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Neighbors Create Own Internet Service

By Tim Muprhy 1 years ago No comments

The Unique, The Interesting and The Productive - The Murphy Letter - November 2015 Edition

***How a Group of Neighbors Created their own Internet Service***

A recently published story on Ars Technica chronicled how a group of neighbors were able to successfully create their own internet service.

Until last year, the only internet available to the 5,000-plus residents ofOrcas Island was a slow, 1.5mbps connection. The local internet service provider, CenturyLink, was unable to provide fast or reliable internet to the people on Orcas island.

Chris Sutton lives on Orcas island and was fed up with the slow, unreliable internet service he had. Sutton and a few others decided to start the Doe Bay Internet Users Association and make their own internet service.

Mr. Sutton explained that while he was thinking of how to fix the island’s internet problem, he had a breakthrough.

“We can see these towers that are 10 miles away, and you realize, ‘hey, can’t we just get our own microwave link up here to us from down there, and then do this little hop from house to house to house via wireless stuff?'”

That’s exactly what Sutton, along with some neighbors, did. After convincing a number of neighbors to commit, the Doe Bay Internet Users Association (DBIUA) paid StarTouch Broadband Services around $11,000 to send a microwave link from their tower to the island.

To be clear, the DBIUA did not become a true internet service provider, but rather a reseller. The internet service provider in this instance is StarTouch.

The DBIUA set up their equipment on top of a water tower. The 50-foot water tower was the only structure tall enough on the island to have a point to point connection with the StarTouch tower.

Once the main connection point was set up, the DBIUA set up radios on people’s homes or trees to get them connected. The DBIUA now connects 50 homes on the island.

Click here for the full article..


***Earth-Sized Planet Found in Our Neighborhood***

Astrophysicists have found what they describe as the closest Earth-sized exoplanet ever discovered. The finding could provide our most in-depth look yet at a world not so different from our own.

Click here for the full video.

-Originally published in the Wall St. Journal


***The Next Fleet of Stealth Bombers***

Northrop Grumman Corp. won a major contract to build the U.S. military’s future fleet of stealth bombers, the Pentagon announced.

A team led by Northrop, maker of the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and drone aircraft, beat out another led by Boeing Co., the world's largest aerospace company, and Lockheed Martin Corp., the world's largest defense contractor, for the award as part of the U.S. Air Force's Long Range Strike Bomber, or LRS-B, program.

The $21.4 billion initial contract -- the most significant since the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter award more than a decade ago -- was disclosed on Tuesday evening with the Defense Department daily contract announcements. Defense Department and Air Force leaders later discussed the agreement during a press conference at the Pentagon.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the bomber will

"deliver capabilities across the full range of military operations against the most technologically advanced opponents."

The next-generation bomber will be designed to fight through surface-to-air missiles, as well as electronic and information attack. It will also accommodate lasers and directed-energy systems, hypersonic missiles and other new and emerging technologies.

-Written by Brendan McGarry, published in


***Could this Mental Health App Replace Human Therapists?***

A new service called Joyable is the first of its kind to offer mental health therapy via an online app. Peter Shalek, its CEO, says he’s always wanted to be a therapist but has ended up founding and running companies instead.

During his undergraduate years at Columbia, Shalek founded and sold a laundry delivery service. After that, he worked as an analyst at Morgan Stanley and went to Stanford Business School. And it was there, he says—with consultation from university psychologists—that he and his cofounder created Joyable.

According to their website, "Joyable provides evidence-based, affordable mental health services to the millions who can’t access them today.

We believe everyone deserves great mental health. This means access to timely, effective, and affordable solutions. Our mission is to make this dream a reality."

Does it work?

According to Brett Redding, a 28 year old salesman in Seattle, yes.

When Redding began using Joyable, his coach was Steve Marks, the company’s other cofounder. He couldn’t endorse the service enough. One of his final exercises was a meeting he had to have with his boss. He feared getting fired: She expanded his duties and gave him a raise. Last month, nearly a year later, he found himself promoted again.

-Originally published in the, full article can be found here.


***E-Cigarette Sales Rapidly Lose Steam***

Sales of electronic cigarettes have fallen sharply in recent months,bringing an end to five years of triple-digit growth and making the much-touted category look more like a potential fad than real threat to Big Tobacco.

Growing dissatisfaction among customers, inventory backlogs, new state laws and rising safety concerns are expected to cut the rate of e-cigarette growth in half next year to 57% from its compound annual growth rate of 114% over the past five years, according to the research firm Euromonitor International. Because of the rapid sales declines, Euromonitor research analyst Eric Penicka said he is preparing to “pull back that forecast” even further.

The slowdown has been most noticeable among Big Tobacco’s “cigalike” devices, which look like cigarettes. Sales of those fell 21% and volume dropped 11% during the 12-week period ended Oct. 31, marking the first quarterly decline in sales and volume, according to Nielsen data cited by Wells Fargo.

“Consumers are disenchanted right now with these products,” said Bonnie Herzog, an analyst with Wells Fargo who estimates the e-cigarette market totaled $2.5 billion last year. She said e-cigs need to mimic cigarettes or users won’t switch. She added, “It’s not that different from diet soda.”

The current devices fail to deliver nicotine into the bloodstream as quickly as cigarettes and lack the same so-called “throat hit” that cigarettes offer. Many e-cigarette users have found them so disappointing that they have returned to cigarettes, Ms. Herzog said.

The $100 billion U.S. tobacco industry estimates that cigarette volumes are down 0.5% so far this year, far better than the more typical recent declines of 3% to 4% annually.

-By Tripp Mickle, full article published in the Wall St. Journal.


***5 Ways to use Google Keep to Manage Tasks***

Google Keep gets overshadowed by Evernote and Microsoft Onenote, but it can be a powerful part of you productivity arsenal, particularly if you’re invested in Google’s ecosystem. Like the rest of Google’s apps, Keep is lean, fast, easy to use, and it syncs across devices. Its growing list of capabilities make a convincing argument for it as the go-to note-taker for Android users.

Here are five ways to start using Keep to manage your life.

1. Convert any note to a to-do list
You can set a note to remind you at a certain time or in a particular location.

Nothing’s as satisfying as checking items off a to-do list. Like Evernote, Google Keep offer an easy way to turn any unformatted note into a checklist.

Open a note, tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the note and select Show checkboxes. Keep will add a checkbox at the beginning of each line item. To remove them, follow the same steps but select Hide checkboxes. You can also select Show checkboxes when you create a new note, and Keep will include a checkbox as you add each task.

2. Take a “note to self”
When an idea or inspiration strikes, you must waste no time capturing it. In those moments, leverage Google Now’s voice actions to get it into Keep.

On an Android phone, trigger your mic, say “OK Google—note to self” and dictate the content of the note. The first time you use the “note to self” feature, Google Now will ask which app you want to use to complete the action. Select Google Keep and it will save your dictated note.

3. Use time- and location-based reminders
You can set a note to remind you at a certain time or in a particular location.

If you’re using Google Keep to create action-item notes and lists, you should take advantage of its reminder features. Keep offers two types of reminders—time-based and location-based.

4. Grab text from images
Google Keep can convert scanned images like business cards and receipts into editable text.

Google Keep lets you capture and convert images into editable text, so that items like business cards and receipts can be easily added to your notes and made searchable.

To do this, open any note with an image, click the three dots in the action bar to see the expanded menu and select Grab image text. Keep reads and saves the text. While OCR in a note-taking app isn’t unique, Keep’s is better than most, reproducing scanned text with minimal errors.

5. Create a Google Doc from a note
Keep notes can easily be converted to Google Docs so you can expand them into fleshed-out documents. On Android, select the note you want to copy over, tap the More icon, and select Copy to Google Doc. To copy multiple notes, touch one note and hold it until it darkens, then select all the other notes. Follow the rest of the steps to export them to Google Docs. When your new document is ready, you’ll receive a prompt to open it.

-Originally written by Michael Ansaldo and published in


***Tim Murphy Recommends this Show***

The Profit is a reality television show broadcast on CNBC. On each episode Marcus Lemonis offers struggling small businesses capital investment and his expertise in exchange for an ownership stake in the company.

He does whatever it takes to fix a failing business—hire people, fire people and even spend his own money.


***What City has the Dirtiest Air in the World?***

While the world has grown accustomed to images of near-apocalyptic pollution in Beijing, the world's worst air can be found some 2,400 miles to the west.

In 2014, the World Health Organization measured air quality levels in 1,600 cities around the world, and the Indian capital city of New Delhi was found to have the highest concentration of particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers, also called PM2.5.

The city's average PM2.5 level was a whopping 153, compared to 14 in New York and 56 in Beijing. The WHO's safety threshold for humans is 10. PM2.5 particles are not visible, but they go deep into the lungs, and are more likely to cause chronic health problems.

According to analysts, the large number of old vehicles on roads, burning of bio-mass, industry emissions and coal-powered power stations are mainly to blame for Delhi's pollution levels. There are roughly 8.5 million registered vehicles in the city, and 1,400 cars are being added to the streets each day.

Barun Aggarwal of BreatheEasy, a Delhi-based air-filtration company, said that increased awareness has boosted sales.

"First two years of business, we had very few sales," Aggarwal said. "Lately, we are struggling to meet people's needs."

Aggarwal said that many in the expatriate community have gotten the message, and are stocking up on air purifiers. But attitudes among Indians have been slower to change, despite a sharp rise in media coverage.

Beyond Delhi, the news doesn't get better for the South Asian powerhouse: 13 out of the world's 20 most polluted cities are in India, and the WHO says outdoor air pollution is the country's fifth biggest killer.

-Originally published in


***Quotes on Thinking***

“Few people think more than two or three times a year. I’ve made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.” --George Bernard Shaw

“I think and think for months and years; 99 times the conclusion is wrong or false. The hundredth time, I am right.” -Albert Einstein

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few ever engage in it.” -Henry Ford


***Caffeine Does More than Keep You Up***

Click here for an interesting video on the lesser known effects of Caffeine.


***Transfix - Uber for Trucking***

The trend of uber-like start ups has now expanded to include the $800 billion trucking industry.

Transfix, an on-demand trucking and freight logistics provider, gives shippers access to drivers when they need a delivery or pickup. The New York-based startup created a free mobile app for iOS and Android devices that provides Uber-like trip planning functionality specifically tailored for truck drivers.

Click here to learn more


***The 4 Stages of Learning***

Stage 1 - Unconscious Incompetence - We don't know what we don't know.

Stage 2 - Conscious Incompetence - We do know what we don't know. 

Stage 3 - Conscious Competence - We know what we know.

Stage 4 - Unconscious Competence - We don't know what we know (that is to say we become less consciously aware of what we know) and through continued practice the use of what we know becomes second nature, moving from conscious to unconscious functioning.

-Rich Schefren

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