- Dirty little secret
- Telecom BREWS up
- Dirty little secret
Don't tell anyone but I've got a dirty little secret.
It's not me, actually, it's my whole company. Sit a little closer and I'll tell you.
Nobody eavesdropping? Good.
We got a virus.
Yes, that's right – shout it from the rooftops if you must. IDG Communications got a virus. We opened it, we got infected and we got hammered. We got Bugbeared.
It's a nasty wee pox this one. The subject line looked just close enough to something someone was working on, and came from a source that could potentially have sent an attachment unasked (we get a lot of that as a publisher, damned PR attachments) that it got opened.
And then the printers started up. We have quite a few printers, as you would expect. And at IDG it's always someone's deadline somewhere or other, so there are always huge print jobs pouring out of machines around the building. Having one more print job fire up all the networked printers and set them on their merry way wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but it was the first clue that something was amiss.
For the record, yes we have anti-virus protection. Yes, we have a hard-working and clued-up tech team. Yes, we have policies and procedures and we use something other than Outlook Express and yes, we still got hit.
So I wrote a story about it. I mean, we're part of the New Zealand business community aren't we? Isn't it important when nasty things happen that we learn from them? Shouldn't we share information for the greater good? We were hardly the only company to get dumped on in this manner, so why not report our own short-comings?
I badger IT managers constantly to get them to tell me things - tell me about your IT project going over budget, tell me about your roll-out that's been delayed, tell me about your lay-offs, your retrenchments, your insolvencies. Tell me about your Y2K issues and your security breaches. It's all horribly negative but ultimately it has a positive spin-off - we can learn from these failings. It's only fair, I think, that we be viewed in the same light
Hands up if you've never had something embarrassing, like a virus, happen in your work in IT? These things happen and I for one am happy to share them if it will help others open up and admit that they too have been caught short. Things like viruses and security problems need to be aired in public so we can all learn from them. They're part of the job, they're part of the IT landscape and they're not about to go away if we ignore them or pretend they didn't happen.
I think we learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. There's a lot of experience to be gained from failure and I'm happy to stand up and say "yes, it's my turn to wear the 'kick me' sign". Who's next? Because you know there will be a next time.
- Telecom BREWS up
I met a nice man from Telecom the other day. I know I don't often say that - it's because I'm not allowed to meet them, you see, only get third-party written quotes from them.
This chap, Gary Rogers, has the title solutions manager mobile data group, but really, it should be toy master. Rogers gets to play with all the new devices to see whether or not Telecom will bring them to New Zealand.
It's a seriously cool job.
For instance, he showed me a Ricoh camera that doubled as a palm PC. You can surf the web, email photos (3 megapixels plus), keep a diary, even take screen shots or photos and add comments to them ("this is the grassy knoll") and send them on via Telecom's Mobile JetStream service.
But the really cool stuff comes under the name BREW.
BREW, short for binary runtime environment for wireless, is like an operating system for your phone. It allows users to add applications directly onto the phone without mucking about with Java.
BREW is being developed by Qualcomm and as such is built in to the Qualcomm chipsets - such as those used by every CDMA phone in the world.
What does it mean for you or me? In the short term it would mean games that users could buy, download and play on their phones, PDAs, cameras, laptops, what have you. Not boring games like Snake or Opposites or whatever it is, but real games, games from EA Sports. Games like World Cup Soccer or Tiger Woods Golf. Buy the game for a week or buy it for life. Multi-player games are next on the shopping list as well, which should please Telecom, because that would mean people using the new network.
Games are only one application, of course. What about mobile commerce or online mobile banking or the whole ASP thing? They are all candidates for such a technology and it's the kind of easy to use, easy to install, easy to bill for system that would make it worth the end-users' while to get into it.
Maybe this is the application that we've been looking for that will make users buy mobile data equipment and actually use it?
If you're in Auckland during the next few months head down to the Viaduct Harbour and check out Telecom's Shed on the waterfront - it's got BREW gear for you to play with. Plus you can have a go at the yacht simulator! Telecom is still evaluating the technology and whether it will bring it to New Zealand so have a play and then badger your account manager. Tell them I sent you.