Did you know around 9 million people in the UK have never used the internet?
That is why, this week the UK government announced that it has 100,000 people volunteering to be net champions.
What is a net champion?
A net champion is someone who helps someone else get online.
Who are the current net champions?
Many of the current volunteers are Scouts, Post Office workers and librarians.
Why try to help people get online
People in low income households save around £270 per year, just from being online. These savings may come via using tools like Skype, having the ability to shop around more, or by switching to better deals online.
The thing is many people, especially the elderly don’t realise this. Therefore helping and educating them should increase their ability to save money, and will hopefully also enrich their lives via using things like social media.
What if you don’t have a computer?
Some firms, including Microsoft have made available a range of cheap computers. These low-priced ‘recycled’ PCs will be available from about £95.
The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron has backed the campaign. From what I have heard and read about it, it seems like a good idea to me too. What do you think, should we encourage more people onto the net, especially the elderly, or would they make the net a more dangerous place?
Would you consider volunteering?
Smart phones are amazing. 50 years ago who would have predicted that you could hold a device smaller than your hand that could:
- Take pictures
- Connect with your car
- Listen to music
- Send text messages (SMS)
- Make a video call with someone on the other side of the world
- Track your location
- Surf the internet
- Understand your voice commands
- …and loads loads more
Notice anything that could be a security risk from the list above? Well if you listen to the news, you will probably have heard the bad PR iPhone have got themselves by discovering a glitch which showed everywhere their owners had been!
Apple have denied that they have been tracking users, but if someone got hold of an iPhone they would be able to download a list of every place that that phones (and probably it’s user) had been to, via the use of GPS.
Do you think that all these flashy features come at a price? Is the security of our private information being exposed more and more in this modern-day ‘technology powered’ world?
The thing is, it isn’t just the iPhone – the iPad has also been tracking users locations!
If you want to find out more, check out this online Q and A page on Apples website.
Another privacy issue…
A few days later Sony announced that it was taking down its PlayStation Network service, due to hacking which affected 77 million gamers!
Sony say that that the data might have fallen into the hands of an “unauthorised person” following a hacking attack on its online service. This data it thought to include things like names, passwords, addresses, date of births and email addresses. Another reason why it’s very important not to use one password for everything.
If you think you might have been affected by this other breach in security, check out Sony’s blog post on the issue.
Are we too dependant on technology? Do we give away too much information (often sensitive) about ourselves? Do firms really need all this data from us, and do they need to take a greater responsibility in implementing more measures to keep our info safe?
On April 11, 2011 Google announced on it’s Webmaster Central Blog sweeping changes to it’s search index. In an effort to promote high quality websites and eliminate websites that have poor content the algorithm was adjusted. This adjustment incorporated “feedback signals” which are expected to help Google users find better search results.
What started out as something small
What was described by Amit Singhal, Google fellow, as a “small” update, affected only 2% of US queries has turned out to radical. CNET describes the Google’s algorithm as “radical” and reports the websites that have been affected by reduced rankings.
Great websites drop in ranking
The British Medical Journal, the Cult of Mac, and WikiHow all dropped in visibility. Considered to be reputable sources, and not content farm, these reduction in rank show the algorithm still needs some fine tuning. Other websites that might be considered content farms have been dropped as well.
Facebook, Yelp & Twitter rise in rankings
Websites to increase in ranking are Facebook, Twitter and Yelp. These websites moving up begs a question though. Facebook already has over 500 million active users, of which, 50% log in each day. Does this website really not already appear “high” enough in the search engine. In addition, social media is changing Google search results with the adoption of the “Plus One” on Google and “Likes” on Bing.
Local Searches Soar
Despite the rise of social media websites and some news sources, many poor websites have fallen in ranking, as was expected from this Panda Algorithm shift.
Local searches have significantly improved, however, due to this shift in the algorithm. Websites of companies that are popular in the United States (David’s Bridal, Barnes and Nobles, Walgreens) all appear prominently in the US search index, but not in the UK index. This shift paves the way for a greater index in international search engine results. Improving international search results is a significant win for Google’s index.