The Weekly Round-Up: Tell-tale clothes, Windows tablets and phone envy

It gives a whole new meaning to the term 'loud suit'...
Written by The Round-Up, Contributor

It gives a whole new meaning to the term 'loud suit'...

According to the old song, a picture is worth a thousand words. If that's the case, chances are your Facebook profile says something in the order of a set of Encyclopaedia Britannicas, thanks to the candid snaps that so often appear on social networking sites. Gone are the days when the worst image of you at the office Christmas party would come from an ill-advised drunken trip to the photocopier - now every last cocktail too many and dodgy fancy dress costume will surface in full colour glory for all your Facebook friends to enjoy.

Only of course, it's not just your Facebook friends that are taking a gander at pictures of you - it could be your future employer too.

Research out this week from a communications consultancy, The Aziz Corporation, found that more than 70 per cent of execs admit to checking out the photos and profiles of interview candidates, with the vast majority saying they would be put off by pictures of would-be employees who don't scrub up well.

Handy, then, that researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are working on creating fabrics that can interact with their environment.

Yes, the researchers have been developing fabrics that are capable of hearing and producing sound because, you know, fabrics are apparently "much too passive" according to MIT.

While the Round-Up can't say it's been overly troubled by the passivity or otherwise of its apparel, it's still good to see how the next generation of textiles could develop. Perhaps clothing could be encouraged to offer its opinions on your chosen ensemble for the day.

Put on a mismatched shirt and trousers combo? "Oh no, I don't think so," the clobber would pipe up. "Blue and green should never be seen." Off to the beach? Your towel could advise you that maybe budgie smugglers and dignity are not natural bedfellows.

And if you're off to that all important interview, you could ask your get-up for an opinion on whether your comedy tie says 'hey, I'm a laid back, fun kind of guy' or 'my mum still buys my neckwear'. It really would bring a whole new meaning to the term 'loud suit'...

In other news, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed this week that Windows 7 tablet devices are on the way before too long. And about time too: after all, Microsoft founder Bill Gates spent more than a decade pushing the idea of a tablet PC at a public which just shrugged in return - and now Apple has them queuing around the block to get hold of the iPad.

Ballmer called the devices "slates" rather than tablets, of course, but to compete with Apple's iPad (which has a pretty good head start) Microsoft has come up with a new strategy.

Yes, instead of reaching out to the shallow fashionista inside us all, Microsoft is going to court our dull, sensible inner IT nerd, with Ballmer revealing the Windows 7 devices will be IT department friendly - in contrast to "this, that or the other random device that's not currently supported by corporate IT". Whatever device could he mean?

The Microsoft CEO added the Windows 7 tablet will be a "consumer-oriented device but a device that fits and is manageable with today's enterprise IT solutions". The devices will be targeted at the needs of knowledge workers in the business but will also support their "personal interests as they travel", he added.

Hmm. To the Round-Up that sounds suspiciously like "business in the front, party in the back" - yes, it appears that Microsoft is following the same marketing strategy as that favoured by the 1980s hillbilly's haircut of choice, the mullet.

Is such a strategy a cut above or a hair-raising plan? The Round-Up will leave you to mullet over.

Bar a bad 'do or two of its own, the Round-Up can confidently say it has no regrets. Je ne regrette rien. Not even - you'll be surprised to learn - when it comes to mobile phone upgrades.

The Round-Up goes against the grain here apparently, as according to research out this week, even now you are in the process of eyeing up your colleague's handset - admiring its sleek lines, svelte form and unparalleled functionality.

Coveting your neighbour's mobile phone is something the majority of handset owners have 'fessed up to doing in a poll by mobile comparison website rightmobile.co.uk, with 67 per cent of those quizzed admitting to being afflicted by phone envy.

Of those wrestling to keep the green-eyed monster at bay, well over half (59 per cent) blamed their phone envy on the coveted device having better features than their own, while around a third (28 per cent) said they saw green because it was a more attractive handset.

According to the poll, phone envy came third in the jealousy-inducing stakes. Asked 'which of the following are you most likely to envy when it comes to people you know?', only a fast car or a fancy house were voted more desirable a status symbol than a top-of-the-line mobile phone.

Being the proud owner of a sleek and svelte mobile was also considered a lot more jealousy-inducing than being the proud owner of a sleek and svelte body - which may go some way to explaining why so many people are willing to queue all night to buy the latest Apple iPhone. That, and the fact that pulling an all-nighter on Regent Street may require stamina - but it's still a lot more fun than pumping iron three times per week.

And before you go, the Round-Up would like to remind you to check out silicon.com's Facebook page here for updates from the team throughout the week. You can also join our LinkedIn group here for the latest on the CIO Jury and other IT issues. And of course there's Twitter too, where you take a look at our stylish new look page here.

And with that, there's just time for a gallop through the headlines of the week: want to find out what Microsoft is stuffing its Christmas stocking with? Here's a sneak peek.

Want to know what the future of mobile networks will look like? The answers are all here.

And finally, want to know what RoboNanny and augmented reality have in common? All is revealed here.

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