Incredibly cool online game

“Paging Mr. Jayson Blair”: how to use high-tech to pretend you’re at work

I’m coming to this story two weeks late, but for those of you who haven’t seen it, the Wall St. Journal ran a hilarious story describing the ways that employees use technology to pretend they’re at work, when they’re not. For example:

David Wiskus gives new meaning to the term “working lunch.” The Denver tech-support worker installed a program on his Handspring Visor hand-held that allowed him to manipulate the screen on his office computer from a booth at a local diner.

As he lingered for hours over burgers and fries, he could actually open windows and move documents around on his screen via the hand-held — creating the impression to anyone who walked by that the diligent Mr. Wiskus had just stepped away from his desk.

Okay, that’s clearly pretty insane, and requires more high-tech kung fu than the average worker possesses. But some of the other tricks are easier, such as using GoToMyPC.com to remotely log onto your computer, open up documents, and send things to the printer … so you can look as if you’ve just stepped away from your desk. Another fun trick: If you use a Blackberry pager, you hack it to remove the line it normally adds at the end of each email — “Sent from my BlackBerry Handheld” — so that your boss will think you wrote the message at your desk. They also discuss the lovely scam of setting email timers to auto-sent at a much later time, so you can make it look like you were firing off memos at 2 am.

I actually do stuff like this all the time, but with a slightly different goal. Since I’m a freelance writer, I work pretty much everywhere, 24/7: On the subway, at the cafe, walking down the street, in the middle of an evening out with friends. (Sigh.) But it’s usually too much hassle to explain to my interview subjects that “oh, sorry, yeah, you’ve just caught me boarding a plane” or “uh, I’m currently shopping for old Atari 2600 cartridges in the East Village.” So I use my mobile phone and my Danger Hiptop to create the illusion that I’m pretty much always seated behind a big metal 40s-style desk, with, like, a fedora with a “press” card on my head.

Now you know.

(Thanks to Slashdot for this one!)

blog comments powered by Disqus

Search This Site


I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

More of Me


Recent Comments

Collision Detection: A Blog by Clive Thompson