Exploring the impact of broadband and technology on our lives, our businesses, and our communities.

Part II: Who needs a Gig?

The incumbents love to ridicule Gig connections. AT&T sneered at the whole concept until Google announced they were going to do Gig fiber in Austin. About eight minutes later AT&T announced they had found a sudden need for Gig service in the Austin area (but nowhere else in the country...apparently Austin is "special" in AT&T's mind).

The folly of avoiding shared broadband infrastructure

The main four lane road near my home has been getting Yet Another Fiber Cable (YAFC). By my count, there are now five, count'em, five cables installed in the right of way on one side of the road or the other. All placed there within the past fifteen years, and includes the phone company, the cable company, and three private fiber providers. Why three private providers? The county has built three schools in a row, and they all want the school business. It is so profitable that three different companies are building private fiber and fighting for the business.

Technology News:

Internet coffee maker Bruvelo: I want one

The great Hunter S. Thompson said, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." I wrote a couple of days ago about an Internet-enabled Mr. Coffee. But already, that coffee maker seems old and tired. It seems like the Internet coffee maker market just turned pro. Look at the features of the Kickstarter Bruvelo.

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Things I never knew I needed....

The venerable "Mr. Coffee" coffee maker has received an upgrade, and is now "smart," according to the Mr. Coffee company. You can now buy a "Mr. Coffee Smart Coffee Maker" that can be controlled from your smartphone. You still have to load up the machine with water and coffee grounds manually, but you can hit the Start button while still in bed...or something. What's next? A "smart" vacuum cleaner? A "smart" Swiffer mop? Is the Internet is making us stupid and lazy?

Technology News:

HealthTap is a good example of what is coming

HealthTap for the iPhone and iPad provide a good glimpse of why bandwidth is important and how healthcare is going to be changed by the Internet. The service provides access to tens of thousands of doctors and health care specialists, both on a pay as you go basis and a "concierge" subscription service. For $99/month you may be able to get HealthTap access to your own doctor, as well as other specialists.

Intelligent Community Forum announces 2015 Smart21 candidates

The Intelligent Community Forum has announced the twenty-one community candidates for 2015. This year's submissions come from diverse locations ranging from Kazakhstan to Kenya and Taiwan to the United States. The Smart21 represent a cross section of the world with five communities from the United States, four from Australia and four from Taiwan as well as three Canadian cities. Plus one each from Kazakhstan, Brazil, Japan, Kenya and New Zealand.

Community news and projects:

Brain Gain: Worth a read

I was fortunate enough to read an advance copy of Brain Gain: How Innovative cities create job growth in an age of disruption. The book does something which is too often overlooked: Making the case that broadband investments have to be thoughtfully linked to broader community and economic development goals. The book is written by the founders of the Intelligent Community Forum, Robert Bell, Louis Zacharilla, and John Jung.

Community news and projects:

Put the Google glasses down and join real life

How about this for a future trend? Being treated for Google Glass addiction...A patient who checked into a rehab facility was experiencing involuntary physical tics (constantly tapping his temple to turn the glasses on), and among other issues, was experiencing dreams in which the dream itself was being viewed in Google Glass. There were other psychological issues with the patient, so it is not clear which came first.

Apple is playing the long game

Apple stock continues to bounce around a bit. Apple's mis-steps with a botched iOS 8 release and the supposed "bendable" iPhone 6 triggered a predictable round of Apple-hating pundits writing articles proclaiming that Apple is doomed! Doomed! Meanwhile, Apple is selling phones as fast as they can make them....sure proof the company is doomed.

Technology News:

All I want for Christmas is a 3D printer

I get asked all the time a variant of the same question: "Isn't this whole Internet thing just about done?" What they are trying to ask is if most of the interesting stuff has already happened. If we were talking about the impact of the automobile, then we are only at about 1920, when Henry Ford began mass producing cars and they really started to become affordable.

Another things people ask me is, "What can you do with all that bandwidth?"

Broadband has to be available and affordable, and competition is the only way to get both.

The Motley Fool connects the dots on the FCC community broadband debate correctly by noting that while a majority of Americans do indeed have "little broadband" via cable or phone companies, a much smaller number actually have the luxury of competitive choices. And how you define "competition" narrows most choices significantly. In Blacksburg, we would probably be listed as have a choice of two carriers for broadband: the phone company and the cable company.

I'm not convinced I need a smart home

Following on the ridiculously over-priced acquisition of the smart thermostat company (Nest) by Google--they spent BILLIONS on a thermostat, we are now seeing . If you read the language about the ZEN thermostat, they are taking a direct swipe at the over-priced and over-rated Nest thermostat.

Technology News:

Why fiber? One business experience tells the whole story....

If you are an elected official or an economic developer, everything you wanted to know about why high performance, affordable fiber networks are important is contained in this one story:

Community news and projects:

G.fast: Not coming quickly to a neighborhood near you

Here is a short article on the technical characteristics of G.fast, the "solution" that is supposedly going to allow the telephone companies to compete with the cable companies.

Don't want to click through and read it? Here is the short summary:

Technology News:

Death of TV, Part LXVII: Tablet TV, Aereo, and cutting the cable

Tablet TV is a new venture that takes us back to the fifties, when everyone had a TV antenna on top of the house. Perhaps taking a hint from Aereo and its problems, Tablet TV has localized the Aereo concept. Where Aereo had thousands of centralized antennas that grabbed over the air digital TV signals in major markets, Tablet TV gives users an inexpensive, small box and antenna that grabs local over the air signals.

Knowledge Democracy:

Technology News:

Death of TV: Part LXV: The end of the beginning

This is my sixty-fifth article about the death of TV, and I see now that we are at the end of the beginning. Why? ABC News recently began broadcasting a news channel on Apple TV, which is significant in its own right, but ABC has just announced that they are now including local news from Boston, Honolulu, and Albuquerque on that channel. One of the two things that keeps most people tied to their hideously antiquated cable and satellite subscriptions is access to local news (the other is live sports).

Knowledge Democracy:

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Fiber and Economic Development: Yes, there are positive impacts

WideOpen Networks has a nice piece out about the impact of fiber on community economic development.

Slow news day in KC: Breaking!!! Eleventy! Google fiber crews mark utilities before digging!

It must have been a really slow news day in Kansas City, where Google Fiber crews continue to install fiber in neighborhoods and install underground drops to homes. In what teeters perilously on the verge of parody, local TV station KMBC breathlessly reports on the horror of utility marking done by fiber crews prior to digging.


"....spraypaint markings--what sounds like the work of vandals...."

Community news and projects:

Technology News:

Apple, Amazon dominate tablet usage

This report from Chitika Insights shows Apple tablets utterly dominate the Web use space, with 78% of the traffic coming from Apple tablets. Amazon is in second place with a little over 7%. Samsung is third, but Amazon's Kindle tablet traffic is growing while Samsung's traffic is shrinking.

The disparity between Apple users and every other tablet combined is a testament to Apple's tightly integrated hardware and software and the company's attention to the user experience.

Technology News:

The Cloud: Pay a fortune and own nothing

More and more "stuff" is moving to the cloud. Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, and Amazon are just four of the biggest companies that are trying to get us to put everything in the cloud so we can pay a monthly fee to get to our "stuff." The problem with this is that from a customer perspective, the "cloud" does not scale up well from a pricing perspective.

Knowledge Democracy:

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