Stories by Jim Swanson

Seeing the light

Another of the lineup of speakers who caught my imagination at the CIO magazine conference the other week was none other than Mr Brian Dollery -- the man who fills this page when I don’t. I went along to Dollery’s presentation primarily because I’ve never met him and I wanted to.

Don't let IT lord it over business

Having been at CIO magazine’s conference in Auckland recently, I’m feeling equal measures of inspiration, assurance that I’m doing things right and nagging doubt that I’m not.

The dark side of etailing

Well, my comments on credit cards and overseas etailers certainly brought in some comment. Thanks to everyone who emailed me with a story and/or an opinion. I apologise if I haven’t responded to you all personally – the response was quite overwhelming.

Virtual NPC 1, nil

Poor Brandon; he still hasn’t received an intelligent reply from nor, more importantly, has he got his Canadiens jersey (see Giving e-tailers some stick). Still, it’s about a month till the hockey season starts so there’s hope yet.

Giving e-tailers some stick

Watching my kids at hockey last weekend I spotted a kid wearing a Philadelphia jersey. I was reminded of an amusing thing that’s been happening to a good friend and workmate. I know, I know, I’m writing about (a) sport and (b) my friends again but this makes an amusing cautionary tale, so bear with me.

This sporting life

Wow, and I thought my weeks were full. Thanks to the Tri Nations Series and the NRL I’ve watched plenty of excellent sport of late. In the case of the latter competition, I was lucky enough to watch the Warriors home game against the Eels from the Ericsson box.

If you think we've got it bad ...

Just when I thought that my working life was ridiculously, stupidly, my-eyes-are-rolling-back-in-my-head-and-I’m-foaming-at-the-mouth busy, I heard a story last week that reassured me that, at the end of it all, things could get sillier.

Cold calling gets cold shoulder

There’s some guy from Microsoft who keeps calling me and wanting to discuss whether or not I’m comfortable with the licensing changes happening when Software Assurance kicks in properly this month.

Users a wellspring of work, ideas

I’ve just had another couple of heavy weeks at the coalface. It’s amazing how you can work on nurturing a pet project for years and suddenly it all comes to fruition and despite any amount of preparation you still feel like it’s all happening too fast.

Getting what you desire

Isn’t there a proverb that goes: “Be careful what you wish for …” or something like that? I got what I wished for. Right now we’re rebuilding the company’s information and communications infrastructure from the inside out. I’m not kidding folks … this isn’t a drill.

Still waiting for the voucher ...

It’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who got suckered by the “we’ll send you a $50 wine voucher for your trouble” vendor survey. At the time I’m writing this, the day after the publication of my last column, one faithful reader has fessed up to having been similarly snared and then subsequently disappointed. Picking on me is one thing – I deserve it – but the readers? Shame on you. By the way, did I mention that I know who was paying for the survey?

Now that’s more like it …

The feathers are really starting to fly. This is big business and politics just the way we like them. Washington Post columnist Robert Novak claimed last week that Microsoft’s enemies, including Sun, Novell and Oracle, bribed a number of US state attorneys to keep the antitrust case against Microsoft alive. In one case, the companies are alleged to have contributed between $US14,000 and $US20,000 to the campaign fund of Kansas State Attorney General Carla Stovall who was seeking a nomination for governor. Since when did California-based tech companies give a frog’s fat one about Kansas state politics? Oh, that’s right. Kansas was one of the nine states that didn’t like the DoJ’s proposed settlement. God bless America.

It’s always our fault

Contrary to popular myth, accountants love IT departments. Why? Well, bad stuff rolls downhill and, prior to the advent of IT departments, it was always the finance department that was at the bottom of the food chain and copping all the flak for being slow and stupid and generally just a necessary but resented encumbrance to the rest of the organisation. Nowadays it’s us.

Ouch — system crashes, ribs break

I’ve done it again. A couple of Sundays ago I crashed my mountain bike, scraped off a chunk of my left knee and cracked some ribs. When I called The Editor on Monday morning to explain why I wouldn’t be delivering a column that week he offered that my life is terribly exciting, dramatic and generally glamorous.