E-tales: Irony zone

Noticed on the site of Base10: underneath the Caldera logo (The SCO Group was formerly Caldera) it has the tagline 'Unifying Unix with Linux for business'.

Noticed on the site of Base10: underneath the Caldera logo (The SCO Group was formerly Caldera) it has the tagline "Unifying Unix with Linux for business".

Lasting the distance

Richard Leeke of Equinox, quoting one of his colleagues in a talk on the need for testing, stresses the need for continued performance measurement over the life of a system. "Performance is a lifetime commitment, not a one-night stand."

Boxing on

"The homepage for New Zealanders", TVNZ's nzoom.com, has won the category of best news website at the Qantas Media Awards, the first time the event has honoured websites. The site was favourably compared, apparently, by judges with the best UK and US news websites for the quality of its content, usability and multimedia components. TVNZ is to, like so many others, roll back its ambitious online effort, to better align it with core broadcasting responsibilities (and become plain old tvnz.co.nz).

This is the same Nzoom that told Computerworld in 2001 -- through the form of managing director Simon Aimer -- that the new charter would have little effect on the online division.

On the subject, Nzoom's Josh Chalmers wasn't allowed to go to the E3 conference in May -- an X-box promotion-related prize he had won fairly and squarely -- because he was shortly leaving the organisation to go to the UK. Sadly, the journo from Nzoom they did send could soon be fighting to keep her job.

Sixty-four, hut, hut!

Continuing our occasional series of, er, interesting titles, we note that Telecom has a "game plan manager" within its Auckland customer services commercial and finance team. If you're a commercial analyst you can find out what s/he does -- there's a job going.

Don't change that ... too late

BCL is helping radio stations promo themselves on your car radio using RDS (Radio Data System) technology. Not quite digital radio (explained here), RDS is a method of transmitting programme-related data inaudibly, which is displayed on the listener’s RDS-capable radio or stereo. You can see the radio station’s name on your car radio's display, station type like "rock" or "classical", alternative frequencies, traffic information, the song being played. Six Auckland stations and some National Radio sites use the service.

It's those cuckoo clocks

"You understand they're very early over there." Staffer at a Wellington organisation scheduling a phone call from one of their people, who was visiting Geneva last week.

Memory stick

Soon, very soon, there will be no excuse for ever forgetting any stupid thing you've ever done. The beauty of memory is that you can happily forget, repress or blot out bad memories with various substances. Now Microsoft is working on a system, says The New Scientist, which could let users record every event and incident in their lives on to a "virtual brain", which will be searchable like Google. MyLifeBits software is being worked on at Microsoft in San Francisco. Emails, letters, conversations, photos, videos, everything, and maybe in Microsoft's hands. We hope it's another internet toilet -- a joke or an ill-conceived idea that will die a lonely death. Read a version of the story here.

Higher purchase power

HP staff who survived the first year as a spliced company will be grateful for one thing: the first pay rise in two years. May 1 saw "merit-based" rises, according to HP NZ. As to the likelihood of more layoffs to refloat the profit-leaking enterprise division, the company here expects "natural attrition" to take care of the few more to go, reported variously as between 800 and 1200 worldwide. Given that this country represent's less than 0.5% of the company's new head count, if it's being scrupulously equitable, that's between four and six at the most out of the current 600.

New sensation

Delegates were treated to a mix of old and new at the gala dinner of SAP's Sapphire conference in Sydney last month. Australia-New Zealand CEO Geraldine McBride thanked everyone for their attendance and then showed some clips of previous Sapphires.

Adding to the recycling theme, the after-dinner guest speaker, an Australian sports journalist, kicked off his speech with a joke so old it had waved the Union Jack at the Queen. A Computerworld reporter, flown over by SAP for the event, was beginning to wonder if all this recycled material might be a cunning metaphor for SAP's xApps, newly developed technology which reuses existing applications. All was forgiven, however, when the curtain was raised and attendees were treated to a live performance by INXS with Jon Stevens fronting for the late Michael Hutchence. And the gymnast who contorted himself 20 feet above the floor, with no safety net, was also pretty impressive.

In motion

Who said judges have no soul? (Not us, your honours.) The Court of Appeal, ruling on the Perry/Pacific case on who owned the copyright in software subroutines, uses poetry as a comparison. Prior copyright work can be incorporated into a new "anthology" of work that itself attracts copyright, like poems attract individual copyright but then be included in a collection which also attracts copyright. Nice. It noted also that the philosophy of "write once, use many times" has historical parallels in law, its practitioners using written precedents often.

Initial interest

It’s not much to go on but we think, or perhaps we just hope, that words are making a comeback in company names. There have lately been a few erosions in those more or less (or not at all) pronounceable bunches of initials.

Following Big Few accountant KPMG’s name change to BearingPoint a few months ago, we have just received a note from that organiser of many IT conferences, IIR (the Institute for International Research, but who remembers that mouthful?) The company has renamed itself Bright Star.

Perhaps it’s the beginning of a return to the English language (and no, in our view portmanteau coinages like Accenture and Ascential don’t qualify).

Or maybe they’re both looking for a sense of direction.


Apple's iTunes 4.01 update takes out internet playlist-sharing from the paid music download service, which might be used to nick music with the help of third-party software (see Mac Central). Of course, there's nothing to make people "upgrade", although we note that iTunes 4.01 won't share music with iTunes 4.0, so at some point people won't have much choice.

The price of fame

Happy to be a vendor's reference site but terrified of the hordes descending to poke and prod your best intentions, or the "burnout" that film stars face answering the same questions? Aberdeen Group, an IT market analysis "and positioning services" firm, has launched a service for IT suppliers that manages customer references for sales prospects.

In its Online Reference Service, Aberdeen analysts capture one-time interviews which are managed on a controlled-access website hosted by Aberdeen. Interviews can be navigated by question or topic, and prospect access can be limited to one or more interviews within a larger library. "Aberdeen's Online Reference Service 'protects' your references from burnout, ensures consistent messages and lets sales managers move forward the use of references in the selling process," the company says.

Edited by Mark Broatch.

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