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The Weekly Round-Up: 11.12.09

Start your photocopiers...

The Christmas party. It's the high point of the office year (and usually rapidly followed by the low point - the morning after).

Maybe you've already had your office party, and you're still trying to live down your enthusiastic interpretation of 'Agadoo' which was captured on video by one of the more sneaky and less 'refreshed' members of your team.

Perhaps even now the photocopier repair man is in your office, fixing the damage caused by a certain classic piece of office party behaviour, while you have the CCTV cleansed of any footage of your snooze in the server room.

Or maybe you're still limbering up for it and making your costume for the fancy dress theme: will you wow them with your creative interpretation of a server or come covered in cotton wool as the personification of cloud computing? That would certainly impress the fox in accounts...

And while sadly nearly one in three smaller businesses won't have the opportunity for any of this as they plan to forgo the annual Christmas party this year, a poll by online office supplies company Euroffice found that most of the recession-hit SMEs of the country believe they "deserve a fun, lively party" and who's the Round-Up to deny them? Bring on the cheese and pineapple on sticks!

But some of those that do have an office party may regret it: the research reveals a shocking track record of misbehaving at past office parties, with almost half of those surveyed admitting to indiscretions like snogging the boss or a colleague, getting sick or passing out from drinking too much, making inappropriate jokes, comments, speeches or toasts and even getting into an argument or fight.

This all sounds like pretty standard fun and games to the Round-Up. Especially if it all takes place at the same party.



Sticking with the subject of Christmas for a little longer - as we increasingly digitise our lives and workplaces, there's a certain awkwardness as new replaces old in the smaller, more nostalgic areas of our lives.

Take Christmas cards. In the old days it was all about calculating whether the Royal Mail could deliver your heartfelt seasonal greetings by second class post in time for the big day and convincing your secretary to forge your signature on hundreds of business-themed cards.

These days you just get your design team to fashion a card cleverly intertwining your logo and a Christmas tree, and boom - your CRM software and Word's mail merge function do the rest.

Or maybe in this YouTube age you should consider a corporate video message? It's a tricky one. Thankfully, silicon.com has all the answers as it tackles the latest digital dilemma.

On the subject of Christmas presents: thanks to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the gift of a brand new tax, which is exactly what everyone wanted (but didn't know how to ask for it).

And no, it's not a very original gift but don't lose the receipt - you'll probably be able to return it come May.

Confused? Don't be, it's simply the news that Alastair Darling used his pre-budget speech to announce that the £6 broadband tax would become law early in 2010.

First announced in the Digital Britain report, the tax, known as the Next Generation Levy, will see every home with a landline charged 50p per month to fund the rollout of superfast broadband.

In his Pre-Budget Report speech this week, Darling told the House of Commons that the tax will support the rollout of superfast broadband to 90 per cent of the UK population by the end of 2017.

"Next Generation Levy"? Seriously, why not just call it a tax? You're not fooling anyone. Besides, Next Generation Levy makes it sound either like a tax on viewers of Star Trek: The Next Generation. 'Set phasers for nonsensical taxation' doesn't really seem to have the right ring to it.



Finally, before the Round-Up leaves you with a few choice headlines, you may have noticed that silicon.com has had something of a makeover this week with a sleek new design and colour scheme, and a positively swanky new logo.

silicon.com editor Steve Ranger has the lowdown on fruition of months of very hard work in his column. Let us know what you think by leaving a reader comment - now even easier to do. And check out all the fantastic new site sections while you're at it.

Until next week's annual, epic and frankly exhausting-to-write Yearly Round-Up, you'll have to make do with a few choice stories from the last seven days in tech:

Datacentres - just a lot of hot air?

For Mac and Linux users, the long wait for Google Chrome is at an end. Tab-tastic.

And Apple splashes out on music-stream site Lala.

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