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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