Thursday, May 28, 2015

WiFi or Ethernet? It's Still a Wired, Wired, Wired World

Ever wondered why your WiFi connection seems slower than when you plug your computer directly into an Ethernet wall jack? That’s because it probably is. Once again, the folks at How To Geek give a good technical breakdown of WiFi vs. wired, and why it matters. They talk a little bit about the up-and-coming 802.11ac WiFi standard, which we’ll be looking at a little more closely here in the coming months as well, and how that will help wireless connections run more quickly. But within the article’s premise is also a further explanation of why it’s important, in an apartment setting, to place Cat-6 cable jacks (or at least Cat-5e ones) in locations where high bandwidth devices such as smart TVs and game consoles will be set up. In those cases, less latency (i.e., more speed) will definitely translate into happier residents.  

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.