Stories by Mark Broatch

No holiday in Cambodia

Michael Johnston is the expatriate group IT services manager of CamGSM, a mobile telco in Cambodia. When he's not coping with the traffic and the country's unruly weather -- regular sweltering temperatures and eight months of drought followed by four months of deluge, making it a good thing that the company supplies Land Rovers -- he's working on a business case for providing dial-up internet over GSM to rural Cambodia. He took time out to answer a few questions.

Without wires

Wireless internet has been called many things -- insecure, intermittent -- but TelstraClear chief executive Rosemary Howard came up with an interesting description for the perceived shortcomings of wireless offerings such as Woosh and BCL's.

On furlough

Best answerphone message we've heard: "Hi, it's ___. I'm out of the office for the rest of the year — so please leave me a message."

Nestlé data a whole other cup of soup

Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company. Its global sales top $100 billion, it operates 511 factories in 86 countries and employs 250,000 people. Yet it still only controls 2% of the world’s processed food industry.

Spying on Microsoft

An E-tales reader went to the recent Microsoft Security Seminar at the Carlton Hotel in Auckland. A well-run event, he says, with some good info, if not a little repetitive. One speaker had just been saying how important it was to lock down the network and any remote (ie laptop) devices that may connect to it. Close all the ports! Close all the ports! seemed to be the order of the day. This same (Microsoft) speaker then had to go to his Control Panel on his laptop to change the display settings as something funny was happening with the PowerPoint presentation. All the audience could see his Control Panel in all its glory on a huge screen -- including the icon for Wild Tangent online gaming drivers. Hope he doesn't connect to the Microsoft network with that lovely piece of spyware installed.

Timor IS tour not all fun in sun

Colonel James Thomson (pictured) says he expected “beer and beaches” on his seven-month tour of duty in East Timor.

Building a digital fortress

If there's a stretch of Polynesian beach with your name on it this winter, you could do worse than take along a Dan Brown novel. They're complete pulp, of course, but they've usually got technology in them and not many long words.

Counting the cost of strong IP laws

Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity by Lawrence Lessig (The Penguin Press, about $27 from online booksellers or free from

Hit and miss

Forget Deep Impact and Armageddon. Boffins at Arizona University have come up with a software program that will estimate the seismic, blast wave and thermal effects of an impact from a hurtling meteor as well as the size of the crater.

Users keen on govt’s contract IP plan

Companies doing business with government departments should have a better idea of who will own the resulting intellectual property after a development contract is finished.

The more-market approach

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has donated $US13.5 million to help fund the search for extraterrestrial life. The California-based SETI Institute, which is dedicated to the search for life beyond Earth, says the donation from Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates, will be used to create a radio-telescope array of more than 200 dishes that will monitor signals from space.

Strictly analogies

At the MediaConnect KickStart 2004 conference, held near Brisbane last week,'s Australian country manager filled his presentation with analogies to a favourite film, Strictly Ballroom.