EuroIS/PraxIS August 2001

Managing reality in Information Systems - strategies for success

Systems Modelling Ltd.


Welcome - Eurois at YahooGroups(dot)com

Euro features

The Euro Trophies awards
Sybiz Vision passes our Euro tests
Forfás Euro converter passes our tests
Euro training resources
Euro Bank Transfer Fees
Did you know?


Worms, Scams, and Code Red
Teoma - a new search engine
How not to make money on the Internet
How to make money on the Internet ;-)

Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group

On the lighter side

39 Web links in this newsletter

About this newsletter, Feedback, and Archives


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August is a holiday month, so I'll get this issue out and then take a few days off! Feel free to post your comments to eurois(at)YahooGroups(dot)com. The archives of this group are on YahooGroups website [30].

Patrick O'Beirne, Editor

Euro Features

Are you sure your software applications can support all the requirements for the business changeover to the euro? Get an independent assessment on their "compliance" or "euro-readiness" with our euro software certification service. [1]

The Euro Trophies awards

The Euro Trophies awards [2] are announced. Unlike the vast majority of French small firms, Paris-based pressure gauge maker City Sensors has already started working in euros. (BusinessEurope  [3] )

Sybiz Vision passes our Euro tests 

Sybiz [4] Vision v2.4 has successfully completed our tests for the accuracy of their euro conversion. We have recommended their package to BASDA for full EMU accreditation. In line with our requirement that their vendor disclose all the pros and cons to their users, they have communicated to their customers that the conversion requires the user to switch to the euro as base currency and that management reports may show rounding differences from the use of three decimal places in storage.

Forfás Euro converter passes our tests

Forfás [5] have produced a training package for retailers,  including a dual-display euro conversion calculator. We have tested it and found it accurate up to converting 78,7564 pounds into euros. This is not true of all euro converters. We have issued an advisory on the FEE euro web site [6] to public authorities and large companies who are considering purchasing calculators for general distribution that they should have them checked to avoid public confusion and arguments in the shops.

Euro training resources 

We have been appointed as Official Euro Partners by the Central Bank, and are available to provide euro training [7] and information to support the national changeover campaign.

Four presentations prepared by the European Commission [8]. They contain slides and commentary. There are also image and sound clips and other illustrations [9] In Ireland, a cash-changeover-oriented presentation [10] is at the ECBI website. 

Euro Bank Transfer Fees

The Financial Times [11] reports that "The Commission is proposing legislation forcing banks to charge the same fees for transferring euros from one European Union country to another as for domestic transactions. However, banks described it as an ill-thought out regulation which could drive up the cost of ordinary bank transfers. According to a survey for the Commission, the average cost of a cross-border bank transfer of E100  within the eurozone is more than E17. This compares with around E1 for a domestic transfer."

Did you know? 

The total weight of the 50 billion euro coins now being made ready is 24 times that of the Eiffel Tower - 10,100 tonnes.

Andy Mayer has launched a new pro-euro UK campaign web site [12]

The Data Converter web site [13] is one of the many sites that I have added to our euro links pages. Visit our euro links pages [32] to [38] and click on the Mind-IT button to receive an automatic email whenever the page changes. The portal to all these is our EMU/Euro index page [31] for other news items. I recommend Euro-Impact [14] as a prime source of in-depth euro reporting and analysis.


Worms, Scams, and Code Red [27] reported that over 1,000 UK companies have been hit  by the SirCam worm, which is competing for the 'fastest spreading malicious program of the year' award. Fortunately, my weekly updated copy of Dr. Solomon's VShield from Priority Data [15] protected my email. If you get a message starting with "Hi! How are you? I send you this file in order to have your advice", that could be it.

The latest SMS scam [16], in which text messages were sent out urging people to call a premium rate number, was one of the more successful high-tech pranks of recent times. also reported that "The  Code Red worm hit one high-profile company - Microsoft. The Code Red worm exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft's Internet Information Server software, which Microsoft  uses to run its own websites. A patch for this hole[28] has been available on Microsoft's virus update site since 18 June. So Microsoft hadn't patched all of its own servers over a month. Ooops!". Further instructions are on Digital Island [29]

Teoma - a new search engine 

This is a beta version of a site that the developers hope to sell. Teoma [17] returns three categories of results, described in a Search Engine Watch article [18]

1) Web pages Highly authoritative pages relevant to search terms
2) Web pages by topic Top result pages are grouped based on their topic keywords.
3) Experts' links These web pages, created by topic experts around the world, contain a list of site links on related general subjects. In addition, they often categorize and provide editorial comments on the web links they list, serving as information resource pages for the related subjects.

The Register [19] describes its operation: "Teoma starts by finding the sites that concern themselves with the search string. Then it takes its rankings from the number of links within these sites to a particular site. It could probably be more easily explained by saying that Google asks about a certain expert in a field and then goes and takes a poll from people in the street over which one they think is best. Teoma would ask all the experts in the field which one of themselves they think is best."

How not to make money on the Internet

A New York Times article on Webvan [20] which closed 9 July reported that it was by far the largest failure to date, in terms of money invested - $1.2Bn, and employees affected - 2,000. When it floated at $8.7bn its sales had only reached $3m - a ridiculous valuation ratio.  "The grocery business is known for intense competition, low margins, and fragile and perishable inventory. And the company had to deploy its own fleet of trucks rather than relying on delivery services. Webvan was founded in 1997 by Louis Borders, who believed that the use of automated warehouses and scheduling software could make the company so efficient that it could let customers have their groceries delivered to their doors at no more cost than if they picked them up at the supermarket. He recruited Mr. Shaheen, who left his $5-million-a-year job running Andersen Consulting. Webvan was quite successful in getting people to try its service - once. Buying groceries online turned out to take too much personal organising. By contrast, Tesco is a British supermarket chain with a successful online unit that combines warehouses for their delivery operation with existing stores, a structure with far lower costs than the approach Webvan used."

How to make money on the Internet ;-)

Offer affiliates $1000 commission to get people to attend your $5000 seminars where you tell people how to make money on the internet by ... guess what. This web site [21] is a marvellous example of persuasive writing; it's a case study in its play on the emotions of greed and fear. It went off the top of my hype detector scale with words like "effortless profits, phenomenally profitable, top secret, astounding", reinforced by warnings of "instant financial ruin" from recession if you don't attend the "priceless seminar on stealth tactics and psychological tricks for incredible earnings, wealthiest, dazzling mega-profits". But wait, there's more! At the end of the 1-day seminar, you will receive an official certificate with your name on it, just like an MBA! 

Project Management Proverbs

If you fail to plan you are planning to fail. 

The more you plan the luckier you get. 

Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group

I'm promoting a symposium in Dublin July 4-5 2002 on "Spreadsheet Risks". This is an idea of the European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group (EuSpRIG), set up by people from the University of Greenwich and HMCE VAT Audit. It belongs in the general area of end-user computing management and should interest:
- Internal IT Auditors
- Consultants and Risk Management advisors
- Financial planners and Accountants
- Spreadsheet modelling specialists
- Quality assurance and development methods experts
- Audt and testing tools vendors and trainers
- End User Computing training and support staff
- Computer Science Departments especially those interested in human errors
- Business and Economics Departments, financial modelling especially
- Management Science Departments, modelling especially
- Professional societies (CISA, ICS, IBAC, ICAI, IIA, ISACA, etc)

You can read my notes on the 2001 symposium [22], visit their home page at Greenwich University [23], or take part in the Spreadsheet Risks discussion list [24].

This is an early opportunity for expressions of interest for sponsors who want their names on the programme, potential delegates to attend and speakers to present papers.

Reply to me directly if you'd like to discuss this further.

A nostalgic postscript: Do you remember VisiCalc? You can download the original version from Dan Bricklin's web site [25] as 

The lighter side

A UK start-up unveiled an online politics game [26] just before the election. Players have the chance to lie and cheat their way to the top of the greasy political pole. The game's creators are now looking at adding some extra features, including room for "more corruption and possibly even perjury". And presumably the online equivalent of a 'go direct to jail' card. 


[1] Euro compliance software certification service

[2]  Euro Trophies awards

[3]  City Sensors, Paris.

[4] Sybiz Ireland

[5] Forfás EMUAware web site for business in Ireland

[6] Federation of European Accountants

[7] Euro Training

[8]|lang=5.  Euro presentations from the Commission

[9] Video and audio euro information materials 

[10] ECBI Powerpoint presentation on the euro


[12]  UK Yes Campaign resources

[13] Data Converter web site

[14] Euro-Impact purchase online from EUBusiness

[15] VShield updates

[16] SMS message scam

[17] TEOMA new search engine

[18] Search Engine Watch on Teoma

[19] The Register on Teoma

July 10, 2001 Online Grocer WebVan Calls It Quits After Running Out of Money. 

[21] Guerilla Marketing Boot Camp

[22] Eusprig 2001 Spreadsheet Risks Symposium, Amsterdam.

[23] EuSpRIG home page

[24] EuSpRIG discussion group

[25] Dan Bricklin, author of VisiCalc

[26] UK Politics game

[27] Video and text coverage of IT news

[28]  Microsoft Code Red information

[29]  Instructions on protection and removal of Code Red.

[30] The EuroIS group

[31] Euro & EMU index page

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on the IT Impact of the euro. Email discussion forum, rounding, triangulation, euro compliance, case studies.

Download documents on how to get the euro symbol in Windows and on printers, fonts with the euro symbol, converters and calculators, code analysis and database conversion tools.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on EMU, economics, and the euro. Economic and Monetary Union, conversion rates, exchange rates.

Links to web sites with national changeover plans and information for business and consumers, trade links with USA and the rest of the world.

Links to non-country-specific web sites: European Commission, commercial sites, search engines etc. Includes the European Union and Euro-Sceptic Web Rings.

Glossary of EMU, list of Euro-papers, Publications, Books.

Articles from 1996 to date on EMU, the euro, I.T. and Information Systems. 

[39] Managing the Euro in Information Systems: Strategies for Success, Addison Wesley 1999, ISBN 0-201-60482-5. The accompanying CD has software, fonts, web links, and europapers. The book is aimed at IT managers and business executives. It covers history, regulations, business strategy, I.T. strategy, project planning, conversion methods, and case studies. 11 chapters, appendices, 368 pages.

Patrick O'Beirne

Copyright 2001 Systems Modelling Limited, . Reproduction allowed provided the report is copied in its entirety and with this copyright notice.


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Patrick O'Beirne, Editor


"Praxis" means model or example, from the Greek verb "to do". The name is chosen to reflect our focus on practical solutions to IS problems, avoiding hype. If you like acronyms, think of it as "Patrick's reports and analysis across Information Systems".

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This newsletter is prepared in good faith and the information has been taken from observation and other sources believed to be reliable. Systems Modelling Ltd. (SML) does not represent expressly or by implication the accuracy, truthfulness or reliability of any information provided. It is a condition of use that users accept that SML has no liability for any errors, inaccuracies or omissions. The information is not intended to constitute legal or professional advice. You should consult a professional at Systems Modelling Ltd. directly for advice that is specifically tailored to your particular circumstances.

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