Thursday, January 26, 2012

New e-book: Telecommunications and Transformation in Korea: A Personal Perspective

Over the past several months I've been working on a short book, and I'm pleased to tell you that it is now available through Amazon's Kindle Direct publishing program.  The book is entitled Telecommunications and Transformation in Korea:  A Personal Perspective.   (click on the cover graphic at left to see a larger version) It is more of a personal story than an academic publication, and it also represents a conscious effort on my part to try out the e-book genre.  In an important sense, the book simply expands upon thoughts that I've already published in this blog.
A word of warning to those of you who follow this blog.  I'm still working out some of the fine points of personal digital publishing, so I welcome any and all comments that you might have about the content and formatting of the e-book.  I will make an effort to respond promptly to all serious comments and criticisms.
My plan is to use this blog as a venue for dialogue with readers about the book.  So, let me know what you think!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What's behind the popularity of the Galaxy Note

This week I traded in my iPhone 3GS for a Galaxy Nexus and I can report that I'm enjoying every minute of using the new device.  I always did like ice cream sandwiches!  
However, the most popular mobile device in South Korea these days seems to be the Galaxy Note.  Marketwatch reports on an interesting international survey that provides evidence for some of the key reasons that the Note is so popular.   If I did not already have a Galaxy Tab, I would have been tempted to go with the Note.

Growth of Skype versus International Phone Traffic

Telegeography has released a report that compares the growth of international phone traffic with that of Skype PC to PC calling. As shown in the accompanying graphic (click to see a full size version, while international phone traffic growth has slowed to the low single digits, TeleGeography projects that cross-border Skype-to-Skype traffic will grow 48 percent in 2011, to approximately 145 billion minutes.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The flow of luxuries and information into North Korea

The Wall Street Journal carried an interesting article today entitled "Luxuries Flow into North Korea." It provides additional evidence for a thesis I've presented many times in this blog.  North Korea faces a dilemma when it comes to the new digital, internet-connected communication technologies.  Adopting and using them makes it more difficult to control the flow of information into the country, but not using them is well nigh impossible.  As the article notes, an examination of U.N. and Chinese trade data reveals that exports to North Korea of products including cars, tobacco, laptops, cellphones and domestic electrical appliances all increased significantly over the last five years. Most items crossed the border from China. (Click on the accompanying graphic to see a full size version.) Since 2007, North Korea's imports of cars, laptops and air conditioners have each more than quadrupled, while imports of cellphones have risen by more than 4,200%, with the vast majority of items coming from China, according to the U.N. data. Chinese customs data show those trends continuing in 2011. The article contains some vital insight into UN Sanctions, designed to force North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. "The sanctions don't work because as long as China allows the export of luxury goods, the North Korea elite will be paid with them to support the regime," said Jiyoung Song, an associate fellow at London-based think tank Chatham House, who has studied North Korea since 1999. At the same time, she added, "Things like DVDs and mobile devices will help to change North Korean society in a gradual manner by teaching them about the outside world, and showing them these things don't just come through the benevolence of their leaders." She said she had interviewed a North Korean defector last year—the daughter of a trade official—who claimed she had been given an iPad and two laptops by the "Dear Leader," as Kim Jong Il was known.