Techno Life: Government CIO Ian Watmore

Government CIO Ian Watmore keeps both his professional and his personal life under strict control thanks to two laptops - one each for business and pleasure. At home, he has a chic Mac G5 for video editing and watching television, but pride of place goes to his professional disco rig, installed in an outbuilding, complete with an overhead projector and a glitter ball.


This is my home computer. I use it for video-editing home movies and managing digital photos of family holidays and friends. I can also watch two TV channels at once - and record programmes on the hard drive - thanks to the two elgato Eye TV digiboxes I've got plugged into it, one for all the free digital channels and one for cable TV. I'm a keen online shopper - I like Amazon and eBay - and e-buyer for electronic stuff like flash cards.


This is USB flash memory on a keyring. It's really handy. I get asked to do lots of speaking and presentations, and I keep all my slides and video clips here. It's always in my pocket, so it saves the hassle of me having to remember them on the day. And when I'm sitting in the audience at a conference waiting to go on, I can plug this into my laptop and it lets me quickly work responses to other speakers into my presentation if I need to.


I am a bit dull on mobiles - I've tried various complicated ones, and a BlackBerry - but I keep coming back to fairly basic Nokia phones. I like them because they work and I learned to use the interface years ago. I do use text quite a lot for work; it's good for letting my secretary know that I'm running late, and for a quick briefing just before a meeting. The only other thing I use is WAP, which is very handy for getting football scores.


I used to run the college disco at university, and when I go to parties I always have a look at the disco set-up. So I got a CD console, twin decks and lights, and now I do school discos and the like. Most of the time, the gear is set up in an outbuilding at home and the kids use it with their friends, or we can watch football or a movie on the big projector TV. And yes, there is a glitter ball.


I actually have two laptops - this is my personal one. It's the lightest and the best there is; everything you need is built in. It's my life-support system; I even use the webcam in the lid to cam to home over Windows Messenger.

My work laptop is very secure and 'improved' by Cheltenham (GCHQ) - everything on it is highly encrypted. I have to keep my work and personal stuff completely separate because of the public records nature of my work.

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