mount along the walls of sewer pipes -- contain microduct blowing tubes. Air is blown into an IFT to create a cushion, so the fiber strand bundle floats while being pushed through the IFT. The strands can be blown through anytime, anywhere along the network they are needed, according to CableRunner. The air cushion prevents friction between the fiber bundle and the inside of the tube.

Workplace E-Mail Issues

NEW YORK -- A new survey of 1,100 U.S. companies found that 14 percent of respondents have been ordered by a court or regulatory body to produce employee e-mail, up from 9 percent just two years ago.

E-mail is regularly used to bolster cases, embarrass organizations and damage reputations in high-profile discrimination, sexual harassment and antitrust claims, according to the 2003 E-Mail Rules, Policies and Practices Survey, from the American Management Association, the ePolicy Institute and Clearswift.

In spite of growing scrutiny from courts and regulators, most employers are doing a poor job of managing e-mail business records and preparing for the likelihood of e-mail discovery. Only 34 percent of employers have a written e-mail retention and deletion policy in place -- the same figure reported in 2001, one year before five Wall Street brokerages were fined a total of $8.3 million for failing to retain e-mail, the survey said.

Five percent of 2003 respondents reported business interruptions as the result of e-mail-related lawsuits.

Seventy-six percent of survey respondents said they lost time in the last year due to e-mail system problems, with 35 percent estimating half a day lost, and 24 percent reporting more than two days lost.

Eighty-six percent of survey respondents said e-mail makes them more efficient, even though spam issues persisted for many.

In addition, the survey found the average employee spends 25 percent of the workday on e-mail, with 8 percent of workers devoting more than 4 hours per day to e-mail. Though 90 percent of employers have installed software to monitor incoming and outgoing e-mail, only 19 percent use technology to monitor internal e-mail.

Use of technology to monitor e-mail and control message content increased since 2001, when 24 percent of respondents reported using software to conduct keyword or key phrase searches of e-mail and/or computer files. In 2003, more than 40 percent of employers report using software to control written e-mail content.

Arresting Domestic Violence

YORKSHIRE, England -- Following a number of domestic violence instances between "Megan" and David Evans, Megan complained to police that Evans had sexually assaulted her. Police arrested Evans, but he was released on bail.

While on bail, Evans broke into Megan's home. Armed with a knife, plastic ties and surgical gloves, he dragged Megan out of bed and ordered the eldest of their three sons to bring a tape recorder to record her final pleas.

Lancashire Constabulary previously had provided Megan with a Domestic Violence Positive Action Kit (DVPAK), which was being tested by Lancashire police. By pressing a remote trigger worn around her neck, Megan alerted the police before she was seriously harmed.

Evans was charged with making threats to kill and sentenced to five years in prison.

Following a string of successes in Lancashire, the DVPAK, manufactured by Tunstall, soon will be launched to police forces around England.

The DVPAK central lifeline home unit transmits details of the victim's history to police officers, so law enforcement agents already have information before they respond to the distress signal. The unit sends a silent, secure signal to either a police operations control center or to the Tunstall Alarm Receiving Centre (TARC). Individual units are identified by their particular signals, and when an operator at the police station or TARC receives a signal, computer software automatically pulls information from an online database.

Shane Peterson  |  Associate Editor