E-tales: How broad is broadband?

Don't tell New Zealand's Advertising Standards Authority, but its British counterpart has declared that any telco or ISP advertising internet access at less than 500kbit/s can't call its service 'broadband'.

Don't tell New Zealand's Advertising Standards Authority, but its British counterpart has declared that any telco or ISP advertising internet access at less than 500kbit/s can't call its service "broadband".

In New Zealand TelstraClear is careful not to describe its cable-based internet services as broadband, instead using the term "high speed internet", but Telecom implies both its DSL JetStream and JetStream Starter packages are broadband. On its website it states that "JetStream Starter's target speeds are 128kbit/s for uploads and downloads (for the line from your home, through the local telephone exchange to the Telecom broadband network)". For full JetStream, the target minimum upstream speed is 250kbit/s.

But how's this for a broad definition of broadband: "a generic term describing a range of technologies operating at various data transfer speeds." That was, until recently, the official British government line.

Scalable architecture

Where was Symantec's Richard Batchelor when the Skytower was being scaled? The company sponsored a team in the annual Vertical Challenge, and the local head was allegedly going to complete the 1000-odd step ascent in a full yellow suit. He did not.

For courses

If the name Solutions Software International Pty or Autotab, Acepark or Offtrack sound familiar, then you may have been had. A recent notice in the papers proclaimed that a Gold Coast businessman, one Robert James Price, acknowledged that his horse race betting software, carrying the names above and more, might not have been all he claimed. The Australian federal court ordered the notice and stopped Price or his companies claiming to be able to predict horse and greyhound plance-getters with high accuracy. Search the ACCC or the ComCom site. Yes, he is an ex-New Zealander.

Shock and Awe Inc

Sony has applied for a patent on the term "Shock and Awe". According to The Guardian, the gaming giant applied to the US Patent and Trademark Office on March 21, the day after the Iraq war began, to use it for computer and video games and a broadband game played globally via the internet among PlayStation users. The Guardian goes on to say a spokesperson for Sony in Europe said any Shock and Awe game may not be marketed in Europe and that registering a trademark doesn't necessarily mean it will be used.

Show and tell

"The unpredictable nature of world events and the reluctance of executives to commit to overseas travel at the moment" has meant the postponement of the ANZA Technology Network technology showcase conference in Silicon Valley until September 2003. Some lead-up events will happen in late May in Australia and New Zealand, ANZA says.

Great outlook

From the world of the weird and wonderful comes an offer not to just buy moon rocks, but a plot on the rock itself. Choose from either a one-acre section for $49.00 ex gst, or a 10-acre "lifestyle" block for just $265.00 ex gst (at www.lunarrealty.co.nz).

"With each purchase you receive a personalised deed of ownership, a copy of the constitution and bill of rights, a certificate of mineral rights and a lunar map depicting the location of your property on the moon."

You can't choose your site, but it will apparently be in in the area of the Oceanus Procellarum, approximate latitude 12-16 degrees north and longitude 30-34 degrees west, the site says. Perhaps somewhere near here: A doer-upper, perhaps.

Little Blue

It's been a week now so we should tell someone: Stuff is still headlining a story "IMB not on Fonterra's short list". Neither, we suppose, is IBM.

The misprint caused us to cast our minds back to one of IBM's early experiments in interactive mutimedia. The company developed enhanced information facilties for the leading British tennis trournament including the ability for viewers of the IBM system to choose their own camera angle on the players. We wonder how many people noticed the caption down the side of the picture read WIBMELDON. Horizontal stripes on the letters "IBM" helped.

And, unlikely as it seems (well it is a security company) it would be nice if part of the work for putting identifying microchips in dogs were given to Symantec. Then they could produce an application called Chipping Norton.

Good and ready

Question: whatever happened to Larry Ellison's well aired desire to set up a research facility in the Bay of Islands? According to Oracle marketing man Nigel Murphy, Lazza made it plain at the time that global economic and technology sector conditions would have to improve first. Oddly, two Computerworld journalists who attended the press conference when Larry first raised the idea have no recollection of him talking about prerequisite conditions.

Crack pot

If you've ever had the dubious pleasure of seeing the fabulously partisan Fox News, imagine what would happen if it was around during historical events such as the great depression, the moon landing and the crucifixion: see here.

Music to our mouths

Nothing to do with IT, really, but all this talk of organic computing got us thinking about those musical vegetables, or perhaps just hungry. If you don't know what we're talking about, have a gander here.

Fair-weather buds

Being allowed to see another person's "buddy list" is sometimes alarming. This is the list of contacts a person has on instant messenger, in this case Ralph Brayham at Telecom, who happily told a room full of journalists and analysts at the launch of Xtra's mobile services that newly appointed mobile czar Kevin Kenrick was his "buddy -- for the purposes of this demonstration only". Ron Snodgrass, business manager at Xtra, came off no better -- he was listed under the flattering nickname of Snoddy.

Edited by Mark Broatch.

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Tags E-tales

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