Man's best friend still smarting over report

Downtime: The wacky world of IT

Man's best friend still smarting over report

On occasion the more serious-minded coverage elsewhere in this magazine enters Downtime's consciousness, and some of those stories give us cause for concern.

This week we received a letter from a reader worried about the front page story in our 9 January issue, "Watchdog attacked in battle over ID cards".

The clearly sensitive and thoughtful reader wanted to know whether the dog was OK, and was shocked that the piece itself failed to condemn the attack.

Downtime is suitably shaken to hear of such callousness in these pages and will launch a full inquiry.

BBC steals our identity with ID theft drama

While we are on the subject of ID cards, it turns out that we are not the only ones imagining that things could turn nasty. Downtime is heartened to report that the BBC is set to wade in too, having commissioned a hard-hitting drama series intended to act as a warning about where the government's ill-fated plans might end.

The series, called The Last Enemy, is set in the near future and has a storyline sprinkled liberally with grizzly murders, all of which are carried out with the assistance of ID card theft. It has been described as "apocalyptic" and "Orwellian", painting a suitably bleak picture of what will happen if ID cards get the nod.

The Last Enemy is scheduled to be broadcast later this year. Downtime, for one, is looking forward to it.

End of an era as retailer takes hard line on floppies

First Currys said it wouldn't sell conventional cameras any more now PC World has announced that it will no longer stock floppy discs once existing stock has been sold.

It seems we are all using memory sticks and e-mail now, but Downtime is still struggling to come to terms with what looks like the end of the floppy. It's not quite as bad as CDs muscling in on vinyl, but it's not far off.

The first floppy was developed by IBM in the late 1960s, and for a while 8in discs were the standard. By 1976, a 5.25in version was on the way, and this held sway until as recently as the late 1980s, when the 3.5in version arrived.

But now the floppy is nearly no more, as those hard-headed rationalists at PC World are happy to explain.

"It is now increasingly standard for computer users to transfer data via the internet or use USB memory sticks, some of which will store the equivalent of 1,000 times the capacity of a floppy disc," said Bryan Magrath, the retailer's commercial director.

In fairness to PC World, it turns out that demand for the floppy has plummeted in recent years, and 98% of all the PCs and laptops sold by the retailer no longer have built-in floppy disc drives, so most people clearly won't miss them.

But before they are gone for good from everyone's consciousness, do please share any floppy tales from yesteryear with us.

The eco evidence is there in black and white

And finally, here's this week's spurious IT-themed energy-saving statistic for our eco age.

Google's nice clean home page may be easy on the eye, but all that white uses about 74W of electricity to display, apparently, whereas an all-black web page uses 59W.

This prompted one bored person to calculate that if Google reverted to an all-black screen it could save about £40,000 a day in electricity costs.

We won't bore you with the maths just take it from us that it doesn't bear close scrutiny.

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