Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What's next for Google Fiber?

Google instantly dominated all other ISPs in speed after releasing their consistently fast service with a relatively small price tag... but what does the future hold for Google Fiber?

The United States is sinking into a quagmire of perpetually slow internet service, so much more visible when compared against the connection speeds of European and Asian ISPs. Thanks to a stagnant pool of national U.S. Internet providers, those that do exist have become complacent, as there are few other providers for customers to leave to (and certainly none that would be much better).

Google, the self-purported white knight of the technology world, swooped in recently to announce that they would be adding "Internet service provider" to their ever-increasing resume. The new service, going by the name of Google Fiber, would premiere in Kansas City only, so as to test the waters of a possible market.

Fiber offers three plans: the $120/mo. Gigabit + TV; $70/mo. Gigabit Internet; and the Free Internet for a one-time $300 activation fee (or $25/mo. for 12 months).

The price is excellent for buyers. Being very competitive, the prices are already something for the other ISPs to look out for. It only gets worse for the likes of Verizon and AT&T, though, as Netflix reported that on average, users of Fiber have considerably faster speeds than any other ISP listed, surpassing even the heavyweight champion of US providers: Verizon FiOs. Now there's blood in the water.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said on stage at The New York Times' Dealbook conference about a week ago that Google Fiber "isn't just an experiment, it's a real business and we're trying to decide where to expand next." This spells bad news for the fat-cat ISPs who have become too comfortable in their Internet thrones.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Anonymous vs. Westboro Baptist Church

Hacktivists become America's digital Robin Hood as they take up arms against WBC

Anonymous in Guy Fawkes mask"Identify. Resist. Progress. Evolve." 
   ~Purgingomen, on Anonymous

From behind the guise of Guy Fawkes, the hackers strike. Incur the wrath of Anonymous, and you can guarantee some sort of retribution. When Anon makes his move, he makes it swiftly, and he makes it big.

And now they've got the Westboro Baptist Church in their cross-hairs.

Who? The despicable Westboro Baptist Church, a religious hate group with a penchant for picketing the funerals of war veterans who were killed in battle. The Westboro Baptist Church is the First Amendment gone totally awry.

"God Hates Fags" reads many of the WBC signs, which conveys their belief that because of our "acceptance" of homosexuality in the U.S., we are being punished by God. The dead soldiers, they say, are evidence.

Why? For calling on members to picket at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in light of the recent slaying of 20 children (and several educators) by a deranged gunman. The Twitter post, by @DearShirley, read "Westboro will picket Sandy Hook Elementary School to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment." Talk about an all-around bad idea.

What? Anonymous, a loose collective of hackers with an anti-censorship agenda, had enough of the WBC and hacked the personal files of the "church's" key members. It has already dumped the info on pastebin, which included phone numbers, addresses, and more for the public to see.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Why I Signed the Death Star Petition

The government has been trying to narrow the gaping chasm between the People and the White House for some time now. One of their more recent endeavors is a (perhaps well-meaning) petition site by the name of We the People, where citizens can sign in to sign requests created by other regular people.
The Death Star, petitioned for on We the People, to the White House
The Death Star[1]

Sound nice?

Well, then came some petitions that might be considered a bit... silly. From requesting the disclosure of contact with extraterrestrials (if they hadn't before, why would they do so now?) to the removal of Jerry Jones as the owner of the Dallas Cowboys (which was later removed), the new system was already pushing its limits.

Currently, there is even a petition out there demanding the funding and construction of a real life Death Star by the U.S. government. Many critics of the petition are claiming that this is exactly why we can't have nice things -- namely, online petition services like We the People. After all, the construction of a Death Star would take hundreds of quadrillions of dollars (you read that right) and more raw material than we could obtain in many lifetimes.

Naturally, I am eager to sign it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Instagram breaks it off with Twitter

The Facebook-owned photo giant entirely removes photo integration on Twitter

Now we go to TMZ for the Insta/Twit break-up coverage
Twitter vs. Instagram?
Ouch! It looks like Instagram cut its final ties in photo integration with Twitter on Sunday, effectively breaking off the relationship between the two big services. Many tweeps found out the hard way, noticing that the photos they were so fervently sharing via Instagram became suddenly inaccessible on Twitter.

"Annoyed at Instagram for getting rid of the twitter integration. I hate actually clicking the Instagram link to view a photo," tweets @AlfredoFlores, and he's not alone in the sentiment. He was retweeted almost 5,000 times in under 9 hours.

End of the line, Tape Recorder

Sony to cease shipments of the cassette tape recorder in early 2013

Sony TCM-400DV tape cassette recorderGear up, fans of the tape recorder, because Sony has decided the time has come to let this particular gadget go the way of the Walkman. Shipments of the tape-recorder models TCM-400, TCM-410, and TCM-450 will be discontinued in "early 2013," but fear not, cassette lovers: Sony will continue production of portable boomboxes with CD / tape-deck combos for you to play those high-school mixtapes on!

For some readers, this may come as a shock -- not because the tape-recorders are being discontinued, but because they were still being shipped! The cassette is officially old-school tech, and in the time of Androids and iPads, even a few months of age doesn't hold up well. Kudos to the cassette for stickin' in there for so long.