Thursday, September 10, 2009

Winston the Homing Pigeon Beats Telkom

It's like something out of Terry Pratchett's Going Postal: the flesh and blood Winston the Homing Pigeon has soundly defeated the high tech South African ISP Telkom in a 50 mile data transfer race.

Kevin Rolfe, IT manager for The Unlimited, orchestrated the stunt to highlight the poor internet service in South Africa, home to next year's World Cup soccer tournament.

Winston left Pietermaritzburg with a 4GB memory card strapped to his leg and flew the 50 miles to Durban where the data was downloaded on his arrival. At the same time a broadband data transfer was made between Unlimited offices in the same two cities.

In spite of poor weather conditions the entire transfer by pigeon took 2 hours, 6 minutes, and 57 seconds.

At the completion of his flight, the online data transfer was at 4%, making pigeon transfer 25 times as fast as using Telkom's DSL.

You can follow Winston on Facebook.

Terry Pratchett Books
Yahoo News Canada
Mail & Guardian Online (photo)

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