Stories by Mark Broatch

Trading away

Being against free trade these days is of course like being against free speech – it's heresy, and you'd better have a bloody good reason for it.

Appropriate answers

We couldn't help but note the irony when the IT manager of a meat company, asked if he thought a certain vendor would lay off any staff in the wake of a merger, used the expression "There's not a lot of surplus fat to trim". Would the CIO of a forestry company have said "There aren't many branches to prune", or the IT manager at an oil company remark "There's not a lot of gas to be burned off"? Probably not, and anyway, what's wrong with a little fat? It's often the best bit.

I’m okay, you’re okay

Error messages, it seems, come in two flavours: cryptic and confusing. However, we have to admire the complacent, infuriating genius in this message which InfoWorld CTO Chad Dickerson found while trying to mount a new disk on a Solaris server.

Fusing IT for the next decade

AUCKLAND (10/21/2003) - Analyst firm Gartner Inc. is promising to unveil a new way to deliver IT that it says will change business management and corporate performance over the next decade.

DOC's portal its own killer app

A typical day for 80% of the Department of Conservation’s 2000 staff is to clear their email, check out a few items on the intranet, print some maps and head out into the field.

The miracle of IT

When cyberspace puzzles even those at the very hub of it all, it’s a miracle the email ever gets through. But puzzlement was the reaction of a PR person for Melbourne IT last week, when an email reminder of a “forthcoming” press briefing arrived several days after the event. Melbourne IT is the company that has just bought Domainz, New Zealand’s biggest purveyor of .nz domain names. “One of the great mysteries of cyberspace” was the best explanation the PR company could offer for the glitch.

A winning tune

Possibly very appropriate on-hold music at the Intellectual Property Office: The Bee Gees' You win again. Sample lyric: "You win again/So little time/We do nothing but compete/There's no life on earth/No other could see me through/You win again/Some never try/But if anybody can, we can/And I'll be, I'll be/Following you."

Book briefs

Stealing the Network: How to Own the Box by Jeff Moss et al (Syngress, $135)

IP moves get open-minded all riled up

Large groups of people can be mobilised very quickly with the help of ubiquitous networks, as the burgermeisters of Seattle, Genoa et al found to their cost. As did the (sometimes) amused owners of furniture shops momentarily invaded by flash mobs.

E-tales: A little green

Despite the claims of the Greens to be open source advocates, their website, according to a diligent reader who checked out Netcraft's analysis, runs Microsoft-IIS/4.0 on NT4/Windows 98. In the interests of fairness, here's what the other parties (or their IT contractors) are running:

[]