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Friday, March 31, 2017

Viewing live internet statistics

© by Mark Ollig 

Locating a trustworthy website displaying the statistical activity of the internet in near real-time, can be challenging.

What assurances would one need for having confidence in the statistics?

For me, one famous person who made a huge contribution in how we maneuver through the internet sufficed.

Tim Berners-Lee is recognized as the inventor of the World Wide Web, commonly called the Web.

He began working on it in 1989, and in 1990 wrote the software code for the first web browser called “”

“In providing a system for manipulating this sort of information, the hope would be to allow a pool of information to develop which could grow and evolve . . . This is why a web of notes with links (like references) between them is far more useful than a fixed hierarchical system,” Berners-Lee wrote in March 1989.

Not long ago, Berners-Lee posted a message over Twitter, citing statistical internet data from Internet Live Stats, located at

Internet Live Stats statistical information has also been quoted by the World Wide Web Consortium, and the World Wide Web Foundation.

Internet Live Stats clients include BBC News, United Nations Conference Rio+20, U2, Wired, and Kaspersky Lab.

The accuracy of its internet statistics is overseen by what they say is “an advanced algorithm.”

Internet Live Stats gleans information from more than 250 sources, which is used to process data by their statistical analysis team.

“We are an international team of developers, researchers, and analysts with the goal of making statistics available in a dynamic and time relevant format to a wide audience around the world,” its website says.

While looking through many separate groups of continually changing statistical internet peg counters, I felt assured the information I was seeing on this website was accurate and reliable.

Here are the internet daily statistics I captured from March 29 as of 4:30 p.m. (CDT):

• Internet users in the world: 3,599,700,025.

• Total number of websites: 1,170,187,522.

• Google searches for today: 3,535,307,707.

• Tweets sent today: 449,158,019.

• Videos viewed on YouTube today: 4,080,307,971.

• Photos uploaded to Instagram today: 45,950,614.

• Tumblr posts today: 72,751,296.

• Facebook active users: 1,877,561,264.

• Twitter active users: 307,926,726.

• Skype calls today: 149,857,235.

Computing hardware sold March 29, up until 4:30 p.m. (CDT):

Computers sold today: 388,297.

• Smartphones sold today: 2,765,053.

• Computing tablets sold today: 342,611.

Total number of internet users for the year 2016, starting with the most by country (top 201 countries were listed):

• China: 721,434,547.

• India: 462,124,989.

• US: 286,942,362.

• Brazil: 139,111,185.

• Japan: 115,111,595.

• Russia: 102,258,256.

• Nigeria: 86,219,965.

• Germany: 71,016,605.

• UK: 60,273,385.

• Mexico: 58,016,997.

• France: 55,860,330.

The Marshall Islands, called an “island country” has the fewest number of internet users, with 10,709.

The statistical history for the US shows in 2000, there were 121,869,116 internet users; we have more than doubled the number of internet users in 16 years.

In 2000, China had 22,553,646 internet users, while India recorded 5,557,455.

Global internet users reached 1 billion in 2005, 2 billion in 2010, and three billion in 2014; I estimate this number will pass 4 billion during 2018.

There is still no internet access for approximately 3 billion people around the world.

An internet user can be defined as “an individual, of any age, who can access the internet at home, using any type of device and connection.”

An accompanying counter at showed the current world population at 7,494,294,203.

These statistical counters constantly update their number totals.

Individual group number totals increased as I watched; it was interesting to witness the changes occurring in near real-time.

Embedded website code for individual group statistical counters can be purchased by websites for 90 days use, or on a yearly basis.

For fun, I selected these daily-tracked counter categories to learn what my yearly cost would be:

• Total number of websites.

• Videos viewed on YouTube.

• Google searches.

• Tweets sent.

• Internet users in the world.

The order summary said a yearly client license to provide these daily statistics on my website would cost $1,440.

I imagine, yearly client licenses is how Internet Live Stats helps finance their website without any advertising popups.

You can view and purchase a counter’s embedded code for your website at

Be sure to follow my no-cost daily messages over Twitter at @bitsandbytes.

On a personal note, April 6 would have been my father’s 87th birthday.

Happy birthday, Dad. You are missed by all of us; rest in paradise.

(Below clip art license-to-use purchased by Mark Ollig)

Monday, March 27, 2017

School buses with Wi-Fi: A good idea?

©Mark Ollig
A student nervously sits in their school bus seat, worried about a research paper they haven’t finished for their first morning class.

The homework assignment is located on the school’s website; requiring online Internet access.

This student has their school-assigned laptop computer, but is unable to access the Internet to finish the assignment, because there is no Wi-Fi access while riding in the bus.

Each day, this student will be sitting inside the bus for over an hour getting to school, and another hour coming home from school.

That’s two hours this student could have used for their school assignments. Instead, it’s two hours of lost homework time.

Other, more fortunate students riding the bus, who own personal smartdevices with cellular/mobile data access, are able to connect to the Internet from inside the bus, and work on their school assignments.

Thus, we have a student digital learning divide, resulting in a “knowledge gap.”

A recent Pew Research Center report stated 5 million families with school-age children at home have no Internet access – so, many students depend upon their school-provided Internet access service.

This is 2017; it’s time we have broadband, online digital inclusion equality for all students.

For many students using Google Chromebooks, or other computing devices equipped with only mobile Wi-Fi accessibility, they are unable to access the Internet while riding on their school bus.

Each year, some 26 million students are riding in a school bus, per a statistic from the American School Bus Council.

Yours truly came across a recent story about a major online company providing free Wi-Fi access aboard 28 South Carolina school district buses.

I read an Associated Press (AP) piece written by Meg Kennard, who reported about the 28 Wi-Fi-equipped school buses in South Carolina’s rural Berkeley County.

The funding for equipping the Wi-Fi access onboard the school buses was provided by a Google monetary grant.

Google calls their school bus Wi-Fi initiative: Rolling Study Hall.

I thought this was a very clever title on Google’s part.

Google also supplied 1,700 Chromebooks (basic-equipped laptops) to the school district’s students for completing their online homework assignments.

This reminded me of how Apple Computer provided students with free Apple computers during the 1980s.

When those students became adults, guess which computer model they went out and bought?

You’re right.

It turned out to be a successful marketing strategy by the folks at Apple.

Of course, in the 1980s, there were no Wi-Fi hotspots – in fact, a public web browser for the new World Wide Web – called Mosaic - wasn’t begun to be widely used until 1993.

In the 1980s, we were using our computer-connected modems for dialup access over a telephone line to reach services such as CompuServe and Prodigy; not to mention all those independent computer BBS’s (Bulletin Board System).

But I digress to today’s topic.

The year is 2017, and I feel students unquestionably need access to the Internet for completing homework assignments, and for doing productive research – regardless of their location.

Having access to the Internet while traveling on their school bus can be time used to do their homework.

According to the AP, Google is hoping to provide Wi-Fi access to other rural parts of the country; especially in regions where its data centers are located.

Lakaysha Governor, an eighth-grader at St. Stephen Middle School in St. Stephen, SC, said, thanks to the Wi-Fi -equipped school buses, she can stay ahead on her homework assignments.

Rolling Study Hall was used to provide Wi-Fi access to Caldwell County students riding school buses in Lenoir, NC.

“More students are doing their homework,” said Governor.

She also mentioned the teachers are much happier.

One question people may be asking; “Will having Internet access on school buses actually increase student productivity?”

It will if the student uses the Wi-Fi access to the Internet for finishing their homework, and for furthering their educational learning.

In my readership area, how would students, teachers, and parents feel about having Wi-Fi-equipped school buses?

Should the pros and cons of this be an agenda item for discussion at the next school board meeting?

August 2016, The Minnesota Department of Education announced a total of $500,000 was available for their Broadband Expansion Off-Campus Learning Grant Program, which included Grant B funds for installing Wi-Fi hotspots on Minnesota school buses.

School districts need to research the current or future availability of any state or federal grants which could be available for funding Wi-Fi hotspots on school buses.

In Virginia, Fauquier County Public Schools set up their Wi-Fi hot spots to only be available from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and others are blocked.

Of course, students using the Internet; whether on the school bus or at home, need to do so safely, responsibly, and securely.

Today, public Wi-Fi access to the Internet is becoming as indispensable a public service as are roads and sidewalks.

If you’re currently reading this column while sipping a delicious cup of coffee at your local coffee shop, or while riding on a Wi-Fi-equipped bus, visit Twitter to follow the daily messages posted by @bitsandbytes.
(Below clip art license-to-use purchased by Mark Ollig)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Next generation 'quantum' computer announcement

©Mark Ollig

In the early 20th century, quantum theory was researched as a mathematical concept to explain subatomic particles (think atoms and molecules), and how they act.

This created advancements in physics and chemistry, and brought us technological discoveries, such as the laser and electronic semiconductors, such as transistors.

The study of quantum theory eventually led to the understanding of logical operations used in a computer.

During a 1981 conference hosted by IBM and MIT, the late theoretical physicist, Richard Feynman insisted to those in attendance, the importance of constructing a quantum computer.

In 1982, IBM began its research into universal quantum computers.

Some of you might be saying, “OK, what is a quantum computer and what can it do?”

The short answer is, we won’t really know its full potential and applications until we build one and run the applications currently being coded for it.

Today’s computers, even super computers, are based on logical operations using binary digits of “1 and 0,” with “1” being in an on state and a “0” being in an off state.

My experience taught me a “1” shows a voltage potential and a “0” shows no voltage.

The physical circuitry comprised of various logical “gates” within a computer, operates in an “off and on” process, depending on the input to each logical gate.

An individual binary bit is in one logical state at a time; either a “1” or “0.”

The next generation of computing will be using quantum bits, or qubits.

From what I have read, so-called “pure qubits” will act in all logical states simultaneously, meaning, grouped qubits have the potential - as some believe – for almost unlimited computing power.

Consider this, you’re holding four playing cards; one queen and three aces. The cards are shuffled and individually placed face-down on a table.

How would you pick out the queen?

You would take a guess, and then another, and then another until you found the queen.

Quantum computing would pick out the queen on the first try.

Now, what if our choices were to pick one unique card out of a 100,000, or a 100,000,000,000?

A properly designed and engineered quantum computer would still pick out the correct choice on the first try.

Yes, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around understanding all of this, too.

The main thing to take away from this is recognizing how qubit processors will be the game changer in future next-generation supercomputing.

IBM is working on building a universal quantum computing system.

Their first quantum processor contained five qubits.

IBM’s next quantum computer simulator is capable of handling 20 qubits.

It is hoped new “quantum applications” can be developed by engineers and scientists with in-depth understanding and expertise in quantum physics ,and be used for science, discovering new medicines, and business, creating new materials, space, analytics, and every other field one can think of.

All of you students out there studying STEM or STEAM, can be part of this exciting future of the next generation, ultra-supercomputing using quantum processing power.

Future quantum computers will also be used for improving artificial intelligence’s reasoning abilities and processing speed.

“IBM will sell 50 qubit universal quantum computers “in the next few years,” stated a March 6 tweet on the IBM Research Twitter feed.

This quantum computer will have the capacity to perform complex calculations at speeds today’s fastest supercomputers on the planet could never reach.

Their first commercially available quantum computer will be called the IBM Q.

IBM Research announced it is allowing access to its Advanced Quantum Processor, via the cloud, to not only scientists, but also to the public.

“Today, we’re laying the foundation by inviting anyone interested to create algorithms and run experiments on IBM’s quantum processor, play with individual quantum bits (qubits), learn about quantum computing through tutorials and simulations, and get inspired by the possibilities of a quantum computer,” IBM stated on their company blog.

This shortened link will take you to IBM’s quantum computer research page:

Begin your own “Quantum Experience” by checking out IBM’s webpage link, where you can run your own quantum programs, watch video, learn about qubits, and see simulations of what quantum computing can do using IBM’s public quantum processor at

IBM plans to release a full SDK (Software Development Kit) on the IBM Quantum Experience for developers this year.

I am paraphrasing Richard Feynman, when during the 1981 MIT/IBM conference he said; “Nature is quantum, and if you want to simulate nature, you better build a quantum computer.”

Much appreciation to IBM Research for their permission to me in using the photo of quantum computing scientists Hanhee Paik, and Sarah Sheldon working on the IBM Q quantum computer’s “dilution fridge.”

Follow me as I make quantum leaps through Twitter at @bitsandbytes.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Mobile World Conference enamored with wireless 5G

©Mark Ollig 

The city of Barcelona, located in the autonomous region of Catalonia, Spain, was host of this year’s 12th Mobile World Conference (MWC).

MWC 2017 venders and manufacturers presented all the expected bells and whistle gadgets: robots, drones, autonomous cars, virtual reality visors, IoT (Internet of Things) devices, and of course, mobile phones.

However, the main theme I took away from this year’s conference, was the excitement and anticipation about the next mobile cellular network generation, called 5G.

We are still a few years away from the official 5G cellular data transmission industry standard, such as 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution).

The industry 5G network standards will be established by the technical standards-setting International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a branch of the United Nations, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

Two weeks ago, the ITU agreed on important performance standards for a 5G International Mobile Telecommunication system (IMT) by 2020.

“IMT-2020 will be the global cornerstone for all activities related to broadband communications and the Internet of Things for the future – enriching lives in ways yet to be imagined,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, as quoted on the ITU website.

We are on the cusp of turning the page to the next chapter of wireless mobile networking technologies needed for future devices and services.

Eventually, we will be a single network, handling anything from low bandwidth usage for small IoT devices, to the huge bandwidth requirements for a remote-robotic surgery being performed by a doctor on a patient located a thousand miles away.

Future wireless and fiber-optic high-speed, high-capacity data networks for mission critical services - without interruption is at hand.

It’s been said, 5G will “fill in the gaps” of the current 4G network.

One gap is speed. 5G will be 40 times faster than 4G under optimal conditions, so look for data speed claims of 100 Mbps – and maybe higher – from future 5G carriers.

Everything we do now using our 4G smartphones; from downloading web pages and video, to messaging and running apps, will take place at blazingly-fast speeds with a 5G equipped (chipped) smartphone.

It was less than a year ago, when the FCC unanimously voted to open up approximately 11 GHz of high-frequency spectrum to be used for 5G.

The new 5G will be using frequency bands of spectrum above the 24GHz range.

“By becoming the first nation to identify high band spectrum, the United States is ushering in the 5G era of high-capacity, high-speed, low latency wireless networks,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in 2016.

Last week, the new FCC chairman, Ajit Pai spoke during the MWC2017’s 5G Economy keynote address, saying; “The torch at the FCC has been passed to a new generation, dedicated to renewal as well as change.”

“The 5G future will require “densified” networks with millions of small cells, many more miles of fiber for backhaul . . . Building 5G networks will require huge capital expenditures,” Pai tweeted last week from his Twitter account.

5G will be used for providing the bandwidth and area coverage needed for current and future IoT devices, autonomous cars and drones, virtual reality streams, robotics, and the artificially intelligent and autonomous devices we haven’t even thought of yet.

Cellular modems, IoT devices’ data, communications, and whatever goes into and out of the cloud; all of these things will eventually be using the 5G network.

One MWC speaker boasted how with 5G on our smartphones, we will be able to present “a professional video broadcast from our phone.”

Within the next four years, we’ll be sending ultra-high definition 3-D video from our 5G smartphones.

According to an FCC press release, major wireless carriers have already begun testing 5G technologies using the 28, 37, and 39 GHz spectrum.

Just as “wired” telephone service to the home moved from galvanized (zinc coated) iron wire to copper cable, and then to fiber optics; future services to the home will be served over wireless networks.

5G networks may become part of a service provider’s transport facility offerings; in addition to their existing fiber optic networks.

A 5G network could make a suitable back-up network to haul voice and data in the case of a local fiber cut or service interruption.

Today, Internet services are provided via “best effort,” meaning, your uninterruptable use of the Internet is not guaranteed by a service provider.

Future 5G wireless networks will provide nearly uninterruptable service, reliability, redundancy, and enough broadband speed and data bandwidth for quickly transporting huge amounts of data over a large geographical area.

Companies and countries around the world are currently racing to build and demonstrate their own technical “flavors” of 5G.

South Korea will showcase its brand of 5G technologies to the world when it hosts the 2018 Winter Olympics.

They are also overseeing the first trial of 5G being used for wirelessly networking vehicles on a test track.

China has plans for using 5G in their IoT devices, and inside their industrial development centers.

Car maker BMW already has autonomously driven vehicles, which will eventually connect to 5G networks via cellular modems.

While our autonomously driven automobile takes us to work, we will want to sit back, relax, and watch high-definition movies from Netflix, or catch-up on real-time news broadcasts from YouTube TV, sent over 5G networks.

The official industry standards for 5G will be finalized and ready for implementation by 2020.

So, when will your humble columnist be writing about 6G?

Probably in a 2028 column; hopefully, I’ll still be lucid enough to intelligently converse about it.

The Twitter hashtag for the 2017 Mobile World Conference is #MWC2017.

Be sure to follow yours truly on Twitter at @bitsandbytes.