Buddy can you spare a dime?

A week of IT

Buddy can you spare a dime?

We knew our readers were a bright bunch but had no idea IT is still a lucrative pastime. Late last year Nielsen//NetRatings delivered the news that Computerworld's online readership is among the wealthiest in the country, marginally behind business weekly The Independent and our IDG stablemate Unlimited.

It's nice to know that there's a ready-made audience for our proposed editorial review features on high-performance cars, overseas adventure trips, wine, jewellery and fine dining.

We'd like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and we hope we passed the audition

Apple launched its 2005 range of products with the help of Steriogram in what must surely be the shortest gig in history.

After firing up Garageband, Apple's application for musicians, Steriogram played for exactly 55 seconds. Sadly, it's not the band's shortest ever set. "We got shut down once," says lead guitarist Tyson Kennedy.

Worse than that, the nice Apple demonstrator then told the assembled audience it would be easy to "enhance" the sound of the guitar by simply clicking on a few boxes to choose a different and "better" amp sound. The lead guitarist declined to be interviewed afterwards.

Fast phones

A reader is dumbfounded by a workaround offered by SonyEricsson customer support. Asking why his telephone’s calendar had a one hour difference in times after syncing with Outlook, our reader was told the one-hour discrepancy was a known issue awaiting a fix.

The workaround? Disable daylight saving on the desktop. “Disable the daylight savings time on both the PC and the phone and move the PC time forward one hour,” SonyEricsson suggested, although it’s apparently a little uncertain about the advice. “Some Outlook users have reported this moves their appointments back an hour so you might wish to try moving the PC time ahead one hour then disabling daylight savings.”

Sooner or later the phone calendar will be in sync, but everything else will be well out of whack. We have a workaround for that too: wait for the end of daylight saving and computer and phone will once again be in sync — albeit an hour out of touch with reality.

Timing is everything

The last week of 2004 was an eventful one for Computerworld. The final edition of the year came out on December 13, complete with commentary on the Oracle-PeopleSoft battle, which was then still very much alive. However, the following, day the two companies came to an agreement and the tussle was over. That's when online versions of magazines come in handy. However, things took a surreal turn the day after that, when several Computerworld staffers received a nice bottle of wine in the post. Who was the sender? PeopleSoft. That was strange enough, given the previous day's events, but what really made the grade for bizarre timing was the back page of the card, which read "PeopleSoft has a long tradition of focusing on our customers and we will continue our commitment to you in the coming years." Obviously, there was no time to scribble on the card "Cheers, Larry".

A launch but no lunch

Not long into the new year, Computerworld received an email from Oracle with the subject line "Oracle–PeopleSoft Combined Companies Launch." An ever eager reporter skimmed the subject line and read it as "Oracle-PeopleSoft Combined Companies Lunch," and thought "they're putting on a media lunch pretty quickly after the takeover." Alas, on reading the body of the email, the hapless reporter discovered that it was in fact an invitation to a webcast about the integration path, scheduled to begin at 6.30am New Zealand time, with no breakfast. IT is a tough gig.

Online topology

Barry Murphy has put together a fascinating — to some, anway — "Topological map of New Zealand internet service providers". If you ever wondered where your bandwidth comes from, check it out at www.ispmap.co.nz.

Sign of the times?

Fujitsu and Computerland separately planned golf days before Christmas for their customers. Everyone was so busy, neither company could make the numbers, so the golf was canceled.

Conversation at a Wellington IT vendor

Question: “What happens if we train these people and they leave?” Answer: “What happens if we don’t train them and they stay?”

Telecom me, anytime

A Computerworld reporter spoke on the phone with a contact, who then sent an email. The email began "Further to our telecom, I have set out the ..." That's the first time we've heard of a phone conversation being referred to as a "telecom". Given Telecom NZ's propensity to litigate to protect its trademark on the name Telecom, the sender of the email could be putting himself in danger of an intellectual property lawsuit. After all, it wasn't so long ago that news media were encouraged by the owners of the rollerblade trademark to use the term inline skating, rather than rollerblading, as the generic term to describe that activity.

Cats and dogs, living together ...

Rumour has it that every tech company's favourite PR firm, Botica Butler Raudon, is facing troubling times. Butler, the second B in BBR, is being threatened by the firm's newest employee, a Welsh corgi by the name of Prince Harry, and may defect to set up his own firm. Butler is, of course, the company cat. Whether BBR becomes BBR By Appointment is yet to be decided.

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