The Weekly Round-Up: 21.05.10

What would you say is the most important invention in history?
Written by The Round-Up, Contributor

What would you say is the most important invention in history?

It is undeniable that the iPhone has had a revolutionary effect on the mobile phone market since its launch three short years ago.

Apple has sold 42 million units of the little fella, and has totally transformed the fiercely competitive mobile market. It's turned the relationship between handset manufacturer and network carrier on its head and turned in profits that accountants had previously only dreamed of.

Even banks are snaffling them up in their thousands for their staff.

But how highly would you rate the iPhone's impact, in the grand scheme of things?

By 'you' the Round-Up means the person on the street and thanks to a survey out this week we can tell you exactly how influential: 'ridiculously so'.

According to survey respondents, the iPhone was voted the eighth most important invention in history. In case you feared you may have misread that sentence, here's the salient part again: "the iPhone was voted the eighth most important invention in history". Wow.

Here are some of the other things that are considered less important: the car, the camera, the flushing toilet and shoes.

People simply couldn't live without their iPhones, while they could live without transport, photography or even comfortable footwear. Because maybe there's an app for that.

You could be walking barefoot and dodging randomly thrown chamber pots but as long as you can check Twitter and play your Spotify tracks on a touchscreen device with a non-removable battery you're a happy bunny.

Getting back to reality, the wheel was voted as the most important invention in history, with the aeroplane in second place and the light bulb third. At last, some sense of perspective.

Here's where 20th century technology takes over and canters home: the internet lands at fourth then computers at fifth.

While the telephone and penicillin both manage to keep the touchscreen gadget at bay, Apple's darling handset shamed the internal combustion engine, trains, hot water and space travel in the nationwide research, carried out by Tesco Mobile.

The Round-Up likes its iPhone. Quite a lot, in fact. But come on...

What powers your IT department? The need to surf the bleeding edge of innovation? The desire to drive greater business efficiencies? Or is it the need to support the corporate machine in the most environmentally friendly way possible?

If it is the latter then what you need is one great pile of bullsh*t.

Fortunately, help is at hand and the good news is this doesn't involve hiring some management consultants on a grand per day to try and sell you the latest industry tech buzzwords and repackaged, decade-old technologies.

Nope, the Round-Up really is talking about an actual genuine great big pile of poo.

HP has done the calculations and it can prove how cow manure and the heat output of datacentres can be combined to create an economically and environmentally sustainable operation. As a result a farm of 10,000 dairy cows could fulfil the power requirements of a one-megawatt datacentre - the equivalent of a medium-sized datacentre - and still leave you with enough left-over power to support other needs on the farm.

Does the power of bullsh*t know no bounds?

How does it work? The Round-Up doesn't want to tell you.

You really want to know? Well alright then: the heat generated by the datacentre can be used to increase the efficiency of the anaerobic digestion of animal waste. This results in the production of methane, which can be used to generate power for the datacentre. The Round-Up said you didn't want to know.

But at least it is green. Well, sort of...

The iPad finally gets a UK release next week and the Round-Up will be waiting in on Friday for the delivery of its 32GB version. Others who dared to delay their orders will not be so lucky but that's just hard cheese.

The iPad is the latest bit of bling from Apple. Despite what some might say, the iPad isn't that expensive. However, if you do feel like splashing out on a truly ostentatious Apple iPad, then help is at hand.

Designer Stuart Hughes caters to that precise audience and his latest creation is a gold-plated iPad studded with diamonds. All that bling comes with a cost. For starters, the precious metal and stones brings the weight up of the so-called mobile device to a hefty 2.1Kg. Not a problem. If you can afford one of these things then you can probably afford to pay some flunky to carry it around for you.

Then, of course, there's the price. The 'iPad Supreme Edition' retails for £130,000. A bargain for our recession-hit times, the Round-Up is sure you'd agree.

Alternatively, you can save your cash, get the pizzas in and come round the Round-Up's gaff next week for a play...

Until next Friday, when the Round-Up will be peering out through its letterbox with bated breath awaiting the postman.

In the meantime, why not check out the big stories of the week on silicon.com:

Want to find out how you can make Facebook and Twitter work for your organisation? There are six answers a mere mouse-click away.

Cloud computing - we don't understand it or we don't need it, say SMEs.

Tech budgets: they will rise... but the UK is still lagging.

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