The Weekly Round-Up: Durable data, email etiquette and... the iPad 2

Second-hand smartphones, electronic dress codes and Apple's second-gen tablet on sale...
Written by The Round-Up, Contributor

Second-hand smartphones, electronic dress codes and Apple's second-gen tablet on sale...

We've all known the joy of leaving a mobile phone shop after splashing out the cash.

In part, that joy is the relief at finally escaping the over-smooth sales staff but mostly it's because you'll soon be able to feel the heft of a brand-new, metal-and-glass, dual-core, touchscreen bad-boy in your hands.

You may also feel a slight buzz from ridding yourself of your old battered smartphone in exchange for a handy sum of money, such are the trade-in deals on offer these days.

However, you might not feel such a buzz if you knew what you were handing over along with your battered handset.

Your see, your phone may be destined for a new owner - and second-hand mobiles often contain treasure troves of personal data, despite the attempts of owners to wipe devices before selling them on.

According to a study from data-protection company CPP, just over half of second-hand mobiles and SIM cards sold online contain sensitive personal data.

Information retrieved from 54 per cent of the second-hand mobiles and SIM cards included credit-and debit-card details, PINs, bank-account details, passwords, phone numbers, company information and logins to social-networking sites. In other words: the most intimate details of our lives.

This private data is being passed on despite the best efforts of the 81 per cent of people surveyed who insisted they'd wiped their mobile before selling it. So beware.

Of course, the flipside of data being so darned hard to eradicate is that it can sometimes be a good thing. For example, if you throw your laptop out a window, submerge it in a river for two days or let your hard drive sink 200 feet to the bottom of the ocean - and decide you still want the data off it.

A photo story on silicon.com this week shows the remarkable feats of data recovery from damaged hardware. Read it and marvel.

Electronic dress code

Over the years, silicon.com has brought you many examples of digital blunders - terrible mistakes committed by individuals with terrible consequences. You might have thought this was just a passing fad, as people got to grips with email in the office and the perils of Cc and Bcc.

Guess again. Many of us are committing digital blunders every day and we may not even be noticing it.

For while Facebook and Twitter may be the future of business communications, right now the humble email is the way businesses talk to each other and their customers.

Yet the modern inbox is fraught with perils and pitfalls. Within five seconds of opening your email, the recipient has formed an impression of you and your organisation - and made a judgement about your level of professionalism.

The Round-Up's betting you're now sorry you chose that horrendous HTML template and kicking yourself for using the opening salutation of 'Wassup!'.

Sloppy email technique can open opportunities or cost your business customers. If you get annoyed by dreary or improper email etiquette, bad spelling or those tedious animated emoticons, then you can bet your customers do too.

Your email etiquette is your electronic dress code and it's strictly 'no trainers' when it comes to building successful relationships.

Even if the email is well structured and well written, if the greeting or sign-off is tacky and inappropriate then you're going to look an idiot.

A column on silicon.com this week digs into the etiquette shame potentially lurking in your inbox.

It quotes a survey in which 63 per cent of respondents felt that emails with no greeting are either unprofessional or sloppy. 'Dear', 'Hi' and the person's name are regarded as the most professional.

Despite the high approval rating for the informal 'Hi', the equally informal 'Cheers' is no good as a sign-off. We're a fickle bunch, aren't we? The most favoured sign-off is the formal but dull 'Kind regards' or 'Best wishes', with 67 per cent approval.

Remember, a digital blooper is bad news for your business and potentially your career. Like good grammar, good etiquette costs nothing, as does rereading an email before you send it.

The Round-Up still shudders when it remembers sending an email to the MD and rather absent-mindedly signing off 'Love you xxx'.

Get in queue for the iPad 2

Are there hipsters in your office? Skinny jeans, ironic beards and thick, square-framed glasses?

Are they all mysteriously absent this afternoon? The Round-Up may have a rough idea of where they are.

For yes indeed, the iPad 2 launches in the UK and other territories today, threatening to do for tablet laggards what the first iPad did for crazed fanboys and early adopters.

The device goes on sale at the curious time of 17:00(GMT) today. Get in line to buy one and get ready to run out of the shop screaming like a crazy man. Alternatively, you can read all of silicon.com's iPad 2 coverage in one handy place.

Elsewhere on silicon.com this week: why Zune's doom is causing Microsoft gloom, and what's more fun - laptops or tablets?

And of course, why not have a go at the fabulous caption competition?

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