Mail Room

ZDNet UK News' Mail Room
Written by Jane Wakefield, Contributor

Action 2000's admission that its site was being used by 'cowboys' caused quite a stir last week with over 40 notes to the Mail Room. We'd also like to acknowledge all the mails we received with advice for BT on how to be a proper company but once we'd edited out all the expletives there was very little to post.

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    Story: UK ISP's most expensive in Europe

    Dear ZDNet,

    I was interested to read your short article on ZDNet and found myself puzzled. I personally pay nothing for Internet access (using Freeserve) and I can think of a few other providers who have jumped on the "free" bandwagon.

    As Freeserve is now one of the largest ISP providers (Your article of 16/1/99 states that it is the fastest growing ISP in the country with over 900000 members and also that there are 8 other new free ISPs) how can the average internet subscription remain at £15 per month?

    Admittedly there are still providers such as Compuserve and AOL who charge per hour on top of a monthly subscription, but I cannot believe that people are remaining with these ISPs -- certainly, all of my acquaintances are leaving them in droves.

    France, on the other hand, has one of the most expensive ISP networks in the world, with France Telecom holding a virtual monopoly over the backbones and able to force other ISPs to charge very high monthly rates for access.

    I would be interested in seeing the actual survey results and would also like to see what impact the free ISPs have made on the UK situation since Freeserve was introduced last year.

    Thanks for keeping us interested IT bods informed and keep up the good work.

    Mark Cockshoot IT Manager DGP


    Excellent point Mark. Be assured we will bring that up in future discussions with ISPs.

    If you ask an ISP (or its PR rep.) if customers stick with a service charging £15+ the answer sounds something like: "our customers are prepared to pay for our service because of the added value of our mail/reliability..." etc etc.

    Read our analysis on MSN's future

    Story: Child porn ring cracked

    Dear ZDNet

    I was wondering if there is anything I can do to help eliminate child pornography from the Web.

    I am whole heartedly against this and have tried to report porn sites but that does no good. I found that there is no place to report these sites.

    Is there a banner of some sort I could put on my web page advsing people how to complain about porn online

    Luc Goyer Jr.

    Reply: Luc, try visiting the Internet Watch Foundation site. The group was set up a few years ago to tackle exactly this sort of problem.

    Story: Cowboys using Action 2000 database

    As the owner of a small business I am sick of the daily flyers from suspect firms and individuals telling me how they can fix my Millennium bug problem if only I would hand over a large amount of cash. I just wonder how much money companies have handed over money for fixes which don't require a rocket scientist to implement. I may or may not be typical of the small business where the boss is network manager and technical support, amongst other things, but I think I have got my small network under control. I have eradicated and am aware of such problems as there are. I have, after backing up, run through year 2000 on a test basis. OK it is easier for the small firm but truthfully the hysteria is reaching fever pitch which is being exploited by the cowboys.


    Bob Mcara.


    Dear ZDNet

    I agree that Action 2000 should have taken a responsible approach to the contents of their database and vetted all applicants before entering their details.

    Further, they should stop wasting effort on nonsensical utterings that bear no reality at all.

    Many people have stated that "all electrical devices are at risk of the Millenium bugs." Humbug and balderdash in my opinion as an electronics engineer.

    Some electronic equipment does need knowledge of the year part of the day/date. But most electronic equipment does not and they do not have embedded chips that need it either. Further, non-electronic electrical devices, things like irons, kettles, etc, do not even need to know the date nor the time, so will be entirely unaffected.

    The first key test for any electrical equipment is this, does it need to be told the current time and date, including the year, when it was first installed/connected? If the answer is no, then there is no problem. Period. No ifs or but, just no problem.

    So lets have some reality and sanity back please. Yes check for the potential of a problem, but cut the crap.

    Mike Perry

    Reply: We recieved several letters about this story -- sorry we could not publish all of them. People are dissapointed that Action 2000 has let this situation arise, but it has come clean and it is the only organisation in the UK that can provide reliable information... isn't it?

    Story: Linux yet to impact job market

    Dear ZDNet,

    Your survey may accurately reflect the conditions in the UK on January 19th. I'm not sure if the people surveyed represented a very substantive poll.

    In the major IT hubs in the US, we're seeing substantial gains in UNIX jobs primarily in the telecommunications industry. ISP's such as UUNET offer ghost ISP service to companies such as Gateway. Linux is a major platform in that equation.

    Wages for Solaris administrators jumped in the past quarter and we know from talking to Universities that many of those jobs include skill sets necessary to run Linux.

    I received word that Cisco deployed about 1700 Linux servers last year. I also understand that another company in Dallas will open a Linux support center with both 900 numbers and 800 numbers. They plan to charge by the incident for real time telephone support on Linux platforms.

    Good Luck



    Thanks Tom. As far as we know there are no substantive polls on this topic. That said, watch this space.

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