New connection cables, email - the outdated form of communication and speed vs. accuracy

What do we have this week…  New cables! Old email! Interest piqued?  Read on.

On your marks, get set…. Cables!

Whenever people talk about the cables connecting New Zealand to the rest of the Internet, you either get cliches (“Tyranny of distance!”), inaccuracies (“One cut and we’re isolated!!!”), or lamentation about a perceived monopoly (“Southern Cross (SXC) is the only cable”). A lot of that has to do with the fact that not much has changed since the SXC went live in 2000. Well it now looks like we might be in a situation where by 2020 we have two new cables. One by new entrant Hawaiki, who last week signed up a company to run their landing stations, and the other one being a new cable announced by Southern Cross.

As far as InternetNZ is concerned, we don’t mind if it’s ‘one’ or ‘other’ or ‘both’ in this situation. The only outcome we want to avoid is ‘neither.’ With UFB fibre at Gigabit speeds, and the prospect of much faster mobile connections, our within-NZ connections are looking good. But without good international links, even with local Content Delivery Networks, this could look like “the world’s fastest national intranet” as IITP’s Techblog put it.

Welcome to the post-email enterprise: what Skype Teams means in a slack-leaning world

So I have this idea… It’s quite radical… It makes lots of people feel very uncomfortable. Basically the idea is: “Email is an anachronism.”

anachronism (noun) “A thing belonging or appropriate to a period other than that in which it exists, especially a thing that is conspicuously old-fashioned.”

So we must say that we were pretty happy when I read that someone else agrees with me, and points to Microsoft’s release of Skype Teams to compete with Slack as further proof.

Here at InternetNZ, we try and embrace new technologies that make sense and assist us to get out work done better. In fact, one of the Issues Team Mantras is “Do it this decade!”. That's not a comment on the fact that it normally takes us longer than 10 years to deliver projects, instead it is a reminder that we should be using technologies which are relevant to THIS decade not LAST decade. After all, we’re called InternetNZ, not Internet Museum NZ. In fact look out for a future blog all about the tools we use internally and how they embody this mantra.

The Internet giveth and the Internet taketh away just as quickly.

We’ve all become used to the speed of news on the Internet. You don’t have to wait for the evening news, or the morning newspaper anymore, before you have juicy tidbits of information at your fingertips.

There was once a time when all of the news that we consumed was fastidiously fact checked and confirmed by multiple independent sources. All too often now in a rush to get a new blog post, or the Facebook post for the day, we compromise accuracy for haste.

Here’s an example. Last week SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, announced that it heard a signal which looked a little bit strange. Lots of news outlets rushed to fill the Internet with reports such as this one below.

Only to have to retract it a couple of days later...

Maybe sometimes we’re better NOT to be operating at Internet speed. Or if we do, make sure we’re not sacrificing quality and rigor.