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Google Fiber
Apr 14th, 2016 by Ken Hagler

My apartment got Google Fiber yesterday, so I got it set up last night and cancelled my Time Warner internet service today. I get twenty times the bandwidth for $50 less per month. Google also allows their customers to plug in the box themselves instead of making them wait at home all day for an “installer” as cable companies do, and they even let people pick up the box from their office if they wish. That was a particularly nice touch, as I live just a few blocks away and normally walk past it a few times per week.

In addition to getting an Internet connection just as fast as my gigabit Ethernet wired network, I get about a 166 megabits per second over WiFi, which my AppleTV uses. The difference is pretty noticeable with Netflix and YouTube.

There is one aspect that could use improvement. The Google Fiber network box doesn’t have a bridge mode, which means I couldn’t use my old router. That required a certain amount of hassle with updating things on my network.

Clueless Cable Company
Nov 1st, 2014 by Ken Hagler

Yesterday around noon I signed out of my company VPN and fired up my VOIP software for a telephone meeting, only to find that the software (Jitsi) was unable to log in to my SIP account. A quick hardware check showed that no cables were loose and the indicator lights on my cable modem and router showed normal operation, so I launched Safari thinking I’d check my router’s admin console to see if I could find the problem.

Instead, I got a “notice” from Time Warner Cable telling me they were planning to improve the speed of their service in the near future. I had to acknowledge the notice, and after a lengthy pause (to make sure I saw it, apparently), it disappeared and everything was working normally again. The morons had actually highjacked my Internet connection just for that! I’m quite certain this was their idea of a sensible response to the impending arrival of Google Fiber in my area.

Clearly cable companies have no idea how to handle competition when they can’t just bribe politicians to give them a monopoly. I’m certainly signing up for Google Fiber the moment I can do so, and while it’s certainly nice that their service is much faster than what I get from Time Warner Cable, the fact is that I would still switch even if their service was the same speed, just to get away from a company run by idiots who think that interfering with my connectivity like that was a good idea.

Writing on the wall for Google Voice
Apr 20th, 2014 by Ken Hagler

The very useful GrowlVoice app has been killed off by Google, as part of their ongoing move to get rid of Google Voice in favor of Google Hangouts, which does none of the things Google Voice is useful for. I had replaced Skype shortly after the Microsoft purchase with a combination of services that work together, of which Google Voice is an important part. It’s unfortunate that Google seems determined to get rid of it in favor of something which does nothing I want and isn’t useful to me in the slightest. Still, their move against third-party apps like GrowlVoice is a pretty clear sign that I need to look for an alternative.

Reading the fine print
Apr 24th, 2013 by Ken Hagler

Provo doesn’t know where its fiber is, Google makes city spend $500,000 to find it.

On Tuesday, the Provo city council formally approved the transfer of its iProvo fiber network to Google, making the city the third metro area to gain that sweet, sweet gigabit service. Google is only paying $1 for the network, but in return it will have to provide a “basic 5-megabit” connection to all residents for seven years and provide free gigabit service to 25 public institutions.

As it turns out, though, it’s not such a good deal as it might seem. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Provo Mayor John Curtis also revealed Tuesday that the city now owes a total of an additional $1.7 million to keep those fiber-optic lights on.

The city must also pay “about $500,000 to a civil engineering firm to determine exactly where the fiber optic cables are buried, a requirement by Google,” the Tribune reported. “Curtis admitted that the construction company that installed the fiber cables underground did not keep records of where they buried all of them.”

[Ars Technica]

One part of this story in particular grabbed my attention because of Google’s recently announced plans to bring fiber to Austin:

As we reported previously, Provo taxpayers are still on the hook to pay off the city’s $39 million bond that was used to fund the network’s construction—the city still collectively owes $3.3 million in payments in the next 12 years.

If Google wants to be an honest business and make an investment in fiber infrastructure here in Austin, followed by charging people money to use it, great! But if they’re expecting the city government to steal money to pay them to do business here, then thanks but no thanks.

Interesting news
Apr 9th, 2013 by Ken Hagler

It’s official: Google Fiber is coming to Austin “by mid-2014”.

Just days after Google sent out a sneaky little announcement inviting the press to the Texas capital, the company has now confirmed what we’d all long suspected. Austin is slated to receive the gigabit speed of Google Fiber “by mid-2014,” with a “similar choice of products as our customers in Kansas City,” priced at “roughly similar to Kansas City.”

Google has been reticent to say what its broader plans are for bringing Google Fiber to other communities around the US—on Monday, two Wall Street analysts concluded that Google likely wouldn’t bring it to the rest of the country.

Currently, in the Kansas City area, the service comes in three options: a $120 per month package (which includes TV-over-IP and a DVR to go along with it), a $70 per month package (same gigabit speed, minus the TV), and an option to get your house “Google Fiber”-ready at a one-time construction cost of $300 (which can be split up over 12 months)—that will bring 5Mbps, for free, over seven years.

[Ars Technica]

There’s no mention of where, exactly, they’re going to be installing it. If it comes to my neighborhood I’ll certainly pay for the $70 package.

IT actually concerned about security
May 31st, 2010 by Ken Hagler

‘Microsoft We Don’t Feel So Good About’.

David Gelles and Richard Waters, in a piece titled “Google Ditches Windows on Security Concerns” in the Financial Times:

New hires are now given the option of using Apple’s Mac
computers or PCs running the Linux operating system. “Linux is
open source and we feel good about it,” said one employee.
“Microsoft we don’t feel so good about.”

[Daring Fireball]

I wish the “security” company I worked for had that much sense. Unfortunately, they make it as hard to get Mac (or Linux) machines as Google has made it to get Windows. And since the Powers That Be decided to “outsource” our entire IT department to a company that manufactures Windows PCs, I don’t expect that to change any time soon.

Wrong approach
May 26th, 2010 by Ken Hagler

Browser add-on blocks Google Analytics. Google has released an add-on for Web browsers that blocks information from being sent to its Analytics service. [MacCentral]

This is rather pointless, as Tor blocks Google Analytics, and any other form of spying on the Internet. Anyone who wants their browsing to be private is using it, which means that the people complaining about Google Analytics tracking their activity are only announcing their own ignorance or stupidity (or both).

Browsing the web without Tor and complaining about privacy is like standing on a crowded sidewalk and then complaining that people can see you.

Google Wave for RPGs
Oct 26th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Playing Online: Google Wave. Google Wave excites me because it is everything the other two mediums are. In my series, I said that there were two types of online roleplaying mediums – real-time and correspondence. Real-Time (chat, VTT) requires a greater time commitment but it is immediate and requires no effort of patience. Correspondence mediums (forum, email) have practically zero time commitment, but are slower and require great patience, and are more alien to tabletop gamers than real-time online mediums are.

Google Wave is a hybrid medium. It is both real-time and correspondence, when you choose for it to be. Google Wave is like a chat room with email-style archival, document-style accessible, immediate editing, and even forum-style multiplicity of threads and folders for organizing your material, that every player can quickly access and organize. Play-By-Posters and Play-By-Chatters will find in Google Wave everything their mediums used to do, and everything the other one did as well. [The Spirits of Eden]

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