Google Hangout from 36,000 feet! Tales of travel tech, streaming, and online gaming (venturing to Anaheim California & Cambridge Massachusetts this month)

Posted by Paul Braren on Jun 8 2012 (updated on Mar 19 2020) in
  • Podcasts
  • Productivity
  • Tune in to live Hangout On Air tonight in about 10 minutes, and I'll be attempting to say hi to the crew briefly, from somewhere over Nebraska.

    Update: it worked, seen above, see also Podcast replay here:

    Click to see full-size screenshot.

    Enroute from JFK to LAX right right now, 36,000 feet over Illinois, using gogo inflight WiFi. It seems to be enough to sustain the bandwidth needed to join a Google Hangout.

    Here's some travel tech, let's start with FlightAware (here's my current flight), with live tracking info to share, using the very feature rich, cross-platform WhatsApp smartphone messaging, avoiding pricey family SMS/messaging plans altogether, with Google Voice SMS standing in for occasional SMS needs.

    Next, let's get into Google Hangouts. Yes, I just joined a quick test hangout with Jim Collison while in-flight. Using an iPhone earbud/mic combo with my ThinkPad W520's mic/headset jack, and a noise canceling headset over the buds, actuallly seems to work pretty well.

    Why am I up here? Well, my son, known as the StarCraft II Grand Master "Boyo" earned an MLG funded trip to MLG Anaheim, in a recent StarCraft II event, so I'm his roadie, and we brought along his older brother/blogger, to share the fun. So we drove to JFK, and are flying straight to LAX tonight, to be ready for the event that starts tomorrow, at the Anaheim Convention Center, right across the street from Disneyland.

    Using Navigon for iPhone for getting around in rental car (remember to download the right states before you leave!), and my Verizon MiFi 4510L for shared 4G. Pocket Casts helps pass the time while in the plane, or in traffic. Gogo let me use my iPhone during the flight using my same pre-purchased day pass, bumping my laptop offline as soon as I authenticated the browser based web login on the phone. In other words, it's one device at a time.

    Now back to the gaming/streaming event here in Anaheim.


    Having enjoyed a similar (but much closer to home) event in Providence, RI last year:

    and helping build the gZilla gaming system that got us here:
    thought I'd share a bit more about innovation in streaming, which is really gamer driven. Yes, an amazing numbers of gamers are specatators too, enjoying live streams in full 1080p glory:

    and at these MLG events, while they do charge for quality streams, the quality and production values are amazing.

    Back on the ground, yesterday, I began to get ready for another big SC2 event coming up in the Boston area, testing out this $107 IP camera:
    Esky C5900 H.264 Wireless IP Camera - Black


    So far, pretty good, although initial configuration was trickier than I had hoped, but hey, it's $107. Makes dealing with browser plugins and such not so bad. For the event at Microsoft though, using a wired network connection, this camera should work out fine as an extra camera view, giving a feel for being at the event, with camera controls for the casters to pan across the Boston skyline, using the IP Camera super client for Windows software.. Here's a look at the Web UI:


    One more shout-out today, about the Microsoft NERD Center. C'mon, isn't that name awesome? Thanks to the efforts of some kind folks at Microsoft, a special event is coming up next weekend for StarCraft II fans in the Boston area, see the announcements below. Should be good fun, spectators welcome!

    New England SC2 League Grand Finals!


    Jun 12 2012 Update:


    Jun 11 2012 Update:

    Jun 14 2012 Update:

    If you're wondering what the young adult demographic is up to these days, check out these statistics for this Major League Gaming event we attended in Anaheim CA last week, with 4.7 million unique online viewers and 20,000 spectators there in person:

    Gee, what do you think matters more to this demographic, TV channel selection, or broadband speed?  And how about the conference coordinators?  It'd be hard to overstate the importance of the chosen venue's broadband connection speed and resilience.


    Mar 19 2020 Update:

    Google Hangout video Jim Collison on YouTube - cued to the right spot.