Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Race Between What and What?

Note this quote from the NY Times article: A Race Between Digital and Print Magazines.

“When Condé Nast, publisher of Wired, first launched the digital replica last year, thousands of ebullient readers across the land enthusiastically set out to read it in the new format, but many quickly grumbled online about the file size. Since then, the magazine file size has been cut in half, but it is still too cumbersome for today’s networks. Sarah Rotman Epps, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, said that the egregious size of files reflects the hope of many magazines to provide an exact replica of the print product.”

I found particularly interesting the editorial use of CUMBERSOME and EGREGIOUS SIZE—emotionally laden descriptors of Wired’s content and labeling thousands of readers as EBULLIENT - - - Interesting creation of perceptions -- attributing negative characteristics to ‘content’ while ridiculing the audiences’ unrealistically ‘high’ expectations. I think of this as the fruits of a well placed ‘blame the customer’ approach to infrastructure planning undertaken by profitized telecom monopolists.

Who dares to impugn Wired Magazine’s electronically delivered content—scorning its beautifully, artistically and graphically designed message? It’s as if a Road and Track test driver downgraded the performance of a Ferrari for having egregious speed and cumbersome steering on gravel roads. U.S. phone and cable companies operate the telecom equivalent of ‘gravel road’ infrastructure, which spawns the framing of Wired and other content providers as the bad guys for not restricting their message to what obsolete copper wires can carry.

Makes me wonder--who set the content standard? Is there a monitor managing the Internet gate with big signs posted—‘graphic intensive info need not apply’? Sadly, there is no signage – only the invisible reality of not being able to receive or send whatever content we choose — or in simpler language — those of us living in the U.S. don’t even know that we aren’t able to ‘speak’, much less ‘hear’ or ‘know’.

Folks in Hong Kong buy 1 Gigabit, symmetrical Internet for $26 dollars a month – a Gigabit is 1000 times faster than the 1 Megabit carried on U.S. high-speed networks. Symmetrical gigabit service means people can send AND receive graphics and videos in seconds from their home.

Speed matters. Speed=capacity=transporting Internet movies and graphics in seconds instead of hours and days, or more likely, never. Phone and cable companies own all the transport for Internet, including wireless, since towers must be connected by phone or cable landlines for signal backhaul. We humans are not capable of universal telepathy yet—so wireless signals are tethered by landlines to computer switches.

We might FEEL like we’re in a race between digital and print magazines, but we’re actually in a global, fiber-infrastructure-dependent, economic race with other countries. So far, we’re well on our way to last place.