Aberrant abbreviationism

A week of IT

Aberrant abbreviationism

Management terminology is resplendent with long and unwieldy constructions of inordinate complexity which are often abbreviated.

From this week's acronym alphabetti soup, we fished up BI. Allegedly, it stands for "Business Intelligence" but the more common meaning is "Bullshit Index". For instance, newsgroup postings should stay below a BI of 20 for the author to be taken seriously.

Where does management pick up such things? Maybe at "management training", often abbreviated as "mantrain". Should you wish to Google for the latter abbreviation, please note that some of the search results are not worksafe.

Auntie Royalties

Always keen to read stories about the ongoing tussle between file sharers and the various recording institutions, E-tales staff were quick to pounce on such tale recently published on an Auckland newspaper's website. However, after opening the story, entitled "Police monitor net for anti-royalty sites", expecting a cracking yarn about police abusing their powers of search and seizure in their blood lust for online pirates, we were disappointed to read instead a dull story about demonstrators outside Windsor Castle. The story's first paragraph makes it clear the story is about anti-monarchy protestors. Ah well, clearly it pays never to read more than the headline.

In the beginning was the Word

We're all familiar with the foibles, nay features, of Microsoft Word — or so we at E-tales thought. InternetNZ, however, clearly isn't familiar with Word's editing tracking features and so the latest press release sent out about the society's view of the Telecommunications Share Obligation contained rather more illumination into the working of the society than we ever dared to hope for.

Given the society's previous life (Internet Society of NZ, or ISCONZ) of Churchillian smoky back-room deals; Kafkaesque decision making processes; Orwellian newspeak pronouncements and general Huxley-like dystopian disdain for its members [stop, just stop now — Ed] this new era of openness is like a breath of fresh air.

Carrying the online fraud can

As we move into election mode, E-tales has a potentially vote-winning suggestion for the pollies: make banks rather than users liable for online fraud. Security pundit Bruce Schneier makes this suggestion in our feature on fraud published this week. There used to be similar problem with credit card users having to carry the can when it came to card fraud, says Schneier. Banks paid little attention to credit card security issues until they were made legally liable and then, suddenly, the problem was dealt with pronto

So, with online transactions increasing exponentially and various Mafias worldwide piling into the online scam game, how about some enterprising politician or party introducing a bill into Parliament that legally shifts the onus of responsibility for online fraud to where it should be — with the financial institutions. The latter have the resources to take on the scammers, while users, whose resources at best will always be limited, do not.

Ye olde Saxon scam

Scamming is as old as human nature, and to prove it a friend in Kihi Kihi, near Hamilton, with a keen interest in Saxon history came across a olde worlde scam that may, possibly, have provided the inspiration for our Nigerian friends.

One Wulfstan Wigmundson, former war leader and secretary to the murdered King of Mercia, writes to "leof menn" — dear sir, we presume? — about a royal hoard worth "8000 hides" of which only he knows the location. Said hoard includes heirloom helmets and swords, and "a twisted gold necklace taken from the neck of an Irish chieftain (dead, of course)". Wigmundson offers to split the hoard with whoever in East Anglia (a part of Britain) can help him spirit it out of Mercia. He hastens to add "that I did not kill your king's son that was Herestan not me", and says that he can have his hoard "transferred to your hoard account in London if you will provide this location by hand of trusty messengers".

Gives new meaning to the phrase: "Kill the Scythian messenger".

Email your tales of wit and woe to etales@computerworld.co.nz

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