Google Fiber Lights Up Provo This Month

googe fiber provo video broadband comparisonHow excited are people for faster internet access? They’re lit up enough to be producing their own commercials.

No seriously, we could be looking at the beginnings of some real groundswell awareness here. The numbers are so huge, they’re difficult to visualize. Throughout most of California, the fastest service we might have access to is 50Mbps download and 6Mbps uploading, but my sustained data rates are usually lower than that. Right now, people are sharing Google Fiber speed tests which crush the best I can get. It’s not even close. I’m seeing downloads more than 20 times faster, and uploads 180 times faster.

Think about it every time you upload a photo on social media, or a video to YouTube. Would you want a 5Mbps data rate or a 900Mbps data rate? Think about every time you fire up Netflix while everyone else in your house is using their own smartphone or tablet or game console. Would you want “50 megs innernet” or 900 megs to feed all those glowing rectangles?

See those numbers start to get big, so the people of Provo shot this handy little video to help you visualize the differences between the service you spend a lot of money on, and the service Google offers for pretty much the same price.

AT&T announces 1Gbps 100% Fiber internet plans in Austin

att u-verse gigapower austin txGoogle’s experiment in offering fiber to homes looks like it’s starting to rattle some of the other ISP players.

Earlier this year, Google announced that Austin TX would be the follow up city to Kansas City, receiving 1Gbps full duplex (uploading and downloading) 100% fiber optic data directly to consumer homes. Well, AT&T doesn’t want to be left out of the game, and has released some details explaining their own plan to improve home internet access for the citizens of Austin.

Dubbed “U-Verse with GigaPower” AT&T claims the roll out will begin the end of this year with completion by mid-2014. As an incentive, people who sign up for upper-tier 300Mbps plans now will automagically be upgraded to Gigabit when it arrives. Either way this certainly kicks the “50 megs innernet” I currently have access to in the genitals… Like in a bad way…

More info on GigaPower. Full PR after the jump.

Continue reading “AT&T announces 1Gbps 100% Fiber internet plans in Austin”

Digital Bolex serves up more sample footage from the D16

digital bolex d16The D16 is a throw back to the classic days of amazing 16mm film cameras. Hand cranks and pistol grips ruled the day, and many film makers got their start with these interchangeable lens systems. The Digital Bolex is a modern re-imagining of that classic camera utilizing a 2K digital sensor and the ability to shoot raw video. Designed to use any number of semi-pro and professional lenses and accessories, the D16 was a Kickstarter funded project, and now we’re just waiting for it to hit the market proper to play with.

Well, while we wait, the Digital Bolex folks like to tease us, and they’ve just released another round of test footage from their prototype after a recent calibration. It’s looking pretty good…

Redditor Explains What Thunderbolt Is (And Isn’t)

thunderbolt cable port logoI’ve been asked about what Thunderbolt is before, but Redditor Coptician wrote up a terrific explanation of what this tech can do.

Let’s start with the technical aspect of Thunderbolt – what it is and most of all: what it isn’t.

Thunderbolt as people probably know is part Displayport. It has a Displayport signal as part of the base of Thunderbolt, which means you can send audio and video to one or two devices (if one device support sending the Displayport signal from it to another device, which almost no monitors right now do!). The other base part if PCI-Express.

PCI-Express is one of the base layers of computers. Looking at a desktop, it’s the thing you use to add any expansion cards to a computer. In current computers (at least for Intel) PCI-E is a near-direct path from the expansion card to the processor, to such an extent that what processor you have decides how many PCI-E ‘lanes’ (like lanes on a road) you have. This is no longer dependent on motherboards.
PCI-E can be used for almost anything. There are PCI-E cards for USB (3.0), for Firewire, for Ethernet, for graphics cards (most famously), for audio cards, capture cards, and many many other things. It’s the most-used way to expand a computer’s functions on a low level.
To make a quick comparison to USB: USB doesn’t have direct access to the CPU. USB exists on a much higher level (this is a bad thing for expansion devices, usually) than PCI-E, which also means it has less access to lower-level functions and parts. USB has to talk to Windows or OS X to even get anything done. You can make mostly everything you can with PCI-E with USB these days, but you’ll get slower, more processor and memory dependent results. There’s not a single graphics card for USB that’s intended for gaming, mostly due to USB’s extremely high latency compared to PCI-E.

Back to Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt feels a lot like USB to most people right now – you hook up your Firewire-converter to it, or an Ethernet connector. Maybe like me you have a nice external hard drive hooked up to it. Those things feel a lot like USB, and since Thunderbolt is so much more expensive, it feels useless.

Well, here’s some examples of why it isn’t.

This is the Sonnet Echo Express III. What it does is allow you to hook up to your Macbook three (!) PCI-Express cards. These can be audio interfacing cards, they can be capture cards or specialized editing cards. You can even put a limited set of full on graphics cards in there, though this one’s not ideal for it yet. With USB, you’d have high latency and CPU usage, and you’re sharing all your USB bandwidth between those devices, but with PCI-E, you get much more and much more stable bandwidth.

I also own a Thunderbolt Display, and that has multiple different PCI-E devices built into it. A USB controller, a Firewire controller, an Ethernet controller and all the things like webcam, mic, speakers and so on. The aforementioned external hard drives are attached to the Thunderbolt Display, and then I have a Dell monitor hooked up to the hard drives. I’m powering two displays, my Ethernet, Firewire, most of my USB and two hard drives (or SSD’s, it’s full SATA so you get full speed) to one connector. USB can’t do that, even if it’s soon-to-be the ‘same speed’ as Thunderbolt.

The comparision between Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 isn’t about speed but about what you can do with them, and that’s where the comparison becomes pointless. Thunderbolt wasn’t designed as a replacement for USB, even though it can be if you want it to be, it’s designed to replace desktops. Thunderbolt is designed to make a notebook capable of truly replacing a desktop computer in terms of expandability. Thunderbolt was designed to make on-the-go high-performance audio and video devices possible. It isn’t close to cheap, I agree, and it’s not for everyone, but Thunderbolt is amazing.

The technology behind Thunderbolt sets it completely apart from USB, which was never intended to do as much as it does now, and it’s completely and totally different from it. While Thunderbolt isn’t for everyone and not everyone even has a use for it, it serves its purpose extremely well.

Go give Coptician some upvotes!

Mark Zuckerberg explains how we can make the Internet “100X Cheaper”

internet dot org logoMark Zuckerberg s heading up, a collection of companies looking to reduce costs for implementing data services in developing areas. By reducing hardware costs for mobile phones, expanding wireless networks, and working with software developers, he believes that we can cut the costs of setting up and operating networks by 100X.

He recently posted this video to Facebook detailing some of the ways we can expand data connectivity for people unable to access the internet. Even if he can pull off this program, it probably wont mean much of any improvement to our services here for those of us who don’t live in a Google Fiber area…

Making The Internet Affordable

The world’s craziest toothbrush cleans your teeth in six seconds and is 3D printed

This somehow looks even more torturous than our normal dental care instruments…

UPDATED! SomeGadgetGuy’s Production Master Class for Social Media Week LA 2013

BVHHsnNCUAAcIrfIt’s a good thing I don’t  ramble or anything…

I was invited to teach a master class on media production for Social Media Week in Los Angeles. I was honored to be asked, and thankfully they had me tackling a subject I could jump into, producing higher quality materials using the tools which come standard on just about all of our various gadgets and phones and tablets.

It was a great environment, being able to let my geek flag fly, and share my experiences ABOUT sharing my experiences while discussing how to create a work flow, tackle pre-production, and take some of the stress out of the post process for photos, audio, and video.

We’re wrapping up SMW-LA tomorrow, but I’ve gotten to meet some really cool folks and sit in on some fantastic workshops. For more info on Social Media Week events around the world, check out:


My somewhat rambling master class is now on LiveStream for you all to marvel at my presenting skills!

Review: Toast Wood Cover for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

toast in portland wood phone case cover galaxy note 2 somegadgetguyI like finding quirky, new, and unique accessories for personalizing our technology. Toast in Portland is one of my favorite finds this year. Using wood and leather surfaces which are laser cut and engraved to precisely fit our phones and our personalities.

Let’s take a look at how I turned my Galaxy Note 2 into a wooden phone!

For more info check out:
My interview with Toast CEO Matias Brecher: