New Channel available for AppleTV Owners - WWE Wrestling!

Part of yesterdays update to the Apple TV was the addition of a WWE channel, allowing fans of the popular Wrestling network to subscribe to content and access PPV events directly from their AppleTV for a $9.95/month charge directly billed through iTunes.  Follow the link for more info.

World Wrestling Entertainment Channel Now Available for iOS and Apple TV - Mac Rumors:

World Wrestling Entertainment Channel Now Available for iOS and Apple TV


Review: SkyDog Smart Family Wi-Fi Router

When SkyDog launched a KickStarter campaign in April, it struck a cord with families.  A Web-controlled router giving you very targeted control of al devices and people accessing your wireless network.  They raised 162% of their requested funding in just over a month, and their product just released to the public this week.  I got a-hold of their Skydog Web App and Smart Family Wi-Fi Router to try in out house, and I'm not ever going back to a normal router.

Powercloud Systems, the company behind SkyDog has built a very well thought out and functional product.  I get a text alert and email any time an unknown device connects to the router.  I can then ban it if it is unknown, leave it with the default security access on the router, or assign it to a known user so that it receives the limits I have set for that person.  

While that may not make sense to all of you, here is an example that will:  My son connects to the wireless network with his Xbox to play a game.  I have already set his access to limit use to certain times of day, and to further limit his access to appropriate sites during the time he has access.  As soon as the xbox connects it gets the default access level (family safe browsing/streaming) for the network he is attached to, and as soon as I tell the router it is the boy, his access increases during allowed hours, and is turned off during limited time slots.  If he wants to stay up a little later than usual because there is no school tomorrow, I can override his turnoff time for just tonight by hitting the override button and setting a time limit.  Here is what his access profile looks like:

What makes this even better is that I can set up multiple virtual networks and limit the ammount of our internet bandwidth each network can access.  In real world application the network is set up like this:

So my wife and I connect to the main network with 75% of the bandwidth.  All of the streaming boxes except for the sons XBox connect to the main network as well.  The kids are sequestered to their own virtual network, where I can make sure that their usage doesn't interfere with anyone's TV watching.

In all there is much more control than this, and we may dial things down even more in time.  The big thing is how easy it is to use this system, and being able to put so much control into anyone's hands to limit access to their home networks.

I highly recomend this router to anyone wanting to make sure they know what and when their kids are on the internet.

Review: Karma Mobility Karma Wi-Fi Hotspot

The Karma Wi-Fi hotspot arrives with just a USB power cable and the hotspot itself.


Today I recieved a new 4G wi-fi hotspot with an interesting twist from the folks at Karma Mobility.  Karma has an interesting business model. You buy the hotspot for $79US, and the first time you connect you get 100MB free data, which can be linked using your Facebook account. From then on, you can buy pay-as-you-go bandwidth for $14US/GB.

The twist is that you cannot secure your hotspot.  Anyone within range can connect, and when they do THEY get 100MB of free data, and you get 100MB of additional data added to your account for providing their access.  Karma is banking on the fact that people will start to recognize the Karma brand, and buy additional bandwidth when they need it and are connected to Karma hotspots in airports and at public gatherings.  I'm guessing it will work.  A hotspot with a familiar branding is more likely to get connections than one that is broadcasting a name like "ID10T B0X" or "D-Link".  And knowing that if they connect they will get 100MB of free data to check email or download a new book on their Kindle Fire before catching that flight makes it a no brainer for the consumer.

I averaged 8.17Mbps download and 1.29Mbps upload in my testing.  Not stellar speeds but certainly usable for checking email and small downloads.  And that is what the Karma is for, not streaming TV shows from Netflix or downloading torrents.  For free bandwidth, that isn't bad at all.

You can buy extra bandwidth if you need it, and it never expires.



Verizon making a grab for online media content

An article on last night has the internet buzzing.  Reports from inside Verizon are quoted as saying that they are looking seriously at making a play for online video giant NetFlix, and are definately looking to move into the online video space quickly.

What does this mean for those of us who rely on content from NetFlix to replace cable in our homes?  It could mean nothing, but it could cause some issues.  Without net neutrality laws in place, Verizon could reduce the speed of connections from other carriers.  A Verizon buyout of NetFlix could also be the beginning of a major grab by internet service providers to gobble up even more online distribution players.  Hulu could be next, and making these mega content providers exclusive to broadband internet ownership could put an end to the "cord-cutter" movement that has been all the rage in recent months.

In our house, we cancelled Cable TV in December of 2009, and haven't looked back.  In another post I'll show you how we set things up here in our house, but the loss of NetFlix and Hulu would be a major blow.

Let's hope the FCC put restrictions on these types of transactions like they did when Comcast picked up NBC/Universal, or life could get a whole lot more expensive.