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Swain On DSL 18 April 2002 Edition
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A little over a month ago I sent an email to the Minister of Communications, Paul Swain, asking for his comments on the sorry state of DSL in this country.

After bypassing the inevitable fluff associated with the fact that Ministers prefer to send printed responses to all correspondence, I eventually received (yesterday) this reply.

Guess what? Yes, that's right... it came as an MS Word attachment to a brief covering note.

I'm not going to dwell on the fact that the Minister of Communications seems to be well and truly ensconced in the Microsoft "standards" camp -- but it's a right pain in the backside when, to read a simple message (no pictures, no charts, no graphs), you have to copy a file onto a floppy disk and then fire up the only machine in the place that has a copy of MS Word -- and that's after checking for Macro viruses.

Open standards in government? Not a chance!

Why, oh why couldn't the reply have been a simple plain-text email??? After all my time is money too and I'm not handing out points for formatting or neatness of layout.

I wonder if the $10 million spend-up discussed in yesterday's edition might be somewhat less crucial if the government, its ministers, and its departments were better educated about the stupidity of sending messages as MS Word attachments rather than in the body of the email.

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But back to the content of the email.

I'm sorry but I can't help but feel that the RQ (rhetoric quotient) of this response was disturbingly high. Yes, it is election year, but I'd have preferred to see the poli-speak exchanged for some plain discussion of the issues.

However, the goals and objectives stated in Mr Swain's reply are laudable enough and I don't think anyone reading this will argue that the steps being taken are good ones -- but what about the timing?

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
  • broadband... - Alan
  • Sorry State of DSL... - Brian
  • ADSL... - Brian
  • You're not old... - Allister

    From Yesterday...

  • New computer WITH... - Philip
  • Foreign Affairs to OSS... - Peter
  • Replacement PCs... - Paul
  • Is $11,000 For A New PC... - Oliver
  • $11,000... - Camryn
  • $11k PCs... - Geoff
  • get a mac?... - Andrew
  • Excessive?... - Chris
  • Open Source... - John
  • Have Your Say

    The Telecommunications Commissioner won't be reporting on whether he thinks Telecom's local loop service should be unbundled until the end of NEXT year!

    A year and a half is an awfully long time in the world of 21st century communications and relying solely on Telecom to provide reliable, cost-effective DSL services in the meantime would likely see us slipping further down the list of "connected" nations.

    Perhaps the funniest piece of the whole reply is the claim that "Telecom said that in December 2001, Nokia completed software upgrades on a core component of the JetStream service. Telecom also said that it has reviewed all modem settings, made appropriate configuration changes and that it was confident these actions have resolved the 'micro-outages' problem."

    The clear implication here is that the problem was solved long ago -- but it most certainly wasn't.

    I wish the Minister wouldn't take Telecom's claims at face value. If he'd taken me up on my offer to provide links to other news stories on the matter, or simply been better informed by his officials, he'd have read the IDG story titled Outages continue despite Telecom's claims, dated March 5th.

    While I could address the Minister's reply on a point-by-point basis, I'll leave it up to readers to draw their own conclusions and make their own judgments.

    As always, your comments are welcomed. Please remember to select "For Publication" if you want them included on this site.

    Have your say.

    Due to other higher-priority calls on my time and resources over the coming days, the publication of this column may be a little erratic.

    Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible however.

    The Jet-Kart is For Sale
    Check out the latest bid.

    It's time to clear out the closet here at Aardvark's country residence so I'm having a bit of a garage sale. I need to spend a whole lot more time and money on my jet engine R&D activities (now that the defense industry has shown a very real interest) -- so I'm trying to scrape up some more cash.

    The world-famous Jet-powered Gokart is up for sale by way of an informal auction. Send me your bid and I'll post the current highest offer on the bidding page.

    As far as I'm aware, this is the only pulsejet-powered gokart in the Southern Hemisphere -- I wonder why that is?

    It may not be the quietest, smoothest, most comfortable or safest vehicle in the world -- but it's sure different!

    To place a bid, just drop me a line.

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