Downtime: Users take their laptops shaken and stirred

The wacky world of IT

Users take their laptops shaken and stirred

Last week's ruminations on the various ways that laptops can be protected - from Fujitsu's "free-fall sensor" to IBM's "sensor impact protection" - prompted several protests from you that yet more needs to be done to truly protect against the clumsy and inept.

Kevin MacGregor told us that end-users at his firm were enthusiastically testing the limits of laptop protection technologies on a regular basis.

"I have learnt that to really make a difference we need companies to develop technology that will allow users to see their data without the wonderful kaleidoscope effect of a broken LCD screen that also results from a free-fall," notes Kevin wisely.

Another innovation that cannot come quickly enough for MacGregor is something to protect laptops in the event of their being caught in the path of a slamming car door. "Before you ask, yes, it has happened to one of my users."

Elsewhere, Ian Page reckons that immersion testing of all technologies is another area ripe for further study.

"I remember in the early 1980s that the most high-tech piece of kit we had was the pager," he recalls.

"This little gem was the perfect size for a total immersion test in a pint beer mug (while the owner of the pager and the beer wasn't looking). The pager screen glowed bright for a second and then went black. It was then fished out, dried, and a new battery fitted, following which it worked again perfectly."

Page said that the sturdy pager came through numerous scrapes unscathed down the years, until its owner managed to drop it while crossing a busy road and had to go through the trauma of witnessing it being run over by a passing lorry.

We don't suppose IBM's sensor impact protection would fare too well in that particular test, but we would really love to hear about any other unorthodox testing procedures undertaken by readers.

http://downtime's//learnt its/lesson@//(honest)//

Listen up. Please, no more correspondence about how to make long URLs short.

Our naïve attempts to report on perhaps the world's most expensive phone - going on eBay for a cool £100,000 - has prompted probably the largest single electronic mailbag in Downtime's history.

To summarise: we now know - we really do - that the easiest way to have directed you to an eBay item would have been simply to give you the item number for popping in the auction site's search box.

Failing that, a site like tinyurl.com could also have shrunk the long version down to size in a jiffy. Try http://tinyurl.com/2cpgk9 and wonder again at how we ever sent you off blind typing 130-odd characters of what looks at first glance like a particularly opaque variation on the Enigma code.

Veritas IT brings bad news to the denim industry

Want to get ahead? Dress smarter, advises one recruitment firm.

To get its point across, Veritas IT has launched a competition to find the best-dressed IT director and manager as part of its efforts to get IT to shake off any associations the profession still has with geekdom.

"Smarter working is not just about acquiring skills to help in professional development, it should also be about the way we come across to people," says Veritas IT managing director Jason Giller.

And Veritas is putting its money where its mouth is by offering candidates advice from a professional image consultant on the importance of styles, colours, and accessories.

"We want the image of the profession raised to the ranks of the legal or accountancy sectors and we would like to see greater board representation of IT," added Giller.

Which means no more T-shirts and scruffy jeans, clearly.

Veritas IT website >>

Downtime: Free-falling laptops get protection they deserve >>

Tinyurl.com website >>

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