N&O runs horrible broadband op-ed

January 29th, 2015

The Google Fiber op-ed that ran in today’s N&O entitled “Google Fiber deal not in best interest of NC public” is so godawful that I don’t even know where to begin. Written by Dawson Gage, who calls himself an “IT worker, freelance writer, and aspiring law student,” it is incredibly misinformed on so many levels:

I rejoiced when my family first got broadband Internet when I was about 13, but I doubt it has made any of our lives richer or more productive. The usefulness of computers, for the most part, has little enough to do with how fast they are. No one wants delivery vans and school buses that go 20,000 mph.

Is Gage actually suggesting that life isn’t richer than in the days of dialup? Before YouTube, NetFlix, Wikipedia, Facebook, and Google? Apparently, having a mind-blowing amount of the world’s information instantly available isn’t rich or more productive enough for him. I bet he’s a big fan of the abacus.
Read the rest of this entry »

Google Fiber: fast download AND upload speeds

January 29th, 2015

fiber_house
Most of the local news stories I’ve read about Google Fiber coming to Raleigh highlight the ability to “download YouTube videos quickly.” Quickly downloading the stuff you’ve always downloaded is cool, but it isn’t an Earth-shattering use case. The real value of Google Fiber is that Google treats the Internet the way it should be treated – like a two-way street.

Other broadband providers will sell you fast connections but those connections are strictly asymmetrical. You may get a 15 Mbps download speed but you’ll only get a 1 Mbps upload speed. You see, Big Telecom wants you to treat you as a “consumer,” meaning you’ll take whatever the media companies choose to give you. They don’t think of you as having anything to bring to the conversation.

Google Fiber is different. Not only can you get 1 Gbps download speeds, you also get equally fast 1 Gbps upload speeds! Your download and upload speeds are equal, exactly how God intended. You become a full partner in the Internet, able not only to download at blazing speeds a multitude of cat videos from YouTube but able offer up your own. Or, you can hold videoconferences with your friends without being interrupted by buffering. Or play video games with others without sluggishness.
Read the rest of this entry »

An Introduction to Google Fiber

January 28th, 2015

An_Introduction_To_Google_Fiber_cover

One of the most useful things I got out of yesterday’s Google Fiber press conference (well, aside from a sweet Google Fiber water bottle) is an insightful booklet called “An Introduction To Google Fiber.” It basically spells out what the next steps are for the Google Fiber rollout.

Of particular interest is the question of “how do I get Google Fiber in my neighborhood?” Google’s answer?

Our approach is to build where people want us.

Fiber optic cable will travel into your neighborhood into boxes called telecom cabinets. One of these cabinets can serve you and a few hundred of your neighbors with Fiber — we call this grouping your “fiberhood”.

That’s where you come in. For us to bring Google Fiber to you — i.e. for us to light up your local telecom cabinet with working Google Fiber service and then for us to bring that service right down the street and up to your house — you and your neighbors first need to tell us you want us. Each fiberhood will have a sign-up goal that you can see on our website by entering your address — and the process is transparent, so you and your neighbors can see how close your fiberhood is to the goal.
Read the rest of this entry »

N&O Editors miss Hatem hypocrisy

January 28th, 2015

I was disappointed to read the N&O’s take in this editorial.

Greg Hatem is an acquaintance of mine. He’s done a tremendous job helping kick-start downtown Raleigh’s renaissance, investing when others would not. He’s earned some respect and should have his say.

On this issue, though, I must respectfully disagree with Greg. Downtown has continued to grow since those days when Empire Properties was the only game in town. Greg’s businesses have grown and thrived as well in this new, noisier downtown Raleigh. Heck, his businesses have contributed more than their share to the noise and revelry. For Greg Hatem to have played such a large role (as well as profited) in popularizing downtown and now complain about its success seems a tad hypocritical, doesn’t it?

It mystifies me how the editors at the News and Observer failed to see this irony.

When someone heads a company with 40 buildings and 500 employees connected to downtown Raleigh, getting the Raleigh City Council’s attention is fairly easy.

And Greg Hatem – whose company owns the restaurants Sitti, Gravy, The Pit and the Raleigh and Morning Times, along with many other properties – has earned that attention. Hatem’s involvement with downtown Raleigh goes back to a time when it was by no means certain that the city would see the boom it has. Hatem took big chances and got big returns.

But he’s moving his family, which includes younger children, out of a Fayetteville Street apartment into the Oakwood neighborhood near downtown. Why? The noise and party aftermath have made downtown, he says, "unlivable." He doesn’t like the idea of his family waking up to the garbage and other remnants of the previous night’s revels.

via Lower the volume on Raleigh's boom | Editorials | NewsObserver.com.

Wake Forest police address concerns about ‘stranger danger’ cases :: WRAL.com

January 28th, 2015

Wake Forest Police have expressed exasperation with citizens sharing information on Facebook about a recent spate of “stranger danger” incidents. The incidents involve men driving a silver or gray SUV and trying to lure kids into the vehicle.

It’s a very frightening situation and any parent’s worst nightmare. People are afraid and rightfully so. They want answers, and if the police aren’t giving them then these folks will fill the void using social media outlets like Facebook and NextDoor.

I’ve seen how social media can help solve crimes. It works. Nothing helps police efforts like citizens working together. Instead of blaming it for “heresay,” Wake Forest PD should embrace social media as a “force multiplier” to solve crimes. If there are rumors that should be quashed, they should go online and set the record straight. It’s a new world we live in, after all.

Leonard said the police department has received other reports on social media that investigators have looked into, noting that they have had to use resources to track down "inaccurate information and hearsay.""If you see something that looks suspicious in your neighborhood, call the police department first rather than posting it on Facebook," Leonard said.

via Wake Forest police address concerns about 'stranger danger' cases :: WRAL.com.

Photos from the Google Fiber announcement

January 28th, 2015

Google Fiber is coming to the Triangle

Google Fiber is coming to the Triangle


I was able to attend yesterday’s Google Fiber announcement. As I walked towards the auditorium in the North Carolina Museum of Natural History, I was attracted to a table out front that displayed shiny plastic. Spying my Canon camera in my hand, the helpful woman staffing the table asked “would you like a media pass?”

Feeling like the limo driver in the Bud Light “Dr. Galakawicz” commercials, I answered “yeaaassss, I would” and smoothly hung it around my neck.

Inside, I hung out with the media pros and snapped photos with wild abandon. I’ve collected the shots into my Google Plus album. Check them out!

These four lucky cities are now officially getting Google Fiber – The Washington Post

January 28th, 2015

Yesterday’s Google Fiber announcement has gotten some press in WaPo this morning. Unfortunately, it has hit one of my pet peeves:

After months of speculation, Google confirmed Tuesday that its ultra-fast Internet service will soon be coming to four more cities — Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. Those regions, along with more than a dozen cities in their immediate vicinity, will be the latest to benefit from high-speed Internet provided by the search giant.

Uh, sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Fung, but that’s five cities, not four: Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Raleigh, and Durham.

The mayors of both Raleigh and Durham spoke at the press conference yesterday. Both cities’ Chief Information Officers spoke about the project and put in incredibly long hours to get their cities where we are now. Both cities have completely different permitting processes, different infrastructure, different laws and regulations. The way outsiders lump Raleigh and Durham into Raleigh-Durham has always annoyed me (and will be the topic of an upcoming blog post).

And saying it’s just Raleigh and Durham isn’t even accurate, as the nearby municipalities Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Garner, and Morrisville are also included. These cities’ mayors were also present but are overlooked by the reporter.

It’s just as big a deal to these other cities that they are getting Google Fiber. It would be nice if they got a little credit for their hard work, too.

via These four lucky cities are now officially getting Google Fiber – The Washington Post.

Raleigh gets Google Fiber

January 27th, 2015

Google Fiber is coming to Raleigh

Google Fiber is coming to Raleigh


Last week, word leaked out that Google was hosting two events this week: one in Raleigh and one in Durham. Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to guess that Google Fiber is on its way to the Triangle. Word now is that Charlotte will also get the gigabit-speed Internet service.

I hope to attend the upcoming meetings to learn more about this service, after having fought a long battle to bring truly high-speed Internet to the state. I have no special inside track on the goings on, though, so I’ll likely learn about it like everyone else: through the media. It would’ve been great to receive an invitation, though, but in the bigger picture I’m just glad that a cause I’ve supported for many years will finally become reality.

The Goog and The Gov will hold a 1 PM press conference today to announce the news.

Larry Stogner and ALS

January 26th, 2015

I was saddened to hear local WTVD anchor Larry Stogner has ALS, also known as Lou Gherig’s Disease. He has been the face and voice of the Raleigh-Durham area for decades and to see him doing battle with this devastating disease is heartbreaking.

I’ve been thinking of my own recent health issues. For a while it seemed that the twitching that popped up last summer had subsided but recently it has come back just as strong as before. I can’t sit at my desk during the day without feeling some muscle somewhere just twitching away. I had to reschedule my follow-up visit with a neurologist due to a PTA conflict but I see him again next week. I hope we can figure this out.

Goodbye, CR-V

January 26th, 2015

2001 Honda CR-V EX

2001 Honda CR-V EX


This past Friday we said goodbye to our 2001 Honda CR-V, sold to a very happy young woman who answered our Craigslist ad. The CR-V had been in our family for over nine years and was a very good, reliable car. It was also a bit boxy for my taste and the 2.0l engine was underpowered for the car’s size. And it’s not electric, like our new Ford Focus.
Read the rest of this entry »