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back to article 15% of Americans still holding off from this newfangled interweb thing

The latest data from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project has found that there is still a sizable percentage of Americans who really don't get this internet thing, with 15 per cent never going online and another 9 per cent only doing so at work. US internet use data from Pew 47 million people still without …

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"Of those online holdouts, over a third said....

... that they felt the internet was "not relevant" to them"

Porn is relevant to everyone, almost without exception.

HTH

Steven 'ducking to avoid the downvotes' R

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Re: "Of those online holdouts, over a third said....

You'd be amazed at how many people don't find porn relevant, or important, to them.

Most other people probably wouldn't be.

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Re: "Of those online holdouts, over a third said....

See here if not sure:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6eFNRKEROw

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Boffin

Snark all you want

But I don't blame most of them.

Viruses, bot nets, recto-cranial-inverted website designers, tracking, unreliable connections, unreliable operating system, non-intuitive everything, superfluous crap that slows downs connections, pop-ups, phishing, fake alerts, log ins for everything+dog, moved links, browser updates every month that change the interface, discontinued services without notice, spam, spam and more spam, etc.

I'm sure I'm leaving out a couple of hundred other inconvenience and annoyance and a few nasty surprises as well.

Are you starting to see the trend here?

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Re: Snark all you want

Many are also so busy in "real life", that they just don't have the time to go online regularly.

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Viruses??!!

People who are worried about going online because of viruses?

Do they think they are catching?

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Anonymous Coward

Dumb, really?

Only having a basic high school diploma qualifies you as "dumb"?

I know some folks with a MBA who'd easily qualify as dumb...

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Re: Dumb, really?

Ironically, if he had studied more he might have realized the difference between dumb and uneducated, or lesser-educated.

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@Killraven (Wasted Brains)

It's a very common mistake to make.

I use a person's sense of humour as a proxy for their intelligence. But, by that standard, I know some smart people who refuse to educate themselves.

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Re: Dumb, really?

Sorry this is too hard to resist:

You mean that 15% of the US population is too old, dumb or poor. Hum, only 15% eh?

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The 15% figure seems fairly representative. Some of the people I work with have parents or even (really old) grandparents who don't even own a computer. Add in the terribly poor and those who live in places where even satellite Internet service isn't available and they're probably pretty close.

I can generally find major flaws in representative samplings but this actually sounds right.

The only thing I would wonder about is of part of that non-using population actually does use the Interet via mobile phone but don't realize that's what they're doing. I know people who can barely read but who have Galaxy S III's. It wouldn't surprise me to learn they didn't know they were on the Internet sometimes...

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Anonymous Coward

Its not everyone's first reflex.

At my parent's office, I was having a disagreement about facts with my step mother; when I suggested that we check on the internet for the actual numbers she got this odd look in her eye.

They mostly use the internet connection for email and a bit of shopping; using it as an encyclopedia was a new idea.

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My Mum falls into the 'using it by proxy, but not actually using it' category. We've tried to get her online, but why would she? She's already living in the future. She has a completely voice controlled operating system that will print emails, show her facebook, buy tickets for shows, in fact it'll do almost anything computer related without her ever having to actually sit in front of one. He's called my Dad.

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Joke

The dumb

The dumb are on the Internet. They set their homepage to YouTube and they don't know how to change it back.

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Re: The dumb

For my parents, it's Yahoo.

Google? What's that? Wiki-what?

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Re: The dumb

"For my parents, it's Yahoo."

Wow - they must be really old....

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Coat

Re: The dumb

They're only on Yahoo because the altavista.dec.com site doesn't work anymore.

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Devil

But how many...

... won't use it because it's the Spawn of Satan and a Sign of the Coming of the Anti-Christ and a Symbol of the Corruption and Decadence which their Once Great Nation has fallen prey to with all those Commie Left Wing Fags controlling all the News Media (apart from that Last Bastion of the Truth, Fox News) and Goddamn Pinko Democrats especially the one who sits in the White House...

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Have you got figures for Earth?

We have figures here for a tiny proportion of humanity - about 4% I believe.

How about some figures for the remainder?

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Re: Have you got figures for Earth?

"How about some figures for the remainder?"

Only a refusenik would be positing a question that a search engine can answer in 0.35 seconds on a slow day....Did you get somebody else to type this for you?

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Paris Hilton

I notice it was a online survey..

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Anonymous Coward

"The findings in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International"

http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Non-internet-users.aspx

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data from telephone interviews - useless

so we're missing data from people who don't have telephones ...

another useless and irrelavant survey and for what purpose?

...

"2,252 adults ages 18 and older" - this is not a very large sample - where and why was it conducted - who gives a shit anyway.

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Pint

Makes sense to me

There is enough content available offline, that you could spend your entire life reading/watching/listening to it, and never have to repeat anything.

It's not self-evident that the content available online is qualitatively any better than offline. There's "more" of it, certainly, and if you believe you've got some way of filtering or searching it for "high quality" work then it makes sense to try; but I, for one, have lost faith in such mechanisms. Basically, our best chance is "a publisher with consistent quality standards", and how many of those are left?

So I don't blame anyone who wants to stay out of it. Good for them, I wish them every happiness.

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Feces Free Holmes

"While 15 per cent might sound like a lot (over 47 million people, according to the latest census data) the rate of online luddism is falling steadily – back in 2004 over a third of US citizens were offline."

File this under "D'uh! (For Obvious)". As the stats show, the younger you are the more likely it is that you've made some sort of connection to the internet. Given that 44% of the non-connected are the elderly, it's rather obvious that that percentage would be dropping over time BECAUSE THEY'RE DIEING OFF!

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It's all to hard for some people

I am a volunteer teacher of computing stuff for the over 50s (I'm retired). These statistics for older people are probably about right. Older people's use of Internet can often be constrained by financial circumstances and physical frailties.

We group our pupils in several ways, and can predict fairly reliably how successful "The Internet" will be for them:-

  • 1 - People who have inherited a Windows computer from children or grandchildren: Likely to have a poor outcome - The computer is probably near the end of its useful life. We spend a few weeks teaching basic Windows skills, browsing, e-mail and security. The pupil is generally OK while the donor looks after the system (If it is a laptop, they can bring it in and we will sometimes help out). Eventually the donor stops support - Often because the pupil is embarrassed to appear "needy" After that browsing slows up as the browser becomes full of trackers and toolbars, e-mailing becomes a problem, then Solitaire become unplayable. They will then call out a professional who charges >$100.00. When, a few months later, the problems come back, the computer is not used because of the expense of repair.
  • 2 - People who buy a new Windows computer: Can be similar to (1) depending on support. When the computer becomes unusable, they will sometimes donate the computer to someone in the family who "knows computers", and then buy something else. Windows 8 has not been an altogether happy experience for the teachers - The pupils seem to initially like the bright colours and the modal appearance, but so far it has been only those who use mainly Windows Mail and Internet Explorer that are OK, the rest less so. We have not yet seen anyone with a Microsoft Surface tablet.
  • 3 - The Apple Macintosh user: Often well motivated and can keep the shiny running for 5 years with a little help. They then buy a new Apple or an iPad.
  • 4 - The iPad user: The device is often bought by themselves, or by someone who already has an iPad or iPhone. If the pupil has reasonable co-ordination and physical ability (sometimes a stylus helps), we usually find 1 - 4 90 minute "one-on-one" lessons is all that is needed. Typically the pupil uses Safari, Mail, Contacts, Skype Facetime (but only if most of their contacts use it too), Notes, YouTube, iBooks/Kindle, Maps/Google Maps, TuneIn Radio, WhitePages and card games. The last couple of weeks have shown that pupils who have updated from iOS 6 to 7 prefer the bold font and the Reduce Motion option.
  • 5 - The Android tablet user: The tablet is bought because the nice man in the shop recommended it, or it is relatively inexpensive, or because a techie-type younger advisor thought that it would be ideal. We have found that the relatively few users that we have seen (Samsung mostly or Asus) require more time that the iPad. Applications usage is similar to the iPad. The pupils have generally found the interface can be inconsistent, and many of the controls are too small. We have also had issues with Android updates when done by the techie-type.
  • Linux: We have one user, other than myself and another teacher.

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Happy

@Tim99 Re: It's all to hard for some people

Is the Linux user so scary that you don't want to write about his/her use of a computer and the internet?

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Re: It's all to hard for some people

It might actually be worth trying them with an easier version of linux, esp the ones with the ancient windows boxes. Once the system is up and running, and you've shown them the process of installing from the package manager, it should last longer before needing a service. That said, you will have to pick a version for them, and install it, and check it works with all the hardware so they aren't faced with a non-operational wifi card (or similar) from the outset.

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Linux

Re: @Tim99 It's all to hard for some people

@frank ly

The user isn't scary at all - A nice elderly man who just browses and e-mails from a DSL ISO on an old PC. The other Linux teacher checks up on him from time to time...

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Windows

Re: It's all to hard for some people

@monkeyfish

As in the post above, we use DSL and demonstrate Puppy. We also use Ubuntu and Debian (both too hard for most pupils).

After spending too much of my working life writing (DOS and Windows) software; in retirement I run a small Debian server, an IMac and a MkI iPad. My wife is waiting for the Mk5 iPad before she buys herself one.

If I have to help my successors, I fire Windows up in a VM. Other than as a volunteer, I don't do Windows stuff. Hypocritically, Windows was great when I was getting paid quite a lot of money to work with it - Bill's IT job creation project - But not so good when you have to support it for yourself. The *NIX stuff I learnt 30+ years ago is a comfortable place to be in both Linux and OS X. I play with a Raspberry Pii.

For some of the older people that I know computing is now a tablet and WiFi.

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Re: It's all to hard for some people

@Tim99

Good solid information, thanks. I put Win7 and MS Security Essentials on an old Thinkpad for my sister (who is not elderly and quite savvy). Still going strong, no slow ups or malware.

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Re: It's all to hard for some people

"For some of the older people that I know computing is now a tablet and WiFi."

Same for most of the teenagers I teach, except $tablet includes $phone.

Times change. One adult student wanted to access a flash based teaching site. She has an iPad. IT support provided instructions for downloading an RDP app and accessing her College Windows 7 desktop from which she can access the Flash based Web site...

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95% of Americans are idiots. And most of the non-idiots can trace their direct lineage to Scotland or Ireland.

And 86.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot (Vic Reeves)

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"And most of the non-idiots can trace their direct lineage to Scotland or Ireland."

Ahh yes - all those prison ships full of the scum of the earth....It was a better model imo than letting them hang round London railway stations abusing passers by with a can of Super Tenants in hand....

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Nym

Ummmm....

Wass a computer?

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Dodgy El Reg statistics, guys

"Of those online holdouts, over a third said that they felt the internet was "not relevant" to them, and 32 per cent said that using it was either too hard or that they were concerned about the threat of viruses and identity theft. This latter figure has nearly doubled since Pew's 2010 survey. and shows that the rising tide of online crime is a significant deterrent effect to use."

NO. Back to maths class, guys. What has "nearly doubled" is a percentage of a percentage. Without the previous numbers, it's meaningless.

Depending on which figure you take off that graph as "2010", the number of holdouts back then could have been as high as 26%; now it's only 15%. And assume for the sake of argument that the percentage concerned about viruses then was 17% (so that 32% is "nearly double" the old figure). Then we're talking about 32% of 15% (4.8%) of Americans now, versus 17% of 26% ((4.4%) of Americans back in 2010. No great change, and probably well within the margins of statistical error. But that doesn't make as good a story.

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