Browse Month

April 2013

Google Fiber

Google Fiber Set To Launch

In 2010, Google announced its Google Fiber project. This project would deliver a gigabit network to a chosen community. Kansas City was ultimately chosen for the tech companys test run. Next week, Google Fiber finally goes lives.

A gigabit network is one that runs on fiber optics, and reaches download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. The average American only has download speeds of up to 4 megabits per second. This network will offer speeds over 100 times faster than the average speed, and it will be bi-directional.

Why is Google launching a fiber network? Experts see two possible reasons. Google itself has stated that it wants to see what people would do with a gigabit network connection. Given the companys plethora of online content, particularly at video sharing website Youtube, this seems like a logical enough reason. Youtube has begun streaming movies and TV shows in the past few years, and faster network speeds would help the company grow this business.

Others speculate that the move is Googles answer to attacks on network neutrality by the big internet providers like Comcast, Verizon, and ATT. These companies complain about the price of upgrading and maintaining their network, and want to charge websites like Google extra money to allow customers fast access to its sites. This practice would violate the long held spirit of the internet, where all data traffic is treated equally. Google may be out to prove that fast networks can be built and maintained at reasonable prices.

If the latter is true, then Google is to be commended. The attacks on network neutrality by the big service providers threatens not just the internet, but the economy as a whole. Our economy is deeply connected to the internet now, and we can not afford to have internet service providers picking the winners and losers online. Discrimination of network traffic can not be allowed, or the open and free internet we have grown to love will be destroyed.

 

tropical storm fernand

Tropical Storm Fernand Makes Landfall

If you blinked, you missed it. Tropical Storm Fernand formed in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday afternoon. By late Sunday night/early Monday morning, the storm had already made landfall in Mexico. The tropical storm is not particularly powerful, and is expected to mostly be a rain event.

Fernand formed in the Bay of Campeche, which is in the southern Gulf of Mexico near the Yucatan Peninsula. At its strongest, the storm reached winds of 50 mph. As of the 7:00 AM update, Fernand was currently packing winds of 40 mph and moving NW at 9 mph. As the storm is now over land, no more strengthening is expected. The storm will weaken into a tropical depression later today.

The storm is not expected to affect weather along the US Gulf Coast. After being drenched in rain the past few weeks, the forecast over the next few days calls for much more sun. Temperatures will be in the low 90s in the day, and dip down into the low 70s at night.

Meteorologists are now watching another tropical wave in the Caribbean. While this particular wave may not develop, conditions are turning much more favorable over the next two weeks in the Caribbean and the Atlantic Basin as we approach the very peak of hurricane season. Another tropical wave east of the Lesser Antilles is also being watched.