Despite their image for being tech savvy, teenagers aren’t as adept as adults when it comes to using the Internet, according to a report released Monday.
Teens ages 13 to 17 were able to complete assigned tasks on the Web 55 percent of the time, compared with 66 percent for adults, according to Nielsen Norman in Fremont, a firm known for studying how consumers use technology. The teens were hampered by poor reading and research skills and were more prone to leave a site after encountering difficulties.
“If things aren’t immediately apparent, they go away,” said Jakob Nielsen, co-founder of the firm. “Their distaste for reading was a big surprise. It has to be very short, brief text and big pictures.”
The teens in the study, from California, Colorado and Australia, didn’t like to read long blocks of text, preferring illustrations and pictures. They quickly gave up on sites once they encountered navigation and other problems. They also displayed poor searching skills, usually clicking on the first hit after a search query.
The study also found that while the teens paid more attention than adults to the appearance of a site, they don’t care for “glitzy sites with heavy, blinking graphics,” preferring clean, modest and “cool” designs, such as Apple Computer’s Web site.
Is music something you own or something you rent?
How music fans answer that question in coming months will help determine the viability of a new slate of online music services that offer to fill portable music players with an unlimited number of songs for a monthly fee.
While the music subscription approach has grown in recent years, far more music fans have opted to buy songs by the track, a business model popularized by Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes Music Store and its hugely successful iPod portable player.
But the release late last year of new copy-protection software from Microsoft Corp. may begin to change that. The software frees subscribers to move their rented tracks from their computers to certain portable music players.
The system works by essentially putting a timer on the tracks loaded on the player. Every time the user connects the player to the PC and the music service, the player automatically checks whether the user’s subscription is still in effect. Songs stop playing if the subscription has lapsed. If the user doesn’t regularly synch up the player with the service, the songs go dead as well.
“This is potentially the first serious challenge that the iPod is going to face,” said Phil Leigh, president of Tampa, Fla.-based Inside Digital Media. “What these devices are going to be able to do is attack iPod where it’s weak.”
True enough, my iPod has never held a song it stopped playing suddenly, so surely that’s a weakness.
Marketing will be crucial to persuading consumers accustomed to buying CDs or owning digital music tracks purchased online to switch to paying a monthly fee for music, like they might do for cable television programming.
“There’s going to have to be some education in the marketplace,” said Michael Gartenberg, vice president and research director for Jupiter Research in New York. “There’s some stuff that consumers watch over the air and on cable but don’t actually own and some DVDs consumers actually go out and buy. There’s going to be some coexistence here as well.”
Gee, there’s a challenge for marketing. “Hey, guys, stop paying for music only once so you can pay us again and again!”
Im always flabbergasted when I observe a cooking teacher with poor knife skills. Unfortunately, its all too common. I even occasionally observe a professional cook, even in France, with poor knife skills, although this is a less common occurrence. In my opinion, good knife skills are an essential component of being a good cook. And good knife skills are not particularly difficult for the average person to learn.
Good knife skills are a combination of knowledge and practicethe knowledge of which knives to use for which tasks, the knowledge of how to hold and move a knife, the knowledge of how various foods are structurally composed, and many other little bits of knowledge. But being thoroughly indoctrinated with knowledge will mean little if not accompanied by lots of practice. Like any other skill, speed and competence come with practice.
A Qatari man watches the third stage of the 194 km race from Al Wakra to Al Khor of the Tour of Qatar cycling race, February 2, 2005. CSC team rider Lars Michaelsen of Denmarkvon won the stage and took the gold race leader jersey. REUTERS/Pool
Half of all U.S. bankruptcies are caused by soaring medical bills and most people sent into debt by illness are middle-class workers with health insurance, researchers said on Wednesday.
The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, estimated that medical bankruptcies affect about 2 million Americans every year, if both debtors and their dependents, including about 700,000 children, are counted.
“Our study is frightening. Unless you’re Bill Gates you’re just one serious illness away from bankruptcy,” said Dr. David Himmelstein, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School who led the study.
“Most of the medically bankrupt were average Americans who happened to get sick. Health insurance offered little protection.”
Die Koordinatoren des federführenden Rechtsausschusses des EU-Parlaments haben heute Abend im Verfahren rund um die geplante Richtlinie über die Patentierbarkeit “computerimplementierter Erfindungen” die Weichen nachdrücklich auf Neustart gestellt. “Wir haben praktisch einstimmig mit nur zwei Enthaltungen beschlossen, dass unser Präsident bei der Kommission eine Rekonsultation beantragt”, erklärte SPE-Koordinatorin Maria Berger nach der rund dreistündigen Sitzung gegenüber heise online. Sobald Parlamentspräsident Josep Borrell Fontelles dem Drängen des Rechtsausschusses nachkommt, ist die Kommission aufgefordert, sich erneut mit der Richtlinie zu befassen. Konkret soll die Kommission ihren ursprünglichen Richtlinienvorschlag entweder noch einmal an das EU-Parlament übersenden oder einen neuen vorlegen.
The Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (JURI) has decided with a large majority to ask the Commission for a renewed referral of the software patents directive. With only two or three votes against and one abstention, the resolution had overwhelming support from the committee, and all-party backing.
The decision is a powerful statement from MEPs that the current Council text, and the logjam of concern it has caused, is simply not a sustainable way forward. It is now up to the Commission to submit a new, or the same, proposal to the Parliament. Parliament will then hold a new first reading, this time under the guidance of Michel Rocard MEP as rapporteur.
The European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Charles McCreevy, had in the morning assured the JURI Committee that the Council would finally adopt its beleaguered Common Position text. He announced that “the Luxembourg Presidency has now received written assurances concerning the re-instatement of this issue as an A point at a forthcoming Council”. Given that A points are to be adopted without discussion, this left no possibilities for renewed negotiations in the Council. Consequently, the Parliament apparently decided that a restart was the best solution.
Michel Rocard MEP gave a very strong speech at the meeting with the Commissioner. Apart from noting several “inelegancies” by the Commission, such as not taking into account any of the Parliament’s substantive amendments in its recommendation to the Council, he also took issue with the Dutch and German governments ignoring their respective parliaments, the Irish Presidency’s sponsorship by Microsoft and the attempted ratifications of the political (dis)agreement at several fishery Council meetings.
Microsoft’s leafy corporate campus in Redmond, Washington, is beginning to look like the streets of New York, London and just about everywhere else: Wherever you go, white headphones dangle from peoples’ ears.
To the growing frustration and annoyance of Microsoft’s management, Apple Computer’s iPod is wildly popular among Microsoft’s workers.
“About 80 percent of Microsoft employees who have a portable music player have an iPod,” said one source, a high-level manager who asked to remain anonymous. “It’s pretty staggering.”
The source estimated 80 percent of Microsoft employees have a music player — that translates to 16,000 iPod users among the 25,000 who work at or near Microsoft’s corporate campus. “This irks the management team no end,” said the source.
A photograph of what Islamic militants claim is a captive US soldier may have been posed with a toy figure, an army doll manufacturer has said.
Dragon Models USA said the figure in the picture, posted on a website used by Islamic groups, resembles “Cody”, an action toy based on US special forces.
The Pentagon said no US troops have been reported missing in Iraq.
The photograph purports to show a soldier called John Adams in desert uniform with a gun pointed at his head.
In a statement accompanying the picture, an Islamic group calling itself the Mujahideen Brigades claimed on Tuesday to have taken a US soldier hostage in Iraq.
It threatens to kill him unless Iraqis held in US-run prisons are freed within 72 hours.
But Dragon Models USA has pointed out the figure pictured has similar facial features, uniform and equipment to its product.
“For us it bears a striking resemblance,” spokesman Liam Cusack told the AFP news agency.
“We want the proper authorities to check it out. Even the boots are the same shade as the action figure we made.”
The company produced 4,000 of the Cody action figures in 2003, for sale at US military bases in Kuwait and the Middle East.
Staff Sgt Nick Minecci, a US military spokesman in Baghdad, told the Associated press news agency that no units had reported anyone missing.
A Pentagon spokesman said investigations were continuing into the website’s claim.
The Mujahideen Brigades has previously claimed responsibility for the abduction in April of three Japanese hostages, who were later released, and a Brazilian engineer missing since January.
In August, a US man from San Francisco staged a hoax video that appeared to show him being beheaded in Iraq.
It was initially reported to have been released by militants, but Benjamin Vanderford then admitted he had made it, arguing it was designed to show how easily such videos can be faked.