Tuanz chief executive Ernie Newman, always keen to have an early say on things wired and wireless, was in a hurry the Friday before last to send out a media statement on the Telecommunications Commissioner's stingy-to-Telecom determination on the costs of the TSO (telecommunications service obligations), a kind of symbolic telecomms equivalent to NZ on Air. Newman's statement was fired out to Tuanz's media mailing list, but the last line of his endorsement of the decision was missing. Tuanz duly sent out a second copy of the release, apologising for the missing line. Hey, we all make mistakes, but trouble was, the final line was still missing. Third time was indeed lucky. The last par in all its enamelled glory: “This decision is further testimony to the quality of the work being carried out by the Commerce Commission in this complex field. Users are being well served by the commissioner as he moves to bring New Zealand an environment where carriers large or small, new or old, can compete to bring choice and value to users.”
A health sector CIO related a tale at a recent electronic health records conference that made a few sit up. He was told during a trip to the US that 50% of homeless people in Boston have access to the internet, mainly via computers provided at homeless shelters. Therefore, doctors at a Boston hospital have been told to give all patients, even the homeless, a user name and password so they can access their records and treatment plans online.
A stern mistress
Microsoft has been promoting a new licensing regime for its new version of exchange, Exchange 2003. The company's Exchange product manager has been quoted in the press as saying "we feel that we're responding to customer needs by keeping the prices the same but packing in many new features" (quiet, those down the back murmuring "bloatware"). The product manager's name? Missy Stern. Given the company's controversial Software Assurance licencing programme and its habit of conducting thorough licencing audits on clients, some customers one could be forgiven for thinking it might be the nom de guerre for a bondage specialist.
And while we were thinking of a certain court case involving cricket, bondage and the Huka Falls, we came across this site. The page is part of an American site devoted to drinking games and the like. The particular drinking game involves replacing assigned roman numerals with words from the Plumley Walker case. And they think the rest of the world's weird.
Don’t even talk about it
The curse of the increasingly necessary spam filter is the "false positive", the genuine email message that risks being lost because it’s been misinterpreted as something unacceptable. A number of organisations, Computerworld included, have opted to let their filters attach a numerical spam rating to incoming emails to alert the recipient, rather than automatically binning or bouncing high scorers at the server.
False high-raters naturally include messages discussing the subject of spam. The writer of a recent letter to us was particularly unfortunate. He not only discussed a Computerworld article on the topic, but commented "I am affected by spam in what I call now a serious manner". The filter gave him a whole seven points extra for saying "call now".
And going the other way, one of our staffers was surprised to see his email to a government department bounced straight back as spam. The offending wording in this case was presumably pornographic, but we swear it was relevant to valid journalistic concerns. The email was addressed to the censorship compliance division of the Internal Affairs department. You'd think the department's IT people would relax the filter's harshness a bit in their corner of the network.
Our staffer was forced, ironically, to emulate the worst of pornographic spams by using misspellings like "p()rn" and "nud3" to ensure the message got through on a resend.
Coming home to roost
IDG tech man Mark Evans, writing about getting hooked up to the internet in Rarotonga, wisely doesn't mention the undergraduate-level "controversy" that, er, arose over the Cook Island's country-code domain, .ck, and its second-level commercial domain, originally a New Zealand-style .co.
Any puerile mocking seemed not to affect the Cook Islanders themselves; for them, a cock is primarily a rooster -- a valued possession and indicator of status. But they were eventually persuaded that .com.ck was more politic.
Edited by Mark Broatch.