There was no time to waste. My fiberhood is Quality Hill — I live in an apartment there — and we were on the high-end of Google's scale, needing 25 percent of the neighborhood to preregister to get Fiber. That's 346 people. I tried to sign up ... but I got this error message: "Sorry... we couldn't find that address."
The maker of Google Maps couldn't find my address? How am I supposed to rally my fiberhood to preregister if I can't do it myself? This wasn't just a Quality Hill problem. I've heard from other apartment dwellers who were having the same issue.
I called up Google spokeswoman Jenna Wandres, who told me that the manager of my apartment complex would have to fill out a form to get into Fiber consideration. This form. You'll want to send the link to your apartment complex or condo manager, too, if you want Fiber.
"We're encouraging residents to talk to their landlords first, and tell them that they're interested in having Google Fiber for their apartment building," Wandres said. "Then the landlord can get in touch with us online and ask us to build to the building."
So downtown apartment dwellers, if you want Fiber, talk to your landlords and send 'em that link.
Bo Fishback, founder of online marketplace Zaarly (we profiled him last year) is willing to put up $500 to sign his neighbors up for Google Fiber. Google announced Thursday morning that the neighborhoods, or Fiberhoods in Google parlance, with the most residents preregistered for the service will get the ultra-speedy Fiber first.
Fishback used his own service today to hire a door-to-door salesman to register up to 50 of his neighbors in Countryside. He's even willing to pay each neighbor's $10 Fiber preregistration fee. The posting says seven people have offered to take the job. And if he finds the right person, it could put Countryside over the top. The Fiberhood currently needs 36 more people to reach its goal of having 5 percent of its residents registered.
The Google video above explains how Google Fiber's "Fiberhood" competition to determine which neighborhoods will be the first to get the incredibly fast internet service. Residents that want Fiber must preregister with Google and pay a $10 fee. Each Fiberhood has a goal to reach based on the amount of residents in them. On September 9, Google Fiber will announce which neighborhoods will get the service first. Also worth noting: Schools, libraries and government buildings within Fiberhoods will receive free Fiber.
And with registration only being open for about three hours, the Roanoke Fiberhood is the first in KCMO to reach its goal of 5 percent of residents signing up. On the KCK side, Hannover Heights was the fastest to the goal.
About 200 people attended the a presentation, explaining how Google Fiber will work, Thursday morning at the company's new Westport Road offices. And judging by the dozen or so rounds of applause for various Google speakers, it appeared that everybody came away satisfied with what the new ultra-fast fiber-optic Internet service will mean for the area. Perhaps drawing the most applause was the price: $70 per month for one-GB-per-second service, and $120 per month for Internet and a new TV system called Google Fiber Television. There's a $300 installation fee.
Google had said from the beginning that fiber will provide service 100 times faster than the average broadband speed. But showing is better than telling, so Google employees demonstrated the searing pace of Fiber with head-to-head competitions between a standard connection and fiber. With Fiber, 100 gigantic digital photos were uploaded to Google+ in about five seconds. A three-minute video was uploaded nearly as fast. The audience of VIPs, tech-industry employees and media was mesmerized by the speed.
The nuts and bolts of Google Fiber and their plans for hooking up neighborhoods is after the jump.
The future of how we pay for things isn't in plastic or paper. It's with our mobile phones, albeit a slow transition. At least that was the premise of last week's KCnext forum — Go: The Future of Mobile Payments — at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Chirpify founder Chris Teso talked about how his company is transforming Twitter in an e-commerce site, allowing consumers to buy and sell products with a simple tweet. He also talked about "tweet-a-beer," which is what it says it is — a way to buy your friends beers via Twitter.
Barb Pacheco, senior vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, shared her insight into how the Fed is keeping up with changing technology.
And the star of the event, Dwolla founder Ben Milne, explained how his company is simplifying transactions while trying to maintain security for users. Think PayPal but more buyer- and seller-friendly.
If you missed it, you're in luck. Silicon Prairie News has posted video from the conference. Watch it after the jump.
Gigaom reported Wednesday that the cable and Internet provider is seeking tips from its Kansas City employees about the Google Fiber project. "Share tips, rumors and rumblings about Google construction or launch activity for a chance to win $50!" reads a wanted poster.
Key word there, "chance." The reward is actually getting your name entered in a weekly drawing for one of three $50 gift cards. Really? That seems ... cheap. Seriously, this type of info (depending on the tip) is worth, oh, I don't know, how about free cable and Internet for a year? Maybe for life? Or how about a promise to never call the winner again about adding digital phone? A $50 gift card wouldn't even pay half of my monthly bill.
I called the number to the tip line this morning, and the recorded voice on the other end thanks callers "for helping Time Warner Cable stay a step ahead of our competition" and encourages them to "keep the tips coming." It's basically an answering machine.
Really, Time Warner is just like the rest of us, wanting to know what's up with Google. Hey, wasn't Google supposed to be announcing its options last month?
Kansas City's first social-media command center is being set up to answer queries in real time during the five days of festivities. Need to know where to park? No problem. Looking for a hotel reservation? They know where you can sleep. Hungry? Here's your open-table data.
Joe Cox, the outgoing president of Social Media Club Kansas City and Barkley's director of social media, likens the command center's volunteers to old-school switchboard operators. The goal is to improve not just the All-Star Week experience but also the Kansas City experience.
"We are going to be the ears and mouthpiece for Kansas City," Cox says. "This is not about the All-Star Game. The Royals have that covered. This is about the experience coming in and visiting."
"When you realize your whole financial life is dependent on the crazy airline industry," he says and then pauses, "it motivated me."
The pilot began looking for independence. He started a couple of businesses - an aviation consulting company and a photo-to-canvas business - but it wasn't until he saw a CNBC program called Planet of the Apps that he found the key to what he believes may be his early retirement from the airline industry.
"When you think about it, smartphones and apps and travel are just made for each other," says Stratman. "It's like a match made in heaven."
Gelphman is the founder of Kansas City IT Professionals, a grassroots networking group. He started it on LinkedIn in 2008, after reading a blog on career building.
"I didn't see anything on LinkedIn about IT in Kansas City," he says. "We got to 500 or 600 members, and I realized we might be on to something."
He's putting his hard work on display this weekend with Hack the Midwest, a two-day Hackathon (June 2 and 3). Gelphman expects 70 to 100 developers and designers from all over the Midwest - Kansas City, St. Louis, Omaha, Des Moines - to show up and build apps from scratch at the Heartland Golf Club (8200 Hillcrest Road, 816-523-8601).
"When you get people like that in a room and working together and you get this energy, you don't know what will come out of it," he says. "I'm hoping to see something awesome."
The Hackathon starts Saturday at 9 a.m. and wraps up Sunday at 11 a.m., with contest winners announced at 3 that afternoon. The all-star judging panel includes OpenAir Equity Partners' Thad Langford, AgLocal founder Naithan Jones, outgoing Kauffman Foundation Manager of Entrepreneurship Nick Seguin and others. (Register at hackthemidwest.com.)
The TEDxKC Facebook page announced today that TEDxKC 2012 will be held at the Kauffman Center on August 28. The post says tickets should be available in the second week of July.
If that's not exciting enough news, Midwest tech watcher Silicon Prairie News announced yesterday that it'll be hosting a Big Omaha-like event in Kansas City in 2013.
Great news all around.
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