The Weekly Round-Up: 19.03.10

Ashamed of your iPhone?
Written by The Round-Up, Contributor

Ashamed of your iPhone?

The Round-Up would like to apologise in advance for sounding like a mobile advert but...

Are you ashamed of your mobile phone? Do you feel the need to hide it away when someone calls? Does its very appearance make you feel awkward in certain company?

If you can answer 'yes' to these questions, then there's a good chance you work at Microsoft.

According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, a number of Microsofties suffer from workplace-related anxiety about their choice of phone - the iPhone.

The problem, of course, is that the device is made by arch-rival Apple and this doesn't sit well with the Microsoft management. This is also a key time for Microsoft's mobile division as it tries to steal back some of the limelight from Apple, RIM and Android with its new Windows Phone 7 Series platform (see some pics of a device here).

According to the story, iPhone use is apparently rife among Microserfs but the Apple devices are swiftly concealed when senior executives are in the general vicinity.

The Journal reports that some workers try to disguise their iPhones with cases that make them look more like generic handsets.

You may think this is overly draconian - and let's face it, it is - but you're hardly likely to see Pepsi vending machines in Coca Cola's HQ reception.

The paper even quotes one iPhone-owning Microsoft employee as saying: "Maybe once a year I'm in a meeting with Steve Ballmer. It doesn't matter who's calling, I'm not answering my phone."

Kids these days do the funniest things. Like what? Well, take computer hacking for starters.

A generation ago, people were having kids just so there'd be someone in the house who could program the video. These days, thanks to the proliferation of technology throughout our lives, the children of Generation Y are way more tech-savvy than those fuddy-duddy Generation Xers.

What sets them apart? Well, they wouldn't use archaic phrases like 'fuddy-duddy' for one thing. However, according to a survey this week, they're also displaying tech-savvy skills and coupling it with a casual approach to tech morality.

Although 78 per cent agreed it is wrong, one in four of the UK's children have tried their hand at hacking into others' Facebook accounts - mostly by surreptitiously using the victims' passwords. Meanwhile 18 per cent went for a friend's email, seven per cent for online shopping sites, and a naughty six per cent attempted to raid their parents' email accounts. So mums and dads - time to change that password from 'password' to something a little stronger. And a bold three per cent had even tried to get into corporate websites.

The little scamps.

So what's the motivation behind this wave of cybercrime?

The most common reason cited was 'for the sheer hell of it', with 'fun' the motivation for 46 per cent of respondents.

(As the Round-Up types this, its four-year-old daughter has managed to access Twitter on the Round-Up's iPhone and has started typing a tweet. Nobody is safe.)

However, one in five admitted they wanted to cause disruption, a further resourceful 20 per cent thought they could generate an income from the activity, according to the research by Tufin Technologies.

A small minority (five per cent) said they planned to switch to the dark side of hacking as a career move. Well, it is one of the few growth industries in modern Britain after all.

The most interesting statistic in this new brave new world of tech-savvy hackers is that the kids in more rural areas started much earlier than those in the major conurbation. Some 78 per cent of hackers in Cumbria had been mucking about in the Matrix before their 13th birthday, putting them streets ahead of kids in London.

The Round-Up's betting you wish you hadn't been so vocal demanding rural broadband now.

On the bright side, 82 per cent said hacking was a bit tricky in practice, while 70 per cent said it was 'uncool'.

Peer pressure and laziness, the only things standing between Britain and a wave of cybercrime. It's enough to make you want to leave the country altogether...

Speaking of which, if you want to make the most of your career in IT, the best thing to do might be to up sticks and leave the country.

No, this isn't some middle Britain rant about the state the country is in thanks to Gordon Bloody Brown - it's based on feedback from a survey of some 500 IT professionals.

According to those polled, more than half of UK IT workers said their career prospects had improved as a result of working abroad.

This is particularly relevant for the super-ambitious who are planning on working in the upper echelons of technology management. Three-quarters of the senior technology workers polled - including IT directors and CIOs - have cut their teeth in overseas board and server rooms.

So it might be time to work on your foreign language skills, be they German, French, American or Canadian.

Actually the latter two might be worth more effort - the most sought after countries to work in are the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand followed by European countries.

Tech workers who have tried working abroad cited learning new skills and achieving a better salary as reasons for the move, but the main advantage mentioned was a better lifestyle, according to the survey by recruitment consultancy Networkers International.

So off you go - enjoy your new life as a globetrotting techie while we enjoy yet another 'barbeque summer' back here...

Finally this week, you need to be part of the biggest talking point of the year so far on silicon.com. 'Want an iPhone and a netbook at work? Here's why you should have them', was the modest title of the piece that has kicked off a commenting frenzy. Put the hard hat on before you click.

And as ever, check out the hand-picked links below. They're great!

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