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Tag Archives: Interesting Facts

Can you get ISP satisfaction?

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Internet connectivity is everywhere you look, from PCs to smart phones to games consoles, whether it’s delivered over cables, phone lines or even wirelessly. For most of us, we don’t really think about our Internet Service Provider (ISP) except in two key areas. Firstly, there’s the time when we’ve got to pay the bill, although with bundling and direct debits quite normal for most ISPs you may never even think about that. Competition is still fierce and the price of both wireless and fixed line broadband services still continues to tumble on a per-gigabyte basis.

The other time, of course, is when things go wrong. When your connection is slow, flaky, or worst of all inexplicably “down”, you’re going to want to know why, and fast. Quite how your ISP responds (if they respond at all) will form a big part of how you relate to them, as beyond picking your plan details, it’s the primary time that you do relate to them at all. If the support person has an impenetrable accent, a poor line connection, baffles you with jargon or rigidly sticks to a support script that doesn’t help you in the least, it can quickly get annoying.

A recent Roy Morgan poll of ISP Satisfaction ratings reveals some interesting figures.  Overall, ISPs must be getting something right. In the six month period from July to December 2009, 73.3% of surveyed customers were at least “satisfied”. Of those, 43.7 were “Fairly Satisfied” and 29.6%” were “Very Satisfied”. Breaking it out into the actual providers reveals a lot more detail. Internode (90.3% satisfied) and iiNet (86.8%) customers seemed happiest with their service.

The wooden spoons — those ISPs whose customers fell below the 73.3% industry average — fared worse. Amongst the major players, these included dodo (66.9%), Telstra BigPond (66.1%) and iPrimus (65.1%). The interesting thing there is the gap between the the bottom rung and top rung, which Roy Morgan notes is higher than in other service industries. In other words, where you might expect a small gap between ISPs depending on how cranky given customers were, it’s odd that it’s this large. Either the good guys are exceptionally good, or the bad guys are doing particularly poorly. Telstra’s a particularly interesting case, as they’ve still got the lion’s share of the overall market. Are Telstra customers more irritable with some facet of their service, or does the number of customers give rise to a higher level of “squeaky wheel” dissatisfaction?

So what can an ISP do to “improve” customer satisfaction, given that in an ideal world, the only time you’d even notice your ISP is if they improved your service?


The Fastest Computer in the World (for now)!

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Computers have grown from obscurity to being absolute must-have devices in the space of just half a century. In the 1950’s, computers were huge in size and they required the space of a complete room just to contain them. In those days, computers had many moving mechanical parts and they were noisy, clunky and slow. In the 50’s, it was really only the government and government-backed programs that had access to computers.

During the 1970’s the potential for computers began to be seen. Still, developers were years away from producing the computers that we now literally take for granted. Two key developments brought about the every day computer use that we experience today. One was the development of the microprocessor and the other was the development of the Windows operating system that suddenly made using a computer as easy as clicking on graphical icons. Prior to Windows, most computer users had to write text commands to make their computers do what they wanted.

The development of the microprocessor pretty much changed everything as far as computers were concerned. The microchip was revolutionary to the development of computers. They reduced the size of computers and increased their speeds. Since microprocessors were fairly inexpensive to make, they also reduced the cost of owning a computer. This allowed for the widespread use of computers both for commercial use, educational use and for the every day consumer. Today, computer manufacturers continue to work on increasing the speed of computers and reducing their size. Science labs all over the world experiment with different ways to accomplish more and more speed.

Currently, according to the LINPACK Benchmark standard, the largest and the fastest computer in the world is housed in Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It has been developed by Cray, Inc. and it is called the Cray XT5 but nicknamed, “the Jaguar”. Measured against other computers using algebraic equations, this computer performs the fastest. It is said to have 1.75 petaflops of speed. It breaks all types of records and is the first computer to push the envelope, sustaining performance of over a petaflop on a 64-bit scientific application. Although that is a whole lot of tech talk, it basically means that this computer is extremely fast! It has 224,000 processing cores which allows the computer run at lightening speeds.

Currently, this high speed computer exists in a science lab only. However its development will ultimately trickle down to the every day consumer and effect the speed of future computer models. Huge amounts of money are invested in advancing every aspect of computer hardware and software. Up to now, we have seen extremely rapid advancements in computer technology not just with every passing decade but with every passing year… and things only seem to be speeding up.


Best Technology Websites for Home Users

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Every one of us has a story that we can tell about trying to learn how to use computers: the day we wiped off all of our files, visiting a web site that shut your computer down with a virus or of getting a permanent blue screen on the computer. Computers can be challenging to master (thats part of the fun), they can be frustrating and almost impossible to understand for many people. The funny thing is that for some other people, computers are a breeze. They find what they are looking for quickly, resolve technical issues as though they weren’t an issue and they manage to make the computer do everything they want it to do. These are the kinds of people you want at your disposal when your computer plays up and these are the types of people that work at Geeks2U.

If you are curious though about discovering more about your computer and learning the fundamentals of how to keep it running smoothly, and how to take care at least of basic computer issues, there are many good technology web sites that exist specifically for the home user. On most of these sites, there is good reading material for the beginning computer user, the intermediate and the advanced. In fact, these are places that you can grow in your knowledge of computing and all that is available out there for home users.

Some of the most popular technology web sites have been around for a long time and also exist in magazine form as well. They cover a wide range of subjects that would be of interest to the home computer users, from equipment, gadgets, software, hardware, the geeks behind the gadgets we use and more. Also many self-help/how-to articles will help you solve that nagging problem that has always baffled you about your own computer.

My Personal Favorite Tech Sites for Home Users are:

Wired.com
Techcrunch.com
Mydeco.com
TechLearning.com

To use this type of web site successfully, you need to learn how to be a good researcher, or “searcher”, which is what most of us do these days on the Internet. Make full use of the search facilities that each site has. When you are looking for the answer to a problem, type the problem into the search field in the most descriptive way possible. This will give you the best chance of finding an article that matches your problem. Also, become familiar with the site navigation and the categories that the site owners have developed. Sometimes you will find what you want very easily through following the natural flow of the site navigation.


The Future of Computing: Cloud Computing & What it Will Mean to the Home User

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Over the past year the term Cloud Computing has been thrown around more and more. What exactly is Cloud Computing and how is it relevant to you, the every day computer user? Cloud computing refers to a way of providing computer resources remotely through an Internet service rather than housing them on the computer itself or even in the local area network (LAN). What this means is that not much data will be housed or stored on your computer. Instead, the computer platform will be provided via the Internet as a service along with the infrastructure and software that you need.

Cloud computing has influenced the popularity of netbook type computers that require very little storage memory. Instead they focus on speedy access to the Internet with an emphasis on accessing remote services and resources rather than housing them. Resources are usually provided by 3rd party providers and ultimately, they save users huge amounts of money because they do not maintain or develop these resources themselves.

There are many benefits to the cloud computing concept. Using remote resources allows for agility and flexibility. It allows for competition, which ultimately leads to lower prices. Another characteristic of resources provided in a cloud are that they are web-based and accessible from any web browser. This means that resources can be shared and accessed from anywhere. Cloud resources are often very reliable because their providers focus on that resource alone and build in huge amounts of redundancy.

Looking forward, home computer users can expect their computers to get much smaller and to require less storage memory than ever before. Already many thousands of people store their photos and videos on sites like Facebook and rely on their services to store and preserve those files. In the future, users will most likely maintain user accounts or profiles for the various services that they use with some of them even requiring a paid subscription.

Cloud computing will probably also continue to provide us with major online brands that home users will recognize and trust. Brands like this do already exist in the form of Google, MSN and other major online providers.


A Brief History of Home Computing

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Anyone that has been around for the past 30 years has no doubt seen some phenomenal changes in home computers. Massive changes have taken place not only in what computers can do but also in the way that they look. I personally can not help but laugh when I see computers from as recently as the 1980s. They just look funny!

It really was not until the 1990s and the development of the Microsoft Windows operating system that computers literally became a household item. There were definitely families that had computers in the home during the 1970s and “80s”. These computers were very bulky and rustic in comparison to today’s sleek, slimline computers and they really didn’t serve much of a purpose comparatively either.

Home computers were introduced to the market in 1977. It is safe to say that at that time, we only had the tiniest glimpse of the potential of home computers, and the ways in which they could be used. In fact, I would go so far as to say, we have still only captured just a tiny glimpse of what is possible with the home computer. 1970s home computers came without monitors but had ports that allowed them to be displayed through the television. Games were played on them and very basic calculations were performed.

During the 1980s, manufacturers saw the potential of merging the sale of personal computers and computer games. Up to that point, they were sold as separate devices. Home computers in the “80s” were mostly used for education, games, and at times, for spreadsheets, and personal tools. Often computers were purchased as kits and needed to be put together before they could be used. In addition to this, they often had no software which meant that anyone that used them had to actually learn to write programs first.

The 1990s ushered in the mass demand and usage of the home computer. The ease-of-use ushered in by Windows software changed home computing forever. Suddenly computers were easy enough to be used by anyone. Microsoft Windows operating System revolutionized the world, literally!

The early 2000s has expanded on the platforms and ideas that began in the “90s”. The fact that computer use became so widespread meant many companies were willing to invest in writing programs and games for home computers. Things have moved at an unbelievable rate since then.

These days, computers are used for everything imaginable and projections for home computer use see the integration of almost every electronic device in the home with the PC. Already the telephone, TV, VCR, radio and cable TV can be part of your home computer.


The YouTube Phenomenon

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YouTube.com is a revolutionary media web site that allows people to broadcast themselves. Anyone and everyone can upload home videos and all other types to the YouTube.com web site. YouTube is truly revolutionary because never before in the history or human beings has the everyday individual had access or the “power” to make media broadcasts to the whole world!

No-one could have anticipated how popular YouTube would become. Its popularity and fame have literally skyrocketed from the moment of inception. YouTube.com was officially incorporated in February of 2005. It received immediate recognition as a site to keep your eye on. Only one year after launch, seeing the strength and potential of YouTube, Google.com made the decision to buy the company and they have held ownership ever since.

YouTube.com was founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim. All three of these had previously worked together at PayPal.com. There are many stories written about how these 3 came to form YouTube. After many discussions and after coming up with the idea for YouTube.com, they left their jobs at PayPal to pursue their own venture.

All kinds of videos and broadcasts can be found on the YouTube web site. Files are uploaded from the most amateur of videos that are made in a bedroom somewhere to highly professional, made-for-TV-quality broadcasts. One of the unique and also great things about YouTube is that videos of any quality can become extremely popular. It seems that videos are accepted and made popular for their content rather than for their quality or artistic prowess. This is the phenomenon of YouTube!

YouTube has a strong Social Networking element to it. Non YouTube members can watch videos however YouTube members can also post written reviews and comments on the videos they watch. Anyone that has an email account can sign up and become a member of YouTube. Star ratings for every video are also used to indicate how good the public rates the video.

YouTube is now such a popular site that it is not uncommon for the most popular videos to be watched over tens of millions of times by people. One of the most popular videos ever on YouTube is an entertainment video called, The Evolution of Dance. It is a six-minute dance routine performed by a popular comedian. It showcases his talent to dance and to entertain people and it has brought him unexpected worldwide recognition.


The Google Story

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Google Inc. is the company that runs the highly successful search engine Google.com. Company founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, met at Stanford University as computer science students. After many late night discussions, they put their heads together to develop a new idea in search engine technology. They experimented with developing their idea and ran it on their university network. Very soon though, their search engine became too big for the school network and needed a new place to grow. This was the beginnings of the web site that we now know as Google.com.

Google.com is a web site that is known for its simplicity and ease of use. When you visit the Google home page, you will experience a lot of white space, with a simple search box in the middle of the page. With such simplicity, it is quite hard to get lost when using the Google site.

With a quick rise in popularity, Google became a force to reckon with for the then number one search engine, Yahoo.com. Right from the beginning, Google was extremely popular and it very quickly became the number one search engine. Even today, its popularity has not waned.

Google Inc. was incorporated and became a formal company in 1998. Google Inc. needed ways to earn money. From very early on, Google has earned its profits through paid advertisements. It is a web site that has always been popular and it is this popularity that gave advertisers the confidence to pay for advertisements on their site; a fairly new idea at the time.

In 2004, Google Inc. went public and celebrated their Initial Public Offering (IPO) after just six, short years in business. This allowed them to grow even further as a business and to offer more helpful web services to their users and fans.

What has made Google.com successful? Not only does Google.com do what it does well, it is also a trail blazer when it comes to innovative services on the Internet. It has allowed many web site owners to make a profit through its pay-per-click advertising scheme, its been strategic in buying smaller companies for products that would raise the standard of the services it offers and it has an extremely loyal following of online users.


The Advancement in Home PC

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Here is a good question. Ask yourself how long was the time gap between when you first heard about computers and when you first started using them. Your answer to this question, can potentially tell you a lot about yourself. In fact, sociologists say this information identifies where you fall between five categories on adopting new technology.

There are some people that just enthuse about every new gadget that comes on the market. They are always the first to have the newest, next best thing and they spend hours talking about what makes it work and how it was done. Yes, these are known as Geeks! Sociologists call them “Early Adopters”.

It has been quite a while now that the personal PC has been out and also some time since Windows software was developed, which made PCs easier to use and more accessible. PCs are now, without a doubt, an everyday household and workplace item. This was not always the case. There is a sociological theory called “Moore’s Theory” aka the “Technology Adoption Lifecycle” that basically states that when new products and ideas come into being, there are trends in way in which human beings adopt them. Some jump at new technology, others wait a while and a few slowly drag their feet resisting change all the way.

Geoffrey Moore wrote a marketing book called, Crossing the Chasm where he attempted to teach technology innovators and marketers how to narrow the gap between early adopters and the majority of people that wait and look before leaping. Conquering this chasm would reduce the gap between people that quickly adopt new technology and those that take time to adopt a new idea. This obviously has financial benefits for technology companies but it can also be good for us if the idea is beneficial.

I think that as all of us get older, we tend to shun anything that requires us to do things in a new way. In the case of PCs, many adults were somewhat “forced” to begin using them because their jobs adopted their use. And even then, they only learned what they “had to” do and nothing else. Many young people on the other hand grew naturally into PCs because they were accessible in their schools. For example, the 5 year old daughter of one of my friends had typing as a course during her first year of school. This is an extreme case yet it proves my point. She will never have any problem using computers.


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