More IT vicar?
What do you get if you cross the NHS, a local priest and a wireless Lan? Yes, it sounds like the plot to almost every film starring Sid James and Babs Windsor (except perhaps the wireless Lan bit), but the motivation behind this odd menage-a-trois was entirely professional. BreezeCom systems integrator 3C UK enlisted the services of the local priest while installing a wireless network between two health centres in Preston. Doctors at the new surgery wanted access to patient records on the computer system at the older site, which was 2km away. A wireless link was the fastest and most efficient method of connection, but there was no line of sight between the two locations - so in stepped a local priest, who said 3C could tie a relay point to his spire any time. Ooooooooh matron!
Don't choose life, choose Velcro
Attention all resellers! Are margins on tin falling a tad too much to keep you in the manner to which you are accustomed? Are you looking to escape the "sell more to earn less" vicious circle? Then don't worry, because help is at hand - courtesy of Velcro! According to Selectus - the sole manufacturer of Velcro in the UK and Ireland, you know - the Velcro Wrap Tie has a vast potential consumer market and is a safe and versatile product. So what? Toilet paper is a safe and versatile product with a vast market, but we don't find many press releases from Andrex in PC Squealer's in-tray. Ah, but did you know that the Wrap Tie offers a simple and firm method of binding cables, wiring or even plants, without causing damage, such as nipping or abrasion? So there you have it. Don't choose PC hardware, choose Velcro.
That's your Lot
It didn't come as a huge surprise to PC Squealer when we read that the Polish national airline, Lot, will ground its fleet of aircraft on 1 January 2000. Apparently, Lot isn't concerned about the safety of its own jets, but of other computers used when flying. A representative of the airline told the Wall Street Journal: "This is not a matter connected to the planes, but we are expecting some problems in control towers and reservations systems and we shouldn't present the occasion for mistakes." The extent to which planes are not connected to trivial concerns such as air traffic control could be questioned, but anyway, why is this relevant to us? Well, Donald Cruickshank, boss of Action 2000, the government's millennium taskforce, told BBC2's Newsnight last week that problems encountered in the UK will arise from the fact that other countries haven't done enough to make their systems compliant. Asked by Jeremy Paxman whether he would fly on 1 January 2000, Cruickshank said he would, if the pilot was happy to take off. Given the recent moves from a number of airlines to ground their planes on New Year's day, we'll take that as a no, shall we, Donald?
Corporate carrier bags shocker
City slickers swapped pin-striped suits for plastic bags as temperatures in the capital soared to record levels last week. And temperatures rose still further when stunning duo Julie Skinner (below, left) and Tanya Lepojevic from marketing agency Rainer unveiled a look that was dressed to thrill. Skinner and Lepojevic, desperate to illustrate the findings of their recent report detailing response times of FTSE 100 companies to web-based enquiries, had the mercury rising in the PC Squealer office by revealing their corporate findings. And what findings they were. The study found that 26 companies - including BAA, CGU, NatWest and Tesco - failed to respond to a request for basic investor information after a wait of more than 100 days. A further 16 companies, including BASS, ICI, Orange and Vodafone, did not have a website, could not be contacted by email, or email contact details were not easily located. "A website without a direct feedback mechanism is like a freephone helpline with no receptionist," said Stephen Waddington, a director at Rainer, who unfortunately failed to show up in a skimpy Marks & Spencer branded thong in time for the photo shoot. "Corporate UK is failing to recognise the capability of the web," he added. But that simply won't wash. We want to see Stephen stripped to his bare essentials. So fax 0171 3169519 and pledge your support or donation to the 'Steve in his Skimpys' Picture Exclusive Fund.
Aida rather be in Covent Garden
For all you opera buffs mourning the temporary closure of the Royal Opera House, IBM has an alternative source of cultural indulgence - and it doesn't require you to get glammed up in a posh frock or tux for the event. On its site, ibm.com, the vendor is hosting audio and video webcasts of Verdi's Aida from the Arena of Verona in Italy. According to Big Blue, the webcasts are part of its continuing commitment to the spread of e-culture and a radically new way of providing access to a large cultural event for opera enthusiasts throughout the world. We'll resist the urge to comment on the latest e-branded word hatched by the IT industry, but PC Squealer finds it impossible to believe that true opera fans will settle for some small, shadowy figures screeching a few bars piped through PC speakers as a substitute for the real thing.
Still, at least they'll have an option if the chauffeur calls in sick on opening night.
BSc (with fiction)
Star Wars fever reached its climax last week when Episode 1: The Phantom Menace was finally released to an eager UK audience. Crowds who had waited impatiently for two months since the movie first opened in the US were finally given the chance to pretend that they were nine again, jumping about while fighting each other with invisible light sabres. Star Wars and its multitude of fans have been impossible to avoid for the past six months. Never has it been so cool to be a sci-fi geek, and now it's possible to be a qualified enthusiast.
Yep, that's right - Glamorgan looks set to become the nerd capital of the UK, as its university begins a degree course in science and science fiction in September. Students will be able to swot up on the works of HG Wells or Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, but the course will also offer some modern classics such as Doctor Who and, of course, Star Wars.
PC Squealer has managed to obtain a copy of the end of year exam paper and, at no small risk to ourselves, here it is for your perusal:
EXAM NUMBER 4 (the first one is next week)
Time Limit: Two Earth hours (depending on which dimension you're presently in)
Answer three of the following six questions. Each answer is worth 33 per cent of the total mark.
1. Who would win in a fight between James T Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard?
(No phasers are allowed and mind control is banned.)
2. "The Ewoks ruined the Star Wars trilogy." Discuss.
3. "The quality of a Doctor Who series is inversely proportional to the size of the budget." Prove this statement, showing all calculations.
4. Why did Darth Vader's helmet get shinier throughout the Star Wars trilogy?
5. In real terms, the Six Million Dollar man can no longer be considered an expensive experiment. Work out the probability that Bill Gates has amassed a vast army of bionic soldiers and is preparing to deploy them as part of his quest to take over the world.
6. "This degree will get me a job in the real world." Discuss.
Businesses also admit to holding data without permission of subjects
Zedsphere says end-point security vendor's offerings will be a 'key' feature of its wider portfolio
New acquisition will bring UK cloud service provider's global headcount to over 700
Law firm claims that Oracle lied to investors over what is driving its cloud revenue growth and boosted sales through 'threats and extortive tactics'