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Archive for July, 2011

Internet Explorer users have below average IQ

July 29, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: internet, Microsoft, Mozilla, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Users of the Internet Explorer web browser tend to have lower than average IQ-  according to a survey of online habits.Internet Explorer users have below average IQA psychometric consulting firm called AptiQuant gave free online IQ tests to 100,000 people, and then plotted the scores against the browser on which the tests were taken.

It found that Internet Explorer users scored lower than average IQ, while Chrome, Firefox and Safari users were very slightly above average.

Camino, Opera and Internet Explorer with Chrome Frame were scored “exceptionally” high.

“The study showed a substantial relationship between an individual’s cognitive ability and their choice of web browser,” AptiQuant concluded.

“From the test results, it is a clear indication that individuals on the lower side of the IQ scale tend to resist a change/upgrade of their browsers.”

Some people have suggested that there may be other factors at work.

Since IE is the default browser for Windows PC users, anyone who doesn’t know how to download and install a new browser will be stuck with it – “which drags down the average”.

And users of other browsers “include a disproportionate number of computer geeks”, which might bring their average up.

Or, they admit, it might be that “IE users really are kind of dumb.”

Within the group of IE users, version 6 users score lowest, while users of version 8 do rather better.

The overall chart shows that Firefox has the smallest percentage of low-IQ users, and the largest of average or high-IQ users. A similar study five years ago found that users had broadly similar IQs.

But if you ever want to argue that Internet Explorer 6 users are too stupid to upgrade, at least now you’ve got some empirical evidence.

Doctors warned over Facebook risks

July 28, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Cyber Security, data security, Dr Search, Facebook, internet, Social Media, Social Networking, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Doctors are being warned to take extra care when using social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Doctors warned over Facebook risksThe British Medical Association guidance highlighted a series of potential pitfalls doctors face.

In particular, it said there was a risk the lines between personal and professional lives could be blurred.

It comes after a series of cases in which NHS staff and other public sector workers have got into trouble through their use of social media.

In 2009, a group of doctors and nurses were suspended for posting pictures of themselves on Facebook lying down in unusual places, including a hospital helipad.

And last year a civil servant found herself in the newspapers after using her Twitter account to make political points and saying she was struggling with a hangover.

Dr Tony Calland, chairman of the BMA’s medical ethics committee, said: “Medical professionals should be wary of who could access their personal material online, how widely it could be shared and how it could be perceived by their patients and colleagues.”

The guidance advises both doctors and medical students to adopt conservative privacy settings where they are available.

It also warns them against making informal or derogatory comments about patients or colleagues as well as not accepting current or past patients as friends on Facebook.

Dr Search warns that not only does Facebook have a number of personal security issues, but the lack of effective segmentation between types of friends, family and colleagues means the risk of cross data transfers are high.

Mozilla starts coding for mobiles and tablets

July 27, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Ecommerce, internet, mobile phones, Mozilla, smart phones, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

The creators of the Firefox web browser have started developing an operating system (OS) for mobiles and tablets.
Mozilla starts coding for mobiles and tabletsAlthough the project will draw on some parts of Google’s Android mobile operating system much of the code will be freshly written.

Once finished the operating system will compete with Android as it will run on the same devices.

The project team said all code development would be done in the open and shared as soon as it was written.

Called Boot To Gecko the code creation is being overseen by the Mozilla Project which created the Firefox browser. It was announced on the Mozilla discussion forum by researcher Andreas Gal.

Gecko is the rendering engine that powers the Firefox browser and the Thunderbird email program. A rendering engine interprets the code on webpages and displays it in the right format on screen.

With B2G, the Mozilla developers aim to get applications running without the need for the browser, effectively creating a web-centred operating system.

It will draw on some core parts of Android but aims to add a wrapper around it that is much more open than the one created by Google.

If successful, the project will face stiff competition from Google’s Android and Chrome as well as Apple’s iOS and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.

The Mozilla team admitted that the project was in its “infancy” but said it already created some basic software from building blocks that are similar to those needed to get the OS running.

The team said they were publicising the project to root out experts in the Mozilla community and elsewhere who could help and encouraged them to get in touch and sign on.

Mr Gal said the project had set its sights high and wanted to do it “the way we think open source should be done”.

Its ultimate goal, he said, was “breaking the stranglehold of proprietary technologies over the mobile device world”.

Action needed on wifi blackspots

July 26, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Ecommerce, internet, mobile phones, smart phones, Technology Companies, Uncategorized, WiFi

The upcoming 4G mobile auction should be used as an opportunity to upgrade the UK’s patchy mobile infrastructure, says an advisory group.
Action needed on wifi blackspotsThe Communications Consumer Panel said regulator Ofcom should oblige operators to extend services to rural areas.

It also suggested the money made by selling off the airwaves could be used to upgrade rural coverage.

It estimates that three million people live in mobile blackspots. The panel said it did not believe that new 4G services would extend beyond existing coverage.

4G is the next-generation for mobile services, offering faster speeds- which will be crucial as more people use smartphones to surf the web.

The panel is suggesting that Ofcom run a “reverse auction” after the initial sell-off, in which operators can bid for money to extend their services in rural areas.

The 4G auctions begin next year with services likely to start rolling out from 2013.

There is a great deal of interest in the spectrum – which has been freed because of the switch to digital TV – as it operates in the low frequency 800MHz band.

This spectrum will be particularly good at penetrating buildings and will allow operators to offer better in-building coverage which is becoming an increasing problem as people use their smartphones at home.

It estimates that the UK needs an extra 1,400 base stations to improve rural coverage.

Ofcom has said that mobile coverage is one of its priorities and is conducting its own research into the problem. One of the biggest blackspots for mobile coverage is on rail networks.

Research conducted for Ofcom last year found that on the East Coast mainline the probability of maintaining a 15 minute phone call was as low as 10% for two operators.

Microsoft revenues hit a record as Xbox sales soar

July 25, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Ecommerce, internet, Microsoft, search engines, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

US technology company Microsoft has announced that it’s annual revenues hit a record of £43.4 billion.
Microsoft revenues hit a record as Xbox sales soarSales of the company’s Xbox 360 videogame console and its Office software helped fuel the growth.

Net income at the world’s biggest software maker jumped 23% to 23.15bn for the year.

The figures, which beat forecasts, showed final quarter revenues reached a record high of £10.85 billion, leading to profits of £3.73 billion,  boosted chiefly by sales of Office, Xbox and server software behind Microsoft’s push into cloud computing.

Microsoft’s business division, which sells the Office suite of programs, including Outlook, SharePoint and Excel, was the company’s biggest seller in the quarter, increasing sales by 7% to £3.65 billion.

The company’s online services unit, which runs the Bing search engine and MSN internet portal, increased sales by 16.5% to £ 413 milion, but saw losses increase to £455 million as it struggles to fight competitor Google.

One weaker spot was sales of its widely-used Windows product, which are slowing as tablet PC sales eat into demand for traditional PCs.

Microsoft is itself expected to enter the tablet market next year with the launch of its next operating system, code-named Windows 8, which will be compatible with the low-power chips commonly used by tablet and mobile phone makers.

Microsoft’s share price (MSFT) at around $27 is still some way off it’s record of $37.06 which was posted on 29 October 2007.

eBay results beat expectations as PayPal expands

July 22, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, eBay, Ecommerce, internet, Online Marketing, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Online auction company eBay has reported better than expected profits thanks mainly to growth at its PayPal division.
eBay results beat expectations as PayPal expandsSecond quarter net income was £176 million, down from £257 million for the same period a year ago.

But the fall in earnings was largely due to eBay’s takeover of GSI Commerce, a digital marketing and ecommerce firm, earlier this year.

Ebay’s main online Marketplace business showed signs of a turnaround and its PayPal division grew well.

PayPal gained members and the value of merchandise sold through its eBay.com website rose.

Taking out one-off cost – including those of acquiring GSI – income was 19% higher than last year’s £331 million.

However after eBay increased their charges in May there was a considerable backlash from UK etailers- some of whom claim that eBay’s new charges make them unprofitable.

These higher charges are making them switch from eBay to Amazon- who has kept their UK charges flat.

The EBAY share price still trades at a discount to it’s record price set on 1st October 2007 of $39.90.

Ofcom cuts rural broadband prices

July 21, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, internet, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Rural broadband bills could fall after telecoms regulator Ofcom moved to cut the wholesale price that BT charges other internet providers.
Ofcom cuts rural broadband pricesThe company is the only operator in many smaller telephone exchanges and ISPs have to factor ‘renting’ BT’s equipment into their price plans.

That means customers often miss out on cheaper deals available in towns and cities.

The reduction only affects broadband services of up to 8Mbps.

From mid August until March 2014, Ofcom has ruled that BT must cut its rates by 12% below inflation per year.

Rural campaigners welcomed the news.

The Countryside Alliance said it was “delighted” by the decision.

Many ISPs, other than BT, are able to offer consumers cheap broadband through a system known as local loop unbundling (LLU), where they place their own equipment in the exchange.

In less populated areas, where this may be uneconomical, they have to effectively ‘rent’ the system for delivering their service from BT

BT Wholesale’s costs are passed on, typically adding around £10 to customers’ broadband bills, according to the website BroadBandChoices.co.uk.

BT said the impact of the cost reductions on its revenues would be in the “low millions”.

The prices BT Retail charges consumers will remain the same.

Ofcom has not applied the reduced charges to ADSL2+, a next-generation copper-wire technology which offers speeds of up to 24Mbps.

It said it hopes that this will encourage BT Wholesale to invest more in this.

The government is keen to see next-generation services thrive in rural as well as urban areas as it aims to make the UK the fastest broadband nation in Europe by 2015.

Critics have argued that relying on copper technologies will not future-proof networks and have urged operators to invest in fibre optics which can provide much faster services.

Whether consumers will benefit from the price cuts is not yet clear.

Yahoo profits rise but sales drop as rivals dent market

July 20, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Ecommerce, Pay Per Click, search engines, Technology Companies, Uncategorized, Yahoo

Yahoo has reported a drop in its sales revenue for the second quarter due to weaker-than-expected advertising sales.
Yahoo profits rise but sales drop as rivals dent marketThe company said it generated £670 million in revenue in the three months to June, a 4.6% decline compared to the same period last year.

The results have come as Yahoo has been facing increasing competition from rivals Google and Facebook.

However, despite a drop in revenue, Yahoo said its profits rose by 11% from a year ago to £148 million.

Carol Bartz, the chief executive of Yahoo said the second quarter was a “mix of good, encouraging and, at the same time, unsatisfactory” developments.  The issue was we did not have enough sales people in front of the big clients,” she said.

Increased competition from its rivals is the not the only issue that Yahoo has had to deal with.

In May, it suffered a big setback in China after the internet company Alibaba, in which Yahoo has a 43% stake, transferred one its key assets, Alipay, to a company controlled by its founder Jack Ma.

Yahoo shares have fallen more than 20% since then because investors are worried that it may have lost out on one of Alibaba’s key businesses.

The company has assured its backers that it is trying to resolve the issue.

“We have been working on this negotiation continuously, in fact daily,” said Ms Bartz.

However, analysts said the latest data indicated that Yahoo will find it tough to turn things around soon.

Apple makes record profits as iPhone and iPad sales leap

July 19, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Apps, mobile phones, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Apple’s latest profits soared past expectations as sales of its best known iPhone and iPad products more than doubled.
Apple makes record profits as iPhone and iPad sales leapNet income was £4.6 billion in the three months to 25 June, 125% higher than a year earlier and a record quarterly profit for the firm. Revenue was £17.87 billion, also a quarterly record.

Apple sold more than 20 million iPhones in the quarter and 9.25 million iPads. However, iPod sales continued to slip, down by 20% to 7.54 million units.

The results assuaged concerns about the supply of the iPad 2, partly because of parts supply interruptions caused by Japan’s tsunami and earthquake in March.

Apple chief financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer, said: “We are extremely pleased with our performance. Looking ahead to the fourth fiscal quarter of 2011, we expect revenue of about $25bn.”

Mr Oppenheimer also said that Lion, the new version of the Mac OS X operating system, will go on sale Wednesday.  The Lion software mimics some of the features of the iPhone and iPad interface.

The company has a reputation for being conservative with its forecasts.

Apple shares (AAPL) jumped 5.3% in extended after hours trading to their highest for a year.

The price had suffered after its founder and Chief Executive, Steve Jobs, took a long term break last January for medical reasons.

The future stewardship of the company remains an open question. On Tuesday the Wall Street Journal was reporting that several Apple board members had discussed a successor to Mr Jobs, and had talked about the matter with at least one head of a high-profile tech company.

Another uncertainty for the company is a web of patent battles with rivals.

It claims Taiwanese rival HTC has infringed its patents, with HTC claiming a number of infringements against Apple.  Apple is also in dispute over the rights to technology with South Korea’s Samsung and US competitor Motorola.

Mobile phone maker appeals Apple patent ruling

July 18, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Ecommerce, Mobile Marketing, smart phones, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Mobile phone company HTC will appeal against a US ruling that it infringed two of Apple patents.
Mobile phone maker appeals Apple patent rulingIf Friday’s ruling by the US International Trade Commission is not overturned, the US may ban imports of some HTC phones.

HTC and Apple are rivals in the smartphone market and analysts said the ruling may have industry-wide implications.

Shares in HTC fell by 7% in far east trading today following the news.

The US trade commission said that HTC was guilty of violating two Apple patents when it produced mobile phones based on the Android operating system.

Apple had filed a complaint against HTC for infringing ten of their patents.

However, the findings are preliminary and are subject to review by the full six-member committee in Washington. A final decision is expected on 6 December.

HTC said that it was confident it had a strong case for appeal, and maintains that it has not violated any of the patents mentioned in the case.

This is the latest move in a longer running battle between Apple and HTC.

Last year, HTC filed a complaint with the trade commission claiming that Apple was infringing its patents.

The Taiwanese company is not the only firm fighting Apple over the rights to technology, with the US firm also in disputes with South Korea’s Samsung and US-based Motorola.

The announcement by the US International Trade Commission came late on Friday, and in an effort to boost its share price HTC said over the weekend that it would buy back some of its listed equity.