April 3, 2016
Los Angeles Public Wi-fi
There was a half-million dollar grant to provide free public Wi-fi in areas of Los Angeles. The company setting it up said "it had deployed free Wi-Fi hot spots at eight parks and 16 community Wi-Fi networks." "The [Los Angeles] Times checked seven parks and 11 network locations, finding no Wi-Fi at any of them."
December 29, 2015
That is, it wins in the race to be the object of the greatest number of FCC complaints. Here are the numbers of complaints for the major providers from January 1 to November 9, 2015:
Comcast 11,812 complaints
Time Warner 1,240
August 25, 2015
Congress, Used Car Salesman, Comcast
Maybe sometimes a cable company does something right? Maybe. Wait and see. Comcast says it will upgrade its fiber system so that residential users can get 2 Gb/sec internet service. It'll start at 1 Gb/sec, but the technology will support 10 Gb/sec download and 1 Gb/sec upload speeds.
$300/month, plus installation and activation fees of up to $1,000.
Google Fiber in Kansas City provides "only" 1 Gb/sec and charges $70/month. Installation is $300, but if you commit for a year the installation charge is waived. So, even though slower, I would still prefer Google Fiber over Comcast. And, living here in DHS, I will probably be faced with that choice in 10 or 20 years. Planning ahead.
April 30, 2015
ACLU California Video App
The California ACLU is making available an app that allows one to upload a video of a police encounter directly to the ACLU. You can also configure it to lock your phone as soon as the video is complete, which will prevent browsing by the police, but won't stop the old fashioned smash-the-phone-on-the-pavement technique.
The app is called "Mobile Justice - California" and is available for iOS and Android.
February 9, 2015
Cuba Gets Netflix
Yes, genuine, real streaming Netflix. Only $8/month, so the only challenge for a Cuban to overcome is finding eight U.S. dollars every month. Maybe this deal will serve mostly foreign diplomats and visitors to Cuba.
"[P]eople in Cuba with Internet connections and access to international payment methods will be able to subscribe to Netflix." Yeah. Just your average Cuban citizen.
September 29, 2014
Yahoo & AOL
An investor is encouraging Yahoo to buy AOL. This, if it takes place, would be right up there with Sears buying KMart, in terms of marketing genius.
Yahoo generally buys up successful companies and then ruins their product, so it would be interesting what Yahoo would do with AOL. Could it possibly be made worse?! If it could, Yahoo would be the company to find a way to make it happen.
August 15, 2014
Watch Burning Man Live
The Man will burn on Saturday the 30th (15 days, 13 hours and 6 minutes from now, as I write) when it is nominally scheduled to start at 9 PM, but what actually starts at 9 PM I don't know because I don't wear a watch to the Burn. They've got to bring the flame out from near Center Camp and the firedancers have to dance, and I think all that happens after 9. They should keep the stream flowing until after the Temple burns on Sunday night the 31st. That's scheduled for 8 PM this year.
Maybe the best show for streaming (I'm just guessing because I don't watch the stream) would be the burning of the Circle Of Regional Effigies. That covers more acres than any other burn and will happen on Thursday night the 28th, probably starting at 9 PM, maybe earlier.
May 19, 2014
Yes, we've been down for what must be the fourth or fifth time in the last month or so. Typepad has been the victim of DDoS attacks. All I can do while there's an outage is follow along on Typepad's Twitter where they should tell us when things start to get back to normal.
April 1, 2014
The FCC has decided to open up 100 MHz of spectrum for wi-fi, a 15% increase. But the government giveth and the government taketh away. Honest, hardworking 'muricans will not be permitted to crank their new frequencies of wi-fi up to a power level so high that it interferes with satellites, which use some of those frequencies. How then, I ask you, will we be able to get wi-fi at the Starbucks on the moon, huh? Didn't think of that, did they.
February 24, 2014
Intrepid Explorers Discover Moviefone Is Not Really Quite Extinct - Yet
I can vaguely recall trying to use Moviefone via a real telephone many, many years ago. I was very surprised to read that the telephone version of Moviefone is still going, but will soon be killed off. AOL bought the company in 1999 for $388 million and then did a Yahoo! on it: allowing it to languish so that it would become a money-losing relic. Now AOL plans to drop the phone service and revise the internet service to either transform into something wonderfully new and useful, or just throw good money after bad. Anyone taking bets?
December 12, 2013
Watch Wikipedia Edits In Real Time
Listen to the sound of Wikipedia's recent changes feed. Bells indicate additions and string plucks indicate subtractions. Pitch changes according to the size of the edit; the larger the edit, the deeper the note. Green circles show edits from unregistered contributors, and purple circles mark edits performed by automated bots. You may see announcements for new users as they join the site, punctuated by a string swell. You can welcome him or her by clicking the blue banner and adding a note on their talk page.
October 26, 2013
Good News, Tecopa Fans
Delight's Hot Springs Resort in Tecopa has gotten a T-1 line and is providing Wi-fi so now you can indulge all your internet addictions while soaking in hot water way out in the middle of almost nowhere.
October 21, 2013
Google Maps DDoS Attacks
September 21, 2013
PUC Regulates On-line Ridesharing
California has become the first state to regulate on-demand ridesharing. These are services where a potential passenger hooks up with a potential driver via an app. The app collects a fee and some of that goes to the driver. California's rules will require the services to do background checks on the drivers and to carry insurance. Naturally, taxi drivers are up in arms. One said that the drivers are not telling their insurance companies that they're using their vehicles for commercial purposes.
August 20, 2013
Burning Man Webcast 2013
Live video stream from the playa will be here. No word on exactly when it will go live, but those guys ought to have an early pass, so if they are sufficiently sober the transmission should begin before the gates open at 6 PM on Sunday. But, hey, it'll be Burner time. Maybe this embedded code will work then.
August 17, 2013
Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player was announced just a very short time ago. It wasn't 100% clear what it did, but I had a general idea, and at only $35 it was worth the small risk to find out.
It arrived today and I had it operating in 15 minutes, if you count the time it took to take it out of the box and bring my laptop over to the TV. It allows me to display on my TV a tab that I have open in my Chrome browser. Any sound on that tab goes to the TV, not to my laptop's speakers. A Chromecast icon appears in the top bar of my Chrome browser. Hit it and it allows me to select which Chromecast device to send it to (I have only one). Click that and the page shows up on the TV. There is a tiny lag between what I see on my laptop and what I see on the TV. If the tab is YouTube, then the page isn't simply mirrored on the TV. YouTube videos can go full screen on the TV while staying at its original setting on my laptop. That's nice, allowing me to semi-watch a YouTube video on the TV while going to other tabs to do whatever.
Set up involves plugging the Chromecast device into an HDMI port on my TV and then providing power to the Chromecast device via USB cable plugged into either the TV or an AC converter. Turn on the TV and select that HDMI port. Then I open up Chrome on my laptop and go to the Google Chromecast setup page. I connect from my laptop directly to the Chromecast device via the Chromecast device's wi-fi. I give it identifying information and the password for my home wi-fi router. Chromecast then connects to my router. I reconnect my laptop to my router. And we're done.
August 15, 2013
Special for Geek Week.
Go to YouTube
Play any video.
type it anywhere but NOT in the search bar - the important thing is just hitting 1 9 8 0 on your keyboard
Then it happens*. No damage.
*May not happen on mobile devices.
July 4, 2013
Skype Bombing At Zimmerman Trial
The court calls in an expert witness via Skype and then it begins...
Whose low budget dictated the choice of Skype? Unless Florida allows the use of electronic devices in a courtroom, then someone must have noted the Skype handle for the witness, left the courtroom and broadcast it to whoever. But if use of electronic devices is permitted in the court room (it's Florida, after all), then the callers could be sitting right there.
July 1, 2013
Like The Death Of Maudie Hopkins
Maudie Hopkins is believed to have been the last surviving Civil War widow. She died in 2008. Similarly, next week will be the death of Alta Vista. You remember Alta Vista, don't you? The best search engine the world had seen...until it was just barely three years old and Google appeared to show us that all earlier "search engines" were no better than drunks wandering from lamppost to lamppost with arms flailing this way and that.
Yes, AltaVista is still alive, just barely, for another week.
June 12, 2013
Google's Response To The NSA Story
First, we have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government—or any other government—direct access to our servers. Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a "back door" to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday.
Second, we provide user data to governments only in accordance with the law. Our legal team reviews each and every request, and frequently pushes back when requests are overly broad or don't follow the correct process. Press reports that suggest that Google is providing open-ended access to our users' data are false, period. Until this week's reports, we had never heard of the broad type of order that Verizon received—an order that appears to have required them to hand over millions of users' call records. We were very surprised to learn that such broad orders exist. Any suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users' Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.
Yesterday they published another post that is a copy of a letter to Attorney General Holder asking him and FBI Director Mueller to "help make it possible for Google to publish in our Transparency Report aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures."
On this page Google publishes aggregate data on the number of requests they receive from governments and courts for user data. Here is the data for only American requests. In 2012 they began to break them out by source of request: search warrant, subpoena and "other." Subpoenas make up the great majority of requests. "Other" is the smallest. These data reports cannot show even aggregate numbers of requests that Google is not allowed to make public at all, so there's some invisible dark matter there that we have no way of measuring.