The Weekly Round-Up: 29.01.10

What does the tech guy get up to at weekends?
Written by The Round-Up, Contributor

What does the tech guy get up to at weekends?

Next time, think carefully before you are rude to the IT helpdesk: for inside every tech worker, hidden beneath that mild-mannered exterior, beats the heart of a mighty warrior.

At weekends, anyway, as long as they remembered to book well in advance.

Monday to Friday they pass among us, fixing our broken PCs and resetting our passwords.

But at weekends they are secret agents, or out in the wilderness surviving only on their wits, or facing insurmountable odds with their trusty paintball gun by their side.

One in three IT workers has been on an adventure-based experience day in the last year, with paintballing, spygame and survival-style activities the most popular, a survey has claimed.

Rob Holmes from experience day website intotheblue.co.uk, the company behind the survey, said: "At first glance, it would seem that IT workers are developing themselves an army of super covert, gun-capable soldiers!"

So could it be that, fed up with being cast as comedy-T-shirt-clad nerds, the IT crowd have decided it's time to toughen up?

Maybe - but as Holmes continues: "I put it down to Superman Syndrome - where, by day, UK workers are mild-mannered employees, but outside of work, they take on a whole new, more adventurous persona."

This leads the Round-Up to wonder whether the same thing happens in reverse: perhaps James Bond-types can book experience days where they get to enjoy the humdrum, answering the phone all day and asking: "Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

Anyway, the survey also found that IT workers were the most likely to play videogames, with four out of five admitting to being regular players - with first-person shooters the most favoured way of wasting time.

So rather than a grand plan to create an IT worker super-army, they are in fact inspired by playing too many videogames. How mundane.

The Round-Up would like to make it clear - just because you're good at a game on your console at home this doesn't mean you're going to be any good at that activity in the real world.

It's the same sort of crazy logic that leads people from playing World of Warcraft in the safety of their own back bedroom to whacking trees in the New Forest with an imitation broadsword while being pursued by a wheezing Colin from accounts dressed as a wizard.

Here's some good news for the UK's male IT workers. You are more dateable than the bin man.

The less good news. It's not by much. And you're slightly less dateable than farmers. And butchers.

A list of the most and least dateable professions by a recruitment agency review website put "tech assistants" on the least desirable list, along with the aforementioned refuse engineer (who was rated least desirable, the poor thing).

According to the survey women would rather date a fisherman, farmer or butcher before they went out with an IT worker.

Which seems a little unfair to techies as the other professions are linked by their proximity to smelly stuff like rubbish and fish (although, it is true that spending all day in the server room can create some very special odours).

The professions women would like to date most included the usual suspects of doctors, pilots and firemen. Which is all very well, but what happens when their laptop is broken? Who are they going to turn to then?

So, the worst kept secret in the IT world has finally been confirmed. No, not that project managers know nothing about IT. The Round-Up means the other worst kept secret in IT - that Apple was developing a tablet.

Apple's Steve Jobs coyly described the new iPad as "our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price".

Magical and revolutionary, eh? To the Round-Up it looks like a giant iPhone. Of course, you'll want all the specifications and pricing and pictures - and you can find it all here.

Frankly the Round-Up is just relieved that Apple actually had a tablet device to launch. If they'd just unveiled a new bit of software or something the gigantic sigh of disappointment from the gathered geeks would have been heard around the world.

Anyway, early feedback seems to be 'nice hardware, shame about the name', with some asking whether there was a woman in the room when they came up with 'iPad'.

As a result - and no doubt to the lasting joy of Apple's marketing team - iTampon rapidly became one of the top-trending terms among the Twitter crowd, plus lots of jokes about whether women would be able to persuade their boyfriends to buy them, whether it comes "with wings" and so on.

Sure, the temptation must have been great to go with something that would place it in a continuum with the iPod and iPhone made sense - but 'iPad'?

Then again, Nintendo called its gadget a 'Wii' and that didn't hurt its prospects at all.

In other, briefer news this week:

How public sector CIOs should prepare for a new government. The Round-Up would suggest - when talking to politicians of any type, speak slowly and don't use any words longer than one syllable. And be prepared to repeat yourself. A lot.

Still trying to get the hang of this Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn stuff? Find some top tips here.

And then check out some of the excellent links below.

Editorial standards