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PCs Use More Sick Days Than People

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the pcs-need-nyquil-too dept.

Bug 306

lunarscape writes "ZDNet is running an article about the 'absentee' rate of PCs in various UK workplaces. According to the article, while the average employee was out sick seven days a year, the average PC was inoperable due to a virus nine days a year. The article also discusses junk e-mail's impact on productivity, with one business reporting that 99.84 percent of all incoming mail is spam."

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My computer is perfect (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529385)

It never has any problems and is always worki

Traffic stress (5, Funny)

SIGALRM (784769) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529388)

42 percent say they found it less stressful fighting their way through rush-hour traffic than finding legitimate e-mails among the spam

Living in Seattle, they might think differently.

Re:Traffic stress (2, Insightful)

Nixoloco (675549) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529459)


Living in Seattle, they might think differently.

.. or Northern Virginia!!!

Re:Traffic stress (5, Funny)

paranode (671698) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529554)

Is there less spam in Seattle??

:)

Re:Traffic stress (5, Funny)

Alexis Brooke (662281) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529576)

Bah. Try sorting through your e-mail while sitting in rush-hour traffic. And do it with a rabid wolverine in your underwear. Then talk to me about stressful.

Re:Traffic stress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529741)

heh, you west coasters, seattle isint that bad, try crossing the George Washington Bridge or going through the Lincoln tunnel to get into Manhattan

or try going into downtown Boston

Re:Traffic stress (1)

SIGALRM (784769) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529775)

try crossing the George Washington Bridge

Lol.... you obviously have NO IDEA what the 520 bridge is.

Staring at Bill's house for an hour is torture.

Re:Traffic stress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529846)

hehe Id rather stare at bills house than smell the crap and exhaust fumes in the lincoln tunnel for AT LEAST an hour.

Mary-Kate Olsen, actress, dead at 18 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529403)


I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Teen idol/Male fantasy object Mary-Kate Olsen was found dead in her Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss her - even if you didn't enjoy her work, there's no denying her contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Re:Mary-Kate Olsen, actress, dead at 18 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529461)

Was she a horny vixen? If so, then I am sorry.

Weird comparison (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529410)

I can't really remember the last time I got sick, but I'm pretty sure the treatment was not to re-image myself.

Re:Weird comparison (1)

acrolein (113485) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529448)

Now this would make a great comedy routine.

Re:Weird comparison (0)

SunPin (596554) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529591)

Yeah, for this kind of audience. I laugh out loud at least once every time I read /. and I wish other people could understand some of the humor here but it won't happen. I think the majority of readers here are blessed with a higher level of intelligence than the rest of society. I know the ACs are going to eat that comment alive but it's true.

Re:Weird comparison (1)

KevinKnSC (744603) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529597)

For the 5% who get it.

99.84% pure pork fat (5, Insightful)

brokenwndw (471112) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529416)

99.84 percent of all incoming mail is spam

Is that one of the 86.55% of all statistics which are made up on the spot?

Re:99.84% pure pork fat (5, Funny)

Elecore (784561) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529428)

Maybe that company is Microsoft, and they classify all support e-mails as "SPAM".

Re:99.84% pure pork fat (3, Informative)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529542)

Vbug, a Microsoft developer support company based in the UK with just six employees, received around 720,000 e-mails messages in a month, 99.84 percent of which were spam.

No its the figure for one company for one month.

Re:99.84% pure pork fat (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529579)

Its a developer support company, which means they have very, very public e-mail addresses. Plus, they probably include their support requiests as SPAM.

Re:99.84% pure pork fat (0, Offtopic)

Surt (22457) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529769)

Your sig sounds more like a purposely than a randomly.

Not that I disagree with your purpose.

Re:99.84% pure pork fat (1)

brokenwndw (471112) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529718)

Goodness gracious, folks, it's a joke. An old one at that. You must be one of the three in five Slashdotters who don't get jokes.

Chapter 7 or 11 to the rescue (1)

bstadil (7110) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529585)

one business reporting that 99.84 percent of all incoming mail is spam.

What do you think the compency level is in this organization on everything else they do?

Good news is they will not have this problem for much long. Chapter 7 is a very efficient Spam eliminator

Re:99.84% pure pork fat (3, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529678)

So if i made a trivial spam detection program that just marks ALL as spam will have a 99.84 sucess ratio? mmm maybe i just need to patent that idea.

Re:99.84% pure pork fat (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529740)

99.84 percent of all incoming mail is spam

I guess that Nuclear Elephant guy is going to be "architecting" another seething response about how no normal email account gets over 60% spam, and anyone who says otherwise is either a moron or is trying to make CRM114 look bad.

Re:99.84% pure pork fat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529765)

I think the answer to your question is "yes".

sick days. (5, Funny)

Guano_Jim (157555) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529432)

Bah. It's a proven fact that 40% of sick days are taken on Mondays and Fridays. Why should my PC be any different?

Re:sick days. (0)

nebaz (453974) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529462)

You make this sound like it is statistically significant. Two of the five normal working days in the week are monday or friday, 2 of 5 is 40%. It would seem more likely that that % would be higher.

Re:sick days. (2, Insightful)

Elecore (784561) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529506)

I think he meant that as a joke...

Re:sick days. (5, Informative)

AnonymousKev (754127) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529526)

The moderators really need a -1: Didn't Get The Cultural Reference option. I believe the parent was refering to a Dilbert cartoon (Dilbert used to "40% fact" to alarm the Pointy-Haired Boss.)

Re:sick days. (5, Funny)

nebaz (453974) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529555)

Oh. (looks sheepish). Ok.

Re:sick days. (4, Informative)

strictnein (318940) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529810)

Not only did you not get the joke, the mods didn't either.

Real statistics show that people are ~ 1.5 times more likely to call in sick on Monday and ~ 2 times more likely to call in sick on Friday, as opposed to Tuesday-Thursday.

That figures out to roughly:
Monday: 23.5%
Tuesday: 15.5%
Wednesday: 15.5%
Thursday: 15.5%
Friday: 30%

Re:sick days. (2, Informative)

Surt (22457) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529836)

Actually it's exactly 40% (for businesses operating on the standard M-F business week) and it is a proven fact. You just have to be careful about how the fact is stated so that it's clear you're taking the percentage of M,F from M,Tu,W,Th,F.

Re:sick days. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529491)

i would like to see this proof.

given totally random choice of the 5 days, 2 of 5 would be 40%, but given the option of parting early friday or late sunday (then hangover monday) i think that would shift it more to monday/friday.
but then there are those 3 day weekends, that with a well placed sick day become a 4 day weekend.

Should we be suprised? (5, Insightful)

Collestonpie13 (789170) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529433)

What would you excpect with most corparations running Windows adn IE?

Re:Should we be suprised? (5, Interesting)

bbdd (733681) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529643)

one of the networks i manage runs windows and ie, and if it had a downtime of 9 days per pc, i would be replaced in short order. with 30 client machines, that would be at least one machine down for 270 days!

the last machine down was for 2 days, due to needing a new part that i didn't keep on the shelf. (can't stock them all!) i ended up just replacing the whole machine, since i couldn't get the part faster. thats the only machine that's been down for longer than an hour during the past year (maybe longer). and, it was due to hardware failure, not windows/ie.

the windows risk is manageable, but it does require extra cost and work to mantain. in this case, the company is willing to tighten things down to keep the machines running well and keep the less-experienced users out of trouble. call it big-brother if you want, to them its good policy to keep business running.

Re:Should we be suprised? (2, Interesting)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529805)

If you lock things down enough, there ceases to be any point in your users having PCs.

May as well go back to thin clients operating off a mainframe.

Re:Should we be suprised? (2, Insightful)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529742)

I would expect them to have IT staff who knew what the fuck they were doing. 9 days of sick time per PC? This is regoddamndiculous. If a PC in our office has even ONE DAY of downtime, it's a problem.

But we're a small business. We don't have a single machine to spare, and most of our staff is smart enough to reimage their own shit. Many corporate offices have a ton of extra machines thanks to downsizing. I suspect these numbers were skewed thusly: the IT staff had their PCs in a sort of queue, with newly imaged machines ready to go at all times. Somebody gets a virus, he gets a new computer immediately. Meanwhile, his virus ridden machine goes at the bottom of the "rebuild these when you have time" pile. If you were to combine all the time those PCs were sick, yeah, I could see that approaching 9 days.

Wait, no I can't. I can't get over this statistic. NINE DAYS to fix a dead machine? It only took 3 days round trip for Apple to replace my laptop's logic board and screen!

Re:Should we be suprised? (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529832)

Umm, the 9 days was an average, and it didn't say it was per incident.

Slashdot really needs to hire some statisticians who know what the fuck they're doing, to prevent comments like this from happening.

and the avg Mac or Linux system? (5, Interesting)

ezavada (91752) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529439)

How many days were they "absent".

I bet it was a lot fewer than 9, especially if most of those "absences" were because of viruses.

Re:and the avg Mac or Linux system? (4, Interesting)

Seth Finklestein (582901) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529628)

I migrated a large office to Mac OS X last month. Unfortunately, the stupid cluebies peppered me with questions like "HOW I USE MY OUTLOOK NOW????" and "i cant see my explorer were did u put it."

We had to spend nine days training these clueless morons about how to use Mac OS X, despite the fact that Mac OS X is substantially easier to use than Windows.

I still laugh every time I get a message saying "MY FREND SENT ME A GAME BUT I CLICED IT AND IT DIDNT WORK CAN U HELP ME" from some retard in finance.

Sincerely,
Seth Finklestein
IT Support Specialist

Re:and the avg Mac or Linux system? (1)

SYSS Mouse (694626) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529804)

But for Linux, it is harder for an average user to "give birth" and "raise" a Linux system, even though it never gget sick.

OS's (5, Interesting)

blackmonday (607916) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529440)

I didn't RTFA (this is /.), but I wonder what the breakdown is for diferrent operating systems: Linux, Mac OSX, OS 9, Windows flavors.

Where I work the primary reason for PC's going down is hardware, not software.

Re:OS's (4, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529572)

Here and everywhere else too. Most businesses with a firewall and properly configured network don't have problems with the virus' or trojans.

The problems are user incompetence, when some propellerhead tries to "tweak" the desktop on his workstation and winds up with everything all borked. Or the neat freaks who obsessively "clean" their hard drives of all those useless .vxd and .dll files. Or reconfigure their modems or network adapters, etc, etc..

Still, 9 days a year sounds hokey to me. Getting a virus or trojan shouldn't even take the system down a full day, such things are generally easily correctable. Of course, your average cubicle jockey will use it as an excuse to do nothing that day.

Re:OS's (2, Insightful)

haystor (102186) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529698)

The virus scanners on the computer I used at my last job used up 3-5 hours of CPU time per 8 hours I was logged on. This means viruses and their solution consumed a minimum of 37% of the CPU hours my computer was capable. Of course running Lotus Notes used up the rest, and I just sat there for a year.

Re:OS's (5, Funny)

lacrymology.com (583077) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529649)

LINUX is that geeky guy that never takes days off, but instead sits in his lonely office with the lights turned off pounding out incredible amounts of code in record time.

OSX is that hot geek woman that tries really hard to show everyone that she's not just a piece of meat, but instead has a brain. She never takes off either.

OS9 is that old guy on the edge of retiring who doesn't give a $hit about doing the job. He goes to the doctor alot because of cruft, complains about new technology, and talks about the old days to anyone that'll listen. He takes off quite a bit to visit the urologist.

WINDOWS is that guy who managed to get far in the company by taking pictures of the president of the company with a goat. He doesn't really do a lot on his own, but instead steals most of his ideas from the hot chick and the old guy and presents them to his superiors. He takes off all the time to play golf, visit his mistress, and to sleep off hang-overs.

-m

Not really sick days (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529455)

These PCs are spending more and more time binge drinking on the weekends. Macs are notorious for ending up dancing with a lampshade on its head.

Re:Not really sick days (1)

wankledot (712148) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529671)

I'm really curious where the whole "lampshade on the head" reference came from. Is there some movie or book that started this idea? It seems like an oddly well-known thing.

Re:Not really sick days (1)

bplipschitz (265300) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529737)

I'm really curious where the whole "lampshade on the head" reference came from. Is there some movie or book that started this idea? It seems like an oddly well-known thing.

My Mother.

Time well spent? (2, Insightful)

SIGALRM (784769) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529458)

with one business reporting that 99.84 percent of all incoming mail is spam

They seem to have expended time/resources to perform such a precise calculation; perhaps it would have been better spent researching and implementing spam filters.

Re:Time well spent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529509)

They seem to have expended time/resources to perform such a precise calculation; perhaps it would have been better spent researching and implementing spam filters.

I would say that the precise calculation indicates that they do have an antispam solutioin. I really doubt a real person is going to look at every single email and count them for this purpose.

THey only say that was the incoming number, not the number actually deliverd to users...

Yeah its always taking sickies (5, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529460)

My PC just cant handle its liqor at all. Damn Mac boozes all night and gets up in the morning no problem though. Its killing me trying to keep up.

Re:Yeah its always taking sickies (1)

proj_2501 (78149) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529593)

Macs take Chaser? [doublechaser.com]

Our computers solved the problem! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529615)

They now outsource all thier processor cycles to India to do the work instead. Although we have had to let some computers go because of it. :p

Re:Yeah its always taking sickies (1)

TRS80NT (695421) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529815)

I thought alcohol was a Gateway drug!

This is a poor test... (5, Insightful)

marnargulus (776948) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529482)

In the survey only 2,500 people were polled. That's an insanely small number to post concerning such a wide spread thing as computers. That is like taking a group of 100 people in New York and using that as a representitive sample. An online poll could have gathered more like 50,000 on a well traveled site.

Re:This is a poor test... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529534)

If the population for a survey is well chosen, a small survey will be more accurate than a random poll (as most online polls are).

Re:This is a poor test... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529539)

Yeah, sure, 50,000 responses, but it would've been a self-selecting sample. Booo to that.

Re:This is a poor test... (4, Informative)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529604)

Not really. 2500 is plenty people; what's more important is that the sample is representative (of whatever group you want to talk about). As long as your sample is representative then 250,000 people will not give you significantly better results than 2500.

Re:This is a poor test... (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529636)

2500 folks who use Yahoo email as their primary email and would bother to respond to this questionaire.

So it's basically a sample of people who don't know nothing about computers.

And nowhere in the article does it explain where they get this "the average PC is teh broke 9 days a year" business. Methinks they pulled it from their ass.

As for IT folks, their JOB is to clean viruses and fix PCs, so its the inverse - sounds like they actually DO WORK 9 days a year. No wonder they're all outsourced. I wouldn't keep a department on salary who only work 9 days a year.

Re:This is a poor test... (2, Insightful)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529852)

The article is a news article. They very rarely explain the methodology behind a survey, but since they do talk about a company with its own domain I suspect they didn't just talk to people who "use Yahoo email as their primary email".
And nowhere in the article does it explain where they get this "the average PC is teh broke 9 days a year" business. Methinks they pulled it from their ass.
...or maybe they pulled it from the report from the research company?

Actually, had a quick look at your other posts to this thread. Looks like you're trolling again...oh well...

Statistics suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529786)

How do we know that their 2500 people were representative of all computer users though?

Re:This is a poor test... (4, Informative)

pclminion (145572) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529611)

An online poll could have gathered more like 50,000 on a well traveled site.

That's a bogus way to conduct a poll. By definition, you are only getting data from people who go to that site.

It's called a "self-selecting sample" and in statistics it's a no-no.

2,500 randomly selected sample points will give very accurate results, and in fact a lot of poll-takers would be envious of such a large sample.

Re:This is a poor test... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529701)

> An online poll could have gathered more like 50,000 on a well traveled site.

'Cause we know all the online polls are sooooo acurate, right?

I'm not sure which is more an indication of /. lameness this statement itself or the fact it is currently rated as 4, Insightful......

Re:This is a poor test... (3, Informative)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529776)

In the survey only 2,500 people were polled. That's an insanely small number to post concerning such a wide spread thing as computers. That is like taking a group of 100 people in New York and using that as a representitive sample. An online poll could have gathered more like 50,000 on a well traveled site.
That's not how statistics works. Online polls are not random samples, they're self-selected, so results obtained in the manner you propose would almost certainly be inaccurate. Conversely, if you have a random sample then 2500 people are more than enough. A random sample is where each member of the population has an equal likelihood of being selected, or equivalently, the likelihood of getting respondents of a certain type is equal to the proportion of that type in the population.

Contrary to popular belief, the sample sizze required for a given level of statistical precision is NOT some big percentage of the population if sampling is random. Think of having a medical test on a blood sample. Since blood is well mixed, small amounts drawn from anywhere in your body are representative of the whole amount. There's no need to take 20 or 30% of your blood, nor to spike you all over your anatomy, they just need enough to work with. Thank goodness!

A Tale of woe.. (4, Interesting)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529496)

I'm right in with this. So far this year I've had

2 different PCs

3 complete PC rebuilds

No VPN access for 5 months and authentication issues due to an Active Directory migration.

I work in IT, go knows what the poor buggers who just have to work WITH IT have to put up with.

As Computing professionals we should all be ashamed of the quality standards that we have allowed, and continue to allow, to be considered a production ready release. Until we have the same standards of excellence that Engineers have in the construction industry we might as well have arts degrees.

Re:A Tale of woe.. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529595)

You work in IT? Sure sounds like you SUCK at it. Mayhaps you're just another paper tiger who figured his crash course at DeVry would net him a six figure income?

No wonder all you folks are being outsourced to india. 5 PC rebuilds in a year. Yeah, whatever.. Blame MSFT for the "viruses" that make you too stupid to know how to make a clean ghost image that can restore the machine in 5 minutes.

Re:A Tale of woe.. (1)

doublem (118724) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529795)

Until we have the same standards of excellence that Engineers have in the construction industry we might as well have arts degrees.

Damn, that's a good line. Mind if I snag it as a SIG?

"If contractors built homes the way programmers build software, the first woodpecker who came along would destroy civilization."

Paid Sick Days? (5, Funny)

scoser (780371) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529508)

If my office computer doesn't use its sick days, can it use that money for upgrades?

In the UK yes... (4, Interesting)

jaghatarjankare (787372) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529517)

the average employee was out sick seven days a year

Oh really. The average Scandinavian is out thirty days a year and the per capita GNP is still higher. I find that figure way too low, considering the 'socialist' system in the UK that's even survived Maggie.

Re:In the UK yes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529713)

Oh really. The average Scandinavian is out thirty days a year and the per capita GNP is still higher. I find that figure way too low, considering the 'socialist' system in the UK that's even survived Maggie.
And this has what to do with computer down time due to viruses?

Even if that is true... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529529)

My computer will still get promoted before I am!

This sounds way high (5, Interesting)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529531)

Nine days?

That's the problem with averages. They can be calculated in so many ways. I know that I've never had a workstation down for nine days out of a year.

Variety (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529536)

I'd be out sick more often too if 99.84 percent of what I ate each day was spam.

I don't know about that... (1)

p00p at instable.net (773687) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529557)

BUT FIRST POST BABY

Do Not Spam Lists Question (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529559)

Why is the proposal for a Do Not Spam list being based upon the cleartext version of the email address, rather than something reasonable like the MD5 checksum of the email address?

Wuh Oh (5, Funny)

lhpineapple (468516) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529561)

Looks like the machines are beating us! Come on folks, we've got some catching up to do!

Unreal... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529575)

9 days?? I mean, I slam MS as much as the next guy, but the AVERAGE is 9 days???

How long does it take a tech to reimage a PC?

Or even reload an OS??

Are these shops with no Virus Protection at all???

That number is so far out as to be totally unreal...

Heck, I don't use anti-Virus software at home, just safe email practices and Firefox instead of IE, and I have yet to get an infection (Deleted plenty of attempts tho..); and my PC has never been out of service more than the few hours it takes to run a housecall scan for Virus checks..

desiv

The TechSupport ppl are employees too (1)

vijaya_chandra (618284) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529654)

and so the 7 day average applies to them as well.
May be the puters' 9 day average downtime is because of this

Did the submitter RTFA? (4, Informative)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529581)

There is nothing in the article that says the survey was for PCs in workplaces.

It just says "A survey of 2,500 UK e-mail users found that 70 percent of users had been infected by a virus in the past year." It then relates that to average UK worker sick days. Nothing says the PC's were in the workplace.

Which of course makes MUCH more sense. If the average PC atany workplace I know of was down for 9 days a year heads would roll. That's insane. Average PCs at my company are down maybe a fraction of a percent due to viruses because there are professionals making sure it stays that way.

So this article is basically "70% of random HOME users were infected in a year."
Businesses seem to have been asked only about spam.

Doesn't seem like news at all.

People Paid More Than PCs (1)

zhangyong (791280) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529586)

This how PCs respond to this article. "OK, You started to count the absentee rate of PC. When will you start to compare the salary you paid to your human emplyees?" "Sure 99.84 percent of all incoming mail is spam, because human can't read what machine write, and machine can't read human write."

Do I hear -- An "Apple" a day keeps (4, Funny)

vijaya_chandra (618284) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529590)

you healthy, wealthy and wise!?!

Hey! No I don't mean the shiny colourful thing on my desk

It has to be more than just nine days (2, Insightful)

upsidedown_duck (788782) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529596)

...the average PC was inoperable due to a virus nine days a year.

Do they include all sources for down time or just the PC? For example, a PC can go down due to a local virus/worm issue, or it can go down because an important server on the network is down due to a virus/worm issue. If the e-mail server is overwhelmed with scanning, even if it isn't infected itself, then that is effectively a DOS for every PC on the network (everyone just sits there staring at a blank e-mail client).

One thing about dealing with SPAM is that filtering programs that quarantine suspicious e-mail and then send another e-mail to the intended recipient are worse than all SPAM itself. I'd rather click "delete" on some obviously rediculous e-mail about fun things to do with animals rather than have to read a cryptic quarantine notice and determine whether I need to contact the system administrator about it.

can someone say backups (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9529609)

Personally, I don't see why anyone should compare sick computer to sick people. While people are basing new computational methods on biological systems, they're not equivalent. Any competent individual should regularly back up their files to a server or another computer. Once the computer calls in "sick", you reload your files and switch to another computer. Obviously, this is rarely the case when a person is out "sick". Even if an individual was to completely document their daily workings, there's still the subtle workings of an individual's thought processes that simply can't be transferred via documentation. And we can't do a brain core dump...yet.

Same General Reasoning (4, Interesting)

schnarff (557058) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529617)

You know, when you get right down to it, computer sick days and human sick days pretty much come from the same root source: failure of proper preventative care. Us people don't go to the doctor unless we're sick, typically, because it takes up too much time out of our days to see one otherwise, and it costs too much to go when not necessary, especially with the rising costs of health isurance. By the same token, most people don't fix their computer until it breaks (and sometimes not even then) because it takes time to keep it up-to-date (yes, I know there are auto-updates on virus scanners, Windows patches, etc., but we all know those are imperfect and not necessarily widely implemented), and for those not using free software, it costs money to have an anti-virus subscription or to get a firewall (since most people don't use even MS's built-in firewall).

The real irony is that, in both cases, the benefits of cost-preventative maintenance far outweigh the costs -- in humans, we get less sick less often, and thereby lead better lives and create less upward pressure on health insurance costs; in computers, there's less downtime, and considerably less risk of some catastrophic breakdown/break-in. Too bad people can't see this, and as a result don't do preventative maintenance.

99.84 percent (1)

rmull (26174) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529637)

99.84 percent spam? Must be asdf.com.

Re:99.84 percent (2, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529666)

Vbug, a Microsoft developer support company based in the UK with just six employees, received around 720,000 e-mails messages in a month, 99.84 percent of which were spam.

Six employees, 720,000 spams? Someone there must be a real porn hound/idiot giving out email addresses to the wrong folks. I call bullshit on that one, hell, I call bullshit on this whole article.

I work for a small company, use my email for communicaiton with clients/colleagues (ie; what it's for - not for signing up for a free trial to www.hotwetsluts.com), and I've yet to get spammed on it in 4 years. No filters, either. Only one guy in our company has spam problems, and because he's an asshat who regularly "works late" ie; downloading porn.

My downtime experiences (2, Interesting)

nukem1999 (142700) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529658)

I've only had downtime on one of two my machines for about 2 days. The video card self destructed.

What's really sad is that, in my rather small local area, more than half the people have had actual downtime due to spyware. (It should be noted that all of our machines are preconfigured with IE5 and Netscape Nav 4.7. Guess which one is more popular.) While I'm not sure exactly why, it seems that some spyware can knock out our source control tools.

IT seems to be pretty decent about squashing both mail and network based V/W/T however. They send out site-wide emails detailing the status of outbreaks too, which is kind of interesting to watch sometimes. Most of the time, an outbreak notice is sent in the AM, and cleanups are done either before I leave or before I get in the next day. Overall, I'd say ad-based malware is much worse on our time than ad-free malware.

correction (4, Informative)

JustDisGuy (469587) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529659)

...the average PC was inoperable due to a virus nine days a year

Apparently even the poster didn't RTFA - the article states:
The average UK PC is rendered unusable for the equivalent of around nine working days every year because the owner is cleaning up spam or fighting viruses.

Our corporate workstations were affected significantly enough by virii last year to be down a total of less than a single day each. Still more downtime than we'd like, but nothing like nine days. Now spam - that's another kettle of fish altogether...

It's worse than they say (4, Funny)

Crash Culligan (227354) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529677)

If people got as sick as many computers do, when the workers caught viruses, they would dash around the office, coughing hard on everyone they run into. Everyone infected in this manner would start doing the same thing.

The worst of them are some of those especially illegal eastern European bioengineered viruses -- if a worker catches one of those, he calls the manufacturer and leaves the doors and windows at the workplace unlocked. And then he starts sending out hundreds of emails hawking penis enlargements, breast enlargements, home mortgages, spyware, and immunizations against the most popular, common viruses.

I like PC down days at the office... (5, Funny)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529679)

I like those days at the office when PCs are down. It's far more enjoyable fixing those problems than doing actual work...

Computer downtime/Sickness/Safety connection... (5, Interesting)

bogusbrainbonus (547948) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529680)

Hmmm, this is intesting. I know that Toyota and a bunch of other major car companies have figured out that it is cheaper to immunize your employees against the flu/other sicknesses, instead of paying their wages while they're home sneezing.

The same thing goes for safety, I know at Mercedes they're all about safety and injury prevention, which therefore prevents them from paying workman's comp without getting any value from the worker.

So this data implies that computer trouble has become as much as a problem as sickness is, I wonder when some company is going to take a major initiative to fix this.

And you know (, I don't wan't to blame it on windows directly, but sometimes I wonder... How many major auto companies use windows products? Ok, time to stop before I starting getting flamed...

My PC had no sick days this last years... (4, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529706)

.. it have its permanent dose of penicillinux.

I'm skeptical (4, Interesting)

doormat (63648) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529721)

My computer at work hasnt needed to be "fixed" by our IT staff in over a year (if you dont count patching it every week and new softawre installs). I attribute 90% of computer downtime to people downloading and installing gator/comet cursor and crap like that.

PCs on a Bender (2, Funny)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529745)

The PCs where I work always seem more drunk than sick.

We send them to the Steve Wozniak Clinic to detox.

I don't make much sense, do I?

PC Doctor makes house calls (1)

FerretFrottage (714136) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529751)

PC Doctor [pc-doctor.com] .

I knew there was a reason for the program. Next thing you know, the HMOs and managed health care plans will start providing PC insurance and for a $20 co-pay you can get your PC checked out. Actually, I guess that what anti-virus and anti-spyware programs do...and compared to realy health insurance, they are quite a bargain.

Hmm, what's wrong with my PC.... (1)

rwrife (712064) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529753)

I think my PC may have herpes.....no wait, it's just Windows.

patches (1)

dirvish (574948) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529755)

If patches are equivalent to doctor's visits my PC is one sick critter! I am not sure what a re-install would be equivalent to...

Someone clarify our intent here (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529771)

Um, I don't quite get the point of this thread.

Are we trying to illuminate the deleterious effect of computers and the internet to their own improvement in worker productivity?

Or are we trying to determine whether /. has been usurped as the biggest internet-related time waster in the typical office environment?

Re:Someone clarify our intent here (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529794)

We're trying to make all the IT guys/cable monkeys feel as though they're important and relevant, if only for 9 days a year.

A needed survery (4, Insightful)

utlemming (654269) | more than 9 years ago | (#9529792)

Something that would be interesting is to calculate the down time of home PC's and compare that to the down time of corparate PC's. One would hope that Corparate PC would have a longer up time. However, I know for a fact, at least in my case, that I keep my home PC (both my Windows and FreeBSD box, although my FBSD box has had an incredable uptime of about 8 months) running better. Even though I have the ability to make sure that my work PC is running top notch, I just don't have the time at work to make sure that it runs top notch. There seems to be a delicate balance between keeping the computer running just enough to get my work done and having a top notch, well optimized system. I guess since I am not an IT worker I can not justify having a pimped-out, well optimized computer. Nonetheless, comparing uptimes of home and work PC's would be absolutley entertaining.
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