NEWS Wednesday, 15 December 2004
How the Information Society is progressing
15 December 2004
Home to http://www.noelhodson.com
SW2000 Telework Studies
Telework Transport Environment Economics
INFORMATION SOCIETY NEWS ARCHIVES
On technology – I’m told I need a (very small) Blue Laser DVD, a Blue-Tooth MP3 cell-phone that takes photo’s and plays videos, a device to watch wireless transmitted movies, a pocket IPod that holds 10,000 music tracks, RSS – or Really Simple Syndication software to send me press-cuttings in my email; I should ditch Windows XP and get the Linux Freeware and I simply MUST ditch my VCR (TV video recorder) get the latest rewritable CD film players – though the industry cannot agree on a standard. Scientists are hard at work on molecular computers and “spintronics” or electron quantum switches. And I should switch to MSN Search Service as it searches 5 billion pages and Google only searches 4.2 billion. On reflection, I think I’ll wait. (NB – 10,000 x 3 minutes tracks is 500 hours – when do people get the time to listen? )
Time Magazine - 29 November 04 - reports on the lack of babies and a world where we are not replacing ourselves; with rates as low as 1.5 children per couple. According to our own statistics it does not mean however a fall in population – not for 40 years – because the extended life span maintains the total. But we are headed for a grey and wrinkly future with implications for housing, health-care and IT progress. Do Bush’s and Bin-Laden’s right-wing fundamentalist power bases foreshadow the rise of aged conservatism – and what will that mean for the evolution of advanced communications and information technologies? http://www.noelhodson.com\index_files\2004_telework_statistics.htm
Time also fields an excellent article by Peter Gumbel on PARMALAT, going bust after double-booking sales and half-booking bank loans for 20 years, to fool shareholders and bankers alike. It is billed as The Biggest Corporate Fraud in History with bank loans at $14 Billion instead of the supposed $5.4 Billion – and of course the directors have skimmed-off millions or even billions for themselves. The Terence Rattigan play, Man & Boy (en route to Broadway), with a compelling performance by David Suchet as The Man, Antonescu, a corporate swindler, and the brilliant rising star Ben Silverstone as his estranged son – The Boy, is based on a similar massive collapse in New York in 1934. Then we saw the immense US Savings and Loans scam, the Lloyds of London Names scandal, then ENRON, Equitable Life and many other self-styled guardians of peoples’ savings, and MCI – and many more. All these acts of brass necked theft have been assisted, concealed and often planned by auditors and merchant bankers – pillars of the financial establishment. In this age of computers, do we have to let this continue and see the hard work and savings of millions of honest folk siphoned away and “lost” track of?
Jurgen Leukel, a German tutor,
musician, composer and correspondent, informs us that Condoleezza Rice most
probably was named after a term in music “Condolcezza” which means "con dolcezza"
which makes a musical phrase or a whole piece (of music) soft and tender. Perhaps this
intended tenderness in the new
Nov: On the 4th of November a court in Virginia found 30 year old
Jeremy Jaynes, “the eighth most prolific spammer in the world” and his 28 year
old sister Jessica de Groot guilty of mass-spamming and in the process
defrauding the public of $13 million for fake products and services. Jeremy
Jaynes was recommended by the jury to be sentenced to nine-years while Jessica
was fined $7,500 under new anti-spam laws banning mass emailing and concealing
the sender’s identity. It can be assumed
that the criminals’ aliases took 5 weeks to read out in court; - or did they
skip that bit? The siblings targeted AOL lists but unknown to them AOL tracked
them down by via a “report spam” button on AOL’s web site – after 10,000
reports AOL was able to zero in on the culprits. The journalist, Patrick Barkham, reports that
last month 82% of email was spam – the bulk of it coming from
Steven Morris in the Guardian tells us that fraudsters are recreating copies of legitimate bank web sites then drawing victims in to give their personal account numbers and passwords – before emptying their accounts. The criminals plant a “Trojan Horse” via email in bank customers’ computers, which hi-jacks the link to their bank and redirects them to the false site. Such thefts are called “phishing” and Russian gangs are thought to be particularly active. This is similar to the false masks criminals fit on cash-machines to read credit-cards.
MCI soldiers bravely on after filing for bankruptcy in 2002 and writing down its assets by $60B, and having just been obliged this quarter against quarterly sales of $5.1B, along with all major long-distance telecom providers, to make another exceptional write-off of $3.5B to adjust their asset values in the light of fierce market competition. Ex-CEO, founder Bernard Ebbers, and ex-CFO, Scott Sullivan, were tried earlier this year for their part in falsifying MCI’s (WorldCom) results to push up the share price.
Magazine, 1 November 04, reports that the OECD is monitoring the level of legal
and illicit movie downloads. They find that Americans download the most videos but
have all been fretting about our small human concerns, such as: Where are the
WMD? Who killed Dr David Kelly? Who’s got the all the money? and Who will win
The EPICUS Party for Informed Consensus has been announced. It offers radical policies for E-democracy and radical changes in many other areas, including a call for the repatriation of all illegal offshore funds back to their countries of origin. Honest owners would then demonstrate their legitimacy and claim their funds. The transfer and hiding of these mysterious assets, “funny money”, thought to be as much as $14 trillion dollars across the World, has been greatly enabled by the Internet and WWW. In the good old days only very rich people could arrange a “back-to-back” where they would lose money in their own country, generating a capital loss for tax purposes, and simultaneously make the same amount – less the brokers’ fees – in a tax haven. Metal, Commodities and International Stock Brokers were the usual money-laundering intermediaries. Big business would supplement back-to-backs with “staging post companies” in tax havens, through which the businesses would purchase their own parts or services at low prices – losing money in their own countries – and then sell it back to themselves at high prices – skimming off huge non-taxable profits and transferring money to a tax-haven. Today however, thanks to Telework and the Internet, ordinary high-earning doctors, dentists, computer experts, small traders, car-dealers, drug-dealers and many others from the hoi-polloi, are using staging-post-companies to hide their incomes, with respectable off-shore banks that issue a high rolling credit card allowing profligate spending anywhere in the world – without all those nasty taxes to pay. Will EPICUS help to roll back the tide? (See the EPICUS Manifesto)
In this marvellous
era of the Information Society and hi-tech solutions,
The BPI –
British Phonographic Industry – along with the
Within 24 hours of me registering the complaint set out below, the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, PO Box 10101, London, E14 9NF, Tel +44 (0)870 241 0549, www.nhtcu.org , with only the telephone numbers to trace the people, sent an email saying they had had several complaints like mine, had interviewed the company and been assured that 3 rogue employees had been sacked. Amazingly fast action – so thanks NITCU.
and complaint was sent to ICANN and the official .Net and .Com registrars -
also to the
Dear Sirs - www.Domainistics.net telephoned me from UK Tel 0870 064 2246 (Sue Carpenter) and claimed to have a customer, Stephen Quinn (sp?) on UK mobile Tel 07789 440137 who is threatening to create risible web site/s (giving as an example their Price Waterhouse Coopers parody www.introducingmonday.co.uk ) using my trading name, SW2000 Telework Studies, which he says he is registering for 10 years at £600 sterling, then to leverage these to the top of the search engines and to thus divert my client enquiries to these insulting sites. My lawyers tell me that I have copyright in my trade name, established since 1988, and I am very concerned that this manoeuvre may be a prelude to Identity-Theft, Passing-Off, or Fraudulent Misrepresentation. As I can glean no identity information from Domainistics, at this stage I suspect they are part of a scam. It feels to me no different from a gangsters' Protection Racket, "Pay-up or we'll wreck your business". Can you prevent this or should I apply to the police fraud-squad to trace these people/businesses and interview them? They seem utterly confident that they are untraceable - Do you have addresses for them? – Noel Hodson 5th October 2004.
Useful email addresses for reports or complaints about internet abuse.
IFCC in the
NHT in the
Credit Cards authority in the
ICANN and the .Com and .Net registars, Global. firstname.lastname@example.org
UK Home-Office for crime prevention. email@example.com
British Telecom. firstname.lastname@example.org
And I copied it to Price Waterhouse Coopers. email@example.com
glaciers and snow cover of the mountains of
petrol or diesel/electric hybrid cars will be sold in the
Star 38, a
telephone maker in
Guardian newspaper of 15th September reports that
4’s evening news programme ‘PM’ yesterday reported a successful lawsuit by
“internet nerd” Steve Linford against a
SAVVIS Communications Inc. up to recently owned by Cable & Wireless, the UK’s 2nd largest telecom and a major international player in more than 60 countries, is listed in the Top 25 Spam hosts by The Spamhaus Project www.spamhaus.org/sbl/latest.lasso
What Steve Linford, of the Spamhaus Project, wrote on 7th April 04 was “…due to the good reputation SAVVIS has with the anti-spam community …we’re hoping this (takeover) spells extended downtime for the large mass of spammers Cable & Wireless and (C&W subsidiary) Exodus have been servicing” See the detailed reports by Gerry Patterson at PGTS Journal www.pgts.com.au a zealous anti-spammer.
The BBC last night interviewed SAVVIS Chairman and CEO Rob McCormick accusing SAVVIS of making $2M a year as a spam enabler. Rob McCormick said it was less than that – and said SAVVIS will curtail the (now illegal) services. $2M income implies billions of spam emails.
It seems that the Spamhaus Project is the leading spam-buster. It offers a free spam blocker, QURB, that it claims works on most PC’s – download it from www.qurb.com/products/qurb-spam.php and they really seem to know what they are talking about.
In the meantime we will wait for the BBC to find that elusive lawsuit.
newspaper The Independent on Sunday reports a survey by Sophos, a British Internet security firm, that spam emails traffic
emanating from Hong Kong and China has grown from 6.24% of the world’s junk
emails in February 2004, to 11.63% in August 2004.
Digital Rights Management software applied to e-books, films or music requires the customer
to enter a password for their unique machine making it the only machine that
can play back the record. Good for authors, musicians, actors and film
producers. But a pain in the neck for teachers, reading groups etc. as the
customer cannot loan, copy or play the record when they upgrade their machine.
With new hardware all the stored DRM records are lost – forever. If DRM is
applied to stored documents – say government archives, there is a real danger
that they will be inaccessible to the public within a few years. Copyright
currently runs out 70 years (or 50 in
This item is only valid here because it is ‘information’ – which in
the Information Society deserves as much exposure as possible. Robert Lawrence,
promoter of Meatless Monday, interviewed by Liz Else for New Scientist, tells
us that 286 million US citizens attempt to eat 9 billion animals a year;
Agribusiness produces 3,900 calories a day when we need only 2,400 calories
each and the surplus, mostly digested and undigested meat fats, are fed to the
next generation of hogs and chickens and are sprayed on crops – to benefit
unwitting vegetarians of course. He goes on to explain that the 286 million
Americans suffer 75 million cases of food-borne diarrhoeal diseases every year
“which is quite a lot” – and that due to the recycling of the surplus fats
through the sewage and food chains, increasing amounts of dioxins, PCB’s,
pesticides, endocrine disrupters, hormones and growth promoters, which are used
in Agribusiness, are concentrated in the fatty tissues of the current stock of
animals. These chemicals so degrade the crop and animal food values that
Americans are in danger of becoming shorter due to malnutrition – and obese
because they have to eat more to compensate for poor nutrition. He recalls that
in World War 2, British army Privates were 4 inches shorter than Officers. It’s
no wonder we look up to our aristocrats. Taking a poor community in
of legal action by the Recording Industry Association of America RIAA against
music fans freely swapping record files using KaZaa software seem to have
deterred one-third of the abusers. From a
industry is planning to follow suit. The Motion Picture Association of America
MPAA is trying various technological solutions to piracy which mostly starts
with illicit copies being filmed with spy-cameras in public
I will not refrain from saying “I told you so”. The Guardian
The melt-water calculations are on this site in a Power-point presentation via:
and the, relatively sane and happy, future of the planet and the human race is absolutely accurately and entertainingly forecast in my new book, The Future 2516AD – Life After Global Warming, which you can find via:
This web site has long predicted that the advancing Information Society will lead firstly to an increase in tax evasion and secondly, in due course, to tax harmonisation. According to TIME Magazine some OECD countries total tax revenues as a percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2002 were: (where would you prefer to live?)
United Kingdom 35.9%
With governments absorbing and controlling from a quarter to a half
of all expenditure – which means jobs – it makes for an easy target for the
forces of “freedom” to assert that
business is being strangled and revenues being administered and spent
inefficiently by civil services. However, those same forces of freedom that
promote the value of international free trade under their control, pay very
little tax; being advised by international tax planners and assisted by
bend-the-rules auditors, resulting in seven trillion dollars being held
“offshore”. Seven trillion dollars, ($7,000,000,000,000) is almost the value of
the whole of the
The fake transactions behind these scams and evasions, where no bookkeeper need write fraudulent entries in their own hand, are only possible through the obfuscation and anonymity provided by computers and international telecommunications. These corporate excesses give civil servants the ammunition to tighten controls on business and take more power over budgets. When, as happens daily across the world, government and corporate budgets are abused and millions go missing – or billions in the cases of several recent corporate scandals – stealing money from masses of honest savers and ordinary workers, the computers, mostly IBM mainframes, suddenly seem incapable of tracking the lost cash and the Intelligence Services and legal systems are incapable of confiscating the ill-gotten gains (the pending Kenneth Lay, ENRON trials will test the real resolve for restitution). ..\index_files\ENRON_The_Future_of_Auditors.htm
There are several possible remedies for the Information Society. I recommend that: (1) the internet is utilised to store and archive all transactions daily in an unchangeable format – requiring after the fact “adjustments” to be publicly justified rather than concealed. (2) Computers should list all wealth and assets – a modern 2004 Domesday Book – with public access to the lists. (3) All excess corporate rewards of the last twenty years should be examined and their legal basis challenged, and illicit rewards confiscated. (4) To start the process and the 2004 Domesday Book records, a new global currency, the EURODOLLARYEN should be introduced and all holdings converted and recorded within a short time frame. (5) The present $7 trillion or more in offshore bank accounts should be confiscated and the funds used to pay-off 3rd World debt.
Global tax harmonisation will automatically follow the initiatives to stop financial crime; and the Information Society can move ahead, confident that honesty, integrity and hard work will be rewarded.
In the long-term, as computers make most necessity-work redundant, the world will have to find new ways of distributing wealth. We can’t all serve burgers at McDonalds: see our BIRTHRIGHT proposals. ..\index_files\brightsummaryjune2000.htm
Business Info Magazine (June 2004) reports that Microsoft hired mathematician Dr Sam Espig to write formulas which compare different forms of working – at central office; in-flight; on the train or bus; in a car; utilising diverse levels of advanced and mobile computers and telecommunications. It is no surprise that the algorithms prove that central office desk workers are only 36% productive (due to all the diversions identified in The Economics of Telework 1992) while a travelling, laptop wielding teleworker is 40% more productive than that. As the statistics pages on this website show, telework at home is far and away the most productive work method, being up to 25% to 40% more “effective” (output and costs) than the best that central-office commuter-workers can produce:- see the Costs and Benefits worked example and travelling to meetings calculations at:
The basic physics rationale was expressed back in the 1980’s by the telework guru’s – “Take the Work to the People, not the People to the Work.” The effectiveness of telework not only creates better productivity, it is better for the teleworkers health, stress levels (if the PC’s and broadband don’t crash!) and work-life balance and, by moving bits and bytes of information instead of carting 110 pound workers and their 2,500 pound vehicles back and forth, it consumes a fraction of the energy. Dr. Espig may like to extend his formulas to include all the issues: WORK-TIME X WORK-STRESS X HEALTH-COSTS X WEIGHT X MILES-KLMS X TRAFFIC-DECONGESTION X RELIABLE-TECHNOLOGY X REAL-ESTATE = EFECTIVENESS. And all, of course, multiplied by SPAM and Viruses. The world awaits the indestructible, instantly restorable, mobile computer.
New Scientist magazine 26 June 04 warns us of SPYWARE, being cookies and other software inserted into private computers to report back to marketing organisations without the owner’s permission or knowledge. The article recommends among others the Lavasoft cleaner Ad Aware 6.0 from www.lavasoft.com/ . I have just downloaded it and scanned – the programme found and quarantined 30 objects on my PC including one found in a “deep registry search”. These intruders are no different to having your telephone tapped. However, I then set PRIVACY to maximum on my Norton Anti-Virus, then ran, RIGHT CLICK, Microsoft Internet Explorer -> PROPERTIES->DELETE ALL COOKIES->DELETE ALL OFF-LINE CONTENT->DELETE HISTORY and then reconnected to the Internet and summoned GOOGLE. Unsurprisingly, Norton advised me that the GOOGLE page required my PC to accept a COOKIE before it could download. So my Internet searches are still monitored. As President Bush Senior once said of the Internet, with all the knowledge of an ex-head of the CIA, “ Privacy is Dead - Forget Privacy.”
Mobile Lynch Mobs? Meanwhile the CABIR virus has been let loose, harmlessly, on Mobile Phones and the World is warned that malicious viruses may follow – passed from cellphone to cellphone via short range Bluetooth connectivity. Any nerd who boldly attacks mobile phones will be a martyr to his art, as he is unlikely to live out the week.
Powerless? And – major telephone companies are increasingly moving to wireless network systems, which are far easier to intercept than the old wires, the traditional twisted copper pairs. BT for example have announced they are decommissioning telephone exchanges and replacing them with their own Internet-type network, 21st Century Network (inevitably 21CN) – which will be “cheaper, faster and more powerful.” The downside of going wireless is that the separate power source, down the wires, we have all come to rely on for our domestic phones, keeping them operating even during power-cuts, will go and most peripherals will be power-grid dependent. Thank heavens for reliable and responsible public power suppliers like ENRON – come the next solar storm or terrorist disruption. When London Underground abandoned its exclusive power supplier in favour of a newly privatised national grid supplier, it was immobilised a few months later by a power-cut, for the first time ever. But those clever chaps at BT can be relied upon to have a back-up power system in place, can’t they?
Cuckoo’s? And finally – The Times
(London Times) of June 24th reported that several dozen householders
in a cluster of villages in
I am as xenophobic as the next man; particularly in this season of
In 1969 my young family and I travelled by car across
As late as 1985, prior to EU Commissioner Martin Bangemann’s
promotion of the European Information
Society, it was difficult to telephone from
For the paranoid, it was a great time. We could, with official
approval, hate all foreigners, queers, coloureds and communists. We yearned for
the coming Apocalypse and Armageddon to punish the ungodly and feared Flying
Saucers, Alien Invasions, The Yellow Peril and the Red Revolution. We waited
five months to be allowed to buy a telephone.
Do I want to go back to the good old days when Britain was Britain –
Wooden Ships and Iron Men -, when mad old Generals sent millions of young men
to be slaughtered in European Wars, when we could choose the colour of our
ration-books, pay The City whatever charges they imposed on a captive island
population, save up for ten years to get married, live with our parents and buy
a washing machine, and tug our forelocks at the passing gentry – “God Bless you
kind Sir”? I think not. I think - thanks all the same for the opportunity to
revert - that I will go with the
Venus crossed the face of the Sun yesterday, 9th of June
David Bolton of
REALITY CHECK & FOLLOW-UP – The facts and numbers on the Cleanfeed site don’t agree with David Bolton’s letter. They give a very different impression from his letter. He is presumably including other vetting agencies. First – Cleanfeed is not imposed by BT, it is an independent vetting tool which has to be bought by a user – bundled with broadband. Second – there is no mention of 25 million sites. Selection seems to be by recommendations from customers. Cleanfield’s statistics are as follows:
Total sites monitored - 7,067,512
There are more than 20 Cleanfeed categories. The banned sites are:
447 Anonymous Proxies
880 Criminal Skills
5,764 Betting & Gambling
6,536 Glamour & Intimate Apparel
1,801 Hacking (bring back the death penalty – Ed)
554 Hate Speech
1,975 Violence & Weapons
2,716 Drugs and Alcohol and Tobacco
196,421 Sexually Explicit
So there is no need just yet to paste your “I Love Big Brother” poster to your living room wall. And I was able to view knaughty-knickers etc. via my BT ISP. If only BT could apply a filter – to SPAM. Can we please have a site dedicated to introducing the death penalty for spammers and virus creators?
BT today announced annual profits of £2 billion sterling, confounding critics and doomsayers who have focused on the monthly exodus of customers at the reported rate of 250,000 (per month/per annum?). BT says it is retaining the customers it wants, is winning back valuable customers at a fast pace and is growing through its Broadband and other services “which the public wants. And we are giving them what they want.”
As a sometime critic of BT and as one of its most loyal customers I yesterday installed BT Business Broadband – from the pack and CD they send through the post. To my amazement and without any technical assistance or visiting engineers the system took minutes to install, seems to be working as promised and hasn’t sabotaged anything on my PC – so far.
1. List the titles of all the books written by Piers Morgan, editor of the Daily Mirror.
Google 2min 2sec – Includes a book by another Piers Morgan
Phone 19min 14sec – Mirror Press Office gave an incorrect answer
Library 0min 20sec – Reference in Who’s Who
2. Where and when did Margaret Thatcher say: “There is no such thing as society”?
Google 0min 59sec – Fast and most detailed
Phone 7min 10sec - Correct
Library 1min 45sec - Correct
3. Who is
the vice-chairman of the(
Google 6min 27sec – Slower than reference books
Phone 3min 21sec - Speedy work by parliamentary researchers
Library 1min 16sec - Correct
4. What proportion of the Slovenian railway system is electrified?
Google 1min 17sec – Phone figures may be more up to date
Phone 64min 5sec – Slow but accurate (direct from Sovenia).
Library 8min 18sec - Old information & disqualified for accepting outside help.
5. What did Sophie and Edward Wessex do on Tuesday?
Google 0min 25sec – Missed a small detail
Phone 5min 45sec - Authoritative (from
Library 1min 25sec - Correct
6. What was
unusual about the British Gold Medal victory in the 400M in the 1908 Olympics
Google 1min 45sec - Correct
Phone 26min 30sec - Correct
Library 1min 20sec - Correct
Google won by a nose – obviously using a reliable ISP.
Goggle 3 Firsts – 2 Seconds – 1 Third
Phone 0 Firsts - 2 Seconds – 4 Thirds
Library 3 Firsts – 2 Seconds – 1 Disqualified
For we simple folk, grinding daily corn between stones in our primitive hutments, who do not even know the names of programming languages – and who cannot remotely conceive how our desk-top computers do what they do - struggling to download and sort 2 relevant emails from among 67 illegal spam, or to find a real live person at Microsoft or at Norton Anti-Virus, the world of operating system programmes exists only in parallel universes with little or no discernible impact on our all too human lives.
But Stanford law professor, Lawrence Lessig, writing in Time Magazine (26 April 04) about Linus
Torvald “The Free-Software Champion” allows us a glimpse into the Realm of the
Demi-Gods of Cyberspace who eternally battle and strive to enslave or to free
mankind from the shackles of monopoly computer operating systems. It once
seemed that the mightiest of the gods, MSDOS and APPLEMAC, allied their armies
as MSOFT and vanquished all comers but, though sentenced to be chained to a
rock in the eternal darkness of Helsinki university, where there will be weeping
and gnashing of teeth, to have his liver pecked out by Nerds, the Norse
warrior, Torvalds, inspired by the “free-software-movement” vision of MIT’s
Richard Stallman, forged a pact with the mighty patriarch IBM who took
enchanted blue crystals, breathed capital upon them and created a new and
subtle god, LINUX, born in 1991 in those northern lands of ice and fire, who,
employing hidden, ancient paths and long forgotten tunnels, silently encircled
the globe, weaving electronic threads into vast nets with magical powers. Too
late did the all conquering Eye-that-never-Sleeps, slumbering in the easy
Canadian judge Konrad von Finkenstein found that 29 defendants had not breached music industry copyright in posting music files on the WEB. His 23 page judgement delivered on 31st March 04 reasoned that placing a copy of a file on the WEB is similar to providing a photocopier in a book library, enabling people to copy and retain pages from (copyrighted) publications. The case was brought by the Canadian Recording Industry.
The journal of Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics has published
an article edited by Katie Daniel, on work by Bo Sernelius at
Google plans to allocate 1.1GB (1,100mb) to users of its promised GMail. Such generosity will undoubtedly lead its rivals to offer the same or more storage. As Google must anticipate millions of users, their ability to provide a Megabyte of space to each user indicates how cheap mass capacity has become. Google will also file all your incoming and outgoing emails and make it accessible when you make an internet search. For business users this auto-filing and retrieval will save acres of time. What then is the likely downside? First Google will increase advertising and offer wider services, diluting their mission to organise Internet Data objectively; second it will put pressure on the internet’s capacity – already noticeably slow as populations in the west awaken to a new day and switch on their email and connections. But, if the new competition shakes up my ISP, BTConnect, any downside will be worthwhile.
Btconnect simply does not connect. Despite spending about an hour a week on their help-line for the past two years, despite downloading the new BT PAYG Dialler – which will only connect with their own extremely dull site, last week’s log shows that of 35 email uses, BT’s server “could not be found” 30 times, requiring me to re-dial an average of 4 times per session – or more than 120 dial-ins to get 35 connections. When connected my incoming email arrives very slowly – sometimes as slow as 500BPS – or 100 times slower than the modem. As BTconnect users are particularly open to spam of all types, (do BT personnel sell their customer’s details in bulk?) my ratio being about 30:1 and as spam is often dense with graphics, it’s fair to assume that spam is about 50:1 of my email connect time. Thus BTConnect delivers my email about 150 times slower than it should – and engages me in Help-line conversations for about 60 minutes a week – when I bother to try to get it sorted out. So I suspect I will give Google’s GMail a try.
The EU has fined Microsoft $500M dollars for anti-competition monopoly practices, making a small dent in their $53 billion bank balance. The immediate target is Microsoft’s Media Player which is bundled with operating systems used on 90% of the world’s personal computers. The EU ruling requires Microsoft to publish its operating system software and enable competitors to create products which will integrate with Microsoft systems. Microsoft intends to appeal, a process they believe will occupy the next five years. My view is that while I understand and agree that monopolies are usually too greedy to be allowed to live, in this case of global communications - only made possible by 90% of the world using the same software - that but for Microsoft we’d be struggling with dozens of disparate, self-important operating systems, all bitching at each other, sabotaging their competitors’ customers’ capability to swap files, at ten times the present price. We’d have far more expensive cartels instead of Gate’s monopoly; and nothing would work.
FOR THE NEWS RECORD: MARCH 2004 WAS THE MONTH WHEN TERRORISTS BLEW
UP TRAINS IN
Freshfields, one of the major