No fun in the sun when your laptop’s in flames

VIEW FROM THE PRESS BOX: Sun screen in hand, cool shades on, IAN STAFFORD is ready for anything, except exploading laptops

It’s a sure sign of summer when seasoned sports hacks are clamouring for the sun screen, as those rugby writers who have not yet ventured down to South Africa did at Twickenham on Saturday, where the press box is always a hot spot as the sun sinks very slowly over the west stand.

As nice as the sun bathing was, it was rudely interrupted by a game of rugby, and that meant squinting to try and see the words just typed on the laptops, which are gaining so much heat that, at any moment, they are in danger of exploding. I used a small towel to cover the top of the screen, just to prove I am up there with all the latest innovations in this increasingly high-tech world we live in.

“Hot spot” is normally a phrase we associate with connecting to the internet, but in at sports stadiums these days it can also be the sports writers’ nightmare. I recall one colourful sports writer (I’m not naming him, but many consider him to be ever so slightly mad) asking me if I could lend him my sun glasses during a Chelsea game because he needed to write and could not see his laptop screen. I pointed out that I had exactly the same problem, I was writing to deadline, and they were my shades, after all. He responded by accusing me of being selfish.

Another time at Highbury, I watched as a senior football writer’s laptop started first to smoke and then gush out flames as it caught fire in the heat of the Islington sun.

We’ve all had our moments where, temporarily, we lose it at sports events when our laptop simply refuses to send or, worse, loses our fine words of wisdom. This highly respected writer reacted by impersonating the Basil Fawlty. It did nothing to repair his laptop or his lost words but, at the time, it seemed as good a response as any.

Now, most reading this will hardly be filled with pity. We are paid to sit in the sun, watch world-class sport, and then get to describe it. But there are the odd pitfalls, surprisingly on the increase as new technology takes a firm grip on the way we work, so I wouldn’t want you to think it’s all fun in the sun.

Is it better than the way it used to be? On the whole, yes, but at least your old notebook never blew up.

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