Study Shows That Google Glass Users Are As Distracted As Everyone Else

In a continuing commentary on distracted drivers (and distracted pedestrians who won’t put their phones away), I’d like to point New Edge readers to a study conducted on Google Glass. It had some interesting findings worth noting.

A study conducted by the University of Central Florida looked at drivers texting on their smartphones and drivers texting while using Google Glass. The study put 40 participants, all in their twenties, into a driving simulator. They texted using their smartphone and then using Google Glass.

To be clear, when using Google Glass to text, it’s entirely hands-free. Your spoken words are translated into text and then sent off as a text message.

Back to the study, participants’ reaction times texting via a smartphone and then separately using Google Glass were compared to their reaction times when driving without any multitasking. The findings were somewhat mixed, but instructive. Read more

If You Build It, They Will Come…Though, Perhaps, Not as Quickly as You Might Like

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released preliminary results of its 2013 American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS provides a multitude of statistics that measure the social economic and housing conditions of U.S. communities. Among the data collected is information on educational attainments, housing, employment, commuting, language spoken at home, nativity, ancestry and selected monthly homeowner costs.

The 2013 ACS included new questions to produce statistics on computer and Internet access. This data collection effort was mandated by the 2008 Broadband Data Improvement Act.

The 2013 ACS found that 83.3% of the nation’s households have a computer—either a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Further, 74.4% have some form of Internet access at home and 73% subscribe to some form of broadband service at home.

The 73% nationwide adoption rate means that more than 81 million Americans do not have access to broadband service in their homes. These individuals are missing out on the economic benefits that broadband can offer them, their communities and the nation as a whole.

The ACS preliminary results also showed that New Hampshire has the highest adoption rate at 81% and Mississippi the lowest. The urban/rural divide persists: 75% of urban households subscribe to broadband, compared to 67% of rural households.

More detailed data from the ACS will be released sometime in October.

I Found My Smart in San Francisco


Roger Nishi of Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom, Waitsfield, Vermont (SRC Showcase 2014), hoists a Smart Rural Community road sign.

For as long as I can remember, my Dad has had a love affair with San Francisco. It manifested itself in numerous photographs and trinkets that littered the walls and bookcases of his state office in Ohio.  I have never asked why, and I probably should. Maybe it was the romance of the streetcars, or the bay, or the getting back west for a Seattle resident who moved east for school and then the army.

But I noticed the impact of all the years visiting my Dad at his office and seeing the pictures and mementos from Chinatown when I attended the NTCA Fall Conference last week – scenes that I had never seen seemed somewhat familiar, and while taking in the architecture and landscape and sense of the city, I found myself thinking, “This must be one of those things Dad likes.”

I have probably commented here numerous, if not too numerous, times, the notion of understanding something fully only when you see and experience it. In those contexts, I have mentioned my own surprise and learning curves – things like “windshield time” and visits to farms and cities in the further corners of the so-called flyover states. Read more

Seems She Forgot All About the Library, Like She Told Her Old Man Now….

There’s no question that younger Americans—those ages 16 to 29—are faster to embrace new technologies than their older counterparts. Yet some recent research conducted by the Pew Research Internet Project suggests that these so-called Millennials have not abandoned such old-school information technologies as reading books and visiting public libraries.

Pew found that 43% of Millennials reported reading some format of a book on a daily basis, and 88% have read a book in the past year, versus 79% of those 30 and older.

And while 50% of Millennials have used a library in the past 12 months (versus 47% of those 30 and older), 36% admitted to knowing little or nothing about the local library’s services (compared to 29% of those 30 and older.)

Somewhat surprisingly, Millennials seem to recognize the limitations of the Internet. While 98% of those under the age of 30 go online on a regular basis, 62% believe that there is “a lot of useful, important information that is not available on the Internet.” By comparison, 53% of older Americans agree with that statement.

Perhaps–with apologies to Mark Twain–reports of the demise of books and libraries are greatly exaggerated.

(P.S. If you recognize the song lyrics quoted in the title of this post, odds are that you are either an older American or a Millennial with excellent musical taste.)

A Radar Gun That Detects Texting-While-Driving?

I have almost been run over while in a crosswalk by someone talking on or texting with their mobile phone. One guy narrowly missed me, and when I yelled at him to pay attention to where he was going – I had the right-of-way – he just honked at me and used some less then polite language. I also had one woman walk right into my kids’ stroller on the sidewalk because she was so focused on texting.

As you can tell, I have good reason to dislike people texting-while-doing-other-things. So, I found of interest one company’s idea for a radar gun that can detect when drivers are texting. Apparently, it can differentiate between someone talking on the phone versus texting, as those functions emit different frequencies. This is critical in states where talking on a mobile phone while driving is legal but texting-while-driving is not.

The company working on the device calibrates radar guns for law enforcement, and they got their start creating a device that can detect the point of damage in a non-working cableTV line. So, they have some experience and credibility in this area.

At this point, the device is in the developmental/experimental phase. One thing that is unclear is whether it can differentiate between the driver and any passengers texting while in the car. There are other hurdles, both legislative approval to use the device in individual states and privacy concerns, as it is not clear whether the content of drivers’ texts could be read by the device.

I’ve written about this issue before, discussing pedestrians killed because they were so focused on their mobile phones that they stepped into oncoming traffic. One may call me obsessed with this topic, but nearly getting run over by someone paying more attention to their phone or the conversation that are having on it – a conversation that could wait – makes me angry. I hope this technology works, because I’m tired of diving out of the way of talking-while-driving and texting-while-driving motorists.

My Latest Improbable Link: Net Neutrality and the GTO


Photo illustration from

My latest venture into non sequiturs has nothing to do with speed, or “non-speed” as some in the net neutrality debate might describe.

Rather, this has something to do with seeing someone else recognize something that you’ve noticed all along, and enjoying the moment as “Aha!” emerges. Or, having that moment yourself when someone is able to put words to something you have noticed, but until that point have been unable to describe.

First, the Pontiac. The gearheads out there will recall the 2004-2006 GTO. A recent post on Jalopnik included it among the ten biggest automotive industry mulligans. One commenter eschewed the website’s analysis that described why the car failed to live up to initial expectations, and posted a photo that he claimed illustrated the real reason for the lukewarm reception the Australian import garnered in the United States. (hint: look at the exhaust routing). I took some pride in viewing the photo and recognizing (almost) immediately the problem the poster highlighted (FWIW, I also agree with the photographic reply (here, and scroll down) to the undercarriage illustration). The rub of it is that despite packing 350 horsepower in a 5.7 liter engine, appearances still count for something. Dual exhaust that doesn’t look like dual exhaust just won’t cut it. Read more

Got Plans Between Now and 2017?

In the latest sign that the apocalypse must surely be close at hand, TiVo has announced that it is ready to market the world’s largest DVR.

The six-tuner TiVo Mega boasts 24 terabytes of storage space. In case that doesn’t impress you, look at it this way: the Mega can record and store more than 26,000 hours of standard definition content. That’s more than three years of local news, singing competitions, and Seinfeld reruns. Three Years. 

For HD recording, Mega’s capacity dips to 4,000 hours, or about five and a half months of razor sharp local news, singing competitions, and Seinfeld reruns.

TiVo hopes to bring the Mega to market sometime in early 2015. The retail price will be approximately $5,000.

“Size matters,” said TiVO chief marketing officer Ira Bahr. “People hate being forced to delete cool stuff from their DVR before they want to or finding a TV show they had recorded is now gone. Now, with TiVo Mega they can always know their show or movie is still there to watch later. TiVo Mega offers more than 12 times the storage of any cable or satellite DVR. TiVo Mega is the solution for the power user who wants to record everything.”

And, apparently, also has the time to watch everything.

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