Visitors to the United Arab Emirates, as well as the country's approximately 500 000 BlackBerry subscribers, were warned they'd be unable to use their device's messaging or e-mail functions due to a scheduled ban on 11 October. The proposed ban was canceled shortly before it was to take effect. Officials had cited national security as the reason for the ban; they said they wanted the ability to monitor the communications of terrorists and other criminals, and BlackBerry’s encryption program makes it virtually impossible to do so. The UAE officials have since reached a deal with BlackBerry maker RIM to allow the use of the phones.
What do you think of such an outright ban? Do you mind having your mobile communications subject to monitoring for the sake of national security?
Responses to August's Question
Overloaded With Distractions
A report by the IT research and consulting firm Basex found that information workers lose on average 2.1 hours of productivity every day due to interruptions and distractions. The interruptions largely come from instant messages and e-mail. Employees instant-message about 77 times each day and check e-mail 50 times, according to a recent report by RescueTime, a company that develops time-management software.
Does your productivity suffer because of such interruptions? Can anything be done to avoid the distractions?
One method that can be used involves a daily block of quiet hours, during which no meetings are scheduled and no interruptions are permitted.
Also, I know of a few determined employees who keep highly regimented schedules so they can work very early in the morning or late in the evening without distractions.
Santa Clara, Calif.
I check my e-mail only once in the morning; this takes no more than a half hour. Also, my work phone has caller ID, so I can filter incoming calls to avoid disturbances.
Juan C. Henning
Ciudad del Este, Paraguay
Organize Your Time
I can’t avoid checking work e-mail, which sometimes floods my inbox. However, because I get a notification when I receive new e-mail, I can evaluate the priority of the messages and answer the most important ones first.
I have also dedicated certain times of the day to specific activities. For example, it can take up to 12 hours to update the software I use for my job. I use that spare time to look at and respond to instant messages and e-mail. Lost time is not always lost.
Ofentse P. Noah