pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Tue Dec 10 23:36:06 EST 2002

Subject:   Email/TV/Manuals

Three short items.  --PJK

(from NewsScan Daily, 9 December 2002)

The latest study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project
indicates  that reports of massive e-mail volume swamping workers and
sapping their  productivity are greatly exaggerated: in fact, 60% of
Americans who use  e-mail at work receive 10 or fewer messages on the
average day, and  three-quarters reported spending an hour or less
daily dealing with e-mail.  Only 6% reported receiving more than 50
e-mails a day, and among those,  only 11% said the volume posed a
problem. Most workers who receive a lot of  e-mail have devised ways
to manage the load, such as using filters to  automatically sort the
mail into folders. "All of the anecdotal evidence  you hear from
people out there is, 'I'm so overwhelmed by the volume of  e-mail. The
perception comes from the people who are talking most loudly  about
it, those few who are most overwhelmed," says Pew senior research 
fellow Deborah Fallows. The pattern is different for power users,
typically  those in high-level managerial positions at large
corporations. Many of  them spend at least two hours daily on e-mail,
with the task often  stretching out to four or more hours. Meanwhile,
the study found that  younger users (those under 30) are more likely
to use e-mail for personal  use while at work, often sending gossip,
jokes and chain letters while on  the job. (AP 8 Dec 2002)

This appears to be an emerging theme, helping a languishing economy
by legislating the need for more complex technology.  --PJK
(from NewsScan Daily, 3 December 2002)

A General Accounting Office report says government regulators may need
to  force additional action by the cable and TV manufacturing
industries to  spur the transition from analog to digital television.
Possible actions  include requiring that all new televisions be
digital cable-ready and  setting a firm date for the switchover from
full carriage of analog signals  to full carriage of digital. The FCC
should also consider mounting a  public-education campaign to inform
both consumers and retailers about  digital television. "Generally,
market-driven adoption of new technologies  is considered best, but
the current circumstances in the [digital  television] transition
suggest that it is unrealistic to anticipate that  market forces will
bring about the completion of the transition within the  originally
anticipated time frame," said the report. Congress originally  had set
a 2006 deadline for the changeover, but only if 85% of all  television
sets were capable of receiving digital signals. Rep. Edward  Markey
(D-Mass.), the top Democrat on the House Telecommunications 
subcommittee, says the GAO's suggested mandates "merit particular 
attention," and that he plans to draft legislation responding to the 
report's proposals in the coming weeks. (Wall Street Journal 3 Dec
(sub req'd)

(INNOVATION, 27 November 2002)

So -- you've finally decided to tackle the job of programming your VCR
or  deciphering some of the more arcane symbols on your food
processor, but now  you can't find the manual. Don't panic -- the
answer lies in cyberspace.  The first place to start is the
manufacturer's Web site, of course, but  instructions for older
machines often are no longer available. In that  case, there's a Web
site devoted to just this type of dilemma. Pete Hale's  Instruction
Manuals Web site (http://www.instructionmanuals.co.uk/) offers  a
comprehensive listing for online manuals, usually available as PDF
files.  (BBC News 22 Nov 2002)

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