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US Broadband Speed 18th Worldwide - Web Page Performance Thesis - Film vs. Digital - Majority of Americans Wireless - Japanese Broadband Nears 50% Fiber - Optimization Week of September 18, 2009

Optimization Week Issue #109, September 18, 2009

In this double issue we've got four new articles for you from the past few months, plus a film versus digital article. Your tireless author has been recharging on summer vacation while working on some client projects. First up in our most recent Bandwidth Report, we find that the average connection speed in the US is 18th worldwide. We track the fastest broadband countries and the fastest states, as well as the slowest. Second we summarize a Ph.D. thesis by T. K. Chiew that analyzes the performance of web pages. Using test web pages and custom software, Chiew found which factors effect web page display speed the most.

Next we found an excellent article on the film versus digital conundrum. Dr. Roger Clark shows that both resolution and signal to noise ratio are important when judging apparent image quality. His theory, fleshed out nicely in graphs and tables, helps explain how 35mm full frame cameras can sometimes outperform medium format film cameras. How does this tie into speed optimization you ask? Cleaner originals mean smaller file sizes after optimization. In related news, Leica has released the M9, a full frame digital rangefinder that accepts M-mount lenses. Next a PEW Internet survey found that most Americans use a wireless device of some kind to access the Internet. Finally, Japan has crossed a broadband milestone, by now more than 50% of their broadband users are on fiber connections.

US Broadband Speed 18th Worldwide - Delaware Broadband Fastest
The US came in 18th worldwide in average connection speed, growing at about half the worldwide average increase over the past year. Delaware had the fastest connection speed among the 50 states surveyed, while Washington DC had the slowest.
Web Page Performance Thesis
We summarize a Ph.D. thesis on web page performance that quantifies the key factors in web page response times. Using software to measure, model, and monitor response times the paper shows how improve user satisfaction by modifying the most important factors that affect display speed. A must read for web performance engineers.
Film vs. Digital
Dr. Roger Clark has shown that resolution alone does not properly quantify apparent image quality, the signal to noise ratio of the capture medium must be taken into account. Since digital cameras have higher signal to noise ratios that typical films, for an 18MP camera with twice the signal to noise ratio of film, the apparent digital camera megapixels can be doubled when compared to film. Thus an 18MP camera (such as the new Leica) with a high signal to noise ratio has an apparent image quality greater than that of a medium format 6x7 camera shooting Velvia 50! His "Apparent Image Quality" metric helps explain how people perceive prints from film cameras and digital cameras.
Leica Releases the M9
Leica has released the first full frame digital camera, the M9. Leica worked with Kodak to create a sensor that solved the inherent rangefinder problem of sharp angles from lenses close to the "film" plane by shifting micro-lenses on the edge of the CCD ship towards the center. Rangefinder (and view camera) lenses have been shown to have higher sharpness and contrast (which helps to make smaller file sizes from less noise) by utilizing more symmetric lens designs, avoiding the compromises of retrofocus lenses commonly found on SLR cameras. Zeiss is rumored to be working on a competitor, a digital version of the currently film Zeiss Ikon, another M-mount rangefinder.
Majority of Americans Wireless
More than half of all Americans have accessed the Internet by wireless means, according to a recent survey. WiMAX will spread to 120 million Americans by the end of 2010, and we debut a more accurate broadband survey.
Japanese Broadband Nears 50% Fiber
Japan is poised to break an important milestone this summer, with 50% of broadband users on high-speed fiber-optic lines. And the Japanese (along with Korea, the UK, and France) enjoy some of the lowest cost bandwidth available worldwide.