Agnostics get new religion

A week of IT

It seems the message that Gen-i is now owned by Telecom hasn’t penetrated to some sales staff of the former systems integrator, once an agnostic seller of product and services. They’re still trying to offer TelstraClear services to some customers — definitely a big no-no under the new ownership.

What's that? Peanuts?

We have WIX, the Wellington Internet Exchange, APE, the Auckland Peering Exchange and in Palmerston North, PNIX is set to take off, now the internet cognoscenti have "got the sniggering out of the way", says Andy Linton of Citylink on the NZNOG mailing list.

We can't imagine what he means; our first thought on hearing about PNIX was of the phoenix, a beautiful golden bird rising from the ashes of the two major telcos' abandonment of such "uncommercial" peering practices.

But to be on the safe side, the pronunciation Pee-En-Eye-Ex appears to be attaining currency.

As peering points grow, an increasing number of large companies and educational establishments will be encouraged to exchange their own traffic directly and freely with other local organisations, rather than going through the major ISPs, Linton predicts.

So here's to a new direction. May the tier-one ISPs suffer Freudian envy.


Speaking of the double entendre, one of our staffers with a long record working in, and commenting on, the ICT industry* once attended a conference of the International Federation for Information Processing in Stockholm. In the usual style, he brought back the T-shirt, adorned with the IFIP ("eye-fip") logo in the Swedish national colours of yellow and blue. In due course, it was snaffled by his partner.

Several years later, the said partner, at a meeting in a hot room, removed her top layer, revealing the by now rather scruffy garment.

"That's a very rude T-shirt", a woman sitting opposite remarked.

"What?" inquired the puzzled wearer.

"It says: 'I f___, I pee'."

Some apparently respectable people's states of mind give us grave cause for concern.

* And where were you when you heard US President Richard Nixon had resigned? Setting off for school, most of you ...

Survey: Australians dislike progress

A survey of 1,000 Australian office workers found staff yearn for the days before mobile phones, email and text messaging. More than 54% of respondents say their working day has become longer as a result of technology. In the survey undertaken by recruitment agency Talent2, 21% claim supervisors text, email or phone them out of office hours to discuss business (although only 8% say they resent the intrusion).

However, the overwhelming belief is that technology has increased stress with nearly 40% claiming new technology has detracted from their personal lives. They'd rather go back to slower-paced times where workers couldn't be contacted after hours.

Talent2's Jonathon Morse reckons Aussies put in 40–50 working hours each week, "surrendering their leisure time, because of technology such as the mobile phone and email". That's particularly true for the IT sector, he says, where there is a high rate of workplace burn-out.

The dangers of AI

Smart software that learns a user's behaviour is generally regarded as a "good thing". However, it's not without its inherent risks if the underlying algorithm is flawed.

TiVo, the very desirable TV recording device, is obviously programmed with a "knows best" attitude, according to a couple of recent US visitors. Swapping TiVo experiences during a dinner conversation, one recounted how since watching a saloon car race her TiVo was now taping all kinds of obscure sports shows for her.

"You're lucky," her companion exclaimed. "My Tivo thinks I'm homosexual." It seems he'd watched one episode of Queer Eye For The Straight Guy and came back from a business trip to discover his TiVo had recorded all manner of gay and lesbian programmes on his behalf.

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