BBC News recently put up a visual map showing the internet growth from 1998 to 2008. You can scroll through each year and visually see when and where the internet started to grow.
It starts from 1998 where only a few countries had significant number of internet users. Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Netherlands, Denmark, and the United States were the only countries with at least 20% of the population online.
Within 10 years, it is astonishing how quickly the internet penetrated into our daily lives. It was only a decade ago that we all survived freely without the “internet” or “email”. Just 15 years ago, cell phones were novel as well. Now we are very dependent on these technologies – just the mere idea of surviving without them seems unfathomable.
A second tab shows internet user counts around the world. As of the time this post was written? 1,719,053,000 users. 214 billion emails sent TODAY, 455,500 blog posts written TODAY (we claim one of those!) and 2.285 Google searches TODAY. Don’t tell me we are not dependent on the internet!
Question of the Day:
What would happen if the internet crashed completely and we were unable to recover it for months?
What would happen? (anarchy? economy crashes? teens die by boredom?)
Internet Speeds Getting Faster, Asia Leads the Way
Internet speed around the world continues to become faster as technologies advance. That is not a surprise. However the speed difference between a country like Korea and the United States are quite startling.
South Korea, who already has the fastest connection in the world, continues to increase their national internet speed at the fastest rate as well. Korea owns 6 of the top 10 fastest cities in Asia and as a country averages 14.6 Mbps. Compare that to the United States where only 4.4% of users are above 10 Mbps. Korea averages 14.6 Mbps. In Korea 45.6% of users have connections above 10Mbps. 75% are connected above 5 Mbps while only 24% of the United States is at that level.
#1 Korea, #2 Japan, #3 Hong Kong… #12 United States
Compared to 2009, the distribution of connections in South Korea has risen in all the high speed categories. 16% of South Korean users are above 25 Mbps compare to only 1.9% for Japan who falls second in these rankings.
Those Asians are very fast aren't they!
Why the huge gap in South Korea?
The primary reason South Korea sits so far ahead in terms of connection speed, is that Korea has the infrastructure to do so. Back in the late 1990s there was a nationwide focus on developing cutting edge technology. The government built out the infrastructure necessary to get the entire country on high speed broadband. In the United States you have to walk into a Starbucks with an AT&T account or Borders to get some free wifi. Connections are now available everywhere you go. It has become part of the culture and an expectation.
Another more interesting topic, and worth it’s own blog posting, is South Korea’s obsession with Internet Gaming. South Korea could easily be considered the gaming capital of the world. The “elite” of the PC gaming world are often full fledged celebrities as thousands gathers in stadiums to watch the elite play each other on a game of Starcraft. These tournaments are broadcast nationally on TV by five national channels dedicated solely to gaming. Believe it. 1% of all TV watched is accounted for by these channels. That is a lot of people!
Korea has five major leagues for professional Starcraft alone. All the elite gaming teams know if they want fame, they need to travel to Korea to compete in tournaments. These “clans” get corporate sponsorships and wear corporate logos as if they were about to enter into a nascar race. It has become a popular desire for high school boys to pursue a career in being a professional gamer just as boys would want to become a professional basketball player. Even the “commentators” on these networks have become full fledged celebrities just as famous sports commentators.
Some 26,000+ Net cafes and game rooms are found all over the nation where people can come to pay to play games in a room full of fast computers and fast connections. These cafes make up around $6 billion a year from visiting gamers.
With gaming so tightly integrated with Korean culture, it is not surprising that the demand for faster high speed internet continues to raise the bar in terms of internet connection speeds across the nation.
*image source: thomascrampton.com
What are your initial reactions to Korea’s whopping internet speeds?
What are your opinions about the Korean PC Gaming Industry?
How do you feel about the fact that Korean boys dream and seek to become celebrity gamers?
How about the fact that elite gamers are even considered celebrities, with endorsements, fans and immense fame?
Nominees for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize includes a Russian human rights group, a Chinese dissident and of course the Internet.
The Internet to Win the Nobel Peace Prize?
Yes, the Internet was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This is the year after Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for doing nothing at the time he won. It sparked a lot of debate on the value of the Nobel Peace Prize as well as the whether the committee should ever award a nomination based on “potential” rather than concrete actions. Before discussing the Internet, let’s note the other real-human candidates that are known at this time.
Svetlana Gannushkina – Russian Human Rights
One nomination is a Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina and her group “Memorial”. Nominated by Erna Solberg, the head of Norway’s Conservative Party, this organization often leads the criticism against the Kremlin.
“These are people who are at the forefront of human rights and are putting their lives at risk for their work,” Solberg told The Associated Press.
Liu Xiaobo, Chinese Dissident
Kwame Anthony Appiah, president of the PEN American Center and a Princeton philosophy professor mentioned that he had nominated Liu Xiaobo. Liu Xiaobo is a Chinese dissident who was jailed by the government. Kwame Anthony Appiah says that he nominated Liu due to his “distinguished and principled leadership in the area of human and political rights and freedom of expression.” The Chinese government is obviously against this nomination.
“It would be completely wrong for the Nobel Prize committee to award the prize to such a person,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu
George Ryan, Former Illinois Governor
Francis A. Boyle, a law professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, nominated Former Illinois Governor George Ryan who is currently in jail for federal corruption charges. He was nominated for his campaign to abolish the death penalty.
Would they really give the Nobel Peace Prize to the Internet?
Last year’s choice of Obama already stirred a great deal of controversy as Obama had just joined office and had no real accomplishments that warranted the prize. Some felt that it cheapened the Award.
This year, some speculate that due to the controversy the committee may select a conservative winner. Others say that last year is just more evidence that we can expect anything.
Alfred Nobel left simple, vague instructions on how to select winners in his 1895 will. It was to promote “fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies”. It was meant for people who promoted peace through what they did. This definition has since been broadened by the Nobel Committee to also include human rights activist and the protection of the environment. The Nobel Committee is appointed by Norway’s parliament.
Why mention Nobel Peace Prize on this Blog?
The mere fact that the Internet is being nominated for what is considered one of the greatest awards today speaks volumes about how central internet has become.
Plus the internet is a mixed bag. Yes the internet has brought upon great proliferation of information and news. Yes, it has connected people from all around the world. It has opened new doors and opportunities to collaborate. It has truly been amazing. However we also know the Internet has caused a whole new set of emotional issues. It has opened the world to wide spread pornography and other degrading material for easy access to all ages. It has caused more people to waste more time staring at a screen whether it be simply cruising the internet or playing online multi-player video games. Our children grow up watching 8 hours of screen time a day, a huge chunk of that watching videos or tv shows on the Internet. 8 hours per day. There are many studies and professionals who mourn at the influence of media on our children’s development.
Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Process
Before getting carried away, let’s remember that numerous people are nominated every year for the Nobel Peace Prize. The information regarding who was nominated is not released by the Nobel Foundation until 50 years after the prize, but some information is made public by the ones who nominate the candidate. Yes the Internet was nominated, but in the past so was Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, and believe it or not Adolf Hitler, thought the latter was done out of protest to the nomination of a different candidate. Meanwhile candidates like Mohandas Gandhi was nominated several times but never awarded.
What is your first gut reaction to this news?
What do you think? Does the Internet warrant consideration?
Do you think if the Internet wins the Nobel Peace Prize, it cheapens the Prize?
Have you ever heard of a viral video that no one has seen? A group called Focus on the Family has shot a pro-life spot featuring the college superstar and former Heisman Winner Tim Tebow. The spot will star Tim Tebow and his mother who will discuss how she went against the doctor’s advice to abort her son due to a life threatening infection. After contracting a dangerous infection during a mission trip to the Philippines, doctors recommended she terminate her pregnancy, fearing she might die during childbirth. They named their son “Timmy” who later was known to the world as Tim Tebow, the University of Florida’s Quarterback who led his team to national championships in 2006 and 2008. He also won the Heisman Trophy in 2007.
Tim Tebow is the biggest star in college football, if not considered one of the greatest college football player to ever play at that level. He is also known for being born in the Philippines while his parents were in the mission field and still frequently joins his father on mission trips there. He also ministers to prisoners during the off-season.
As soon as this news broke out, women’s group started to ask CBS to drop the ad. So far CBS has declined their request.
“I know some people won’t agree with it, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe… that’s the reason I’m here, because my mom was a very courageous woman. So any way that I could help, I would do it.” – Tim Tebow
CBS’s Stance on Controversial Super Bowl Ads
CBS has run into similar controversies before. Back in 2004, CBS had rejected a Super Bowl ad from a “liberal-leaning United Church of Christ” that highlighted their welcoming stance towards gays and others who felt shunned by conservative chruches. This ad would be one of the first advocacy ads accepted by CBS during the big game.
When CBS was asked to comment on their current stance of allowing this ad to air, they replied that their past stance of rejecting any controversial ad as they saw fit “did not reflect public sentiment or industry norms”.
“We have for some time moderated our approach to advocacy submissions after it became apparent that our stance did not reflect public sentiment or industry norms.” – Dana McClintock CBS Spokesperson
Growing Discussions on Facebook and Twitter
One of the interesting developments, is with the rise of social media, this topic has resulted in tons of discussions and activities in sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Both sides have started to form groups, throwing their support for or against this ad. Below are the largest growing groups on Facebook:
Online buzz is continuing to ramp up and will inevitably become larger as Super Bowl Sunday nears. The question is what will CBS do? Freedom of Speech? Avoid the Controversy? One thing that is certain – once it airs, it will spread quickly across the web and there will be numerous discussions over this video spot. The discussions are already heating up.
What do you think? Should CBS Air the Super Bowl Ad?
Should CBS air this ad?
Should CBS have aired the ad from 2004?
Should controversial ads be allowed to air? Why or Why not?
Another interesting point noted by a commenter on the web:
Since the mother made her “choice” would this still fall under a celebration of “pro-choice” or is that at this point just semantics and “pro-choice” is just support for abortion? (this is assuming the ad doesn’t attack the idea of choice)
Kaiser Family Foundation released their most recent media usage study. Six years ago they found the usage of 8 to 18 year old was about 6 hours and 21 minutes of media consumption a day. This recent study shows that the media consumption rate has risen to 7 hours and 38 minutes. That is almost as much time as adults spend at work except remember that adults only work 5 days a week.
The amount of media consumed by children has always been a point of concern as media has been found to have great affects in molding a child’s view of the world. It has become all the more important that parents watch over what their children are consuming and what kind of message they are taking in.
Some things parents can do are to regulate what kind and what type of media their children consume. Another is to watch what your kids are watching together so you can explain how best to process the message it portrays. Another is to ensure internet safety for kids with tools that can supervise online activities.
For the first time, Traditional TV consumption actually fell as other mediums such as video games, music, online media and movie watching has increased. What is even more wild is that kids are often watching multiple forms of media at once. The actual consumption of media was found to be closer to 10 hours and 45 minutes.
“Several risks to pediatric health are literally staring children in the face. It’s time to call the doctor.”
Want to share this old, but great article from the Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin. Very interesting points about how media cuts into many issues such as obesity, eating disorders, attention disorders, violence, sex, and drug use and how Medical Professionals need to deeply consider how much media has an influence on the development of these.
Search engines had no choice but to comply to the Chinese government’s demands in order to make inroads into China’s 1.3 billion population. Thus it is big news today that Google announced they will no longer comply and will pull out of China if needed be. This was partially a response to a sophisticated and targeted attack on their corporate infrastructure. Google found an organized attack that originated from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property. It was an attack targeting 20+ large companies from different range of businesses. However what made this attack significant was that there is strong evidence that the primary goal of the attacker was to access the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activist. They also discovered that independent of this attack, that the email accounts of these human right activist were “routinely accessed by third parties” via phishing scams and malware placed on their computer.
Chinese Censorship History
China has been heavily criticized in the past for unfairly monitoring and putting down human rights activist. In the Beijing Olympics, China communicated as if their people were free to voice their opinions but had strict and often unfair methods of jailing anyone who would protest (most protests has to do with human rights). The Chinese government is also notorious for unfairly jailing activist as well as people of faith.
Google’s Stance on Chinese Censorship over Time
When Google launched in china, they noted “we will carefully monitor conditions in China, including new laws and other restrictions on our services. If we determine that we are unable to achieve the objectives outlined we will not hesitate to reconsider our approach to China.” It seems Google has finally had it and has thrown down the gauntlet.
“These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered–combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web–have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.”
Basically, no more censorship or we bounce. The choice is up to China. Whether other search engines will follow suit is still to be determined.
This isn’t the first time Google and China butted heads. China’s CIIRC (China Internet Illegal information Reporting Center) has several times made demands for specific items to be blocked and has even blocked full sites like Google, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr when sites did not meet their demands.
Search Engine Shares in China: Google, Baidu, MSN, Yahoo
Yahoo had long ago pulled out of direct competition in China but since then took the tactic of making investments into local search players. Yahoo has been sued several times by pro-democracy advocates who claimed Yahoo gave personal information to the Chinese authorities. In November ComScore showed that Baidu had 62.2% of the Chinese search market while Google only had 14.1%, MSN at 5.1%. However Analysys International, a research firm in Beijing, said that Baidu’s share was closer to 58.4% in Q4 compared to 35.6% in Google. As of last tuesday, Baidu’s shares jumped in stock price.
How will China Respond to Google’s Stance on Censorship
How will China response? This is not just an issue between Google and China, but a political issue. Google doesn’t have the power to convince China to change it’s ways and China will not lose out on much by letting Google go, however China can’t be happy with bad press they are receiving through this ordeal and the political aftermath if Google eventually has to leave.
[UPDATE] As expected, China gave an indifferent response. Basically anyone who wants to do business in China must follow their laws. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu, “The Chinese government administers the Internet according to law and we have explicit stipulations over what content can be spread on the Internet.” If Google sticks to their guns, they’ll have to simply move their way out of China. But should they?
What do you think? Will Google have to leave or will there be some resolution?
What is your position on this?
Will China ever blink or will they continue to hold an iron grip on it’s media?
Avatar recently screamed past the $1 billion mark, easily placing itself as the second highest grossing film in history right behind titanic, which not by coincidence was also directed by James Cameron.
Everyone has heard the talk. The CG is stunning. The immersive land of Pandora is breathtaking. Viewing a movie in 3D finally was worth the extra $2-3. All that talk is true. It’s really an awesome piece of work and the visuals is well worth the ticket price.
When you visit movie sites and read the user reviews, you would think this is the movie of the century. A+’s all around. Best movie ever. Highest praises you could possibly mark. But is Avatar the best movie ever?
2009 seems to have gone in a blur. Every year seems to go faster the one before!
As we look back at the films of 2009, it was really a huge for the film industry. Several movies had record-breaking box office figures and we saw the success of more sequels then ever before. As we speak Avatar, a movie that cost half a billion dollars to get out, is ringing up the box office.
How many transformer movies were there? How many alien movies? How many remakes of old series? Batman returned with a bang. Terminator returned with a thud. So did Star Trek. The fantasy genre is exploding off the coattails of Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter now followed by vampires and greek mythology. Comic book movies continue to be popular from Wolverine to Watchmen. Pixar continues to bring out masterpieces such as UP (saw it, loved it) and others produce movies that breaks my heart because it truly is a depiction of our degrading culture: Bruno (did not see it).
I barely remember but luckily through the power of YouTube and the people’s desire to create mashups of just about everything, we can watch this 2009 film mashup. Enjoy.
What was the best film you saw in 2009?
What was the worst movie you saw in 2009?
I’ll start – Best: UP (Pixar) & Star Trek (J.J. Abrams) – Ok I cheated and picked two. Worst: Knowing (we went expecting to watch Monsters vs Aliens, then we switched… never watching anything nicholas cage is in again).
Google still reigns the search world with 65% search share (data from comScore Oct). Yahoo currently holds shy of 19% search share though that figure is expected to rise once the Yahoo/ Microsoft deal is complete.
You’ll find the data quite revealing about what our culture truly cares about.
Note that these are searches on Yahoo & Bing. This does not include Google.
AMP UP / Pepsi Iphone App “Before You Score” Gone too Far?
Pepsi has been known as a company not afraid to push limits and try out new innovative methods in reaching it’s potential consumers. Have they gone to far?
“Before You Score” AMP UP
AMP’s latest attempt to utilize social media became a huge controversial issue. AMP is an energy drink company owned by Pepsi. They have always utilized guy-centric advertising focusing on extreme sports and women. Their marketing approach is a tamer version of another company called AXE who uses extremely risque and degrading advertising.
AMP launched an Iphone app called “before you score” that helps men score with women. Within the application itself, the app breaks down women into 24 categories and provides various pickup lines and suggestions. Examples of such categories are “Rebound Girl”, “Twins”, “Foreign Exchange Student” and even “Married”. Depending on the type of person she is, it is suggesting specific things to say as well can be used to find specific places to eat. The whole point is to convince the subject that you share her interest with the overall goal of getting them into bed. The iTunes store has a description that says “roadmap to success with your favorite kinds of women”.
Let’s think about the culture pepsi is promoting here.
Average American watches 153 Hours of TV & online 68 Hours per Month
A new report for the Nielsen Company reported that in September 2009, the average U.S. Internet user spent approximately 68 hours online per month. The figure may not seem all that staggering, but consider this: The average American watches 153 hours of television per month (1Q 2009) [Nielsen’s A2M2 Three Screen Report].