Year in Review: And the winners are

Time of year again; gone quickly; seasonal greetings; good wishes; time to reflect; other cliches. Right, now that that's over we can get on to the good stuff: The Third Annual Dollery Awards.

Time of year again; gone quickly; seasonal greetings; good wishes; time to reflect; other clichés. Right, now that that’s over we can get on to the good stuff: The Third Annual Dollery Awards.

As in previous years you’ll remember that these awards aren’t necessarily based in fact or fairness, and may not actually be legal to print, but we’ll publish them anyway in the hope that people forget them when I’m pitching for their RFPs.

The first award this year is the Horrendously Overpriced Broadband Award, and it goes to Telecom for managing to get away with ripping off an entire country for yet another year. In the UK GIO Internet will provide you with an ADSL connection, 256Kbit/s upload, 1Gbit/s download, 50 email address and 100MB of web space, no bandwidth or downloading restrictions, no time limits, no call charges and no throttling, with a free ADSL modem and no installation/registration fees, for the equivalent of around $80 a month. The business version, which is similar but twice as fast and has 500 email addresses, is only $122 per month. The closest I could find from New Zealand’s Telecom was an $80/month offering. This has a higher download speed but limits you to a crippling 1GB per month download, and costs something between $399 and $500 for equipment and installation depending on your technical abilities (that’s up to an extra $41 per month if you amortise it over a year).

Let’s hope that we all include in our new year’s resolutions the intention to line the whole board-of-directors of Telecom up against the wall, and shoot them for crimes against the national good (unless of course they – highly unlikely – read this article and feel guilty for their cavalier behaviour, repent and fix things immediately).

This year’s Braveheart Award goes to Murray McNae, who, with his team of intrepid adventurers, fought off the support of the world-renowned Sun to create a new and previously unheard of company, Solnet Solutions – unconfirmed reports from Australia say that McNae was sporting blue and white face-paint at the negotiations. McNae believes it isn’t necessary to have big-name support for his company; it’s okay for his new staff to tell their existing customers that everything they told them previously was a lie and that they should now buy Intel hardware because Sun equipment is overpriced and unreliable; and that government customers aren’t going to run a mile from a company without the requisite 3000 years of financial history that they think is so important. More seriously, it’s good to see a company with a presence in our local industry close off some of the lines draining its profits overseas, and I wish McNae et al all the luck in the world.

This year I’m going to present the prestigious Stephen Hawking Award For Common Sense to my beloved Correspondence School, who have achieved the highest levels of common sense seen in a government department in a long time. Their first rational (small "r") decision was, as reported in the pages of my beloved Computerworld earlier this year, to use extreme programming as a development process. Their second rational decision was to hire me as the coach of the XP process, thus ensuring success. The final clever decision was to allow me to wean the team off Microsoft software and on to Mandrake Linux. In all this is the most successful software development project I’ve ever seen, and for a government department it's nearly unbelievable. It’s not perfect -- no significant project can be -- but given the starting conditions things could easily have been soooo much worse. A big up to the C School.

I’d like to give an award to the government for yet again failing in their public duty to legalise cannabis, and I’d like to award the Green Party for destroying what remained of their credibility by allowing the government to turn this country into one of the world’s first publicly sanctioned genetic-engineering testing stations. But as this is a column on technology, I can’t.

The final award this year, as always, goes to my three beautiful daughters, Calli, Lili and India. They’ve not done anything of note for anyone except their parents but they have won the I Like To See My Name In Print Daddy Award, because so little of interest has happened in New Zealand this year that I can’t think of anyone else who deserves an award.

Dollery is a partner at GreenPulse in Wellington.

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