Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Speed matters, as Korea demonstrates again

As reported in The Korea Joongang Daily, commercial internet speeds are about to jump 100-fold next year.  As illustrated in the accompanying diagram, (click to see a full size version) this increase in speed will come with the introduction of a newly developed network called the Wavelength Division Multiplexed Passive Optical Network (WDM-PON).  Not surprisingly, this technical advance was announced by the state-run Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI).
The director of ETRI's optical access research team noted that this new network would offer the highest internet speed available anywhere in the world. “Such technology can send 10 gigabytes of data per second,” he noted. Current Internet networks can only send 100 megabytes per second, meaning they are 100 times slower. One byte is equal to eight bytes.
Readers of this blog will know my view on the importance of speed in next generation broadband networks.  See for example my post in February of this year.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A handful of nations resist the internet: Why?

South Korea these days has a flourishing information culture and would certainly have to be counted among the liveliest democracies in Asia.  On the other hand, certain other countries in the region have governments that are proceeding under the illusion that they can somehow harness or control the internet within their borders.   It is in this context that I noticed today's Washington Post article entitled "Iran preparing internal version of the internet."  Will this be the "great firewall of Iran"?

Monday, September 10, 2012

How Korean citizens search for news on the web

As followers of this blog are well aware, I've been very interested for a long time in the difficulty Google had in achieving any market share in South Korea. (if you're interested, just enter "Naver" in the search bar to the right and read some of the posts)  Here, despite having the fastest and most advanced broadband networks in the world, Google failed to achieve any significant market share in search until the arrival of the iPhone at the end of 2009.  Only four or five other countries in the world hold this distinction.
The continuing popularity of Naver as a "search" engine is mainly due to the fact that the service is offered entirely in the Korean language, but there is more to it than that.  Naver's services are fundamentally different than Google's, as described in this post.  Today's Korea Joongang Daily contains an article entitled "Portal sites scrutinized for selective search results."   Anyone who uses Naver will already know that sponsored search results are returned at the top of each search results page.  However, I found the accompanying graphic (click to see a full-size version) to be a rather startling indication of how dependent many Koreans have become on the major web portals as a guide to the news they read or view.  Do you agree?

The role of patents in the Apple-Samsung dispute

For those of you following the Apple dispute with Samsung (the real target being Google!) I recommend reading David Drummond's post on the official Google blog.   His post puts into perspective the manner in which Apple is using old patents in its legal battles and, I think, strengthens the argument I've been making in this space over the past several weeks.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Newsweek on Dodkdo: One-sided, tabloid journalism

I must confess that it seems Newsweek magazine, which I used to read, along with Time or U.S. News and World Report, is turning from a news magazine into a tabloid!  A few weeks ago it published a cover story by Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson with a photograph of President Obama accompanied by the headline "Hit the road Barack."  That was a clear hint that something has changed in the editorial approach at the magazine.   Then today I learned that Newsweek had published an article about Dokdo which is equally one-sided, opinionated and in my opinion very loose with its documentation of historical facts.
There are several aspects of the Newsweek article that should immediately send up a red flag for readers anywhere in the world.   First, it is written by a Japanese  correspondent in Tokyo.  Given that the subject of the article involves disputed versions of historical reality between some Japanese and most Koreans, this is questionable.  Second, I first read the article expecting to find some clear analysis of Japanes claims to Dokdo before 1905, when the process of Japan colonizing Korea was well underway.  It contains none.  These and other shortcomings make this Newsweek article is nothing more than a thinly veiled apology for the manner in which Japan views its history.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Who copied whom in the Apple-Samsung battle?

An article in The Chosun Ilbo today reinforces the argument I made in an earlier post about the design limitations for smart phones, given that they all contain a screen, an antenna, certain chips and so forth.  There are limits to what you can do with design, given that the final product must contain many of the same parts.
The most fascinating part of the article was the revelation, according to documents made public by the U.S. court, that Apple consulted mobile phone designs of Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics before it unveiled the iPhone in January of 2007!  The internal Apple document contained the accompanying diagram (click to see a full size version) comparing the iPhone to a Samsung Ultra Smart model.  So who copied whom?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Apple's real target is Google

As implied in the last paragraph of my recent post about the Samsung-Apple court verdict in California, Google is the real target Apple is after in its lawsuits around the world.   This is made clear in a nice article in Slate, entitled "Could Apple and Google Bury the Hatchet?"  I would only comment that, in comparison to Google, Apple may have some nice computing devices and services, but it promotes a rather limited and closed view of future information networks and services.