Peter Judge, our bristly-bearded Morris-dancing bike-riding neo-hippy, is back from the Broadband DSL Conference in Berlin. Touchingly, he couldn't manage to get his laptop to talk to the work network from there, despite having VPN software that's worked just about everywhere else and despite our VPN servers living just down the road in Munich. He ended up on the Cisco stand, fielding accusatory instant messages between our IT and Cisco's IT, surrounded by more bandwidth than the Leeds Very Big Men's Orchestra and not able to use a sniff of it. It was a contradictory event. The bloke who invented cellular mobile radio -- or at least, large chunks of it -- said that he thought 3G was dead in the water and nobody had the spirit to disagree. If you went to a Cisco press conference, you heard that DSL was going to be dead in the water soon and everyone would be using Ethernet via fibre. If you went to the Alcatel press conference, you heard that Ethernet as a form of urban delivery mechanism was dead and everyone would be switching to DSL. In short, you could believe exactly what you wanted to believe about the future of broadband and find someone with a flashy Powerpoint presentation to back you up. Quite the opposite of another event elsewhere we attended. No names, no pack drill, but the organisers had our intrepid journalist sign a non-disclosure agreement that said "we won't print what you told us until a certain date." Absolutely par for the course in this business. Meanwhile in another part of the forest, a different journalist found out the same information in the public domain from a completely different source. Which we published, provoking an anguished squawk from the company concerned and various sabres rattling about us not keeping to the NDA. Here, it seemed, there really was only one story but there were people with flashy Power Point presentations trying desperately to stop us writing it. Journalism. Some weeks, it's best just to stay in bed. To have your say online click on TalkBack and go to the ZDNet UK forums.
If air taxis and cargo drones are going to become commonplace in the future, network reliability had better be impeccable.