E-mail is out of favour as spam goes into overdrive

The wackly world of IT

E-mail is out of favour as spam goes into overdrive

E-mail. Who needs it? Fewer and fewer of you, going by Computer Weekly's recent Big Question poll, when 88% of IT workers said it was more of a hindrance than a help.

And to this hammer blow Downtime can now add the findings of a survey from network monitoring specialist Ipswitch, which show that just under 85% of all e-mail being received is spam.

Nearly 50% of these unwanted missives are attempts by phishers to collect bank account details from unsuspecting punters, and another 25% are unsolicited offers of medication. The rest are mostly attempts to flog fake watches, fake software or pornography.

Downtime is sticking to the telephone for the time being.

How instant messaging will save the planet

The green bandwagon is a crowded place these days, especially in IT. This week's less-than-meaningful green statistic comes from technology consultancy BWCS.

It tells us confidently that, "Widespread adoption of secure instant messaging could reduce carbon emissions in the UK by a staggering 14.2 billion pounds of CO2 - the equivalent of planting 713.5 million new trees annually."

Feeling suitably staggered? The projected saving is arrived at because BWCS believes that within three years 25% of UK office workers will cease commuting as networking technologies improve.

"Simply by reducing travel by 96 miles per week, the average worker would save the planet from the effects of 4,257 pounds of CO2 in a year," said Symon Blomfield, popping up in the release. It turns out he is CEO of Presence Networks, a secure instant messaging company.

Anyway, all those numbers sound nothing if not beguiling. All we want to know, in millimetres please, is how much less sea levels will rise as a direct result of instant messaging. Somebody must know.

Numbers are unreliable and stat's a fact

While we are on the subject of statistics, Downtime likes nothing more than statistics about statistics.

A particular classic was the news, dutifully reported in The Guardian earlier this month, that, "One in five Home Office statistics are unreliable." What was not made clear in the piece was whether this particular government-generated statistic was itself to be trusted. Downtime is inclined to think not.

Making Wi-Fi a hair raising experience

Downtime was intrigued to read that hairdressing chain Toni & Guy is to offer customers in its Dutch hair salons free Wi-Fi access.

It conjures up images of customers risking snipped ears as they merrily check their e-mails while their hairdresser is in full swing. And we aren't too sure about the wisdom of having your hair washed with notebook firmly in lap.

But Toni & Guy and its partner in the venture, free-hotspot.com, is insistent that this is a winner.

"Free Wi-Fi is a great way to show our commitment to making customers feel beautiful on the outside and happy on the inside," said Rob Kolfers, Toni & Guy's general manager in the Netherlands.

Joe Brunoli of free-hotspot.comadded, "Our solution is ideal for people wanting to spend a few minutes online - whether it is to check their e-mails, surf the internet or download a song, or for those planning to stay longer while they are having their hair coloured."

Downtime isn't sure that customers wouldn't be happier skimming through copies of Heat magazine, but what do we know?

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