After Hours

The Weekly Round-Up: 2012 resolutions for techies, and why holiday snaps are hell

And a hoard of broken gadgets, too

So it seems that, somehow, we've managed to drag ourselves through the self-inflicted misery of the first week back at work, as those tedious New Year's resolutions drain the last of the festive joy out of our lives and we contemplate months of darkness and cold ahead. Brrrr.

That is, of course, if you bothered sticking to your pious plans to exercise more, drink less and generally be a nicer person. The Round-Up's resolutions - as always - are to drink more, eat more, and be generally more misanthropic. All of which I can cheerfully report I am managing to stick to. Cheers!

Still, as some people insist on clinging to this bizarre ideal that mid-winter is the best time of year for self-improvement, the Round-Up would like to suggest a few belated but tech-related New Year's resolutions which may spread a little happiness in your organisation.

Firstly, advice for the tech-clueless boss: please stop reading in-flight magazine stories about fantastic new technological doodads, especially if that means you then demand your IT department build the same thing, but for a quarter of the price.

Secondly, the IT department's New Year's resolution should be to actually say no when the aforementioned tech-clueless boss makes ridiculous demands, rather than saying yes and then hiding in the server room until he forgets about it.

Also, can the Round-Up humbly suggest that IT sales reps should resolve to stop using the word 'solution' unless they are actually dissolving salt in water (which would be an unusual strategy to win a sale, anyway).

Similarly, sales folk, when you ask a customer what they need, and they tell you, you should try listening rather than staring into space until they have finished and then trying to sell them the same thing you were going to before they opened their mouth. Just a thought. Happy New Year, all.



High tech Christmas

Christmas gets more high tech every year. Children no doubt now enjoy videoconferencing with Santa's elves and emailing Father Christmas from their tablets instead of writing an actual letter on actual paper with an actual pen.

Gadgets have also become a hugely popular choice of Christmas present, with ebook readers a popular gift. But if you are now the lucky owner of a Kindle, you may be wondering what to buy. Wonder no more - silicon.com's very own Nick Heath has written a short history of computing, which tells the story of the innovations that we know and love (and keep many of us in employment). Tracing the development of the information age from the abacus and the Jaquard Loom right up to the pocket powerhouse of the iPhone, From the abacus to the iPhone: The 50 breakthroughs that sparked the digital revolution tells the story of computing through the 50 innovations that made it possible, and is available to buy now from Amazon. Also, if you want to find out how doing the long, long hours of research to put the ebook together changed Nick's attitude towards technology, you can read his column What I learned about the future of computing from delving into IT's past.

Christmas tree

Christmas gadget gifts could end up adding to the broken gadgets that Brits hoard at homePhoto: tamburix under the following licence

But the Round-Up digresses. The real question is, when it comes to these glossy gadgets we are lucky enough to receive at Christmas - how long before they are cast aside because their new owners don't know how to work them? Not very long at all, it seems, for three-quarters of Brits admit that 'at least one' gadget they own isn't in full working order.

Three-quarters had a broken mobile phone at home, while four in 10 said they had a broken TV. A similar proportion owned up to having a printer not in full working order, largely because they didn't know how to change the ink cartridge. One in three had a faulty laptop and one in five a faulty monitor.

It's not clear whether these survey respondents are horrendously accident-prone gadget fiends or simply hoarders of broken old kit (like yours truly, who still has a VCR and number of broken routers squirreled away in the loft).



Hell is other people('s holiday photos)

And finally this week, while some of us may have been braving the cold and annual visits from uncles and aunts, some wise souls decided to make a break for it, by going on holiday instead.

But just like that old metaphysical question about the tree falling in the forest, if you go on holiday and nobody sees the photos, did you really have fun? It seems that today's holiday makers aren't taking any risks, and are getting their photos up as soon as possible.

Back in the old days, you would have to lure your friends to your house to bore them with a slide show of your two weeks in Crete, but now you can force your inane snaps upon them by overloading their Facebook news feed.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call progress. Truly, hell is other people's holiday snaps.

For, according to a survey by online travel agency sunshine.co.uk, the average holiday maker will put photos on Facebook within four hours of landing. Of course, you need to make sure your friends are, ahem, 'wel jel', before you even head off on you hols, which is perhaps why nine out of 10 respondents mentioned their trip on Facebook before they headed off, with many mentioning it two or three times in a week.

One in 10 also admitted to uploading images to social media web sites while they were on holiday and, according to the survey, the average number of photos uploaded after the holiday was 150. Sigh. The Round-Up would need a holiday just to recover from looking at that many inane holiday snaps.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox