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Brislen on Tech

Paul Brislen, Editor. 24 June 2017, 9:00 am

Bandwidth of brothers

I remember when GPRS was introduced to the mobile phone market and we gasped at the idea of 100kbit/s connection speeds. Gasped, I tell you!

With the introduction of 3G we were told video calling would become second nature. Well, not quite but it did mean we could actually start to get email delivered to our phones properly (and by phones I mostly meant Blackberry devices which were incredibly useful).

But really it wasn't until 4G arrived and we could actually watch news clips, see movie trailers, catch up with friends via Skype or Facetime, share files and folders and photos and all the rest that the mobile revolution has brought us.

And now we're moving on.

While 4.5G isn't a complete upgrade, the new technology on offer in Spark's network (primarily in Queenstown but soon all over the show) does a splendid job of doing more with what's already on offer.

So between carrier aggregation, more channels being deployed at once, smarter cellsite software and all the rest, the new standard speed for mobile jumps from 100Mbit/s on 4G to around 400Mbit/s on 4.5G.

This is a very good thing because while I probably don't need 400Mbit/s today on my mobile, tomorrow I will. I want augmented reality goggles. I want my mobile experience to be as good if not better than my landline experience. I want fibre speeds on the hoof and for that we need 4.5G and then 5G networks and we need them ASAP.

There are some (mostly Australian politicians) who think this kind of deployment justifies not going with a fibre to the home network. It does not. UFB and 4.5G mobile are complementary, not competing technologies. I want high speeds at home, and I want high speeds when I'm out and about. At home I expect unlimited data but when I'm mobile I won't scream too loudly if I'm capped, although today's caps look tight-fitting and restrictive in a 400Mbit/s world, so they'll need addressing.

But either way we have more speed, more choice and, according to the Commerce Commission, we're paying less for it than ever before and that's all very good news for users of bandwidth.

Techblog - Spark ups the ante in Queenstown

NBR - Spark makes Queenstown its first 4.5G town, earns insult from Vodafone

NBR - Wholesale broadband price drop was passed on to consumers, ComCom says

Computerworld - Wholesale broadband price cuts passed on to consumers

 

Future G.jpg

Internships

BUSINESS EXEC ONE: So, we need to hire a bunch of people to do a bunch of stuff but we can't afford to pay them. I need ideas, dammit.

BUSINESS EXEC TWO: How about we make a training programme where people come to work for us for the experience and we tell them it's an unpaid position and give them all the jobs we all hate.

BEONE: I like it but is it even legal?

BETWO: Meh.

BEONE: What do we do if they start to ask questions about getting a real job?

BETWO: We put a time limit on each one so they only stay for three months or so and then we get a whole new batch in and start again!

BEONE: Brilliant!

And so it was that the internship was born. Come and work for this company (or not-for-profit, or even political party) and get no pay but get really useful experience of the real world.

I despise these (unpaid) programmes with a passion and sadly in the tech sector there are a fair number of them around.

Interns take these roles for a variety of reasons but predominantly they have an expectation of coming out of this programme with a job and sadly that often doesn't happen. Internships should be a precursor to some form of apprenticeship or graduate programme but instead they seem to have replaced jobs in some fields (I'm looking at you, American publishing companies) and now you're expected to work for free regardless. This means you only get a certain type of person applying for roles - the type who have another form of income (The Bank of Mum and Dad) and that means you reduce your diversity instead of increasing it.

I met an editor from a US publication (Mashable) who was crowing about the number of kids lining up to work for Mashable for free. She had so many interns they were about to launch a "virtual internship" which is even worse. Not only do you work for free but you work for free from your own home. You don't even get to go into the office and have at least that experience. Ghastly!

So, if your company is expanding and you need to take on new talent, treat them right and actually pay them. The future of work is very much up in the air and over the next generation of worker I'd expect to see some dramatic changes to the way we all employ and are employed. Make sure you're on the right side of that particular sea change.

The Oatmeal - Exposure (MAY NOT BE SAFE FOR WORK)

bFM - Exclusive transcript with Labour student intern

Stuff - Unpaid internships' legal grey area offers exploitation

NZ Internships - Unpaid vs Paid Internship?

 

The upside of viruses and ransomware

And finally in the "revenge is a dish best served cold" category, the return of WannaCry ransomware but with a twist. This time, it's speed cameras in the Australian state of Victoria that are bound over by the ratbags.

"Fifty-five speed and red light cameras across Victoria have been infected with ransomware, the state's police force has confirmed," says the ITNews story. Sadly, the virus doesn't appear to have affected the cameras' ability to tell how fast a car is going and normal service is expected to resume in the next few days.

ITNews - Ransomware strikes Victorian speed cameras


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