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Technology and Ever-Falling Attention Spans 147

An anonymous reader writes: The BBC has an article about technology's effect on concentration in the workplace. They note research finding that the average information worker's attention span has dropped significantly in only a few years. "Back in 2004 we followed American information workers around with stopwatches and timed every action. They switched their attention every three minutes on average. In 2012, we found that the time spent on one computer screen before switching to another computer screen was one minute 15 seconds. By the summer of 2014 it was an average of 59.5 seconds." Many groups are now researching ways to keep people in states of focus and concentration. An app ecosystem is popping up to support that as well, from activity timing techniques to background noise that minimizes distractions. Recent studies are even showing that walking slowly on a treadmill while you work can have positive effects on focus and productivity. What tricks do you use to keep yourself on task?

Submission + - US Senate passes Patent Overhaul Bill (

billstewart writes: "The US Senate passed a patent-reform bill, S.23 aka "America Invents", which changes US patents from First-to-Invent to First-to-File. ( Status Query, Computerworld Article, National Journal with comments pro and con, SF Chron). Patrick Leahy sponsored it. Passed 95-5, House expecting to introduce similar bill Real Soon. Silicon Valley businesses large and small were mostly against it, IBM was for it. Dianne Feinstein attempted an amendment to remove the First-to-File part, but voted for it anyway after that failed. Barbara Boxer voted against.

The US patent system has been first-to-invent for a long time, while Europe has been first-to-file. There's lots of other detail, largely intended to reduce the amount of patent litigation, improve the coordination with non-US patents, potentially improve the problems with patents on things with prior art and obviousness, and affect some tax issues."

Submission + - Pirate Bay is now Officially Notorious (

billstewart writes: "The U.S. Trade Representative's first global "Review of Notorious Markets" named Pirate Bay and Chinese search engine Baidu on a list of "notorious" sites for pirated goods and software. Most of the sites on the list were in China, and Pirate Bay's in Sweden, more or less, but other sites were in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, New Delhi, Kiev, Jakarta, Hong Kong and Manila."

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