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Brislen on Tech this week

Paul Brislen, Editor. 26 August 2016, 2:50 pm

Here's a quick roundup of news and views this week from IITP and around the traps.

Brand refresh coming for [I]ITP

Just a wee heads-up of a brand refresh coming for the Institute of IT Professionals, to be announced formally to members next week and take effect from next month. Those at ITx might have seen a sneak peek.

Alongside the refresh of our overall brand, we've been working hard in the background with the folks at Mohawk Media looking at how we could communicate our story better - why we exist, what we're here to achieve, and how we support and represent our professional community.

Part of this work is to equip our members with better info to share with their colleagues on why they're part of NZ's professional community for tech, in the form of infographics, animated videos and more.

Keep an eye out next week for the announcement.

Too COOL for School? Government to introduce online schools

This week Minister of Education Hekia Parata announced some wide-reaching changes to the Education Act. Many of these were tidying up bits and pieces and modernising things, but one that caught our eye was the introduction of online schools - called "Communities of Online Learning" or COOL.

In a nutshell, the proposed Bill changes the Correspondence School into an online school (or "Community of Online Learning" as they're calling them) and opens it up to competition. It also significantly increases the flexibility of learning models versus a traditional school.

Embracing the future or a step too far? IITP CEO Paul Matthews takes a look at what's being proposed here.

TechBlog: Government to introduce online schools


Brislen on Tech

Here's a roundup of news and views on this week's tech stories, by TechBlog editor Paul Brislen.

CERT advisory board

The government's $22 million National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) has its advisory panel, which will help set up the CERT itself.

This has raised the usual Twitter levels of howling from the steady pre-takeoff whine to a full throated Sigh of Exasperation at governments and the ponderous way in which they approach tech issues.

I have some sympathy for that point of view. If this were a business we'd have hired the chief executive by now and told them to get on with it.

But it's not a business, it's a government department, so governance is rightly held in high regard and this rag-tag team of heroes has been assembled with the job of assembling the team of heroes who will do the hiring of the team who will do the actual work.

And while these aren't the folk who will abseil into your data centre ready to take out any and all intruders before jetskiing away to their remote island lair, they are pretty well versed in both technical and legal skills and should do well.

The CERT advisory board is chaired by Michael Wallmannsberger (from the Wynyard Group) and includes the law geek himself, Rick Shera, Sarah Burke, Head of Information Security and Technology Risk for ANZ New Zealand, Jon Duffy, Head of Trust and Safety at TradeMe, David Eaton, Chief Technology Officer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise New Zealand, Paul McKitrick, who has been working in cyber security for more than 15 years, including roles within the Government Communications Security Bureau's Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection, Debbie Monahan, Domain Name Commissioner Adrian van Hest, National Cyber practice leader for PwC, and Kendra Ross, co-founder and director of Duo, one of New Zealand's major suppliers of security systems.

This isn't the first time the government has dabbled in cyber-security as we've pointed out elsewhere, but this one does have the benefit of broad industry and commercial experience to back up the technical and legal aspects.

First things first, they'll need to get a website going because currently a search for "CERT NZ" brings up a company that provides training and equipment for security-related activities.

CIO - Meet the members of the CERT Establishment Advisory Board

NBR - CERT Establishment Advisory Board appointed

TechBlog - Elementary my dear Watson


Women (not) in tech

Good news! There are heaps of jobs in IT. Bad news! If you're female you're unlikely to be chosen for one of them.

(That should create enough trouble for one day)

Analysis of the US Census data for the past 40-odd years shows while the number of jobs in IT has unsurprisingly increased dramatically, the number of women who work in IT has declined from its peak in 1990 and even then didn't come close to parity with the number of men in the sector.

New Zealand data is not dissimilar - 79% of the ICT workforce in New Zealand identifies as male.

Clearly this isn't a tenable situation and when we look back at the last 40 years and see women becoming far more present in almost every sector of the workforce, there is no excuse for the tech sector's reluctance to sort this issue out.

TechBlog- US data shows women in tech numbers declining



It was the dark of the moon on the sixth of June/In a Kenworth pullin' logs…

You know the song (I know you know) because while it spawned a song, and a movie of dubious virtue, CB radio also spawned countless playground conversations about rubber duckies and having your ears on.

Now however, the citizen band radio's days may well be over, and it's all down to the never ending search for yet more spectrum to pump data over.

The US Federal Communications Commission has freed up some CB-radio spectrum for unlicensed use (think wifi) but a consortium of LTE providers is keen to claim a share of the new real estate as well.

The seemingly never ending search for a perfect hand-off from wifi to cellular data and back continues but for now, it's ten four good buddy as CB looks set to sign off one last time.

The Register - Breaker, breaker: LTE is coming to America's CB radio frequencies


Fibre to the Brislen Part III

The saga continues! In which our plucky hero (all right, it's just me) continues down the Path to the Future that is Ultra Fast Broadband.

When last we spoke I was waiting for Chorus's third party guys to turn up so I could argue about whether they connect the property at the street (yay for speed, good for cost, bad for connecting with my in-house wiring) or at the back of the house (boo for speed, bad for cost, great for connecting with my in-house wiring).

That's yet to happen, but the boys did turn up to hook up my neighbours who live behind my house down our shared driveway.

And so it was I watched as they screwed a black pipe to the fence line and ran it up past my house.

I'm no fan of the "bolt it to the fence" school of thought but two things occurred to me: firstly, it was quick and presumably quite cheap. It took two or three guys about an hour or so to sort it out and now we just need the fibre itself, so that's good. The second thing is, it's not my connection so what do I care.

I do wonder what we'll do when (not if) the fence falls down because it's likely to be in the storm over the next few days but that's OK. We'll burn that bridge when we come to it, weather permitting.

In Wellington Chorus has signed a deal with the local electricity lines company to use its poles for the network deployment. That also should speed things up but I can't help but wonder why it wasn't mandated from the very start of the project six years ago. And are we now seeing a two-tier network deployment where priority customers (businesses, schools and hospitals) get fibre rolled out in the traditional underground way while residences get it overhead - and does that even matter?

And as an update to my Pig Watch update: I've received another pig-themed email from my ISP Vodafone and this one is identical with all the others.

Much as I enjoy the pig, I'm not sure I need to receive the same email on a weekly basis. The good news is this week my wife has not received a random TXT informing her of the progress. This is a good thing.

Stuff - Chorus agreement could ease frustration for Wellington homeowners


Bonus: Fibre to the Matthews, Part I

So we've all been following with, um, bated breath the ongoing saga of Brislen's fibre connection woes.

Last week IITP chief executive Paul Matthews was rather excited that Chorus finally announced they'd finished the neighbourhood fibre rollout and promptly signed up to kick his VDSL to the curb (which is only a little better than ADSL because it's outside the VDSL coverage area, but that's another story) and bring on fibre goodness.

Other than a mixup about whether the drive was shared (its not), Chorus sprang into action, with a first "what are we going to do?" meeting scheduled next week and the install scheduled for the week after at his Wellington property. We'll see how it goes, but looking good so far.

Paul B - Maybe they're just more onto it in the capital? ;)




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