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TelstraSaturn, TVNZ, Sky menage a trois; Code Red: It's alive. Alive!

There were tears and tantrums from those that missed out but telecommunications was clearly the winner on the night at the Telecommunications Association (TUANZ) Innovation Awards held at Eden Park last night. Winners were not required to streak across the pitch although I'm sure it crossed more than a few minds. Sadly, nobody adopted the rugby cliches in their speeches - I was looking forward to comments along the lines of "it was an implementation of two halves" or perhaps "full credit to the other LAN or WAN manager of the year finalists" but to no avail. One appalling fellow did stand up and drunkenly mock the sponsors before slagging off the opposition, grabbing up his trophy and slouching back to his seat but for the most part it was a well mannered affair.

Did I mention I got the TUANZ Telecommunications Journalist of the Year (sponsored by Ericsson) award? No? I'm sure I meant to mention it. And since I did such a bang up job on the night and didn't thank anyone, I'd like to thank my wife, Janis, Ericsson for sponsoring the award and judge Susan Boyd-Bell for her kind words: clearly she is an impeccable journalist of the highest standards, unsullied by either junkets or excessive drinking. She used words like "analytical", "accessible" and "thought-provoking" which will make my mum happy too.

TUANZ hasn't updated its site yet but check back after the weekend and I'm sure all the winners will be there for you to gawk at.

IDGNet reporter wins award - IDGNet

TUANZ

TelstraSaturn, TVNZ, Sky menage a trois

Oh what a strange and twisted tale this is becoming. Once upon a time TelstraSaturn and TVNZ made a big song and dance about joining forces to provide free digital TV to the masses (that's you and me) in opposition to the incumbent powers of Sky TV and Telecom. On Monday, however, the NZ Herald broke the story that TelstraSaturn was to dump TVNZ and jump ship, signing a deal with Sky TV. TVNZ was all at sea, facing an uncertain future without a digital partner to call its own. Would it be forced to pull back from its digital future? Not bloody likely said the government, which has decreed Thou Shalt Go Digital. By the time the spin doctors were finished, the story had changed from an outright divorce to a brief separation while TelstraSaturn focuses on its core business. Funny, reading the brief on its site I would have thought cable TV is its core business, but hey! That's just me. TelstraSaturn will spend its energies (read: money) on its fibre rollout in Auckland and any digital deal will just have to wait.

You have to wonder what caused TelstraSaturn to pull such a sudden U-turn. Paul Norris, head of the broadcast school in Christchurch, suggests that perhaps it's one of three things. Telstra Australia has a new chair, one Sam Chisholm, who is an ex Channel 9, BSkyB man who is happier with Murdoch's clan - namely Sky TV. Or perhaps we should consider Austar, TelstraSaturn's other owner, and its current haemorrhaging of money. Has the word been passed down to put a stop to anything that isn't guaranteed to make a fast return? And what of the government - is it perhaps floating the idea of "open access" again? You may remember that in the telecommunications inquiry report Hugh Fletcher and his team recommended the government consider demanding all digital companies use the same set-top box. This was a TVNZ proposal and one that Sky vehemently objected to - it has a box already and feels it has stolen a march on the competition. The government didn't include digital TV in its telecommunications bill but murmurings and rumblings from Marion Hobbs do seem to indicate the government is re-considering that stance. Will we end users get to watch digital TV over one box or will we be required to buy/lease/borrow dozens of the damned things in the years to come? It seems there are more questions than answers at the moment.

Digital partner dumps TVNZ - NZ Herald

Open access to digital TV being revisited? - IDGNet

TelstraSaturn hits hurdles - NZ Herald

TelstraSaturn set to court Sky TV - NZ Herald

The digital debacle: where to from here? - NZ Herald

Digital pull-out hurts contractors - NZ Herald

Code Red: It's alive. Alive!

First it was going to "melt the internet" then it wasn't, then it was all on again, then it wasn't the threat we thought. Oh won't these journalists make up their minds?

Code Red is a worm that attacks a known hole in Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) software versions 4.0 and 5.0. A patch has been available for more than a month, however over 300,000 servers were infected in the first 10 hours of the virus's attack.

The second wave, expected to start causing trouble on August 1, came about for two reasons - firstly, the worm is supposed to be date-specific in its actions. That is, for some of the month it lies dormant, for some of the month it attacks the www.whitehouse.gov IP address and for some of the month it simply tries to spread itself as far and wide as it can. August 1 was supposed to be the start of the contagious phase.

The other reason for a second wave attack is that there were still IIS servers out there that weren't patched. The second round saw somewhere over 125,000 machines infected worldwide. Is this the result of lazy and slow-moving system administrators being unable to cope with such troublesome issues as downloading security patches? Well, perhaps. More likely, though, it is a result of end users or smaller companies running IIS on their machines without realising it even needed patching. You can run a web server from a laptop these days so it could be that the virus is most effective in this growing area - the home business operator.

Will we see a third wave? Probably, but hopefully it will be less and less of a problem each time round as more people are made aware of the dangers. Ironically, the best way to spread the word to these people, according to one anti-virus expert, is probably through lurid, over-the-top headlines in mainstream papers. Perhaps we can thank the subeditor at the NZ Herald who mixed up Code Red with SirCam and put a lovely pointer to Peter Griffin's story on the front page: Code Red would destroy your hard drive if you got it through your email. Ah well, at least it made it to the We Got It Wrong column.

Help at hand for Code Red infected SMEs - IDGNet

Users offer tips on foiling Code Red - PC World

Code Red shows up later than expected - IDGNet

Code Red Round II won't melt the internet - IDGNet

Code Red dead? - IDGNet

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