The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on November 24, 1992 · Page 36
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The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia · Page 36

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Issue Date:
Tuesday, November 24, 1992
Page 36
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ffs' s-rtrti atiEsoAy 24 November 1992 Age WordPerfect foi Windows, DOS, ' I OS2, jhuijm andUNK 008 99? Edited by CHARLES WRIGHT- TilTrTV ilijgh cost relying on 'new elite urn the office By CHARLES WRIGHT , We Australians are resourceful people. Our ability to mend practically anything with a piece of barbed wire or some baling twine is so imbedded in the national sense of identity that they really ought to be included in the flag, or the coat of arms. ' But when something goes wrong with our computers, the first response of the average Australian is to find an expert fast. In offices across the nation, all of them filled with people who don't know much about computers, there exists a small collection of the new elite computer "experts", "gurus", or "CREEPS", short for "computer responsible people". When anything goes wrong as it does several times a day or when somebody has to do something new and terrifyingly obscure, urgent consultations immediately ensue with the oracle. It's a case of the bewildered beseeching the beieagured. In some cases, the experts are professional computer staff, but more frequently they are coworkers who happen to have demonstrated a degree of familiarity with computers. A recent American study has shown that this pool of unofficial expertise is costing companies a fortune. At the State Electricity Commission, for instance, George Skarbek is employed as a computer systems officer. His official job is to maintain and administer a network of about 50 PC users four VAX minicomputers with about 30 or 40 users. He also gets involved with some planning and program development. But because Skarbek is an enthusiastic and experienced PC user, the word has got around the SEC that if you want to get something done, Skarbek is your man. Several times a day people turn up at his desk, asking him how to fix a problem, or how to accomplish something a little out of the ordinary with an application generating a table of contents In WordPerfect, perhaps, or writing macros in Lotus 1-2-3. "It takes up a lot of my time," says Skarbek. "Sometimes I can spend half a day sorting something out." It's not just the novices who call for help. Sometimes Skarbek gets inquiries from members of the computer department. People like Skarbek are a natural outgrowth of the downsizing move that is placing more and more PC applications on office desktops. A co-worker with a little flair and a lot of hands-on experience frequently knows more about a computer application than someone from the MIS department, and it seems only logical to consult him or her, rather than a harassed technician. But according to a study by Nolan Norton & Co, a Boston consulting unit of KPMG Peat Marwick, this unofficial help network is probably the single biggest cost of PC implementation. The 'Wall Street Journal' printed results of the Nolan Norton study of 10 big US companies, including Ford Motor Co, Xerox Corp and Sprint Corp, that found that time spent by PC users help ing other PC users costs JUS6000 to $15,000 a year for every office PC. That overhead far exceeds the budgeted costs of buying PCs and networn equipment, and information systems staff, which Nolan Norton's survey put at anything from $2000 to $6500 per PC annually. News of the survey didn't take long to reach those people whose business is being affected by the spread of desktop computers. The Melbourne branch of IBM, for instance, has distributed a summary to its sales force, to enable them to point out the fact that mainframes may in fact be a great deal cheaper than anybody realised. That seems a fairly optimistic interpretation, but the report indicates that corporations need to study the financial implications of downsizing much more closely, identify these hidden problems, and come up with solutions. Australian Airlines has tried to formalise the situation with a 24-hour help desk, answering users' questions and resolving problems. (Most of the problems in their case seem to involve difficulties restarting printers when they run out of paper, or have ribbons changed.) But according to Stuart McMinn, from the airline's information services group, some users still tap the unofficial help network, although I believe only to a minor extent. "People tend to take the attitude that, 'I know Joe Blow can fix it quicker'," says McMinn. "I don't think you will ever stamp it out. If you work in an area that has a group of people, they talk to their friends first." At the SEC, the informal net work has at least tacit approval from Skarbek's superiors. "I've been thinking about it for a while," says Skarbek, "and I think it's part of my job. As far as the organisation is concerned it's faster for people to come to me, rather than spend a lot of time trying to find the answer in a manual." But because the load is beginning to affect his ability to fulfil his primary responsibilities "frankly, I'm being over-run" Skarbek has taken steps to devolve expertise downward. He has established what he calls a "subset" of experts in various areas. "One guy is very learned in WordPerfect, for instance, and someone else now knows a lot about Harvard Graphics. I pass those queries on to them." Continued: PAGE 37 Penny-pinching way to the bank Further evidence that Bill Gates is engaged in a bizarre, complex and almost certainly one-sided game with the American press emerged at last week's ComdexFall '92 computer show. America's wealthiest $US7 billion ($A10.2 billion) man turned up for a magazine cover shoot in a torn Microsoft T-shirt, and had to literally take one off an employee's back to complete the photo opportunity. Given that the photographer was' from 'Time' magazine, it was an event that was not likely to go unreported, thus further burnishing Gates's reputation as a man who has a not altogether healthy relationship with money. Stories of the Microsoft founder and chairman holding up supermarket queues searching for a grocery token, then accepting small change from someone else in the line, have launched a series of uncomplimentary books. Another, titled simply 'Gates', hits the stands next month. Advertising cards in the Comdex press room put it this way: "Bill Gates has enough money to buy every man, woman and child in America a copy of this book. But he probably won't." Nor is anyone likely to ask. Every man, woman and child at Comdex certainly every cabbie, casino worker and slot-machine worker was gasping at the fact that Gates had flown in to the nation's high-roller capital economy class. SIUCON BITS He caught a flight through Reno to save some money, shoving his garment bag into the overhead rack just like everybody else, to save a few dollars. The fact there may be more to this than meets the eye emerged from the syndicate that distributes a comic strip called 'Outland', by the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Berkeley Breathed. Breathed, who recently moved to Seattle, the Washington State headquarters of Microsoft, co-opted Gates as a central character of two strips, sub-titled 'Another Episode of The Secret Life of Bachelor Tycoon. According to Suzanne Welton, production editor for the syndicate. Gates is trying to buy the originals of the strip, because he thought they were funny. "It's good to see that people still have a sense of humor," said Welton. Acrobatic documents Acrobat, a family of products that works together to create "the portable document" something that can be created, displayed and printed independently of hardware, operating systems and networking systems, won Adobe the prized 'Best of the Show' award from products exhibited by more than 2000 companies. Acrobat, which also won the 'Most Significant Technology' award, is based on a PostScript-based file format called the Portable Document Format or PDF. Modern modem AT&T Paradine has announced the development of what it claims is the world's fastest modem, able to transmit data at 28,800 bits per second over standard telephone lines. It's likely to be a matter of academic interest to the bulk of the world's modem users, who are still communicating at 2400 bits per second, despite the fact that the current technology offers a peak of 14,400bps. Pen is less mighty Dan Bricklin, the creator of the Visi-calc spreadsheet that launched the personal computer revolution, is disarmingly frank about the limitations of pen-based application software, which his company. Slate Corp, manufactures. Bricklin, a vice-president, says while "pen computing is real" and "these guys are not blowing smoke", finding hardware to run it reliably remains a problem. Backlit screens are a must, but that reduces battery life. Some units aren't rugged enough, and standard handwriting recognisers can't cope with poor handwriting, or even correctly identify block characters with acceptable accuracy. The 5th Wave by Rich Tennant muteworld computer world There's nothing coincidental about the fact that cartoonist Rich Tennant is an accomplished cook. He once described making something that he called 'Cat Scratch Salad' by cutting up red peppers finer than a matchstick, so all the greens looked like they'd been set upon by an angry feline. That sums up just why his computer cartoons, The 5th Wave, have gained such a devoted following. Tennant makes a joyous salad of the computer world, capturing that blend of menace and absurdity, of sheer bewilderment marking the Interface between humanity and technology. He worked at different jobs before the computer editor at the San Jose 'Mercury News', in the capital (if there is a capital) of Silicon Valley, started running his work. Short of a name for the cartoons, he remembered a book by Alvln Toffler, in which he wrote about the information revolution being the latest of three waves after the agricultural age and the Industrial revolution to transform technology. Tennant decided his cartoons would mark the next wave ... but typically, he'd miscounted. The 5th Wave will appear weekly in Computer Age. A language set to take place i ofCobol 1 An Australian-developed programming language is being positioned to replace Cobol, the ageing language in which most of the world's commercial software has been written. i-a . Although it seems like a tail order, Australian companies; Including a national bank, which have been developing applications with the language, Meta4, report that it has enabled them to significantly reduce development timet a critical component in the corporate world. -- Meta4 is an object-oriented language, an industrial-strength version of products such as C', which is used to generate Windows applications. But Meta4 allows you to write not only for graphical user interfaces such as Microsoft's powerful new Windows NT, but also to run them on dumb terminals under UNIX. It generates about 100 times less code than conventional languages. The developer, the Sydney-based Deen Systems, claims that programmers can learn the language within two days, and within a week are able to write highly advanced applications. ; Said its marketing manager, Mr Chip pverstreet: "It means that organisations don't have to throw out their existing investments in mainframes. It's a non-threatening way of allowing something like Windows NT into the corporation and using it as a testing ground." Although Meta4 has not yet been officially released it's expected to be launched in January it has been slowly appearing In companies that are prepared to adopt new approaches to gain a competitive advantage. .- Microsoft is particularly interested in the product. Deen Systems has had 22 programmers working 10 man years on the project. Recently it floated it as a separate company, Meta4 Development Pty Ltd, 49 per cent of which is being sold to investors. This week it expects to sign a deal with an international software package producer for a portion of that company. - tK vttnts - it Irs i V r ' ' sGifieftGuDuiigj ft A TOPICS ft go Now that we've put the user friendly price tag of $3495 onto our powerful 40MHz PC, it will be moving quicker than ever. Especially since it also comes with Windows and the entire Microsoft Office software package. Microsoft Office lets you whiz through letters, spreadsheets, presentation graphics and electronic mail with ease. And the 340dx's upgradability lets you keep up with the future. Of course, this offer ends soon. So the only thing faster than this computer will have to be you. For more information, phone DEC direct or contact your local dealer. I Veen feto MATURES: . 4MB Memory 106MB Hard Disk Keyboard, Mouse Super VGA Colour Monitor 128kB Cache DOS 5.0 & Windows 3.1 Microsoft Office S3 Graphics Accelerator Local Bus Video mmmu mi miu, men hot. Df ALIUS: NSW Co-Cam 008 805 386 Computerland Bankstown (02) 709 6366 Computerland Newcaatle (049) 62 2250 M CMC (08) 232 0799 WA Profile Solutions (09) 321 9373 Computer Village (09) 227 9988 CDM Profeaaional Technology (09) 444 0844 MO Data 3 (07) 371 8088 Co-Cam 008 805 386 AMS (07) 368 2480 ACT Co-Cam 008 805 386 VIC Co-Cam 008 805 386 DEC digital laga arc traaaaMras af Digital EaalaMtat Carparaliaa. MS DOS. Offlca Wiajow, ara ragialarad Iraaaa, rk, af Mfcfaaaft Caraarallan. HRA DIGMtl A CompAir ANALYSTPROGRAMMER UNIX PLUS 4GL PLUS DATASYSTEM ADMIN SALARY S3SK PLUS NEGOTIABLE A major supplier of equipment, parts and service to the mining, manufacturing and construction industries is seeking an Analyst Programmer at their head office located in the SE suburbs. The person wo ara seeking will have been involved in the implementation, development and ongoing support in a distribution and service organisation operating a mutti-user in-house system. You will need good business sense with excellent communication skills and have a good understanding of integrated commercial package systems. You will be able to work independently and have a minimum of 5 years experience and be aged from 28 years. A flexible hands-on approach, an abitrty to deal with users and management at all levels plus good programming skills m a Unix46L environment would be an advantage. Applications in writing jo: M.I.S. M Mater CemMir Mmtrilatla) LM P0 Tm 126 m Wmrtey Vic 3141 Computers, Lasers & Solutions baawfr phone us on. MM (03) 510 5666 CITY Of FRANKSTON A COMPUTER SUPPORT OFFICER (Reference No 201501) The City ot Frankston, an equal opportunity employer, is seeking the services ol a highly motivated person to cany out the role of this challenging position. Council operates a network of PC's and Printers using a Hewlett Packard 486 Vectra running LAN Manager and will shortly upgrade the central computer system to a Hewlett Packard 3000 Series 957LX with over 100 peripherals. The principal responsibilities of the position are to provide support and training for all computer users in the organisation, participate in the development of Council's PC environment and assist in the operation and development of the central computer and word processing systems. Intending applicants should possess tertiary qualifications in computer technology, be able to demonstrate- thorough knowledge of computers and applications including PC's and Local Area Networks. CandTdatea must also possess good ramnwnicatron skills and a capacity to operate in a demanding work iirvironment. The commencing salary for this position is $542.20 per week. Excellent conditions of employrnent include a 9 day fortnight and superannuation. Applications for this position close 4pm Thursday December 3. 1992. Copies of the position description can be obtained by telephoning Ms Jenny Groom on 7641831. Applications quoting the reference no should be addressed to the Personnel Manager, City of Frankston, P.O. Box 490 Frankston 3199 A.H. BUTLER, Chief Executive Officer National Technical Support Sjla?st oeNeaotLl! SUftXrtK0l Y4 5 $$ Packa National ywsHwsupporti, i UNIX environment This is a senior rolifof jfWmg Out mature and experienced person frtW i rang Mid-Range system Hardware knowledge (to lewd OTaflhostk level) and hands-on experiencewttn 0NK (. shell scripts, etc Excellent intematjrirtaH Wfjor selling large system solutions where your expertise In a small but proficient team will be well respected. A proactive style and top client liaison skins are manotwyj Contact: Dale bu Phrle: 820 0i55 Fax: 6253 5464 St. Kildatod Nteffiotfffie, 3004 Make Miiey With Yur Nine CiMpnler Mike excellent pat or full-time profits ftom home wWi your personal computer. For farther information ml our tree "PC Profits" Report, phone or write: PC Dept., Amt Now f mil ill FfMfMSl M, PO In Ml 9mM iwcfJaa, 222. mm (12) 3H MH r(Ht) 25 277S UfTCMCTIACI-il Softcode is one of the few Australian software companies supplying the international mass market. We are a dynamic and growing business with need for innovative and highly motivated people. The frawproLrfd a small team of software experts and we need more. Demorutratabfe skills in DOS, "C" and Windows with the abilfty to work in i team is required. nmm vmmnmma Irrternational and Australia wide technical supoort is an irruortant part of Softcode s business. We require a person with good technical uwwledge of DOS. networks and Windows. Good people skills with a mature, organised approach to work Is essentia). Send resume to: SOFTCODE PTY LTD P.O. Box 7S4. Kaw 3101. bet a htart thai ISIttts FINANCIAL PKGES CONSULTANT $70,000 Consulting role for professional with experience with analysis and : Implementation of a variety of software solutions. Call Lesley. I IT QUALITY CONSULTANT $60,000 NEC : Consulting role with high profile co. for professional with track record of I quality standards, management and delivery, etc. Call Lesley. i RDB4G17UN1X CONSULTANT TO $50,000 I Be responsible for Implementing FinanceDlstributlonManuFacturing ! applications In UNIX4GLRdb environments, locally and overseas. Lots of scope with this role. PROGRESS skills an advantage. Call Lesley. ! TREASURY SYSTEM DEVELOPERTESTER TO $43,000 ; Treasury experience required. Working on UNIX platforms. Dev. exp. not I essential. Emphasis on market knowledge. Testing role. Rel. Database leading to sw metrics and measurement - reusable library role. ; Call Michel. I SUPERANNUATION ANALYST TO $37,000 ! Role Involving testing of exciting new release product. Small cohesive team. Important role In organisation. Role for dedicated Individual. Call Michel. I TESTING COORDINATOR To $35,000 Role involves co-ordinating testing and quality procedures. Dual organisational and technical role. Prefer superannuation experience. ! Call Michel. : CONTRACTS DOSOWIndows PA Immed start. OracleUnix AP Development Project ; WangPace AP : FujltsuCobol AP ; Call Carlo Meneguzzl, lanet Sloane, Lesley Barina, Michel lones : orCarolHendr1ckon(03)6965666. 3 months 3-6 months 3-6 months Call Carol. Call Carol. Call lanet. Call lanet Index Computer Manuement Consultants Pty Ltd 6th Floor, 320 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne 3004 Fax 103) 696 2670 PROGRAMMER ' CITY LOCATION $30K-$35K A full-time Programmer is required in a support role for a Workers' Compensation Insurers System. Experience on TANDEM with Pathway SCOBOLCOBOL desirable. Contact: Mr Rob Quart (03) 60S 2724 udax Information Systems ContutlanW NOVELL NETWARE V4.0 SEMINAR EDUC0M present an overview of NetWtra which will address all the questions Australian MIS Managers and -Administrators are asking regarding the new Enterprise Operating System from NOVELL EDUCOM's Technical Services Manager, Orago Brelih, has recently returned from NOVELL USA's comprehensive NetWare v4.0 Technical Training, and is now able to offer a clear picture of the benefits and reasons for migrating over to NetWare v4.0. The Seminar will cover 1. NetWare v4 l Product Poirttoning NetWare v4.0's position as an Enterprise Network Operating System. 2. NtWara V4.0 Benefits The new features Netware v4.0 has, such as Netware Directory Services and NetWare Directory Tree, will be discussed in context of the following issues: Centralised Management, Wide Area Networking, Administrator and User Network Access, Network Security, Network Reliability, and Improved Network Services. 3. MtgnUoa ol Current NetWare Users to NetWare v4. The migration path for current NetWare users and the benefits for the migration will be discussed in this section of the seminar. 4. QuettkM and Aatwert Specific questions will be addressed regarding the Novell Netware Platform. Vmm: EDUC0M Level 3 455 Bourke Street -MELBOURNE Otto: Tuesday 8th December or Wednesday 9th December Time: 10.00-11.30 am; or 1.00-2.30 pm; or 3.30-5.00 pm To confirm your atMndanc ploiM can Sandra FaHahaw on 670 03M '1 DATA MODELLER Business Process Analysis, 3 months, December. HP 3000, COBOL AP, 3 months, URGENT. IEF CONSULTANT 12 months, January. OS2 PM & C AP required with OS2 Data Base Manager desirable. 3 months. PROJECT DIRECTOR Challenging HRMS project in S.A. HOGAN (INTERSTATE) 3 ODS positions, 6 months, ASAP. C, GUI WINDOWING ENVIRONMENT 12 months, November. IMAS SPECIALIST Strong AS400 skills required. Stan date ASAP. Call Tanya Crawford ' on (03) 286 7001, fax (03) 28o 7522. Call (018)311 546 anytime. 360 Elizabeth StreetMelbourne 3000 ' INGRES AP Version 5, 6 months. - PROJECT SUPPORT TEAM LEADER IEEE software engineering standards, AS3563&TIPSE skills, -' 4 months, ASAP. DB2 or IMS DBDC & COBOL AP's, 1 2 months, November. ". DB2, CICS, COBOL Specialist skills, great contract, 7-1 0 months.Starting ASAP. SENIOR ANALYST PROGRAMMERS DB2, IMS DBDC & COBOL II. Production Support, attractive rates. November, 2-14 months. : ORACLE V6, FORMS 3 Several positions, 3-6 months, ASAP. ANALYST PROGRAMMER CSP, IMSDB, TSOISPF, COBOL, JCL 3 months. ASAP. MCHACWJ4H Andersen Contracting ;is ADIvHiMntf AnAmaMSerWBMServfcaBPiy LM , Incorporated In New Sou WMMtACNaWilt?

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