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AppRising delivers insight into new broadband applications, exploring their impact on networks and their implications for public policy.

AppRising is written by Geoff Daily, who covers broadband applications and the business of online video. Based in Washington, DC, Geoff regularly advises applications developers, network operators, community leaders, and public officials on how to maximize adoption and use of the Internet.

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November 13, 2007 9:14 AM

Broadband Vs. Peak Oil Revisited

A week ago today I wrote a post about what a world without oil would look like if we were to more fully embrace the possibilities of broadband, coming to the conclusion that maybe it wouldn't be so bad.

Those thoughts garnered the attention of Marc Strassman through Jim Baller and his highly recommended email newsletter.

Marc is an editor/producer for the Etopia News Channel and host of the Strassman Report. He covers a wide range of topics, but in particular has recently focused on the nexus of Peak Oil and telecommuting, recently coining the term "petrocommuting" as a way to highlight the gas-guzzling nature of most any physical commute.

He pinged me late last week and we set up an interview to discuss these issues.

To conduct the interview we stepped boldly into the 21st century using a videocalling application I've written about before called SightSpeed. Here is the resultant video:

As you watch this you'll notice we still live in a world where the limitations of last mile access networks hamper the effectiveness of live two-way video communications.

Don't get me wrong, I stand by my sentiment that for much of this interview I felt like we were having a real conversation. But starting in the middle you'll begin to notice some dropped words and the occasional stutter in the video.

I don't know this for sure but my suspicion is that both of these happenings were related to our lack of upload capacity on both ends of the call, as evidenced by the fact both sides suffered through similar issues.

The funny thing is, though, that on my end I'm on a premium cable connection that claims 750Kbps and often hits 1.5Mbps; the best consumer broadband my money can buy in my current location.

And I know in talking with the SightSpeed guys their app can run over as little as 300Kbps.

So this either suggests I had the settings in the app wrong, or I was suffering through the perils of a shared cable system, where your neighbor's traffic can affect your connection's performance.

In any event, it was a fascinating experience and one that you can expect to see utilized many times over the coming months on App-Rising.com as I use SightSpeed's impressive toolset (which I encourage everyone to download and try out) to conduct interviews of my own as well as roundtable discussions with thought leaders like Marc Strassman.


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