Friday, September 30, 2005 offers blogs, the friendster-like Latvian online social networking service with more than 400 000 users, has started offering blogging. So far, the service looks rudimentary, merely text entry, but I haven't explored it in full. The blog platform works with Latvian (a language with diacritics, like ā č ļ ž ģ) and I suppose it would work with simpler alphabets, like English. It will be interesting to see how this develops. In any case, draugiem founder Lauris Liberts is making good on a promise to offer true blogging. Before that, offered a kind of public opinion platform where people could add lots of comment. The original opinions were selected, I believe, by some kind of editorial process (not any idiot could get published). Interesting to see how this will develop. Blogging in Latvia has been a kind of widespread underground process, with some blogs gathered around the rather difficult which may have changed its name to something else. Most Latvian blogs appear to be rather narrow focus and personal, as do, for that matter, most blogs anywhere (just cruise on, my plaform, on the random click thing). Now that this is done, why not open some real opportunities with audio blogging/podcasting and maybe some videoblogs (vlogs)?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The rumor was nonsense

The rumor of an executive shift at a major Latvian IT company was bullshit. So it goes. It would have had some potential as a story if it had been true. It would have been something that could have led to a start-up along the lines of Jobs leaves Apple, starts Next (well, on a much smaller Latvian scale). But nothing of the kind is happening, no names will be mentioned. So it goes. Back to Riga again Sunday night. San Francisco, Boston, Stockholm, all in two weeks. As soon as I am in the right time zone, the phone starts ringing. Back to the zoo...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Exec shift at a big Latvian IT company

Some executives may be reshuffled at a major Latvian IT company. Some kind of strategy disagreement with the owners?? Who knows... More I cannot say as I may have to do this for the day job newspaper. The person involved has promised to talk about it on Wednesday, September 28. We shall see. I am sitting writing this on a WiFi network at Newark Airport, heading for Stockholm. Pleasant visit with my family (parents, brother and his kids). On to Riga on Sunday.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Hanging out in Newton, MA, USA

I am taking a break to see my parents and brother (and his family) here in the Boston area. Heading to Sweden on Tuesday, back to Latvia on October 2. Nothing much to blog. Gotta give it a rest sometime. Seeing IDG News on Monday, I'll see what comes of that (some more freelancing, I hope or whatever...)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The «balagāns» ends

That's a kind of Latvian expression for a big circus, with 35 000 attendees. Larry Ellisson spoke, nothing spectacular, security and business intelligence to be the focus of Oracle and the industry over the next couple of years. Oracle itself is bending over backwards to be standards compliant and open and let the customer choose, mix and match. At the same time it is developing and pushing its Fusion Middleware and Project Fusion, a new set of applications based on the same. The idea is that with better business process modeling and business intelligence built into the middleware, the apps will work a lot better. We shall see. Except for a few big companies and international subsidiaries, nobody in Latvia is wired enough for any of this to mean very much. Unfortunately, computers in Latvian companies are often an accessory for a long-legged and blonde secretary who sometimes even uses the thing (for e-mail between surfing). These companies will be road-kill for the business intelligence savy, wired, totally aware and focussed enterprises who will eat their lunch, flatten them like road kill and move on before anyone can take a breath. Sad but true.
I am offline for a while, traveling to Boston on the US East Coast. Will then move on to Sweden and back to Latvia on October 3.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The San Francisco fog

There is a weird and spooky fog here at 0640 local time. This is the way it looks. Apparently, you can have five different kinds of weather here, yesterday it was 30 degrees C warm, real summer. That's Northern California for you.

Recognize any colleagues?

This is mainly for my Latvian fans. These are some of the Latvian IT people (the girl in the red blouse is Ilze Semeika, the Oracle Latvija marketing and PR manager, the rest are attendees at the conference)in San Francisco at Oracle Open World.

Middling marks for Oracle Middleware show

The Latvian delegation here is attending events of interest at Oracle OpenWorld, but no one is jumping up and down at what they have experienced (mostly at specialist sessions that I did not attend). Oracle came out with a new offer of Lifetime Support for its applications, letting users phase out apps that work for them at their own pace, but Lattelekom people here said they had already upgraded to the 10g version of the database, so it was nothing significant for them. The head of a Latvian software reseller and solutions implementer also didn't think the session he attended was, to rephrase his attitude in collequial English -- "all that hot shit".
Some of the worlds best IT experts, when given a chance to speak to Latvian IT people, find they are preaching to the converted or to those who have already been there, done that. Maybe this is a good sign. Anyway, it is what I learned over some weird dinner of Thai/Chinese food and beer here in San Francisco. Can't knock the food, that's for sure.
The major theme here is Oracle Fusion Middleware, the stuff that, er, makes other stuff talk to and work together with, you know, stuff. Best I can do at this hour. Woke around 3 AM, started working frantically, deadline for my day job paper, or was it? WTF day is it in Latvia tommorrow in terms of what tommorrow is from Latvia's time zone??
Back " in ze old country" looks like Bite is getting its way with interconnect, unless it is making a publicity stunt by saying it signed the agreement, but not Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT). It takes two to make a contract and until LMT signs (and agrees to rates it was very unhappy with, or renegotiates them, there ain't shit yet). But San Francisco is no place to follow this story :(. When I last looked, LMT was saying to Bite, go bite your (Toxic) card.
So, who will launch the even cheaper Vomit card? Feces anyone? (Fe-ts-es, as pronounced in Latvian, means nothing, sounds strange, talk to me though Fet-sess).
Ok, sorry Jesper, enough of that. So you didn't like my idea of a Draugiem card. Whatever...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Oracle surprises :( :( -no iMacs

Well, I have arrived, strangely enough, as the first person wearing a press badge (the security person said so) at the Oracle press center here in San Francisco and was shocked to find that, instead of the dozens of Apple iMac G5s there are nothing but Wintel machines, row upon row of unlit black ViewSonic monitors, like some war cemetery.
From Latvia, there are some 15 or 20 people here, up from zero in December (or maybe there was one guy). We all traveled together, drank beer at Newark Airport, then sat on some legroomless Continental Airlines flight to San Francisco.
The folks are mostly from state institutions for the simple reason that, by Oracle standards, Latvenergo, Latvia's biggest company, is just barely medium-sized. IT Alise, Lattelekom, Moebius, the State Social Insurance, etc. are represented. More, perhaps, on them later. Certainly it makes my day job easier, I can try to get a Latvian visitor angle from these people.
A second journalist has appeared in the press room, a guy from Slovenia. We new EU people are the early birds, I guess.
Some weird stuff-- Larry Ellison seems to have dragged his racing yacht -- the real thing-- into the lobby of the building where the press room and the main event auditorium are. They must have taken a wall down to get the thing --with no mast, of course-- in the door. Well, I guess it takes a strong personality to build up a company like this.
Information to look for -- the Siebel acquisition. Seems the snake is eating while stil bulging with PeopleSoft. Also looks like there is more of a business/user oriented slant to the whole thing, not so much techie stuff as Information Empowers, the slogan of a lot of the PR materials. So there should be a good business angle, how all this stuff makes one do better, more efficient business, which I have always believed is a no-brainer as far as understanding what IT is all about. But tell it to some people in Latvian journalism...
I guess this is enough jet-lagged rambling and raving. Later...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Pigs Will Fly First

I have been engaged in a kind of dialogue with an outfit here in Latvia that wants to buy some of my time. They are a new research and consulting firm and one of their areas of study is Telia Sonera's efforts to buy both Lattelekom and Latvian Mobile Telephone. They are (in a virtual sense) circling the government working group on this matter like hawks (as do I as a journalist). However, since I am going away, I will make a pronouncement on how I see the sale of BOTH Lattelekom and LMT to TeliaSonera.


While the deliberations of the working group are confidential, the Latvian government has been signalling with all the subtlety of a 105 mm howitzer being fired outside your window that IT WILL NOT SELL Lattelekom to the same owner as LMT. PWFF!
What that means in practice is that TeliaSonera will get its prize, LMT, but without the wrapper. What happens to Lattelekom is that it will languish as a odd, small 100 % state owned telco until someone buys it for a song (TDC? Telefonica? God knows, maybe a Russian or Polish operator?). I wonder if the three-member boy band discussing the issue thought of the fact that when Lattelekom becomes a stand-alone wireline midget (you have 600 000 subs just in Cleveland or Dortmund or some place like that, with a higher potential revenue stream per subscriber ). That would be the ultimate irony -- Lattelekom goes on the bidding block, and it ends up with the Russians or the Chinese as the only bidders. Now I have not heard anything, I am just speculating, and I am not saying this is probable, just possible.
So these are some thoughts as I prepare to skip town for two weeks (starting September 17) in the US and Sweden, at Oracle and taking some "vacation". I will blog to the extent possible.
Certainly from San Francisco!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Working on a worm for my friends?

Much as I am tempted to mock (being a cynic) Bite's otherwise admirable launch in Latvia September 15, I'm not going to develop certain themes, like the possible new Latvian curse - Go suck on your SIM card!! (he,he it's TOXIC).
So its time for some internet and IT related stuff. It looks like someone is working on the world's first social software worm aimed at the Latvian friendship site (with more than 375 000 registered users). The progress of this creature, called Draugster, is documented in a blog (yes, there are other blogs, thousands, perhaps, in Latvia, though mostly in Latvian). The link is
Meanwhile, Lauris Liberts of and Valdis Skesters, Latvia's anti-virus guru, are throwing a few slings at each other for allegedly getting hacked and leaking the passwords to the freemail site Skesters, whose company owns inbox, says that a hack of draugiem in July 2004 (listed on the same blog above), may have led to the leakage of inbox passwords, since the members hacked had inbox addresses.
Liberts politely says this is bullshit, draugiem passwords are encrypted and not even system admins can get to them. Sure, lots of people got inbox addresses so they could be invited to draugiem and many may have used the same password, foolish in anyone's book. But if there were leaks, it was because of the carelessness of the inbox users -- not logging out, blabbing about their password and the like. Not something you can blame the design of inbox for, but not exactly happening in Liberts' part of cyberspace, either.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Wacko launch for Bite

Bite Latvija has decided to launch a pre-paid service called, of all things, Toxic (they had some kind of teaser on a few internet sites like Delfi). Perhaps Latvians don't understand enough English, but I sort of find the name, er, on the repulsive side. Like, toxic waste. But perhaps one is going after the target audience who goes for this sort of stuff. The price -- calls for LVL 0.05 per minute, SMS for LVL 0.01. That's just based on second hand information, I am still in Brussels at this whatever it is. Political communities on the web, monkey colonies on Guam, later e-government (e-mailing the local government in Goatf••k, LV only to have the clerk go by foot to the attic and dig through old paper files so I get an e-mail back in 48 hours and hey, I've been e-governed). Not that this isn't interesting, just I would rather have been in LV for some read hard telecoms related stories.
Saturday, I am off to San Francisco for Oracle World. Oracle is busier eating than working. Just saw something on the web about them buying Siebel (another CRM company, I think, no time, just a short lunch break with no lunch within range inside this Eurostalinist building, an appendage to the Europarliament, so no time to check up on this). Must read the Always On blogs with Shai Agassi, SAP has been working while the Oracle bulged with People Soft, now this...
Will try to keep everyone posted from SF to the extent possible.

Monday, September 12, 2005

In Brussels, stuff happening

I am in Brussels at an inopportune time, among other things, to watch a discussion on blogging by journalists :). The working group on privatizing Lattelekom and Latvian Mobile Telephone is supposed to report to the government, plus Bite is having a press conference (could it be they are launching, probably a pre-paid card). Will make a best effort to keep you up on what's what.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Court cans TeliaSonera's plans?

Latvia's Supreme Court remanded to itself (with a different panel of judges) a case dealing with ownership of 23 % of Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT). This means that a final decision as to who has effective ownership of a slice of Latvia's most profitable mobile operator will be put off anywhere from a month (at best) to sometime next year.
That, in turn, means that the government cannot dispose of these LMT shares and is unable to deal with TeliaSonera's proposal to buy out all remaining government holdings in LMT and fixed-network operator Lattelekom. As has been mentioned earlier on this blog, the government game plan will be to offer a swap of LMT holdings for a 100 % state interest in Lattelekom, so that it can be sold as a stand-alone wireline operation to anybody but TeliaSonera. The court decision has now thrown a wrench into the whole process
The Supreme Court was ruling on an appeal of a decision that returned ownership of the 23 % participation to the Latvian state, but granting "custody" to the Latvian State Radio and Television Center (LVRTC). The litigation started in 2003 when the state sought to take away the holding in LMT from the Digital Latvian Radio and Television Center (DLRTC), a subsidiary of the LVRTC formed about five years ago to implement digital broadcast television with initial financing from the 23% share of LMT dividends. All this fell apart when the goverment of Prime Minister Einars Repse declared the digital TV project to be a massive fraud and started arbitration proceedings to have its international contracts with a little known British company, Kempmayer Media Limited (KML), annulled. At the same time, the state sought to take away the holding in LMT (in addition, the Ministry of Transport owns 5 % of the mobile operator, something not in dispute) from the DLRTC, essentially dooming the company to eventual extinction (it is being kept alive as a party in litigation with KML).
This doesn't leave many choice for Telia Sonera. One is to just wait... Yet another would be to buy Lattelekom (which also holds 23 % of LMT), thereby securing 72 % of LMT and let the government and the courts deal with WTF* will own the disputed 23 %. However, the government doesn't want to sell Lattelekom to TeliaSonera. Perhaps a deal can be worked out to buy out Lattelekom's 23 % LMT share, giving Lattelekom enough cash to buy itself back from the Swedes. A job for the financial engineers here?

*WTF - Who the F**k

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The widow's son in telecoms?

For some weird reason, a person close to me called Latvia's Minister of Economics Krisjanis Karins "the widow's son" (atraitnes dēls), apparently with reference to an earnest, bright but somewhat underdog young man. I think it had to do with the way Karins looked and spoke on television. It has nothing to do with the real life story, as far as I know, of this American born, American well-educated and erudite man, who, before entering politics, started Lacu ledus (Bears' Ice or Ice for Bears, depending on how you want to understand the Latvian phrase). The company sold bagged ice cubes, an apparent no-brainer but brilliant if you are pounding a deep frozen ice-tray only to have this product of Hop Sing's Cheapo Plastic Tray and Chopstick Factory shatter into a mixture of ice fragments and plastic shards.
OK, so, the point being:
If the minister's view that Lattelekom should be sold to anyone but TeliaSonera prevails, it could be that this will make a "widow's son"of the company. The minister talks about promoting competition. The normal model of competition is that Cheapie arrives on the block, and everyone goes from Gougerphone to Cheapiefone. Sooner or later, Gougerphone cuts its tariffs. Then Skype arrives and kills everyone on stage, like the climax to Kill Bill Part I...
But that is not what is happening. Globally and in Latvia, people are leaving wireline Gougerphone in order to pay higher minute costs with Cheapo Mobile, or sometimes even with Premium Mobile because they have coverage in the local Great Swamp and roaming in the Gobi Desert. What is going on here is that folks are paying an ever-decreasing convenience premium (due to mobile market competition) for mobile voice services (in Latvia, around LVL 0.05 per minute compared to some Lattelekom local rates, taking the LVL 0.064 rate of the Hello pre-paid card as a benchmark).
New customers are going to mobile for voice first, and without the mobile connection that a TeliaSonera owned Lattelekom/Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT) combination offers. Lattelekom, the widow's son, will suffer.
It ain't like Lattelekom isn't trying, they are flogging all sorts of calling plans for private customers and larger businesses can probably cut any deal they want. Even DSL is being offered starting at LVL 6.99. The next painful step may be to de-couple DSL from having to pay for a phone line subscription if one actually doesn't want a phone. Since wireless-within-the-home DSL is a desirable option, you can tune it to also serve hybrid GSM/UMTS/WiFi phones and offer a rock-bottom priced, medium-high quality VOIP service from this home network. If Lattelekom doesn't do it, someone else, like triple-player Baltkom just might.
So there are plenty of market incentives for Lattelekom to be competitive and allow others to be so also, especially if the regulator cracks the whip on interconnect charges. Further on down the line, interconnect may even fade from the scene, as VOIP takes over from circuit switched networks that need to tally up each other's minutes of network use.
I am not saying that the "widow's son" should not make a widow's son of Lattelekom if one takes the market dominance level of analysis as being the most important decision criterion. As has been pointed out before, this will significantly decrease any revenues from selling Lattelekom as a stand-alone, plus cause costs in time and money of resolving the whole right-of-first refusal issue with TeliaSonera. You have to either have 100 % of Lattelekom to sell free and clear, or you ask some other operator to slip into bed with TeliaSonera's 49 %. An unlikely scenario unless that same buyer is also buying out TeliaSonera. That takes us into a whole new scenario (mentioned earlier on this blog). It is pretty clear that the Swedes will settle for getting just LMT in a least-desirable-case scenario. They see owning 49 % of Lattelekom as a half-assed situation, especially if you are left with the smaller half of the ass..

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Minister opposes sale of mobile & fixed to Swedes

Minister of Economics Krisjanis Karins declared the main principle in privatizing the remaining state shares in Lattelekom and Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT) is that in no circumstances should they have the same owner.
This means, in effect, that Karins will urge the government working group to recommend against selling the remaining state interests in both companies to TeliaSonera. Most likely, some kind of swap of the 49 % TeliaSonera interest in Lattelekom for the state's remaining 28 % of LMT (and the 23 % of LMT held by Lattelekom) will be worked out.
This means that Lattelekom under 100 % state ownership will be offered to the highest bidder. However, analysts this blogger spoke to say that a pure wireline company has poor prospects for growth and profitability. so there may be few bidder and what bidders there are will offer less value than if both companies (with Lattelekom holdingh 23 % of LMT) were sold to the same buyer.
Some wild guesses as to who may want to buy Lattelekom include Denmark's TDC (who would pair it with its Bite mobile service, taking the situation sort of to square one), Norway's Telenor or even the long shot, Spain's Telefonica (which bought into Cesky Telekom, a fixed and wireless combo, however).
There is some analyst opinion, such as Johan Fagerberg of Swedish-based Berg Insight, who sees some merit to the competition argument (i.e. to prevent market dominance in both fixed and mobile), but also agrees that a modern telco cannot compete unless it can offer both fixed and wireless services. As Ovum analyst Angel Dobardziev points out, the model for telcos is customer and not product driven, so customers will go where they can get as many services in one stop as possible, thereby avoiding operators who can only offer fixed services. De-linking Lattelekom from LMT will knock down the value and attractiveness of the wireline operator.
It seems to me that the government is taking its cues from the Competition Council, which has signaled its opposition to the deal based on a static market-dominance model (yes, Lattelekom has 90 % of wireline and LMT some 50 % of wireless) rather than a dynamic analysis driven by strong regulatory initiatives. In other countries, this has allowed operators to maintain the broadest possible spectrum of services while remaining competitive.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Lattelekom's IPTV testing confirmed

Lattelekom will start offering 11 channels (five local, five foreign/satellite) of IP TV by end-September or early October, Girts Kirsteins, a Lattelekom executive, confirmed to this blogger (well, to my day job newspaper, to be exact). The test will be free until the end of the year, at least, and will be available to around 95 % of the country's HomeDSL service users without an increase in connection speed.
The IPTV service, initially available only as video to PC monitors (unless one rigs a link to a TV set onesself), will run on a Microsoft platform and use a very high compression ratio so that TV broadcasts can fit into the 2Mbps speed available to all DSL users on the "open garden" Lattelekom network of selected sites.
One of the interactive features of the service will be the ability to record shows on Lattelekom's servers for replay on demand. This will be a faster service than the hours or day-later archiving of Latvian news programs on some other websites, such as
Lattelekom is still working on a business model for the eventual commercial launch of IP TV, but it looks like one alternative will be a triple-play package, offering an IPTV package at low or no cost to subscribers who subcribe (probably with some minimal binding time) to Lattelekom's voice and broadband services. Lattelekom also cut the price of its HomeDSL from around LVL 15 to LVL 9.99 per month if a subscription is signed for 18 months (existing ones can be renegotiated). That puts it in the running against some other triple-play offers, noteably Baltkom TV. Baltkom, however, is about to launch 100 channels of digital cable (up from 24) for LVL 12.90 a month.
Lattelekom, to be sure, is not the first IP TV provider -- the novelty service (and fairly costly, at LVL 0.05 per minute) was launched for mobile phones by Latvian Mobile Telephone earlier this summer.

IP TV testing to start soon

It looks like Lattelekom will start testing IP TV (cable television using internet protocol over copper-wire phone line) within a few weeks, possibly as early as the beginning of October. This will not be a commercial launch, but a limited test of the service using, most probably, DSL technology. The Ericsson ADSL2+ equipment is already in place. Within its limits, the technology should work, the real issue is what the content will be and what it will cost. It is hard to imagine tacking on a hefty TV fee on top of an LVL 15 HomeDSL monthly fee, especially with 100 channels of Baltkom TV digital cable available for around LVL 10 per month (of course, their triple play phone-internet-tv costs more). Lattelekom will essentially have to underprice Baltkom's triple play, offer competitive content and, somehow, pry away some of the 10 000 high end users that Baltkom TV claims to have (many others watch digital satellite and are off the wired TV grid). On the internet side, this means increasing the average connection speed by several orders of magnitude for a competitive price. So, perhaps, watch for a cost/connection speed shift yet again on the Lattelekom DSL network (there are no others :)). The last time, speeds were doubled for both home and business services, which is a way to cut relative price without reducing actual income per line.

Friday, September 02, 2005

A coming wireless internet boom?

OK, enough raving about websites that have complicated my life. Back to the business at hand. I had a long and interesting talk with Aleksandrs Rutmanis the head of Unistars, a wireless internet provider and the object of an effort to reallocate the company's 3.5 to 3.6 GHz frequencies (see the earlier post). Unistars is also going to start offering WiMax on its network, though on a less well-defined schedule that Telecentrs, which is trying to get a piece of the frequencies.
WiMax will be the main means of moving into the residential and private market for Unistars and also to offer businesses a degree of nomadic services (nomadic being you can move your wireless modem and PC to another, even distant location and reconnect your always-on broadband network there, which doesn't quite work with DSL or other wireline technologies).
As for the spectrum issues, Unistars says that its network architecture (multiple base stations and "cells", frequency re-use) explains why it needs the all the frequencies and channels that it was allocated in 2000 (and must extend now). Other operators, they say, use a simpler approach with one large cell covering, say, much of Riga from the television tower.
Time to educate myself about all this WiMax stuff so I can figure out the angles here.
In any event, it appears we will have a WiMax (mini?) boom on the horizon in Latvia if both companies go ahead with their plans (and some spectrum is found for Telecentrs).

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Well, I got my e-ticket to Brussels on try number six or seven, using the Wintel machine here at work. I actually got it for LVL 20 cheaper than when the motherf**ker failed on me the first few times. So that ended well.
However, the point is that an airline website isn't something most people use on a daily basis, probably once every few weeks or months depending on one's job and lifestyle. So the reputation and credibility of the site depend on those few contacts, and you expect the experience to be as smooth as with the sites one uses daily (which, I must say, fail very, very rarely - I am talking about a whole range,,,, my Yahoo mail etc.). When a website you rarely use fails on the one mission critical time you do use it, well, I think it is fully justified to call it a FUCKED website and the same goes for SIBA in Sweden. Once in a couple of years, I needed a laptop delivered so that one of my sons (18) could bring it to Latvia, and the squarehead wankers* fail to get their act together. That has never happened to me with, say and books and DVDs. So learn, SIBA!

*A charming British expression for those who spend most of their time masturbating or engaged in similar activties with themselves or the remnants of their minds.

A couple of SERIOUSLY FUCKED e-commerce sites

At the top of the list is the shitvalue air Baltic website or .com, which has never worked on Macs, but now refuses to let me buy a ticket to Brussels for LVL 200. This seriously fucked site has aborted my attempts to reserve this ticket at least four times. I have to go to Brussels and there are no alternatives (except to go to the air Baltic office). BTW, I was using a Wintel computer and got all the way to entering my debit card info when this mutant excuse for an e-airline reservation site simply fucked off. If you want anyone to use this and save your agents the trouble and us customers the money (I guess it costs more to ticket at the office), get your site to work, for fuck's sake.
While on the topic of totally ratshit e-stores, we might as well mention, the web outlet for the SIBA chain of computer and electronics stores. These squarehead (that is an obscure, mildly racist term for Swedes) fuckwits were advertising an Acer laptop computer which I desperately needed and ordered as being in stock at the internet warehouse. It had to be delivered -- well, simply delivered as their website promised (mind you, I am fluent in Swedish and know what 2 till 7 dagar means) so it could be brought to Latvia on August 31. I ordered it on the 22nd. It turns out the fuckers didn't have it in stock and as far as it when it would have been delivered, det vet fan as the Swedes would say. Needless to say, other arrangements had to be hastily made at somewhat greater cost. SIBA sucks to the max!