The Weekly Round-Up: Romance 2.0, guileful gamers and today's hard hardware

What do smartphones, online dating agencies and oven-ready joints have in common?
Written by The Round-Up, Contributor

What do smartphones, online dating agencies and oven-ready joints have in common?

In the Round-Up's shopping basket this week: a smartphone, some mobile apps and, err, a subscription to an online dating agency. And an oven-ready joint.

And what's been left behind, dumped in the supermarket aisle? Rose bushes, pork shoulder and a bill for spaying a kitten.

Before you conclude that the Round-Up has finally gone barmy and call for security to have him dragged from this imaginary supermarket, a word or two of explanation.

The Round-Up is simply using the wonders of metaphor to illustrate that this week the Office of National Statistics (ONS) updated the basket of goods it uses to calculate UK inflation rates.

Yes, indeed. So out go the aforementioned pork shoulder, bush and vet's bill, and in come smartphones and apps. It's a reflection of the super high-tech times we live in, according to the ONS.

On the plus side, phone apps are replacing mobile downloads - such as ringtones and wallpaper - in the basket, which perhaps means the stereotypical youth on the bus will be quietly busy with Angry Birds rather than loudly cycling through all their ringtones for the entertainment and erudition of fellow passengers. We can, at least, but hope.

As mentioned earlier, the updated basket includes dating-agency fees for the first time. This is because, the ONS said, with the spread of the internet, online dating sites are becoming an increasingly common way for people to find a partner. And as an aside, sparkling wines are also being added due to their increased consumption, showing that despite difficult economic times, people still want to enjoy themselves.

So there we have it - whip out your smartphone, power up your online dating app to find yourself a new romantic interest, grab an oven-ready joint and then it's back to yours with a bottle of sparkling wine and your new love. It's romance 2.0...

Games con-soulmate

Of course, once they've used their dating app to find themselves a new girlfriend, men know the best thing to do next is start fibbing to them.

You see, there's that other relationship, the one that really gets men’s hearts racing. They might tell their girlfriend she's the only one but the lure of the other is too much. Soon he'll be sneaking off in secret, lying to his poor girlfriend about how he is spending his time.

Yes - one in four men lies to his partner about how long he spends on his games console.

The survey by MyVoucherCodes.co.uk surveyed 1,583 male gamers in relationships. It must have taken quite a while to find that many. Respondents were asked, “Do you ever lie to your partner about how long you spend gaming?”. To which, when they could drag their eyes away from zapping aliens for long enough to answer, a quarter said yes.

When asked what lies were most frequently told, 96 per cent admitted to telling their partner they had spent less time gaming than they actually had.

Which presumably means there are some people out there who are telling their girlfriends they spend more time gaming than they actually do. Perhaps to cover up that they were doing something really bad instead, such as going to the pub with their mates.

Half of those who admitted to fibbing about the amount of gaming they do said they spent an average of "more than an hour longer" on their games console than their partner was aware of. Two-thirds said they lied to "avoid an argument", while a fifth said they would be embarrassed if their partner found out how long they really spent gaming.

An unlucky-in-love nine per cent of respondents admitted they had been dumped by a former partner due to the amount of time they spent gaming. Imagine having that on your dating CV: dumped for too much gaming. Gamers nil, girlfriends one.

Have you got the wits to win?

Feeling funny? That is, funny ha-ha rather than you've just eaten something that's disagreed with you?

Why not find out how funny you really are by having a go at the silicon.com caption competition? Congratulations to last week's winner and well done to all who entered. Have a look at this week's picture here and then have a go yourself. The funniest caption wins a bottle of champagne, so why not give it a go?

Know how to network

Chances are that when you are online, you're heading for Facebook and Twitter - and silicon.com, of course. That's because social-networking sites have now become more popular than entertainment such as the BBC iPlayer. A report by Experian Hitwise shows that 9,000 social-networking sites received 2.4 billion hits from the UK in January 2011.

Most of that traffic goes to Facebook but the report also found that people will hop from social network to social network like digital social butterflies, no doubt scattering bon mots such as "ROFL" and "LOL" as they go.

Don't forget, just because you've caught the social-networking bug doesn't mean you have to leave your beloved silicon.com behind.

We've got a Facebook page, a rapidly growing LinkedIn group and we're on Twitter as well. The team also have their own Twitter feeds too - you can find editor Steve Ranger here, for example. So come and make friends with us today.

And finally this week...

Ever watched your brand-new phone go bouncing down a marble staircase, hit the bottom and shatter into a thousand worthless, uninsured pieces of plastic and metal?


Have you ever swung your bag up over your shoulder and accidentally smacked it into the side of the door frame, immediately transforming the laptop inside into a very large and very expensive paperweight?

No again?

Well, you're doing a lot better than the Round-Up, which has done both of those things - and ruined a phone by dunking it in a cup of tea, too.

Fortunately not everyone is as unlucky as the Round-Up. This week, silicon.com columnist Peter Cochrane looks at how the hardware we tote around every day is getting more resistant to being dropped. Read his column to find out why it all comes down to Newtonian mechanics in the end.

That's all for this week. As ever, check out the excellent links below and have a crack at the caption competition.

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