Coaxing Us Into Higher Prices

Google Fiber can’t come soon enough. From Quartz:

All of which helps explain why the price of cable TV is holding steady in the US, while internet bills rise. Take a look at Time Warner Cable, the nation’s second-largest cable company (behind Comcast, which is attempting to acquire it). For its residential customers, the average monthly cost of TV service is $76.08, just a dollar more than it was two years ago. But internet service prices are up 21% over the same period, to an average of $47.30 a month.

The rising price of internet service could have something to do with more customers eschewing cable TV service in favor of internet-only/streaming (thus, justifying a jump to a more expensive, higher-bandwidth tier). But my own experience demonstrates the cable companies aren’t too motivated to extended the attractive promotional pricing they offer for the first year of service. And with the FCC recently voting to change the definition of broadband, it’s going to be an interesting couple of years on the broadband front.

The Sisterhood of the Burgeoning Restaurants

The Triangle food scene has exploded in recent years and people are taking notice near and far. Andrea Weigl is certainly on top of things. Her recent write-up for the News & Observer formed a narrative around the recent spate of female entrepreneur chefs and blazed a trail for a subsequent piece coming from the New York Times by Kim Severson.

First, a bit of level-setting primer from Weigl:

But the capital has a growing crew of women running successful downtown drinking and eating establishments. Some owned their own places long before Christensen was named best chef in the Southeast last spring by the James Beard Foundation; others, inspired by her success, took the leap.

To, perhaps, a little more depth from Severson:

The North Carolina food sisterhood stretches out beyond restaurants, too, into pig farming, flour milling and pickling. Women run the state’s pre-eminent pasture-raised meat and organic produce distribution businesses and preside over its farmers’ markets. They influence food policy and lead the state’s academic food studies. And each fall, the state hosts the nation’s only retreat for women in the meat business.

I especially love the pork chop analogy that Severson uses to open up her piece to highlight the more-the-merrier atmosphere the permeates all of this growth.

Both articles are short and well worth a read. Weigl does a great job of highlighting some of the new hotspots while giving a little bit of background for the ladies behind them. Severson digs deeper into the complete farm-to-table phenomenon while also highlighting the strong female influence at each stop along the chain. The positive socio-economic impact is significant, but most importantly to me, the food is great and I’m just happy to be around to enjoy the spoils.

Fiber Optimism

A few weeks ago, my Internet Service Provider sent me a letter informing me that the special price I was paying for 50 megabit per second download speed was about to expire. Not to worry, the letter went on, because even though I would be paying $30 per month more for service unless I downgraded, I was still saving $9/month … off the regular price1 of service. What a gift.

This morning, Google officially unveiled plans to bring their fiber-optic gigabit internet service to the Raleigh-Durham metropolitan area, as well as a few other cities. The announcement comes just shy of one year after announcing their selection of Raleigh-Durham as a target city, proving that as exciting as the news is, change is not going to happen quickly. In other words, I’m stuck with my scumbag of an ISP for a while yet, but I can at least be optimistic about the future of this first world problem2. And I don’t have to put all of my eggs3 in the Google basket, as AT&T and Frontier are making moves in the area as well.

It goes without saying that this is great for the area and it certainly can’t hurt our chances for continued growth. The build-out will be slow, but the reward should be great. It’s easy to overstate, but I think there is substance here – this has the potential to impact and transform the Triangle in many positive ways. Be excited, Triangle, this is a big win for Tobacco Road.

Photo Credit: Google Fiber

  1. Good luck finding the “regular” price of their service anywhere on their website or even if you call and talk to a representative.
  2. Indeed it is a first-world problem, but it’s worth noting here that the US is way way way behind in broadband speeds.
  3. Hatching personal information and browsing habits.

The Power and the Steer

After watching yesterday’s Packers-Seahawks game, I found this observation from Grantland’s Robert Mays to be quite apt:

Wilson may steer the Seahawks, but Lynch is their power source.

I know Wilson’s great tosses to Baldwin and Kearse ultimately delivered the overtime win, but Marshawn Lynch was the only thing Seattle had on offense going into the 4th quarter. And the threat of Lynch is probably what gave Wilson the opportunity to check to that winning play at the line of scrimmage.

Hey, Marshawn. Thanks for playing. You’re pretty good.Yeah.

Finding Light in the Darkness

I know it has been a while, but with my beloved University under fire and my own personal misgivings about the situation it just hasn’t felt right. However, a recently published interview with UNC AD Bubba Cunningham has provided me with at least the hope that the athletic department has someone in charge who is up to the challenge. While, I understand there is a cynical view to be take here, you will get no such read from me. I am going to focus on the hope.

Bubba’s comments when asked about the planned renovations to the Tar Heel basketball cathedral should provide all Tar Heel fans with faith in his leadership:

I think we need to upgrade a number of our facilities, but I don’t think the timing is right. So it’s still there, it’s still on the back burner. And as soon as we feel like, as a University, that we’ve healed ourselves and we feel comfortable, then I think we’ll move forward.

I am most appreciative of the inward focus he shows here. The university community and family needs to come to grips with what we allowed to happen whether willingly or unwillingly. We all had a part to play in the compromise of the principals we said were so dear, and only when we as a Tar Heel community come together can we proceed.

But that’s when you have confidence and that’s when you have courage. And right now, we don’t. We’ve lost our own confidence; we’ve lost trust by our alumni, within the community, outside of the community…We have to get comfortable with who we are again and prove to people you can do both.

We have lost trust as a family just as the national academic and athletic community has lost faith in us. The University is too busy pointing fingers and plugging holes rather than focusing on the progress it has made to insure this will not occur again. We must focus on what needs to be done to prepare all who walk onto campus for the future whether they ever play a sport.

Some of it is time. And as Larry (Fedora) indicated when we hired him, I can say all of the right things, but we’ve got to do it. So we need to show that we’re going to admit students that can be successful. We need to provide them a great education while they’re here. They need to graduate. They need to get good jobs and go on and do things.

The University will not recover until it resolves to provide an education and opportunity to every student who sets foot on campus. That may seem like a sacrifice to some, but that is the place I fell in love with 25 years ago and the one to which I thought I belonged. Thank you Bubba, for allowing me to see that place once again.

“…but at some point, we can’t sit in neutral. We’ve got to move forward.”

Photo Credit: Zach Frailey via Flickr

Tesla Model S

Model in My Dreams

I’m not really a car guy, but I’ve recently become obsessed with Tesla’s Model S. It all started a few months ago with my first in-the-wild sighting. It was sitting in front of me at a traffic light and I just couldn’t stop staring. I love the back, face and profile. I’ve never had the privilege of sitting inside one, but the pictures make it look pretty all right. Throw in the all-electric engine with options for no-compromise performance and you’ve got quite a package … at quite a price. Oh well, a man can dream, can’t he?

Photo Credit: Maurizio Pesce via Flickr