Don't formulate wrongly

Auckland software house and Microsoft partner e-Formation has found a humiliating use for the cutesy Linux penguin.

Auckland software house and Microsoft partner e-Formation has found a humiliating use for the cutesy Linux penguin. Any of E-Formation’s developers who stuff up are made to park the penguin –- representing the DFW Award -- on their desk until some other hapless code jockey earns it. The penguin’s symbolism ensures “double humiliation for a Microsoft developer”, writes e-Formation’s Jose Luis Fowler, who acknowledges that it’s probably a "cruel and unusual punishment". What Fowler doesn’t mention is what DFW stands for.

Dirty e-minds

IRD obviously has stern rules about what people are allowed to email to the tax department. An email flyer (don't call it spam!) about the Computerworld Excellence Awards was bounced back by a mail filter. Its crime? It contained the word "hard", as in hard copy, and the word "cocktail", as in nice things to drink, in close proximity. The mail filter clearly needs its electronic gateway washing out with soap.

SCO me no mercy

First, the judge in the Apple v Apple -- the Beatles' record label against the computer maker, that is -- court case admitted he was an iPod user. Then this month comes news from the busy survey robots at Netcraft that the Nevada court where SCO filed suit against Linux user AutoZone runs its website on that IP-infringing, un-American operating system, Linux. "Presumably, that means SCO's lawyers filed the lawsuit using a system that it contends infringes its intellectual property," says Netcraft, pondering whether SCO's lawyers could in fact be preparing a suit against the court itself.

Contrast and compare

They take their freedoms seriously in the US (hey, most people can't even spell that Cuban base). Michael Powell, chair of the US Federal Communications Commission and son of Secretary of State Colin Powell, gave a speech in Colorado last month in which he set out four "internet freedoms" that broadband vendors should provide for their customers.

1. Freedom to access content

2. Freedom to use applications

3. Freedom to attach personal devices

4. Freedom to obtain service plan information

Just don't mention voice over IP in this part of the world.

We've been everywhere, man

Kiwis are well-travelled, especially compared to, say, Americans, of whom perhaps only 20% own a passport. Travel guide World66 lets you colour in the places you've been like a map of your own personal empire. Of course, saying you've been to India means a different thing if you've been to every one of its 35 states and territories, and not just been in the lounge of Mumbai airport. Just one of us in the Computerworld office produced the map below.

Lean and keen

Microsoft has published

figures that say the software giant needs 3500 technical support staff to look after its 55,000 employees worldwide. We're sure a lot of large companies in New Zealand would love to have a 1:15 ratio of IT to general staff. What was that about TCO?

All the news

Who said the web doesn't give you the feel of a real foreign quality newspaper? You can now get a

digital version of the UK's Guardian and Observer exactly as they appear. Okay, so papers like the New York Times can be seen as-is and the AFR scans in its front page, but they lack the cool ability to click on articles and pics as they appear in print and be able to read them alongside. It costs, of course -- the launch offer is $30 a month for both papers. About the same as those dull local dailies.

Jargon watch

"Sure, leave this with me and I'll revert back with a time first thing tomorrow." A local marketing person picks up what's been reported as an innovative Asian use of the language and runs with it.

Hoop dreams

Consultant Peter Bolstorff got to see little in New Zealand in his recent flying visit to fix Kiwi supply chains. He had to rush home to see and coach his daughter's basketball team in the playoffs. Bolstorff lives in Minnesota, which, if we remember correctly (unlikely), is a state Tall Blacks coach Tab Baldwin has some connection with. It's very cold there right now, so we wished him luck.

Crossing the line

If you're sick and tired of publishing that amazingly insightful blog day after day, there is a new alternative in the offline world. Borders, which it should be noted has teamed with Amazon online, has quietly been experimenting in a few shops in Philadelphia as a publisher.

"It's easy to publish your own book!" the leaflets for Borders' Personal Publishing programme say. You pay $US5 (isn't that about $3 these days?) and get a kit to prepare your masterpiece manuscript. Then you have to pay another $US200, making it sound a bit like a Nigerian scam. But a month later you get 10 paperback copies of your book. Of course, if you pay a few hundred dollars more you can get a "Professional" version. Your book gets an ISBN and a few copies are made available at Borders' website and in the participating shops. What happens if you sell like hotcakes?

In the wars

At a recent seminar on wireless security, a speaker recounted the bizarre tale of a Canadian man caught last year driving with no pants on. As if that wasn't weird enough, the Toronto police officer who stopped the 36-year-old noticed he was downloading pornographic images on a laptop computer. The offender had hacked into a residential wireless LAN or, in hacker-speak, was war-driving. That it was the nearby house, not him, who was actually accessing the porn didn't get him off the hook. Police searched his own house and found thousands of images of child pornography.

Objective decisions

Business Objects recently celebrated its acquisition of Crystal Decisions with a series of breakfast presentations in New Zealand and Australia. One speaker at the Auckland launch, occupying the podium for half an hour, gave a detailed account of the business intelligence vendor's integration roadmap. It was quite understandable, therefore, that at one point she referred to Crystal Decisions as "Crystal Objects". Realising what she'd done, she joked "Now, that's a new naming strategy", and light laughter ensued from the audience. We believe she made the correct choice for such a slip of the tongue; Business Decisions just doesn't have the same ring. Though her Freudian does sound like the software you might use to run a new age gift shop.

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