Opinion » Cybernaut


Google gets regional



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A survey of broadband Internet subscribers around the globe has shown that DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) services are continuing to outgrow their competitors.

According to the DSL Forum, there are now 78 million DSL subscribers around the world, 30 million or 62 per cent more than 12 months ago. Overall broadband subscriptions grew by 55 per cent, with less pronounced growth by cable broadband, fiber-optic broadband and satellite broadband.

Canadian online sales grow, sort of

Canadian spent more than $3 billion online shopping in 2003, which represented a 25 per cent increase over the previous year according to a Statistics Canada report.

However, online shopping remains an extremely small percentage of the $688 billion in total personal spending logged by Canadians last year.

Books, magazines and newspapers were the most common online purchases, music purchases went up 36 per cent, and Internet travel was also up.

The Internet also looks good for Canadian businesses, with customers spending $6.90 on Canadian sites of every $10 spent. That still represents a billion dollars heading to foreign Web sites.

Concerns about hackers may have been holding Canadians back. A survey indicated that more than 75 per cent of respondents were still concerned about the safety of financial transactions over the Internet.

Sony playing nice with MP3

Currently the number one factor frustrating the universal acceptance – and enjoyment – of Web-based digital music is the never-ending battle over formats. Sony stuck with its own proprietary ATRAC format, Microsoft and partners push the WMV format, Apple has AAC, etc., and customers were caught in the middle with a bunch of MP3s that may or may not work with their portable players, CD-burners, and other media because it doesn’t carry digital rights management coding.

The Apple iPod is the only major portable player that allows MP3s currently, but you can’t burn those songs to CDs using iTunes.

Sony came to its senses last week, opening up its new lines of flash memory portable players to the popular MP3 format. The company still stands by its claim that ATRAC is more efficient and offers better sound, but users will no longer have to convert their files to ATRAC to enjoy them.

New Ultrawideband Wireless looking for applications

While more laptop, PDA and cell phone users are discovering the joys of going wireless, some applications are limited because of the sheer amount of information involved. For example, it’s going to be a long time before Apple iPod users can dock with their home computer using wireless technology, necessitating the use of USB and Firewire cables. Ditto with transfers digital cameras, video and still, and the large data transfers that are sometimes necessary between laptops, tablets and other portable devices.