Feel sick now.
Sony goats its PR
“The PR troll can then initiate a brutal method of killing the publicity stunt, such as asking journalists to attend gross stunts featuring decapitated animals to launch violent video games.”
Rage against the web
The first casualty in any international political dispute nowadays is the web. Little Estonia is having something of a bust-up with Big Mother Russia at the moment, about a monument of Soviet soldiers in Tallinn being relocated.
Russians in Estonia and Russia itself are upset about this, so as per past altercations with their smaller neighbours, there’s lots of sabre-rattling, energy supplies suddenly drying up and boycotts of goods, not to mention very violent demonstrations and attacks on embassies. And, Estonian websites, government ones especially, are being hit by denial of service attacks and crackers are trying to break in.
Such attacks on government Internet hosts to “protest” against anything are now the norm, unfortunately. I’m not sure if policy makers take the web into account, but they should, as it will be the first to bear the brunt of any unpopular decision.
The dead duck of regulation
Our Minister of Economic Development, Trevor Mallard, says “Mobile termination is the most significant cost input into the provision of fixed-to-mobile calls.”
Year after year, New Zealand comes out in the bottom of the thirty OECD countries for telecommunications. Put simply, it’s very expensive to use phones here compared to the rest of the world, especially for mobile calls.
The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission has set the mobile termination rates in that country on a “glide path” to 12¢ per minute next year. A number of telcos there think it’s too high, and want 9¢/minute or less, since the actual cost for the calls is 5-6¢/minute (in Australian currency).
Now that Minister Mallard has rejected regulation of MTRs, in New Zealand however it will take five years from now before the rates drop to Australia’s current levels. Telecom will reduce its MTRs to 12¢, and Vodafone to 14¢ by 2012 under “legally enforceable” deeds undertaken by both telcos. This is meant to be better than an immediate reduction to 15¢/min as proposed by the Commerce Commission twice.
Needless to say, the Telecommunication Users Association of New Zealand, TUANZ, which brought the complaint to the Commission in 2003, is venting its fury over Mallard’s decision. A livid Ernie Newman is asking how the deeds will be monitored and enforced and ultimately, are they worth the paper they’re written on for consumers?
Reading through the deeds, it looks like Ernie’s concerns are warranted. The kicker in Mallard’s deal with the telcos is said to be a guarantee that rates reductions will be passed through to customers but the deeds set out bureaucratic solutions involving auditors, weighted averages, several types of exclusions and it’s all done in retrospect. The idea seems to be that if neither telco is seen to deliver rate reductions, the Crown can take them to court for it. After independent but yet to be appointed auditors have gone through the figures.
In other words, it’s four years of absolutely nothing with another five years of the same coming up.
Cartoon from www.xkcd.com
Robert X. Cringely
All i's on Google
It's a horror movie cliche: You think you've finally killed the monster, but while you're busy comforting the distressed damsel and wiping the gunk from your fingers, the beast rears up from the dead and attacks.
Of course, in this instance, I'm talking about iGoogle.
Years after we thought we'd vanquished the last of the cutesy small i/little e internet names, Google resurrects it for its personalised home page service. (And yes, there's iVillage and the whole Apple naming convention, but for the most part it was dead. And now it's not.)
What does the little i stand for?
How about intolerant? Google is urging its shareholders to reject a proposal that calls for the search engine to stop censoring search results in countries like China.
Maybe incompetent. Google's vaunted geek cred suffered a serious blow recently, when a bug in the very same home page service lost several months' worth of customised settings for some of the Google faithful. (And after Google 'fixed' it, the bug came back and struck more users.)
Or possibly just 'in your face.' Last week Google overtook Microsoft to become the most popular — or at least the most visited — website in the world.
Listen, I like Google. I use iGoogle (though the name makes me, well, Cringe). But I think 2007 will be remembered as the year the G-men jumped the shark and lost their G-magic. It's all downhill from here.
Google personalised home page http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/05/01/Google-renames-personalized-homepage_1.html Calls for the search engine to stop censoring search results http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/05/02/google-urges-censorship_1.html Google bug strikes again
http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/05/02/Google-home-page-bug-strikes-again_1.html Google overtakes Microsoft as the most visited website
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/04/25/MNGELPF0DR1.DTL&type=tech The G-men jump the shark and lose their G-magic