Phone rage: the last word

Having spent a bit over three weeks carefully avoiding the office, my email and anything work-and IT-related, it's that time of year when I'm back at work and trying to pick up the threads again.

Oh dear, oh dear. The more astute of you will have noticed my, ahem, obvious mistake in the print version of "A Week of IT" in the last Computeworld for 2001. You’ll have figured that 0.001% of 850,000 isn’t 850, it’s 8.5. I forgot to divide by 100 to allow for the % bit. It could’ve happened to anyone. It’s really just rotten luck that it happened to me. Maybe that CDMA phone-induced apoplectic fit I took in my car that fateful Saturday morning last year killed off more neurons than I thought. While my mathematical error makes me feel a bit silly, the corrected version must make Telecom feel a whole lot worse. Now it only takes more than 8.5 disgruntled CDMA users to bugger up its “It Works” five-nines claim. Now, apparently, Telecom’s claim only refers to its core network. It’s funny — maybe I’m just a bit thick … my maths skills certainly point to that conclusion — but I don’t recall hearing or seeing that qualifier anywhere in Telecom’s TV advertising or on its website (apart from in the Teflon-coated Legal Disclaimer and Terms and Conditions). Boo. Different year, same old …Having spent a bit over three weeks carefully avoiding the office, my email and anything work-and IT-related, it’s that time of year when I’m back at work and trying to pick up the threads again. I haven’t really formed any opinions about this year yet — it’s a bit like when you’re paying for your petrol or your coffee or paper or whatever on your way to work and the Einstein behind the counter asks you, at 7:30 in the morning, how your day is going and you stand there, grimacing (as you do at that hour of the day) and trying to figure out whether or not it’s a wind-up. So far 2002 seems pretty in control but I’m anticipating the boom will drop any moment now (or “momentarily”, as our American friends say). Speaking of American friends, I’m definitely having a better year than Larry Ellison. The guy finally pulls finger and comes out to New Zealand and, having taken a few days off to shoot hoops on the deck of his yacht in the Bay Of Islands, pops in on the guys in the viaduct just in time to see them break one of his boats yet again. What is that now? Two keels, one mast and, oh yes, that little thing with the cable. You’ve got to feel sorry for the guy, don’t you? Nah. Actually, I reckon it’s time Larry sprung for some new boats. With Oracle’s current CPU-based licensing regime, it shouldn’t be too hard for him. Oh joy …The editor will be delighted to know that Santa reads Computerworld. He must do because I got my real man’s charcoal-burning barbeque for Christmas. It’s a beauty. It’s installed out on our third-floor balcony and has been working very hard over the holidays providing us and our guests with exquisitely grilled delights. My wife is still a bit unsure. I don’t think she’s too keen on the fact that I can make real fire on our little balcony … I think she’d rather I was down the back of a large paddock and well away from any buildings or livestock.

Swanson is IT manager at W Stevenson & Sons. Send letters for publication to Computerworld Letters.

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