Comcast Gig: Gigabit with Strings

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Comcast Gig Service only appears to compete with Google Fiber

Comcast Gig service can be yours, right now if you live in an area that also has Google Fiber.  The service is only available where Google Fiber is also available, or will be coming soon.  But does this new service actually compare favorably to Google Fiber?

Google Fiber service is fairly simple.  1,000 Megabits per second upload and download connection speeds.  There is no bandwidth cap if the service is used for residential purposes and there is no contract, but you can waive the install fee if you keep the service for 12 months.  All this is available for $70 per month.

Comcast on the other hand has almost an innumerable count of optional plans, nearly all of which require at least a 12 month contract.  Granted the two plans offered that compare to Google Fiber do not require a contract, only if you want to pay the same amount.  Comcast Gig service is $140 / month without a contract, but $70 / month with a 36-month agreement.

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As good as Comcast Gig appears, being the same price as Google Fiber’s service, there are a couple of drawbacks (not including the 36-month contract).  Comcast Gig service is limited on the upload to 35 Mbps (roughly 30 times slower than Google Fiber upload).  There is also a bandwidth cap, Google Fiber does not have a ceiling on use.  But the one distinct difference in all this between Google Fiber and Comcast Gig is that in most of the planned Google Fiber roll out locations Comcast Gig is available now.

Comcast Gig is in many of the cities where Google Fiber is active and planning, but what you may not be aware of (until now) is why.  If you’ve ever wondered why there was no cable service competition anywhere, it is because the cable companies designed it that way from the outset.  By default no cable company can compete in the same city as another originally because of the initial cost of cable installation.  BUT this same rule is being imposed on Google Fiber, when Google Fiber is not a “cable provider”.

So while Google Fiber is embroiled in a bureaucratic web, Comcast will snare those who want gigabit internet service, but don’t want to wait for Google Fiber;  even if that poor excuse for gigabit service comes with more than a couple of strings.

Are you willing to wait potentially another two years for a better service or just to hang on to your current bandwidth provider? Or maybe switch to a cheaper but very long term partially-gigabit service, with a company that is well-known to be one of the worst for customer care?  Hit me up in the comments for how you feel about this new service.

 

 

 

Get Outta My Head: Google Cast-enabled Speakers

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Google Cast-enabled Speakers

If you had the opportunity to read about Google’s recent launch of the Chromecast Audio, then you might have some idea of what Google Cast-enable Speakers are.  But if not, then you’re in for a treat. Sony, Denon, and LG have all announced Google Cast-enabled Speakers.

Google announced that several partners have integrated the Google “Chromecast” functionality into a couple of lines of stand-alone speakers.  These speakers, unlike most Bluetooth speakers, operate from a connection to your home Wi-Fi and steam clear, digital audio directly from the Internet.   The Google Cast element allows the user to control that audio stream from Google’s Play server, whether through Play Music, Play Movies, or from a host of other services like Pandora, Spotify, IHeartRadio, Slacker Radio, RDIO, and more.

Although these new speakers are not priced in the same ball-park as the Chromecast Audio itself ($35), they do offer a similar level of audio playback quality that you might expect from a high quality speaker.

LG Electronics

The LG Music Flow speaker series begins with the Music Flow H3.  A fairly small, vertically rectangular box that is slightly taller than a box of facial tissue. Atop the head of the speaker there is a iPod-familiar volume touch interface and a simple On/ Off switch.  As most of your music will be controlled through whatever smartphone or tablet device that you use, there isn’t much need for controls on the speaker itself.

Other devices in the Music Flow line are the H4, H5, and H7 speakers.  A unique feature of the H4 is that it includes a battery making your music more portable around the house.  And if you’re really into the LG line of speakers, adding the Music Flow Sound Bar will allow you to play back the audio from your home theater system.

Sony

The flare one expects from Sony hardware is somewhat diminished in the SRS line of speakers.  But where LG left off, Sony picks up.  The SRSX77 isn’t just a Wi-Fi device, it doubles as a Bluetooth speaker.  And adds all the support of the DLNA, Apple AirPlay, and a ridiculously long 100+ hour battery life.

In similitude to the LG line of speakers, Sony too has a line of speakers ranging in price from slightly more than the LG to a great deal more. You should expect to get solid performance from these speakers for the price, but don’t expect to pay less than $100 for any of them.

Denon

As of yet Denon has not released it’s line of Google Cast enabled speakers.  But we can get a glimpse of what is to come via their website (Press Release).

If You Had All Digital Clocks, You’d Forget About Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time

It’s that “time” again, Daylight Savings Time, that is.  Time to “fall back” to the old time.  Yes, you wouldn’t even know that the time had changed, because your smartphone and tablet, desktop and laptop, atomic clock and Smart TV all set themselves at the exact time change. If the rules were changed yet again, the manufacturers of these devices could easily make a small change OTA to reflect it. And you still wouldn’t notice.

Alas, some of us still have appliances that are not connected.  We have desk clocks and analog wrist watches, wall clocks and grandfather clocks, DVD clocks and clocks in our vehicles, none of which are connected to the internet to update the time.

So take that extra hour and remember to set your non-connected clocks “BACK” an hour at 2 AM after Halloween (Sunday, November 1st).   And consider all those lucky people who don’t have to think about the time change.

 

Unlimited Tablets and Free Data For Life

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Free Data for Life

With a title like that, you’re probably asking about the catch, but there really isn’t one.  T-mobile is quite serious about its offerings and they mean to stay that way.  Now, with Free Data for Life on as many tablets as you want, the deals are only getting better.  It’s as if T-mobile sees a problem with the market and rather than try to spin a solution, they simply fix it.

No Contracts

The first great thing that T-mobile did in this championing for the people, is to eliminated service plan contracts.  They went to a system where the only contract is that you pay for the hardware at cost (over time).  Regardless of which company you go with, everyone pays for the hardware, but for every other mobile provider the final bill is the full 2 years. To leave T-mobile, you only need to pay off the phones.

Which leads me something  pretty cool about T-mobile.  You should not pay for the phone up-front.  All device loans or Equipment Installment Plans (EIP) are “at cost”, no interest. Whether you pay for it immediately or over time, you pay the same amount.

Unlimited Data

The second great thing about T-mobile is the dedication to Unlimited Data.  At no time, even prior to my having become a customer in 2008, have they ever cut off the data stream. Although they market it as X number of Gigabytes of 4G LTE data, the data does not stop once you hit that level. It merely reduces down to 2G or 3G speeds and continues. There’s no harsh fee for overages, because you can’t go over unlimited.

Free Data For Life

And finally, the Free Data For Life.  Every now and then T-mobile will do promotions where they offer a free Tablet and free data for life.  You do at least need to pay the taxes on the “free” tablet, but they’re not joking about the free data.  You will however get only 200 MB per month (It could be as much as 500 MB).  And to boot, there is no cap on the number of tablets.

If you want 10 tablets with 200 MBs of 4G LTE, you can get them all free date for life.  Or if you just happen to need 25 tablets with 200 MB of 4G LTE, but you don’t use them for 12 months, you’ll get 60 GB with all that roll-over data.  Yes, if you don’t remember to use all 200 MB of data, then you will keep it for up to 12 months.

AndroidStuffs

The key factor here is the “Free Data For Life”, but simple fact that T-mobile will willing to offer unlimited tablets with that data and roll over, causes one to wonder.