Summertime, and the weather is...

... absolutely horrendous. I wasn't able to replace the monitor tan with a real one! Of course now when it's back to the galleons the sun's out in full force and there's not a rain cloud in sight. What's with that?

Top Stories

- Phone Numbers Carry-On

- Rule no 1 still rules

- Twenty years of flonking, meowing and cross-posting

- Summertime, and the weather is ….

… absolutely horrendous. I wasn’t able to replace the monitor tan with a real one! Of course now when it’s back to the galleons the sun’s out in full force and there’s not a rain cloud in sight. What’s with that?

- Hillmorton’s looking good

- Is rain on the radar?

- Holiday happenings

We told everyone to take a break and not to get up to anything while we were away. Did they listen? Nah. A disconcerting amount of things occurred while we were offline. That really isn’t good enough. When we say “stop” we mean it. Next year, it’s take a break, or else, OK?

Anyway, here are some of the more noteworthy events.

- Phone numbers carry-on

On Christmas Eve of all days, TelstraClear, Telecom and Vodafone in unison applied to the Commerce Commission for a “designated multi-network services” determination under the Telecommunications Act of 2001, in respect of local telephone number portability service and cellular telephone number portability service.

In simple terms the above means that customers should be allowed to retain their telephone numbers if they switch suppliers. “Portable” is something of a misnomer in the case, as we’re not likely to carry the numbers around at any stage. “Transferable” would have been clearer, but may not have satisfied the Telco Jargon Committee.

What the parties are asking the Commission to determine are the functions that a number portability system must perform, as well as setting standards for said system. Sounds like a lengthy process, or in other words, the telcos playing the system again.

The application for a Commerce Commission determination follows years of wrangling over number portability which is something that telephony customers elsewhere already enjoy. Early December the Commission released a draft determination on the cost allocation of number portability, which… was greeted with a “good grief, why did it take so long”?

Ernie Newman of the Telecom Users Association of New Zealand (TUANZ) said of the latter draft determination that it seems to have a “blinding simplicity to and logic to it”. Not sure about the blinding bit, but I effingly agree with Ernie’s rhetoric question – “Why did the Number Administration Deed parties not figure this out in 1999 and get on with the job?” Why not indeed? Five years is long enough, isn’t it? It really is a pity that we’re not further down the VoIP track so that we ignore all the expensive telephone number nonsense and dial each other’s email numbers instead.

- Commerce Commission: Number Portability

- Rule no 1 still rules

So, Sanford “Spamford” Wallace, the notorious Spam King of the nineties, never really reformed. Should we be surprised?

Here’s some Spamford History: Wallace’s Cyber Promotions was once the biggest spam outfit on earth, but got legally steamrollered in 1998 by Earthlink and others with a US$2 million lawsuit. Spamford said that was that, no more spamming for him, only restaurant promotions in the Philly area. He was now an ex-spammer.

Yeah, right. Sightings of dubious Wallace marketing ploys appeared as soon as 2001 and in October last year, the US Federal Trade Commission took him to court for infecting computers with spyware through his two companies Seismic Entertainment and SmartBot.Net, then offering a solution to remove it for US$30. The spyware hijacked Intarweb Exploder and displayed a stream of pop-ups telling users to buy the “Spy Wiper” or “Spy Deleter” programs to stop the unwanted solicitations and the CD ROM drive from opening and closing repeatedly. Nice one.

On January 4 this year, Spamford agreed to halt the spyware spew while he’s fighting the FTC lawsuit. Wallace maintains that he hasn’t done anything illegal, just like he did when his spamming got up people’s noses. Ah yes, ye olde “I can be a nuisance as long as it hasn’t been legislated against” defence. All I can say is: once a spammer, always a spammer, in one form or the other.

- The Rules of Spam

- FTC cracks down on spyware operation

- Wikipedia: Sanford Wallace

- Online marketer agrees to halt spyware ads

- Twenty years of flonking, meowing and cross-posting

Before the Web and all its blogging, there was the Usenet and it still is. NNTP or Network News Transport Protocol. Now Google’s assimilated it as well and released a twenty-year archive of Internet milestones and insanity. Just about everything happened first on Usenet: Britney Spears, spamming, Amazon, and Osama bin Laden. It is the history of our times written by everyone in any way possible – ranging from the utterly brilliant to the totally horrible.

However, clicking around (heresy! I’m using a Web browser!) Googlefroups’ archive shows that it’s not entirely complete in every respect. But while one might not feel comfortable with a private company effectively owning the virtual past it has to be said that if Google hadn’t done it, who else would have bothered?

- 20 year Usenet timeline: Google Groups





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