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Tech Dominates Top Brands

In a testament to the impact technology has had on our lives and the world we live in, research company Millward Brown released a report on the top 100 brands yesterday, with the top four spots taken by technology companies. Google ranked number one, followed by IBM, Apple, and Microsoft, all literally household names cemented into our culture. The top twenty rounded out with other companies such as Oracle, Verizon, Hewlett-Packard, and RIM, makers of the venerable Blackberry. In a sign of the times, it is clear computing and wireless technologies have become cornerstones of daily business and personal life.  A few Chinese technology companies also appear on the list, including carrier China Mobile, signifying the value of the rapidly growing Asian market.

Clearly this trend will only continue, with our work and homes dominated by a growing reliance on technology. Only time will tell if this is a good or bad thing of course, with technology providing everything from communication and news, mobile computing , business applications, and ways to stay instantly connected to friends, family, and even work. What will the future hold? What will be the next great technological leap? Will Google take over the world? Will there ever be anything that trumps the mainstay Windows operating system?  What will the next killer app be, and wouldn’t you like to be the one that turns it into a household name? Post your thoughts and ideas! Feed the ether!

The top ten is below and you can view the full list here:

Brand Value
No. 1. Google $114.2 billion
No. 2. IBM $86.3 billion
No. 3. Apple $83.3 billion
No. 4. Microsoft $76.1 billion
No. 5. Coca-Cola $67.3 billion
No. 6. McDonald’s $66.0 billion
No. 7. MarlboroAltria $57.0 billion
No. 8. China Mobile $52.6 billion
No. 9. General Electric $45.0 billion
No. 10. Vodafone $44.4 billion

ISPs Cry, Consumers Lose

Lately ISPs have been claiming the high usage of bandwidth is forcing them to take steps to manage the traffic on their networks. A few have taken some controversial steps like Comcast, who have caused an uproar over capping file transfers on peer to peer networks like Bit Torrent. There has also been some cases where Comcast has dropped a connection altogether because of some capped limit that they will not disclose. They even modified their terms of use without even telling their customers. Time Warner is currently testing a tiered pricing model in Texas. Tiered usage isn’t that big a concern to me, since I do not use a high amount of bandwidth in my daily online activities from home, despite the fact that I’m a system administrator who connects to the office network via VPN quite frequently. So if my ISP decides to roll out tiered pricing I really don’t care.

My only problem with all of this is that current U.S. bandwidth speeds pale in comparison to other countries around the world. If users hogging bandwidth is causing ISPs to consider these things to handle the loads, then why aren’t they increasing bandwidth amounts to the same levels as the rest of the world? I remember reading a report that the U.S. is currently ranked dismally low on the list, so if bandwidth is an issue, why aren’t they just increasing the amount available to consumers instead of trying to add all of this control to what users do?? It doesn’t really make any sense.

This is probably because the ISPs are making buckets of money charging you for very little in the way of speed, and they want to keep it that way. Most ISPs contacted by Computerworld for a story on this all claimed their networks were robust enough to handle the loads….yet here they are complaining that high bandwidth users are causing problems. Rather than asking them why bandwidth speeds aren’t comparable to the rest of the world, which would likely ease any problems the ISPs are crying about, the media is simply helping them spin the idea that there must be caps, controls, or tiered levels.

This is just plain ridiculous, and users in America should instead be demanding better speeds that are comparable with other offerings around the world. Even South Korea has us beat by a huge margin, as well as other countries in comparison. Consumers on that side of the pond have more bandwidth then they know what to do with, and the United States continues to slip from it’s spot as a world leader in technology and innovation. Feel free to post your piece on this one.

Just to give you an idea, here’s a short list of median speeds around the world in megabits per second. These tend to be higher in some cases. I’ve read reports of Japan having upwards of 100Mbits/sec. A 40Mbit/sec connection is also dirt cheap there:

Japan ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 61 Mbits/sec
S. Korea ||||||||||||||||||||||| 46
Finland |||||||||| 21
Sweden ||||||||| 18
Canada |||| 8
U.S. || 2

Computerworld editor Preston Gralla has been talking about this on his blog for some time, check out some of the info there @: Another anemic showing for U.S. broadband

So why should consumers get shafted by the ISPs just because some movie/music/software freaks/pirates are sucking up bandwidth? The actions of a few are going to affect the speeds of everyone, and that just isn’t fair to consumers who already pay too much for too little. There is also the fact that legit video viewing is beginning to take up a large part of the internet, with YouTube gobbling up nearly 10% of all traffic. This is a natural outgrowth of the net, but ISPs are not even interested in increasing capacity. It’s all about the bottom line and how much they can get from you for the paltry speeds they provide and that isn’t going to change unless the FCC tracks true usage, which it refuses to do, and the government starts taking steps to ensure better broadband access.