Ofcom, the communications watchdog that's in charge of making sure everyone's phones work and no one's getting ripped off too badly by the ring tone companies, has revealed the results of a massive survey it conducted into the UK broadband scene.
As you might expect, we're not getting what we pay for - as anyone who spends most of their evenings conducting broadband speed tests and sighing at the results will already know...
If you waited ten seconds or so for this page to load, then you'll know this already, but your broadband is pretty slow. The Office of National Statistics has revealed that despite Ofcom claiming last year that the average broadband speed in the country is 4.6Mb/sec, more than 42% of connections are less than half that speed - slower than 2Mb/sec.
It turns out that a handful of people using 24Mb/sec services are skewing the stats upward. Worst of all, these figures refer to the advertised 'headline' data transfer rates not actual speeds. Statistics for actual speeds would probably be closer to 1Mb/sec, or even lower.
But perhaps it doesn't even matter. 55% of you have no idea how fast your broadband is, anyway. That said, nearly a fifth of you aren't happy with it, says a separate report issued by OfCom.
(via PC Pro)
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One in five Americans can't tell the difference between high definition and standard definition TV according to a recent piece of research.
In fact, that's probably a little misleading. More people probably would be able to tell the difference if they were shown a standard definition broadcast and a high definition broadcast (or, better yet, a Blu-ray film) side-by-side. What's actually happening is that viewers aren't sure when they're watching normal TV and when they're viewing higher resolution TV.
There are likely many reasons for this problem...
Palm has had a pretty up-and-down ride of it all, making some kickass PDAs and Palm OS back in the '90s, and now responsible for the not-all-bad Treo and Centro smartphones, and yet struggling to do well in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
Thanks to the evolving direction of RIM's BlackBerry handsets, now firmly being targeted at consumers and not just business suits, and the user-generated furore surrounding the iPhone, Palm is losing market share.
Putting a brave face on things, a spokeswoman for the company said that this was merely a consolidation of resources in order to focus more effectively on future innovation and products. There's a new Palm operating system planned for the end of the year (not much time left, chaps), and an unnamed device coming in early 2009...
It's getting darker and darker at the moment, and I'm not just talking about the economy. As the seasonal cycle goes on, and the nights set in earlier, and the weather gets gloomier, it's only natural that some people might get a little bit down. Maybe that's why lamps targeted at sufferers of SAD are selling like hot cakes.
SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, and it's a psychological disorder caused by a lack of sunlight. Symptoms include lethargy, low mood and anxiety. SAD lamps produce a more sunlight-like output than a normal lamp, and so they're supposed to help your mood.
I feel a bit guilty. I've almost completely abandoned my former favourite browser - Firefox - in favour of Google's zippity-quick Chrome browser. I love Firefox, but the little tiny touches in Chrome make it a joy to use compared to the relative clunkiness that is Firefox 3. Still, in a world where most people are still using Internet Explorer, it should be celebrated that 1 in 5 people on the internet are now using Firefox for their surfing needs.
The report, from Net Applications, shows Firefox with a 20% market share for two out of four weeks in October. Firefox didn't have a major release then, so it's doubly impressive that it's still building converts across the world. New features are constantly announced, including a private browsing mode (dubbed 'porn mode' by some) in a forthcoming 3.1 update.
Firefox (via ReadWriteWeb)
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In a poll of five thousand people, 38% said that Star Wars was the greatest Sci-Fi movie of all time. Not Wall-E, Close Encounters, or Short Circuit, but Star Wars. Honestly, talk about predictable. Not only that but Darth Vader was voted most evil Villain, the Lightsaber was the most popular gadget and Han Solo is the most heroic sci-fi hero. Okay! We get it! You like Star Wars! Jeez...
In similarly less-than-shocking news, HG Wells was the nation's favourite Sci-Fi author, and Star Trek beat out Red Dwarf and Doctor Who to win best Sci-Fi TV show. They only won because Star Wars wasn't eligible for those categories, y'know.
The whole poll was in honour of a new web sci-fi series, called Kirill, which is only available at msn.com/kirill. If you're a Sci-Fi fan, then go watch it, and maybe stop voting for Star Wars in surveys. It's getting boring now. Vote for ET instead.
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Consumer surveys are all very good for finding out what people like and don't like, but so much the better when a commissioning company takes note of the results and changes its product accordingly.
So it is with O2, which carried out a survey of consumers to find out what they thought of mobile broadband.
Over one in ten responded by saying that they felt they'd been mis-sold a package, with a third saying that they were paying more than they believed the deal stated, while one-fifth cited poor coverage as a bugbear. Around one in six said that there was no returns guarantee if the service wasn't right for them, while half wanted free use of Wi-Fi hotspots as standard...
Given that the American presidency is the closest thing we've got to a "President of the World", people around the globe care dearly about who gets elected to the White House. If you're stuck in another country without a vote, you can only pray that the independent voters of America choose to endorse the same candidate that you like.
To give you some sense of participation, however, a website's sprung up to try and find out who would win the election if the entire world could vote. It's called, appropriately, "If the world could vote!"...