First Coffee for June 29, 2005

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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First Coffee for June 29, 2005

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Bob Dylan’s The Bootleg Series Vol. 5, songs from his 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue finally released officially in 2002:

Eerily enough, there’s an almost direct parallel to the Brand X contretemps elsewhere in the world – Latvia’s two mobile operators “appear unwilling to cooperate with newcomer Lithuania’s Bite GSM, which is eager to lease mobile infrastructure to begin operations, possibly setting the stage for a confrontation,” according to The Baltic Times a couple weeks ago.

Basically, LMT and Tele2 don’t want to lease their infrastructure to Bite GSM while Bite installs its own relay network.

Bite GSM won the tender for Latvia’s third GSM license on March 31, which evidently meant it now has to sink 150 million euros ($180 million) in building a new network, but “in the meantime the Danish-owned company would like to use competitors’ infrastructure in order to launch operations and begin receiving revenue,” the Times says.

The Latvians aren’t having any of it. “We are not considering such a possibility now,” Petras Kirdeika, acting CEO of Tele2 has said. LMT, Latvia’s leading mobile operator, said that it won’t lease its network to other operators, pleading a lack of excess capacity. Bite officials have offered to cover the costs of expanding LMT’s capacity. “Bite me,” LMT President Juris Binde said (in essence).

So why isn’t the Latvian government forcing these network owners to let competitors use their stuff? Liga Rimsevica, spokeswoman of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission, said – imagine – that it’s the mobile operators’ right to sell their network to whomever they want to: “Presently we do not have a lever for putting additional commitments on LMT and Tele2 regarding the lease of their networks.”

Companies getting to use their own property to further their own business interests and not be forced to help their direct competitors – what a wacky idea, huh?

Industry observer David Paddon says that AOL Canada “is preparing to make a major change in the way it generates revenues, starting with the launch of a Canadian website that delivers free video and other content over a broadband connection.”

AOL Canada’s new plan is to generate revenues from advertising and search engines, giving consumers access to free content, including from AOL parent Time Warner.

Paddon calls the move a “radical departure for AOL Canada, which has been charging subscribers a monthly fee for access to Time Warner content, delivered primarily over dial-up lines with the help of its own specialized software.”

After the change any standard web browser and high-speed broadband connection from any service provider can access the revamped America Online plans a similar revamp of in mid-July.

AOL Canada announced the nationwide availability of AOL TotalTalk, its residential phone service based on VoIP technology on June 1st, following the initial availability of AOL TotalTalk in the Greater Toronto Area earlier this year.

Amae Software officials are announcing “successful deployment” of an Amae CI Suite upgrade that automatically integrates records from leading quality monitoring vendors including Verint Systems, Witness Systems, Nice Systems, and eTalk (Autonomy).

Gerald Wluka, VP of Products at Amae Software said call center managers and supervisors can now “review their customer experiences from their customer’s perspective and compare with the actual recorded call. This gives management, supervisors, and quality personnel a complete picture regarding service quality and customer opportunities and issues.”

To curry favor with management, the new functionality is designed to save management time and effort. It can also be used to validate and calibrate QA scores and allow companies to look at interactions from the company and customer’s perspective.

Call center quality management products will typically do things like let supervisors listen to and record phone conversations while they’re viewing the agent’s desktop activities, quietly and unobtrusively checking in on agent desktops as the call center operates. The software will come with a customizable scoring report card across categories for agent evaluation, such as presentation, product knowledge, disclosure, handling objections or whatever other criteria the call center supervisors desire.

Public service announcement: According to Reuters, “Pakistan’s data and Internet links with the outside world will be affected until at least the weekend as repairs are carried out on a faulty undersea fiber-optic cable.”

The cable malfunctioned late Monday, cutting the country’s international data links, including the Internet. Satellite back-up systems were brought on-stream on Wednesday, restoring some Internet access. Pakistan has only one international cable Internet link.

Singapore-based Pacific Internet Limited’s fully-owned subsidiary Pacific Internet (Australia) Pty Limited has won a tender to connect 46 Fantastic Furniture stores to a secure broadband private network.

Revealing the soul of an IT manager, Peter Vernon, IT Manager, Fantastic Furniture said the company was impressed with, among other things, that “their detailed project implementation process ensured all stores were connected without hassles, and on time.”

Vernon said the company also plans to introduce a centralized e-mail system and an intranet for increased store and head office productivity.

One of the most enjoyably well-written books First CoffeeSM has ever read is 1982’s Miss Manners’ Guide To Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, by etiquette columnist Judith Martin. The new version has been released. Excerpts from an interview with Martin by Tim Engle of Knight-Ridder Newspapers:

Q: I hear that this book is 100-plus pages longer than the 1982 original… we’ve come up with lots of new ways to be rude?

A: Oh, yes. The chief one is social extortion: “We are registered at ...” it often starts out. Or cash bars. Or, “Come to dinner but bring the dinner.” We’ve virtually destroyed the charming old customs of the exchange of hospitality, of the exchange of presents. If I give you my shopping list and you give me yours, what’s the point?

Q: I know you’re opposed to cash as a gift. What about gift cards?

A: That means, “You go buy it, I’m not going to bother trying to do it.” That’s the next thing from cash. And the gift registries. All these things. The point of presents is: “I’m fond of you, and here’s my best guess as to what would please you.” A gift certificate, if anything, is probably less charming than cash because it limits what you can do with it.

Q: Let’s talk about some recent technologies. There are so many ways someone on a cell phone can be rude. What’s at the top of your list?

A: I worry about the person who is being called. When you hear these conversations being shouted in the street – and by the way, there were always etiquette rules against shouting – what do they consist of? “I’m crossing the street now, the light changed, I might get a cup of coffee, looks like rain.” Somebody has to listen to this drivel! There’s always been a rule in place against boring people senseless, but this is a new way to do it.

Q: Does your column get one kind of question more than any other?

A: Well, for some years now it’s been mostly about greed: the people who want me to whitewash their greed – “What’s the polite way of asking people for cash?” – or the people who are victims of this and have come, pathetically, to believe that this is a social obligation of theirs.

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