South African pigeon is 'faster than broadband', where in China, we can use our cell phones in elevators, tunnels, etc...

winston.jpgA Durban IT company pitted an 11-month-old bird armed with a 4GB memory stick against the ADSL service from the country's biggest web firm, Telkom.

Winston the pigeon took two hours to carry the data 60 miles - in the same time the ADSL had sent 4% of the data.

Telkom said it was not responsible for the firm's slow internet speeds.

The idea for the race came when a member of staff at Unlimited IT complained about the speed of data transmission on ADSL.  He said it would be faster by carrier pigeon.

"We renown ourselves on being innovative, so we decided to test that statement," Unlimited's Kevin Rolfe told the Beeld newspaper.  The full story is carried on the BBC if you want to read more about Winston the data transfer pigeon.

But, the reason I wanted to make a note about this was to contrast it with an experience I had here recently in China.

A short time ago, I was on the way to the beach on a sunny Saturday.  On a lark, I pulled out a netbook that I was carrying to find out what kind of online speeds might be available on a cell phone modem.  (I was not driving, I was a passenger.)

And to my surprise, I was not only able to log on, read and send email and perform all functions as if I were still in the office.  I was also able to conduct an online chat with our web designer in the USA, while I was driving down the highway in China.  Then we entered a mile long tunnel passing through a granite mountain.  And we were still able to chat and send files to each other seamlessly.

Truth be told, it was a surprise --  but not that big of one.   A cell phone, I Phone, Blackberry or whatever your favorite flavor of remaining in touch with the world seems to work anywhere, anytime here in this part of the world.  Tunnels, elevators, underground parking garages and the like.

So, why is it that China is becoming one of the largest economies in the world?  Well in a certain sense they have earned the right.  They take becoming part of the larger world very seriously and if it costs a billion, zillion dollars to do something right, then they spend a billion, zillion dollars.  Why don't we?

Rather than say what they are doing is unfair, we might think about copying them.  For all they thought they were doing was copying us.