Friday, May 22, 2015

Want to Enter Your Apartment? There’s an App for That

Blockchain technology start-up Onename unveiled an identity app that could one day unlock the door to your apartment, according to Bitcoin Magazine. The product, known as a Passcard, could help you manage everything from your Twitter account to unlocking your front door. It’s based on a blockchain ledger, the same underlying platform behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. “Passcards are a digital form of identity and access control designed to initially replace passwords, and in the future, replace forms of physical identification like passports and driver’s licenses,” Onename, which is backed in part by investor Fred Wilson, wrote on its blog. “You’ll be able to use it to enter your apartment or your office and when asked to present identification in an in-person context. The future of identity is here.” Check out the full announcement here.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Authenticate Yourself

How To Geek (yes, OF COURSE we read it!) has a great article on “authenticated streaming” that provides a step-by-step guide on how to get the most out of your cable TV subscription. Authenticated streaming is the term used when traditional cable providers offer online, on demand access to their programming for existing subscribers, who authenticate themselves through a registration process.  It’s an interesting and timely look at this space, where traditional cable companies such as Comcast and Verizon are battling it out with online streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime – not to mention Meerkat and Periscope. It’s also quite pertinent given Comcast’s recent unveiling of its own 4K streaming box. Check it out here. 

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Time Who? Comcast Gets Back in the Game with a New 4K Box

As if to announce it’s back in the game after its engagement to Time Warner went south, Comcast this week announced it will begin producing its own 4K set-top box, dubbed the “Xi4,” according to The Verge. The device presumably will create another conundrum for would-be cord cutters who don’t have the brain space to juggle between Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime and now, Periscope and Meerkat, allowing users to produce “unlimited virtual 4K linear channels by creating personalized playlists from the Xfinity in UHD library.” The only question, as The Verge points out, is what consumers will watch on the box. For now, content seems limited, so you won’t be able to ax your Netflix account just yet. But the announcement does seem to raise the question of whether Comcast can turn the tables on the streaming services cutting into its subscriber base by trying to beat them at their own game. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Updating History with Gigabit Internet

Chicago’s Automatic Lofts may be old, but that’s doesn’t mean it can’t be cutting edge. The 482-unit student community on Chicago’s West Side is housed in the old Automatic Electric Company building, which originally opened in 1910 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Recently purchased in a joint venture between Atlanta-based JMG Realty and New York-based Empire Square Group, the building will now get gigabit Internet and Wi-Fi to each individual unit, according to Commercial Property Executive. Now that’s an historical upgrade. Read the full article here.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Project Fi Gives Google Juice to Cellular Over WiFi

Cellular over WiFi just got a big boost with Google’s announcement of Project Fi. The initiative pairs the world’s largest search company with the Sprint and T Mobile networks, and marks Google’s first large-scale foray into wireless. For just $20 a month, invited Nexus 6 users can sign up for the phone and data service, which will credit back unused data each month, a shot across the bow of incumbent cellular providers. But while the announcement got plenty of attention yesterday, and was first reported in the Wall Street Journal, one important aspect got shorter shrift  in most news coverage: the technology will automatically, and easily, switch between cellular and WiFi for calls and data. That aspect alone could be a game-changer for cellular in general, as established companies will eventually need to answer Google's call. Read Bloomberg’s take on the announcement here.