Google Fiber

Well, Google Fiber is here in Provo. I decided to sign up for the gigabit service, but I am a little concerned about the actual performance. If I navigate to http://provo.speedtest.googlefiber.net, I can test the speed. However, I get two sets of information from this google hosted site. (Note that they say it is powered by Ookla)

In Google Chrome:

In Safari and Firefox:

While 527.17 Mbps is nothing to complain about, I’m disturbed by the fact that Google Chrome gets a 400mbps bump . . . or that it is at least reporting 400mbps more.
So, I decided to get some info from a third party. I went to http://speedtest.net (also powered by Ookla). I was once again very disturbed. All three browsers seemed to be getting similar results.
So, what’s going on Google? Granted at these speeds and at this price, Google fiber is truly the way to go. I just wished I could explain this discrepancy.
Before I finish this post, I want to make it clear that these tests were done on a gigabit ethernet connection (not wifi) and that the results were all collected during about a 10 minute window.
Wireless is a different story. I knew it was going to be slower. I’m averaging about 225mbps up and down in every browser. Google Fiber reports ~225mbps while speediest.net reports about half that. The network box provided by Google uses wireless N which has a maximum speed of 450mbs. Many wireless routers are at 150, 300, or 450mps.
What do you think is going on?

Why do Interfaces always change?

It’s been a long time since I have written anything. I logged into the new blogger today with it’s new interface. I upgraded to Lion with it’s newer interface. Why do people always change the interface? Why are there so many themes, skins, or whatever you call them?

I think I might have an answer. Really I’ve boiled it down to two possibilities. First, perhaps the new interface is “better.” I’m assuming that software giants like Google and Apple do market research and usability testing. Then again, they might not. Better said, they don’t do it the way I think they should. Perhaps they get feedback via email or other communications. Maybe the designers who use the software just realize that somethings need to change.

The reason I think that they do it though, is to prevent the appearance of stagnation. If gmail still looked the same as it did when they released it, people would think that it was old and out of date. However, I don’t remember two many things about the interface that I didn’t like or that aren’t still around today. Firefox now updates every 6 weeks. OS X has had a steady two year average release time between versions. While the new features and abilities are welcome, the change in the interface seems to be the eye candy that draws you back in. Ubuntu does a good job with this. With every new release every six months I want to see what it’s like. I might even install the new version.

This post really doesn’t have a point. Well, maybe it does. I think the constant changing in interface layout, functionality, and overall look and feel is to keep people using their products. People just seem to like new things.

Aardvark

With Google’s recent acquisition of Aardvark, I wanted to give it a try and see why they bought it. Aardvark is a website that lets you ask questions and get answers. I could describe it more, but that’s what it is. You submit a question and then aardvark searches for a user that might be able to answer it.

At first, I wondered how this differed than just searching for answers online. I decided to ask it questions whose answers I couldn’t find by searching with Google. I thought I might be able to get a good response. Out of all the questions I asked, all the answers were unhelpful or showed that the answerers did not understand the questions. Some were just flat out ridiculous. I think that the concept is interesting, but so far, it isn’t helpful.

Google OS

Late last night, when I was going through my feeds in Google Reader, I came across the news of the Google OS.

It seems like a great idea. One thing that really attracts me to it is that it could substantially increase the utility of affordable desktops for educational purposes. Right now netbooks are burdened with windows xp or properly equipped with a lesser known and more intimidating flavor of linux. I think linux is perfect for these machines, but new users aren’t keen on switching.

Now that Google is working on an OS built on the linux kernel and heavily integrated with the web, we might see a broader group jumping on the linux train. Google is one of the few corporate forces with the power and momentum to get linux into more machines. Linux runs great on low profile systems and is highly extensible.

So, as far as education goes, I can definitely see Google OS making the cheap netbook and other cheap desktops a good selection for educators to use in labs and classrooms. Instead of being the intimidating “linux,” it’s google!