E-Tales: Unix crims need not apply

With all the kerfuffle over SCO/Unix/Linux/IBM we're wondering if there's something in Unix that brings out the worst in people...

With all the kerfuffle over SCO/Unix/Linux/IBM we're wondering if there's something in Unix that brings out the worst in people. It's just that a recent ad for a Unix support team leader, to be based north of Wellington, notes the usual prerequisites such as team leadership experience, Unix installation and support skills, blah blah, but before detailing those requirements it states "clean criminal record essential". Is it difficult these days to find a Unix professional who doesn't have a conviction or two? We suspect not, and that you might be working for a particular arm of the government.

Networked for knowledge

The aware industry organisation has to keep up with the latest techno-political shifts. Tuanz, for example, is no longer "the user’s champion in the knowledge economy" but "the user’s champion in the networked economy". The telecommunications user lobby group senses those last two words have attracted some negative reaction and have a rather tired feel about them. Besides, says new Tuanz chairman Graeme Osborne, there has been a subtle change in industry and user priorities. The new slogan embodies "a vision of where the country should be going", says Osborne, who's also technology services general manager at Statistics NZ. Osborne suceeds Judith Speight, who stepped down officially at Tuanz's recent Telecommunications Day conference after seven years in the role.

Kicking up a pen and ink

Hold the front page! Microsoft technology doesn't work as it should! It's true, though it's only a minor bug: our Tech Ed 2003 pen won't stay clicked. One wag wonders if we've been using it within the terms of the EULA? Biting the top while thinking definitely voids the warranty, we are assured.

I'm feeling a bit LLU

Former Australian regulator Allan Fels suggests our two countries’ systems of telecommunications regulation might one day be harmonised. First we’ll have to sort out that local loop unbundling business, thoughnot only the doing of it, but the appropriate three-letter abbreviation. New Zealand calls it LLU; Australia and most of the rest of the English-speaking world favours ULL.

Russian in

Our fellow capitalists in Russia are apparently adopting New Zealand’s free-market approach to domain name registration, the vaunted shared registry system. InternetNZ councillor Jennifer Northover presented a paper on the SRS and sat beside the enthusiastic Russian contingent at the recent CENTR conference in Budapest last month. E-tales trusts no patent issues are discovered at the last minute.

TLA upgrade

It's been evident for some time that the world of jargon has too many TLAs that have acquired more than one interpretation.Your ASP (application service provider) may use ASP (Microsoft active server pages). Your internet-connected LAN is likely to need two IDSs -- an intrusion detection system and an integrated directory system. And you never know whether you're going to get cash or MB out of the ATM. So, in the light of the eventual adoption of IPv6, the Powers that Be have decided the world will move to a SIXLAA (six-letter acronym) system to minimise future clashes, our InternetNZ sources say. For the time being we'll have to maintain both formats. The RRFFCC (recommendatory request for fast consultation and comment) is due out shortly.

A beacon in a wetsuit ...

Industry reports often mix the dull with the colourful, and frequently fall into the regrettably human habit for metaphor and the mixing thereof. Thus in hearing about the No Wires No Limits report on New Zealand’s wireless industry, we learned we must start by snorkelling -- investigating the industry at shallow levels, then drill for oil -- exploring particularly promising niches at greater depth. Much of the drilling would occur "offshore" -- that quaint, damp-sounding Kiwi expression for "in other countries". Perhaps we should hang on to the snorkelling gear. To make New Zealand a beacon we intrepid divers must light our, er, beacon quickly, because we are facing a narrow window. We feel a cartoon coming on.

... on an exercise-wheel

The metaphor flow must have been catching, because our staffer at the event, being told that New Zealand was an unrivalled "testbed" for new international developments, had a worrying vision of a New Zealand-shaped cage filled with white rats and having strange experimental things done to us in the name of creating new markets. "Oh No! Not another anal[ytical] probe!" Alternatively, our industry could be seen as the wireless IT equivalent of Shortland St, where an endless stream of new players put on mediocre performances because they’re still learning how to do it properly. The less said about flexible industry alliances and "testbeds" the better. Let’s hope New Zealanders don't find themselves endless beta-testers of never-quite-right technology. As soon as something starts working properly, it will be whipped off overseas, and the rats given a new toy to play with.

E-vidence toasts Texans

Three Texans face up to two years in prison for chopping down an oak tree outside an Austin apartment block where two of them lived. The bought an axe and took turns at hacking away at the tree, resulting in a $US10,000 bill for the building owners to take away the pieces and get a new tree. The trio would have got away scot-free except for one thing -- one of them posted pictures of them doing the deed on his personal website, which an employee at the apartment block stumbled on 16 months after the tree was felled. In all, 25 pictures were posted, detailing the deed from the purchase of the axe to the aftermath the next morning, according to the Austin American-Statesman newspaper.

Edited by Mark Broatch.

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