Downtime: You're not impotent to quit smoking in Glasgow

The wacky world of IT

You're not impotent to quit smoking in Glasgow

Efforts to help Glaswegian smokers quit their habit backfired in spectacular fashion last week. Glaswegians, who have some of the lowest life expectancies in the UK, were mistakenly prescribed the wrong drugs when they went to their GPs to get anti-smoking pills.

Rather than admit responsibility for the medical gaff, local GPs have blamed the e-Formulary IT system that they use to dispense drugs. The doctors thought they were prescribing Zyban to their nicotine-addicted patients.

However, when Glasgow's smokers went to pick up their pills, they discovered that the name on their prescriptions - sildenafil - was not the generic name for Zyban after all. Sildenafil is actually the chemical name for Viagra.

The news all too readily conjures frankly unwanted images of Rab C Nesbitt wondering why he is displaying the effects of Viagra while continuing to puff on his fag.


Go online to find out what divorce feels like

Online shoppers are experiencing the same symptoms as people who get divorced or lose their jobs, according to experts from the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford.

The worst shopping websites are inducing symptoms of stress, such as breaking into a cold sweat, experiencing heart palpitations and burning rage.

The least stressful websites were Amazon and British Airways. The most stressful were Canon, Ryanair and Selfridges.

Although the worst websites prompted feelings of anger and frustration, Downtime thinks that using them would still be preferable to visiting Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon or any supermarket in the UK on Christmas Eve.


When the Xmas bonus is just too much to process

London's Ferrari dealerships are looking forward to the City's annual bonus round when top bankers are expected to pocket up to £10m each.

Every year, the investment banks pay their already over-compensated employees massive bonuses to reward them for not moving to a rival bank during the preceding 12 months. Downtime has suggested a similar incentive scheme to our bosses, but would be surprised if we get more than a mince pie this Christmas.

So there was more than a little schadenfreude when Downtime learned that one of Goldman Sachs' payroll systems had crashed under the pressure of processing the annual bonuses.

Goldman Sachs is handing out some £8bn in bonuses worldwide this Christmas. It seems hard to believe that one of the world's biggest banks cannot afford a decent payroll system.

Maybe - just maybe - the employees running the payroll system were not in line for the big money.


Online shopping vouchers are this year's biggest hit

Consumers are using online shopping vouchers in unprecedented numbers as they search for Christmas bargains.

Retailers that target small groups of consumers with special offers have found many more people taking advantage of the offers than they expected as people who receive targeted e-mails promoting hefty discounts are posting the vouchers online.

Off licence chain Threshers is the most recent retailer to experience the internet's potential for distributing vouchers. After a voucher for 40% off wine appeared on an online forum, the share of UK internet searches for "Threshers" increased by more than 2,000 times, which must have had the IT staff charged with keeping the website live scratching their heads and not a little panicked.

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