Romanian ISP to roll out $18 a Month Gigabit Fiber

1381245927--ofertaWell color me jealous… Again…

Not only are people in Kansas City lit up, folks in Austin will finally receive some actual competition, and Provo is about to flip the switch, but where else in the world will people get amazing fiber-optic-to-the-home internet connections?

Romania.

Romanian ISP RCS & RDS is rolling out new fiber and upgrading their backhaul. Not only will their customers have 500Mbps and 1Gbps tiers, the top service will only cost the equivalent of $18 a month. Yup. 1000Mbps data will cost less than one Andrew Jackson a month. Yikes… Kinda kicks that TWC “50 megs innernet” right in the junk…

(via Reddit)

Google’s misguided denial of Windows Phone

windows phone microsoft google youtube app somegadgetguyBrand management is critical. You don’t want consumers interacting with services that show your company in a poor light. When you’re a services company like Google, your reputation depends on people having good experiences using apps like GMail and Youtube.

Which is why I find Google’s current strategy of ignoring Windows Phone so interesting. Yes, I understand the official reasoning, you don’t support an OS with so few users until it’s popular enough to force you to support it. Much like how Google NEEDS to be on iOS. Though it’s a somewhat childish corporate tactic ignoring Windows Phone, hoping it’ll just go away.

Unfortunately for Google, Microsoft is the new number three smartphone ecosystem, showing fairly strong growth in Europe, and by buying Nokia they open up an entire market of potential customers around the world. Plenty of markets where low cost Lumias will start to show up against locally-made entry-level Android fare.

We’ve seen Google end support for Exchange which upset how calendar and contact info was synced on Windows 8, and now their current squabble is over Youtube. Google has refused to release any of their own services as apps for Windows Phone. No Voice. No Maps. No Now. No Gmail. No Docs. Nothing. Many of these are being replaced by third party developers, but Youtube was special. Microsoft delivered a pretty decent Youtube app for Windows Phone. Google broke the app by revoking the developer key, citing some conflict that the app wasn’t “fully featured” enough.

Now it would seem that negotiations between Google and Microsoft have broken down even further. Now in its place, the official Windows Phone Youtube app (from Microsoft) is essentially just a web portal, a lame version of the experience you’d have firing up the browser.

And for what? 

You might win some people over to Android by making Google services painful to use on Windows Phone, but you’re equally likely to just piss other people off. For my own personal use, I try to only leave the house with one phone at a time. If I’m reviewing a Windows Phone for the day, what happens? I interact with Google services less. I post on Twitter and Facebook a LOT more than I do on G+. Funny how it works out that way.

And why?

Google doesn’t make money on Android directly. They make money on advertising and mining user data. Ignoring Windows Phone wont make it disappear. Microsoft is perfectly content to lose money building a reputation over years. Yes, you’d be developing for a smaller user base, but why not get that community’s data too?

Much like how Google will be sneaking Chrome OS onto Windows 8 computers,why not infect every Windows Phone with Google apps and services. If you really want to cut Microsoft off at the knees, take users away from HERE maps and Microsoft Office. Offer up better gaming services than the still somewhat lame XBox integration. Google might even be doing some of their hardware partners a favor as Microsoft makes more money per phone on Android patent agreements than it does on Windows Phone 8 licenses.

Let Microsoft do all the heavy lifting getting a device to market. Let them convince people that it’s a solid alternative to the current Apple/Samsung battle. Then take all their users away with software, clouds, and apps. Now’s the time to do it, while Microsoft is a weak third place competitor in the United States. This Trojan Horse style combat becomes harder as Microsoft becomes a stronger third place and consumers realize the Live, HERE maps, and Skype work pretty well…

Just For Fun: 1 hour 40 minutes of the Enterprise warp core sound effect

enterprise engineering warp coreIs this ridiculous? You bet.

But I am one of those people who can have trouble falling asleep without a little white noise. SoundCloud user vi5in has cobbled together a little over an hour and forty minutes of warp core deliciousness to help drone out any sleep distracting audio elements in your immediate environment.

There’s something extra special about letting your geek flag fly even when you’re asleep…

(viaReddit)

HBO shows now available for purchase on Google Play, HBO GO no longer needed

Well lookee here.

hbo go google play renting buying tv

If you’re one of those folks who isn’t ponying up the cash for HBO to enjoy their shows on mobile and streaming services like HBO GO, you now have a new option. Announced on the Google Play Twitter account, you can now purchase HBO content on Google Play for your Android and Chromecast streaming enjoyment.

 

The pricing seems to be competitive with what you would spend on shiny plastic discs, though it does look like there will still be a time delay between when a show is released on disc and on Play. For example, Game of Thrones only goes up to Season 2.

Still, if streaming is your bag, and you want to catch up on what all the buzz is about, you can now get your Android devices into the mix. Now if only we could talk about a standalone subscription option for HBO GO which doesn’t require me to change my cable plan…

HBO shows on Google Play

Nielsen, Twitter, and making sense of changing metrics

nielsenThis is where established companies stumble. Adaptation.

We can all agree that Nielsen’s model of ranking television is woefully dated. This antiquated notion of sampling individual families and asking them to log what they watch and when they watch it. All of this fantastic technology, you’d think by now there would be a way for users to opt-in to a piece of software which can be run as an app on a DVR or TIVO. Alas, we still don’t have that, but Nielsen is trying to take some steps to track the popularity of content moving forward.

Their preferred platform to watch? Twitter.

Now I’m not saying this is a bad idea. Twitter has shown a terrific aptitude for being culturally relevant down to the instant news might hit the internet. Those momentary and temporary interactions are great for surveying a general sense of a trend, but the biggest issuetwitter logo in social media metrics is tracking actual engagement. Often when using Twitter as benchmark we can only confidently talk about “potential impressions”. I have a couple thousand followers on Twitter, so when I tweet, there’s the POTENTIAL for a couple thousand people to encounter my message. There is, however, no concrete way to determine how many of my followers stopped to actually read my tweet.

Which is why Nielsen’s announcement is so perplexing to me. My DVR knows what I watch and when I watch it, even when I’m watching live TV. It knows how long I watched a show, exactly when I turned it off, if I returned to finish a show, and whether I wanted to keep it stored on my drive. It also is able to serve me recommendations based on what I’ve watched in the past. If we’re looking for relevance, for actual metrics on TV viewing, this to me would be a more appropriate first line to partner up with.

Neilsen’s notion that they can derive viewership based on authored tweets, and extrapolate that out to people who aren’t tweeting but still watching TV seems even less accurate than their current method of tracking viewership.

I get it. Twitter is hip right now. But the other issue is one of institution. Neilsen still looks like it’s operating with the notion that once a system is constructed that operating within that structure will provide meaningful results. The way communication is generated online evolves on a daily basis, and each individual network has it’s own etiquette which also adapts to changing trends. Whats vogue today might not be tomorrow, and viewership probably changes by platform. Meaning, you’ll be likely to see some subtle yet unique trends in viewership moving from Twitter to Facebook to  Google Plus to Reddit, etc.

Combining that data with location becomes vital, not only the physical presence of where a person was when watching, but whether it came from terrestrial “air”, cable, or some web portal like Hulu or Netflix. Decisions are made every day on renewing or cancelling shows based on data generated by services like Nielsen, but I’m not sure their new strategy here is really going to make them more relevant…

In light of their upcoming IPO though, this is fantastic news for Twitter.

(via Deadline)

Read Nielsen’s full statement after the jump. Continue reading “Nielsen, Twitter, and making sense of changing metrics”

Review: HMDX Jam Classic portable wireless Bluetooth speaker

hmdx jam classic bluetooth wireless speaker test review somegadgetguyYou asked for it! I’m covering even more audio gear!

Following the recent wrap up on the Jawbone JAMBOX, we’re taking a look at something smaller, and a little more affordable. It’s tiny. It’s cute. It comes in an adorable jam jar container, and for its size it packs a surprising audio punch. Can a portable audio solution for $32 compete against some of the other “premier” solutions on the market?

Let’s take a listen to the HMDX Jam Classic!

Shop HMDX on Amazon. What’s with all these speakers being named “Jam-something”?

Verizon employee leaks image of HTC One Max

android central htc one maxA friend of a Verizon employee posted this pic of the up coming HTC One Max in the Android Central forums. According to Jeremy, his mysterious pal has confirmed the One Max will have a finger print scanner and a removable back plate. Looks to be some decent competition for the Galaxy Note 3, especially with BoomSound in tow.

What I’m really happy to see, is this doesn’t appear to be a Droid. The last larger screened phone HTC released was a carrier exclusive to VZW in the USA, dubbed the Droid DNA. This image shows us a phone which very much follows the design language of the One and One Mini, meaning HTC is moving towards the same kind of device branding that Samsung and Apple have already figured out. Consumers will no longer be confused by seeing One’s on one carrier and Evos/Droids on another.

Of course, Verizon did still have to slap their weird checkmark logo right on the face of this otherwise beautiful phone. Right where the HTC logo would’ve been too. Kind of a slap in the face. Here’s to change?

(via Android Central)

Google Sneaking Chrome OS onto Windows 8 Computers?

chrome os running on a windows 8 touchscreen hybrid laptop somegadgetguy

So all the hemming and hawing from the Chromebook faithful, that Chrome OS was SO much more than JUST a fancy browser slapped onto low power laptop hardware. It would seem like that’s not entirely true… In a good way…

The newest dev channel update of the Chrome browser for Windows 8 appears to essentially be the entire Chrome OS. When used within the ModernUI interface users have full access to the entire suite. Microsoft opened the door for this by allowing browsers other than IE to interface with the “Metro” ecosystem. Now you can have all the benefits of Google’s cloud OS on your Windows 8 machines. Loading it onto my hybrid also opens up some interesting possibilities. We haven’t seen Chrome OS on a proper slate tablet yet. That’s been Android territory, yet swiveling my Lenovo Twist into slate mode affords me a perfectly usable Chrome OS experience using a combination of Google’s UI and Microsoft’s virtual touch controls and keyboard. It’s kind of meta…

An app launcher at the bottom left gives you access to Chrome app, and Google favorites GMail, Search, Docs, and Youtube are docked at the bottom too. Performance has been solid for me after a couple hours of tooling around, but many are complaining of occasional crashes. Also, if you’re not running a lot of RAM, Windows 8 is very aggressive about shutting down Metro apps if you’re doing a lot of multi-tasking. In all though the experience has been very enjoyable, and updates to browser touch support make Chrome OS on Win8 almost as smooth as Microsoft’s native offerings.

It’s a pretty twisted end run around the traditional PC market. Now legit Chromebooks will face more competition from traditional PC’s in offering up the same OS, but still giving users access to legacy Windows software. This takes any potential risk out of using Chrome OS. Thinking generationally, a user could pick up a Windows Hybrid today, load up this new Chrome Browser, spend all their time in Chrome OS, and by the time they’re ready to shop another system, decide to walk away from Microsoft’s offerings altogether…

As a side note, now would be the time for Google to start unifying their app base. Bringing the variety of Android Apps to Chrome’s ability to handle things like documents and office software could put a serious hurt on Microsoft while they’re trying to unify their UI across all screen sizes.

Plus, Microsoft would have to compete for people’s attention on computers people already purchased. Wow.