The folks at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) quite clearly possess two passions, and two passions alone: ensuring broadband access for every American and sporadically astonishing everyone with the most incredible facts about broadband usage in the country. Last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had claimed in a report that actual broadband speeds in the US trailed promised speeds by at least 50%. Now, a survey commissioned by the FCC has revealed that nearly 80% of broadband users are unaware of their connection's speed.
The survey conducted by the Abt/SRBI and Princeton Survey Research Associates International polled 3,005 adults. Men fared a little better than women, with a “whopping” 29% of male respondents aware of their broadband connection's speed as compared to only 10% of the women that were surveyed. When categorized based on their age, respondents aged 65 years or more were found to be the most ignorant of the lot.
“Today, most people just know that their home broadband speed is supposed to be ‘blazing fast.’ They need more meaningful information to know exactly what speed they need for the applications they want to run, and what provider and plan is their best choice,” said Joel Gurin, chief of the consumer and governmental affairs bureau of the FCC.
The FCC is enlisting the help of UK's SamKnows Limited to more accurately measure actual broadband speeds. In fact, SamKnows is currently on the lookout for up to 10,000 volunteers for this ambitious project. Each volunteer will have their broadband connection monitored using a special set-top box installed by the UK-based company. All those interested in volunteering can apply here.
In a report issued on Thursday, market research firm iSuppli said the semiconductor industry is on track to generate $300.3 billion in revenue this year, which would be a 30.6 percent boost from the $229.9 billion generated in 2009.
If iSuppli ends up being right, 2010 will be a record year for the worldwide chip industry, toppling the previous record of $275 billion set in 2007. It would also be the second time in 10 years that the industry noted a more than 30 percent increase in revenue. The first time was back in 2000 when chip makers saw a 36.7 percent increase, which was largely attributable to the rise of the Internet.
"Building on the continuing expansion in sales that followed the downturn in late 2008 and early 2009, the semiconductor industry is set to achieve remarkable revenue growth and record size in 2010," said Dale Ford, an analyst with iSuppli. "Chip sales growth this year will be fueled by a number of key factors, including continued strong consumer demand for hot electronic products, diligent inventory and capacity management efforts among chip makers, and the arrival of innovative technologies at both the component and end-system levels."
Even with the positive outlook, Ford warns that the economy remains "the biggest wild card," with a number of financial and economic trouble spots that could ultimately stunt growth.
Even as the economy starts to pick back up, times are still tough in the tech industry, and that's not so bad for HP. According to two separate research reports by Gabriel Consulting Group and Alinean Inc., businesses are increasingly moving away from Sun Microsystems and IBM, and migrating over to HP's budgeted solutions.
"When Bernalillo County needed to provide additional services to residents, we turned to HP to provide an infrastructure that could help us cut costs and implement applications faster," said Paul Roybal, chief information officer, Bernalillo County. "By deploying Integrity server blades with HP-UX, we decreased the number of physical servers, improved overall performance as well as reduced power and cooling requirements by 40 per cent."
Seizing the opportunity, HP makes it easy for customers to switch by doing things like offering a Solaris Software Transition Kit to simplify the migration of Solaris applications to HP-UX.
Citing a 2009 report by Alinean titled "The business value of HP-UX 11i V3," HP is pointing out to potential customers that over a three-year span, HP-UX 11i v3 running on HP Integrity BL870c can lower total cost of ownership by 23 percent compared to IMB AIX 6.1 running on IBM BladeCenter JS23.
The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) reported some promising news on Monday. According to SIA, worldwide semiconductor sales in February 2010 came out to $22 billion. That's a slight decrease of 1.3 percent from January, but a monstrous 56.2 percent increase from February 2009 when sales were an anemic $14.1 billion.
"The February sales numbers reflect continued recovery of sales of semiconductors, with demand principally driven by growth in sales of electronic products in emerging economies,” said SIA President George Scalise. "Unit sales of the two leading demand drivers for semiconductors -- personal computers and cell phones -- are now projected to grow in the low- to mid-teens in 2010."
Somewhat tempering enthusiasm over the positive figures, SIA points out that January and February of 2009 marked the lowest points for the semiconductor industry during the global recession.
"There are encouraging signs that the global economic recovery will continue, and we remain cautiously optimistic that there is upside potential for growth beyond our November forecast for 2010," Scalise said.
Do you hate going to the dentist? If so, maybe you should consider spending less time fragging your friends. According to new research, playing Counter Strike or any number of other video games is bad for your teeth. Say what?
It's not the games themselves that break down your tooth enamel and leave holes in your teeth, but all the snacking that inevitably occurs. Those who spend substantial time defusing virtual bombs and knifing their buddies in the back are more than twice as likely to develop tooth decay as those with more active lifestyles, the study suggests.
"This study helps our understanding of the dietary habits and subsequent decay risk of gamers when the effects have previously been unknown," said Dr. Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation. "Every time you eat or drink anything sugary, your teeth are under acid attack for up to one hour. This is because the sugrar will react with the bacteria in plaque -- the sticky coating on your teeth -- and produce the harmful acids. So it is important to keep sugary foods only to mealtimes, limiting the amount of time your mouth is at risk."
Spending too much time playing video games has often been mentioned in obesity reports, but this is one of the first studies to make a link between gaming and oral health.
App developers take note - smartphones are popular. Crazy popular. According to the latest numbers from mobile advertising firm AdMob, smartphone traffic is up 193 percent year over year in absolute terms.
As far as AdMob's traffic goes, Apple's iPhone OS rules the mobile roost with exactly half of the mobile OS market share. Android comes in second with a 24 percent slice of the market pie, while Symbian takes third place with 18 percent. A distant fourth is RIM with 4 percent, while Windows Mobile OS accounts for 2 percent, as do all other mobile OSes.
If that seems off to you, that's because it is.
"AdMob does not claim that this information will be necessarily representative of the mobile Web as a whole or of any particular country-market. AdMob's traffic is driven by publisher relationships and may be influenced accordingly," the ad firm states in a disclaimer.
Still, no matter how it's distributed, the bigger point is that not only is the smartphone market booming, but it's still growing at an enormous rate.
The global recession might be taking a bigger toll on small businesses than initially thought, suggests a new report by research firm IDC.
According to IDC's data, worldwide SMB spending on information technology will only go up by a lethargic 5.5 percent from now until 2014, far lower than what was previously forecast.
"The downturn had a devastating impact on SMBs worldwide," said Ray Boggs, vice president of small and medium business and home office research at IDC. "Moving forward, small businesses will not follow the past pattern and return to prerecession's spending levels more quickly than midsize firms. Instead, SMBs of all sizes will remain cautious with their IT spending over the next several years."
IDC says spending declines weren't focused on one particularly category, but affected various segments of hardware, software, and services. Going forward, IDC expects SMB spending on PCs and peripherals to grow the most, while systems and storage will see the least amount of growth.
Any manufacters still dragging their feet when it comes to getting into the eBook reader business might want to get the ball rolling. A new report suggests there will be a lot of cash at stake as ebook reader shipments surpass $3 billion in 2013, compared to $244 million in 2008.
That figure rests on the assumption that the e-reader market continues to grow, which will depend on what kind of threat the emerging tablet brouhaha poses. But as DigiTimes Research sees it, ebook reader shipments will continue to scale upwards, growing from 700,00 units shipped in 2008 to 28 million units in 2013. That would represent a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 386 percent.
As it currently stands, Amazon and Sony sit on top of the e-reader hill, but DigiTimes predicts a "major shakeup" in 2010, both from Barnes & Noble as it becomes more competitive, and from any number of niche players looking to ride the e-reader gravy train.
Quick, what's the most dangerous city in the U.S. when it comes to cyber crime? If you said Seattle, give yourself 500 geek points (unless you Googled), because you're correct, according to Symantec.
The security firm ranked the 50 most dangerous cities to surf the Web from, with Boston, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Raleigh, N.C. checking in behind Seattle.
"I look at it like driving a car," said Dan Nadir, the director of product management for Symantec. "Your risk of an accident is going to be greater the more you drive. If you're online more, you need to be more cautious, just like the more you're on the road, the more you should wear your seatbelt, have airbags, and rotate your tires."
Symantec got a little help from Sperling's BestPlaces to come up with the rankings, which took into account the number of malicious attacks, infected machines, and the number of zombie PCs per capita.
After struggling in 2009 with a yearly world growth rate of just 2.9 percent, market research firm IDC says the PC market is on a pretty big rebound, one that will see double-digit growth in 2010. Not ony that, but 2009 wasn't so bad when you consider a few factors.
"PC volume continued to grow in 2009 -- faring much better than in 2001, when a smaller recession produced a decline in PC volume. The positive 2009 results reflects lower prices and the fact that PCs are increasingly a must-have product," said Jay Chou, research analyst at IDC.
Now that a recovery is under way, IDC says it expects the PC market to rebound to the tune of 12.6 percent, and grow 18.5 percent in emerging regions. Much of this growth will be attributable to portable PCs, a segment the IDC sees claiming a 70 percent share of all PCs by 2012. And let's not forget the potential tablet frenzy on the horizon.
"IDC is keenly focused on the forthcoming tablet device market," said Bob O'Donnell, IDC vice president, Clients and Displays. "However, we don't expect these products -- which do not meet the current IDC definition of a PC -- will stunt the strong growth in PCs we're expecting to see this year."