in September. Customer expectations are undoubtedly running high too, so Orcon and other providers are likely to be swamped with enquiries.
Telecom in turn counters that the restrictions are only temporary during the launch, as nDSL is new to the incumbent as well and it has to make sure its systems work as intended — that too, is a fair point.
As always however, it's the customers that are caught in the crossfire. There is no alternative supplier for nDSL to turn to, so the only thing to do is to wait for Telecom, or head to the regulator, a slow and expensive process that has served providers badly in the past.report by Scott Dunn in Windows Secrets. It seems Windows Update will update itself automatically, without warning and regardless of whether you've told the app to wait for you to download updates and/or install them. (As someone who's lost work more than once because Microsoft decided it absolutely had to reboot my computer at 3 am, I prefer to have my finger on the trigger.) Microsoft's argument for the stealth upgrade is a textbook example of pretzel logic. If Windows Update didn't automatically update itself, then the app might break and you might never be able to receive any future updates. Of course, if Update was broken it couldn't update itself. And if it weren't broken, there'd be no reason not to tell users. Even that lame reasoning doesn't explain why information about the update is virtually impossible to find — not on screen and not in the Microsoft Knowledgebase.(Pure speculation: I suspect there's more to this story than Microsoft is telling. Perhaps they are finally addressing vulnerabilities in Update that allow it to be hijacked by malware, and they wanted to keep this a secret from the bad guys for as long as they could. Or maybe they're just being d**ks.) There's a distinct aroma of dead mackerel to the whole story. But Microsoft's reaction to the controversy was classic. A blog post by program manager Nate Clinton features both a non-explanation and a non-apology, including the following paragraph: "The point of this explanation is not to suggest that we were as transparent as we could have been; to the contrary, people have told us that we should have been clearer on how Windows Update behaves when it updates itself. This is helpful and important feedback, and we are now looking at the best way to clarify WU’s behavior to customers so that they can more clearly understand how WU works."Translation: We didn't do anything wrong, we just didn't dumb this down enough so you pathetic whiners would understand it. We might be willing to do things differently next time, but we'll have to think about it. Now stop bothering us, we have more important things to do.What this suggests is that for all its recent gesticulating about becoming more transparent and accountable, Microsoft is still Microsoft. Having attended a few Redmond Reprogramming Sessions (they call them “editor's days”), I can attest that this kind of reaction is beaten into Microsoft employees at a tender age, possibly via brain implants. I've boiled the Microsoft Method down to seven simple rules. 1. Respond at great length using as many acronyms as possible to avoid having to answer any direct questions.
2. Never answer any direct questions.3. When someone criticizes the company (for, say, hijacking their machine without permission) thank the critic for his feed back without actually acknowledging what he's criticizing you for. 4. Patiently explain, for the 99th time, that Microsoft knows what's best for you, even if you don't.5. Identify the hostiles in the audience and assign two people – usually a product manager and a PR drone — to 'help' them. This may involve close personal and Internet surveillance until the reporter stops writing negative things about the company (or dies mysteriously).6. When a reporter asks you a question you've deemed so stupid it could only have been posed by a single-celled organism, answer it in highly technical terms and with thinnest veneer of civility — like stretching a Saran Wrap of politeness over an ocean of contempt. (Note: This rule applies only to Ballmer.)7. When all else fails, bury them in Powerpoint slides until they beg for mercy.