Fiber Optics: The Final Frontier

Some of the Google Fiber videos from a few months ago never made it to PDD. Since there seems to be renewed interest in the subject following the release of Google Goes to Twin Ports, it seems like a good time to highlight some of the good work put out by a wide variety of people. The director of the above video is 14 years old.

Here’s the Northland’s NewsCenter’s Michelle Lee on the importance of fiber …

Imagine what Google Fiber could do for GeaCom.

Or Loll.

Or maybe even the Armory.

23 Comments

Sherman

about 10 years ago

Those are all fine and stuff, but NONE of them had a puppy.

TimK

about 10 years ago

All of these were simple and effective.

Anti-Googler

about 10 years ago

There was raw bigotry in the Google movie against kittens.

Where is the video that extolls Duluth's blustery climate of big government, union and single political party domination, and social welfare to and from an abundance of nonprofits?

Jude

about 10 years ago

The armory one gets my vote.  It showcases things that could benefit from Google fiber and it connects the future with the past (historical building). It even tells the world where Duluth is. Jazz this one up a bit with better music (play some Dylan or Buddy Holly) and it would hit the mark.  It is at least professional, addresses what GF could do, and it showcases locals.

Kevin

about 10 years ago

Why the hell would the Google empire care about restoring the armory for the sponges of Duluth?

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

Google obviously wouldn't restore the Armory by itself, Kevin. But Google will want to play a role in the success of many enterprises in Duluth if it launches its ultra high-speed broadband networks here. That's how Google will show down the road that it was a success.

Kevin

about 10 years ago

Paul, Google is a business. Google shows success in its accounting formula. It seems to me that the proponents of Google Fiber are seeking charity. The return on Google's investment in Duluth is not being conveyed. Google Ventures can be solicited to take part in an enterprise. There has to be more in play from both sides.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

Kevin, can you explain yourself better? "Google shows success in its accounting formula." What does that mean?

Kevin

about 10 years ago

Paul, I probably can not. But, I just meant that Google is a business. Its primary function is to produce profit. Building a better Duluth is not in its mission statement. To win, Duluth will need to be seen as a unique complement to Google. That case has not been made. People and business do not locate in Duluth voluntarily without some extraordinary condition/incentive. The reasons to stay away are many. Google proclaims to want to operate in an efficient and economical manner. Will it be able and allowed to do so in Duluth?

The Friendly Old Knifey

about 10 years ago

Building a better Duluth would be exactly what Google wants to do with its Fiber project. The city that it selects is supposed to be a model of what Google Fiber could do for the economy and well-being of a city. "Look at what Google Fiber did for Duluth," they'll all say. Suddenly, Google Fiber will be everywhere, and THAT is where the profit model will come into play.

wildgoose

about 10 years ago

Please keep this in mind when critiquing videos.  As far as I know, the most viewed Duluth-Superior google fiber video is not any of these or the dozen or so others that were created.  It's  the one with Duluth Mayor Don Ness jumping into Lake Superior.  In fact, if memory serves correctly, during one week at the peak of the campaign in March it was actually the most viewed video not just for the Twin Ports, but for every community in the United States that was involved in the competition.  

Don't like it?  It's not my favorite one, either (although I love that he's wearing a Hillsider t-shirt.  But the fact remains that this "stunt" gripped the consciousness of the media, bloggers and twitterers more than any of these other videos.  

Kevin is right about at least one thing, Google is a business, not a democracy, and our "videos" could be made by Francis Ford Coppola and they still might not push us over the edge, but that's just my opinion.  More likely, the diversity of offerings of people using all kinds of Google Technologies, (certainly NOT just YouTube) from people of all walks of life with varying degrees of skill and professionalism are what will really make the difference. Diversity and depth are always stronger than superficial veneer, and this community has demonstrated depth, and as much diversity as we can muster, too.  The fact that there are numerous videos tagged to this project and they talk about and/or demonstrate multiple Google owned technologies is likely more persuasive than any one of the creations by itself.  This is why the kid with the Star Trek themed video used Google Earth in his presentation, that helps immensely.  But the "Google Goes to Twin Ports" movie is also good, if for no other reason than the fact that so many people invested themselves into making it, and they did it as volunteers.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

Quoting Kevin:
People and business do not locate in Duluth voluntarily without some extraordinary condition/incentive.

Well, yeah. Every business locates somewhere that seems advantageous. The videos are meant to illustrate that there are a variety of companies in Duluth that will be able to utilize Google Fiber to do what they do better -- Cirrus, Loll, GeaCom, in particular the hospitals and colleges, etc. And I'm pretty sure that's what Google is looking for.

Quoting Kevin again:
The reasons to stay away are many. 

I can't think of any, but please don't point them out to me.

Kevin

about 10 years ago

Sorry, Paul, but I can not help myself. While it may be quite frivolous, I would be anxious to see if the unions protest if they are not chosen to do the work.

On the larger scale, Google says that this is an experiment. What are the drawbacks and the repercussions? Is anyone looking under the shiny veneer?

wildgoose

about 10 years ago

Yes, Ryan, people have been looking underneath the shiny veneer.  

The Blandin Foundation has been working on it since 2003, for example:

http://transition.blandinfoundation.org/html/public_broadband.cfm

Kevin

about 10 years ago

Great posts, Wildgoose!

kyanize

about 10 years ago

Kevin, where do you live?

Kevin

about 10 years ago

Don't stalk me, Kyanize.

I may now be charmed by the possibilities. For instance, think of the good that can be brought to education. We can have a small team of brilliant thinkers and educators teaching an equal standard of courses in online classrooms. Smart and/or dedicated students can excell in pace with their hunger and ability to learn. Then, we can do away with all of the teachers, staffing, and school buildings. If necessary, some of these dated trappings could be redeployed to the challenging students and areas as additional aid. The net result, however, would be billions in savings, especially in salaries, pensions, and insurance.

wildgoose

about 10 years ago

Sorry, I meant Kevin, not Ryan.  I just get a little worked up sometimes.  Believe it or not, I'm holding back.  But thanks.  

One interesting thing about online education is that in the MNSCU system, anyway it costs more for students to take those classes than at bricks and mortar campuses.  Some teachers say that they are harder to teach since the students need lots more individualized attention.  However, fiber to home does have applications for improving the education of online students and possibly achieving some of the savings that you envision, such as giving a more real-time type of experience for students, enabling collaboration for students/faculty at numerous campuses around a community, a region, the nation or even the world at the 1gps speed.

Jude

about 10 years ago

wildgoose, you say:
"One interesting thing about online education is that in the MNSCU system, anyway it costs more for students to take those classes than at bricks and mortar campuses."

Not sure what you mean by that. The MNSCU colleges and universities are bricks and mortar institutions as well as online. 

As an online teacher I can tell you that it is not so much the individualized attention that takes time, but that all online teachers need to teach to TWO subjects: technical computer stuff and the class itself.  So it is easy to understand that someone who teaches computer classes online comes to the class with that knowledge already, whereas someone who teaches theater or wellness or communication classes may have to spend way more time learning the technology before the class ever starts.  For some it is just too daunting, so speed in the fiber optic is not going to help the prep time, but it will make delivery easier and more efficient once the tech stuff is learned.  

The online teachers I know spend huge amounts of time on the computer just getting glitches figured out (I emailed it to you last night...I'm positive, but my computer isn't working right....). That comment x 25 students who are at 25 different levels on the computer is where the time comes in.  But when the glitches get ironed out it is highly gratifying to know you have helped students learn and gain confidence in two subjects.

wildgoose

about 10 years ago

Jude -- clearly I am out of my expertise I was just repeating somethings I had heard on the news and in conversation with LSC staff.

I did find one news report that backs up one of my claims:

"A shift to online courses could cost the state more money than traditional classroom education — at least for the next few years." Susan Heegaard, director of the state's Office of Higher Education

Source: http://www.minnpost.com/stories/2009/01/27/6188/as_pawlenty_pushes_for_more_online_classes_some_colleges_lead_the_way

wildgoose

about 10 years ago

One more clarification I am a huge booster of online education and eventually I think that for many subjects/trades Google Fiber and/or broadband saturation will be great for higher education and learning.  

Oh, I forgot the other source of information, Mrs. Goose just graduated with a degree from LSC and she paid more for the courses that she took online than when she was primarily in the bricks and mortar classrooms at the same school.  I can't remember the exact amount, but it was definitely more expensive.  She reasoned that the flexibility, and money saved in child care and transportation more than made up for the difference in cost, though.  Obviously thousands of other people agree or the programs wouldn't be thriving as they apparently are.

Jude

about 10 years ago

wildgoose:  Thanks for your post and congrats go out to Mrs. Goose!!   

And online is certainly the way education is heading.  There are those who will applaud new technology like the GF, and then there are those teachers who will always insist on doing their grading by hand instead of letting the computer do it.  Education is very slow to change.  I am totally an advocate of online learning and have been on board since it first actively was launched (in the MNSCU system) way back in the day.  And students love it.  It is fast, can accommodate everyone's schedule 24/7, students know every day where they stand in terms of their grade, and allows both instructor and student to see the evidence and quality of assignments completed. Also, every student must be computer proficient--a mandatory skill in this job market. 

Apologize for a bit of an off the topic essay.  Now back to the assignment.

Jake

about 10 years ago

Here's a chance to listen in and sound off on all things Google Twin Ports related ... http://www.lakesuperioradfed.org/program_events.php?id=71

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