Downtime: A fitting replacement for NHS tongue twister

A fitting replacement for NHS tongue twister

A fitting replacement for NHS tongue twister
If, like Downtime, you have ever struggled with how to pronounce NPfIT, that nice, tidy acronym for the health service’s national programme for IT, help is at hand.

The perfect solution, as recommended by reader John Morris, is to use “unfit” in its place, using the German-style pronunciation of ‘Pf’ as ‘f’.

“I was amazed to find that ‘NPfIT’ could be replaced by ‘unfit’ wherever it occurred – and without any loss of coherence,” he said.

Downtime can only agree that John’s examples to illustrate the suitability of his solution make a compelling case. For instance, “the fragile credibility of the unfit as perceived by doctors, GPs and nurses.” Try it yourself.

When printing the payslip costs more than the pay
The news that Yahoo chief executive Terry Semel will be paid a dollar a year for the next three years – and before you organise a whip-round, rest assured he’s being taken care of via plentiful “stock options” – got Downtime wondering.

Does Semel still get a monthly payslip like us mere mortals? If so, does he really get eight cents a month going through payroll?
Downtime is here to tell you that it is certainly not an efficient use of accounting payroll services – though the UK taxman, with his willingness to make tax demands for tuppence, would surely approve.

New ‘Save’ icon could become a sticking point
Here’s a question to ponder, from concerned reader Will McMeechan: “With the floppy disc rapidly becoming but a faded memory, what are the software developers going to do about changing the ‘Save’ icon? In the not-too-distant future, younger users will have no idea what it represents.

“What might the universal icon for a memory stick look like?”
Downtime shares Will’s concern. Just how do you display the chameleon-like memory stick? As a sushi roll? Daffy Duck? Answers to the usual e-mail address.

My cat will be paying for this on his credit card...
Last month’s tale of a reader deflecting junkmail by inventing a fictitious staff member prompted a slew of similar stories from Downtime readers.

Judging by the correspondence, marketing and sales types are not too fussy about the quality of their leads these days – just about any e-mail address will do for the marketeers’ latest world-beating credit card offer.

One reader, Andrew Matthews, uses his cat Jake’s e-mail address to avoid being spammed. “Among the huge raft of e-mails and junkmails, my cat has received three credit card application forms,” he added.
“The last one we filled in and sent back with his picture. Disappointingly, it wasn’t approved.”

Latest music technology proves to be running gag
The last time Downtime checked, not all of humanity’s problems had been sorted out, which makes us wonder what Apple is doing filing a patent for iPod technology that lets listeners match the tempo of their music to their exercise regime.

This essential gizmo would mean iPods of the future could include an “accelerometer” to sense your jogging speed and adjust playback accordingly.

But it is even more clever and more pointless than that. As well as ensuring your Kylie track keeps pace with that mad dash for the finishing line, it also ensures she does not end up sounding like Pinky or Perky, thanks to “vocoder” technology, which enables an adjustment in tempo without altering the pitch of the instruments or vocals.

How has the world managed without this technology until now? Downtime isn’t quite sure, but it is a relief it is here at last.

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