Less Color This Year

When to plan your leaf viewing

Upper Peninsula – October 7-10
Northern Lower Michigan – October 13-19
Central Lower Michigan – October 16-22
Southern Lower Michigan – October 24-29

This year seems like it is going to be a week behind unless something changes rapidly. There isn’t much color showing for two reasons. We haven’t had many cool nights, and there has been ample rainfall.

This past weekend had the first few nights of temperatures in the 30s in northern Lower Michigan, and 40s in southern Michigan. Now warmer weather has moved back in and looks to stay for another 10 days. So there won’t be any cool nights until late September at earliest.

The ample rainfall plays a part in the delay also. Trees are lush in Michigan now without any drought stress. This affects fall color in two ways. First it can delay fall color some, as leaves stay greener longer. But eventually it can help our fall color. The lush leaves eventually turn color. Since they aren’t drought-stressed and dry, the trees tend to hold onto the leaves longer. Barring any strong windstorm, this could make for an extended time of peak color in Michigan.

When to plan your leaf viewing
This year I’d plan a trip to your favorite Michigan fall color spot about a week later than normal. So look at the map above and add seven days. This should put you into at least some color, and possibly peak color. So here is a range of dates for various locations.

Upper Peninsula – October 7-10
Northern Lower Michigan – October 13-19
Central Lower Michigan – October 16-22
Southern Lower Michigan – October 24-29

Source: MLive

Less Spying on Your Cellphone

kingsmen image

Your government now has the tech to find and track your cellphones throughout the country, but the Justice Department is changing the way this technology is used.

The department will be adding more regulations to the use of these devices, which is a big win for critics of the government’s cell phone tracking.

The change, which was announced Thursday, Sept. 3, will add more judicial and internal supervision to this practice, which has widely been seen as an invasion of privacy since the NSA leak showed just how much the government was tracking people.

These changes require agents to get a warrant from a judge before using the phone tracking equipment, entail more attention from supervisors as to how the devices are used, and will have investigators delete data collected on untargeted people at least once a day.

Let us know what you think about the changes in the comments section below.

Bridging the Digital Divide

Kevin talked with Foster Braun, co-host of The Internet Advisor, a statewide radio talk show. They discussed how ACD is bridging the digital divide that is growing between Michigan’s connected and unconnected regions. Small to medium sized communities outstate have been hit just as hard or harder than urban areas during the recent economic downturn. If there is to be a genuine upsurge in the economy across the state of Michigan, ALL of our communities need to have access to high speed Internet.

Listen to the podcast below:

Zeeland is Taking Steps to Become a Gigabit Community

The team at ACD is helping Zeeland become one of the first gigabit communities in the state, thanks to collaboration between local businesses and ACD. Economic Developers and academics have proclaimed that economic growth comes to towns that have ready access to gigabit Internet.  Zeeland is the perfect example. Zeeland, by becoming a gigabit community, will see an increase in businesses wishing to relocate there and a corresponding increase in property values.

After observing the recent success in Zeeland, other towns and cities are Zeelandpictureinterested in expanding their broadband. While it may seem like a daunting task, it is actually an elegant and simple process with a clear starting point. Economic developers and municipal officials need to streamline their permitting process, allowing tech firms to quickly build out these next generation broadband networks. Once broadband networks are established and there is an extra capacity of fiber, additional businesses and residences are able to connect with the network.

As more communities are learning about the benefits of fiber optics, demand has grown stronger. Regions with the best broadband networks are built on having a variety of tech firms involved. The partnership between ACD and local tech companies has helped both of us become more efficient with the expansion of next-gen broadband to local communities.

Click here to learn about the steps to becoming a Gigabit community.

Michigan Cell Phones: Sometimes Useless When Needed Most

There are a number of things you can do to keep your family safe during emergency. As our smartphones become smarter and we humans become busier, we rely on these devices more and more to act as personal assistants. Cell phones are no longer used to just talk on the phone.

Police

ACD’s CEO Kevin Schoen is presenting a report to the Michigan’s Police Chief’s Association detailing the challenges of using a cell phone during an emergency. His report will be released later this summer.

Many of the cell phone towers you see today are outdated. Due to the transition from wired to wireless, landlines have become near obsolete and a drastically increasing number of 911 calls are being made from cellular devices. During a crisis or a natural disaster, these outdated towers can only handle so many calls per second. In large cities or in buildings made of brick, decent cell reception is hardly ever even an option.

According to reports, in addition to the lack of capacity to handle an increase of calls during an emergency, many dispatchers don’t feel confident in their ability to pinpoint a patron who dials 911. Currently emergency dispatch centers are working with old equipment built for landlines. Locating a call from a wireless cellular device is a lot more difficult.

What can you do?

Smart 911 is a database where you can physically input your home address and emergency contact information. That website can be accessed here: https://www.smart911.com/. Dispatchers around the globe have access to this database so if they can’t find you, they know the first place to look.

The Scoop on the New Apple Watch

Apple Watch

Picture Source: Bloomberg.com

I sent my spies out to the Lansing Apple store today to check out the new Apple Watch. Here’s what they thought during their fifteen-minute consultation:

The new watch is a step into the future and the wearer feels like they’ve walked straight into a James Bond movie. The days of talking on a cell phone are behind us and the time for speaking into our watches has come. The different face sizes and band options in addition to the thousands of interface choices make this watch completely customizable. It’s a product we didn’t realize we wanted. Apple has done it again.

Apple Watch with Apple IPhone

Picture Source: Bloomberg.com

Here’s what the internet has to say:

You’ll Want One, but You Don’t Need One (Bloomberg.com)

We can make the general statement that people love their Apple products and do not mind waiting in long lines for extended periods of time to get them. Apple has found a way to minimize lines and limit the people waiting outside to purchase their new product by a very well thought out system they’ve put in place. April 10th is not the release date of the entire product, just the demos in the stores. You can purchase a watch only online and orders will ship April 24th. Consumers have three options for testing out the new watch before purchasing:

  1. They can see the watches in an aesthetically pleasing display case for quick view
  2. They can experience the watches in a tethered fashion, much like all other products
  3. For the full experience, they can make an appointment with a sale’s associate where the consumer can physically try on the watch and test out the different features.

A headline on Bloomberg.com read, “You’ll Want One, but You Don’t Need One” written by Joshua Topolsky, one of the lucky consumers who got to test out an Apple Watch before it hit the market. Topolsky finds the watch itself beautifully designed with convenient features such as the Activity app, which tracks your movement and exercise throughout the day. However he finds things like the heartbeat feature, where you “essentially ‘sample’ your heartbeat and send it off” “weirdly intimate” as he’s not sure what he could utilize this feature for.

If you were wondering, it is definitely a watch, and according to early reviews the watch is extremely accurate. The Apple Watch allows you to check e-mails, send text messages, listen to music via wireless headphones, track your daily fitness, stocks, and the weather all with the flick or tap of your finger. Apple has a large task in front of them in convincing consumers that “wearable technology” is both something you want and something you need and only time will tell how well their new product is received.

Sources:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-09/here-s-what-it-s-like-to-shop-for-an-apple-watch

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-04-08/apple-watch-review-you-ll-want-one-but-you-don-t-need-one

Picture Source:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/photo-essays/2015-04-08/the-apple-watch-in-15-photos