Column: Router has dream of Datacom sale ...

'Computerworld's' commentator on all things of an information technology nature dreams up a disturbing vision ...

Few know that the Router, is, on occasion, of a mystical bent. I don't exactly put it about. Yet there I was, dozing lightly after breakfast (as is my habit on Fridays) when a vision came to me. I saw a star. A Blue Star. And I saw a man called Eric, who had the Blue Star emblazoned upon his chest. "Wot's on, Eric?" I asked. And he spake in a voice like thunder, "Datacom!" Abruptly, I awoke in the physical realm, wondering if it was an omen. And, given that Datacom, apart from being able to pay teachers on a regrettably intermittent basis, is also Microsoft Services, is there a plan afoot? Dammit, I knew there was something odd about those field mushrooms ...

That Pacific prince of the press, Richard Pamatatau, appears to be suffering cognitive dissonance--or is it wishful thinking? There it was, in Infotech Weakly, his story headed "Computerworld staff working on revival plan". Say what? The Router immediately dashed into the office of our publisher to find out from what, exactly, we were supposed to be reviving ourselves. (I have occasionally been called upon to revive our own Randal Jackson, but have never thought that to be news.) It transpires that the poor thing meant Computer World (1982) Ltd, the reseller currently talking to the receivers--a totally different company. Some things, a spellcheck just can't fix ...

If you thought you were confused by Telecom 0800 word numbers, you're not alone. A Computerworld employee bought a new phone which had the wrong "word number" letters under each key. Source of the phone? Telecom. Another chum reports he repeatedly called Telecom directory to find out the 0800 word number for Telecom's embattled ISP, Xtra. He was told, each time, to call 0800-BUY-EXTRA--which, as students of the ISP wars will know, is the number registered by Xtra's mortal enemy, Voyager. With a directory service like that, who needs enemies?

Then there's the apparent status of Telecom's Wellington base as a kind of twilight zone for urgent fax messages. The Router was accosted by one gent who tried a dozen times to send a fax to Telecom, only to be greeted with "line busy" and fault messages. "Have they not heard," he demanded to know "of the Telecom Fax Advantage?"

Eerier still is the tale of the Auckland ISP which wanted to urgently add some dial-in capacity and was told to fax (not email, you'll notice) a middle management type in Wellington. Time between dispatch of fax and arrival on middle manager's desk? Eleven days! So where, demands agent Fox Router, did the fax go? Did it continue to exist in the course of that 11-day lost weekend? Did it move across to another dimension? Did time pass at the same rate for the fax as it did for the rest of us? The truth, as they say, is out there ...

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