The news as
of the first cup of coffee this morning, 2 May 2005, and the music is the 1970 Deutsche
Grammophon recording of Beethoven’s Sonata for piano and violin No. 5 in F
major, op. 24, “Spring,” Yehudi Menuhin on violin and Wilhelm Kempff on piano:
Qwest’s Carriages To Pumpkins Tonight?
Qwest has said its nearly $10 billion offer for MCI will be withdrawn at midnight tonight if MCI's board does not officially switch its support away from a deal with Verizon by that time.
Last weekend MCI declared its $7.5 billion deal with Verizon inferior to the Qwest bid and indicated it would change its recommendation to shareholders if it did not receive a revised proposal from Verizon.
Verizon says the existing deal entitles it to wait for MCI shareholders to vote on the buyout at the current price of $23.10 per share. However, analysts and investors think Verizon will come out with a juiced-up offer to blow Qwest out of the water.
Of course nobody believes Qwest’s “best and final” offer of
$30 a share is either.
First Coffee© thinks Verizon should just let Qwest have MCI at the drunken sailor terms they’ve promised, collect its $250 million breakup fee from MCI, go have a beer while Qwest sinks from its hubris-induced stupidity then stroll back and snap up Qwest-MCI a fire-sale price.
Avaya’s New IP Stuff
Avaya is announcing the next generation of its Internet Protocol telephony software and applications. The new products deliver IP communications with what Avaya’s claiming are “advanced levels of survivability, reliability and collaboration.”
The new products include the next generation of Avaya's IP telephony software, Avaya Communication Manager 3.0, a core part of the company's suite of MultiVantage Communications Applications. In addition to new capabilities, this software provides support for open Web Services- based applications development.
There’s also a new version of the Avaya Converged Communications Server, a software tool with the application protocol interfaces of Avaya's new IP telephony software and the advanced functionality of Session Initiation Protocol which supports real-time collaboration and presence.
Aventail: “Throw Away Your IPSec VPNs!
Aventail wants you to throw away your IPSec VPN solution for
remote access. The SSL VPN tech firm today launched an aggressive campaign
allowing enterprises to trade in their current IPSec or SSL VPN solution and
receive 20% off the cost of new Aventail appliances, valued at up to $100,000.
Aventail wants you to throw away your IPSec VPN solution for remote access. The SSL VPN tech firm today launched an aggressive campaign allowing enterprises to trade in their current IPSec or SSL VPN solution and receive 20% off the cost of new Aventail appliances, valued at up to $100,000.
This campaign comes on the heels of Aventail's latest platform release, the Aventail Smart SSL VPN, which is being marketed as “a single solution for all remote access, providing universal application reach to even complex applications like VoIP with complete security and control.”
Aventail’s claiming this makes it “the first VPN solution, IPSec or SSL, to guarantee secure communication to all resources, for both managed and unmanaged devices, with the most comprehensive clientless and client-based access options.” Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, First Coffee© doesn’t pretend to know for sure.
NZ Telecom Mulling Wireless Delivery
New Zealand Telecom’s chief technology officer Murray Milner
says Telecom could use wireless technology to replace copper cables running
from telephone poles into people's houses, according to Stuff.
New Zealand Telecom’s chief technology officer Murray Milner says Telecom could use wireless technology to replace copper cables running from telephone poles into people's houses, according to Stuff.
One scenario would be for Telecom to replace copper cables on telephone poles with fiber optic cable and then use wireless access points attached to "lampposts" to serve "two or three homes.”
Despite advances in ADSL technology, copper phone lines may never provide the capacity Telecom needs to deliver "triple play" voice, broadband Internet and high-definition video to households through their phone lines.
Telecom is running fiber optic cable into new homes being
built in the Flatbush subdivision in Auckland in a trial of home-to-the-home,
but admits the costs of replacing existing copper lines with fiber nationwide
would be “astronomical.”
Mobile Phones Back On In Nepal
Nepal's royalist government freed the chief of the country's biggest communist group from house arrest, an official said on Monday, two days after King Gyanendra ended a state of emergency in the country.
Nepali authorities also restored mobile phone services, run
by state-owned Nepal Telecom, that were snapped after Gyanendra
imposed the emergency on Feb. 1.
The king, faced with mounting international pressure to restore democracy and free politicians, bowed at the weekend and lifted the emergency but has retained all extraordinary powers he assumed on February 1.
The royal government had cut off all phones and blocked internet access when it imposed the emergency to prevent politicians from organising protests, but restored landline services after a week.
"Mobile phones have just started," a Reuters correspondent said on Monday, using his mobile phone for the first time since Feb. 1. Other users also reported their mobile phones were working.Sumatran Coffee To Get Scarce
The Indonesian island of Sumatra was one of the hardest hit
by the December earthquake and tsunami, and while the greatest tragedy by far
is the loss of over 100,000 lives and billions of dollars in damages, First
Coffee© notes that a nasty side effect is a steep decline in the world’s supply
of Sumatran coffee.
The Indonesian island of Sumatra was one of the hardest hit by the December earthquake and tsunami, and while the greatest tragedy by far is the loss of over 100,000 lives and billions of dollars in damages, First Coffee© notes that a nasty side effect is a steep decline in the world’s supply of Sumatran coffee.
While the coffee is grown at the island’s higher altitudes and the farms themselves are intact, the roads are in ruins, making it extraordinarily difficult to get coffee out of the area. Rebels are reportedly hampering relief efforts as well.
Sumatra is the source of Kopi Luwak, probably accurately
described as “the rarest coffee in the world.” The beans are partially
fermented from having been passed through the Common Palm civet cat’s digestive
system. (First Coffee© is absolutely not making any of this up.)
The animals, now an endangered species, prowl the Sumatran and Javan coffee plantations at night eating the ripest cherries. The cherry stones, which eventually form coffee beans, are then collected by cleaning through their droppings. Only about 50 kilos of the coffee are collected each year.
One British merchant is selling it for 15 pounds sterling ($28) per 100 grams, which would make about eight cups. “It’s the most aromatic coffee I have ever smelt,” the merchant claims, evidently at a loss for how else to market coffee made from cat droppings.
It goes for about $75 per quarter pound. Three hundred bucks for a pound of copraphagic coffee... in some lower circle of Hell P.T. Barnum is laughing his head off.
First Coffee© recommends an Italian-style stovetop
espresso coffee maker. Be sure to use a low heat setting.