April 11, 2013

Can The Google Fiber Juggernaut Be Stopped?!

The news flash is that Google Fiber is going to expand from Kansas City, Kansas, out to Olathe, Kansas! This is gonna totally piss off those snobs in Overland Park.

Olathe is southwest from Kansas City, Kansas.

Can Paola be far behind?

permalink | April 11, 2013 at 09:46 PM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2013

Internet Service

In the category of it's-funny-because-it's-true:

And on that subject, you may have seen the news that free wi-fi is available via smart meters in Santa Clara. Here's the website for the service itself. There is one important fact to note: 1 Mbps. Yes, you can get this free wi-fi at any speed you like, as long it's slow.

But here's the upside: (1) people who are still suffering with dial-up can finally ditch that and get a somewhat faster connection; (2) visitors to town who have a wi-fi device that lacks cellular connectivity will be able to Google for that restaurant or hotel or whatever it is they need.

permalink | March 30, 2013 at 07:37 PM | Comments (0)

February 2, 2013

For The Spontaneous (or merely forgetful) Man

Fast discreet delivery of a Durex condom (the video seems to suggest you get only one, so no mistakes or repeats, okay?) anywhere you need it...so long as you're in Dubai. Yes, really. Dubai. Get the iOS app here. (Android men don't forget their condoms.) They are taking votes on which city to expand to next and Paris is the big leader.

permalink | February 2, 2013 at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2012

Filmed On Location In Kansas City, Missouri

It's the Google promo video of the installation process for Google fiber which is going on now in both Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas.

In this next video BTIG gives you an idea of what it's like to interact with Google fiber using your free Nexus 7 as a remote:

One of Google's main selling points is that they will show up at your house at the appointed time, not during a 4-hour window. More info here.

permalink | November 23, 2012 at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2012

Google Makes Wearing A GoPro Hero Look A Lot Less Nerdy

And they did it by creating the Trekker which you see in the photo below:

It's the wearable version of their Streetview photography system and its first application will be to bring us streetviews of Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park.

We can hardly wait for the inevitable cool bits to come as they explore our National Parks: the grizzly attack, the avalanche, the snake bite, the flash flood.

permalink | October 25, 2012 at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

June 13, 2012

Neighborhood Social Network with Police Involvement

This is new to me:

Press Release: Rancho Mirage Police Department Introduces Nextdoor, a Private Social Network for Neighborhoods
Agency: Rancho Mirage Police
Station Area: Palm Desert
Incident Date: June 13, 2012 Time: 10:00 AM
Incident Location: Citywide


In an effort to help facilitate a virtual Neighborhood Watch program and better communication with residents as well as help foster neighbor-to-neighbor communications, the Rancho Mirage Police Department has partnered with Nextdoor (www.nextdoor.com), a free and private social network now available for Rancho Mirage neighborhoods.

Nextdoor is free for the residents and the city. Each Rancho Mirage neighborhood has its own private Nextdoor neighborhood website, accessible only to residents of that neighborhood. Residents can use their Nextdoor website to get to know their neighbors, ask questions, exchange local advice and recommendations, advertise local events and school activities and much more. The Rancho Mirage Police Department will be able to directly communicate with Nextdoor neighborhoods and residents to share information about neighborhood watch, safety issues and crime prevention.

Neighborhoods establish and self-manage their own Nextdoor website. Information shared on Nextdoor is only visible to members who live in the neighborhood and who have verified their address. Information shared on Nextdoor is password protected and cannot be accessed by those outside the neighborhood or found on Google or other search engines. The Rancho Mirage Police Department will be able to post useful and important information to Nextdoor sites within the city, but will not be able to access the resident's websites, contact information or content.

The Rancho Mirage Police Department is facilitating this program because we believe more engaged neighborhoods can create stronger communities and a stronger city. Nextdoor is one way to help create a stronger and safer community for those that live and work here. Nextdoor is also another tool for us to effectively share crime prevention and safety information, such as alerts of property crimes in their area or suspicious activity. The Nextdoor program can be expanded to incorporate other city departments as well.

The neighborhood areas in Rancho Mirage have already been mapped into the Nextdoor website and two of them, Magnesia Falls Cove and The Springs are already up and running on Nextdoor. We encourage residents in these and in other Rancho Mirage neighborhoods to go to www.nextdoor.com to learn more and to sign up. If you have questions about Nextdoor, please contact Lt. Pete Ortiz at (760) 836-1600, or Community Service Officer Codi Mix at (760) 770-3200, ext. 192.

So, it's like a Facebook thing, but just for your neighborhood. The only police involvement is that the police can broadcast a message to your neighborhood network, but the police can't access the contents of your neighborhood network to find out who the people are or what they're talking about. Also, the police are not involved in any kind of screening of those people who join the neighborhood network, so all the usual rules of being careful on the internet apply.

I took a brief look at NextDoor.com and it said that I could set up a neighborhood network for my neighborhood, but I didn't start anything. I imagine some close-knit neighborhoods in DHS could benefit from this. I don't know what it would take to permit our police to broadcast notices to these networks.

permalink | June 13, 2012 at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

March 9, 2012

An Hour Away

cartoo.dyndns.org (it doesn't even have a proper name!) is a site that will calculate how far you can get from any particular starting point in any given time via automobile, bicycle or foot travel.

Below, for example, is how far it calculates I could get from Desert Hot Springs in one hour by car:
An hour away from Desert Hot Springs

Not bad, but clearly it needs some refinement. I added the green arrow to point out the obvious glitch on highway 74. There are no drivable roads that I'm aware of that go from the Indian Canyons directly up to highway 74, so the only way to get to that point is to come up from Palm Desert on 74, so that entire stretch of 74 should be included in the under-one-hour calculation.

permalink | March 9, 2012 at 07:27 AM | Comments (0)

February 7, 2012

Atlanta Beating

I saw the story earlier today on an Atlanta TV station's website about two videos of a supposedly gay man being beaten on the street in Atlanta. Didn't link to it because the TV station had converted the original video so badly that (1) you couldn't hear anything, including the alleged gay slurs; (2) you couldn't see anything but some dark blobs jerking around like there might be a fight going on; and (3) there was no evidence the man they were saying is gay was actually gay. The one who was beaten has not come forward to the police, so there's little to go on.

But those good journalists at The Smoking Gun have done it right. Go there and you will see a clear video including these words: "Jack City - no faggots", "No faggots in Jack City" (4 times), and "No faggots, man."

None of that tells us if the victim is gay or not, nor even whether the perpetrators were beating him for being gay. But it does show you how to properly present a video on the web.

UPDATE: The beating victim has come forward. He's Brandon White and he is gay. So now we've got the facts lined up. Now they just need to get the perpetrators.

permalink | February 7, 2012 at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2012

Old Stuff From 2003

I have been going back and clearing out some old dead wood from Ron's Log. This version you are reading extends back to August 2003. A lot of links have died since then, so I'm fixing the ones that can be, deleting the ones that can't. In the process I've come across some items that I guess I included because either the technology was pretty gee-whiz for the time, or the price was impressively low, or both. Here is some of what I found between August and December 2003:

  • 4 Gb Microdrive $500 (Microdrives were little hard drives in Compact Flash format). I think they are no longer being manufactured, but you can buy a used 4Gb model for $10. A regular 4 Gb Compact Flash card can be had for as little as $13 now).
  • 4 megapixel camera with 10x zoom, $500
  • The 40 Gb iPod cost $500. Today it's 160 Gb and costs $250.
  • 6 Gb Compact Flash card for $5,000. They don't seem to be selling 6 Gb CF cards these days. You can get 4 Gb or 8 Gb. An 8 Gb card can be had for $15.
  • 2 Gb SD cards predicted to be available "soon." Today you can buy 128 Gb SD cards.
  • Recommendations for your first digital camera from SiliconValley.com:
    • 3 megapixels is enough
    • Don't go less than $200
    • Upgrade the memory card to at least 256 Mb. Yes, megabytes. You can still buy a 256 Mb SD card for less than $5.
    • Photoshop!
  • A 5 megapixel camera was introduced for $400.
  • A 20 Gb USB hard drive for $250. Today there are lots of choices in USB hard drives. I found a terabyte drive (1,024 Gb) for $145. It's hard to find one as small as 20 Gb, but I did, and it's $38.
  • Google labs unveiled a new experiment they called "Search by Location" which has since become their standard feature "Search Nearby."
  • A 20 Gb USB device with a built-in compact flash card reader. The killer feature was that it could output video and jpegs directly to a television. In addition it could simultaneously play MP3s while showing jpegs! Also, you could rotate the jpegs! It came with a remote control so you could use it in presentations. $400. Or you could go up to the 60 Gb model for $600. At the time I thought $400 was incredibly cheap for all this power.
  • Kodak announced that it would stop making slide projectors by June 2004, but they had no plans yet to discontinue any slide films.
  • A USB-powered "personal vibrator" could be had for £30 in 2003. The link is dead, so I can't say for sure exactly what features this might have included - remote control? Synch to music? A quick Google search turned up one available today with remote control for $11.80.
  • Stories of Google's impending IPO in 2004 were circulating. There were estimates the initial value would exceed $15 billion. It turned out to be $27 billion. Today its market capitalization is $205 billion.
  • A Pioneer DVR with an 80 Gb hard drive and the ability to burn DVD-R for $1,200.
  • A waterproof, 2 megapixel camera for $200.

permalink | January 29, 2012 at 03:37 PM | Comments (0)

January 9, 2012

Redesigned Web Site For Cabot's

This website redesign is way, way, way overdue - and it looks pretty good.

permalink | January 9, 2012 at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2011

The Best Viral Videos Of 2011

If you are the sort of person who never goes to look at popular videos on the internet, you are probably very pleased with yourself for all the time you've saved. It should be no problem for you, then, to squeeze out just four minutes and twelve seconds to watch this compilation of the best of the viral, 2011. Don't worry, Kim Jong-Il died too late, so no North Korean funeral videos, and I spotted only one Presidential candidate - unless that's Herman Cain on the couch (?).

Go here for direct links to all 79 individual videos.

permalink | December 21, 2011 at 09:55 AM | Comments (1)

September 28, 2011

Kindle Fire (it's a tablet) - Only $199

Color, backlighted display, touchscreen, video, web access, no camera. Smaller than an iPad (iPad: 9.5 x 7.31 x 0.34 inches, 601 grams; Kindle Fire: 7.5 x 4.7 x 0.45 inches, 413 grams). Promotional video here. Connects via Wi-Fi, and it's got a USB connection. Battery life is said to be 7.5 to 8 hours if Wi-Fi is off. 8 GB internal.

The display: "7-inch multi-touch display with IPS (in-plane switching) technology and anti-reflective treatment, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, 16 million colors." It's the "anti-reflective" treatment that's critical in my opinion. The iPad is way too shiny. The plain Kindle screen is very readable. But how does the Fire look with color and backlighting and video? Somebody buy one and show me.

They created a new browser for it called Amazon Silk. Info and promotional video here. The video is reminiscent of Apple's videos when they release something new, only maybe a bit less breathless. You'll see black shirts and men speaking a language somewhere between plain English and tech jargon overload, all of which is designed to make you want to buy. Their point is that the major advantage to Amazon Silk is that most of the heavy lifting is done up on the Amazon servers (one of the "clouds" that are referred to by those who want to be cool). Then your 'umble Kindle Fire sends a web request to the cloud, which quickly responds with what it has already anticipated you will be wanting.

Kindle Fire
Here's what it looks like next to a human hand
. Only $199 and Amazon has a good return policy. Pre-ordering now, shipping November 15.

CNet passes along rumors that there is a 10-inch model in the works that will have 3G connectivity and an option to switch between backlight and e-ink.

permalink | September 28, 2011 at 09:18 AM | Comments (2)

August 3, 2011

Origin Of The Internet


permalink | August 3, 2011 at 09:39 AM | Comments (0)

February 1, 2011

Makes You Happy To Be Alive (and have an internet connection)

The Google Art Project.

Google has taken their streetview technology into 17 art museums around the world and put the results on-line for all to see. The Google blog post all about it is here. Each of the museums selected one artwork to be presented in gigapixel resolution. In addition, there are 1,000 "other" images (presumably these are merely high res photos). More museums and more art will come, of course.

Get you excited:

Get more explanation:

They show off some of the details of the technology. I always wanted to ride a bike in The Hermitage.

The 17 museums:

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
  • Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
  • Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin
  • Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC
  • MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, New York City
  • Museum Kampa, Prague
  • National Gallery, London
  • Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
  • The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
  • The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
  • The Frick Collection, New York City
  • Uffizi Gallery, Florence
  • Palace of Versailles, Versailles
  • Von Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
  • Tate Britain, London
  • Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Detail from "The Apparition of Christ to the People" by Aleksandr Andreyevich Ivanov at The Tretyakov Gallery
Detail from "The Apparition of Christ to the People" by Aleksandr Andreyevich Ivanov at The Tretyakov Gallery

permalink | February 1, 2011 at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2011

Cool Webpage

It's about security for your iPhone or iPod, but who cares? It's interesting.

permalink | January 12, 2011 at 02:17 PM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2010

Checking The MSWD Website

At last night's town hall forum at Mission Springs Water District there was one complaint from a citizen that stuck with me, and rather than wait the day or two that it will take me to summarize the whole forum, I want to check it out right now. The complaint was part of a list of suggestions to improve the district's website. Specifically, the person said that he could not find a copy of the 218 notice anywhere on the website. Now, I usually love to be irritated by the shortcomings of websites and enjoy criticizing them on Ron's Log. I couldn't recall any such shortcoming on the MSWD site, so I lept to my Mac to find out if I had missed out on some fun.

No, I had not. I'm sorry to say that finding the 218 notice on the MSWD website is damn easy. I have grabbed a couple of pages from the website and highlighted the obvious with some very obvious red arrows to help.

Here's a copy of the front page (go here to see the real page).
Mission Springs Water District - Home (2010 11 10)
(click for bigger, as usual)

The arrow points to the fourth paragraph. First paragraph is "welcome;" second is award-winning water; third is a paragraph about the Desert Sun editorial in favor of the $35 million for sewers (that's outdated info but, you know what, it costs money to have somebody revise the website); and finally the fourth paragraph very clearly titled "2010 Proposed Rate Adjustment." Hard to miss that. Last line of the paragraph says "Click here for more information." Clear message there.

One click and we come to a page with nothing but information about the rate proposals.
Mission Springs Water District - Proposed Rate Action (2010 11 10)

The arrow points to the third paragraph which says "Read the Proposition 218 Notice to Property Owners: English | Spanish." There ya go. The line under that has links to the "fact sheet" in English and Spanish.

Yes, they could have the front page link at the very top and highlighted it in a red box, or something like that. But I'd say it's totally adequate as it is. If you put a gun to my head and demanded a suggestion, I'd suggest getting rid of the paragraph about the Desert Sun editorial, or move it elsewhere. That would bring the rate proposal paragraph nearer the top of the page.

My main complaint (and it's extraordinarily trivial) about the MSWD website is when you go looking for water rates, it's on Customer Service page labeled "Cost of water service." In my mind "Cost of water service" should mean "cost of water service," which is what it costs the district to drill wells, pump water, buy electricity, maintain pipes, etc. Water rates, OTOH, should be identified with something like "Water Rates" or "Water Prices" or even something more 5th Grade like "What you pay for water" or "What we charge for water."

permalink | November 10, 2010 at 07:03 AM | Comments (0)

November 6, 2010

Rachel Maddow Explains The Internet To Those Who Really Need To Know But Never Pay Any Attention To Rachel Maddow

But maybe there's a slim chance the data will get through to a few people.

permalink | November 6, 2010 at 08:48 AM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2010

Internet Glossary As GIFs

GIFs that can stand in for common expressions.

Here, for example, is "WTF."

permalink | October 16, 2010 at 06:51 PM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2010

I wish more ads were like this one

You need to watch the whole thing closely.

Google Mobile page.

permalink | September 29, 2010 at 08:44 PM | Comments (1)

July 9, 2010

YouTube Leanback

youtube.com/leanback makes YouTube a bit more like television, in the sense that you can become a couch potato, sit back passively, consume your preferred intoxicatant, and just let the screen take care of itself. It will display video full screen in the highest resolution available. When a video ends, it goes on to the next. They don't say exactly how this "feed" is determined, but it's Google, so I'm sure they are making guesses based on what you've watched before. It's got only five controls: the four cursor buttons and Return. Right and left cursor buttons go to the next or previous video. Up and down give you access to video controls or search. Return does what return does when you have to execute a decision. More info here.

The official uncool YouTube Leanback video. Note the pixelated logo on the laptop. Oooh, what brand could it be?! Observe the happy, fully clothed people drinking coffee in the very neat apartment and having a wonderful time watching YouTube Leanback:

As far as I can determine, if you want to go to the traditional YouTube page for a particular video, there is no way to do that, other than reading and remembering the author and title, opening YouTube and searching.

permalink | July 9, 2010 at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)