snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Business

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09 March 2009, 10:42 AM
Ravenhull's Avatar
Ravenhull Ravenhull is offline
 
Join Date: 13 September 2005
Location: Mobile, AL
Posts: 1,935
Computer Bolted-down laptops

A while back, I ran across one of those lists of 'stupid business actions'. In one, it described how a company decided to supply it's employees with laptops to improve productivity (I guess so that they could take them home or to meetings or some such). But when the laptops arrived, somebody decided that they were too easy to steal, so they were bolted/clamped to the desks in some fashion, negating any mobility benifit.

While I can see some corporate minion thinking this, it also has the halmarks of a good ole UL. Anybody else heard this one, perferably with some kind of company name or such?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09 March 2009, 05:13 PM
Mad Jay's Avatar
Mad Jay Mad Jay is offline
 
Join Date: 19 July 2003
Location: Virginia
Posts: 13,464
Default

No one I know had physically bolted a laptop, but they might as well

At one of my previous employers, initially, they wouldn't let you access anything on the network from a laptop, because presumably you could take data outside. So, you had to manually copy the files. After we convinced them taking "documents" on a laptop is very similar to printing out the document and taking it home, they let us connect the laptop to the network

Then, they wouldn't install VPN. So, you could take your laptop out, but it would be pretty much useless. You lap top was tied to the office. That required another round of negotiations till they found an uber secure VPN. THey gave you a card that would flash a number that would change every 10 seconds, and you had to tneter that number as your password. If the number changed while you were logging in, you had to login again (Of course you were limited to 3 tries, so sometimes you got locked out because the login process was slow)
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09 March 2009, 05:37 PM
CSGirl's Avatar
CSGirl CSGirl is offline
 
Join Date: 20 June 2006
Location: Brockton, MA
Posts: 10,243
Default

Hm, we have laptops here, and we're allowed to take them home (although you have to get security clearance to do so). However, if we're leaving the laptops in the building overnight they do have to be locked to the desk. Using a PC lock, though, which makes more sense than permanently bolting them of course.

MadJay, I believe using an RSA token + password like you mention to connect to a company VPN is pretty standard, actually.

ETA: Also we are required to have encryption on the laptops, which is also pretty standard.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09 March 2009, 05:38 PM
Cowboy Joe's Avatar
Cowboy Joe Cowboy Joe is offline
 
Join Date: 23 July 2003
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 1,067
Default

Our school district has a cable that attaches on one end to the drawer handle of a desk or some other object and the other attaches to the laptop itself. But this is more to prevent student theft. Teachers have a key to release the machine so they can take it home or to a meeting.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09 March 2009, 05:40 PM
CSGirl's Avatar
CSGirl CSGirl is offline
 
Join Date: 20 June 2006
Location: Brockton, MA
Posts: 10,243
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowboy Joe View Post
Our school district has a cable that attaches on one end to the drawer handle of a desk or some other object and the other attaches to the laptop itself. But this is more to prevent student theft. Teachers have a key to release the machine so they can take it home or to a meeting.
That's what we have, also. I have a seperate keychain for work with my laptop keys, RSA tokens (3 of em) and flash drive.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09 March 2009, 05:51 PM
KKHB
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I have heard this exact story (permanently bolted down laptops) told about a rival high school in our school district. "North" is so stupid that they bought a laptop for each student in whatever class (to use on outside of classroom projects) then bolted them to the tables. (Hyuk, Hyuk) But I have never actually seen it or had it verified by anyone who has.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09 March 2009, 10:14 PM
Skeptic's Avatar
Skeptic Skeptic is offline
 
Join Date: 16 July 2005
Location: Logan, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 1,751
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenhull View Post
A while back, I ran across one of those lists of 'stupid business actions'. In one, it described how a company decided to supply it's employees with laptops to improve productivity (I guess so that they could take them home or to meetings or some such). But when the laptops arrived, somebody decided that they were too easy to steal, so they were bolted/clamped to the desks in some fashion, negating any mobility benifit.
I can never understand people using a laptop that never moves from their desk. They are very uncomfortable to use with their low screen and small keyboard.

When I was in computer retail years ago, parents would often come in looking for a laptop for their child going off to uni. (And this was when laptops were much dearer than desktops). But the kids were only going to keep them in their dorm permanently, only rarely bringing them home.
Ironically, the best combo we came up with was selling them a good desktop machine, with a USB stick to carry their files around on.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09 March 2009, 10:28 PM
Aud 1 Aud 1 is offline
 
Join Date: 05 October 2005
Location: Missouri
Posts: 7,122
Default

I gacked my laptop screen almost a year ago. I hooked it up to a big old screen we've had for years and have become addicted to the larger format. I don't think I can go back to a cute little screen again.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09 March 2009, 11:03 PM
Dactyl's Avatar
Dactyl Dactyl is offline
 
Join Date: 02 December 2005
Location: Hampshire, UK
Posts: 4,411
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
I can never understand people using a laptop that never moves from their desk. They are very uncomfortable to use with their low screen and small keyboard.
I was going to post the same thing, unfortunately, I know a lot of people who do this. I try to point out the logical fallacy in paying more for the same spec and that they'll probably have to replace sooner due to difficulties in upgrading, however, there seem to be many people out there who just prefer to have a laptop, even if it's static.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10 March 2009, 12:30 AM
RivkahChaya's Avatar
RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is offline
 
Join Date: 14 July 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 12,275
Default

I wouldn't be surprised if some company decided that buying a whole lot of laptops in bulk was cheaper than just laptops for the people who would be authorised to take then in and out, and a different model for departments where there was lots of turnover, or stations without regular people assigned, or whatever, an those would be bolted down.

Also, if you want to bolt a computer down, actually, given the way laptops are put together, vs. desktops, it would actually be much easier to steal components from a desktop, like processors, RAM sticks, harddrives. Some laptops have the processors welded in. So bolting down a desktop wouldn't really accomplish much. Someone with a phillips screwdriver and deep pockets could strip it in 15 minutes. Make off with RAM, HD, DVD drive, and processor. Maybe even power source. Heck, motherboards are so small now, you might even manage that. But you can't strip a laptop without, at bare minimum, the screwdriver plus a soldering iron a at least an hour. And they're a b!tch to put back together. And the parts aren't interchangable among models and makes, like desktops, and you can't get a case at the recycling center....

Well, you get the idea.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10 March 2009, 01:14 AM
Roadsterboy's Avatar
Roadsterboy Roadsterboy is offline
 
Join Date: 13 September 2007
Location: Illinois
Posts: 4,107
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dactyl View Post
I was going to post the same thing, unfortunately, I know a lot of people who do this. I try to point out the logical fallacy in paying more for the same spec and that they'll probably have to replace sooner due to difficulties in upgrading, however, there seem to be many people out there who just prefer to have a laptop, even if it's static.
Lack of space, I would imagine. The dorm I had wasn't big enough for a desktop or tower PC. I had the same thing at my last apartment-there wasn't any place to put a computer desk, so a desktop would have had to sit on my dining room table. At least with a laptop I could fold it up and put it away when I was done. And I can surf the web in front of the telly.

Of course you are right in that a laptop can't be upgraded (easily), which has meant that I had to pretty much give up on gaming till I can afford a gaming rig (been five years or so waiting to do that!). My current laptop runs a racing game pretty well, but I fear for it since it seems to get quite hot when I play-I limit it to an hour or so at a time.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10 March 2009, 01:23 AM
kia
 
Posts: n/a
Default

You can get very compact, slimline desktops though, and they're still cheaper than laptops. Desktops are also cheaper to upgrade and repair.

It all sounds pretty typical of corporate decision making though.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10 March 2009, 01:35 AM
Eddylizard's Avatar
Eddylizard Eddylizard is offline
 
Join Date: 15 June 2006
Location: Tonbridge, Kent, UK
Posts: 17,857
Default

I'm still trying to figure out the logic one of my former employers used when they bought a number of laptops (which were never moved from their desks, let alone the premises) plus for each a CRT monitor, full size keyboard and mouse.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10 March 2009, 02:05 AM
Discouraged One's Avatar
Discouraged One Discouraged One is offline
 
Join Date: 21 January 2007
Location: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Posts: 377
Default

I think I read about it in The Dilbert Effect by Scott Adams. I'm not too sure, but it rings a bell. Someone had e-mailed him about that measure that the company took, but I don't know if the guy was just passing on a legend as his own experience or if it actually happened to him.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10 March 2009, 02:27 AM
Ravenhull's Avatar
Ravenhull Ravenhull is offline
 
Join Date: 13 September 2005
Location: Mobile, AL
Posts: 1,935
Computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Discouraged One View Post
I think I read about it in The Dilbert Effect by Scott Adams. I'm not too sure, but it rings a bell. Someone had e-mailed him about that measure that the company took, but I don't know if the guy was just passing on a legend as his own experience or if it actually happened to him.
Hmmm... my copy of that is at the office... will have to dig it out tonight and look in there.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 10 March 2009, 08:55 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
Join Date: 04 November 2005
Location: Borlänge, Sweden
Posts: 11,580
Default

I've seen this happen, although, in that case, laptops where chosen because of their small size for use in a crowded lab workplace, so for all practical reasons, they were bought as "small footprint desktop machines".
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 10 March 2009, 12:50 PM
niner niner is offline
 
Join Date: 01 March 2005
Location: Auburn Hills, MI
Posts: 1,026
Default

Count me in as one of the people who prefers a laptop over a desktop. I follow the Yoda method of laptops - two there are, the master and the student. I've got a beefy 17" laptop for home, and a cheap little netbook for travelling, in case I lose it. The "home" laptop is preferable to a desktop because I can easily move to a different room if I need to - even if I don't 95% of the time, the ability is nice to have. Also, it means if I travel somewhere for a week, I don't need to survive on my more portable machine.

In work situations, there are some things I also use laptops for. As far as buying for workers, it's far easier to get everyone a laptop if they might *ever* need to take it home. Trying to migrate all the applications that aren't standard to a laptop when someone is suddenly going to be working from home is a big hassle. Upgradeability matters less to businesses - you just buy a new machine 3 or 4 years down the road. At most, you'd swap up hard drive space or memory, both of which you can do on a laptop. I can also do things like make a portable workstation with a laptop that handles running off a battery better - we've got a little cart with a torque-tool verifier that gets wheeled around all day. On a traditional UPS, you'd have to plug in and pick up power at every stop. With the laptop and a UPS, you can plug it in during lunch and stay safely within your power needs.

Henry
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 11 March 2009, 03:30 AM
WildaBeast's Avatar
WildaBeast WildaBeast is offline
 
Join Date: 18 July 2002
Location: Folsom, CA
Posts: 14,813
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
I'm still trying to figure out the logic one of my former employers used when they bought a number of laptops (which were never moved from their desks, let alone the premises) plus for each a CRT monitor, full size keyboard and mouse.
Not moving them from their desks is one thing, but there's a good reason for the monitor, full sized keyboard, and mouse -- ergonomics.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 11 March 2009, 04:26 AM
Eddylizard's Avatar
Eddylizard Eddylizard is offline
 
Join Date: 15 June 2006
Location: Tonbridge, Kent, UK
Posts: 17,857
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
Not moving them from their desks is one thing, but there's a good reason for the monitor, full sized keyboard, and mouse -- ergonomics.
Well yes I did get the point of the full size peripherals for ergonomic purposes, this made sense. Buying laptops as opposed to desktops to hook them up to didn't. Especially as they had reliability issues, and the discrepancy in price vs spec was probably even greater than now.

My point was why did they buy laptops when they wanted a desktop setup?

ETA I suppose you could argue that it would be handy if the power ever went down, but I don't think the geniuses that ran the company (into the ground) were thinking along those lines.

Last edited by Eddylizard; 11 March 2009 at 04:39 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 11 March 2009, 05:24 AM
Arriah's Avatar
Arriah Arriah is offline
 
Join Date: 15 August 2005
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 3,663
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Discouraged One View Post
I think I read about it in The Dilbert Effect by Scott Adams. I'm not too sure, but it rings a bell. Someone had e-mailed him about that measure that the company took, but I don't know if the guy was just passing on a legend as his own experience or if it actually happened to him.
I'm quite sure it was in that (or one of his other) book. I sent in a story that got published in the book too of a corporate decision that was equally smart.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 04:53 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.