sexta-feira, março 31, 2006
The medical uses of mobile phones show they can be good for your health
Using texting to boost efficiency is not rocket science, but big savings can be achieved. Several trials carried out in England have found that the use of text-messaging reminders reduces the number of missed appointments with family doctors by 26-39%, for example, and the number of missed hospital appointments by 33-50%. If such schemes were rolled out nationally, this would translate into annual savings of £256m-364m.
Text messages are also being used to remind patients about blood tests, clinics, scans and dental appointments. Similar schemes in America, Norway and Sweden have had equally satisfying results—though the use of text-message reminders in the Netherlands, where non-attendance rates are low, at 4%, had no effect other than to annoy patients.
Text messages can also be a good way to disseminate public-health information, particularly to groups who are hard to reach by other means, such as teenagers, or in developing countries where other means of communication are unavailable. Text messages have been used in India to inform people about the World Health Organisation's strategy to control tuberculosis, for example, and in Kenya, Nigeria and Mali to provide information about HIV and malaria. In Iraq, text messages were used to support a campaign to vaccinate nearly 5m children against polio.
Finally, there are the uses of text-messaging as part of a treatment regime. These involve sending reminders to patients to take their medicine at the right time, or to encourage compliance with exercise regimes or efforts to stop smoking. The evidence for the effectiveness of such schemes is generally anecdotal, however, notes Dr Rifat. More quantitative research is needed—which is why his team also published three papers this week looking at the use of mobile phones in health care in more detail. One of these papers, written in conjunction with Victoria Franklin and Stephen Greene of the University of Dundee, in Scotland, reports the results of a trial in which diabetic teenagers' treatment was backed up with text messaging.
Economist.com | Articles by Subject | Mobile phones
quinta-feira, março 30, 2006
Checking the daily news is the third most popular activity on the Internet
According to a study released Wednesday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, more than 50 million Americans per day used the Internet as their primary news source in 2005. That's up from 27 million in 2002. In fact, checking the daily news is the third most popular activity on the Internet, the study found.
Pew attributed the increase to the rise in broadband availability and subscriptions in the home. Since 2002, the number of home broadband subscribers has risen from 20 million to 70 million, the group said.
While 65 percent of dial-up users and 57 percent of broadband subscribers still use local and network television to get their daily news, it is no longer their exclusive source.
Of broadband users, 46 percent overall used the Internet as a primary news source, compared with only 26 percent of dial-up subscribers, Pew said. The study further compared broadband and dial-up users within the same age groups to avoid the usual generational variable and found similar results.
Pew also found that there are 29 million so-called high-powered broadband users--early broadband adopters who use the Internet frequently--in the U.S. Of those consumers, an overwhelming 71 percent use the Internet as a primary daily news source.
This is significant because early adopters of technology, according to the Pew report, can be good indicators of future behavior in the general population.The Pew study was conducted Nov. 29 through Dec. 31, 2005 and surveyed 3,011 adult Americans
Study: More readers turning to the Web for news | CNET News.com
quarta-feira, março 29, 2006
This amounts to nothing less than a fight over the soul of the internet
Like the entrepreneurs behind Google, Yahoo and any number of other successful online start-ups, Mr Lehre was able to count on unfettered access to communications networks that reach anyone with an internet connection – at the last count, more than 1bn people. With that sort of reach, any amateur podcaster, video-blogger or software developer can dream of attracting an instant global audience – even if, in truth, only three other people are paying attention.
Some of the companies that control those networks, however, want to change the rules of the game. Starting in the US, but now also spreading to Europe, telecommunications companies have started to argue that they should have the right to charge internet companies for delivering their videos, e-mails or search results – or, at least, for guaranteeing them a certain level of service quality.
The unspoken threat, critics say, is that non-payers will see the quality of their services degraded, or risk being shut out of the broadband internet altogether. From being a wide-open medium, the internet would instead come to look more like the closed networks run by cable or satellite television companies.
This amounts to nothing less than a fight over the soul of the internet. Created as a network to link academics, its basic architecture was founded on openness. Limiting the ability of users to ride the network could amount to the first serious challenge to that principle, a fencing-in of the intellectual commons.
FT.com / Comment & analysis / Analysis - Why network operators are flexing their muscles
Women set to become biggest internet users by 2007
In the last three years the amount of time women spent online has increased by 63%, compared to growth of 54% for men, according to a report by the European Interactive Advertising Association. Last year, men spent an average of 11 hours online a week compared with women's nine hours.
The EIAA Digital Women 2006 Report, which forms part of the ongoing Mediascope Europe Study, says the amount of time women spend watching television has increased by only 12% in the same three-year period from 2003, while time spent reading magazines has fallen by 4.5%.
Michael Kleindl, chair of EIAA, said: "Whether it's sharing opinions through blogging, saving time on the weekly shop with e-commerce or communicating more efficiently by instant messaging, the internet is becoming increasingly integrated into the woman of today's lifestyle."
Internet usage is highest among the 16- to 24-year-olds, young professionals and women with children.
Today, 60% of women use broadband to go online compared with only 17% three years ago, and the fastest growing sites are for auction, shopping and banking or finance.
The study involved 7,000 random telephone interviews with 1,000 respondents in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the Nordics and 500 respondents in Belgium and the Netherlands. Interviews were conducted between September and October 2005.
Women set to become biggest internet users by 2007 - Digital Bulletin - Digital news by Email - Brand Republic
sexta-feira, março 24, 2006
China’s competitiveness ‘on the decline’
The competitiveness of China’s manufacturing industries has suffered serious erosion over the past year, according to one of the world’s largest trade sourcing companies.
Hong Kong-based Li & Fung group, which manages a $7.1bn a year trading business, said price rises crept back into the Sino-US and EU supply chains last year, after at least six years of often “severe deflation”.
William Fung, Li & Fung managing director, reported an average 2-3 per cent increase in the once unbeatable China price its US and European clients were willing to pay. He pointed to a “double-digit” rise in Chinese labour costs, the revaluation of the renminbi and higher oil and energy costs for the shift.
“China’s costs are all going up,” Mr Fung said. “It is no longer the most cost-effective country in the region...Anything [sourced] from China has a higher inflation component than from other places around the world.”...
FT.com / Asia-Pacific / China - China’s competitiveness ‘on the decline’
segunda-feira, março 20, 2006
How the City of London came to power
"A benign tax regime and a prosperous economy means that it makes sense for the financial elites to live and work here for the moment. But the same work could be done anywhere that has a broadband connection. The country through which the financial elites travel at the end of a working day has, to them, many of the qualities of a foreign one. They use, after all, few of that country’s public services.
This new financial elite is the true heir to the imperial legacy. But its forms of power, being so anonymous, differ from the expatriate supremacy once visibly enjoyed by 19th-century district commissioners who served the British national project of their time.
The beautifully suited and well-spoken agents of City finance embody, by contrast, the 18th-century attitudes of a guiltless lust and a self-serving preparedness to stand aside from the national cause and to go wherever the money leads them."
FT.com / Comment & analysis / Comment - How the City of London came to power:
sábado, março 18, 2006
How US assault grabbed global attention
It was billed by the US military as "the largest air assault operation" since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, with attack and assault aircraft providing "aerial weapons support" for 1,500 US and Iraqi commandos moving in to clear "a suspected insurgent operating area north-east of Samarra."
The international news agencies immediately rang the urgent bells on the story.
Around the world, programmes were interrupted as screens flashed the news, which dominated the global media agenda for the next 12 hours or more.
On the New York Stock Exchange, oil prices jumped $1.41 (£0.80) a barrel "with a massive US-led air assault in Iraq intensifying jitters about global supplies of crude", as one agency reported it.
By the middle of Day Two in the ongoing operation, it was clear from both US and Iraqi military sources that the advance had met no resistance.
There were no clashes with insurgents. No casualties were reported.
So how and why did this latest apparently routine combing operation, yielding a few arms caches and netting some low-grade suspects, manage to win stop-press coverage around the world?
The use of the phrase "the largest air assault operation" was clearly crucial, raising visions of a massive bombing campaign.
In fact, all the phrase meant is that more helicopters were deployed to airlift the troops into the area than in previous such operations.
But the massive press coverage was not just the result of a semantic misunderstanding.
Unusually, high-quality photographs and video footage of the initial deployment were made available to the press towards the end of Day One of what was billed as a campaign that would last several days.
Some international media were given unusually swift military embeds to the area.
Operation Swarmer was aimed at sweeping any insurgents out of an area north-east of Samarra where, local residents said, they had been active.
It was part of an ongoing campaign against the militants.
The reasons for it being given such high-profile publicity are clearly open to speculation.The operation came at a time when support at home for President Bush and his campaign in Iraq is running very low, and when the international media were preparing to focus on the third anniversary of the war, just three days later.
BBC NEWS | Middle East | How US assault grabbed global attention
quarta-feira, março 15, 2006
As novas possibilidades de caos
A group of European computer researchers have demonstrated that it is possible to insert a software virus into radio frequency identification tags, part of a microchip-based tracking technology in growing use in commercial and security applications.
Study Says Chips in ID Tags Are Vulnerable to Viruses - New York Times
segunda-feira, março 13, 2006
"Cover is a complex issue that is more complex in the Internet age": Report: Web Searches Can ID CIA Employees on Yahoo! News
The newspaper obtained the information from data providers who charge fees for access to public records and reported on its findings in Sunday editions. It did not publish the identities or other details on its searches, citing concern it could endanger the CIA employees.
Not all of the 2,653 people the newspaper said it could identify as CIA employees were supposed to be covert, an issue raised in the Justice Department investigation of whether someone in the Bush administration leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame to reporters in 2003.
Some in fact were non-covert analysts or senior executives, such as former CIA Director George Tenet. But the newspaper said it shared some of its findings with the CIA, and that the agency acknowledged the partial list of names included covert employees.
'Cover is an issue we look at all the time, and we are always looking to improve it,' CIA spokesman Tom Crispell told The Associated Press on Saturday."