Talks About Tech Weekly 107: Bottle Boats

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Magnet 1Gbps Broadband
Magnet is putting 1Gbps fibre broadband into 120 apartments on the Stilorgan Rd, Blackrock, Dublin. This is part of a test that Magnet is doing to see how feasible something like this would be large scale and also what kind of interest there is nationally about the project.

The fibre will be directly fed into the apartments and will provide 1,000Mbps download and 1,000Mbps upload synchronous. This means that I could upload a HD video episode of Talks About Tech Weekly in a whopping 4 seconds as long as your server supports uploading at those speeds! For comparison, currently a HD episode of the podcast would take 4 hours to upload!

If you want to find out more about the project you can go to: magnet.ie/project-leap.

ESB & Vodafone Joint Fibre Venture
Speaking of fibre this week Vodafone and the ESB signed a €450 million deal to allow the use of ESB electricity lines to run fibre into homes. This is all part of an effort to bring fibre broadband to rural areas across Ireland. This is a particularly interesting deal for Vodafone who are benefiting greatly from the deal. The government reassessed the National Broadband Plan in April this year. They realised that they need to use private enterprise to help with the roll out. It seems like the funding they gave to Eircom for E-Fibre didn’t work out too well. Now Vodafone is getting a chance to show what they have to offer.

The speeds are looking promising. Vodafone claim speeds of 200Mbps to 1Gbps. This will also be the first time in Europe that an ISP will use the electricity cabling for internet use. This certainly beats E-Fibre with max speeds of 100Mbps because it’s running copper into the house. 50 towns and cities across Ireland and will receive the service in over 500,000 households. The first roll out will start in 2015 and is scheduled to be finished by 2018.

Carphone Warehouse Virtual Carrier
An update to the Three and O2 merger is this week Carphone Warehouse signed a deal to come onboard as a virtual carrier along with UPC to run off Three’s network infrastructure. This is a great thing for the mobile economy in Ireland as in introduces much more competition that will surely try to undercut Three’s current pricing.

The biggest question here is plan structure. The reason that I’m with Three is because I can get unlimited texts to any network and unlimited (yes truly unlimited!) internet with 4G. It really is the best deal in Ireland at the moment! If Carphone Warehouse and UPC could provide the same for less money I would definitely be willing to get on board.

My mobile strategy at the moment is to buy my smartphone unlocked. This does mean that I have to pay full price but I can put any prepaid SIM I want in my phone and get some incredibly good cellular deals on no contract. It’s worth it! I can also have as many SIM’s as I want. I could have a Vodafone SIM, Three SIM and O2 SIM and use whichever one I want. It’s really useful.

Bottle Boat – World Robotic Sailing Championship
The international bottle boat sailing championship is coming to Galway this year on September 13th 2014. Previous events were held in Austria, Portugal, Canada, Germany, Wales, France and more so this is a big event for Galway!

The objective of the competition is to create an autonomous motorboat or sailboat made from a max of 2 plastic 2 litre bottles. There will be GPS coordinates given on the day to help your boat to navigate the course.

You can check out the website for the championship here. I highly recommend that you go to the festival from September 8th – 13th.

Messing Around With The Raspberry Pi
The Raspberry Pi is an extremely powerful hobbyist computer. There are so many Raspberry Pi projects out there and I’ve always been meaning to do one of these projects myself. I decided that this week I would try out of these projects. I wanted to do a project that I could use on a daily basis. I have a very expensive Axis IP camera in the studio that streams low latency 720p HD video over the LAN.

I thought ‘what if I could do this with a webcam and a raspberry pi?’. Essentially I would be turning my webcam or any video source into an IP video source. Pretty cool, right? Well I have done the preliminary test and it has worked great. The next step is to implement this with the Raspberry Pi. I will keep you updated on my progress with this project.

Humming Board
I also came across a new Raspberry Pi competitor today called the Humming Board. It has pretty much the exact same form factor. In fact you can even use the same enclosures as the Raspberry Pi. The difference? It comes with a faster 1GHz Arm 7 processor and a completely swappable RAM slot and CPU. The pricing starts at $45 for the 512MB version and the 1GB model with a slightly faster processor costs $100. You can find out more about the HummingBoard and purchase the computer here.

CorribDigital.com
I have been working very hard for the last month setting up my new business Corrib Digital. If you are looking for someone to create and design your website for you, you can contact me at michael@corribdigital.com. My prices for a simple website with 10 hours of work are €480 and I will set up a domain name and hosting for you. If you need someone to maintain your site or you want someone to overhaul your site for you I will also do that for a very reasonable price.

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