Monthly Archives: July 2012

A new Pew study addresses this phenomenon

One in five adults in the US doesn’t use the internet. (I assume this means with any frequency. It would be almost impossible to never use the internet today.) Of those individuals, roughly half of them don’t bother going online because they believe that the internet doesn’t have anything relevant to offer them. They get their information through the TV or newspaper, they make phone calls to keep up with friends and family, they shop in local stores, and they presumably do research only in books.

Other reasons to not use the internet include cost – computers are too expensive – or difficulty.

As you may have guessed, most of these people are older. Almost 60% of US seniors don’t go online. Likewise, about 60% of adults who did not complete high school don’t use the internet. Non-internet users also tend to have lower incomes. Interestingly, ethnicity doesn’t have much to do with it. I say interestingly, because we often see race and socio-economic discussed in studies as being extremely highly correlated. Even more interesting, growth in high-speed/broadband internet adoption is significantly higher among African Americans. They are more likely to be switching to broadband than other groups at this time, though other groups may have a higher percentage who already have broadband.

Mobile phones are making an impact on this number as well. With the internet in a $50 smart phone in yoru pocket, the barriers to internet access dwindle.

My grandfather, until recently, had dial-up. While he did use the internet, it was generally only for checking email or stocks, and not frequently. Now, he has a smart phone and accesses and browses the web daily. Perhaps the most shocking part of this study – for me – was that a good portion of the non-internet-using adult population in the US has never been online. This might explain why they believe it is irrelevant to them. They literally don’t know what they are missing in terms of resources offered.

Society is continuing its shift towards the digital.

Society is continuing its shift towards the digital. A recent study in the UK shows that people do more texting than talking on phones. “While 58% of people communicated via texts on a daily basis in 2011, only 47% made a daily mobile call, said the country’s communications industry regulator.”

This is only a little surprising to me. I certainly text more than I talk on the phone, by a good margin. I will use a phone call if I am busy or need a quick response from someone, but it is usually more convenient to text. By texting, I am imposing less upon the recipient’s time – they can respond when convenient. It takes less of my time, as I don’t feel the need to make small talk, or ask the polite questions (How are you? How’s the weather? This is Minnesota, after all). I also find it more private that speaking on the phone in public. In fact, two of my biggest pet peeves are related to this: Women making phone calls in public restrooms when they are not the only occupant and individuals who make mobile calls, on speaker phone, in public places, such as the store or bus.

This weekend, I heard my grandmother express a similar sentiment regarding texting – it is more convenient, quicker, for when she just needs a short response or is multitasking. When I was in high school, most kids had cell phones. Now, most kids’ parents have cell phones, and grandparents are more and more likely to own a mobile device. I have also seen a strong shift towards smart phones and texting by those over 40, rather than voice-focused cells.

While technology is becoming more and more widely used, there are still a number of Americans that have no access to or choose not to use the internet. I found that pretty interesting. I go to the internet for so many things, recipes, social networking, news, and more, not to mention work and research.

Posture to Productivity

A number of our previous posts focused on the benefits of good computer and work space ergonomics. Ergonomics refers to “the study of designing equipment and devices that fit the human body, its movements and its cognitive abilities.” It is widely accepted that improved ergonomics can help raise and sustain productivity in the workplace and educational settings.  This can include positioning of desk, computer, and keyboard.  It can take the form of particular adaptive items, like the Chester Mouse, which fits smaller or weaker hands more easily than a standard sized mouse.  One of the most basic applications of ergonomics deals with posture.  Looking at this diagram from St. Kilda Road Chiropractic, check yourself for good computer posture.
Good posture not only improves your productivity, it should also make you feel better in the long run, even if a certain stance may feel awkward at first.

Duluth, MN – Flood of 2012

As you know, Chester Creek takes its name from a local waterway. Duluth is a strong part of our identity as a company, and is even represented in our logo. Last week, Duluth experienced its largest and most damaging floods in over a century. As a city on a hill in the northern half of the northern-most state in the 48 contiguous states, Duluth is prepared for many eventualities, including hail, blizzards, ice storms, and even the occasional landslide. And of course, we are prepared for the rigors of constant road construction and repair. However, floods have never been part of the occasion here. And a flood of this magnitude was – until recently – unimaginable. Chester Creek itself flooded in a very impressive fashion. Here are a few photos from the 2012 flood: