Ever wonder about your Internet speed?

Are there times when you aren’t sure you are getting the speed from your ISP that you pay for? Running a simple test on your computer will tell you. First you need to know that the speed you receive via a computer connected through an ethernet cable may be closer to what your ISP says you have and connections through Wi-Fi will be lower.

Why would you need to do these tests? Well if you are streaming and run into a lot of buffering problems or connection problems, you might want to take a look at your speeds. Are others in your household doing things that require more bandwidth such as streaming or gaming?

Here are a few sites you can test (we are supposed to have 75 mbps up and down with FiOS):

SpeedTest.net
BandWidthPlace.com
Many ISPs have a speedtest if you want to try them – in some cases you just the need the url of your ISP then add /speedtest/ to the end of it.

Here are some results from my test.

Speed test using Speedtest.net
Speed test using Speedtest.net

Internet Speed Test by Verizon
Internet Speed Test by Verizon

Speed Test HTML5 No App Needed
Speed Test HTML5 No App Needed

Net Neutrality

So what is Net Neutrality and why is it in the news lately? Jody Victor’s crew will try to answer these questions.

According to wikipedia, Net Neutrality is “the principle that Internet all Internet traffic should be treated equally.” Open Internet is the “idea that the full resources of the Internet and means to operate on it are easily accessible to all individuals and companies.”

According to theOpenInter.net, “Network neutrality is the idea that your cellular, cable, or phone internet connection should treat all websites and services the same. Big companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast want to treat them differently so they can charge you more depending on what you use.” The site has an interesting info-graphic explaining this.

The FCC is slated to vote on Net Neutrality in February. They allowed a time of public comment on this until September 2014. You can read their proposal here.

A website about everything

Have you ever looked at “a website about everything”? There are many websites that may fit that description. Maybe wikipedia.com. The one showing that phrase right on their home page is reddit.com. On reddit.com, everone is a “redditor” – they can vote on stories and discussions. The stories and discussions with the most votes rise to the top. You can create a community called a “subreddit” which is independent and moderated by a team of volunteers. You can choose which subreddits you want to see. Anyone can comments can be posted on every story. There is a page with “reddiquette” so you know what the rules are.

Right now reddit claims to have over 6,000,000,000 pages. Yesterday, they had over 3 million logins. If you want to see a fun way to learn about it, you can watch this video. You could easily get caught up in it so be careful how much you use it. We’ve heard it said that reddit should be the front page of the Internet.

Oh – and reddit is always spelled in lower case.

Jody Victor

Tech news this week

Yahoo!
You may have already heard of Yahoo! Screen. Now they want to go a step further and compete somewhat with YouTube, even poaching their some of their stars according to an article by re/code. They aren’t looking to allow users to upload all their content but want to pick the most popular ones and offer better deals.

Google
If you are a developer, you would have received an email by now telling of the revamped Google Play Developer Program Policy. Google is attempting to cut down on deceptive advertising practices from app developers and other third-party services. You can view the policy and hopefully report any apps that may be violating the new rules.

Printer Ink
Want to save money on ink? Use Garamond font. A 14-year-old boy from Pittsburgh, Suvir Mirchandani, did a study on his own to see how he could save his school district some money. He found he could save as much as $21,000/year just by switching to the thinner Garamond font. You can read about his research here.

Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook plans to use drones and lasers to improve Internet access. They plan to fly drones over areas that don’t have access. They are also looking into beaming Internet to people from the sky. Read more here.

~ Jody Victor

Not every one uses the Internet

Jody‘s crew found an article citing one in seven Americans don’t use the Internet. In the article, Steven Vaughan-Nichols talks about a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project from May 2013 that 34% of the Americans not using the Internet aren’t even interested in it. They say it’s not relevant to them. 32% say it’s not easy to use, frustrating, and they are afraid of spam, hackers, spyware. 19% state it’s too expensive to own a computer or pay for connection.

Nearly half of the non-Internet users are over 65. Maybe some of you tech-savvy youngsters can help your family connect!

Read about CNN Tech’s favorite Rules of the Internet

I was telling Jody about this article I ran across the other day on the internet called “Meet the Rules of the Internet“. They chose some of their favorites from different places (most are tongue-in-cheek.) They are as follows:

  • Nothing is Sacred. No exceptions
  • Anything you post will eventually become public.
  • Anything you post can and will be used against you.
  • If you post something epically stupid it will go viral.
  • Whatever viral thing you love today you will come to hate tomorrow.
  • However bizarre or obscure your interests, someone shares them.
  • There are facts on the internet if you know where to look.
  • Everything on the internet is free or will be soon.
  • Post pictures or it didn’t happen. (Photoshop is an amazing tool.)
  • If it exists, there is porn of it.
  • YOU SHOULD NEVER WRITE IN ALL CAPS.
  • Anything can be made better by adding cats … or babies.

Jody Victor® finds out about Cyber Monday

Jody was curious about the origins of Cyber Monday. This is what he found out:

  • Cyber Monday is a term first used by shop.com in November 2005. It has since become one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. The name grew from the observation that people were returning from their Thanksgiving break to their high-speed Internet and buying what they liked on Monday at work.
  • Cyber Monday Online sales went from $610M in 2006 to $1,251M in 2011. This year is projected to be $1.5B and up to as much as $2B.
  • Many employers had to fire employees or restrict/block employees from accessing certain websites.
  • In 2006, shop.com set up a new website, cybermonday.com, where you can see many deals all at once.

Some pointers:
Don’t shop at work.
Don’t shop while driving.
Sites like cybermonday.com allow you to comparison shop.

Jody asks, “Do you shop online for Christmas?”