Have you ever sat down and itemized the time you spend on the web doing non-work related tasks? You know, things like forwarding jokes via email, updating your Facebook profile, catching up on forum threads, and everything else that's non-conducive to your job. According to a new study, you may be far more unproductive on any given work day than you might have imagined, and collectively, dilly-dallying on the web is costing the economy around $900 billion each year. Yowzers!
Preposterous? Not to Basex, a New York-based research company who has been focusing its efforts on analyzing what it calls "information overload." In its ongoing study, Basex says the average worker loses 28 percent of his time to interruptions, while information workers spend 15 percent of the day searching. All tallied, only 25 percent of the workday is spent on "productive content creation," or in other words, actual work. Technophiles aren't immune to wandering aimlessly on the web, either.
"We recognize that as younger workers come into the workforce, they are more handy with technologies, they're more comfortable using them," Basex CEO Joseph Spira says, "but that doesn't mean they use them any more intelligently."
Hey, that reminds us - stop whatever work you're doing and go sign up for Will Smith's Twitter feed for your chance at winning some cool swag.
Many TVs with the new Intel Media Processor CE 3100, a SoC specifically designed for consumer electronics, will be showcased during the upcoming CES 2009. Intel had unveiled its new SoCs triggered at consumer electronics during the Intel Developer Forum earlier this year.
Yahoo doesn’t want the technology to be restricted to high-end TVs alone. Yahoo’s Patrick Berry, VP of its Connected TV Initiative, told Cnet that he expects internet-enabled consumer electronics devices to become commonplace by 2010.
As previous attempts at providing a rich internet experience through TV sets failed due to unpalatable intricacy of those ill-fated technologies, the two companies have tried to make the Widgets Channel as simple as possible.
Verizon has secured a major legal victory against OnlineNic, a San Francisco-based domain registrar, which has been tormenting it for quite some time by squatting domains related to the telecom giant’s products. The court has ordered OnlineNIC to pay a sum of $33.15 million for squatting more than 600 Verizon-related domains.
Although the court’s order is expected to serve as a deterrent against cybersquatting, it is not clear how the promoters and employees of OnlineNIC will be brought to book as their identities still remain a mystery. They seem to be adept at concealment just like many other cybersquatters. In fact, it is this ability of cybersquatters to operate undercover that allows them to operate with impunity.
The ratings that you find on television shows and movies could soon be applied to websites. These ratings would potentially be added in a bid to help police on the Internet and protect our young ones from potentially offensive material.
"The more we seek international solutions to this stuff -- the UK and the U.S. working together -- the more that an international norm will set an industry norm," said England’s Culture Secretary. However, it has also been mentioned that these film-style ratings would only be one possibility.
Internet service providers could also become a part of the scheme, as they may be forced to offer their services in helping to only show sites that would be suitable for children. Though, this looks like it could teeter on the edge of censorship, which would violate Americans’ freedom of speech.
Watch out boys, be sure and tread lightly with this one.
President-elect Barack Obama will have his hands full trying to get the economy back on track once he officially takes office next month, and if the media reform group Free Press has any say in the matter, a major investment in the nation's broadband infrastructure should be high on the list.
In a 30-page reported titled "Down Payment on Our Digital Future: Stimulus Policies for the 21st-Century Economy", the Free Press proposes spending $44 billion in broadband stimulus funds over the next three years. The vast amount of funds would be used to build next-generation broadband networks, connecting rural areas without broadband service, making high speed connections more affordable, providing PCs and training to low income users, promoting children's access to technology at school and at home, and ensuring clear standards of quality, affordability, and competition.
"Promoting the deployment of a national, forward-looking broadband infrastructure will provide substantial short-term and long-term economic benefits," S. Derek Turner, study author and research director of Free Press, wrote in the report (PDF). "This deployment effort will immediately create tens of thousands of new jobs in the telecommunications, manufacturing, and high-tech sectors."
The United States ranks 22nd in the world in broadband adoption, with over 40 percent of all U.S. homes still without a high speed connection. Obama previously said that investing in computers and broadband for schools and hospitals would be part of his immediate economic recovery plans, but no specific amount was ever mentioned.
Would spending $44 billion be overboard? Hit the jump and sound off.
Once again, Internet Explorer (aka "Internet Exploder") has been attacked through a "zero-day" remote code execution vulnerability. That might not seem like MaximumPC.com-worthy news, except for two factors: the flaw is affecting thousands of websites, and this time, it isn't just Firefox fans who are saying "time to switch browsers, already!" - security experts at Trend Micro, the Spamhaus Project, and the UK's PC Pro magazine are all recommending making a switch, according to the BBC. And here's why:
The flaw in Microsoft's Internet Explorer could allow criminals to take control of people's computers and steal their passwords, internet experts say.
Switching Browsers? Choices Abound!
Attacks against IE7 have been verified, but all versions of IE (including IE 8 Beta 2) have the same underlying vulnerability; a vulnerability not present in IE's competitors (Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and Safari). Switching browsers makes sense for most web surfing, but, alas, some websites and (of course) Windows Update and Microsoft Update for Windows XP won't work with anything but IE.
Redmond Readies Security Update
Since the vulnerability was detected on December 10th, Microsoft code jockeys have been working hard to patch the flaw (Redmond doesn't want you to switch, naturally, and given the way that IE and Windows work together, a broken IE isn't good for anybody), and a patch will be available tomorrow (December 17th) for all versions of IE from 5.01 up, applying to all versions of Windows and Windows Server from Windows 2000 on up. It's rare for Microsoft to perform a security update between Patch Tuesdays, but when a "Critical" vulnerability (the most dangerous category of vulnerability) is discovered, there's no time to waste.
If you must use IE and you're looking for workarounds until you can get the update, join us after the jump for details.
Grand Theft Auto's Hot Coffee mod made the whole concept of transitioning from dinner and dancing to bedroom antics seem way too easy. Now it appears it might be harder to take that relationship to the next level, according to a new survey which suggests women prefer the internet to having sex.
The survey, which was commissioned by Intel, pinged 2,119 adults in an attempt to show how essential the internet has become, the Wall Street Journalreports. What Intel found is that 46 percent of women would rather put their sex drive on hold for two weeks than to go without internet access for that long. And it's not just older females who feel that way. According to the survey, 49 percent of women aged 18-34 feel the same way, compared to 52 percent of women aged 35-44.
Not surprisingly, the numbers are somewhat lower for men. About 30 percent of men said they'd rather go without sex for two weeks than internet access, but unlike women, that number goes down as the age goes up. Some 39 percent of men aged 18-34 prefer the internet to sex, but only 23 percent of men aged 35-44 feel the same way.
Hit the jump and tell us which you would rather give up for two weeks.
Sony BMG has agreed to pay $1 million to the Federal Trade Commission to settle charges claiming Sony violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). While $1 million might seem a drop in the bucket to a company like Sony, the FTC points out the $1 million penalty matches the largest ever paid in a COPPA case.
The suit, which was filed just yesterday, alleged that Sony managed to collect personal information on roughly 30,000 users under the age of 13, including full names, gender, birth date, email addresses, mobile phone numbers, and in some cases, full mailing addresses. According to the FTC, the information was obtained through various Sony-owned websites designed to promote and advertise the company's music offerings, but didn't restrict visitors under the age of 13 from registering.
"Sites with social networking features, like any Web sites, need to get parental consent before collecting kids' personal information," FTC Chairman William Kovacic said in a statement. "Sony Music is paying the penalty for falling down on its COPPA obligations."
In addition to the $1 million penalty, Sony must also delete all personal information it had collected from those under 13 years old, and must also distribute the FTC's "How to Comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule" to all of its employees. In addition, Sony's also required to link to the children's privacy section of the FTC's website for five years.
According to a report by the Anti-Phishing Working Group the use of malware on websites intended to steal passwords and other personal information has jumped significantly over the past year.
The exact number of pages sporting hidden code meant to get your secret goodies has almost tripled between July 2007 and July 2008 to a staggering 9.529. And of those, there are 442 different types waiting for you.
The financial crisis is at part to blame for this huge boost in malware-oriented sites. “The current financial crisis has also been used by phishers to create new scams that try to scare consumers into entering their usernames and passwords into sites that mimic those of well-known distressed financial institutions,” said Dave Jevans, the AWPG Chairman. “As the economy degrades, we are seeing a continual increase in malicious and criminal activity on the Internet.”
To date, the RIAA has sued more than 20,000 individuals over alleged copyright infringement, and one could argue that the RIAA has turned its suing spree into a business model. If that's the case, consider what DigiProtect is doing to be nothing more than modern day business economics 101.
The German company has been sending out thousands of letters to UK residents accusing them of using file-sharing networks to download and distribute dozens of porn flicks. The 20-page letters lay out all the embarrassing details, including the name of the film(s) and what date and time the alleged download took place. Similar to what the RIAA has been doing, DigiProtect offers to settle out of court, usually to the tune of £500 (about $740USD).
Hit the jump to find out what the studio being represented has to say about the letters (you'll be surprised).