Editor's Blog: Toshiba laptops, Betfair Down Under and CIO-types

Don't miss the four types of IT chiefs
Written by Tony Hallett, Contributor

Don't miss the four types of IT chiefs

Toshiba is a renowned laptop maker and as I have mentioned in previous posts, I am a user. (Nothing flash, just the A100, which I like.)

Yesterday, like lots of people, I heard the news that, after Dell and Apple, Toshiba is the latest laptop maker to warn customers about the dangers of Sony-made batteries in some of its products, though not on the scale of the former two recalls.

How the people at Dell must have wished to be third in line with such news. This week's announcement was barely greeted with a yawn.

But an ad in a newspaper caught my eye on the way to work this morning. The line that stood out: 'We're so confident in its reliability, we'll put money on it'. It was from Toshiba.

OK, the ad is strictly speaking for the new Tecra and Satellite Pro models, which have not been affected by the battery problems, rather than the affected run of Dynabook and Dynabook Satellite laptops from the spring of this year.

But still. The offer of 'Get your money back and your notebook replaced or repaired if it fails within a year of the warranty' now sounds a little cavalier.

Could this be the same company that before the World Cup this summer promised a 66 per cent rebate on its laptops should England win? (66 per cent and 1966 - geddit?)

On second thoughts, the latter was a bullet-proof, can't-lose promotion.

Changing the subject completely, I was impressed when this morning I read the story of Betfair setting up shop in Australia, penned by our sister publication Down Under.

Betfair, which has done for gambling what eBay has done for second-hand sales - cutting out the middle man - is a company the silicon.com team has long been acquainted with. It's fair to say we're impressed with the way they run their business as much as their business model itself. We can't wait for that IPO party invite, which we're assuming wouldn't be in Vegas - or anywhere else in the US, if you get my drift. (And for the record, there is no word on an IPO yet.)

But today's story talks of flying out a fully equipped datacentre from the UK to Tasmania in two chartered 747s. Now that is something.

I spent some good time in Oz in January this year and from a trip on the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne to Adelaide I learnt how many ships in days of yore foundered in the Southern Ocean, not far from those cities or indeed Tasmania, on the final stage of their journey from the other side of the world.

Glad to hear Betfair's big birds made it OK. Has anyone heard of a similar tactic in getting new IT ops set up?

Best of luck to CEO David Yu and the others at the company. As an aside, Yu remains a shining example of a former tech chief to take up the CEO reins.

Speaking of which... this week I am pretty proud of a series of features we are running on silicon.com about the different types of CIO. Our chief reporter has been working closely with Brinley Platts, a consultant who runs CIO Development, among other things.

Platts has identified four CIO types - paratrooper, consultant, professional and executive - and, while there are compromises in any kind of analysis like this, such classifications are fascinating. The basic premise is here and from Tuesday to Friday this week we are drilling down on the different types by focusing on four leading CIOs/recent CIOs from some big brands you will recognise.

Check out Reuters' David Lister - our featured 'paratrooper'. Or today Paul Burfitt, recently of AstraZeneca and a 'professional'.

They are pieces that made IT director Luke Mellors - another high-value long-time contributor to these pages - comment: "I always wanted to be a paratrooper when I was kid - now I guess I am."

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