It's all well and good that IT has been democratised to the point where every spotty teenage oik has a smartphone about 10 times more powerful than the room full of machines that put a man on the moon. But I'm sure I'm not the only one who sometimes yearns for the days when personal computing was arcane and prohibitively expensive. So I was delighted to see a seminal Apple 1 computer back on the market recently.
Even adjusting for inflation, I was still surprised that someone forked out more
than £240,000 for one that went under the hammer last week.
To be fair, the devices - which were assembled by techie demi-god Steve Wozniak - are rarer than hens' teeth. Only 200 were ever made, of which just a quarter are thought to still exist, with very few in working order.
It may not have a screen, a keyboard, a mouse, a USB port or a webcam (or, in fact, anything other than a circuit board), but this was still one hell of a computer. Though if the proud new owner is thinking of firing up a bit of Angry Birds when they get home, they might find themselves disappointed.
Waiting for Superman
I was as delighted as ever to see the biannual rankings of the world's most powerful computing machines published this week. In a rare piece of triumphalist nationalism, our transatlantic cousins were celebrating bringing the high-performance compute crown back to the good ol' US of States.
The Yanks have been without the HPC honour for almost three years as machines from China and Japan have left Big Blue and Cray eating Asian dust.
But IBM's Sequoia machine has now won the day, with the vendor's vice president of deep computing (how cool is that?!), David Turek, claiming he's been plotting to reclaim the crown for two years.
Great stuff. But when are we going to bring the top honours back to Blighty? Let me take this opportunity to tell the government that, as a seasoned tech professional with a BTEC in IT from Barking & Dagenham Adult Learning Centre, I'm ready to take my country's call, and its £5m research grant.
Back to the drawing board
You may not be surprised to hear, dear reader, that I love a good gadget.
Nose hair trimmers, electric tin-openers, boiled-egg makers; you name it, I own it. So when I heard about Bolivian customs officials being armed with new anti-fraud pens, my ears pricked up.
The devices have a built-in voice recorder and hidden micro camera concealed within the guise of the humble biro. They are supposed to be kept all day in an attempt to target fraud and corruption at border control.
Now, I've come across my fair share of shady dealings in the past and I must admit I quite fancy a spy pen of my very own. If only to prove once and for all to the Met Police that the money from that server refresh was just resting in my account.
According to massively unimpeachable data from "on-demand sales compensation and sales performance management provider Xactly" (what do you mean ‘Who?'!?), a massive 28 per cent of sales folk believe that their company would risk jeopardising more than 40 per cent of their firm's sales if the top 20 per cent of sales staff hit the road. (What do you mean ‘Eh?'!?)
The dynamite survey also uncovered that 13 per cent of sales pros began their career due to a paucity of better options (which obviously differs wildly from every other job ever), while 38 per cent had financially motivated reasons for getting into sales (no way!) According to Xactly, 23 per cent of staff are overpaid, and 26 per cent underpaid. So I guess it all works out, right? Not according to Xactly chief Christopher Cabrera.
"This research shows the importance of correctly recognising and rewarding the efforts of your sales team," he mused.
If the actions of my sales staff were correctly recognised, most would spend four nights a week in a holding cell.
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