Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Shipping Industry and Travelers

Monday, October 31st, 2011

I sometimes travel for work and pleasure, but also have packages shipped to my home without some sort of pre-notice of what they are or when they will arrive. For several years I have been subscribed to FedEx Insight to get notices of inbound packages. This is very nice as we could enter in many variations of our home address and people who would receive and get notices of this. It is often incomplete as shippers can block this visibility or it may come to yet another variation that we are unaware of.

UPS has finally launched a consumer-oriented version of this service they dub “My Choice”. One can sign-up online here and get notices when packages are inbound, usually the night before. What’s even better here is you can ask them to hold/delay delivery, and see what items may be signature required. They also give an estimated time of delivery based on the schedule and expected load of the drivers.

I’ve already come to love this capability as it can easily identify when a package is coming to our home. If you miss your driver, or have people ship items to you unexpectedly I strongly suggest you sign up for this service, as well as the FexEx variant. FedEx will call you to verify each addition, even if it’s just an address variant (eg: LN vs LANE).

Ongoing thoughts about internet access

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking over the years about solving the rural internet gap. The ability to make it possible is mostly limited by the “bootstrap” costs necessary.

Would you be willing to pay a $1000 install fee, and $50/month for internet access?

Would you support a ‘neutral’ last-mile provider of an “internet” pipe to your home, allowing you to select from a set of ISPs that can utilize that link for various services (eg: TV, VOIP)?

Gizmodo Banned from WWDC

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Gizmodo has been banned from WWDC 2010, and it sure seems like they’re going down the “Please-Hurt-Me” path. They are looking to violate the “hot news doctrine” which has been decided case law since 1918 (248 U.S. 215).

They are going to aggregate and re-publish other “hot news” from their competitor blogs. This was ruled illegal then, and surely applies in this case where they were BANNED and can not blog live legitimately.

Should be interesting to see what happens tomorrow.

TV stations being asked to move for mobile (Cellular) internet

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

It’s been reported recently that part of the FCC broadband plan is the desire to move some broadcast TV stations out of the 500Mhz frequency band so this can be used for cellular companies to have more bandwidth for their userbases.

This is entirely the WRONG move. Much more can be attained by using smaller cellular sites, and the deployment of picocell/microcell technology. If each home had even just 5Mb/s internet access, and a microcell device, the need for this would be minimized and cellular customers would be happier with increased coverage at their homes/offices.

Recent Press

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

While some people have been working on the Google Fiber Proposal for the city of Ann Arbor, my research was cited locally at the site.

I’m hoping that something good comes of this, and not just for the areas that are served by ATT and Comcast, but the outlying parts of the county as well.

Google, A2Newtech, House of Reps and VC-types?

Monday, February 15th, 2010

While I did expect some feedback as a result of my post regarding wiring Washtenaw County with fiber, I did not quite expect such a broad set of people to be reading the text.

Google announced they want to do a pilot-project whereby they run fiber-to-the-home of up to ~500k people. This similarly aligns with my desire to connect the local community with a carrier-neutral FTTH deployment. I’ve submitted some basic data to the Google RFI, and hope that a more formal proposal comes together for the area.

Tomorrow Night (16 Feb 2010) there is the A2Geeks Meetup. I hope that there will be some interesting discussion there regarding the Google proposal, and how we as a community can leverage this to demonstrate what can be done.

The readers of my post about wiring the county included people at the US House of Reps and some people looking at funding FTTH deployments. This does make for some interesting possibilities. If you’re at either of these two and want to discuss the data and model that I put together, don’t hesitate to contact me via E-Mail or Phone (google will reveal good contact info).

Looking forward to seeing some people in the local tech community tomorrow.


Sunday, January 31st, 2010

I’ve always been a bit of an apple fanboy (fanboi) since the 1980’s, having found ways to do interesting things with the Apple ][e //c etc’s at school, and programming pascal on the Plus/Classic with my friend MacsBugs in the MacOS 6 days. Having an iPhone has simplified some aspects of my life significantly and allowed me to keep on-task and on-schedule in an increasingly hectic day.

WIth the months of rumors of pricing, features, etc.. leading into this past weeks announcement, I figured if a tablet was launched, we would get one for my wife.

With the prospect of the platform not being a success and just hype, I read everyone dumping on the lack of flash and other capabilities. (Personally, I hope this helps kill Flash, it’s usually improperly and overly used to navigate websites. Those developers should be put out to pasture). I’m now convinced that it will be a success. Why? My father is going to get one. He’s a techie, sure, but not in the traditional tear the hardware apart and overclock the cpu with the right water cooling system. He’s a techie that reads books. He’s one that sees the value in the device.

I suspect that if the naysayers start polling their parents, they will find a similar pattern. Something cheap, immune to malware and with the possibility of $15 or $30/month for mobile E-Mail, a value for them. They were not going to get an iPhone/Blackberry/Android phone anyways.

Broadband to displace POTS

Monday, January 4th, 2010

AT&T has asked the FCC to set a sunset date for Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) in recent FCC Filings. They reportedly see the light in the wisdom of multiplexed data streams in this fancy IP networking that you are reading.

This has some interesting prospects (and caveats). They call out those that are unwilling to build to profitable areas, yet also imply cost as a reason they are unable to deliver services. They are not allowed to recoup market rates in poorly populated areas due to the nature of State and Federal regulation.

Me? I see it as the same situation being played out that Verzion did in the northeast. They determined that some areas were unprofitable to service. They sold these assets to Fairpoint. Fairpoint has since declared bankruptcy. This also could bolster the AT&T argument, as if they could truly charge what the service cost, would VZ have sold the business lines? Would Fairpoint have filed?

I see this as the need to build another wire to homes. Most homes have phone lines and Power. These existing right-of-ways should always have fiber placed in them. I’m actually in favor of banning new builds of any outside copper plant in the US. This does not mean that I own stock in Fiber optic cabling companies, but that there needs to be a competitive landscape. Where it’s not driven by pure market forces, consumers should get together and build their own infrastructure.

DOCSIS 1.1 and 2 equipment can be had for “cheap” on the secondary market. Even if you build coaxial cables, the cost of delivering services can be quite low.

Cooperative Internet

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

I’ve been researching what it would take to build a Fiber-to-the-Home solution to cover the areas that AT&T, Comcast and others refuse to service. Turns out the cost is actually not too bad.

The cost for running fiber appears to run around $26k/mile utilizing existing poles. Pole rent comes to around $5/year per pole. I’m making progress. If you happen to live near Scio Church and Parker and are interested in participating, please contact me.

It appears that homes can be connected for around $1000-2000 per home, and we could be break-even with a $50 price point (We would offer business services as well at a higher price, perhaps $150-200). These are all tentative numbers, as not all equipment and costs have been factored in.

The fiber could be installed for lower costs if homeowners dig their own trench across the property. This will allow conduit to be laid (which costs more than Aerial) but provides us the ability to access it easier.

You can also call me 734-408-1803 (google voice) any time to discuss your interest in this project.

Potential service areas include:

Parker Road, Liberty Road, Reese Lane, Oreo Court, Pinecross Lane, Wildwood Lane, Jerusalem Road, Musolf Lane, Malena Drive, Park Road, Country Road, Glen Court, Stiles Drive, Streiter Road, Honey Run Drive, Centenial Lane, Renz Court, Streiter Court, Lone Oak Drive, Tupelo Drive, Madrono Drive, Sitka Court, Morin Nature Circle, Gensley Road, Farm Lane, Waters Road, Duible Road, Ellsworth Road and Pleasant Lake Road.

a non-profit cooperative is the way to go, transparent finances, operation and the ability to learn computer skills from your neighbors!

I’m getting excited about the prospects the research is turning up.

Building the next generation residental internet

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Michigan is currently stuck in a backwater of internet access. There are parts that just managed to get basic telephone service in recent months (eg: Don’t Get Mad, Get ILEC) and the local consumers are stuck. If there is any area of sparse population you pass, that’s likely the firewall for real internet access.

Currently AT&T, Comcast and other providers are unwilling to step-up and invest in the infrastructure to capture these consumers. Local activities have been started, such as municipal/county and other wireless projects, but the unlicensed bands these utilize are blocked by trees and their leaves.

Getting the current generation of technology installed is going to require real effort on the part of consumers. Would you be willing to use a shovel to save costs? In norway you can get fiber to your home, and save $400 in installation fees by digging yourself [Dig your own trench, save $400]. With spools of fiber cheap (eg: 2km fiber for $150) this means the largest part of the expense is conduit and digging. Even the equipment runs around $200 for each end.

If you are in Washtenaw County and interested in solving this divide, I’m interested in hearing from you. If you are elsewhere in Michigan, please tell about what you’ve done to solve these challenges. It’s time to create a solution instead of living with 1970’s technology.