Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Google Voice Now Open To U.S. Public

Back in 2005 I was fortunate to get a Grand Central invite via Mike Qaissaunee. Grand Central was a web-based phone service company that was purchased by Google in 2007 for $95 million and relaunched as Google Voice in March 2009.

Over the past few years Google has continued to enhance the service and today announced it was free to people in the United States. Here's a quote from the Google Voice Blog:

A little over a year ago, we released an early preview of Google Voice, our web-based platform for managing your communications. We introduced one number to ring all your phones, voicemail that works like email, free calls and text messages to the U.S. and Canada, low-priced international calls and more—the only catch was you had to request and receive an invite to try it out. Today, after lots of testing and tweaking, we’re excited to open up Google Voice to the public, no invitation required.

Google claims there are currently over one million active Voice users. After today it should become a lot more popular. If you have not had a chance to try it out check out this one minute and 32 second video from Google.

It is worth trying out.

Monday, June 21, 2010

100 Mbps Wireless To Your Home Coming Soon? Even Out In The Sticks?

It's likely just a matter of time before those copper telecommunications wires still connecting most of us are history..... in Australia..... and a little later..... in the United States.

Australia currently has a broadband goal of 100mbps to 90% of homes by 2018 and the country’s largest telecommunications firm, Telstra, and Nokia Siemens Networks, have demonstrated 100 Mbps of bandwidth downstream on a 4G LTE network over a 75 Kilometer distance - that is approximately 46.6 miles!

Here's an interesting broadbandbreakfast.com quote from Kalevi Kostiainen, head of Nokia Siemens Networks, Australia and New Zealand:

The benefits of LTE in urban environments are currently being deployed globally, having already been extensively tested and the business benefits well understood. Through this unique joint trial we can now see how LTE can be extended to provide cost effective solutions for rural and remote environments.

This year in the U.S., Verizon Wireless is rolling out LTE and next year AT&T will start their LTE rollout. In addition, Sprint/Clearwire continues to roll out 4G WiMax service. It is just a matter of time.....

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Study: The State of Online Video

The Pew Internet and Americal Life Project has a new report out titled The State of Online Video. The report is based on data from telephone interviews conducted between June 18-21, 2009 among a dual-frame (cell and landline) sample of 1,005 adults, 18 and older. Reported results are interesting but not surprising. Here's some of the findings:
  • 69% of internet users watch or download video online; 14% have posted videos.
  • Comedy or humorous videos, rising in viewership from 31% of adult internet users in 2007 to 50% of adult internet users in the current survey
  • Educational videos, rising in viewership from 22% to 38% of adult internet users
  • Movies or TV show videos, rising in viewership from 16% to 32% of adult internet users
  • Political videos, rising in viewership from 15% to 30% of adult internet users
The study goes on to say video creation has also become a notable feature of online life. Here's a few more findings:
  • One in seven adult internet users (14%) have uploaded a video to the internet, almost double the 8% who were uploading video in 2007.
  • Home video is far and away the most popular content posted online, shared by 62% of video uploaders.
  • Uploaders are just as likely to share video on social networking sites like Facebook (52% do this) as they are on more specialized video-sharing sites like YouTube (49% do this).
The study goes on, saying while video-sharing is growing in popularity, adult internet users have mixed feelings about how broadly they want to share their own creations.
  • 31% of uploaders say they “always” place restrictions on who can access their videos.
  • 50% say they “never” restrict access.
  • The remaining 19% fall somewhere in the middle.
And, 35% (not surprisingly) feel they should be more careful about what they post.

You can view the full report linked here and download a PDF copy linked here. You can also view the survey questions online linked here.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Joomla! Interview with TNR Global

Joomla! is a popular open source content management system (CMS), that enables you to build Web sites and powerful online applications. Last week I had the chance to discuss Joomla! with Natasha Goncharova and Tamar Schanfeld from TNR Global. Watch and listen to the 17 minute and 33 second interview by clicking the image below.

Here's how you can access additional podcasts and videos:

Access all of Mike Q and my podcasts by clicking here.

If you have iTunes installed you can subscribe to our podcasts by clicking here.

Check out our YouTube channel linked here.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Words like 'tragedy' and 'disaster' do not do justice to what is happening

National Wildlife Federation (NWF) scientist Doug Inkley gives an eyewitness account of how the oil spill is impacting wildlife in the Gulf ..... A slow motion train wreck.........

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Volunteer - FCC Broadband Study and Initiatives - Test Your ISP

I write fairly frequently about broadband in the U.S. - especially the lack of bandwidth when compared to other countries. Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released some interesting survey results. Abt/SRBI and Princeton Survey Research Associates, International interviewed 3,005 American adults between April 19 to May 2, 2010. The survey used a random digit dial survey and was conducted in English and Spanish. The sample included both landline and cell phones.

Here's some details from a June 1, 2010 FCC press release:

  • 80 percent of broadband users in the United States do not know the speed of their broadband connection - 71 percent of men do not know what speed they’re getting, while the figure is 90 percent for women.
  • With respect to age, 73 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 do not know their home broadband speed, while the number goes up to 88 percent of people age 65 and over.
  • Most Americans are satisfied with the broadband speed they are getting - 91 percent of broadband users say they are “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with the speed they get at home.
Regarding mobile connectivity:
  • The comparable number for mobile broadband, which is not yet technologically capable of the same speeds as home broadband, is 71 percent satisfaction. As a point of comparison, 92 percent of cell phone users are very or somewhat satisfied with their cell phone service overall.
In addition, the FCC Consumer Task Force announced two initiatives that will help collect broadband data:

Initiative 1:

The FCC is asking for 10,000 volunteers to participate in a scientific study to measure home broadband speed in the U.S. Specialized hardware will be installed in the homes of volunteers to measure the performance of all the country’s major Internet service providers across geographic regions and service tiers. The FCC is partnering with SamKnows Limited in this effort, the same firm that successfully conducted a similar test in the United Kingdom. A Public Notice asking for comment on the test plan was released in April 2010 and can be found at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-10-670A1.pdf.

This study will culminate in a “State of Broadband” report to be released later this year. The tests are also a key part of the Broadband Action Agenda (described at http://www.broadband.gov/plan/broadband-action-agenda.html). The Action Agenda details a number of initiatives designed to foster competition and maximize consumer benefits across the broadband marketplace.

Anyone can register as a volunteer for this national test at www.TestMyISP.com. Volunteers will be able to track the performance of their own broadband service, as well as providing valuable data for the FCC, Internet service providers, and the public at large.

Initiative 2:

The FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau is issuing a Public Notice today to look at ways to measure mobile broadband speed. More and more consumers are using mobile wireless devices to access the Web, sometimes as a primary Internet connection. The Public Notice asks for input on the best ways to measure mobile broadband speeds, the ways that speed measurements can be used to help improve service, and the information consumers should have about the speed of mobile broadband coverage.

The FCC welcomes comments from all interested parties and the general public on this Public Notice. Comments can be filed through the agency’s Electronic Comment Filing System at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/, or in other ways described in the Public Notice itself. The Public Notice can be found at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-10- 988A1.pdf .

I've signed up as a volunteer for the first initiative and am reviewing the second initiative public notice - and recommend you do to!