Driven largely by the growth in legal music services, U.S. spending on online content grew 16 percent to nearly $1 billion in the first half of the year. Spending was at $853 million in the first six months of 2004, according to the Online Publishers Association. Its study also finds that spending in entertainment and lifestyles services has surpassed the previous leader, personals and dating. People spent 45 percent more on music and other entertainment, compared with a 7.6 percent growth in finding love. Much of that results from increased availability of high-speed Internet connections, he said. The study was based on tracking by comScore Networks and excludes some types of content including pornography, gambling and software.
Nearly three in five school-age teens with Internet access have created online content, including Web pages with artwork, photos and stories and about a fifth have their own blogs, which also allow friends and other readers to create feedback postings. Those are some of the findings from a survey of 12- to 17-year-olds conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. The survey also found that older school-age girls with online access were most likely to keep a blog. About a quarter of girls, ages 15 to 17, did so, compared with 15 percent of boys in that age group. Among adults, Pew says about 7 percent of Internet users have created their own blogs, or online diaries. And while 26 percent of adults say they read blogs, 38 percent of young people with online access said they do so. Researchers note that the main reason teens are drawn to blogs is a wish to keep in touch with one another.
Imagine this: You want to whisper something to a co-worker in Spanish, but you can t speak the language. So you simply mouth the words in English, without uttering a sound, and they immediately pop up in Spanish on your colleague s computer. The premise may seem far-fetched, but researchers are working toward making it a reality. As Carnegie Mellon doctoral student Stan Jou mouthed words in Mandarin recently, 11 electrodes on his face and throat sensed what he said by the movement of his facial muscles and promptly translated it into English and Spanish. The device is among several projects at the International Center for Advanced Communication Technologies designed to tear down language barriers using computers. The center is run jointly by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and the University of Karlsruhe in Germany. Using a different device, the center s director, Alexander Waibel, delivered a lecture last week simultaneously translated from English to German and Spanish. All he had to do was speak into a microphone. Other researchers are developing ultrasound speakers that deliver a narrow beam of audio, letting one person hear a translation while everyone else gets the speech in its original language.
China had 377 million mobile phone subscribers at the end of September, or 29 for every 100 people, the government reported this week. That s up 7.7 percent from June, when the government reported 350 million users, and up 23.6 percent from 305 million in June 2004. China was already the biggest cell phone market when in August 2003 it reported 250 million cell phone subscribers.
The Logitech QuickCam Fusion, with its 1.3-megapixel sensor and built-in microphone, aims to sharpen the video-chat picture and the sound without breaking the bank. Available for $100 or less online, the QuickCam Fusion hangs over the top of the monitor and uses a high-speed USB 2.0 connection for video playback that can be much smoother than is possible with Webcams using the old USB 1.1 connections. The camera s sensors and optical system produce clear pictures in low light, and its noise-canceling microphone suppresses those annoying echoes while video-chatting without a headset.
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