Downtime: Photocopiers stand by for seasonal crackdown

Photocopiers stand by for seasonal crackdown

Photocopiers stand by for seasonal crackdown

With the Christmas party season about to kick off, now is the time for concerned IT staff to wrap the firm's precious photocopiers in cotton wool. It turns out Christmas is a busier-than-usual time for photocopier technicians, with callouts for most up by 25%.

The upswing has nothing to do with seasonal goodwill towards the technician community, delightful though they may be, and everything to do with the extra-curricular pummelling taken by your average copier at this time of year.

Alongside its workload of common-or-garden A4, come the festive season it is also commonly forced to endure a parade of body parts being forced on it by drunken employees.

A third of technicians report having to replace broken copier glass at Christmas, proving that our love affair with photocopying (sometimes) unsavoury body parts shows no signs of weakening.

British athletes can still shine - as ghost runners

If, as seems eminently possible, the UK's Olympic athletics team for the 2012 London Games is found wanting, you will be glad to know we should now still be able to enjoy watching some of our boys and girls out in front of the pack.

Boffins at Siemens are developing a 3D visual technology called Ghost Runner that can superimpose images from the past on a live race to give viewers an insight into how the current competitors shape up alongside yesterday's sporting heroes.

With the UK's glory days as the king of middle distance running now consigned to history, seeing an ethereal Coe or Ovett striding out ahead of the current crop of runners is probably the best we can hope for.

Make-do-and-mend thinking reaps award

A former child refugee who heads a pioneering computer recycling business has been named Young Business Person of the Year at the Chamber of Commerce's 2005 London Business Awards.

Peter Paduh, 28, came to Britain at the age of 15 from the war-torn Balkans, and two years ago launched Maxitech, a business which provides ethical and environmental recycling services for firms with redundant computers.

Maxitech takes redundant machines, wipes all data, reconditions the computers and brings them back into use for charities and voluntary groups.

In space, no one can hear you curse your computer

If getting your home computer to work properly ever gets you down, spare a thought for the scientists working on Japan's Haybusa space probe, who have been trying to get their techie gadgets to do their bidding from 200 million miles away.

There was good news for the scientists when it turned out that last week's attempt to land their spacecraft on the asteroid Ikotawa, which was presumed to have failed when contact was lost at the crucial moment, was in fact a success.

However, this was tempered by the fact that all of their dedicated asteroid-dust collection tools failed to work in the inhospitable landscape. "It is an incredibly nasty place to land," cursed one scientist. "The surface is strewn with very large, angular rocks."

Downtime, whose CD drive is making a funny noise at the moment, offers its condolences.

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