How do Korea and Japan Benefit from Broadband Price and Speed?

I noticed a fascinating couple of graphs in an article on the blog World Politics Review, Top 30 Countries for Broadband Internet Access. One of them showed Japan’s astounding average Internet speed: (note: because of difficulties at that site, they permanently lost that graphic. I recreated them, but the data has changed since then):


At the time I first checked (the old chart) Japan showed an impressive 15 megabits per second speed (I’m assuming this is for download as well as upload?) but Korea has now overtaken them at 25 megabits per second. I checked my broadband speed here in Canada via and my results are far better than that at the moment (about 52 megabits per second down, and 11.6 up).

Here’s another graph, from the Open Technology Institute regarding the Cost of Broadband worldwide. Here is the Average Speed of Plans Priced Between $35 and $50:

broadband cost
According to this, all that speed is incredibly cheap in Seoul, under a dollar per month per megabit in US Dollars, according to the article. Here in Vancouver, my Internet cost is coming in at about $78 for that 50 Megabits per second, so that works out to roughly $.64 (Canadian) per megabit, which would convert to almost exactly $.50 US per month per megabit. That’s better than the graph says (although it’s hard to tell, I’d read it at closer to $5 per month).

To make it a little clearly (maybe), here’s the chart for the Average Speed of Plans Priced over $50:

broadband plans over 50 per month

Now Tokyo clearly comes in with the biggest bang for buck, with spectacularly fast speeds (if you are willing to pay for them). I wonder if there are any Seoul plans over $50, or with the speed they get under that charge if nobody bothers.

Although I’ve been making some comparisons here, I’m wondering how life would change for me if Internet was about what it is now, but was 5 times faster, but I’m also wondering if this high level of service at relatively low cost would cause a flurry of Internet activity and development in Korea and Japan.

So, what’s it like? How has cheap, fast Broadband Internet made things different, and do you think it will change things in the coming decade? My friends in Korea Japan, your input here is welcome!

Robert Fabricant says ‘Behavior is our Medium’

I was lucky enough to be in the audience when the Executive Creative Director at frog Design gave a spectacular keynote with tons of fascinating notions and examples at the Interactive Design Association (IXDA) Convention in Vancouver last month. In fact, there’s proof I was there, at about the 19th minute, when the camera caught me musing over his ideas.

I’m glad that great minds like Fabricant’s are working on solving Society’s ills.

Another Restart. This time, Something Interesting

HAL 9000

HAL 9000

Rather than try to write something profound (at least on the surface), I thought I’d start writing in this blog again with an observation about today’s date, at least in terms of the History of Computer Science:

On today’s date, HAL, the computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey turns 17 year’s old, as the movie says:

I am a HAL 9000 computer, Production Number 3. I became operational at the HAL Plant in Urbana, Illinois, on January 12, 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it I can sing it for you. It’s called ‘Daisy’

I always thought that the production number being 3 was intriguing. It couldn’t be a nod to Windows 3.1, the first successful version of that software because the book was written decades before that appeared on the scene.  What happened to production numbers 1 and 2? (It was mentioned, I seem to remember, that HAL 1000-8000 series had problems of some sort and were “not entirely successful”).

The idea of a mutinous, murderous central computer is a theme that is still alive and well in movies today: the movie WALL-E has one of these, the Autopilot computer that looks a bit like HAL’s red eye inserted into an old fashioned ship’s wheel (and the voice actor who gets to do it, in the credits is, wait for it… Macintalk, the speech synthesis software on the Macintosh (!))


Needless to say, in this year, 2009, there is no HAL 9000, no similar level of Artificial Intelligence, no ships to Jupiter, and no permanent base on the moon. We do have a space station, but Pan Am airlines never survived to create that beautiful space liner, and although there is talk of private citizens doing flights, it is Virgin Airlines that is going to be doing that.

Back to the World of the Living (Blogs, that is)

After a long period where I tried to redesign this blog, I feel I’ve finally gotten something that is acceptable. Wanted to hire some programmers and designers to do a real rework, but that will have to wait until I have employment.

I fear that has fallen victim to the phrase: ‘The perfect is the enemy of the good.’ Because it was never exactly the way I wanted, I have been reluctant to write a great deal until it was ‘finished’  although I have a good first draft of what I wanted, based on an existing WordPress theme. This new theme is better than my old one (at least in terms of slickness, but it is far less colourful.

At any rate, I want to get cracking on writing some new posts, given that there are a few things going on in North America (as well as the rest of the world)  besides economic meltdown and the Presidential race.

Watch this space for more to come.

Two Examples of Good Online Software

As I mentioned in my other blog, Loud Murmurs, next week I’ll be at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco. Nevertheless, I’ve seen some web software, little things, that have really impressed me, and one of them was connected with the conference.

Here’s the first one:

The Developer Conference has a very full schedule of sessions, split into 3 tracks. They are all categorized, numbered, and described in detail on the Apple WWDC Web site. While most attendees will want to go to a lot of these 150+ sessions, that’s clearly not possible, and not every session will appeal to every attendee . In fact, the schedule has been in place for nearly a month. What’s been added is the following: You can now create a personalized schedule of sessions and labs that will find its way to your hands, where you’ll need it during the conference. Using the online Conference Schedule, you click a session or lab you’re interested in, then click on the Select button in its information pop-up. (you can also add sessions and labs from an alternate Sessions and Lab page, where sessions are grouped by track rather than by the schedule):

Click to see full version

After you’ve selected all of the sessions that you want, like this one:

Selecting a session in the Schedule

…you click a link, which downloads a URL to iCal, which then subscribes to that calendar:

The Link Subscribes you to the Schedule in iCal!

Then, when you then sync that calendar with your iPod or iPhone, you now have your personalized Conference schedule for each day on your iPhone:

After syncing, the sessions I selected show up in my iPhone. Fantastic!

The other web software that impressed me is the always-handy Internet Movie Database (IMDB). Whenever I’m stuck with that Now what other movie was that actor in?’ question or several like it, IMDB has been a godsend. While several sites are rolling out iPhone versions of the interface, IMDB does a spectacularly good job of it. The clear and sensible breakdown of an actor’s bio or film’s information lets you do that wonderful ‘swivel search’, where you can hop from actor to movie to cast to another actor to movie to director, etc. It keeps perfect track of your breadcrumb trail, and the performance, as well as excellent use of the ‘slide left’ animation for drilling down make it a real winner as an iPhone web app. I hope some of my other favourite sites roll out iPhone versions (Digg, Slashdot, Fark, BoingBoing and a bunch of other wonderful time-wasters, I hope you’re listening!)