GBU

Good

This bank employee sends and receives lots of faxes every day, so IT is asked to install a fax machine next to his desk. But an hour after he gets it up and running, IT spots the employee waiting in line at the old fax machine. Isn't the new machine working? IT asks him. "I didn't try it," employee admits. "It doesn't have all the speed dials loaded, and I didn't want to waste time typing in the phone number."

Red Hat chairman and CEO Matthew Szulik last week accused the media of thinking he was a dopehead. Launching a new version of Linux operating system software he said: "I've been talking about it [Linux in the enterprise] since 1999 and you guys thought I was smoking dope." Oops!

Bad

Computerisation helped end centuries of tradition last week, as Taiwan's parliament passed a new law that official documents in Chinese can no longer be written from right to left. Texts must now go from left to right, the same way as Western languages, Tsai Ting-kui, spokesman for the cabinet-level research, development and evaluation commission, said. The change to standardised writing also means that bureaucrats will also abandon the top-to-bottom style and go horizontal, he added. Taiwan first considered switching writing styles early last year, to cope with increased computer use and to fit in with international standards.

Ugly

Who can resist a new PC? With falling prices, replacing your PC is more attractive than upgrading. What's the harm? A recent United Nations University (UNU) study into the environmental effects of PCs, however, found that around 1.8 tons of raw materials are required to make the average desktop PC and 17in CRT monitor, roughly equal in terms of weight to the total amount of materials used to produce a midsize car. "It's a big problem," says Eric Williams, a researcher at UNU Tokyo and one of the study's co-authors. The UNU report issued in March recommends upgrading a PC's memory or storage space before replacing it, and if the machine has to go, donating the old computer.

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