Changes aboard HMS Computerworld

I go away for a week and not only does the FryUp get hijacked by an office junior, but the editor takes off as well. You'll be shocked, saddened and generally appalled to learn, as I was, that Matthew Cooney is no longer in the house as of this week, having disappeared off into the wilderness of academic publishing.

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- Changes aboard HMS Computerworld

- $taying in touch

- Changes aboard HMS Computerworld

I go away for a week and not only does the FryUp get hijacked by an office junior, but the editor takes off as well. You’ll be shocked, saddened and generally appalled to learn, as I was, that Matthew Cooney is no longer in the house as of this week, having disappeared off into the wilderness of academic publishing.

Good luck Matt, and may the deadlines not turn into deadliness for you.

So who’s in charge now then? Well, none other than our Mr Brislen, IT industry raconteur extraordinaire and irredeemable tea and biscuit addict. He is now the editor of Computerworld and is supported by wild man David Watson as the deputy enforcer. Err, editor I mean.

Matt’s last mission before he departed was to organise the redesign of Computerworld’s website. Go on, take a look. It’s really good, thanks to the design talent of Su Yin Khoo and Mary Parks and James McNickel taming the monster that is Notes. Click around and let us know what you think about it.

- In with the new

- New Look Computerworld site

- $taying in touch

I had to communicate a good amount with New Zealand during a recent trip to the US and noticed some interesting things in conjunction with this. The first one was of course that the internet runs a lot faster there than here, even when the connections ostensibly are the same speed. Even on mere 1 to 2Mbit/s downstream DSL, content snapped onto the screen instead of trickling in as it does here.

The reason for that is of course that internet content by and large lives in the US, so it’s only a few hops away from you most of the time. It doesn’t have to cross the Pacific like most stuff does when you’re in NZ. However, that’s only part of the reason: the Americans have plenty of bandwidth in their networks, and it’s not nearly as expensive as here, so congestion is less of an issue.

Accessing stuff in NZ from the US turned out to be a pain as well. It wasn’t too bad in the mornings, US time, as it was in the middle of the night here. However, during the day the international pipes to the Shaky Isles filled up as users logged on and using applications like webmail was a challenge. I ended up using Hotmail and Gmail much more than intended for that reason, rather than my local webmail service. This was really a complication I could’ve done without.

The second noteworthy thing was mobile calls. People love calling you on the mobile when you’re overseas which is very nice of them and works rather well but costs a huge amount. Depending on the US network and if you’re a Vodafone or Telecom customer, answering a call can cost as much as NZ$5.60 a minute. No, that’s not a typo. Calling NZ is similarly expensive, ditto making US calls. When I saw how much, I went and got a cheap and cheerful Nokia mobile from Virgin USA at Radio Shack instead, prepaid US$25 on it, emailed everyone in NZ who needed my US phone number, and switched off my NZ phone. It’s not as convenient as roaming but the US10¢ per minute charge for national calls was hard to fault. For international calls, I just tried to use Skype as much as possible, over that speedy DSL line (annoyingly enough, Virgin USA doesn’t publish its international mobile calling rates).

There are no doubt cheaper and better alternatives to Virgin USA phones, but they’re most definitely not from Telecom and Vodafone NZ and I encourage you not to pay their exorbitant roaming rates.

- London is global internet bandwidth capital

“The US is the least expensive place to buy Gigabit Ethernet backbone access, at an average price of US$13 per 1Mbit/s per month.”

- Telecom Mobile international roaming cost

- Vodafone US roaming charges

- Virgin Mobile USA

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