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As a bonus, I noticed they just released the iOS version in February. Pretty cool.


Read Warren Buffet's biography "The Snowball" first. You could just read business textbooks but if you are starting from zero it will be like reading through an index.


I think what you will see is not a "detroitification", but a seeding, where every important city in the world has some footprint in software. Detroit's problem was it was a single industry: automobiles. Software is now all industries. This is such a relevant topic, where as in the past migration was triggered by where the jobs where, now an individual (typically unmarried and without children) can choose where to go based almost just on quality of life.

There are some very interesting concepts around what you are talking about:

What are the most desirable places to live?

Are there cities that are somewhat broken that could fixed?

Are there cities that are totally broken that could flourish?

Should we take cities that will survive massive climate change more seriously than those that will vanish beneath the ocean?

How critical is the cities' level of individual freedom?

Then there are questions regarding software and technology's impact on the very nature of the city -

Will better remote work diminish the networking advantages of a place like NYC or SF?

Will self-driving cars spread cities out?

Will people if want to live in a densely populated area after all of these changes?


malandrew 4 days ago | link

Most cities are broken IMHO since they value automobiles over people. I want to see more cities that put the commons where you actually can interact with others first and foremost:

    * walking and biking are valued over cars
    * vehicles within city limits are only used for delivery of goods. 
    * instead of a network of roads, we have a network of greenspaces[0]
    * more plazas and parks (Medellin has done a pretty good job here)
    * one massive park in the center of the city (e.g. NYC and Munchen)
    * located where precipitation is not a problem
    * cars are only for inter-city travel and stay outside the city (Freiburg)
    * Lots of sports in the city (Rio de Janeiro and Sydney, Australia)
    * People that need to move bulky things often live/work at the city periphery.

[0] This idea taken to its logical conclusion: http://www.cidadedemocratica.org.br/topico/2755-ecos-na-pais...

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_car-free_places


For some perspective, this was back in the days where it was actually quite a bit of work to get get linux configured and running correctly on your at home desktop. Knoppix was quite a miracle.


dfc 5 days ago | link

Knoppix came out in 2000, a lot of time had passed since it was "actually quite a bit of work to get get linux configured and running correctly on your at home desktop." If you were mot using a thinkpad or ibook a laptop could still cause some trouble.


k-mcgrady 4 days ago | link

I started using linux around 2004 and it still required quite a lot of technical knowledge to get working. Drivers were a big issue around sound, graphics, and network.


AJ007 5 days ago | link | parent | on: Raising a moral child

The best thing my parents did was be consistent. Early on I learned how to behave because I could predict my parent's reactions. How can a child learn to behave when all adult figures are erratic and irrational? Even the smallest things, like telling a kid Santa Claus is real can cause them to discount the value of truth.

Reading behavioral psychology studies should require a skeptics hat. I'm not calling out these specific studies, but when it comes to miniscule sample sizes, unreproducible and sometimes out right made up results, this area is very suspect due to ease of fudging results. (Diederik Stapel comes to mind as an extreme case.)


gohrt 5 days ago | link

The famous "marshmallow experiment" is great evidence for this. When the original experiment was re-analyzed, researchers found that children from stable, consistent environments, with reliable trustworthy adults, were better able to withold temptation and show patience to win a "2 marshmallow" delayed reward in exchange for a sacrifice of "1 marshmallow" now.


not-gro-tsen 5 days ago | link

As soon as he was old enough to understand, I showed my kid the marshmallow experiment and taught him a few ways to mess with the experimenter, if someone were to try this on him. Bwahaha.


tonyarkles 5 days ago | link

For comparison's sake, it's neat to look at the psychological outcomes for children of alcoholics (where the element of consistency and predictability gets thrown right out the window). I realize that I'm a single anecdotal piece of data, but the good news is that therapy can help get over it :).


I think there is an honest interest in expanding the telecommunications side of the company. This chart from Ben Evans really puts the market size in to perspective: http://static.squarespace.com/static/50363cf324ac8e905e7df86...

Google could probably double or triple their revenue from moving in to this space (margins won't follow, but that is a different issue.)


epeterson19 6 days ago | link

Definitely this. I think they want to replace Verizon/ATT with wifi to make Android phones even less expensive to get more eyes for advertising.


michaelt 6 days ago | link

In an average month I click approximately zero ads and I pay my mobile network operator $14 in cold, hard cash.

Perhaps Google want to diversify from advertising. Mobile communications would be one way of doing that.


kllrnohj 6 days ago | link

That's just stupid. If Google wants to replace Verizon/ATT it will have fuck all to do with advertising. It will be for the revenue from users handing them a handful of cash every month.

Companies typically want to diversify how they make money, and this is very obviously something Google desperately wants given that pretty much all their new businesses are around NEW revenue streams and not advertising.


epeterson19 6 days ago | link

For someone who's an expert about how companies work your grasp of profit margins and competition isn't the greatest ;)


Its fair to now note that the Washington Post is now owned by Jeff Bezos. The article should have disclosed this. (Amazon is included in the chart of campaign donations.)


declan 6 days ago | link

That's a good point. Amazon and Google are direct competitors in tablets (Nexus vs. Kindle), phones, app stores, cloud computing (I'm using both for Recent.io), local delivery, living room TV, product search, etc. You could make a reasonable argument that Google competes with Amazon in more categories than it does with any other company.

It's reasonable to disclose this in any case, just to remind the reader. (The WSJ does routinely.)


Prior to the NSA leak, "cyber warfare" was quite the buzzword. China, Iran, and other countries threatened the all US infrastructure from abroad. There was even debate as to if a foreign "cyber attack" could justify an armed military strike. The solution allegedly was the US government spending all kinds of money on these "cyber defenses."

Snowden's leak suddenly left people wondering if the United States itself posed the greatest threat to the US's own "cyber security." There is little doubt that the revelations did severe and lasting damage to US companies who want foreign customers.

Today the problems are, someone might have been able to access your Yahoo mail in the past two years. As computing and bandwidth expands and blends in to the background, future exploits will be things like, every moment, visual and audio, of the past two years of your life, was recorded and is available to playback in full detail. For better or worse, of course the government will get heavily involved.


XorNot 7 days ago | link

The Snowden leak told no one who was capable of any amount of critical thinking anything they didn't already realize.

It was base-level obvious that the US, EU and every other nation had cyber-warfare programs because there was no technical reason they couldn't, and the risks were the same as they were to China and others: its an invisible, zero-casualty engagement, indistinguishable from the actions of lone individuals or groups.

Moreover, it should always have been apparent that things inside the US could be arbitrarily subjected to search and seizure. This is not a problem companies are unfamiliar with - mining companies are big on sovereign risk, but moreover, it's not like Microsoft stores it's technical data on Google cloud services for exactly the same reasons.

The most surprising thing which has been disclosed nowhere by the Snowden leaks is any evidence of the NSA passing stolen technical schematics or plans off to US companies for competitive advantage. I'm sure a lot of people will insist this totally happened, but no one has come up with hard evidence that it has.


I'm not sure about $800k a year, but taking a page from Tarn Adams, OpenSSL should be able to raise at least $2k a month by:

Sending donors one of either: a) a short story b) a picture drawn in crayon


tetha 8 days ago | link

Upvoting because I think people misunderstand the nudge here: Dwarf fortress does both of these, and easily pulls in more money than OpenSSL by average. Sometimes up to twice as much if they just had a big release. (Which is - regardless how good dwarf fortress is - a shame).


What city do you live in?

My ratio of good to bad Uber experiences is moving toward bad. In NYC it is about 1:1 now, while other cities still weigh heavily toward positive.


exelius 6 days ago | link

Philadelphia. It's not hard to hail a taxi in most places anywhere near downtown, but when you can't find one, Uber's not really a better option unless you're willing to pay over $50 for a ride.

Uber definitely has a niche where it is useful, but it's not going to displace taxis as a whole.

IMO Uber was born out of a specific fucked-up regulatory marketplace for taxis in San Francisco. Most of the taxis there are "limousine services" that are allowed to answer hails on the street. I found the situation pretty annoying, because rates are negotiated up front and are always more than what a metered taxi would cost. Many cities prohibit this because taxi drivers routinely use it to scam tourists (hence why taxi regulation exists.) Uber is a great solution for the regulatory situation in SF; but most big cities have better taxi regulation than SF.



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