Think you're obsessed with technology? Try living in Britain and having a look around. A new study of 3,000 men and women reveals that our British brethren spend a whopping nine hours playing with gadgets.
"We all know that modern technology plays an important part in everyday life, but it is incredible to think that so many hours are spent using gadgets," said Stephen Ebbet from www.protectyourbubble.com, which commissioned the research.
"The average person probably isn't even awake for much longer than 16 hours a day, and more than half of that time is completely dominated by gizmos.
"The fact is that many of the electrical appliances used regularly - such as the computer, washing machine and microwave - are both necessary and time saving. So we might spend a few minutes fiddling with them, but they continue to work and carry out tasks for us even when we're busy doing something else."
Nevertheless, only a fourth of respondents said they are totally obsessed with gadgets, while 61 percent admitted to being surprised at how much time they spend with with technology.
We can probably all agree that letting kids sit in front of their PC playing videogames or watching TV all day long probably doesn't promote mental health, but how much time is too much? According to a new study, anything longer than two hours per day is psychologically damaging.
"Watching TV or playing computer games for more than two hours a day is related to greater psychological difficulties irrespective of how active children are," lead author Dr. Angie Page from the University of Bristol's Center for Exercise, Nutrition, and Health Sciences said.
To arrive at that conclusion, the PEACH project, as it's called, studied over 1,000 children aged between 10-11 years old.
A new survey called "Revolutions 2010" conducted by Deloitte lays out some fairly interesting findings detailing the influence mobile apps have -- or don't have -- on various hardware.
Video may have killed the radio star, but it's mobile apps that are helping to snuff out MP3 players. The survey, which pinged 1,960 U.S. consumers between the ages of 14 and 75 years old, found that 43 percent of app users have reduced or completely eliminated their use of MP3 players in favor of smartphones or tablets. Thirty-eight percent of app users said they no longer use or hardly ever use traditional AM/FM radios, and 30 percent said they no longer care about their videogame consoles.
"While the market for mobile apps is still in its infancy, once consumers get a taste, they appear to start using those apps for all aspects of their digital lives," said Phil Asmundson, vice chairman and Deloitte's technology, media, and telecommunications sector leader. "What we are seeing is a significant shift in how consumers access media, entertainment, and information. The growing demand for smartphones, led by Millennials and Xers, will increasingly threaten to cannibalize many consumer electronics."
At the same time, apps aren't the driving force in smartphone sales. About 58 percent of consumers who own or plan to purchase a smarphone indicated that features such as size, quality, camera, keyboard style, and price play the biggest role in what device to buy. On the flip side, only 18 percent cited additional features and functionality provided by apps as a determining factor.
Screw the coffee and other caffeinated beverages, give us our Wi-Fi! That's the general theme behind a new study conducted by the Wi-Fi Alliance, which pinged 1,000 young adults (or millennials) ages 17 to 29 in the U.S., and another 400 in China just for good measure.
Three-fourths of the respondents living in the U.S. said that going a week without Wi-Fi would put them in a worse mood than going a week without coffee or tea. That number jumps to 87 percent in China. And over half of respondents (58 percent in the U.S., 56 percent in China) pegged Wi-Fi as being a necessity versus just helpful.
Some other interesting poll results:
Two-thirds of respondents in the U.S. reported they spend more time on Wi-Fi than watching television
64 percent of U.S. respondents claimed it would be impossible to maintain relationships with many friends without Wi-Fi, while 44 percent said the same about family
84 percent of respondents in the U.S. said they are more likely to carry a handheld digital device than a watch
"These polling results are a strong reflection of both the social and technological orientation of young adults around the world today," commented Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst at Parks Associates. "Interactive digital devices are fundamental to how millennials spend their time and connect with family and friends, and have become more important than older, more passive forms of entertainment like television.
How important is Wi-Fi in your daily routine? Do you rank Wi-Fi access as a higher want or need than coffee or TV?
Take note cable companies, more than a third of Netflix subscribers aged 25 to 34 have chosen the online movie rental's streaming service over pay television. That's according to a new survey by Credit Suisse, which also found that about 30 percent of Netflix's subscribers aged 18 to 24 made the same decision.
"Netflix's low cost, subscription streaming service (with improving content) is our biggest worry and could become 'good enough' for consumers with moderate income and TV usage to use as a substitute for pay TV," said Credit Suisse's Spencer Wang.
The survey only pinged 250 Netflix subscribers, but initial findings should be cause for concern for cable operators. According to the survey, 17 percent, or almost one in five, of Netflix subscribers of all ages and incomes have migrated to Netflix's streaming service in place of cable TV.
"In the near term, we submit that Big Media has a small window of opportunity to control its own destiny," said Credit Suisse. "The major U.S. entertainment conglomerates control 70 percent of all TV viewing through its various broadcast, basic cable, and premium TV networks and channels. And, content remains the lifeblood for distribution systems."
The Business Software Alliance has an easy way to stimulate the economy, all the government has to do is curb software piracy. In a study titled "The Economic Benefits of Reducing Software Piracy," (PDF) the BSA contends that reducing the piracy rate for PC software by 10 percentage points -- or 2.5 points per year for four years -- would create $142 billion in new economic activity, generate $32 billion in new tax revenues, and create half a million new high-tech jobs by 2013.
"The impact of software piracy goes beyond revenues lost to the software industry, starving local software distributors and service providers of spending that creates jobs and generates much-needed tax revenues for governments around the world," the BSA writes in its report.
The BSA claims that curbing piracy would have the reverse effect, stimulating the entire IT economy. What's more, 80 percent of the benefits of cutting down on stolen PC software would accrue to local economies, and in some cases more than 90 percent, according to the study.
A survey commissioned by security vendor PC Tools and conducted by Harris Interactive may reveal a bit too much about how much Americans like to romp around the Web. According to the study, some 25 percent of U.S. residents are just fine being "plugged in" to the Internet while also plugging (or being plugged by) their sexual partner.
"While some of these results may seem amusing, they show that staying connected is a very serious issue to many, no matter what the circumstance," said PC Tools vice president of marketing Stephanie Edwards."
"It is also noteworthy how we entrust our computers and the Internet with our most intimate details -- even if we don't have the time or inclination to worry about computer maintenance or safety."
The survey is filled with amusingserious statistics, like 29 percent of people in the U.S. seeing no problem being online during a honeymoon, while 8 percent were okay with surfing cyberspace during religious services.
It should come as no big surprise that men (18 percent) were more concerned with women (12 percent) about others seeing the websites they visited, though not by much. And we suppose it also shouldn't be shocking that nearly a third said they would be willing to risk downloading malicious files by visiting a suspicious website or link.
Maximum PC readers tend to be ahead of the curve in common sense computing, so it probably won't come as much of a surprise that using the term "free" when searching for stuff online increases the chances of running across a malware infected site. What we did find shocking, however, is just how much a single search term increases that risk.
In a report titled, "Digital Music and Movies Report: The True Cost of Free Entertainment" (PDF), security firm McAfee claims that adding "free" to a search for music ringtones results in a 300 percent increase in the risk of landing on a site booby-trapped with malware.
"Add the world 'buy' to 'ringtones' and search results immediately become safer than searching for ringtones by themselves," McAfee said.
Interestingly, McAfee notes that "searching for the artist plus 'screensaver' yielded an additional 50 percent increase in risk over the risk associated with 'ringtones,'" but "adding the world 'free' before music-related screensavers actually reduces the riskiness of returned search results."
So what's the bottom line? Same as always -- surf safely, avoid suspicious downloads and links, and if you haven't already, grab an AV solution.
Sorry, folks. If you're at a loss about what your college major should be, how best to finally approach that cute girl who works over in human resources, or which Star Wars prequel is the absolute worst, playing a couple rounds of TF2 probably won't bequeath unto you some sort of life-altering revelation. But we make hundreds of tiny decisions – usually based on visual or aural cues – each day, and according to a study from the University of Rochester, fast-paced first-person shooters can rewire our brains to get the lead out before we, among other things, die horrifically gruesome deaths.
"Decisions are never black and white," said researcher Daphne Bavelier. "The brain is always computing probabilities. As you drive, for instance, you may see a movement on your right, estimate whether you are on a collision course, and based on that probability make a binary decision: brake or don't brake."
In a test of 18-to-25-year-olds who didn't typically play videogames, Bavelier and co. found that those in their Unreal Tournament and Call of Duty 2 group made such split-second decisions up to 25 percent faster than those in their Sims 2 group. Too much speed, though, makes us sloppy, right? Wrong, surprisingly enough.
"It's not the case that the action game players are trigger-happy and less accurate: They are just as accurate and also faster," Bavelier said. "Action game players make more correct decisions per unit time. If you are a surgeon or you are in the middle of a battlefield, that can make all the difference."
So then, surgeons, soldiers, and race car drivers of the world, look out, because gamers are gunning for your jobs. And here's the kicker: they're probably better at them than you.
Look around your office and spot two other people. According to a new study by Symantec, one of you has fallen victim to some type of cybercrime, including viruses, identity theft, online hacking, online harassment, online scams, phishing, and sexual predation.
The study, titled "Norton's Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact Reveals Global Cybercrime Epidemic and Our Hidden Hypocrisy," pegs the victim rate of U.S. based surfers at 73 percent, one of the highest victimized nations in the world behind Brazil and India (tied at 76 percent) and China (83 percent).
"Are we just passively accepting our fate? No, of course, we feel extreme and varied emotions ranging from anger (58 percent) to fear (29 percent), helplessness (26 percent) and guilt (78 percent)," the study says. "Associate professor of psychology at Loyola Marymount University Josepth LaBrie, PhD, describes a 'learned helplessness' for online victims. 'It's like getting ripped off at a garage -- if you don't know enough about cars, you don't argue with the mechanic. People just accept a situation, even if it feels bad.'"
According to Symantec, most victims never report cybercrime, and the vast majority don't expect cybercriminals to be brought to justice. One of the reasons for this is that most online crooks reside in foreign countries, which presents a challenge for law enforcement.