Bad eyes or missing equipment? One in five Americans can't tell HD from SD

Andy Merrett Blu-ray, HDTV Leave a Comment


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…

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Palm: struggling smartphone company to lay off workers

Andy Merrett Mobile phones Leave a Comment


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…

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As the nights draw in, sales of SAD lamps go through the roof

Duncan Geere Uncategorized Leave a Comment


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.

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Firefox hits 20% market share

Duncan Geere Software Leave a Comment


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)

Related posts: Mozilla releases first alpha of Firefox for mobiles | WHY OH WHY OH WHY would anyone put a Firefox theme on Google Chrome?

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UK decides that it really really likes Star Wars

Duncan Geere Polls 2 Comments


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 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.


Related posts: Star Wars MMO: The Old Republic announced | Graffiti Star Wars AT-AT for auction at Christie’s

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O2 changes mobile broadband based on consumer survey

Andy Merrett Broadband 4 Comments


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…

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If the world could vote in the American election, who would they pick?

Duncan Geere Polls, Websites 1 Comment


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!”…

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Nine out of ten users don't understand the limits on their broadband

Duncan Geere Broadband Leave a Comment


New research from consumer group has shown that 6.2 million broadband customers wrongly believe they have an unlimited broadband service. They don’t understand, or simply haven’t read, the fair usage policy that every provider except Sky applies to its “unlimited” packages…

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Over 60,000 portable gadgets left in London taxis over the last six months

Gary Cutlack Computers, Gadgets, iPhone, iPod, Laptops / Notebooks, Mobile phones, MP3 players, PMP, Transport, Travel Gadgets Leave a Comment


Oh, so that’s what happened to your previous phone. And your previous MP3 player. And your previous laptop. And your previous house keys, wallet, trainers, watch and coat.

A survey by security firm Credant Technologies asked London cabbies what devices they’ve found in the backs of their cabs recently, coming up with the amazing figure that more than 60,000 gadgets have been forgotten in taxis by people we would assume to have been massively intoxicated, over the last six months…

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Wadja wants to save mobile users money by offering free text messages

Andy Merrett Mobile phones Leave a Comment


New research by the social network and communication web site Wadja suggests that UK prepay mobile phone users are, collectively, spending over £66m each week on the cost of text messages.

The SMS is very popular in the UK, with 1.4 billion messages sent each week – more than in any other European country. Around half of these are sent from non-contract phones…

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