A technology blog for The Economist Group IT team

Friday, November 28, 2003


Were the Internet problems earlier this week caused by a Dos attack or a damaged undersea cable? As voice lines were affected I'd go with the latter. Until French Telecom get a boat to the site, however, we won't know who or what caused the damage.
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Stupid 999 calls (Or 911 in the US or 112 in the EU)

I just had to post this.

It's said that the proliferation of mobile phones has caused a massive increase in the number of 999 calls in the UK and it's being mooted that there should be a nationwide non-emergency number. Anyway, all I can say about these is it must be because they're west country bumpkins. When you've stopped laughing you'll probably realise that it's really not that funny.
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Thursday, November 27, 2003

Check the hype

"Jerry Ungermann, the president of Check Point, the world's largest vendor of firewalls, boasts that none of his customers was affected by Blaster because Check Point was so quick to put the appropriate defences into its products." From The Economist.

At this point I should insert a poll to see how many people think we were affected and how many think we weren't.
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Mobile printing

From HP. This is a neat fix for those of you that have a notebook and move around offices. It allows you to enter the IP address of the printer you want to use rather than using a print queue (Novell or whatever). As an IT Pro pointed out I could just install the most basic HP PCL driver and probably get away with that after setting up a port on my machine (one for each printer), but this works for any HP printer without you needing to do any of that and it saves nicknames for each printer used.

The tricky part is finding the IP address of the printer. On an HP 4000 you need to:

  • press [Menu] to get the "Information Menu", then

  • press [Item] until you see "Print Configuration", then

  • press [Select]

  • to print the printers config (which has the IP address on it)
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    Tuesday, November 25, 2003

    Is anyone an XP guru?

    This is really annoying. Unlike previous versions of Windows, XP just does not want to remember how you want your file list organised whenever you do use a [File]..[Open].. dialogue box. Try it. It drives me nuts. You can't save the setting via Explorer and old tricks such as pressing [Shift] or [Ctrl] when closing a folder setting in Explorer and then restarting don't work either. I'm sure someone must be smart enough to have found an answer to this one....


    Stuff on the legal wrangling between SCO and Novell.
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    Monday, November 17, 2003

    Orange wireless backup

    Another good feature of the Orange Treo 600 is that you can back it up over the ether to Orange (and get updates that way). Good for anyone who isn't used to Hotsyncing or doesn't have a PC (also for Orange as you pay by the MB).
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    Wednesday, November 05, 2003

    No service

    I'm currently subjected to a "leave fall" timetable which WAGN still can't keep to on my daily commute, but this has to take the biscuit for the most stupid cause of a delay on a commute!

    Was he actually going to use the thing once he retreived it?
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    Tuesday, November 04, 2003

    Millinery news

    Red Hat is to stop selling Linux (from Linux World).

    What's millinery?
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    Monday, November 03, 2003


    Apparantly we're not contributing much to Keo. No, not the Cypriot beer, but the satellite which is planned to be launched containing lots of stuff about us and come back in 50,000 years time. A time capsule which will be found, they hope (or blown out of the sky!). I've contributed a message - see the Keo site for more info.
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    Saturday, November 01, 2003

    Hooray - I've got my Treo!

    If you've been reading this blog since I started it, you'll know that I've been looking for a replacement for my Handspring Visor since May. I decided some time back to wait for the appearance of the Handspring (or should that now be palmOne?) Treo 600. Well I've been using it for a couple of weeks (you can get one from Orange in the UK or Sprint and others in the US) and I guess I like it. I say I guess because there are some disappointments, but my brief was to merge my 'phone (an Ericsson T68) and my PDA whilst at work, and I've done that. I've been running on "divert" mode from my T68 for a week or so and the number transfers to Orange from next Monday permanently. I still plan to use the T68 at weekends, but that may change. The big thing I wanted was to have seamless common address book and the Treo does that.

    I bought it from MobilesUK.net for �181.99 if you're interested (but it's now a bit more expensive).

    Some gripes:

    Because it's so new I can't get accessories for it - I really want an adapter from the 2.5mm headphone socket so I can listen to music (other than via the speaker).

    I miss Grafitti (but only sometimes). The keyboard is very usable, but for small things, like adding an appointment, I would really love to have Grafitti back. Jot and others are available, but again because it's new, there are bugs.

    Because it's a 'phone the Contacts view shows all numbers rather than just names and I can't sort by company name.

    Because it's not just a 'phone it doesn't seem to have things like the ability to request the status or read receipt for an SMS message nor does it have call/usage counters (really useful for web use).

    I'm sure that all these will be fixed in time, though, so I still recommend it. For those who ask why I didn't opt for a Windows 'phone, the answer is simple - they're overcomplicated as PDAs and expensive. No one can seriously tell me that they can actually use Excel on one (and even then you can buy Documents to Go for the Palm).

    Please let me know your thoughs on Treo/Palm vs. Windows on this one via the Discuss link to the right.
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