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How Fiber Optic Internet works

Video Transcript: You might have heard about fiber optics in the doctor’s office, where it’s used for medical imaging. You also might have heard of fiber optics from someone with super-fast Internet. Fiber optic cables carry the fastest speeds available for Internet – speeds of 100 megabites per second, and up! What does that mean to the average web user? If you’re checking headlines and horoscopes online, the difference won’t be much. Your page will load instantly, as it would with much slower speeds. However, if you’re in a home that loves to stream music or movies, or play games online, and do it all on multiple devices, fiber optic Internet could be life-changing. It can deliver the speed to keep you buffer-free and on top of your game. It’s all thanks to a technologically advanced system of flexible glass fibers that send data through pulses of light. It sounds space age – because it kind of is. Pure glass fibers as thin as human hair make up the core of a fiber-optic line. Bundles of these fibers are bound together inside a reflective cladding. Imagine a tiny flashlight on one end of the cable. Pointed straight ahead, its light beam would stop the first time the cable bent. But if the walls are all essentially made of mirrors, the signal motors on. Fiber optic lines are wrapped in reflective cladding so that light signals bounce around every bend, without losing its speed over distance. A buffer coating protects the reflective cladding and the glass fibers inside, shielding it from damage and breakage. What makes fiber optics such a great choice for Internet – besides all that incredible speed, of course? It is way less expensive than copper wiring, which cable and DSL Internet providers depend on. A fiber optic line can carry way more data than copper. They’re also thinner, and when bundled, they can deliver service faster, farther and to more locations. It takes a high-voltage transmitter to send data over a copper network. Fiber-optic transmitters are way more efficient. Because they don’t use electricity, they don’t get all heated up like copper wires do. Fiber optics can deliver a dependable, fast Internet connection perfect for the connected home. The only downside to fiber Internet is that it’s not available everywhere…yet.


History of Online Games Launch

We took a look at the history of online gaming all the way from dial-up bulletin boards in the 1970s to augmented reality in present day. Follow the Tron light cycle as it guides you through major milestones in online gaming. Begin >


Find the Best Deals on the High-Speed Internet


10 Insanely Cool Holiday Gifts to Make Your Techie Happy

What I want, is something Boxing-Day-proof. Never mind that I live in the U.S., where Boxing Day remains an idea for our neighbors to the north. The concept is the same. Boxing Day is for getting rid of belongings you don’t want anymore. It's right after you land the goods you do want, for Christmas and Hanukkah. This year I’d like to receive gifts impossible to toss out for years, they’re just that awesome. And I’d love to give gifts that prove impossible to toss out for years, they’re just that awesome. Something other than those gaudy sweater vests and droll board games. We’ve combed the web for top-tier gifts for a variety of recipients. Even the vexing loved ones impossible to buy for. All you have to do is order it, and you’re an instant gifting champion.

For the self-made selfie pro

Spivo Stick | $49.99 Spi It’s a Hall of Famer in the GoPro world. Ergonomic and waterproof, the Spivo Stick, with its swiveling camera mount, allows users to change perspective 180 degrees with the flick of a trigger at the bottom of the stick. Capture a panoramic sweep of friends and family. Swing your camera in time to capture someone getting sick air. Choose from 12-, 18- or 26-inch models.

Honorable mention

iPhly | Device allows user to operate remote-controlled planes and cars on your phone, through an app. (Car or plane not included.) 53 Pencil | Fresh new stylus for the 53 Paper app for drawing. It’s Bluetooth-powered.

For the serious chef

Cookbook and tablet stand | $24 Food52 No more cookie-dough-stained cookbook pages. No more spaghetti sauce splatters on your tablet. This cookbook and tablet stand, of steel and ash construction, cradles your recipe source out and away from the culinary chaos on your countertop. When dinner’s served, the cookbook and tablet stand cleans in a flash and stores like a stowaway.

Honorable mention

Digital Volumetric Spoon Scale | Replace all your measuring spoons with one digital one. One-Click Butter Cutter | Just load a stick of butter, slice, and add you get perfect pats, every time, for your pancakes, corn, popcorn, grilled cheese, and T-bone steak (who are we to judge?)

For the mindful soul

Spire | $99 Spire It’s the friend who chimes in with a well-timed “relax” when you need it. (Without actually telling you to relax.) Spire, less than an inch long and weighing in just under an ounce, notifies a wearer if they’re tense or haven’t taken a deep cleansing breath for a while. It’ll suggest breathing exercises and meditations to guide you back to center. It’s portable mindfulness, and even comes with an app.

Honorable mention

Brookstone Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager with Heat | Ah. The name speaks for itself. Headspace | It’s a daily meditation app for plenty of Zen in just 10 minutes a day. Billed as a “gym membership for the mind.”

For the off-grid adventurer

goTenna Mesh | $149 goTenna Be in touch, off the grid. This 4.2-inch device sends text and shares GPS locations through the network of devices. Leave a digital footprint when you’re in the wilderness. With a range of 3 miles in open environments. goTenna Mesh devices (two per pack) use UHF radio waves to create a unit-to-unit network. Water-resistant and dust-tight, the goTenna Mesh carries more than 24 hours of battery life.

Honorable mention

ALPS Mountaineering Eclipse Table | Folds out, with a level for drinks and one for plates and games. It seats four (eight if you don’t mind sitting at the corners.) MPOWERD Luci | This inexpensive, portable solar light will light up your (camping) world.

For the fantastic photographer


The Popup Pinhole Company | $35 Viddy There’s a camera in the cards. Punch out the shapes for construction from a sturdy recycled card. In 30 minutes, see it transform into a camera that accepts medium-format and 35mm film. It’s a classic look in four basic colors. Stickers, stick pins and a dollop of craft glue hold together your new camera. No scissors required. Shh – if you give it to a kid, don’t mention that constructing it is educational.

Honorable mention

iPhone telephoto lens | It’s a wonky look to a smartphone that helps capture stellar photos. Just attach it to your smartphone camera, and shoot. Snapgrip | A selfie-snapping aid designed for those who struggle with their selfie-snapping game.

For the hyper-focused cyclist


Hammerhead | $130 Hammerhead It’s like a GPS, if a GPS guided you with intuitive light patterns instead of robotic demands. Mounted to handlebars, Hammerhead indicates trail patterns and upcoming turns in colors and patterns. It’ll even recalculate your route should you get lost. Hammerhead’s design keeps your eyes on the road and makes just about any ride easy. (Except that 37-mile all-uphill trek some of you insist upon.)

Honorable mention

Scosche BoomBottle | A weatherproof wireless speaker that fits in a bike water-bottle cage. (Don’t forget to hydrate.) VeloComputer | Sensors feed data from your bike ride by Bluetooth to a unit in your seat bag. You get a real-time display of your vitals.

For the superb listener

Even H1 Headphones

Even | $179 geteven They’re headphones that listen to you, for a change. EarPrint technology customizes the user’s listener experience to the way they hear the world. In 90 seconds flat, H1s map eight audio frequencies per ear. They’re made to equalize hearing imbalances droves of us have - but don’t know it. Whether its podcasts or punk rock, what you hear is custom-made for you.

Honorable mention

Hercules DJControl Compact | The closet DJs on your shopping list can spin on the 1s and 2s wherever they go. You get the essentials of mixing, all in a unit smaller than the average keyboard (or loaf of ciabatta bread). Portability status: Extreme. Binauric BOOM BOOM! Speaker | Bluetooth speaker that can also record 3d audio with a smartphone.

For the clean-conscious

PhoneSoap 2.0

PhoneSoap | $59.99 PhoneSoap It’s the cleanliest multi-tasker since June Cleaver. Pop your mobile phone into the PhoneSoap case. While it charges, it receives a marvelous scrubbing – well, with UV rays, anyway. Your phone definitely needs it; Fox News reports a phone is 18 times nastier than a toilet handle. PhoneSoap doesn’t use heat, liquid or chemicals. Don’t lather up your device – use UV rays to keep it nice.

Honorable mention

Airmega | Monitor air quality in your home and maximum energy efficiency with this smart air purifier, and a smartphone app that goes with it. Okki Nokki Record Cleaning Machine | Still spin vinyl? It’s the new way to keep the old school spiffy.

For the globetrotter

Tag Cable

Native Union | $49.99 NativeUnion The top questions asked when traveling are “where’s the bathroom?” and “do you have a charging cable I can borrow?” No more, on the second one, at least, with the Tag Cable. It’s always-ready convenience wrapped in crafted Italian leather. Loop it to your bag strap or key holder, and you’ll have a charging cable with you whenever you need it. P.S. People are going to want to borrow (and swipe) this one.

Honorable mention

Griffin wired keyboard | It’s a real keyboard for your Apple device. Especially helpful when Bluetooth isn’t an option. Luminette Eyewear | It's a device you wear, like eyeglasses with a visor instead of lenses, for light therapy. It can improve sleep, boost energy, and help wearers recover from jet lag.

For the high-tech cook


Pantelligent | $129 Pantelligent Efficient with a spatula in your hand? Then you’re qualified to step up to Pantelligent. This culinary master of a frying pan uses temperature sensors to communicate with an app. Pantelligent also feeds the cook step-by-step orders. Flip your salmon at just the right time. Adjust the heat on your stove when it needs it. It even comes with an autopilot feature that comes awfully close to having a live-in chef.

Honorable mention

Chefsteps Joule | This gadget melds the old country technique of sous vide – cooking in controlled, low-temperature water – with modern-day tech perfection. An app preheats the water in the Joule to just the right temp. Soda Stream | Feel the fizz: Create sparkling water right from the tap.


3 Tech Tools for a Happy, Bright Holiday

I couldn’t wait to get the Sears catalog when I was a little kid. In my preteen years, I moved up to Target fliers that I waited for with as much anticipation. In those pages I’d find dozens of gifts I wanted under the Christmas tree or stuffed in my stocking on Dec. 25. (I estimate 98.9% actually made it there.) That air of anticipation made magic out of ordinary catalog pages. Holiday Anticipation, 2016 style, is a little different. My kids can make wish lists online. Forget visions of sugarplums. Children sneak a tablet into bed and track Santa’s progress online. I wouldn’t be surprised if they could check up on St. Nick on Snapchat. Even before Thanksgiving, Christmastime seems to be here. So why not get a jump start on the season? Here are three online holiday tools for those who just can’t wait for Christmas to get here.

Online Wish Lists

I circled the NFL jackets and Star Wars ships I wanted in catalogs. Kids now can establish a registry, as you might for a wedding. A child can share his or her wish list through Facebook – which increases the chances a family member will pick up the  Wow Wee Coji with Remote at the top of the list. Giftster| For desktop or mobile, register the whole family for gift-giving perfection. Toys R Us | Sign up on the toy giant’s site for all the toys. WishMindr | It’s the app that lets you add gifts from any site – right on your mobile device.

Santa Online

For generations, kids hand-scribbled their wish list to Santa. Today, they can fill out an online form. promises the Jolly Old Elf will reply to letters submitted immediately. (Now that's customer care). Kids can also color Christmas pages on the site. NORAD Tracks Santa | Starting Dec. 1, check out St. Nick’s progress in his global expedition. Reindeer Cam | Watch Chris Kringle feed the reindeer three times a day. Capture the Magic | It’s the place to get pics of Santa in your living room. How? Magic. (Parents send photos in of living space as it will appear on Christmas Eve. In return, they get a photo of Santa making his rounds in the room.)

 Appy Christmas

Parents herd the kids in to watch Charlie Brown shows for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Why? Their parents herded them in to watch Charlie Brown shows for Thanksgiving and Christmas, that’s why. Now, there’s an app for that. A Charlie Brown Christmas ($5.99, iTunes) | It’s interactive! Christmas Crystal Ball (Google Play, free) | It’s a virtual snow globe for your mobile device. Red Stamp (Google Play, iTunes, free) | Design Christmas cards to have printed and sent. These online resources can help kick off your digital Christmas. You’re on your own for the eggnog.


Halloween Inspired Tech Gadgets You Have to Try

Trick-or-Treat Tech

Skeletons, costumes and bags and bags of candy. Halloween is here. And while kids and adults alike are scrambling to pull together last minute costumes and party decorations, we’re here to tell you that there’s more to Halloween than killing it at the costume game—check out these tech gadgets for a spooky and safe Halloween.

Keep track of your tiny Trick or Treaters

Family Signal Want to give your kids the freedom to Trick-or-Treat with their friends, but still keep track of where they are? FamilySignal, a location sharing app, will let you do just that. Just check out the visual map to see where they are on their quest for candy and rest easy knowing they can hit a panic button to alert you and the authorities if anything goes wrong. Glympse Another location based app, Glympse lets your kids send you “Glymses” of where they are or you can request one from them as they are on-the-go. On Halloween night you can set the app to “active” for a certain time period, then have your child select you as a “check-in” recipient through their phone. That way you can see their whereabouts while they’re Trick-or- Treating.

Spice up your desk with these spooky skulls

Skullhub USB Make Halloween great again with the Skullhub USB charger. It’s creepy and effective and you can put candy in it. The skull has 4 USB ports for iPhones and other compatible devices. Skull Speaker This small blue skull packs a punch. Great for blasting beats at a Halloween party or at work, it has a rechargeable battery, 4 hours of playback and includes a USB charging cable and audio cable. Skull Stickers Keep Halloween going all year long with spooky themed computer decals. From a vampire Snow White to skull and sugar skull decals, you can keep the spirit of Halloween alive even after October 31st.

Take your Halloween high-tech this year.

Glowy Zoey LED costume You might have seen the video of the dad who turned his toddler into a glowing LED stick figure. Well now you too can be a Glowy Zoey stick figure and the hit of Halloween parties everywhere. Choose from adult, kid and toddler costumes that boast 150-190 LED lights that can be seen from a mile away. Order yours here, in various colors and throw in some LED slap bracelets to complete the costume. Spooky Lightbulb Decor A light-bulb that plays music and is also Bluetooth capable? The future is here my friends. The Sengled Pulse Dimmable LED Light Bulb can make your porch scarier than ever. Download a freaky playlist, screw in the lightbulb on your porch and hit play from your phone. The neighborhood kids will be running away in no time, saving you plenty of candy for yourself. Vortex Tunnel Absurdly expensive, but fascinatingly fun. Might be good for a corporate Halloween party, or if you own, say, a theme park. Walk into a literal tunnel across a bridge that makes you feel like you’re spinning through time. See if “The Ultimate Tunnel Experience” is right for you.



How Satellite Internet Works

Video Transcript: Satellite Internet is Internet that’s from outer space. Well, it travels to outer space, anyway. Satellite Internet data travels more than 23,000 miles – and that’s just one way! In rural areas, satellite Internet is the best option for high speed. A faster option than dial-up, satellite Internet has undergone tons of improvements in technology and infrastructure in recent years. In many places, satellite Internet speeds can match those cable and DSL carriers offer, even. But, let’s get back to the satellite, orbiting directly over the equator, in space. How does it all work? It all starts in your home. When you type in a website URL on your device, the request travels by wire to your satellite dish. The dish is mounted on your home, where there’s a clear view of the southern sky. This gives your dish the best sightline to the satellite. Obstructions such as trees or buildings could impact your service quality. Installers take these factors into consideration when they choose a spot. A dish sends your request data to a satellite. This satellite is geostationary – which means it orbits the earth at just the right speed to essentially stay in one place. The satellite beams your data to a Network Operations Center – on earth. The NOC retrieves data needed for your request – a webpage, document, audio file – and sends it back to the satellite. The whole process works in reverse. The satellite sends data to your dish, which then goes to your device. Your web request will travel more than 46,000 miles before it returns! All this takes a fraction of a second. It’s not unlike the process of getting Internet from other types of carriers, such as cable, DSL or fiber. Latency can become a factor for satellite Internet, however. Latency refers to a delay in data transmission. For most Internet activity – browsing, sharing, streaming – latency doesn’t impact much. Gaming and streaming on multiple devices, however, can prove problematic. And that’s just with a delay of half a second. Some Internet activity needs more speed than satellite can offer at the moment. However, satellite Internet can be fast enough for a household of multiple users. Check with your provider on speeds and data allowances. You can also download large files during off-peak hours. This usually includes overnight hours, when fewer users are on the network. Satellite Internet providers allow users to schedule bigger downloads during these times. Satellite Internet is a space-age idea. It’s given people in places that had only dial-up as an Internet option a choice. With new satellites launched into orbit all the time, satellite Internet will only get faster.


Gmail Hacks That Will Instantly Make Your Life Easier

Gmail’s self-explanatory right? We use it every day for work, to keep in touch with family, and to Gchat our friends while sitting in boring meetings. But did you know there’s so much more you can do with it? Whether you want to get organized or just learn a few new shortcuts, Gmail is a much bigger and more magical world than you might realize. We’ve found the best apps and shortcut hacks so you can up your email game, and reach master levels in productivity.

Apps to make email easier


Obsessive list makers: Here’s your calling. Sortd markets itself as a “smart skin that lives inside Gmail.” Although that sounds a little creepy, it’s a cool-looking organizational tool that layers over your Gmail, transforming it into practical and customizable lists. Create to-do lists, drag and drop priorities within the list, sort email, snooze emails and get more done.

Gmail Offline

Catch up on email, without worrying about more pouring in. Are you traveling with no access to email? The Gmail Offline Chrome extension lets you stay productive, even without Internet access, and will send emails out once you’re back online.


Mixmax, another Chrome extension, has lots of features to up your productivity. Schedule meetings with one click. Those on the meeting invite can indicate their availability right in your calendar, rather than the hassle of back-and-forth email. Customize email with built-in templates that let you create charts and polls. It also tracks who has opened your messages, and lets you schedule email.

Giphy for Gmail

Sure, sending gifs isn’t a necessity. Fun is a necessity, though, and Giphy is lots of it. When you download this Chrome extension, a Giphy icon will appear in your Inbox and you can spice up emails in no time.

Shortcuts to make your life easier

Preview Pane

If you like the way Outlook provides a preview pane for email, customize your Gmail to have one, too. Just click on the gear icon in the right-hand corner of your Inbox, select Settings, and scroll to the Labs tab. You’ll see a Preview Pane option that you can enable, and see email in a whole new light.


If you get email that includes a task or an upcoming event, select the More button in your menu bar, and choose Add to Tasks. A box similar to a Gchat window will appear, where you can create a to-do list.

Keyboard shortcuts

There are tons, and you can find them all here. You can also create your own. Find customizable shortcuts also under the Labs tab – start creating a shortcut for composing a new message or a calendar invite.

Canned responses

Writing the same type of email over and over? What a bore. Save time by turning on canned responses (under the nifty Labs tab). Create and save messages for future reference. These are just a few of the hundreds of hacks to customize your Gmail experience. Explore the array of options under the Labs tab. It provides a plethora of easy ways to make Gmail more fun and help you be more productive.



3 Odd New Drones That Will Amaze You

When you think of drones, the U.S. Military might be the first thing that comes to mind. Or perhaps you remember Amazon’s bold claims of drone delivery. Commercial drone use is on the rise, though, and with new technology, they’re more accessible and affordable than ever. You’re probably thinking, “What would I ever use a drone for?” If you’re a photographer, videographer, blogger, tech nerd or even in real estate, drones come with tremendous benefits. Not only do drones take fantastic aerial shots for homes, weddings or sporting events, they can also help you stand out on social media platforms. Plus, they’re really fun to fly. Three new drones have recently made headlines for their size, foldability, cutting-edge technology and sleek design. They also mark the next step in the commercial drone market.

GoPro Karma

After much anticipation and delays, GoPro released its latest drone, Karma. It’s small! It’s foldable! It will fit in your backpack! And it looks like something out of a Sci-Fi film. A video game-like device sporting touchscreen technology controls the drone. Plus, with the GoPro Passenger App, you can watch what you’re filming, or let friends check it out. Karma doesn’t have a built in camera - rather it was built so you can attach a GoPro. The drone’s 3-axil stabilizer also serves a dual purpose - it detaches from the drone so you can put it on the “Karma Grip,” to take smooth camera shots on the ground. Available for pre-order, the Karma officially hits the market Oct. 23, 2016. It’s priced at $800. When bundled with a Hero 5 Black Camera, it comes out at $1,100.

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI and GoPro were once partners. Although now there seems to be bad blood between the two, and the companies have parted ways, but not without a few pointed tweets. Less than two weeks after GoPro unveiled Karma, DJI presented the world with the Mavic Pro. Who says competition doesn’t breed better products? The DJI is similar to the Karma, or maybe vice versa. That is to say, they’re both foldable and compact. The Mavic Pro is lighter (1.65 pounds to Karma’s 2.22), and comes with a built-in camera, and the capability to track and follow users on the move, as well as snap high-altitude selfies. The Mavic Pro costs around $1,000, available for pre-order. Shipping begins Oct. 15.

Yuneec Breeze 4K

Just want awesome selfies at a more affordable price than the Mavic Pro or Karma? The Yuneec Breeze 4K is the way to go. Although it doesn’t fold up the way these newer models do, it has cool features for sharing video and photos, and an app you can download to control flight straight from your phone. Plus, once your drone is back on the ground, the app lets you download your photos and videos straight to your phone to post to social media. And it’s still small enough to fit in your backpack.

Something more affordable

If you’re not a professional photographer, there are plenty of drones on the market for less than $100. Geek Wrapped has compiled a list here. If you want to learn the basics, grab a cheap drone, head to open space, and practice. Watch out for trees and power lines, and bring extra batteries. You’ll dominate the air in no time.



Crush Your Sleep Time with These 6 Tech Tools

Rewind to those first few weeks after bringing baby home from the hospital. I couldn’t distinguish a.m. from p.m. And I'm just the dad. As if any distinction made a difference. I got two weeks off work to acclimate a baby to our family. It became a blur of interrupted REM sleep and inadequate nutrition. For me, not baby. She did fine; she nursed on demand, slept on demand, cried on demand … Mind you, this happened 18 years ago. A two-channel baby monitor qualified as the techiest apparatus in a young couple’s apartment. The universe needs an element to hush us to sleep and an equal to prevent us from slipping into ill-timed Zs. Here are three tech solutions to help you drift off – and three more to delay your approach to dream land.

Lullaby and good night: 3 tech tools to help you sleep

Why up your sleep game? You’ll gain a healthier appetite, brain and quality of life, for starters.

1. BluBlocker glasses | $25-$75 We shouldn't while away late waking hours on Twitter, or feasting on episodes of Friends, experts say. The National Sleep Foundation says 95% of Americans stare at a screen in the hour before bedtime. Amber-colored glasses shield blue light, which disrupts our sleep patterns. Blue-wavelength light slows melatonin production, which makes falling asleep more difficult.

2. Philips HF3520 Wake-Up Light with Colored Sunrise Simulation | $137.99 A stationary unit leads you to sleep with gradual light dimming and gentle sounds. It also introduces natural light 30 minutes before alarm time to ease you into the day. The light lifts you out of sleep with a choice of five calming, natural wake-up sound, or the radio. No smartphone or apps required. The replaceable halogen lamp doubles as a reading light.

3. 2breathe Chest Strap | $179.95 It’s one thing to practice deep breathing (a tremendous stress reliever) while awake. What about when you sleep? The 2breathe sleep monitor aids in breath regulation while you fall asleep. It measures respiration rate and reports to an app. It plays tones through your phone to aid deep breathing. The device, which straps to the user’s chest, even turns itself off when you fall asleep.

Alert! 3 tech tools to keep you awake

Need a lift when it comes to cramming for a test or a shift as hotel night auditor? You can tech up here.

1. Anti Sleep Driver

Google Play | free The same blue light you want to avoid when trying to fall asleep? That’s what’ll keep you alert during a late-night road trip. Add a shining blue light from this app that can also boost your alertness for study sessions or the night shift. Just shine the blue light from the app, and keep on trucking. Drivers: Don’t forget to take a 20-minute break for every two hours on the road.

2. Vigo headset

Vigo | $99 Combat those 3-o’clock-doldrums or drive-time droopy eyes. This Kickstarter company's device detects your weariness. It jolts you back among the awakened. Vigo tracks the user’s blinking patterns and head movements that signal drowsiness. Pick your drifting-off poison. Vigo will wake you with audio/sound alerts, flashing lights, or vibration.

3. Cat videos

Everywhere | Free I tried this one. I drifted off finishing this post as midnight approached. A cat video saved the day – or actually, the night. Cat video fans polled in 2015 claimed that watching these feline antics lifted energy levels. The videos promote oxytocin production, which sharpens feelings of emotion and trust. When humans interact with animals, it nullifies production of cortisol. That's a brain chemical associated with illness. Who has time for that? There’s more cute cats video to watch.