Tuesday, September 1, 2009

From the tech desk

conspiracy@whitehouse.gov? I am sure many were affected by the gmail outage earlier today. I'll leave the conspiracy theories to others, but a couple of interesting tech pieces caught my eye. Yes, I know it might be hard to believe, but I actually DO find tech issues interesting. I like to read this stuff, when it is written in plain English that even this tech idiot can understand.

First up, the guy who started it all, and no, I do NOT mean Al Gore:
E-mail is ruining my life!
By Ben Limberg
BBC Money Programme

Two million e-mails are sent every minute in the UK. That is almost three billion each day. But what is the real cost of this information overload?

Blackberry user checking his e-mails
E-mail on the move adds to workers' stress levels

We can spend up to half our working day going through our inbox, leaving us tired, frustrated and unproductive.

A recent study found one-third of office workers suffer from e-mail stress.

And it is expensive, too. One FTSE firm estimated that dealing with pointless e-mails cost it £39m a year.

Now firms are being forced to help staff deal with the daily avalanche in their inboxes. Some hire e-mail consultants, while others are experimenting with e-mail free days.

Ray Tomlinson is not a household name, but perhaps he should be. Ray was responsible for the e-mail revolution.

In 1971, he developed the code that enabled him to send an e-mail between two computers for the first time.

He says: "I do feel proud of this accomplishment. In some sense it was such a simple thing to do at the time, but it has had ramifications through many people's lives. What I didn't anticipate is how fast it would grow once it started growing."

Paperless pioneer

Ray's aim was to make it possible to communicate between computers.

"At the time, it was possible to send messages to other users on the same computer, and because these computers were expensive they had many, many users, typically in the hundreds," he says.

"And so you could send it to a user on the same computer but not on a computer elsewhere."

His creation was a short, 200-line programme, to which he added the @ symbol....

Blame Ray! There is more here.

Then there is this out of Germany:

'Poll leak' tweets alarm Germans

German voter in Thuringia, 30 August
Germans will vote in a general election on 27 September

The apparent illegal leaking of exit polls for German regional elections has raised concerns weeks before the country's general election.

Forecasts for Sunday's results in Saarland, Thuringia and Saxony appeared on Twitter 90 minutes before polling stations closed in the three states.

Proven leaks are punishable by a fine of 50,000 euros (£44,000; $71,000).

Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats fared badly on Sunday despite their lead in national opinion polls.

Nonetheless, Mrs Merkel says she remains confident of winning the federal election in a month's time.

Saxony's state election supervisor, Uwe Reimund Korzen-Krueger, said it was still unclear whether actual exit polls had been leaked.

"If it turns out that the outcomes published before 6pm [on Sunday] were not just based on hearsay but on exit polls," he was quoted as telling German news magazine Der Spiegel, "the legal situation will need to be assessed."...(more here)

How far we seem to have come from those 'innocent' days of hanging chads..

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