Google’s Fiber Takeover

Most of us use Google daily, whether it be looking up information on the browser, translating another language or using their navigation system to get around. Now Google’s next big venture is coating the underground of the United States in fiber cables, eventually offering us all Internet and cable.

Google started their fiber division as a concept back in 2010, and around 2012 they tested this concept in Kansas City. While Google is busy expanding their US fiber optic takeover, many hope that it may be finally hitting the Bay Area soon.

Five years after it’s conception, Google is now starting to push its fiber project, with plans to expand in California’s Silicon Valley, San Diego, San Antonio, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Atlanta, Georgia; Nashville, Tennessee and parts of North Carolina. Fiber is currently available in Provo Utah, Austin Texas and in Kansas City.

So what’s the big draw to Google Fiber services? One word: Speed. You know that annoying buffering signal you sometimes get when you are streaming Netflix? With Google Fiber this is supposed to be a thing of the past. Google’s fiber touts speeds of 1000 Mbps whereas typical speeds that is currently offered by Internet providers are between 10-50 Mbps. So that is an increased speed of 50-100% faster speeds, depending on what you are currently working with. These speeds also mean downloads averaging about three seconds.

So if and when Google brings fiber to your town, how much money are they asking you to shell out every month? Basic Internet is about $25 per month for 12 months, after that initial year, basic internet is free to Google Fiber subscribers. If you want one step up to the 1000 Mbps Internet, you are looking at about $70 a month with a one year contract. This is a comparable price to what large cable companies like Comcast currently charge for high bandwidth Internet. If you want Internet and cable together, the cost goes up to $130 a month, with 150 HD channels offered. So all in all Google is offering some affordable plans with their super fast Internet. So when might it reach your town?

It was surprising to many that Google chose not to unleash their first round of fiber in the Bay Area as they normally do. One of the reasons for this may be that Google has to go in and rip up a lot of roads in order to install these fiber cables. This task is a lot easier done in areas where roads are already in less than ideal condition, because roads must be ripped up to bury the cables. That means that once the roads are ripped up where cables can be easily buried, then re-paving is easy because it was already needed. In its conception city of Kansas City, Google states that they laid down around 7,000 miles of fiber cables throughout Kansas’ metropolitan area. So slowly but surely Google is making it’s way around the US. In the meantime we will be patiently waiting.

Breaking Up in the Digital Age

Break-ups have always been tough – it’s a tale as old as time – but there is something a little different about breaking up in the digital age. People going through break-ups in present day have it especially hard. Never before have we been able to keep such close tabs on our old flames as we are able to now. You can literally track someone’s steps, all digitally and without detection. There are social media apps galore that will give you the information that you are looking for. If you want to check statuses, new pictures and current moods, Facebook and Twitter are your new best friends. If you ever shared a Netflix account or password, you now know what they are watching, and when. If you want to find out with whom, check out their Instagram page. This is also handy for seeing how they are getting over their recent heartbreak. Maybe they are moping around at home. Or maybe they are out with friends having a blast and meeting new people. How will you know if you don’t look? Maybe your ex is dating again. Maybe they will even pop up on your Tinder app or Plenty of Fish page. If you literally want to find out where they are going, check your Waze GPS. If you ever befriended each other through the app, you can see when they are using it and if they are nearby.

It takes a lot of self-control not to peek every now and then to see what an ex is up to. In reality you are only causing yourself more pain, because nothing burns worse than seeing someone enjoy his or her life, especially without you in it. But yet we all torture ourselves from time to time. It’s natural to be curious, right? For some, self-control is hard, especially when you are heartsick. Luckily there’s an app for that.

The Problem Becomes the Solution

There is an assortment of apps available that are designed to help you get over heartache. There is The Broken Heart Guide: Accepting Breakup Reality & Start a New Life! app, the Heartbroken: A Man’s Guide to Recovery and Healing from the Breakup of a Toxic Relationship app as well the Breakup Text app available in your app store. The latter will construct a break up text for you in the event that you are having trouble coming up with one on your own. If closure is what you are after, but can’t seem to stop stalking, there’s an app for that too. There are a few apps available which will encrypt your ex’s phone number so you are unable to contact them. These will also hide selected social media pages so you are literally unable to look at them. When you come home from a night out trying to drown your sorrows, sometimes calling the source of your heartache seems like a good idea. Shooting a text sounds like an even better idea. That’s where the Ex-Lover Blocker app comes into play. When you pick up your phone and try to call or text your ex, the app will alert three pre-designated friends and inform what you are trying to do. Hopefully your friends will save you some embarrassment and pick up the phone instead to bring you back to reality.

iPhone 6S Highlights

So let’s see if any of our iPhone 6s predictions were true! As we thought, most of the notable changes are subtle upgrades. For starters, it looks like Apple decided to stay with the same dimension options as the 6, but the outer hardware is a little different. The new iPhone 6s will feature a brand new ion-constructed glass front and an aerospace aluminum back. In addition to the silver, gold and graphite that were already offered there is a brand new “rose gold” color that made its debut today.

Technical Specs

As predicted, the new phones will be a little faster, with a better battery life. The camera has also been updated and is now capable of shooting 4k video, and features a 12 megapixel sensor. In perhaps an embarrassing twist, the new iPhone will have a “selfie” option designed for taking pictures of yourself. This feature might speak more about the declining state of our society as a whole rather than Apple trying to keep up with the Joneses, but I digress.

Pricing Options

Per usual, the iPhone 6S will be offered for $199 and the iPhone 6S Plus for $299, both with a two year contract. While we are on the subject, what’s the new “payment program” all about? When you look up iPhone prices online, instead of the traditional costs that are offered, you will see a “$35 per month” in its place. Beware. Whereas previously you would be paying for your phone up front, now Apple has come up with an attractive “payment plan” that will cost you about $35-$45 a month, instead of paying cash up front. This type of plan allows you to upgrade your phone when the upgrade first comes out, which sounds great at first, but nothing is without drawbacks. In order to receive your upgrade, you will be required to turn in your previous phone. You will also be making payments on the price of the phone, which is more than the normal cost of the two-year upgrade pricing. User beware, sometimes this isn’t mentioned when signing up for these “Apple Plans.” You will also be signed up for the Apple Care Warranty, which is an option that the majority of Apple customers wouldn’t choose anyway though.

Final Thoughts

So in a nutshell, if you are looking for the latest and greatest iPhone, put in your order for the 6S. You’ll get a nicer camera, some cool new features and a pretty new color choice. Keep your eyes open when you purchase it though, and be leery when they offer you any type of payment plan. The iPhone 6S will be available beginning September 25th.

iPhone 6s: Last Minute Rumors

Word on the street is that news from Apple regarding the iPhone6S release is scheduled for tomorrow, September 9th in Cupertino, California. Apple hasn’t leaked too many details regarding their newest version of the iPhone, so there are many speculations circulating out there. We are here to try and clear some of that mystery up.

There has been some speculation on what the release date will be, and if history is any indicator, it may very well be tomorrow. Or they may wait till later in the Christmas season, just to throw a wrench in the game.

The Dimensions

We expect the sizing to remain the same. Most consumers seemed pleased with the current sizing options, so it’s doubtful that Apple would play around with that. This was also a huge change with the upgrade from iPhone 5 to iPhone 6, so they will likely keep the same size options until the 7 is released.

The Colors

There have been rumors about a color scheme similar to that of the iPhone 5C which would allow for a less expensive upgrade, as well as colorful options to choose from rather than the standard silver and gold. Rumor has it that pink might be a new option, as well as a retro teal color.

The Performance

Extended battery life and faster speeds are almost a given, as these two upgrades are almost always mimicked with every release. The material of the phone itself might also change, with speculation about a new, stronger aluminum back and a thicker glass on the front.

We will continue to keep our ear to the ground as we wait for the confirmed details tomorrow regarding the next iPhone release. This is also big news for those of you who are still waiting to upgrade your iPhone 5, as a new iPhone version release means earlier models will drop in price. So if you aren’t concerned with having the latest and greatest, this is the time for you to finally upgrade to that iPhone 6.

New Tool from Google Helps You Dodge the Rush

Google quietly announced this summer that they have developed an innovative way to help you avoid standing in long lines for food and coffee. Google now has a hack in their “location card” section of Google maps that will not only give you the hours and description of the restaurant or coffee shop, but it will also tell you what is considered the most “popular time” to go there. During these hours you should avoid your favorite restaurants due to high traffic and long wait times.

Some of this information should be a no-brainer. If it’s Sunday morning, chances are your local breakfast spot is going to be packed. The same goes for Saturdays and holidays. This app will come in handy on those days when your favorite diners get mysteriously busy at random times. Google will track the traffic in and out of restaurants to give you a better idea of breakfast, lunch and dinner rush trends, and on what days they occur and at what times. This way you can plan out your dining and coffee experience, with little wait involved. This is an invaluable tool if you are trying to meet up with friends but are on a time crunch, or if you are on your lunch break and need to get back within the hour.

This feature could really come in handy if you are going on a blind date with someone you met online; you can just find out where you are going and check to see if it’s going to be busy. Looking ahead will allow you to plan on going somewhere else instead and that will cut down on that awkward small talk that occurs when you have a long wait for a table. Instead of specific times, Google provides a moving graph depicting when there is the most foot traffic. You can just glance at the graph and know when to go and when to avoid the place altogether.

Google Expands Scope of Self-Driving Car Project

Google announced this month that they are unleashing a fleet of their self-driving cars in their hometown of Mountain View, California as well as expanding their test runs in the streets of downtown Austin, Texas. Although Google has been coordinating test drives in the area around their headquarters since about 2012, they are now broadening the number of cars that are participating in these test runs. As more and more of the Lexus RX450h SUV self-driving Google cars hit the streets, the controversy surrounding them continues to rise.

Self-driving cars are supposed to be the wave of the future, but there is still an unsettling fear that is associated with them. So far, there have been low accident reports regarding self-driving cars. The few accidents that have occurred have been mostly caused by other drivers, like the two cars that accidentally rear-ended self-driving cars last month. Less than 15 accidents have been reported since the self-driving cars have been unleashed in the streets. Google has promised to release monthly accident reports going forward into the future. In 2013 there were 30,719 fatal car accidents reported in the U.S. caused by human-driven cars, with this data not including non-fatal accidents and fender benders. When more self-driving cars hit the road, we will be able to make better comparisons about the safety of human drivers vs. self-driving cars.

One of the biggest selling points of these self-driving cars is that they will bring the hope of mobility back to those who no longer have it. This means people with vision problems and other physical limitations that keep them from driving may be able to get around again. If these self-driving cars actually make it into our everyday lives, will they cut down on accidental deaths, like the ones that are caused by human error, or accidents caused while driving under the influence? Currently the leading causes of automobile deaths are distracted drivers, drunk drivers and drivers who speed. Will the self-driving car bring an end to all of that?

Another attractive idea surrounding the self-driving car is that we all may be able to travel around while being distracted to our heart’s content. In the future we might be able to text, talk on the phone, eat breakfast, read emails and surf all of our beloved social media sites, all while on the way to work. But what about riding under the influence of alcohol? Will a driver still need to be able to take over if a self-driving car starts malfunctioning? Will there be self-driving cabs in the future that will be able to pick you up from the bar when you have had one too many?

Another question is how self-driving cars will affect traffic. In present day, the single passenger car is the main cause of traffic congestion. Will smaller, single person self-driving cars solve traffic issues, or compound the issue and make it worse?

Although Google cannot guarantee everyone’s absolute safety, they are hoping to at least ease fears that the American public might have when it comes to their self-driving cars. In a society that fears loss of control, there is no wonder the self-driving car can at times be a hard sell. For now, until we have further answers, we can just sit back and watch the progress that is being made in both California and Texas and wait to see what happens next.

Wearable Tech and Your Health

In our latest installment about wearable technology, we’ll go over a few devices that may be able to improve your health in regards to both back pain and living with diabetes.


One of the biggest health complaints that Americans deal with on a daily basis is back pain. This especially plagues office workers that sit for eight hours a day. Designated back stretches and ergonomic desks can help, but the FDA has just approved a wearable device that may work even better. Valedo is a wearable for anyone who has issues with back pain, or is looking to simply strengthen their back muscles without having to hit the gym. Valedo’s claim is that it can stabilize your spine, which in turn may help reduce back pain in the long term. Valedo comes with two sensors that attach to your lower back and chest using provided medical tape. When used in conjunction with Valedo’s app can walk you through a series of exercises that you can do while you are sitting or standing.

The app that works with Valedo has a video game style interface, to make tracking the device fun while still being user-friendly. Valedo is compatible with Android and iOS, as long as it is an iPhone 5 or 6 model, and at least a 3rd generation iPad or iPad Mini.

Google’s Smart Contact Lens Project

Diabetes has been on the rise in the U.S over the last ten years, so naturally there have been endless innovations to help manage the condition and to make life easier for diabetics. In terms of innovation, no one comes close to Google. So it makes sense that they have come out with a potential fix to one of the most painful and annoying aspects of having diabetes – checking blood sugar levels. To date, the most popular method of checking blood sugar (otherwise known as glucose) levels has been by pricking a finger with a needle and analyzing the blood. It’s recommended that a diabetic’s glucose be checked regularly, depending on the severity of a person’s condition. Some diabetics check their glucose levels weekly, others must check hourly. Although it’s a small amount of blood that is needed to check glucose levels, anyone who has had their finger pricked knows that it stings. This is where Google steps in.

Google introduced the concept of its smart contact lens project last year, which may change the lives of diabetics everywhere. This smart contact lens has a wireless chip that can detect and measure the glucose levels in your body by the tears in your eyes, via a tiny antenna that can detect blood sugar levels. Although the contact lenses are still in development and are not in production as of yet, diabetics around the world are eagerly awaiting a release date.

Wearable Tech: Fitbit Edition

For our next wearable tech installment, we will focus on one of the granddaddies of all wearable technology, the Fitbit.

Chances are that you have heard of Fitbit by now. These “lifestyle bracelets” have been taking over wrists all over the Silicon Valley for the last few years, and now the trend has caught on with the rest of country. This wearable device has the ability to track all of your physical movement, and keep track of how many steps and calories you have burned throughout the day. The Fitbit syncs wirelessly to your phone where you can view your stats on their app.

The Fitbit features a waterproof wristband that allows you to wear your bracelet everywhere, including the shower. You even wear it to bed where it will monitor your sleep patterns as well as the quality of sleep that you are getting.

The Fitbit comes in a variety of colors and styles. If you aren’t really into the whole bracelet look, you might consider the Zip version that clips directly to your clothing. A more advanced model, the Charge HR, keeps track of your heart rate and the Surge has built-in GPS. These styles vary in price depending on their functionality. If you are really serious about your weight loss, you can pick up a Fitbit Aria scale to accompany your tracker. This scale not only tracks your weight, but your body mass index and body fat percentage as well. If you are the competitive type and you have some friends that are into the Fitbit craze as well, you can track their progress and compete with them to see who can burn the most calories per week.

The Fitbit price range varies from $60-$250, check them out for yourself.

A Brief Introduction to Wearable Tech

One of the biggest topics this year has been technology that you can wear on your body, otherwise known as “wearable tech.” We’ll have a few installments over the next few weeks combing through the different types of wearable tech that are fresh on the market today.

Today we’ll start off with a new device that comes in the form of interactive workout gear you can wear to the gym. Athos is a new bodysuit of sorts that you can wear during your workout to track your movement. Athos uses electromyography (otherwise known as EMG), a process which utilizes electrode sensors to monitor your muscles and collect data. This suit will not only track your muscle fatigue during your workout, but also monitor which muscles are being worked and how hard. The Athos body suit will track vitals as well, including breathing patterns and heartbeats. Both your heartbeat and your breath can indicate whether you are over-or-under exerting yourself. The bodysuit comes as two separate pieces, both a top and a bottom; shorts for men, yoga pants for the ladies.

Another new product on the horizon is one that you don’t necessarily wear, but one that you can certainly sleep in. The product is called the Luna Sleep Tracker, and it will turn any bed into a “smart bed” by tracking your sleep habits and regulating your bed’s temperature. You can even set it to warm up your bed while you are still on your way home.

The sleep tracker comes in the form of a mattress cover that contains a sensor to monitor your sleep habits. The sensor can be controlled from your smart phone, and will find the right moment in your sleep cycle to wake you when you will feel most refreshed, and your energy levels will be the highest.

The sleep tracker fits like any other mattress cover, and comes in a few different sizes. The San Francisco-based company has already reached over a million dollars in pre-orders, and is expected to start shipping to investors later on this year.

Replace Your Keyboard Already

People get attached to their keyboards. Even when they get old, dusty and some of the keys have worn off, most folks keep these keyboards around forever. Working for a cable company, we see people everyday looking for old, outdated cables for their old keyboards. This is always baffling, especially when keyboards are so cheap nowadays. You can get a standard keyboard with no bells and whistles for fewer than ten bucks.

If you want to invest a little more into a new keyboard, we highly suggest a spill-resistant keyboard and mouse combo. It’s a little pricier than a standard keyboard, but worth its weight in gold when it comes to accidents. Liquid spills are a keyboard’s worst enemy; a surefire way to fry a keyboard. And who hasn’t spilled coffee on their keyboard? Our coffee cups usually sit just inches away from our computers like a silent threat. The same goes for your mouse. A spill-resistant keyboard and mouse duo would solve that problem, and ensure that both have a longer life span.

Foldable keyboards are another more recent phenomenon. They bend, fold and are washable as well. They have a USB connection, so you can plug them into any computer that has a USB port. Although it’s a full-size 109-key keyboard, its bendable nature makes it completely portable so you can throw it in a bag with your other portable devices. With a separate OTG adapter, you could even hook this keyboard up to your phone. This would come in handy if you have a long email to write while you’re traveling, and your phone’s mini-keyboard just takes too long.

Now that you have a few choices, you have no excuse not to get that old keyboard replaced with a shiny new one.