I’ve got the lead article in ExecTech in today’s Australian IT section, covering issues to consider when choosing a 3G service. ExecTech is the replacement for the IT Alive section; it has a similar focus on personal technology, but (as the name suggests) it’s more directly targeted at business users whose knowledge of tech is likely to be a little stronger than mass-market buyers. Or something like that. (And despite my recent publication record, I have not suddenly become some kind of 3G expert!)
Typically, I’m away from my PC for a day and two of my stories pop up online. CRN has a report on Vodafone’s channel plans surrounding its 3G launch, while the Bulletin includes a brief guide to software requirements for small businesses (as part of a much bigger small business supplement).
IT Alive in today’s Australian leads with my overview of current digital radio options for consumers. The big moment for digital radio will be when it becomes widely available in local-model cars, and that won’t be for some years, I suspect.
CRN has published a story I wrote in Melbourne about BMC’s plans to expand its use of partners in the channel. This kind of approach is becoming increasingly common as enterprise software vendors try and work out ways of selling to slightly smaller customers (which in Australia is nearly everyone).
I haven’t written about the help desk software market for a while, so it came as news to me that it’s no longer the done thing to refer to help desks at all. Aussie expat Craig McDonogh from BMC Software informed me in a presentation this morning that the correct phrase is “incident and problem management”. Somehow, I can’t see the expression “Let the incident and problem management guys know” rippling through the nation’s offices.
I’ve written up Microsoft’s plans to drop its free business scorecard download in favour of a paid-for product for ZDNet Australia. Given that the free product in question is rather more limited than the commercial alternative, it’s hard to imagine it as a major threat — but the ways of MS are frequently inscrutable.
Trashy gossip magazines rarely make allowance for practical issues like weather. NW this week claims that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are planning a secret November wedding at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Cancun. As this information is attributed to the usual unnamed “insiders”, it quite probably was never true. If it was, however, the Cruises will presumably have to shift their plans following the devastation of the holiday city by Hurricane Wilma.
When I fly domestically, it tends to be with Qantas — more flights, access to Qantas Club lounges, decent fares if you book a few weeks in advance, and generous swathes of Frequent Flyer points. Nonetheless, I occasionally end up travelling with Virgin Blue, especially if it’s a late notice junket and the company paying is looking to cut down on expenses.
Virgin Blue might lack some of Qantas’ refinements — such as free on-board food and airline lounges which are on the correct side of security barriers — but it does have a few neat tricks of its own (and an imminent frequent flyer scheme to boot). The most recent innovation is the ability to check in online and print your own boarding pass, thus saving that sinking feeling when you spot someone slow and argumentative in the queue in front of you. This has been commonplace overseas for some time, but hadn’t hit Australia before (though Qantas’ trial of SMS check-in last year was a variant of the same concept).
I took advantage of this option for today’s flight to Melbourne, since I can never resist a novelty travel option. Being able to book in 24 hours in advance is quite nice , but I don’t know that I’d bother regularly. Partly this is because you still have to queue to drop your bag off if you have checked luggage, which I almost invariably do. Mostly, however, it’s because I resent supplying the paper and ink to print the boarding pass on a $300+ ticket. I know margins are thin in aviation, but they’re not that thin.
I’ve got a piece on the challenges of developing and adopting mobile applications in today’s edition of Australian IT. While telcos and hardware companies would love it if people used mobile devices for more than email, all the evidence suggests any widespread expansion is some way off.
Last night’s Australian Idol had a broad and straightforward theme: Motown. Plenty to choose from over two decades there, so what the hell was Emily (who I’ll admit has good pipes but who otherwise annoys the hell out of me) doing singing ‘River Deep Mountain High’? Yes, it’s a 60s classic, but in its infamous original recording by Ike & Tina Turner, it was not a Motown release. While it was covered some years later by The Supremes & The Four Tops, that doesn’t make it a Motown song — or if it does, then you could equally do a number by the Beatles or from the soundtrack of Funny Girl, since Motown acts covered those too.
Not good enough. And how Emily qualified for a touchdown when she had at least two dud notes is beyond me. I’m scared she’s going to be this year’s Casey Donovan — an annoyingly limited talent with a good sob story who gets championed by Mark Holden all the way to the finish line. Though if she is this year’s Casey, she won’t be selling many records in 2006.