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.

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:

The National site is running Microsoft-IIS/5.0 on Windows 2000.

The Labour site is running Microsoft-IIS/5.0 on Windows 2000.

Predictably mainstream, perhaps, but note:

The Act site is running Apache/1.3.26 on Linux.

The New Zealand site is running Apache/1.3.26 on Linux.

The Progressive site is running Apache/1.3.22 on Linux.

The United Furture site is running Apache/1.3.26 on Linux.

Fight for loop

Telecomms users will be disappointed, like us, that a quick solution to the impasse over local loop unbundling has been snubbed by the industry’s two main protagonists. In the spirit of the Fight for Life TV extravaganza, we thought a Fight for the Local Loop, featuring TelstraClear’s Grant Forsyth and his Telecom sparring partner, Bruce Parkes, would be a fair way of settling the matter. Both men -- whose jobs are to lobby government -- are tall, although it's clear that Parkes has a distinct reach advantage.

When the suggestion was put to them over a refreshment at the recent TUANZ Innovation Awards in Auckland, they declined. But they did think a match between their respective bosses – Rosemary Howard and Theresa Gattung – neither of whom was present on the night, might be a goer. Jelly wrestling, maybe?

Penis envoy

Evergreen Tim Shadbolt continues to live up to the reputation he earned in the 70s for colourful use of language. As a student radical he was tossed into jail for publicly uttering the word bullsh*t. As mayor of Invercargill, he last month had an audience of high school kids squirming in their seats at a TUANZ workshop on high-speed internet access. Penis, testicle, scrotum and vagina – roughly in that order – featured in Shadbolt’s opening remarks. They were woven – none too elegantly -- into his disclosure that he doesn’t know much about the net, but that he is familiar with spam and the products it often promotes; and that his fumbling efforts with hotel room TV remote controls have unwittingly exposed him to porn, from which he has sustained an inferiority complex. On this occasion, Shadbolt managed to avoid arrest – just.

Reactionary Redmond

Microsoft dramatically improves security ... on its sprawling campus headquarters by no longer distributing maps to visitors "for security reasons", according to a harried PR person telling lost and bewildered journalists how to navigate the large network of seemingly randomly numbered buildings.

Midas to miser

It once seemed as if Silicon Valley was made specifically for entrepreneurs like Jim Clark, the Stanford professor who founded both Silicon Graphics and Netscape. Clark’s Midas touch made him one of the most-watched figures in the Valley. After building billion-dollar companies in SGI and then Netscape, Clark was able to attract the best engineers and was one of the few technologists able to force venture capitalists to invest on his terms. In an interview with BusinessWeek Clark says Silicon Valley has become “an insanely depressing place.” He’s had enough, Clark says; he’s sold up and moved on, developing real estate in Florida.

It’s all a bit much for San Jose Mercury News columnist Dan Gillmor. In his weblog, Gillmor slams Clark, saying the mogul appreciated Silicon Valley when it was generating his “hyper-wealth”. “Then he decamped to Florida to avoid paying taxes — such a real class act,” Gillmor writes. “Now he's doing real estate in the Miami area. Somehow that's fitting.”

Paper tiger

A regular E-Tales reader and his wife have a number of joint accounts with the ASB (too many really, he says). Being avid internet banking users and eco-friendly people, they applauded the commitment by the ASB to go "statement stopper" -- no printed statements anymore, online only, save a tree and all that.

The ASB duly posted to them a numbers of letters confirming this, two letters for every account that they went statement free on, one letter for him, and one letter for her. Trees be damned, huh ASB?

Net error

Another reader emailed a recruiting company to tell them that an ad (sadly, in this publication; fixed now) had for two weeks used the subhead "Permanment". He wondered if this was some new category of employment. Bolstering Computerworld's argument for a widening internet service gap, he could only find one email address and the reply was a long way from instant. He got a bewildered response from Sydney NINE days after his light-hearted query, in which the person basically threw up her hands and suggested he get in touch with us. A further email got a more diplomatic response. No one wants to look sloppy, so we promise to keep a closer eye on such things in future.

Selling to Oz

New Zealand Trade & Enterprise held a breakfast briefing last week on the subject of "Successful Strategies for Marketing IT in Australia". A panel discussion featuring Australian IT business, media and marketing "experts" was part of the bill and the minister for Western Sydney was also present (yes, such a position exists in the New South Wales state government). Computerworld was sadly unable to attend, but in amongst all the tips for successfully getting into the Australian market, we wonder if "don't mention the rugby" was offered.

Media Darling

If you haven't caught up with how the open source community regards SCO CEO Darl McBride, the WeLoveTheSCOInformationMinister site has compiled a list of revealing quotes from the man.

Don't worry, be wealthy

Whoever said money can't buy you happiness obviously had none, but the two certainly share an interesting relationship. According to some researchers, we would be happy to earn $50k a year and everybody else earn half of that, than if we earned $100k but everybody else earned double that. At any one time rich people are on average happier than poorer ones. And yet over time advanced societies have not grown happier as they have grown richer. A 10% rise in actual income causes a roughly 5% rise in the level of income we think we require to live okay. Although since 1972 the real income of Americans per head has risen by 50%, the proportion of people who say they are pretty well satisfied with their financial situation has actually fallen. Researchers, speaking at the London School of Economics, say it comes about because of at least two reasons: rivalry, meaning we like earning more than others, and habituation, meaning we get used to more income and can't see how we did with less. More here.

Essence of Palm

You may have heard about the new name for Palm, the handheld computing guys. It's palmOne. Although, notes one of our US columnists, it's actually only part of Palm that has the new name. It's the part of Palm that builds hardware products, like the Tungsten and the Zire. The other Palm part, PalmSource, is the part that builds the operating system. Palm Inc is spinning off PalmSource later this year. Then it will rename itself palmOne. The lower-case "p" "gives the word "palm" visual emphasis", according to the press release. Apparently not enough emphasis because palmOne will be jazzed up with colour: deep red for the word "palm" and vibrant orange for "One", according to the release. The red designates the colour for the Tungsten handhelds, aimed at enterprise users, orange the Zire products, aimed at consumers. If you can't wait to see the new name, you can visit http://www.palmOne.com, where you will might see the pairing of what looks like a reddish brown and a faded Halloween orange. The new name was not chosen casually. There were interviews with a "broad range" of people: customers, partners and employees, as well as "naming consultants and industry influencers." They all reflected on Palm's "essence".

Edited by Mark Broatch.

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