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Archive for the ‘Tablets’

Tablets ‘eroding’ children’s digital skills

April 09, 2016 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, data security, Dr Search, Email, internet, Personal Security, Search Clinic, smart phones, Tablets, Uncategorized

Children are learning very different skills via tablets and smartphones, suggests a report.

 

Children’s growing use of mobile devices may hamper their learning of key technology skills, says a report.

An Australian educational body noted a “significant decline” in IT literacy among some students since 2011.

Its report said children learned very different skills on tablets and smartphones to the basic technology skills required for the workplace.

Changes to the way that ICT was being taught in Australian schools could explain some of the decline, it said.

The report added that significant alterations in the types of devices people use could also be behind some of the changes.
Poor performance

The report by Australia’s National Assessment Programme looked at technology literacy among two groups of children – one just leaving primary school and another in its fourth year of secondary school. More than 10,500 students took part.

It compared digital literacy scores from 2011 with those from a survey carried out in late 2014.

“This report shows a significant decline in their ICT literacy performance when compared to previous cycles,” it said.

Both age groups saw a decline in IT proficiencies, it added. Statistics revealed that the average performance of 16-year-olds in the 2014 group was lower than the average in any other year.

In addition it found that the number of children meeting basic ICT literacy standards in these age groups had dropped.

Pupils now made “increased” and “extensive” use of mobile technology and it was possible that this meant they were “practising fewer of the skills that have been associated with ICT literacy,” it said.

Tablets and smartphones were making children competent at using many forms of online communication, it said, at the expense of those other skills emphasised by the curriculum.

It warned against assuming that children who use tablets and other portable devices were more widely competent with technology.

“We cannot expect students to become proficient on important employability and life skills, just by using computing devices for games and social interaction,” it said. “They also need to be taught the relevant knowledge, understanding and skills.”

Eben Upton, who came up with the idea for the bare-bones Raspberry Pi computer, said the Australian research presented some “interesting” conclusions.

“It’s always been my belief that ‘appliance-like’ hardware platforms don’t encourage real computer literacy because there are missing rungs on the ladder between being a consumer and being a producer,” he told the BBC.

“There’s a place for tablets in education, but we need to get away from the idea that knowing how to pinch-zoom makes your toddler the next Bill Gates,” he said.

First 3D printed pill approved by US authorities

August 14, 2015 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Blogs, Computers, Google, internet, Search Clinic, Tablets, Uncategorized

In a world first, the US Food and Drug Administration has given the go-ahead for a 3D-printed pill to be produced.

First 3D printed pill approved by US authorities

3D printed pills could pave way for bespoke medicines for individual patients. The FDA has previously approved medical devices – including prosthetics – that have been 3D printed.

The new drug, dubbed Spritam, was developed by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals to control seizures brought on by epilepsy. The company said that it planned to develop other medications using its 3D platform.

Printing the drugs allows layers of medication to be packaged more tightly in precise dosages.

A separate technology developed by the firm, known as ZipDose, makes high dose medications easier to swallow.

Printing the drug meant it could package up to 1,000 milligrams into individual tablets.

The 3D-printed pill dissolves in the same manner as other oral medicines.

Being able to 3D print a tablet offers the potential to create bespoke drugs based on the specific needs of patients, rather than having a one product fits all approach, according to experts.

“For the last 50 years we have manufactured tablets in factories and shipped them to hospitals and for the first time this process means we can produce tablets much closer to the patient,” said Dr Mohamed Albed Alhnan, a lecturer in pharmaceutics at the University of Central Lancashire.

It would mean that medical institutions could adjust the dose for individual patients with just a simple tweak to the software before printing. Previously, such personalised medicine would have been extremely expensive to produce, said Dr Alhnan.

3D printing works by creating an object layer by layer. In the case of medicines, printers are adapted to produce pharmaceutical compounds rather than polymers which are more usually used.

Such methods are already proving very useful in healthcare with doctors using the system to create customised implants for patients with injuries or other conditions.

And dentists, for example, use 3D printers to create replica jaws and teeth as well as other dental implants.

Spritam will launch in the first quarter of 2016, according to Aprecia.

Music sales increase for the first time since 1999

February 27, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Dr Search, Ecommerce, Hackers, Mobile Marketing, Search Clinic, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Global music revenues had risen for the first time since 1999 according to new research.Music sales increase for the first time since 1999The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said that accelerating digital music sales had caused a 0.3% upturn in global revenues – a total of  £10.9 billion.

“It is hard to remember a year for the recording industry that has begun with such a palpable buzz in the air,” said Frances Moore, chief executive of IFPI.

“These are hard-won successes for an industry that has innovated, battled and transformed itself over a decade.

“They show how the music industry has adapted to the internet world, learned how to meet the needs of consumers and monetised the digital marketplace.”

Global singles best sellers in 2012

Carly Rae Jepsen, Call Me Maybe, 12.5 million units
Gotye, Somebody That I Used To Know, 11.8 million
PSY, Gangnam Style, 9.7 million
Fun, We Are Young, 9.6 million
Maroon 5, Payphone, 9.1 million
Michel Telo, Ai Se Eu Te Pego, 7.2 million
Nicki Minaj, Starships, 7.2 million
Maroon 5, One More Night, 6.9 million
Flo Rida, Whistle, 6.6 million
Flo Rida, Wild Ones, 6.5 million

Source: IFPI

The music industry has undertaken a sizable campaign over several years to see illegal sites and services put out of business.

In the UK, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) took action to the courts, obtaining a court order to force internet service providers to block access to file-sharing site The Pirate Bay.

The music industry has also started to refocus its efforts by targeting those who make profiting from illegal music possible, such as advertisers, as well as the piracy sites themselves.

Elsewhere, search engines like Google have been pressured to demote piracy websites in their search results.

More needs to be done on that front, IFPI said: “Searches for the names of popular artists followed by the term “mp3” still return a large number of results for illegal sources on the first page.

“In August 2012, Google announced it would take into account the number of valid copyright notices it receives when returning search results.  That was a welcome step in principle but unfortunately has not been translated into results.”

Nintendo warns on it’s Wii-U sales forecast

February 01, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Ecommerce, Gaming, internet, Nintendo, Search Clinic, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Nintendo has cut the sales forecast for its new Wii-U console-  but still expects to make an annual profit thanks to the weaker yen.Nintendo warns on it's Wii-U sales forecastIt now predicts it will sell only four million Wii-Us in the year to March, down 27% from its previous forecast, after sales disappointed.

Nonetheless, the Japanese firm increased its annual net profit forecast to £98 million thanks to gains from its weakening home currency.

A year ago it made a loss of  £302 million.

For the first nine months of its year, the firm reported a £102 million profit, compared with a loss of  £115 million a year earlier.

The results, which came after the end of trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, provide mixed signals for stock analysts.

The apparent failure so far of the Wii-U to take off versus competition from tablet and smart phone game applications may bode ill for the company’s long-term growth prospects.

Nintendo also cut its full-year sales forecasts for its other games consoles, with 3DS sales expected to reach 15 million by March (down 14% from its previous forecast), and DS sales to total 2.3 million (down 8%).

Perhaps the biggest shock will come from the firm announcing that it now expected to make an overall operating loss of £140 million for the year, whereas previously it had foreseen a £140 million operating profit. Financial analysts had expected a £85.7 million operating profit on average.

The company said that the new forecasts took account of the evident turnaround in the yen with the election of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has taken a much more aggressively expansionary stance towards both government spending and the central bank’s monetary policy.

The weakening currency provides a two-fold benefit to the company – increasing the value of its foreign currency assets in the short-term, and reversing its steady loss of price competitiveness against foreign rivals in the longer-term.

Apple Inc loses it’s most valuable company crown

January 25, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Customer Service, mobile phones, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Apple Inc has lost its crown as the world’s most valuable publicly traded company after its shares continued to follow the basic law of physics- gravity.Apple Inc loses it's most valuable company crownThe Oil company Exxon Mobil has regained the top slot after Apple shares fell a further 2.4%-  following a 12% drop on Thursday.

Apple, which posted disappointing iPhone sales figures on Wednesday, has seen its shares fall 37% since their record high last September.

Exxon became number one in 2005, traded places with Apple during 2011, and had been number two since early 2012.

At the close on Wall Street, Apple had a market value of £261 billion, against Exxon’s of £264 billion.

The technology company has been hit by fears over its future growth, despite record profits.

Although the firm said on Wednesday that it had sold more iPhones (47.8 million) and iPads (22.9 million) in the final three months of last year than in any previous quarter, investors and analysts had expected yet more.

On Thursday, about £32 billion was wiped off Apple’s value after the biggest daily drop in the firm’s stock in four years.

Apple is also facing fierce competition from rivals like Samsung, which accounted for one in four of all mobile phones shipped worldwide last year, according to Strategy Analytics.

Apple’s share price rose sharply following a revival under Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, which came about first in computers and then the iPod music player, and was then followed by the iPhone and iPad.

Apple’s shares were worth as little as $3.19 in 1997 when it faced the possibility of bankruptcy, and reached a record $702.1 on 19 September 2012.

SME card payment solutions- using smartphones

January 17, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, data security, Dr Search, Ecommerce, Mobile Marketing, Personal Security, Search Clinic, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

A new solution is available to small businesses who want to take customers’ payments by credit or debit card- but do not want to be tied in to a monthly payment contract.SME card payment solutions- using smartphonesSeveral companies are now offering SMEs the chance to take these payments using a dongle on their smartphone or iPad. The start-up costs are either zero or minimal, and there is no monthly fee, but the business pays a percentage of each transaction.

iZettle is one of a number firms offering the small card reader that plugs into iPhones, iPads and a number of Android smartphones or tablets.

The customer hands over their card to the stallholder – or plumber or window-cleaner – and it is swiped through the device. Mastercard and American Express card holders then sign for their purchase.

The merchant pays a commission of 2.75% per transaction, and the consumer gets to use their plastic rather than cash in new places.

Traders say the system is secure and customers can request a receipt- which is then sent to their own smart phone with the details of the transaction.

iZettle says 15,000 traders signed up with it in November. But several other firms are also fighting for their share of the market.

Sum Up offers a similar service. It launched five months ago, and as well as its UK operation it says it is expanding in nine other countries.

Payleven, based in London and Berlin, is another firm offering a service where Mastercard and American Express cards holders sign when making a purchase.

It says it will be launching the first chip and pin version of this payment for smartphones running Google’s Android software or Apple’s iOS in February.

Pearson invests in Barnes and Noble’s Nook ereader

January 07, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apps, Computers, Ecommerce, EReaders, Search Clinic, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

The publisher Pearson has said it will invest in the Nook series of ereaders and tablets.Pearson invests in Barnes and Noble's Nook ereaderPearson said it would pay £55.5 million for a 5% stake in Nook Media, which includes the digital bookstore and 674 stores serving US colleges.

The maker of Nook-  US book chain Barnes & Noble (B&N), sells the devices online in the UK and in its stores as well in the US.

Microsoft is another big investor in the Nook.

After the deal, B&N will hold 78.2% of the Nook business and Microsoft will have about 16.8% , Pearson said.

It added that, subject to certain conditions, Pearson will have the option to buy another 5% stake in Nook Media.

“Pearson and Barnes & Noble have been valued partners for decades, and in recent years both have invested heavily and imaginatively to provide engaging and effective digital reading and learning experiences,” said Will Ethridge, chief executive of Pearson North America.

“This new agreement extends our partnership and deepens our commitment to provide better, easier experiences for our customers.”

B&N offers its own curated magazine, newspaper, book and app stores – and plans to add a video service offering movies and television shows by early 2013.

Its devices compete with tablets and ereaders from Apple, Amazon, Sony and products using Google’s Android software.

B&N does not operate its own stores in the UK, but as well as online, it sells its products through Sainsbury’s and the bookstore Blackwell’s.

Apple boss Tim Cook takes massive pay cut

January 03, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Dr Search, mobile phones, Search Clinic, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies

Tim Cook will take home a salary of just 1% of the £235 million ($378 million) that he received to be Apple’s boss last year.Apple boss Tim Cook takes massive pay cutIn a regulatory filing, the iPhone-maker’s head said he would get a salary of £875,000 with a bonus of £1,750,000 for 2012.

Most of his money from 2011 came from a grant of shares awarded for becoming the chief executive and Apple said he would not get any new shares.

“Mr Cook’s target cash compensation remains significantly below the median for CEOs of peer companies,” it said.

Last year, following the death of co-founder Steve Jobs, Mr Cook received a bonus in the form of stock of more than $370 million, making him reportedly the best paid boss in the USA.

His base salary was $900,000. His predecessor, Steve Jobs, famously had an annual salary of $1.

Mr Cook’s salary was raised to $1.4 million and he received a bonus of 200% of his salary for exceeding Apple’s own targets in a year when its profit grew 61% to $41.7 billion and Apple became for a time the most valuable company in the world.

“Mr Cook did not receive an RSU [restricted stock unit] award in 2012 in light of the RSU award he received in connection with his promotion to CEO in August 2011,” Apple said.

It added: “Following a recommendation by Mr Cook to the Compensation Committee, the company adopted stock ownership guidelines for the CEO and the non-employee directors. Under the guidelines, Mr Cook is expected to own shares of company common stock that have a value equal to ten times his base salary.”

His colleagues received hefty pay packages after a successful year. Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of technologies, will get almost $86 million and chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer will receive $68.6 million.

Record online sales shoppers on Boxing Day

December 27, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Dr Search, Ecommerce, internet, Online Marketing, Pay Per Click Advertising, Search Clinic, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Record numbers of UK shoppers visited retail websites on Boxing Day-  with analysts suggesting shoppers are also using the internet to identify bargains.Record online sales shoppers on Boxing DayInformation service Experian said UK consumers made 113 million visits to retailers’ websites on 26 December.

The number of visitors to the High Street on the same day was up 0.64% on last year’s Boxing Day trade, according to Experian.

Some big name retailers started their online sales on Christmas Day.

UK internet users made 84 million visits to retail websites on Christmas Eve and 107 million visits on Christmas Day, up 86% and 71% respectively compared to the same days in December 2011, according to Experian.

The Boxing Day level – 113 million visits – was 17% up on the same day in 2011. Typically, during the year, there is an average of about 70 million visits on Mondays – the busiest day of the week for online shopping.

“The UK sales creep continues to advance so that now the post Christmas sales are starting before Christmas,” said James Murray, digital insight manager at Experian.

“Five years ago we called it the January sales, before it became the Boxing Day sales, now retailers have to call it the winter sales as discounting starts earlier to encourage higher spending.”

Shoppers headed back to the High Street, with large department stores such as John Lewis throwing open their doors for clearance sales.

Yet, retail consultants have said that many people heading out to the shops will have already browsed online to choose the items they want.

The squeeze on family finances is likely to keep the lid on retail sales, especially on big ticket items.

However, some positive news in employment levels means that some stores could still record a decent level of sales in the significant post-Christmas sales period.

Experian Footfall said that there was “quiet optimism” on the High Street with the number of shoppers up slightly on 26 December, compared with the same day in 2011.

The growth of the internet means that the peak in sales might already have taken place.

Mr Murray, of Experian, said that 26 December was traditionally the single biggest shopping day of the year online.

And now, shoppers are using digital devices such as tablets and smartphones to search for bargains – then only travel to those specific shops to buy those items.

The amount people spent online was expected to account for 12% of total retail spending.

Google Nexus and Amazon Kindle in new content deals

December 10, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Amazon, Customer Service, Dr Search, Ecommerce, EReaders, Google, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle tablets have launched new deals that highlight how content are helping drive device sales.Google Nexus and Amazon Kindle in new content dealsThe Times newspaper is subsidising the cost of the Nexus as part of its digital editions bundle.

Amazon is launching an “all-you-can-eat” media subscription offer targeted at children in the US.

Apple’s share of worldwide tablet shipments dipped from about 66% to 50% between the April-to-June quarter and the July-to-September period, according to data from IDC.

By contrast the Kindle and Nexus devices’ share grew. Investors will watch to see how that trend is affected in the current period following the launch of the iPad Mini.

The Times is promoting its Nexus 7 Digi Bundle – which gives online access to The Times and Sunday Times papers – by offering the 32GB version of the tablet for £50, on top of the price of its standard package, rather than the £199 it is sold for in shops.

The deal involves an 18 month commitment to the paper, bringing the total cost to £299 for the period.

It is notable that the firm picked Google’s tablet, bearing in mind News International’s chief executive, Rupert Murdoch, had previously described the firm as a “parasite” for offering his papers’ content in its news search listings.

Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited service charges a monthly fee for access to book, game and educational apps, movies and TV shows. Disney, DC Comics, Nickelodeon and the team behind Sesame Street are also among the publishers that have allowed their content to be included.

The product is focused at children aged between three and eight and will promote content depending on their gender and age.

It costs about £3 per month per child, although there is a discount for members of the Amazon Prime programme.