Mobility

The Weekly Round-Up: 03.12.09

'Ere guv, you'll never guess who I had in the back of my cab the other day...'

Yes, it's almost here again. Christmas.

The time of year when you express your great love for your nearest and dearest through the gift of two-for-one bubble bath and novelty slippers.

So first this week, a cautionary tale for those of you that still actually do their Christmas shopping in shops (how charmingly old fashioned of you!).

This weekend, when you're fighting through the high street crowds (weighed down with presents for relatives who really just want the money instead) keep an eye on your gadgets.

That's because this is the time of year you are most likely to leave mobile phones, laptops and USB sticks in the back of a taxi, as you rush around doing your Christmas shopping, according to a survey of London cabbies.

The survey by Credant Technologies reckons Londoners abandon on average around 10,000 mobile phones per month in the back of taxis, along with around 1,000 other handheld devices, including iPods and laptops - and the festive period finds us at our most forgetful.

While you are digesting that statistic you might want to check out our list of Christmas iPhones apps which you can find here.

A spokesman for Taxi, a magazine published by the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, said: "More people travel into London to buy their Christmas presents during this period who are not regular cab users, they hop in a cab to get back to their train stations - and it's always about an hour later we get a panicked call on their mobile phones asking for them to be returned."

Or not, if they were looking for an excuse to get a new handset for Christmas.

Still, if you have to lose your phone anywhere, a taxi might be the best place to do it. Four out of five cabbies claimed devices were reunited with their owners (although presumably not if it was after 7pm and they lived south of the river).

Also - the Round-Up is quite willing to believe that plenty of gadgets get left in taxis around Christmas but reckons blaming it all on the excitement of shopping is a little too charitable. Over-consumption of mulled wine and office parties is more likely to lead to a few mistakes on the backseats of taxis over the next few weeks...



If, like some of us, you have fully embraced the 21st century, visiting shops to buy presents probably sounds like something out of Dickens. Browsing and window shopping is fine but then it's off home to make all your purchases online (as long as you haven't left your laptop in the back of the cab, obviously).

But if you're feeling super-efficient you don't even do your Christmas shopping at home, you do it in the office instead.

Seven out of 10 UK workers do their Christmas shopping online during office hours, according to website VoucherCodes.co.uk - with Londoners being the most click-happy (probably because of their - quite rational - fear of losing all their gadgets if they go near a cab).

A quite-likely-to-get-sacked one in five of the workers claimed to spend up to 10 hours per week shopping online from work.

Which means they either have the biggest families in the UK or are the least decisive shoppers ever.

If it's the latter, the Round-Up has two words of advice: gift vouchers.

And just in case you're trying to work out whether you are a Scrooge or the last of the big spenders - the average spend on Christmas presents this year will reach £367. If you're having trouble reaching your target, the Round-Up would like to add it accepts cash, cheques or large boxes of liqueur chocolates.



So when you've navigated the nightmare of Christmas shopping, stuffed your face with turkey and watched the Queen's Speech, what then?

If you're a nasty hacker, your next step might not be a game of charades with Auntie Margaret, but rather a game of hide and seek with corporate IT security.

IT departments watch out: the Christmas and holiday periods are apparently when the hackers come out to play, especially if there aren't any decent James Bond movies on (the Round-Up particularly enjoys the Roger Moore years).

These hackers are taking advantage of the skeleton team looking after IT over the holidays, according to Tufin Technologies.

"Whilst you're doing your shopping or putting your feet up, our research shows that the would-be 'Neos' of this world stop watching their DVD box sets of The Matrix, and start hacking business computer systems," said Michael Hamelin, its chief security architect.

The Round-Up isn't convinced that today's hackers will be quite so taken with a 10-year-old Keanu Reeves movie but takes the general point.

The company's research found that half of hackers prefer weekday evenings to gain unauthorised access to computer systems - and just 15 per cent spent their weekend breaking into online systems. See? Even hackers don't like working weekends.

So there you have it - Christmas: a time of good will to all, or a time to lose your laptop, skive off at work to buy presents and then get your network hacked. Ho, ho and ho indeed.

Anyway, that just leaves enough time for a quick race through the rest of this week's news.

Run out of servers to virtualise? Why not get cracking on your desktops too? It's what everyone is going to be talking about next year .

The IT industry is ageist but maybe not sexist.

Been too busy to keep up with all the big news? A picture paints a thousand words: check out silicon.com's photos of the month to catch up on all the big stories.

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