Stick to the day job

TV3 News co-anchor Carol Hirschfeld has aspirations to get into IT journalism if appearances at industry events are anything to go by.

TV3 News co-anchor Carol Hirschfeld has aspirations to get into IT journalism if appearances at industry events are anything to go by.

Either that or there’s good money to be made getting up on stage and bluffing your way through a two-hour product showcase.

Last week she played MC at a Sun roadshow, putting marketing and sales execs on the spot with tough questions like “Where is the company now?” (still in California, as far as we know) and “R&D, tell us about that” (er, stands for research and development, Carol) and “Throughput computing, tell us more”. The toughest question was reserved for the regional software boss, who gave a demo of Java Desktop System, Sun’s Microsoft killer. “Apart from the price,” ($90 until June 2; then $180), “what’s special about it?” Well, Carol, the price, actually …

Van-width

Citylink tell us we should be using CafeNet Wi-fi to check our email, but it looks as though their techos need a gigabit fibre to check their own. A reader sent this in, noting that Citylink workers were pretending to be splicing fibre in the back of the van, but "we know the truth". The reader further notes that this is consistent with the comments of their network guru, Richard Naylor, on Computerworld's cover, February 23. "This is 2004 when 1Gbit/s switches sell for less than $300 ..." They have one in every van, no doubt.

Labour clears up another mess

Another reader notes that we pointed out in a recent E-tales that www.labour.org.nz renders rather messily in Firefox. He says if one is using Mozilla Firebird 0.7 the site displays normally, and wonders if there's something wrong with the Firefox code. Shame on you. Far more likely, we thought, that the site's code has been fixed for either browser, given that it's now beautiful in Firefox. Ah, the power of the media.

Stop innovation now

Tough new laws to protect copyrighted material such as those being exchanged on P2P networks could have unintended consequences and slow the pace of innovation and economic growth, says a new report. The Committee for Economic Development, a respected Washington policy group, says the networked economy and technological innovation will continue to be at the heart of our nation’s economic growth. "Policies that more clearly delineate digital intellectual property rights while striking a balance between the rights of creators and those of users are critical to America’s economic future," says the report, Promoting Innovation and Economic Growth: The Special Problem of Digital Intellectual Property.

It notes that this is not the first time that new technology has been perceived as a serious threat to entertainment interests.

"The industry adapted to, and in fact was strengthened by, development of the player piano, phonograph, radio, and VCR. In each of these cases, new business models were created in response to these new technologies. Based on this historical record, CED strongly recommends that developing and testing new business models be given the highest priority by the content providers."

The ideas of copy-left, or of a more liberal regime of copyright, are receiving wider and wider support, Debora Spar, a professor at Harvard Business School, told the New York Times.

"It's no longer a wacky idea cloistered in the ivory tower; it's become a more mainstream idea that we need a different kind of copyright regime to support the wide range of activities in cyberspace."

The chief author of the report, Elliot Maxwell, is a former adviser to the secretary of commerce on the digital economy during the Clinton administration. The report can be seen in full here.

Gates for president?

Bill Gates could have a future in politics, if his campaigning for the faculty that made his billions is any guide (and his ability to sound terribly profound while saying almost nothing). In the US, the number of students majoring in computer science is falling fast, undergrads spooked by tales of jobs offshoring, long-term unemployment and, perhaps, lifelong geekdom. So Bill Gates took to the campaign trail, telling students at some of the US's best universities that they could still make a good living in America in IT. Will it work? It probably depends how many want to be Bill and how many want to be Linus.

Prehistoric gaming technology

Macintosh games company Pangea Software says Nanosaur II, its upcoming time-travelling dinosaur game, will include a 3D mode. Boxed copies of the game will ship with two pairs of anaglyph 3D glasses and extra pairs can also be purchased directly from the manufacturer. Pangea says true 3D dinosaur aficionados will also be able to play the game with 3D shutter glasses, although at $US1000 a pop that’s likely to be a minority of gamers. Nanosaur II will be released on Wednesday.

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