Sunday, May 29, 2011


It just keeps shocking me; how slow downloads often are on tablets and phones, on perfectly good broadband connections. I have tablets/phones of four different brands (Apple, Dell, Samsung, Motorola), and it's the same: downloads of videos or apps are hideously slow compared to the same downloads happening on my desktop machine. Which is on the same connection of course.

I have not made scientific tests, but I would not be at all surprised if the difference on average is at least one full order or magnitude (1:10). It's really clear and really weird.

The only explanation I've heard is that solid state memory is much slower to write to than hard disks. But I doubt that this can be it, because then sometimes the download speed will be useful for real-time video watching, and other times it will take an hour to download 2MB. If it was the storage medium, you'd have even slowdowns. And they are not, in fact "uneven" is a central concept to understand re this phenom.

Example: I tried to download three apps to my iPad. It took half a day before I had them all. And then, trying to get downloads going for app updates, I gave up and just went to my Mac and told it to download all app updates. Including all the apps I don't currently use, there were seventy-four app updates of various sizes, some quite large. It downloaded them without trouble in like two minutes, boom boom boom, cha-dam, done.

Why this great incommensurateness in ability?

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