E-Tales: Sapping Sino sales

A visiting SAP executive acknowledged recently that, yes, membership of WTO aside, it's quite possible to pick up an inexpensive copy of its (not inexpensive) R/3 suite on CD at the markets in Shanghai, 'but it won't help you much -- you won't get the support or maintenance'.

A visiting SAP executive acknowledged recently that, yes, membership of WTO aside, it's quite possible to pick up an inexpensive copy of its (not inexpensive) R/3 suite on CD at the markets in Shanghai, "but it won't help you much -- you won't get the support or maintenance".

Ah yes, but as noted by Forrester Research, if it's an upgrade 75% of your ERP costs are likely to be internal. On a similar note, SAP has won a reasonable chunk of business in China, the exec said, in the manufacturing and telecomms sectors, but for how much longer will it be so easy to sell software there given its keenness to support local software? See Gartner.

Peaceful PR

Last week Computerworld received a series of media releases about the impact and severity of the Blaster worm from the public relations firm that represents antivirus software vendor Symantec in New Zealand. Fair enough. Subsequently, however, we heard from another source that Auckland-based developer Peace Software had been hit by Blaster. General manager Ross Matheson said on Wednesday that "some impact" had been felt. "It’s all been repaired now." Peace Software is coincidentally a client of Symantec's PR firm. We're still waiting for that one about Peace overcoming the Blast.

Pay back

Etales couldn't resist a moment of schadenfreude over Telecom's payphone failure. Why? Because some years back it preferred to replace most of its coin-operated phones by draughty, open-backed booths that took only cards -- customers' money that Telecom banked for weeks and months -- instead of multi-payment machines that many telcos overseas thought were only proper.

On balance

No wonder the economy's been ticking along and Teflon Helen has sidestepped Corngate and Foreshoregate better than "Dougie" Howlett -- not only parliament, but Labour has good feng shui. Or at least its party logo does. National's logo doesn't fare so well, says Malaysia-born Kiwi Honey Lim's feng shui site, and nor do those of Progressive Coalition or the Alliance. United Future is apparently set for growth, as is (of course) The Greens and even Winston's NZ First. If you've never heard of the ancient art of balancing energies (feng shui = wind, water), check out the cool-named www.qi-whiz.com site; sceptics should especially note its "crank feng shui" page. The term can apparently be pronounced several ways, particularly fung shoy or foong shway, so go for it.

Not invented here

At the talks around Douglas Webb's draft determination on how to pay for Telecom's TSO costs, some attention focused on the element called "beta" in the "weighted average cost of capital" -- the cost to Telecom of borrowing money to keep service alive to what it calls uneconomic subscribers without charging them a disproportionate fee. The beta portion of the formulae represents the relation between the return on an asset and overall market returns, a measurement of risk.

A spokesman for the NZ Stock Exchange jokingly applied a metaphor from the world of nuclear physics, when he suggested neutrinos perhaps needed to be brought into the evaluation.

The neutrino, a tiny, virtually undetectable subatomic particle, was discovered, some would say invented, to explain an unexpected variability in the energies of fast electrons (beta particles) emitted from disintegrating nuclei.

From the thumbs of babes ...

Which tech-savvy 16-month-old has been sending PXT messages from her father's phone to an old friend all weekend long? A former Computerworld staffer was surprised to see several missed calls and a couple of text messages from an unknown number, but it was the photo of someone clearly changing a nappy that really concerned her. Was this a new form of stalking? Answers in a PXT to please.

Just deserts

Got a letter from a minister from the very-much-alleged Democratic Republic of Sahara (twice). No thanks, don't need any sand at this point. What, you're offering an investment in some gold someone discovered? Now you're talking! Bring it on! But seriously, if you haven't read it yet and wondered why spammers continue long after most self-regarding people might give up, get to this story on Wired.com about the people you can fool some of the time.

Broatch is Computerworld's deputy editor. Send letters for publication to Computerworld Letters.

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