PAL, Fried spammers, $Exchange vs Notes

There is an unwritten rule that says no large IT project can be completed beyond 85% of the requested functionality, due to inevitable design flaws, implementation mistakes, lack of skill and software bugs.

Top Stories

- Our 95% PAL

- Legally fried spammers

- $Exchange pwns Notes

It’s 128MB tasty

Surely not? What’s the date again?

Our 95% PAL

There is an unwritten rule that says no large IT project can be completed beyond 85% of the requested functionality, due to inevitable design flaws, implementation mistakes, lack of skill and software bugs.

Hence, the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office and Unisys should be congratulated for the hard work that has seen the Public Access to Legislation project reach an unprecedented 95% completion. It’s been a long slog, costing some $9 million more than expected and the deadline was missed by three years (costing another $6 million to run the “interim” website), but now Our PAL’s there, “tantalisingly close” to completion — but not really so it’s not going to be deployed. Even Microsoft Word has problems with some of the things PAL is meant to do, apparently, so that’s okay then. Let’s throw a few more millions on the project before it gets canned and a whitewash inquiry is launched and she’ll be right.

- PAL: $9 million over budget and three years late

Legally fried spammers

While we wait for the antispam talkfest to end in NZ and an actual law come out — some time in 2006 perhaps — the Aussie equivalent seems to have some real teeth. Fines and raids: that’s the only “remove-me mechanism” spammers understand.

I guess if things get too hot for Aussie spammers, they can always set up shop here while it’s still legal to spam in NZ. There’s the problem of finding bullet-proof hosting of course, but if that can be sorted, there’s a whole year of spamming to be done. Too bad if all NZ IP space ends up as blocking-list collateral damage.

However, both the Aussie and the future NZ antispam law have the same fatal flaw. They don’t cover two other forms of intrusive marketing: unsolicited phone calls and fax spamming. The former is irritating enough, but the latter really hacks people off. It was interesting to note that the majority of feedback to my story this January on Brands Direct was from people who have endured prolonged fax spam from them. Months and months of paper, ink and toner wastage, at any hour of the day with no way to stop it; that’s fax spamming for you.

Fax spam victims don’t currently have much recourse. Telecom says its terms and conditions prevent customers using its services to annoy people and you can call 0800-809 806 to ask for an investigation to be launched against the spammer. However, all Telecom does is to ask the spammer to remove the complainant’s number from the faxing list; it won’t pull the plug on fax spamming customers there and then. Only if the fax spammer doesn’t remove complainants’ numbers and carries on spamming them will Telecom consider discontinuing service to the sender — even then not permanently, only until the “issue can be resolved”.

- SMS campaign backfires as car firm is fined for sending spam

- Investigators raid alleged spammer

- 'Not spam', claims bulk mailer

$Exchange pwns Notes

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry … or both.

- IBM in denial over Lotus Notes

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