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50 milliseconds is all Web pages have

January 25, 2006 12:43 IST

A recent study by researchers in Canada has shown that Internet users make snap decisions about the quality of a Web page. The first impressions are almost as fast as the eye can take in the information, states the research published in the latest issue of the Behaviour and Information Technology journal.

For a typical commercial Web site, 60 per cent of traffic comes from search engines such as Google. This makes a user's first impression even more critical.

The lasting effect of first impressions is known to psychologists as the 'halo effect' - If you can snare people with an attractive design, they are more likely to overlook other minor faults with the site, and may rate its actual content more favourably.

The golden rule is to make sure that your web pages load quickly, otherwise your customers might not be around long enough to make that first impression.

Security contraption for BPO employees

The safety of call centre workers has recently come under a cloud. With a view to help the Business Process Outsourcing industry to safeguard their employees on a 24X7 basis, Micro Technologies (India) has introduced a security contraption that is a combination of a mobile phone, Geographical Information System and Radio Frequency Identification.

Named "Micro VBB Marshal", the patented product can monitor and tell employers the exact location of the vehicle, has a "panic button" in cases of emergency (sends an SMS, alerting the employer of a potential intrusion) and can immobilise the vehicle in cases of such intrusions. It is expected to help companies maintain an exact record of the employee whereabouts with the use of RFID.

Click and print in seconds

There are many occasions on which you felt like taking an immediate print of the photo you just clicked on your camera phone. Help is at bay. Kodak India recently introduced the 'Kodak Picture Kiosk', which eventually should soon find its way in shopping malls in Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi to begin with. With over 70,000 kiosks placed worldwide, Kodak is the leader in the photo kiosk category.

Anyone with a camera phone or digital camera can walk in, insert a compact disc, memory card or USB (universal serial bus) drive and walk out with a print photograph (of course, after paying for it online or to the person manning the kiosk). The online payment option, though, might take a while to materialise in India.

RFID to increase 25-fold

RFID tags produced worldwide are expected to increase over 25 times between 2005 and 2010, reaching 33 billion, according to market research company In-Stat. Total production of RFID tags in 2005 had reached more than 1.3 billion.

RFID production will vary widely by industry segment for several years - example, RFID has been used in automotive keys since 1991, with 150 million units now in use.

The report also finds that pharmaceutical companies are investigating using RFID tags to reduce counterfeiting and black market sales and that courts and governments around the world are currently in the process of examining RFID-related privacy issues.

PC market may settle in 2006

Notebooks and price cuts helped the PC market grow by 16.4 per cent worldwide in 2005 in terms of units, although the rate of growth will likely slow down this year, according to IDC.

PC shipments have been above analysts' expectations all year, according to the report. The results for the fourth quarter and the year exceeded IDC's most recent expectations from November.

In all, 208.6 million desktops, notebooks and x86 servers left factories and workshops in 2005, according to IDC. The estimated value, or revenue, generated by these machines worldwide likely came to around $218 billion, an increase of nine per cent in 2004.

In 2006, however, things are expected to decelerate, states IDC, which attributes it to "a general concern about rising interest rates, housing and fuel prices".

ICE Team in New Delhi