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News Editor

More on PCs as TVs: ‘We’re all adults’

Apr 19, 20063 mins
Data Center

   This week we’ve opened a discussion about the ongoing proliferation of TV-like viewing opportunities — college basketball, “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost” and the like — being dangled in front of every office worker with a PC and a broadband connection. I asked the recipients of my e-mail list — the Buzzblog Brigade — what they felt about the matter … and most who weighed in were predictably none too pleased.

   Now I’ve heard from Brigade member Jim Albright, who while not exactly dancing on his desktop over the PC/TV evolution, sees less cause for alarm than do many of his fellow network professionals. Here’s what Albright has to say.

“I’ve always felt that Internet access blocking techniques should be utilized for protection only,” he writes.  “Obviously it’s critical to prevent viruses, spyware, and spam, etc., from finding their way onto your network.”

“In terms of productivity and time wasters, though, I think that those who want to waste time will find a way to do it.  Before Internet access there were personal phone calls, hanging out at the water cooler, excessive smoke breaks, etc.  I’ve always felt ‘We’re all adults here’ and that if you hire the right people you won’t have to worry about these issues.  As long as an individual’s responsibilities are being met, I see no harm in a quick personal interruption to the day, as long as it does not become abusive.  In fact, some personal obligations can only be addressed during business hours.  And in this time of increasing connectivity, cell phones, remote access, etc. how often do we handle company business on personal time?” 

   “Obviously, watching an entire episode of ‘Lost’ is an abuse, but these abuses will show themselves through lost productivity and should be addressed on an individual basis.  I think that blocking Internet access globally is a ‘punishing the class’ approach and I don’t think that employees should be treated like they are in elementary school.”

   In theory and in general I agree with Albright.

   However, I hold no responsibility for managing a network, nor do I have to concern myself with legal matters or regulatory issues that might arise from unfettered workplace Internet use.

   In other words, it’s entirely possible that the world Albright and I would prefer to work in simply doesn’t have much of a future — and the two of us are among those holdouts who are going to have to adjust.

   Want to join the Buzzblog Brigade? All you have to do is ask. The address is

News Editor

In addition to my editing duties, I have written Buzzblog since January, 2006 and wrote the 'Net Buzz column in Network World's dearly departed print edition for 13 years. Feel free to e-mail me at