Category Archives: News

What’s Happening?

Researchers Find Intimate Traits in Digital Data

A basic principle underlying the digital economy is that users trade their data for convenience. For instance, Google provides search, email, and about a zillion other things for users in return for their personal information: what they like, where they go, who they talk to. Facebook does the same thing only more so, and so do other social media sites and many big corporations. We users still don’t know what they do with those vast hoards of information. We assume they sell it to advertisers, or like Google, subtly direct our attention to products that match our preferences. But we certainly can’t tell how they analyze it, and what can be found out from it. But new research just published (in PDF format) by England’s prestigious Cambridge University may give us a glimpse. And the results should give one pause, because a lot more can be found out than anyone suspected. In cooperation with Microsoft, British researchers have analyzed public data from 58,000 Facebook users who actively participated in the research. They looked at a purely public open database, Facebook Likes, where users are invited to indicate preferences and affections for just about anything. They discovered that subtle “digital traces” left in this data could indicate individual personality attributes and traits with a surprisingly high degree of accuracy. Here’s a few things they could deduce about users, and how often the information was accurate: Race – Caucasian v. African: 95% … Continue reading

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Hidden benefits of using SWCP

Not everyone knows all the benefits you get from having an SWCP account and here are a few you might you know about. There’s a coworking space across the hall from us, Ideas & Coffee. If you need a professional place to meet a client or a quiet place to work with excellent high speed internet access, it’s available at discounted prices for SWCP customers. We’re an reseller and currently they’re offering a free setup for customers using their resellers until Dec 31, 2014. Check out the sign up process here. Get a temporary email address that you can use when ordering something, or if you need to signup to a website that you really only need to use once. From the SWCP Members section, just select “Temporary Email Addresses”. You can set the expire time from 1 day up to 1 month. After it’s expired we won’t give it out to anyone else for six months. Virus scans. Bring in a computer and our repair department will give you a free virus scan (one per year). Five day local weather forecasts for Albuquerue, Santa Fe, and Los Alamos and local and national news feeds (under News). Managed domains. If we’re your domain registrar we keep track of when your domain will expire and start letting you know about six weeks before expiration time. It can be expensive and time consuming to retrieve a lost domain.

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Stuck in the Slow Lane

Interesting new statistics from the Census Bureau concerning individual computer and Internet use in the US came out this week. Depressingly, they confirm that the Land of Enchantment is once again near the bottom. However, another study points out that the whole country, even many areas with the fastest and cheapest Internet access, likewise lags behind most of the developed world. The government has been tracking computer and Internet usage since 1997, but last year was the first time it ever surveyed households and individuals. The basic results were recently published in a report, Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2013 (PDF format). And they are not too far off from what one might expect: computer and Internet usage (whether desktop, laptop, or smartphone) tends to be “highest among the young, Whites or Asians, the affluent, and the highly educated.” Which means that New Mexico, like other poor states with large minorities across the South, gets the short end of the stick. Whereas nationally 88.4% have computers  and 78.1% high speed access, New Mexico (80.9% computers, 68.1% Internet) is barely above bottom-most Mississippi (80% and 62.3%). But even in states like California and Colorado, the picture is wildly uneven. There are urban areas with high numbers of computers (Boulder, CO topping the list at 96.9% with computers) and access (Colorado Springs with 88.5% barely beaten by Corvallis, OR at 89%). Yet these, and many other Western states, have … Continue reading

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