The Weekly Round-Up: iPad extras, Google+ for guinea pigs and red phone box revival

Top tablet accessories, pets on the social net and BT's heart-starting phone box...

Top tablet accessories, pets on the social net and BT's heart-starting phone box...

Like it or lump it, iPads are coming to the corporate space, driven by the incessant demands of Generation Y and the increasing consumerisation of enterprise technology.

Of course it doesn't end there. Once tablets are in the workplace, staff will be clamouring for peripherals and accessories. Don't despair, give into it - it's just easier.

To make it even easier for you, silicon.com has come up with a list of 10 accessories for business iPad users.

Among the selection of tempting iPad add-ons, we have camera connection kits and iPad-compatible keyboards, some of them folding. Cool.

Then we have the Sir James iPad floor stand for when holding a tablet computer in your hands is simply too onerous a thing to do.

The stand is an elegant bit of kit with a long curved neck supporting the iPad and looking rather like a tablet-headed swan.

Its main purpose, naturally, is as a presentation aid for conferences and meetings. It also has the rather neat side effect of making your iPad appear to be atop a pedestal, which is pretty much where the Apple fanboys put it anyway.

Then there's the perfect tool for those who need to protect their iPad from spilled coffee during meetings.

iPad Hut's iPad case becomes 100 per cent waterproof when sealed - also ideal for scuba diving instructors who have wondered how they managed to cope for so long without taking a tablet computer down 30 metres of water...


Social networks - man's best friend

These days pretty much every man and his dog is on Facebook. The Round-Up means that in an increasingly literal sense.

According to a study commissioned by insurance company PetPlan, more than half of pet owners post about their animals on social networks. That's hardly surprising. After all, we love our pets. Good dog.

What's less normal is the news that one in 10 pets now has its own social network profile, be it on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

There must be some clever animals out there - the Round-Up's mum can't even send an email or a text message.

PetPlan also highlighted the rise of dedicated pet websites such as Critter, Catster and Doggie Dating, which is apparently 'Britain's best social networking site for dogs'. Note, not 'only'. It certainly gives you paws for thought. Perhaps Facebook should forget the 'Poke' button and make a 'Sniff my bum' button instead?

Animals on the social web - purrfectly normal behaviour these days...


A call that'll get your heart racing

Next up this week, red phone boxes to the rescue.

Red phone boxes are an increasingly anachronistic sight on Britain's streets and are mostly used to make mobile phone calls in while it's pouring with rain or to play host to those little cards advertising - ahem - private services.

It's difficult to decide which of the two is more demeaning to a once great British icon.

Luckily, help is at hand in the form of a new scheme, and a very fine one it is too.

Five former BT red phone boxes are getting a jolt to the system after BT agreed to fund the installation of defibrillators in the old booths.

BT has been working with the Community Heartbeat Trust, a charity that provides defibrillator equipment to local communities, to put the defibrillators in former phone boxes.

The defibrillators are secured in high-visibility, vandal-resistant, heated steel cabinets and require a combination code to be opened - available from the emergency services by dialling 999.

The machine then talks the user through administering treatment to a casualty, including - if required - delivering a controlled electric shock to restore normal heartbeat.

The first kiosk to get the medical makeover is in the village of Lower Slaughter, Gloucestershire, and is the 1,500th red phone box to be adopted by a local community for £1 under BT's Adopt a Kiosk scheme, which kicked off back in 2008.

The scheme was BT's clever answer to demand from villages and other local communities who were rather fond of their red phone boxes and wanted to preserve them, after the telco determined the local payphone was no longer commercially viable.

According to BT, payphone use has been plummeting since its peak in 2002 - with calls from payphones falling by more than 80 per cent in the last five years alone.

Under the Adopt a Kiosk scheme, BT strips out all the telephone equipment and communities pay £1 to keep the iconic red phone box.

So far, the scheme has led to a variety of colourful uses for former phone boxes, including art galleries, libraries, wi-fi hubs and even a temporary - and presumably rather cosy - pub.

All in all it's a heart-warming and heart-jolting tale of ingenuity and community spirit, and a testament to good old British idiosyncrasy.

What better way to end the week? Until next Friday...

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