After a two-week hiatus, I’m back to blogging here on wordpress. For the last two weeks, I was checking out a free trial of Squarespace, a browser-based site management service. It was awesome, and definitely a superior product (more customization, hosting, etc.), but it lacked one thing wordpress has: the price tag of 0.
As much as I’d like to be able to justify spending $7 per month on a website, this blog draws in some readers, but no money. Maybe once I’ve got a journalism gig and I can call it self-promotion, I’ll make the upgrade, but for now wordpress has me won.
I posted earlier about the problem the U.S. has with broadband internet. Despite the availability of technologies that can offer extremely fast internet, as is in Japan and parts of Europe, the U.S. has stayed firmly behind. Part of the problem here is that, as with any economic market, suppliers (Internet Service Providers) won’t increase their own costs and keep prices the same just for the convenience of the consumer. They will, however, do this if it’s their only means of survival.
It appears that we’ll see a dramatic increase in speed in the broadband market over the next few years, as Google has just announced that they are running a small, 50,000 – 500,000 household internet service at 1 Gigabyte per second.That’s more than twice as fast as you can transfer songs to your iPod with that handy USB cable. Three entire DVDs, uncompressed, in the time it takes you to watch this video. In other words, it’s really fast.
What’s in it for Google? They want to test some experimental apps that will only run with extrmely high internet speeds, but I’m sure the income won’t hurt either. Another thing this means is that if Google takes a competitive market share, they can use that sway to push the net neutrality issues that they profit from so much.
The experiment is extremely small, which is definitely a bummer (if you’ were hoping to download Avatar in 3D HD before it came out on Blu-ray). Gmail started small too, then slowly spread from there. The model seems to be start small, stabilize, grow, stabilize, repeat. If Google follows this model, maybe Americans will finally be getting what they pay for by 2020. As it is now, we pay significantly more per megabyte per second than any other developed nation, and we run “broadband” that could be outmatched by Japan’s mobile carriers. Looks like the joke’s over for American ISPs.
As our favorite bartender would say, “Well it’s about damn time!”
Mashable posted a simple but very informative infographic about the state of the internet. It had information on demographics of internet users, usage statistics, a quick summary of the blogosphere, and probably most upsetting: internet statistics by nation.
The United States has the slowest broadband internet speed by far of all developed nations. If this isn’t depressing enough, my wonderful state of Vermont is ranked 47th in the nation for internet speed.
Considering America is forfeiting its manufacturing sector and moving almost entirely to an information economy, this is an extremely dangerous reality. It’s like being a fossil-fuel based economy and not producing any-
…well anyways, it isn’t good.
I’m all for Obama’s $8 billion rail stimulus, but I think (for once) AT&T is investing its billions more wisely this year, with $2 billion going to network improvements. This is a situation that will hopefully be fixed as quickly as American consumers realize how far behind the curve we are as a country and demand faster and more widespread broadband connectivity. Unfortunately for me and other tech-friendly Vermonters, I don’t think the movement is going to start anywhere near here.
I grew up with Napster, Kazaa, Limewire, and all the rest. Back in the good old days when the government was more worried about Monica Lewinsky than how I got that copy of the new Backstreet Boys album. Legality aside, there is more media flying around the world than ever before. Sure, you could chalk it up to consumer culture and constant demand, but the real answer to the call came in the ability of technology to store and transmit all of this media.
A few months ago, Chris Anderson, author of Free: The Future of a Radical Price wrote an article in Wired titled “Waste is Good.” The premise of his idea is that in a world where the means are cheap and convenient, why not reach for ends that are a stretch?
With media, now more than ever, the means are cheap. Only three years ago my dad was telling me how shocked he was to find that external hard drives were selling at a dollar per gig of storage. Back then, I didn’t even know what a Terabyte was. Now I’m shopping around for a 1 TB drive under $150. With the access we have to storage devices that can hold so much for so cheap and computers that can create media for only $500 why not make that silly video you had an idea for? A few years ago, there was no point in making it because so few videos went viral. This was mostly the case because the idea of streaming a video was only out-dreaded by the idea of hosting one. YouTube changed all that. With the broadband technologies widely available and always speeding up and storage as cheap as we have, there are hardly any reasons left not to make that silly youtube video, check out that album you’ve been wondering about, download those pictures, or do any of the other things you can do with media.
It’s only going to get easier from here, so get to work on that viral video. You can’t afford not to.
In my never-ending quest to have a strong and enjoyable presence on the internet, I’ve created a tumblr page to compliment my blog as well as Twitter. There are so many thoughts I have that are worth more than a tweet, but that I don’t have time or energy to put into a blog post. I’m hoping tumblr will help me fill these gaps and help me get my two cents in.
You can find my page here. Tumblr is simply a mini-blogging site. I can make a quick post of a cool video I’ve found, an article I liked, or a quick story from my day. We’ll see how it goes. Enjoy!
For my birthday this past week, I got a Flip video camera. I already had a Mini DV Sony, but the Flip has the added bonus of being extremely lightweight and small, making its portability a huge benefit. Since I’ve had it, I’ve uploaded two YouTube videos and recorded about an hour of footage as I’m out and about with my friends.
My extra time on YouTube has also made me aware of a profession that I had no idea existed. People like Philip DeFranco make their living on YouTube. It’s a very, very simple business model: Record a 3-4 minute video three times a week of yourself stating your own opinions on news that already broke, put the video on youtube, have an ad pop up along the bottom, make lots of money. What? I, and the rest of America, has been stating our opinions about Michael Jackson, Billy Mays, and all of the other breaking news this week, but I don’t get paid. I suppose it’s DeFranco’s unique editing style and his great sense of humor that make his opinion so popular.