Computer users over the age of 55 employ passwords that are twice as secure as passwords used by those under 25 years old. A recent study conducted by Joseph Bonneau, a computer scientist at the University of Cambridge, analyzed almost 70 million passwords belonging to Yahoo users around the world. Ensuring that data was kept anonymous and passwords could not be tied to individual accounts, Bonneau looked at password strength alongside other data such as age and locale. Beyond the relationship between age and security, the researcher found that German and Korea speakers generally use the strongest passwords, and the presence of credit card data on a user’s account seemingly does not prompt that user to avoid weak passwords such as “123456.” Bonneau’s study was the largest of its kind, and he unveiled his findings at the Symposium on Security and Privacy in San Francisco, California earlier this month. More →
Nick Fury and “The Avengers” save the world from imminent doom in Paramount Pictures’ movie of the same name, but in real life, the star-studded team of superheroes would cost New York City a fortune in the process. Based on a Marvel comic, “The Avengers” opened on May 4th and set a new record for opening weekend box office sales. The $200.3 million grossed by the film in fewer than three days wouldn’t even put a dent in the bill this team of superheroes would ring up if they took their battle to the streets of New York in real life, however. More →
A new study from J.D. Power and Associates has revealed U.S. drivers are interested in adding one of the newest and most expensive technologies to their next vehicle — autonomous driving. The feature allows the vehicle to take control of acceleration, braking, and steering without any human interaction. While the technology is still being developed and tested, 20% of all car owners in the U.S. said they “definitely would” or “probably would” include the technology in their next vehicle, even after learning the estimated market price of $3,000. Prior to learning the price, however, a whopping 37% of people were interested in the feature. More →
According to the largest review of its kind, the British Health Protection Agency says there is no clear evidence that radiation from mobile phones poses a health threat, The Guardian reported on Thursday. Scientists found no convincing proof that radio waves from mobile phones cause brain tumors or any other type of cancer. They did caution that it was “important” to watch for signs of rising cancer cases, however, because they had too little information to assess the risk beyond 15 years of mobile usage. The study was conducted by the Health Protection Agency’s independent Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation (AGNIR). More →
The Pew Internet & American Life Project’s latest poll indicates that one in five adults in the United States still doesn’t use the Internet. “Senior citizens, those who prefer to take our interviews in Spanish rather than English, adults with less than a high school education, and those living in households earning less than $30,000 per year are the least likely adults to have Internet access,” Pew Internet said. Almost half of those adults who don’t use the Internet found the technology irrelevant to them, with most having never used it before. About one in five adults claimed they didn’t know enough about technology to start using the Internet on their own, and only 10% were interested in using the Internet or email in the future. Overall Internet adoption rates have leveled off, however adults already online are using the Web more often than ever before. Pew’s study also showed that 88% of American adults have a cell phone, 57% have a laptop, 19% own an eReader, 19% have a tablet and 63% access the Internet wirelessly with one of these devices. More →
We weren’t aware that the possibility of Apple entering the banking industry was so real that it warranted a study to measure consumer interest, but marketing and research consultancy KAE claims an entry into the field is so plausible, it would be hard for Apple to resist. Such a move might not be well received, however; in a survey conducted by Toluna on behalf of KAE, just 10% of the 5,000 respondents polled said they would consider letting Apple handle their day-to-day banking needs. Read on for more. More →
Analytics firm Chitika on Tuesday revealed the findings of a recent study that shows the latest Blackberry PlayBook operating system update is already running on 43.7% of devices after just one week. “It would seem that this rapid rate of adoption is expected given that the upgrade was free and in many cases automatic,” Chitika said in its report. “If the use of the OS continues to grow at this rate with 50% decay, market majority will be achieved in two weeks, and by three weeks 75% of all PlayBook OS eligible devices will be running the upgrade.” The highly anticipated update to Research In Motion’s struggling tablet brought a number of much needed improvements to the PlayBook. Perhaps the most important additions were native email, contacts and calendar functionality, while BlackBerry Messenger support is still nowhere in site. After the update, PlayBooks also benefited from the addition of RIM’s Android app player, which allows repackaged Android applications to run on RIM’s tablet. Read on for Chitika’s press release.
AT&T’s questionable policy with regard to unlimited smartphone data plan holders recently found its way back into the limelight following a new wave of subscriber complaints. The nation’s No.2 carrier no longer offers an unlimited data plan to smartphone users, though many subscribers on its network still have grandfathered plans that provide an unlimited amount of smartphone data each month. Subscribers who approach the top 5% of unlimited data users in a single billing period see their data speeds throttled, however, and countless users have found that AT&T is now beginning to throttle users after less than 2GB of data usage in a billing period. According to a new study, subscribers are right to be furious at AT&T because throttling does nothing to alleviate network bandwidth issues. Read on for more. More →
Rumors surrounding a possible Facebook phone have been swirling for years, and the social networking giant has repeatedly denied reports that it is planning to launch an own-brand handset. While a number of industry watchers thought the company would fare well with a Facebook phone, a recent survey suggests that consumers are largely uninterested in a Facebook-branded smartphone. Baird Equity recently surveyed 875 consumers and found that just 12% said they were “very interested” or at least “interested” in a Facebook phone while 73% said they were “probably not interested” or “not interested.” Meanwhile more than 40% of those polled said they were either “very interested” or “interested” in a smartphone from retail giant Amazon, and 29% weren’t interested. Amazon has been rumored on several occasions to have a smartphone in the works. With consumer interest in an Amazon smartphone at a seemingly healthy level and Kindle Fire adoption having exploded last quarter, 2012 could be a good year for the retailer to enter the smartphone space. A table showing Baird’s findings follows below. More →
Though box office revenues declined for the second consecutive year in 2011, a new study suggests that there is little if any correlation between United States box office revenues and illegal file-sharing facilitated by BitTorrent. Major Hollywood studios have spent tremendous resources over the years fighting digital piracy, but the recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota and Wellesley College is the latest to suggest that illegal file-sharing services have less of an impact on movie sales than had previously been conveyed, at least where U.S. box office sales are concerned. While there is some evidence that suggests a link between BitTorrent and decreased international box office sales due to the delay between U.S. openings and international openings, no such connection could be made in the U.S. “We do not see evidence of elevated sales displacement in US box office revenue following the adoption of BitTorrent, and we suggest that delayed legal availability of the content abroad may drive the losses to piracy,” the researchers wrote. The team did not investigate the potential relationship between digital piracy and DVD sales or legal movie downloads.
A recent study showed that social networks like Twitter and Facebook are potentially more addictive than cigarettes or alcohol, and now we may have an idea why. A group of scientists from MIT in Massachusetts, IULM University in Milan and two other laboratories in Italy found that people showed physical and psychophysiological responses while using Facebook similar to those exhibited by people while playing a musical instrument or engaging in other creative activities. Beyond wanting to use Facebook for obvious reasons such as keeping up with friends and sharing photos, people may actually be seeking out the chemical responses they experience while browsing social networks. Read on for more. More →
A new study suggests that social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter are more difficult to resist than cigarettes or alcohol. A team from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business recently conducted an experiment involving 205 people in Wurtzburg, Germany to analyze the addictive properties of social media and other vices. Participants in the week-long study were polled via BlackBerry smartphones seven times per day and asked to report when they experienced a desire within the past 30 minutes, and whether or not the succumbed to that desire. They were also asked to gauge each desire on a scale from mild to “irresistible.” More →
Demand for Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet has started to cool off according to one study. ChangeWave published results of a survey on Thursday, which found that just 2% of customers in January were “very likely” to buy a Kindle Fire, down from 4% in December. Respondents who were “somewhat likely” to buy the tablet fell as well, from 13% in December to 10% in January, though demand following the holidays is expected to slow. Amazon’s tablet has better satisfaction ratings than several other tablets, however. ChangeWave’s survey found that 54% were “very satisfied” with the Kindle Fire, compared to 49% of those surveyed who were “very satisfied” with other tablets and 74% who were “very satisfied” with the iPad. Read on for more. More →