Give me some speed or give me some (Google) Fiber: If there were squeals of delight heard this week, then they were from our colleague Stacey Higginbotham, who was excited at the prospect of dumping her legacy broadband provider and embracing modern fiber broadband. Of course, she has to wait for Google Fiber (s goog) to actually build the network. But still, they are setting up shop in her hometown of Austin, Texas.
Austin is the second city to be getting the one gigabit service, and customers will soon (by soon, we mean middle of 2014) be able to live online at gigabit speeds. Hell, those who don’t want to pay get can 5 Mbps connections for free. Browsing one hundred times faster will cost money, but trust us, we love our 200 Mbps connection and we can tell you it is worth it.
Wondering what exactly Google Fiber can do for a city like Austin? There’s a few different views on Quora based on experiences from Kansas City residents, who just started getting the same service this past November. Of course, given that Austin is home to the South by Southwest festival, it’s likely that bigger technological strides will be made. We wouldn’t be afraid to bet on Austin blossoming into the next Silicon Valley: You heard it here first.
Tumblr edits its Edit team: It made perfect sense to us when Tumblr set up an editorial team and decided to promote writing on its platform. However, Tumblr turned the lights out on its editorial department this week after less than a year of operation. Called Storyboard, the content curating “experiment” launched in 2012 with the goal of editorializing great stories from Tumblr’s “living, breathing community.” We were moved and entertained by many of these stories — from surviving sexual assault to an exposé on Cumberbitches — but Storyboard, when you really nail it down, was an avenue to repackage, repurpose, and highlight the talent that thrives on its own platform.
Apparently the world didn’t much care about this approach. From the get-go, Storyboards’ waters were tainted by the ever-so-slight flavor of self promotion — in December, New York Capital’s Joe Pompeo wrote a great piece that explored whether Storyboard was journalism or next-gen marketing — and maybe that’s why Storyboard didn’t (or couldn’t) survive. Tumblr is already struggling to make money, and it seems the only way Storyboard could contribute to the company’s bottom line was by advertorial-izing content from higher-level partners like Time, Bon Appetit, or New York Magazine, which would further blur the lines between journalism and marketing.
Two Thumbs Way Up, Roger Ebert. RIP: There aren’t many and there aren’t likely to be many like Roger Ebert, who inspired, informed and entertained his readers across generations and mediums. He was the first true 21st century journalist. He loved the papers, the magazines, the television, the internet and Twitter. He was the ultimate early adopter and then adapted to medium.
The iconic film critic Roger Ebert passed away this week after a box office-busting 46-year-long career in Hollywood, and while he may have lost the ability to speak in 2006, our own Mathew Ingram shares how Twitter allowed him to share his thoughts, ideas, and opinions with a captivated audience.
A Knowledge Economy shouldn’t ignore the invisibles: Or at least that is what we think. So when Mark Zuckerberg and a handful of other tech luminairies launched FWD.us, a public interest group aiming to make change in the areas of education and immigration, we weren’t afraid to speak up about the bigger change that awaits our society.
While the group may be noble in its causes, FWD.us is not without its problems, especially when it comes to the hot-button topic of immigration. Seems to us that Zuckerberg and Co. aren’t seeing the big picture — or the rest of the world — outside their Silicon Valley bubble. Yes, engineers of technology are important, but if you forget to include the rest of the population in your immigration discussion, then the effort is self-serving and not all that social.
And now for some great stories we read this week that are worth reading:
- Move over, Hollywood — talented coders are now getting agents.
- Would you let your kids use a prepaid debit card from Justin Bieber?
- Paul Allen’s Living Computer Museum in Seattle lets you get your hands on computers from another age.
- Take a trip down memory lane with this Quora discussion on how old video games were made with such little memory 25 years ago.
- We’re still talking about bitcoin, but logic tells Vanity Fair that this whole thing will pop soon.
Read this and other in-depth articles on GigaOM’s Flipboard channel