Stories by Compiled by Mark Broatch

E-Tales: Making Notes

Pavel Orlov of Baywater in Auckland won the T-shirt, correctly guessing Lotus Notes as the troublesome email client that has great difficulty changing its web browser. It was obviously too easy an identification parade, as quite a few got it right.

E-tales: Fat pipes

TV transmission systems give a whole new meaning to the “fat pipes” term bandied about by writers on the subject of broadband networks. When it comes to pumping out TV signals to the million or so viewers in the Auckland region, TVNZ transmission arm BCL literally relies on fat — about 120mm diameter — aluminium-sheathed copper pipes to do the job. As the signal courses through them, the pipes warm up. One of the tests technicians in the BCL transmitter room at Waiatarua perform is feeling the pipes to make sure they’re not overheating. If that happens, they might blow a gasket, causing signals to spill out and flood the room. (Just kidding about the gasket etc, but the rest is true — honest.)

E-tales: Vixie gets the bird

We remarked last week on Radio NZ and TVNZ's disappointing treatment of visiting internet pioneer Paul Vixie (see also Paul Vixie: Open source the only way forward). When Radio NZ did get round to broadcasting the Vixie interview, chiefly on the subject of spam, a neat juxtaposition of the next item might have had Linux followers pricking up their ears.

E-tales: Names in vain

It was only Monday, and already we had a strong contender for the daily-press groan headline of the week award. Wellington daily The Dominion (soon to be The Dominion Post — how about a new name for a change instead of these titular trainwrecks?) recorded the appointment of a man with a very common Islamic first name to a senior Malaysian official post, and headlined it “You’ve got Ismail”.
When we’d finished making the appropriate noises, it struck us that in this spam-and-marketing-release-infected world, “ismail” could be a useful coinage for the small proportion of email in your in-box that contains factual and rele-vant information. The stuff you immediately consign to your trash folder could be called “wasmail”.
We should, by the way, caution the Dom against punning on powerful people’s names, particularly in the territory of Islam and Judaism (not to mention Maori culture), which impart a certain sacredness to the personal moniker. Even in the Pakeha NZ IT industry, one of our staffers recalls, long, long ago, making what he thought was a harmless pun on the surname of a then industry luminary. He received a blistering phone call demanding a printed apology, and relations with the gentleman in question were distinctly frosty for at least the following few months.

E-tales: Absolute rap

You know you're getting old when the ceremonial opening to a Nokia telecommunications conference consists of a Singaporean music group called Urban Xchange who created a song specially for the conference. Their style can only be described as "lounge rap".