Articles about Digital Lifestyle

US states with faster internet access have smarter people

kid smart lightbulb brain

Despite several doomsday claims that the internet is breeding a generation of morons, new analysis suggests the opposite may be true.

We gathered the 2013 average ACT scores for each state from act.org and compared them with the 2013 internet speed data from Akamai that was highlighted in a recent Broadview article. We found a correlation of .57. This strong correlation shows that students from states with faster internet speeds have higher ACT scores on average.

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Google sets its sights on kids with child-friendly versions of YouTube and Gmail

Google sets its sights on kids with child-friendly versions of YouTube and Gmail

There are many parts of the internet that are blocked to children under the age of 13. Facebook, for instance, implements an age restriction and Google is another online firm that prevents younger web users from setting up accounts. But all this could be set to change. First reported by The Information, Google has plans to open up its service to a younger audience. This does not mean that youngsters will be free to sign up for an account and browse through the contents of YouTube without restrictions. Parents will be able to sign their children up for an account and retain control over what they are able to do online.

One of the primary concerns many people have about Google -- regardless of their age -- is privacy. Google has a proven track record in delivering tailored content and advertisements to its users, and this is something that is at odds with laws around the world when it comes to children. The news coincides with UK plans to experiment with age ratings for online videos, and privacy and child protection groups are already voicing their concerns. Of course, there is nothing to stop someone of any age from signing up for a Google account; it's easy to stretch the truth with dates of birth online. But Google specifically targeting children with its services is unchartered water.

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Twitter accepts removal requests for images of deceased, tinkers with timelines (again)

Twitter accepts removal requests for images of deceased, tinkers with timelines (again)

In the wake of the death of Robin Williams, Twitter announces that it will now accept image removal requests from relatives of deceased individuals. Williams' daughter Zelda was forced to leave Twitter having been inundated with a barrage of mocked up images of her deceased father.

In the aftermath of the actor's suicide, Twitter explained that it would improve its policies. The result is an update to the way in which death is handled on Twitter. The families of deceased people have been able to request the deactivation of an account, but now new rights have been introduced.

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Would you use a tablet to make a phone call?

tablet to ear

Phablets -- super-sized phones -- serve a useful purpose. They allow consumers to carry just the one device that can be used as a smartphone and act as a tablet. However, while phablets are growing in popularity worldwide, in Asia tablets with cellular voice capabilities are gaining traction.

According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, in Q2 2014 nearly 25 percent (around 3.5 million units) of all the tablets shipped in the Asia/Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) region had cellular voice capabilities, allowing users to make calls by holding a tablet up to their faces. And we’re talking devices with screen sizes of 7 inches and up.

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Plans to slap age ratings on online videos are completely and utterly pointless

Plans to slap age ratings on online videos are completely and utterly pointless

Head to the stores to look for real, physical DVDs and Blu-rays, and you'll probably find that there's an age rating on them. Now plans are afoot to bring the same idea to the web. As insane an idea as this may sound, this is actually happening, and it is completely pointless and unworkable. Initially starting off with the involvement of YouTube and Vevo, the scheme is the brainchild of UK Prime Minister David Cameron and will start as a pilot program in October. It's something that is likely to appeal to concerned parents, but the practicalities are a rather different matter.

Announcing the ratings plan, Cameron said: "We shouldn't cede the internet as some sort of lawless space where the normal rules of life shouldn't apply. So, in as far as it is possible, we should try to make sure that the rules that exist offline exist online. So if you want to go and buy a music video offline there are age restrictions on it. We should try and recreate that system on the internet".

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Satellite broadband finally opens up the internet to me

Satellite broadband finally opens up the internet to me

A few weeks ago I complained bitterly about my atrocious internet connection. The impact of a deathly slow and unnervingly unstable connection is hard to overstate. Tension and frustration chez Wilson reached boiling point. Nerves were frayed and tempers short. But as I sank into the bleak, hellish broadband abyss, a hand reached out to save me. The hand was extended by the suitably named Satellite Internet who took pity on me having read of my plight. A trial of satellite broadband was duly offered, and I don’t think I could have said "yes, please" faster. It's something I've considered before, but the startup costs had put me off.

Satellite Internet's service uses Astra satellites, the same ones used to deliver satellite TV to Europe. This means that a smaller dish than you might expect is needed. Forget the monster installations you may have seen in people's gardens in years gone by, these days the dishes have shrunk to something that's just about the same size as those used for TV broadcasts. Installation was delayed due to my trip to the Isle of Skye (which, incidentally, has blisteringly fast internet considering it's a tiny island connected to the mainland with a small bridge), but this morning two installation engineers arrived at 8:00, having travelled more than two hours to reach me.

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How much is your internet being censored? Point and click guide

IVPN censorship

The issue of internet freedom is seldom far from the news at the moment, but exactly how much are the governments in different countries restricting what their web users do?

Online privacy service IVPN has produced an interactive map showing levels of internet censorship around the world. You can simply click on a country to see how it rates.

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EarlyClaim reserves usernames so you don’t end up with a crappy handle

EarlyClaim reserves usernames so you don’t end up with a crappy handle

You never know when the next Twitter is going to crop up. When a new service like Pinterest, Vine, or Skype appears, if you're not quick off the mark there's a high chance you'll miss out on your preferred username. You want MarkWilsonWords? Sorry, that went ages ago… you'll have to settle for MarkWilsonWord09868. Getting stuck with a crappy username sucks, but it's very hard to monitor all of the new services that pop up so you can bag your ideal name as early as possible. This is something that EarlyClaim can help with.

It's a free service that seeks out new startups and reserves a username on your behalf -- you just say what handle you'd like, and EarlyClaim does the hard work for you. For businesses, it is important to have a brand identity that is the same across different social networks (who is going to take notice of Coca Cola 1897 on Facebook?) but it's also something that is valuable to individuals. How many times have you signed up for a site only to find that you're unable to secure the username of your choice and had to opt for something far inferior? Every time you use that service there is a constant reminder that you weren't fast enough at signing up.

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Constantly turned on -- the bleak reality of being permanently connected

Constantly turned on -- the bleak reality of being permanently connected

We expect, and are expected, to be contactable at any given moment -- and indeed we often expect the same of others. Send a text, and you expect a response. Pen an email, and you expect to receive one in return, and fast. Hit up someone on Google chat and an all-but-instant reply is all but expected. Maybe this doesn’t sound like you, but I can guarantee that you fit on the spectrum, and also that the people you are in contact with make the same demands of you. When did this change? It used to be that you'd call a landline number and if you didn’t get a reply you might just try again a few hours later. The fact that we now carry mobiles with us virtually 24/7 means that it is weird if someone doesn't answer the call.

They can’t be busy! Try again! Still no reply? Send a text. And an email. And an IM. If it was limited to office hours, it might be understandable -- and bearable -- to some extent, but there has been a massive slip in end-times. It is acceptable to send emails to someone at any time of day. You may have woken up at 3 in the morning and thought of something relating to work, or even just something that made you laugh, and felt the need to share it immediately. The recipient, in all likelihood, will be alerted to this email on a smartphone or tablet if they don’t happen to be sitting at their computer. At 3 in the morning, it might not wake them up, but at, say, 8pm how likely is it that the email will be ignored? The recipient's working day just got extended by several hours.

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Silver surfing lessons can help fight dementia

old elderly man using PC

Encouraging the elderly to use the internet can not only help them keep in touch with friends and family and take advantage of the best deals, it can also reduce the likelihood of dementia.

The results of an eight-year study of 6,500 50-90 year-olds reveal that those who regularly go online experience less mental decline compared to those who don't use the internet. The study shows a significant improvement in delayed recall over time for those who were frequent online users, highlighting the role played by the internet in preventing the degeneration of mental abilities in the elderly.

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How happiness is related to internet connectivity

Happy Business woman office PC

Internet access doesn’t make people happy, but it is a sign of the probability of happiness.

A 2013 poll by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index measured people’s happiness state by state across America. We cross-referenced the Happiness Index from the Gallup Poll with US census numbers on the percentage of a states’ residents who access the Internet from their homes and found an interesting correlation. Nearly 40 percent of the happiness index score for any given state can be estimated by knowing the Internet access percentage of that state.

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Average US internet speeds -- how does your state compare?

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While my colleague Mark Wilson endures glacially slow internet, I’m lucky enough to be on a super-fast 100Mbps connection (but even that’s a bit slow for me -- I’ll be upgrading to 152 Mbps early next year).

The average connection speeds for most internet users is a lot slower, but getting better. Broadview Networks took a look at the average internet speeds in America, and listed the results by state, showing average speed in Q1, and comparing the results quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year.

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Microsoft and iFixit launch a new gadget repair site

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Microsoft and gadget repair website iFixit have announced the launch of Pro Tech Network, a service designed to teach more people how to fix gadgets.

The partnership should help give people the skills they need to fix devices, set up businesses and recycle the valuable materials within electronic products.

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Bring your own ID to simplify access to systems

login password identity

One of the problems with relying on technology for so many things is that you end up with a whole raft of user IDs, for work, banking, shopping, social media and more.

A new study by the Ponemon Institute and IT management specialist CA Technologies looks at the idea of simplifying things through the use of Bring Your Own Identity (BYOID) initiatives, where social networking or digital IDs are used for application login.

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Addicted to gadgets and constantly tired? That's the modern world!

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According to new research, Britons are now spending more time using technology devices than sleeping.

Ofcom has released a fresh report detailing our daily habits, and the results are relatively scary.

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