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back to article Look at how many ways we ruin your life, Redmond boasts

Just in time for the end-of-year break, Microsoft has reminded people – and more importantly, their employers – just how easy it is for mobile computing to completely ruin anything approaching a normal life. A week after Redmond's Australian outpost “suggested” that staff avoid the office for a day (the second of its “Day Out” …

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Unhappy

Remember when this stuff was meant to be "empowering"?

And it is.

To your boss.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Remember when this stuff was meant to be "empowering"?

And now with tracking apps they know exactly where you are.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Remember when this stuff was meant to be "empowering"?

Depends if you are the boss or if you are the slave.....

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Unhappy

Re: Remember when this stuff was meant to be "empowering"?

And now with tracking apps they know exactly where you are.

And from how long you've been sitting there, they can infer #1 or #2.

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Re: Remember when this stuff was meant to be "empowering"?

I remember having to buy my own computer for word processing at work because the management thought they were just for accounting. My colleagues used to refer to my desktop PC as Scalextric for the office -- perhaps because I actually enjoyed using it and it freed me from the angry and illiterate vixens in the typing pool.

All this changed when companies started buying computers and networking them. From then on they were less fun, more ball and chain. You were not allowed to add your own software and there was a sneaking feeling that they were monitoring use so that a long lunch was easier to detect.

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I wonder

47 per cent have worked while on vacation

— I have worked with people whose job consumed them. They lived their job. The thought of a holiday without a phone or internet connection would be hell. Being kept in the loop is a basic human necessity.

20 per cent of parents have worked while at a child's event or activity

— Never done this nor would I.

27 per cent of people work while eating out

— Does this include managers meeting clients for a business lunch or work colleagues going out for pizza together? If there is a current problem that concerns some or all of them, then does this qualify as work. I've had spirited discussions about database architecture over pizza in a restaurant.

19 per cent of people have worked while going to the bathroom

— Does this include those who chat about a current work problem while going for a piss, I wonder? I've done that. I wouldn't regard that as abnormal or worrying. I've certainly never seen a laptop in use in the toilet.

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Re: I wonder

Or to put it another way:

53 per cent have not worked while on vacation

80 per cent of parents have not worked while at a child's event or activity

73 per cent of people don't work while eating out

81 per cent of people have not worked while going to the bathroom

So that's most of us then...

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Re: I wonder

But, and rather importantly - How often or regularly?

I have worked during my holiday. There was a crisis and I was the one who could solve it so I did. In return I was rewarded quite well and it proved worth it; everyone won from that.

That is somewhat different to, day in, day out, not being able to tuck the kids into bed because, "Daddy's got a speadsheet to finish", which is what we really need to worry about. A bit of give and take is okay. As long as its equitable and any willingness to self-sacrifice doesn't become an obligation or otherwise exploited.

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On the other hand

I'm self-employed. I normally work 3 or 4 days per week.

Having mobile email means my customers don't need to know, and they think I'm always available. Makes my life far more flexible. Also means I don't have to check email when I get home from a day-long meeting.

Bit crap if you're a wage slave though.

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Re: On the other hand

Absolutely. I've also managed to take the family on several long holidays a year whilst running my own company, on the grounds that I can log into my email account for a few minutes every morning and check that everything is well with my customers. These days I'm on a salary, but rarely need to go into the office as I have everything I need locally. All of which gets switched off at 17:30 on the dot.

This shite *is* empowering, so long as the user ensures they control it, rather than vice versa.

GJC

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There are so many things you can do in a bathroom

19 per cent of people have worked while going to the bathroom

I take it this doesn't actually mean 'going to the bathroom', to shave perhaps, put a towel away, or get another carton of ibuprofen out of the medical cabinet, but is an instance of that US American euphemism for 'going to the toilet'. I have carried out work-related activities while in the bathroom, but have never done so while 'going to the bathroom' US-style.

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Re: There are so many things you can do in a bathroom

Just as "toilet" is a euphemism for "water closet" adopted, initially, as the French "toilette" and anglicized over time.

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Re: There are so many things you can do in a bathroom

Water Closet is just a euphemism for the original word, "shit house" or "crapper".

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: There are so many things you can do in a bathroom

Stilted banter wrote :-

"I take it this ......... is an instance of that US American euphemism for 'going to the toilet'"

That brought me up short as well. Sounds disgusting. I hope they wash theiir fondleslabs afterward, and is this why some devices are "paper white"?

Shit on keyboard icon.

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Trollface

Re: There are so many things you can do in a bathroom

I suggest use of the term 'gronkpan' in future articles.

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Re: There are so many things you can do in a bathroom

Bog, shitter, pisser, dunny

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MJI
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Re: There are so many things you can do in a bathroom

We don't have a bath room at work, but the closed down business next door sold baths and one was dumped in our entrance way.

No I have never workded while sitting in a bath.

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Unhappy

Re: There are so many things you can do in a bathroom

"or "crapper"."

Named after Thomas Crapper.

Such a pity.

A few better breaks and he could have become as familiar as "Hoover."

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FAIL

Re: There are so many things you can do in a bathroom

Wrong, unfortunately:

http://www.snopes.com/business/names/crapper.asp

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Childcatcher

well said sir

have a beer on me, my sentiments entirely. if I am not on call, unless it is a real emergency, don't call. I have seen someone in terminal phase of disease remain at work until a week before carking, as if they had no life to complete. I used to wonder what their spouse and kids thought of priorities as it was too sad for all concerned.

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Happy

A modest proposal for correction

Perhaps the sentence

"47 per cent have worked while on vacation (either they or their employers have an inadequate grasp of the definition of “vacation”. Hint: “if you call me about work on December 25, I will hang up”)."

Should be amended to

"47 per cent have worked while on vacation (either they or their employers have an inadequate grasp of the definition of “vacation”. Hint: “if you call me about work on December 25, I will hang you from the highest gallows”)."

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Re: A modest proposal for correction

When I was but a lad fresh out of a shitty secondary skool I did a stint at a local supermarket. One of my bosses had to spend Christmas Day emptying the freezers in to a hastily hired freezer truck because the compressors conked out. Again.

Hence why the company was known to us lowly grunts as "Scummerfield".

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> 20 per cent of parents have worked while at a child's event or activity

So they can be ineffective as a parent AND as an employee at the same time, but be able to chalk up time for both roles. Splendid stuff - as every salaryman knows what matters is how much time you spend on the job (and this must be greater than your boss), not what you actually achieve by it.

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Coat

know know why???

Like the last sentence - just for emphasis or trypo/spelchek ???

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Anonymous Coward

Thank $deity

I am pleased I work for a company so backward in its remote working tech that I can turn off when I leave the building. Beats my last employer that helped me commit all of the listed sins.

Regularly had to put phone on mute to squeeze out a big poo.

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WTF?

Muff-diving for fun and profit!

'27 per cent of people work while eating out'

Really? They can't be doing it right, then.

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Anonymous Coward

27 per cent of people work while eating out

I would not be happy* if someone was trying to work whilst eating me out.

*not /entirely/ unhappy under the circs

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Re: 27 per cent of people work while eating out

Maybe they're a porn actor, and that's their jo...

Sorry, no men in porn give a crap about how turned on the woman is, I couldn't finish that line.

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Some things can't be rushed.

If I take too long on the crapper, will I start seeing laxative ads?

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Happy

Blame the cell phone

I have done all of that and I am not all that worried about it. Once in the bathroom one customer mentioned a disturbing echo on the line and once on thee beach surrounded by seagulls, my customer wondered if I was actually at the office or something. I had to tell her I was on vacation and that did not seem to make her any happier.

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Re: Blame the cell phone

>Blame the cell phone

I actually know someone who found the advent of mobile phones gave them a little more freedom from the office... before being issued a phone, his pager meant he could be contacted damn near anywhere; when he was given a phone, he found there was no signal at the pub in the next village.

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Happy

Re: Blame the cell phone

If I owned a pub I'd line the walls with foil backed plasterboard, then quietly inform a few people that for some reason there was no phone reception - reckon I'd be pretty busy.

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Does anyone else find the AT&T 1994 ad actually impressive? Electronic books, in-car satnav, a tablet sending a fax from a beach? In 1994?! Amazon was just incorporated in 1994[*], in-car satnavs were not commercially available (in the US?) until 1995 (Magellan?), things like Newton existed but I don't think sending faxes wirelessly from a beach was feasible[**]. Easy to dismiss all that as trivial 20 years later, but it was quite a vision back then.

[*] Had to look it up, so googled "Amazon" - could not find the river anywhere in the 20 results on the first page... Sad...

[**] Maybe paired with a satellite brickphone? I have fond memories of hooking a Nokia and an iPaq via IR on business trips, but only around 2001 or so.

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Not really too impressive, as the first two were done by others. The last device was an EO Communicator, which probably could do what they showed it doing with an expensive subscription (or maybe just a promised soon feature). It was a competitor to the Newton and introduced about the same time. This is probably really mainly an ad for that, promising future features.

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Happy

Being called on vacation

I've previously held a job where if I cocked up badly there was a risk (albeit small) of serious injury or death to others.

Not having that level of responsibility any more I simply cannot get worked up about a website being down or slow processing of orders.

On a more practical note this is why leaving good docs is important, if they can figure it out without you then the temptation to ring you is much lower.

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MJI
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On the loo

Now that one was a pain.

Saturday, sitting on the bog, ring ring.

Phone call for me, phone is just outside the loo and the cable is just long enough.

My boss soon rang off when he heard the noises.

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Anonymous Coward

Mute Ravi, mute!

I was "on the throne" at work one day and had the "pleasure" of listening to one of the Indian offshore managers three traps down not only having a heated discussion with an underling but also interspersing the conversation with grunts and straining noises/squeals while he attempted to "pass a difficult motion". Classy. Very classy.

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Alert

Re: Mute Ravi, mute!

while he attempted to "pass a difficult motion"

Did you shout, "I second that motion!"?

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Re: Mute Ravi, mute!

"Did you shout, "I second that motion!"?"

You'd give yourself away, and there may be repercussions. But if you hear somebody on the phone whilst they are in the trap, make sure their caller knows by flushing the trap next to them, and then leaving.

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Pretending to work

You can't be effective in any of the situations listed. So people aren't working, they're pretending to work. I'm blessed to be in a job where I work effectively when it's needed and don't have to pretend to work when it's not needed.

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Trollface

Such a missed oportunity for snappy a title...

"Redmond would like Windows on every outhouse". 'nuff said.

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Yes... Smartphones are SOOOOO empowering... to, as previously stated, your boss - NOT you. But at least your company buys your smartphone, right? Pays the telecoms bill, right? Buys the laptop / fondleslab that you need to get from work to home, right? Pays for your ISP so that you can do all that work from home when you are really supposed to be taking your daughter out to the movies... Right? Right? Oh... Wait... Don't tell me that they got you with that BYOD crap as well.... Poor sod...

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Big Brother

I remember

an engineering company taking delivery of new equipment on dec 23rd, and the manglement demanding that its installed and ready to go over christmas.

The installation crew said yeah we'll work christmas day/boxing day so long as the manglement team is here to sort out and sign off any problems.

Stand upto your employers and tell them to 'naff off' if they want you working out of hours without some form of extra compensation

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Optional

"47 per cent have worked while on vacation"

For a while, I rarely seemed to be able to take a holiday without receiving phone calls from clients. In most cases, I didn't mind because they might not have been aware I was going away that week, and just had to be (politely) told I'm away and would be back whenever.

One (now ex) client in particular, though, was an absolute nightmare for it - and even if he didn't know I was away the first time he called, he did the second, third, fourth, etc. times (on the same holiday) because I told him the FIRST time.

Mind you, he was a nightmare for telephoning me as well as sending me frequent messages and emails at all sorts of times, often needing something back. And worse, he'd complain about my invoices being too high - invoices that didn't actually reflect the extra time I spent on him because of all those messages etc.

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Optional

I've just remembered something not covered in the article.

Working while ill - in my case, in hospital.

I need to get a life.

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Anonymous Coward

Just in time for the end-of-year break.....

it's OK, you can call it the Christmas Holidays if you want.

Only white middle-class-nothing-better-to-do type people will be offended.

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Facepalm

Advertising is always targetted

In this case the advertising is targetting the bosses, who would love employees working extra for free. And with employees being too cheap to buy their own phone, who's to blame them?

But there's nothing preventing you from buying your own, and turning the company one off outside work hours.

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Re: Advertising is always targetted

"And with employees being too cheap to buy their own phone, who's to blame them?"

In SME land perhaps. In any well run corporate there ought to be security controls, encryption, a restrictive AUP, and limitations on instaling crapps or loading media files, heavy handed controls on social media, along with enterprise grade anti-malware. Any employee who wants to mix that sort of business with pleasure is mad, unless their use of the works phone is purely as a dumb phone.

This also means that when your employer buys a works phone that you consider to be a dog, or to be cursed with the wrong OS, it doesn't interefere with your own life.

With the Nexus 5 free on contract with Orange for £17 a month/500mins, you'd have to be a right cheapskate to want to use your employers choice of HTC Wildfire, or some dated mid-low end Sammy.

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Those stats were tragic.

Am I alone in seeing work as a necessary evil?

Really only something to do until that big lottery win/find something better to do?

I fully understand that some people love their jobs, and they may be excluded from the above.

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