I've never heard of Hunched-Over-Laptop Syndrome (HOLS), but as I sit here in bed huddled over my laptop as I nurse an injured leg I can quite believe it exists.
Anyway according to a survey by Fellowes (the office equipment people - spot the vested interest here), 79 per cent of UK employees say that using say using work mobile devices, including laptops and tablets is making them ill.
The lack of specialist ergonomic equipment when on the move is the prime cause for the rise in work-related back and joint injuries, claims the survey, brought on by devices that promise to make our lives easier.
One in four report their posture worsens when working 'nomadically' (ie. not at their desk) and one in 10 now say this type of working has caused long-term posture problems when using handhelds, tablets and computers.
More than two thirds of those (65%) are forced to take medication to manage their condition and a staggering one in 20 has been forced to give up their job altogether.
And the health issues worsen with one in 10 complaining of being in constant pain and 17 per cent suffering some pain each day.
Worryingly, younger adults (those aged 18 - 24) are those most seriously affected as the research reveals that two thirds of young workers claim to have a problem caused by mobile working.
General practitioner and health broadcaster, Dr Sarah Jarvis explains: "Permanent desk spaces are the thing of the past with many of us working in a nomadic style. Mobile devices are meant to make consumers' lives easier, but what we aren't being warned about is the health dangers associated with working on the move.
"In many cases this so called 'HOL' syndrome is brought on by lack of ergonomic equipment. Job illnesses and ailments associated with poor posture are rising significantly and I am seeing more in my practice year on year."
(Research was conducted by Dynamic Markets in 2013 among 1000 UK adults 18+)
Indie rock legends the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have sparked debate over the place of smartphones at gigs by insisting that punters at their live shows don't pull out their tech while they play.
While attending the New York trio's show at Webster Hall, Spin spotted the following sign posted onto doors at the venue.
"PLEASE DO NOT WATCH THE SHOW THROUGH A SCREEN ON YOUR SMART DEVICE/CAMERA.
PUT THAT SHIT AWAY as a courtesy to the person behind you and to Nick, Karen and Brian.
MUCH LOVE AND MANY THANKS!
YEAH YEAH YEAHS"
Singer Karen O re-iterated the request from the stage, telling the crowd that they could snap away during the second song of their set, but then had to "put those motherfuckers away."
The request follows similar sentiments from other high-profile stars, including Prince. The diminutive pop star is very protective over what images of him are released to the public, and threatened those at his recent SXSW appearance with removal if they were spotted using smartphone devices.
It's an interesting argument. I for one hate smartphones at gigs, obscuring my view of blistering live performances while other punters lose the real-time experience by watching the whole thing through smartphone or digital camera screens. And don't get me started on iPads at gigs! They're just ridiculous, and massively obscure the view of those behind them, dulling the atmosphere as people stand statically trying to protect their expensive tech from the bustle of the crowd.
On the other hand, it's reasonable to want to capture a great gigging moment with a camera or video, and I have to admit being grateful of all the YouTube clips posted of gigs I wasn't lucky enough to attend.
My brother took it a step further at a recent gig I went to with him though; he played the Infinity Blade game on his iPhone the entire way through a support band slot, which I felt was rude. He countered with the fact that he felt he'd only paid to see the top-billing band at the show, and would reserve the right to turn over a song he didn't like on the radio. Why can't he enjoy a bit of downtime on his phone while waiting for the act he really cares about?
When it comes to recordings though, you wonder how much damage is causes the artists and fans caught on film. With record sales declining, gig ticket sales and subsequent tour DVDs are an important revenue stream for bands. Do bootleg YouTube videos diminish the potential returns on such products? Some artists however have embraced them; Supergrass's Supergrass is 10 DVD included bootleg footage sent in by fans.
So what do you think? Should smartphones, tablets, and even digital cameras be banned from live performances? Or should those who want to capture performances be allowed to enjoy gigs as they please? Leave your response in the poll below!
Another day, another survey. This time one from VoucherCodesPro.co.uk (again) which shows that employees spend more time on social networks at work than home.
Not great news for bosses up and down the land perhaps - unless the staff work in social media of course - but not really any great surprise.
According to the survey of 1000 adults, the average Briton in full time employment admitted to spending up to 1.5 hours per day on social network sites whilst they were supposed to be working. That equates to 7.5 hours per week, which in most cases is an entire working day. The most common times for switching on to social networks at work is between 10am and 11am and 3pm and 4pm.
When asked about their social networking usage in their free time, the average respondent claims to spend 45 minutes per day on social networks; or 5.25 hours in a week. That means that most adults in full time employment spend more time on social networks when they should be working that they do at home or in their free time.
Of all the respondents that did admit to spending more time on social networks when they should have in fact been working, 46% blamed 'ease of discreet access' through phones and on their computers as the main reason.
More than 1,000 people answered questions about how they used the internet. All those taking part were adults from the UK and were in full time employment. When asked to select their working patter, the majority of those asked (69%)said they worked Monday - Friday from around 9am to 5pm.
Speaking about the results, George Charles, marketing director at VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, said:
"Particularly for those with office-based jobs, it's not difficult to see why they might get tempted to access their social network profiles when they should be working. Especially with the introduction of things like Tweet Deck and Facebook's push notifications, it's actually harder than ever to switch off.
"What employees do need to be careful of is their boss finding out they aren't working when they thought they were. Perhaps it's best to leave social networking for lunch breaks and after work!
That certainly seems to be the case according to new figures released by the Dixons retail group. Currys and PC World recording a whopping 500% growth in 3D TV sales over the course of the last quarter, with one in five TV sales including 3D tech.
"Interest around 3D TV technology has massively increased over the last quarter and we have seen uplift in demand from customers online and in our stores. Prices have become really competitive, with 3D TVs available from as little as £499, opening the technology up to a mass audience," said John Mitchell, Category Manager of Dixons Retail.
"Great prices combined with increased 3D content, ranging from films, to documentaries and sport, is leading to increased adoption of 3D. This increase is reinforced in our TV range, around 40% of which is made of 3D televisions currently and which we expect to increase in the next 12 months, as premiership football is screened in 3D and films including Harry Potter Final Movie are released in 3D."
Sales are definitely on the rise then? Is this a sign of increased consumer interest? Has 3D content become compelling enough to warrant its premium price? Or is the sales spike merely due to the fact that the majority of new big-name-brand TVs bought have 3D functionality by default?
Help us find the answers! Leave your mark in the poll below, and chime in with any thoughts in the comments section.
For some, the summer months are the best time to slap on the sunscreen, pull on a swimming costume and go bask in the rare British sunshine. For me, it's an opportunity to catch up on the past 6 months' worth (or longer) of video games that I haven't had a chance to plough through before new AAA titles surge into shops in time for the Christmas rush.
It's lead me to go back to Batman: Arkham Asylum, a game I had great fun with upon release, before Batman: Arkham City is released later this year.
I'd finished Arkham Asylum's main campaign some time ago, but never managed to uncover all the of the Riddler's hidden trophies and riddle answer locations. I simply didn't have the time at back then, and as a some-time videogame reviewer it's often my job to burn through the main campaign and sidestep these "completionist" elements. With that said, I'm personally quite the completionist myself, and when I get some spare time I like to go back and get on with unfinished business, like getting 100% in Arkham Asylum.
The fact remains however that I don't have the time I did as a kid to go through and explore every part of Arkham Asylum with a fine tooth comb just to get these elusive rewards. It could potentially take me months that way, and I'd never experience other great games.
Where do you turn then? To strategy guides and websites like GameFaqs, who outline all the difficult details of how to get through every single aspect of a game. But isn't that cheating? What separates using a game guide from punching in a cheat code to jump past all of a game's difficult bits, or have all the rewards of spending time with a game handed to you on a plate?
Part of the answer comes from how we define what makes video games fun these days, and in some cases that's an individual, game-by-game definition. A game like Heavy Rain is more or less an interactive movie, where the fun of the game is derived mainly from reaching the climax of the plot, which could be zipped through with a guide. A game like Guitar Hero is purely skill based and the rhythmic mechanics of the game are the only area where you can find any fun; a strategy guide may help you figure out where the unlockables are, but you're still going to have to work hard to get them. Fallout 3 or Oblivion encourage exploration of their massive worlds, and uncovering every nook and cranny's secrets is where the pleasure lies; a strategy guide could direct you to cool places, but the effect wont be the same as uncovering the secrets found there on your own.
Other times secrets are so obscure that it's almost as if they're put there just to sell strategy guides. Does anyone remember how difficult it was to get the Knights of the Round summon in Final Fantasy VII? There's no way I'd have got that without a sneak peek at a guide.
In some respects it's the move away from high-score chasing that we used to do in arcade titles like Pac Man and the move towards the sense of progression that a story-led game like Mass Effect uses that has encouraged this focus on experiencing the "end game" moments of a title. I'd hate to have thought I'd never have made it all the way to Red Dead Redemption's superb ending, for instance. On the other hand, you'd have had to have burned through some serious pocket money to have seen the final "kill screen" in an arcade cabinet like Donkey Kong, and it wasn't exactly going to round up any life-affirming plot for you by doing so.
But even score based games like Donkey Kong and Pac Man have a clearly defined superior strategy that will see you go further than other players. Looking at a strategy guide for these games would still require an insane amount of skill to master them; does the knowledge of how best to beat a game have to come from trial and error in order for it not to be classified as cheating, which may be maddeningly frustrating, even if you have to apply it in conjunction with ridiculous amounts of skill and dexterity?
As you can see, it's a fairly complex question. So I pass the baton over to you, the Tech Digest readership. Leave your moral mark in the poll below, and fire away in the comments section and on our Facebook page with your thoughts.
Few phones attracted more buzz at MWC 2011 this week than LG's Optimus 3D phone. With its dual-camera lenses capable of recording 3D video, autosteroscopic parralax barrier screen and dual-core credentials, it was a mighty phone on show from the Korean tech titans.
However, it looks set to burn a mighty hole in your wallet too, as the first pre-order details are starting to trickle in. Expansys are the first to lay a price down for the phone, a whopping £514.99 should you want one by April 25th. That's five pound more than even the already-too-expensive Apple iPhone 4.
So, is it worth all that dough to be able to get a little more depth from your phone screen? let us know in the poll below.
Sky football commentator Andy Gray has seen his television presenting contract terminated after a series of sexually innapropriate comments were made to and about female staff.
The Sky Sports presenter had mocked female Premier League Assistant referee Sian Massey, believing his microphone to be off, only to have his sexist remarks recorded for all to hear. It later came to light that this was only the latest in a string of innapropriate behaviour from the long-standing sports show host.
Andy Gray is not just a TV personality however, but a gaming one too. He has sat in the commentating seat for the FIFA football game series since 1997, but his annual stint with EA's flagship sports title has now been put into question.
Should EA keep Gray as their title's pundit? His partnership with Martin Tyler on the series has certainly led to some of the most fluid and entertaining footie commentary in a sports game ever, but has Gray over-stepped the mark? Certainly EA will not want another sacndal on their hands following the colourful lives of Tiger Woods and Wayne Rooney, both of whom have been EA game cover stars.
So what do you think? Leave your answers in our poll below, and feel free to add some alternative pundits to potentially replace Gray too.
News has begun to trickle in today about a proposed WikiLeaks movie, documenting the rise of the whistleblowing website, the consequenting controversy surrounding its many leaked wires and co-founder Julian Assange's "colourful" personal life.
The public face of WikiLeaks, the sometimes-enigmatic-sometimes-charismatic Assange makes for one of the more memorable characters in web history.
Which got us thinking; if the movie were to get the green-light, who should play that part, presumably the leading role?
Neil Patrick Harris of "How I Met Your Mother" fame (pictured to the right of Assange in the image above) is certainly a strong likeness, but does he have the acting-chops to carry what would essentially pan out into a tense-courtroom drama?
We've put a few ideas into the poll below, so let us know what you think, and feel free to chime in with suggestions of your own!
Apple have filed a patent that will make iPhone jailbreakers and those scared of Orwellian surveillance systems quite uncomfortable.
The "Systems and Methods for Identifying Unauthorized Users of an Electronic Device" patent describes plans that would give Apple an unprecedented amount of control over a user's handset.
Some sections of the patent, particularly those that relate to protecting the phone owners sensitive information, would likely be welcomed. Should the iPhone fall into a thief's hand, "access to sensitive information such as credit card information, social security numbers, banking information, home addresses, or any other delicate information can be prohibited.
"In some embodiments, the sensitive information can be erased from the electronic device. For example, the sensitive information can be erased directly after an unauthorized user is detected."
However, despite the fact that jailbreaking iPhones has now been deemed legal according to the US Library of Congress, the patent also seems to suggest Apple will be able to activate a "kill-switch" remotely should they identify that a phone has been tampered with. Apple justify this by suggesting that jailbreaking an iPhone is a sign that the handset has fallen into "unauthorised hands":
"An activity that can detect an unauthorized user can be any action that may indicate the electronic device is being tampered with by being, for example, hacked, jailbroken, or unlocked. Jailbreaking' of an electronic device can generally refer to tampering with the device to allow a user to gain access to digital resources that are normally hidden and protected from users.
"'Unlocking' of a cellular phone can generally refer to removing a restriction that 'locks' a cellular phone so it may only be used in specific countries or with specific network providers. Thus, in some embodiments, an unauthorized user can be detected if it is determined that the electronic device is being jailbroken or unlocked."
Things get even more worrying though when the patent suggests remotely activating the phone's camera, taking a picture and geo-tagging the location before sending the information and image off to Apple's servers, deleting all evidence of the action in the process. Not great news if you're making a call whilst on the loo.
So does Apple really have our best interests at heart with these proposed "security" features, or is it yet another tech intrusion on our private lives? Let us know your feelings in the poll below.
High-fives all around at Nintendo HQ today, as the High Court has ruled that importing, advertising or selling R4 cartridges in the UK is now illegal.
R4 cards can be used to download and play illegally ripped versions of Nintendo DS games from ROM sites on the web. While some argue that the cards have a legitimate use in the homebrew community, allowing budding coders and developers a platform to test their work on, the court found the card's widespread application for piracy too damaging to ignore.
The news follows a similar court ruling in the Netherlands just a week ago.
While the homebrewing community will be up in arms, many agree with the High Court ruling. Not least of all do ELSPA (the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association ) who released this statement following the news:
"We are delighted with today's decision to make the advertisement, importation and sale of R4 copier cards illegal. The ELSPA Intellectual Property (IP) Crime Unit was central in bringing the defendants to the attention of law enforcement authorities. I am grateful to them and our partners at Nintendo and Trading Standards in securing this significant judgement," said Michael Rawlinson, Director General of ELSPA. "Intellectual property theft is an important issue for the videogames industry, and this judgement will assist the IP Crime Unit team in actively pursuing and stopping other individuals who deal in R4 cards."
So where do you stand? Is it wrong to deny the innocent tinkerers the right to develop and practise their coding skills on the DS with the cards, not to mention opening up the hardware beyond limitations imposed upon it by Nintendo. Or do you consider the whole homebrew scene too small a community to defend those who use the cards for fairly widespread piracy?
Tonight sees the WWDC 2010 conference open its doors and Apple's Steve Jobs take to the centre stage. Apple have had the wind knocked out of their sails this year following a series of high-profile leaks revealing the iPhone 4.0 way ahead of schedule. It's pretty much a dead cert that their latest smartphone model will get officially unveiled tonight, but there are a whole host of other things the Cupertino giants may have lined up.
From cloud-based iTunes to a new version of Safari, Jobs may have "just one more thing" up his sleeve yet. So what would you like to see revealed at this years World Wide Developers Conference? Let us know by leaving a response in our poll below.
Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg last night announced the details of his social network's new privacy controls, after many users felt that the previous settings were too complicated. Under the banner of "one simple control", Facebook hope the new controls will make privacy settings on the network more intuitive and transparent.
The controls will now allow you to control who can see Facebook updates; everyone, friends and their friends, or just your friends. There will also be controls for blocking specific users too. You will also now be able to change who can view your friends list and pages instead of them being mandatorily public. All settings changed will be applied retroactively to pages and Facebook applications.
However, as the changes are rolled out over the next few weeks, user's privacy settings are expected to revert to a recommended setting initially, sharing users' posts, status updates, photos with user's bio, quotes and friends lists with the whole web. Read Facebook's plans in detail here.
"Each time we make a change we try to learn from past lessons, and each time we make new mistakes too," said a frank Zuckerberg. But what do you think? Have Facebook done enough to win back your trust?
According to BBC Five Live, BlackBerry smartphones have been banned from the UK Cabinet. In a week in which the UK has seen it's first coalition government formed in over three decades, you'd think any device that could help communications between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives would be welcomed with eager twiddling thumbs.
But that apparently is not the case. So what distractions could smartphones be causing to have them banned from government meetings?
We've plucked a few ridiculous ideas from the ether. Pick what you feel is the most plausible in our poll below. And then hang your head in shame for voting in four sure-to-be-hellish years of Tory governance.
2009 was a stellar year for games, and just a quick look at this year's nominees for the Best Game at the BAFTA Video Game Awards will show you why. Assassin's Creed II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, FIFA 10, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Left 4 Dead 2 and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves all deservedly get a nod.
swiftcover, the insurance company that's trying to be cool by using Iggy Pop in its adverts (despite the fact he would never be able to get insurance cover, ever), has commissioned a survey to find out what 'Rocks' and what 'Sucks'. Oh dear.
What it has found is that despite wall-to-wall coverage of Twitter, nearly three-quarters (74%) of Brits think Facebook 'rocks the most' compared with its social media rival.
The online motor insurer also found that the iPhone 'rocked the most' with 68% of votes compared to 32% who voted for the Blackberry, whilst in terms of IT brands Microsoft still rules over Apple with 66% saying that Microsoft 'rocks'.
Tina Shortle, marketing director of swiftcover.com, says: "Our poll shows that 2009 really was the year that social media grabbed the public's imagination, from Facebook and Twitter through to the great social networking gizmos like the iPhone."
The poll was conducted among 2016 people.
swiftcover.com's Rocks and Sucks - What rocked?
* 74% said Facebook rocked the most, compared with 26% who said Twitter
* 68% said the iPhone rocked, compared with 32% who said the Blackberry
* 66% said Microsoft rocked, compared with 34% who said Apple
Once it seemed that only fellas would bamboozle you with talk of their hard drives, processors, operating systems and number of mega-pixels. But now it seems that women are just as comfortable with tech-talk.
According to a survey commissioned by electric retailer Comet, the gap between the sexes - at least as far as tech is concerned has closed with 48 per cent of women now feeling more comfortable with technology compared with 47 per cent of men.
Indeed only 15 per cent would now describe themselves as the tech-head of the household with 13 per cent even admitting to turning to their partner for advice on setting up and operating new technology.
Furthermore, women are feeling increasingly confident with technology and would happily set up their laptop or freeview box. Only four percent are daunted by installing their own HDTV and seven percent a surround sound system.
When asked what changes technology has made to their lives, half of women claim they now rely on the latest gadgets to make their lives tick (compared to 56% of men).
However, whilst embracing all things technical, multi-tasking females are not completely abandoning more traditional products.
Nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of women said they'd created a real photo album despite 86 per cent having access to internet photo sharing sites and 46 have a fountain pen even though they own a desktop computer (71 per cent) or laptop (63 per cent).
Says Bill Moir, Head of Marketing at Comet: "This in depth study shows the extent to which both men and women are embracing new technology. It appears that men are no longer the sole IT Director in the home, as women become increasingly tech savvy and reap the benefits of today's gadgets and gizmos."
A new report commissioned by Virgin Media and carried out by The Future Laboratory claims that two thirds of the UK loves being connected at all times and feels more relaxed when connected than when not.
These people have even been given a media friendly name: 'SOSOs' - those who switch on to switch off. Apparently SOSO behaviour is not only reflected in a love of being connected to technology but also by anxiety caused by the implications of not being connected.
Over a third (35 per cent) experienced anxiety when not able to use technology to stay in touch with their family, around a third (31 per cent) was most anxious about not being able to make money/work online and 27 per cent was most concerned with not being able to connect to friends. Anxiety is also apparent when technology can't be called upon to provide advice, whether through online maps (25 per cent), dating (21 per cent) or shopping for the best deals (15 per cent).
Says psychologist Nik Simpson: "At any moment, an urgent email may ping into an inbox, a client may call, an old friend may get in touch via Facebook or a family member may want to get in touch. Therefore, to disconnect from technology may mean missing something we cannot afford to. Always being connected actually becomes increasingly essential for peace of mind, further reinforcing SOSO values."
The report also discovered a large percentage of stay-at-home parents are SOSOs. Almost half (48 per cent) find being connected at all times relaxing, leading to the rise of what is defined as the 'Neo-Nest.' As well as fulfilling their role as parents, raising children and running the home, these SOSOs are making themselves heard far beyond the front door. With 85 per cent of stay-at-home parents continually connected to broadband in the home, over one in seven (13 per cent) accesses online parenting forums, seeking and giving advice to others in similar situations.
Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of online parenting network Netmums, is not surprised by the increasing amount of time stay-at-home parents are spending online. "Particularly for new mums, you are confined to the house for quite long periods, and it really is a link to the outside world."
When not surfing online, stay-at-home parents are the most likely group to be surfing channels; just under half (49 per cent) continually have digital television switched on. They are also the most frequent users of mobile phones (62 per cent), perhaps justified by a desire to socialise with other parents when constrained by the demands of domesticity.
The SOSO's relationship with the digital age is also a close one. Whereas the traditional view of technology has been something that should be rationed, SOSOs do not share this view claims the Virgin Media survey. Indeed, around a third of the population in the UK said that they did not feel guilty about always being connected, with 31 per cent of 18-24-year-olds, 29 per cent of 25-34s, 33 per cent of 35-44s, 31 per cent of 45-54s and 31 per cent of 55-64s rejecting traditional notions of appropriate technological use.
No surprises that the iPhone was voted coolest and most desirable brand in Britain, according to the CoolBrands annual survey announced yesterday. But what is surprising is just how far tech has come in terms of being seen as desirable.
Of the top 10 brands named in the list, all but one are from the world of tech including Blackberry, YouTube, Bang and Olufsen, Playstation, Nintendo as well as obviously Apple, the iPod and the iPhone. Aston Martin, last year's number 1, slipped one place to number 2, while the next highest non-tech entries are, bizarrely, Tate Modern (12), Dom Perignon (13), Virgin Atlantic (14) and Ferrari (15).
Bad news for Facebook which dropped out the top 20 and Twitter which failed to make the top 20 but is listed in the top 500. Good news for the BBC iPlayer which is a new entry at Number 20.
The list is decided by an Expert Council as well as over 2,400 individual consumers accessed via a YouGov panel.
Cool Brands 2009/2010
2 Aston Martin
9 Bang & Olufsen
12 Tate Modern
13 Dom Perignon
14 Virgin Atlantic
18 Vivienne Westwood
20 BBC iPlayer
In a poll of five thousand people, 38% said that Star Wars was the greatest Sci-Fi movie of all time. Not Wall-E, Close Encounters, or Short Circuit, but Star Wars. Honestly, talk about predictable. Not only that but Darth Vader was voted most evil Villain, the Lightsaber was the most popular gadget and Han Solo is the most heroic sci-fi hero. Okay! We get it! You like Star Wars! Jeez...
In similarly less-than-shocking news, HG Wells was the nation's favourite Sci-Fi author, and Star Trek beat out Red Dwarf and Doctor Who to win best Sci-Fi TV show. They only won because Star Wars wasn't eligible for those categories, y'know.
The whole poll was in honour of a new web sci-fi series, called Kirill, which is only available at msn.com/kirill. If you're a Sci-Fi fan, then go watch it, and maybe stop voting for Star Wars in surveys. It's getting boring now. Vote for ET instead.