Downtime: Top tips for economy class laptop users

The wacky world of IT

Top tips for economy class laptop users

Airport security may be about to get less uptight, but that is probably scant consolation to globetrotting IT managers whose options are shrinking if they want to use their laptops while in the air.

Last week Virgin joined Korean Air in banning the batteries in Apple and Dell laptops, meaning the only way to use a notebook PC on these flights is to plug it in.

Trouble is, of course, only the posh seats offer that particular feature, leaving electrically-challenged economy-class passengers floundering.

At this stage, Downtime’s (admittedly high-risk) money-saving tip is to smuggle an extension lead and a bottle of fizz on board and speedily make friends with someone sitting in the posh end of the plane. Oh, and you might need to sweet-talk all the cabin crew and the rest of the passengers into turning a blind eye to the dangerous cable you are carefully trailing through plane.

Admit it, it’s foolproof.

Gloves are coming off in drive to educate users

Is it just us, or is the main problem with working in IT having to deal with all those pesky end-users day in and day out?

One reader just wrote in with a typical litany of woe.

“So far this week I have had to deal with the user who could not log on to their fingerprint-protected PC because they had not taken off her gloves and also the director who believed he could boost his 64Mbytes of Ram on an old PC by plugging in a memory stick.

“Needless to say, it was left to me to explain why USB memory sticks weren’t really the answer.”

More tales of user-generated angst, please. This is surely just the tip of a very painful iceberg.

School points to cheap ID card alternative

Our recent heartwarming tale of Holland Park School’s plans to install fingerprint readers to track pupil attendance prompted an interesting mailbag, including one IT head and former pupil of the school, who pointed out that the £4,500 price tag looks like a bargain

“I remember Holland Park as having two main four-storey buildings with about 20 classrooms per floor and also some additional buildings, giving it approximately 200 classrooms in total.

“This gives us a cost of £22.50 per reader. Perhaps those higher powers considering the cost of ID cards should use their suppliers.”

With joined-up thinking already rampant across every part of the public sector, Downtime is confident that the very possibility is already being fully explored. And, in this case, it looks like it is going to save us all a packet. Nice one.

Sensitive career move may be tricky operation

Downtime notes with interest that Connecting for Health, which runs the NHS’s beleaguered £12.4bn national IT programme, is seeking a head of media relations.

It is a job involving “sensitive matters” with a remit to ensure that journalists “fully understand” the programme.

For all those thinking of applying for this crucial government post, Downtime offers the following poser to get you thinking along the right lines:

How would you describe a programme that was announced as costing £2.3bn, then £6.2bn, then £12.4bn?
a) Within budget.
b) Having the benefit of important work not envisaged at the outset.
c) What’s a few extra billion in the grand scheme of the NHS?

That should get your mind working in the right direction in case you are thinking of applying. Good luck to all you media relations types out there.

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