GBU

Good

The latest Swiss Army Knife doesn't just come with scissors, knife and screwdriver, but a 128MB memory stick. So if you are lost in the bush you can still transport your presentations to the office. Manufacturer Victorinox is marketing it as a tool for office johnies aka businesspeople as it also has a ballpoint pen.

It's the early 1990s, and this developer needs to make sure the communications software he's working on will function with most commonly used modems. "We prepared a list of the top dozen brands and sent the request to the corporate IT purchasing department," she says. "A few weeks later, we received 12 identical modems. When we asked why, Purchasing proudly replied, 'We were able to save more than $100 over your original request by getting a volume discount on the same model!'"

Bad

Security consultant plugs his laptop into a government client's network to run his online demo. "In the first minute, my laptop security software registers attempted attacks by MS-Blaster, SQL Slammer and Nimda worms, all from local LAN addresses," he says. "My sales guy asks the client whether he was aware of the 'unhealthy atmosphere' in his office, and if he'd like to see our solution. The client says, 'No, we don't have budget for that' -- and that's the end of that!"

This client stresses the importance of security -- everything has to be behind the firewall, says security consultant whose company has just taken over the work. But when he checks the firewall settings, he discovers that all traffic is passing through. "Seems the previous providers had a lot of trouble making everything talk, so they just opened the firewall up completely to reduce complaints," he sighs. "But technically, they did have a firewall."

Ugly

Hot on the heels of Computer Associates ousting its CEO as a result of accounting improprieties, Nortel Networks fired its CEO Frank Dunn as well as its CFO last week. The story is similar to the CA tale, the company is being investigated in both the US and Canada by security regulators. As a result Nortel delayed its first-quarter results and said it had to revise the numbers it reported for all four of last year's quarters. Then said it will also revise 2002, oh yeah and 2001. Board member William Owens is the new CEO.

E-mails to Sandra_Rossi@idg.com.au

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