Downtime: IT detective show, Choose and Book and PC tantrums

The lighter side of IT

IT detective show script suggestions flood in

Downtime's suggestion of an IT-based detective show to fill the already detective show-littered TV schedules seems to have gone down rather well with our readers.

John Holding, a senior IT support specialist, shares his thoughts on possible villains. "There are several IT villains known to everyone in the IT support industry. First there is 'the amnesiac'. Not villainous in themselves, but their in-built ability to cause chaos on any IT-related system, while simultaneously forgetting what, or even if, they have done anything at all can keep your IT gumshoe busy for hours.

"More insidious is the much dreaded "dabbler", who once installed a CD-Rom into their own PC and now knows all there is to know about any IT system ever created. Their single aim in life is to outsmart the IT detectives by applying their own brand of IT support to anyone who will listen."

However, flying in the face of this enthusiasm is cynical reader Gavin Brett, who felt the concept was flawed. "The IT-detective will be too geeky to get the girl unless it is the brainy one out of Scooby Doo. And even then, would be too fat to chase the criminals."

Despite Brett's pessimism, Downtime is seeking ideas for what different gadgets our gumshoe could use. Downtime humbly suggests a USB-powered rocket launcher, but we await your thoughts.

Help! Somebody has stolen my shadow sushi!

Consumer websites have taken another giant leap into pointlessness with Japan's Teleshadow. The application pipes video of what people are doing at home via the web to their friends' in the form of shadow outlines.

Additional applications include Telestalking, Telerobbing and Telepoking, which are all proving extremely popular.

Emotional PCs shown the door in BT revamp

Emotions ran high over last week's Downtime on computers with feelings. Reader Rachel McKay from BT Global Services wrote in with firm scientific evidence that PCs are emotional animals.

"I signed up to the company-wide PC replacement programme last week. A couple of days later, my Outlook client crashed and Excel is completely dead. Don't tell me that PCs don't have feelings," she says.

It sounds to us more like a particularly well-timed PC replacement programme than a temper tantrum, but Downtime has never been one to ignore science.

Choose and Book falls short in two departments

Following Downtime's coverage of the NHS Choose and Book system, Mac consultant Paul Partridge has written in to share his experience.

"I had to go to a clinic and was offered (by post) hospital A or B. First, the system was so antiquated that it would only accept bookings if you were using Internet Explorer. So users of Firefox, Netscape, Safari etc. are out of luck. I wrote a note to my GP and said I wanted A and as late as possible.

"What I got was B and early."

Apart from the choosing and the booking, it sounds like a rather good user experience.

Wash that girl right out of your photograph album

Digital photography software that allows users to scan light sources for shapes that might spoil a picture has been unveiled. According to the developers, the software can be used to remove unsightly trucks in the snaps of countryside shots.

Downtime suspects that a more popular use will be the cropping of ex-girlfriends.

Read more on IT legislation and regulation