Live from California Pizza Kitchen: With the battery on my Macbook Air now down to two hours, I am going to have to learn to practice much better electron hygiene...
Comment of the Day: Graydon: Internet Media and the Fall of GigaOm: The Honest Broker for the Week of March 15, 2015 (Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality...): "Mentor's visualization is missing that there's no feedback in favour of reader value...
Over at Medium: Tap... Tap... Tap...
Is this thing on? I guess it is...
So: very, very happy that the other people here think that I am potentially of high-enough quality to have invited me to be here as an editor. That is very flattering indeed--for they are a very, very good group.
I am very happy not just to be invited but to actually be part of this speculation. Obviously, Medium founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone are NET.GODS of quintessential degree, and the Medium team they have assembled is very good. And there is a chance that something like Medium is the future of the public sphere in the internet age, not just to separate the informational wheat from the chaff but to grow the informational wheat and bake it into...
This metaphor has run away with me...
Nils: Breaking the Web: "The Deane Barker column was touching...
...in its sincerity and simplicity. Of course mobile apps break the web, are isolated from each other, and do not link to anything. You are supposed to PAY for them, not GET them for FREE. Welcome to the Market Based Universe.
Liveblogging from Underneath My Electric Blanket: Yes, the Internet Is a Big Cognitive Science Experiment. Why Did You Ask?
BuzzFeed: What Colors Are This Dress:
Live from La Farine: Izabella Kaminska: "How Nuts Are Markets When the Most Reasonable Analysis of an Asset Class Pumped by the Great and Good in Tech Is a Parody Sub-Reddit Entitled 'Buttcoin'?"
I missed this when it went by last September...
BitCoin's blockchain: wonderful, promising innovation in distributed trustworthy computing. BitCoin: not a safe liquid store of value--hence unlikely to be a durable unit of account, or even medium of exchange...
Sixteen years ago I was told that I really needed to consult and hire a "web designer". Eight years ago I was told I needed to consult and hire a "web content management system wrangler".
Now I am being told I need to consult and hire a "web content strategist".
What is a "web content strategist"?
So how cheap does this make all of the hardware and software needed for all the econometrics and dynamic modeling I might ever ask an undergraduate to do in a class?
Ken Kleiman: RStudio in the Cloud, for Dummies:
You can have your own cloud computing version of R, complete with RStudio. Why should you? It's cool! Plus, there's a lot more power out there than you can easily get on your own hardware. And, it's R in a web page. Run it from your tablet. Run it from work, even if you're not supposed to install software. Run it from your boyfriend's laptop while he's on a beer run.... Louis Alsett... doctoral work at Trinity College, University of Dublin. We had thought that running a cloud compute application was beyond our current technical abilities, but Louis' work makes it pretty easy to do....
It has been my experience that most "QuickStart" guides do not accurately capture the typical experience of the first-time user.
The Zelig Project, however, has a QuickStart guide that does so admirably and completely:
Dear Tampa Airport: Protip: Have a script that checks to be sure your wifi network is not currently wedged before you broadcast the announcement of free wifi over the public address system...
...announced that it is exploring jettisoning its struggling PC business in favor of investing more heavily in software, where it sees better potential for growth. Meanwhile, Google plans to buy up the cellphone handset maker Motorola Mobility. Both moves surprised the tech world. But both moves are also in line with a trend I've observed, one that makes me optimistic about the future growth of the American and world economies, despite the recent turmoil in the stock market.
In short, software is eating the world.
...that will push that 1% up to 20% or so and that 10% up to 70% or so' What do you think these experiences ARE, Brad, that the experience machine needs to deliver?
If the experiences are things like:
compelled daily structure--you are expected to wake up at this time, go to classes at this time, spend this time reading
social pressure--everyone around you is behaving the same way. And while some frats at some party schools may be truly atrocious, one hopes that at most schools, most of the time, the expected norm is that you will be spending a limited amount of time watching TV, getting drunk, and chasing tail; and deviating too far from that norm will get people to look down on you and scorn you.
It seems unlikely that any MOOC can enforce either of these very well...
...Bill Cosby has lost a Netflix special, an NBC sitcom, a spot on Temple’s board of trustees and years of accumulated respect as the sexual assault accusations that followed him for 14 years have finally stuck. The beginning of this rapid public shift can be traced to a friend having an extra ticket to a comedy show, a Facebook post and the sometimes random luck of what turns an everyday post into something viral.
With respect to:
...but I still found the story a little bit off from what I've personally experienced.... Shane mentions that she thinks the pendulum is about to swing the other direction and she envisions talking to people at legacy organizations in a few years and saying 'You're still there? Really?!?!' I'd say 'You're still there? Really?!?!' has already probably been the single most common question anyone at a legacy news organization has gotten over the previous decade. The past decade has been a relentless drumbeat of departures....
It's not a pendulum. It's a wrecking ball and it's been swinging ferociously into legacy media and carrying away the rubble for more than a decade. I frankly know nobody in the rank-and-file who isn't taking it seriously. Even within the walls of legacy organizations, the legacy skills of reporting have lost their value compared to internet skills. Maybe it comes across as dismissive--that's one way humans cope with a wide range of existential threats--but make no mistake: the emotion is fear.
The Internet Archive is hosting an Aaron Swartz Day Celebration on what would have been Aaron’s 28th birthday: November 8, 2014, from 6-10:30 pm. Although we are looking ahead, rather than dwelling on the past, this year’s theme is ‘Setting the record straight.’ Now that we have brought people together and shared information with each other, the smoke has cleared a bit, and we can clearly explain to the world exactly what Aaron actually did and did not do.
Remember my six-part classification of things people do to add economic value?:
Conor Dougherty: Two Cities With Blazing Internet Speed Search for a Killer App: "Google Fiber in Kansas City Residents in the Missouri city are finding out that Google’s super high-speed Internet is so fast...
...it’s sometimes hard to know what to do with it. A team of computer programmers here set out to learn how many cute kitten photos can be downloaded in one second on their Internet network, one of the fastest in the country. The answer: 612.... When your city has Internet capacity to spare and is not exactly a hotbed for tech start-ups, figuring out what you are supposed to do with all that speed is a challenge.... fter a few million in waived permit fees and granting Google free access to public land, the area is finding out that Google Fiber is so fast, it’s hard to know what to do with it. There aren’t really any applications that fully take advantage of Fiber’s speed, at least not for ordinary people....
Ideas have ranged from installing Fiber-connected cameras in high-crime areas to building a model home where entrepreneurs could test new kinds of Internet-connected appliances. The Kansas City Public Library is experimenting with a software-lending service that will let residents use high-speed Internet to “check out” expensive and data-heavy programs like video editing software. One company tinkered with a service that would allow families to lease data storage in their homes.... The average connection speed in the United States is about 10 megabits per second, good for 14th in the world....
Economically speaking, the biggest benefit may end up being the way fiber has energized the local start-ups.... Programmers have made a sport out of trying to slow Google Fiber down by using online video games and other data-heavy applications to perform the digital equivalent of turning on every faucet in the house at once: Hence, the “Too Many Kittens for Broadband” experiment, part of a hack-a-thon sponsored last year by the KC Digital Drive...
If Google Drive is going to start running at 100% of a CPU and Google Chrome is going to start running at 20% of a CPU, together lowering my MacBookAir's battery life to 90 minutes, you are toast!
That is all...
Chris Hayes and Ezra Klein watch the toddlers on the bus--the American campaign press corps. The only solution I see is simply to shut them all down: the modern style of campaign coverage started by Teddy White in 1960 with his The Making of the President is pernicious and harmful. Its practitioners should all be sent to do something more useful. Proofreading Google Books comes to mind.
It is a matter insufficiently appreciated that there are very few high-wire acts without a safety net:
Mistermix: WhatsApp Moocher: "One of the founders of WhatsApp, the messaging app just purchased by Facebook for $19 billion, is a Ukranian immigrant who grew up in a family that needed food stamps after they first arrived in the US.
Because of that history, the founders signed the deal with Facebook at the Mountain View Social Services office, where his family would go for assistance. I just wanted to mention that to remind the McArdles of the world that not all American success stories involve feats of Galtian superheroics–some of the Howard Roarks of the world must eat actual food in order to survive.
Can we trust our Silicon Valley behemoths, our new "captains of industry" for the twenty-first century? Ben Thompson has an interesting take:
Ben Thompson: Microsoft v Microsoft: "In his first column for the New York Times, Farhood Manjoo advocated relying on Apple, Google, and Amazon:
When you decide what to use, you’ve got to play every tech giant against the other, to make every tech decision as if you were a cad — sample every firm’s best features and never overcommit to any one.
I rather agree with and follow Manjoo’s advice, and my reasoning is all about the incentives that arise from Apple, Google, and Amazon’s business models:
Anil Dash: What Medium Is:
First, some disclaimers: I’m writing this as I sit a few feet away from Medium’s NYC team. (I even asked them for tech support while writing this!) Ev Williams, founder of Medium, is an old friend of mine, whom I became a fan of as I was the first public user of Blogger, which he cofounded. And Ev explained the idea of Medium to me before he’d even decided on the name. So, in addition to offering the falsely-humble way of bragging that such disclosures always provide, it should be pretty clear that I’m far from objective about Medium. I like it, because I like blogging, and I want it to succeed. This piece originally appeared on Medium.
Marijana: MARCH 30, 2011: Yesterday at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco, Google’s Chief Economist Hal Varian dedicated his keynote speech to explaining the economic value of Google advertising and search... more than $119 billion[/year]...
James Somers on Douglas Hofstadter: The Man Who Would Teach Machines to Think:
Their operating premise is simple: the mind is a very unusual piece of software, and the best way to understand how a piece of software works is to write it yourself. Computers are flexible enough to model the strange evolved convolutions of our thought, and yet responsive only to precise instructions. So if the endeavor succeeds, it will be a double victory: we will finally come to know the exact mechanics of our selves--and we’ll have made intelligent machines....
Lance Knobel: So, Brad, one of your areas is economic history. I am curious: as we face this increasing automation, robotization, is this something that’s likely to be something we have seen before in economic history or is this time going to be different?
Brad DeLong: Well, it is always going to be different, because history does not repeat itself--although it does rhyme. The question is: how is it going to be different?
Looking back at all the major transformations in history before--as we have seen entire categories of things we do to add value to our society vanish--we always found new valued things for people to do. Technological unemployment has been a yearly thing, a decade thing, a generational thing perhaps--but never before more than a generational thing.
Joshua Bloom: Wealth and Labor in the Cognitive Automation Era:
Disruptive technologies have always been greeted with a concern—and many times a back reaction—by the institutions that they are, or are meant to, disrupt. In the startup world, we think about disruption as replacing established technologies and ways of doing things with compelling (and better) alternatives, challenging incumbent market dominants. But disruption also means changing how people work, and therefore also means upheaval in labor markets. [October 25], in the Uncharted Forum here in Berkeley, I discussed artificial intelligence on stage with former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Brad DeLong (also a professor with me at Berkeley). Uncharted is a new ideas-exchange event modeled in part after SXSW, Ted and Davos.
Morning session I: Robots, architecture
October 25 @ 11:40 am - 12:40 pm
I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords. Brad DeLong in conversation with Joshua Bloom
What will increasing automation mean for our economy and our society? Will it exacerbate unemployment, or will it spur new industries? Are there some aspects of automation that we’re unlikely to accept?
The bridge to somewhere. Donald MacDonald in conversation with Felix Salmon
The architect of the new East Span of the Bay Bridge discusses the importance of bridges and what they can bring to an urban environment.
Start: October 25, 2013 11:40 am
End: October 25, 2013 12:40 pm
Event Category: Conversation
Four things create value:
And let me know that, as far back as we can tell, your status and standard of living depends on (a) the value you directly add and (b) what you are able to grab (and persuade others that you are right to grab) from our joint-product common store.
1:20 PM: Former NSA spy boss Michael Hayden on Acela behind me blabbing "on background as a former senior admin official" Sounds defensive.
1:21 PM: Hayden talking about a famous blackberry now.
1:23 PM: Hayden was bragging about rendition and black sites a minute ago.
1:26 PM: Michael Hayden on Acela giving reporters disparaging quotes about admin. "Remember, just refer as former senior admin" #exNSAneedsadayjob
1:27 PM: On Acela: Michael Hayden was talking to Massimo Calabresi at TIME I am pretty sure. Does he tweet?
1:29 PM: On Acela: former NSA spy boss Michael Hayden just ended last of handful of interviews bashing admin
1:34 PM: On Acela listening to former NSA spy boss Michael Hayden give "off record" interviews. I feel like I'm in the NSA. Except I'm in public.
1:35 PM: On Acela: phone ringing. I think the jig is up. Maybe somebody is telling him I'm here. Do I hide?
1:40 PM: New call. I am totally busted I think.
1:42 PM: I think I'm safe. Just passed Philly. No rendition yet. Do I have the balls to ask him for a photo? #haydenacela
1:46 PM: There is a faint smell of sulfur on the train. #Haydenacela
1:51 PM: New call just came in.
1:53 PM: On Acela: Hayden's comments to press were clearly about NSA spying on foreign allies. #haydenacela
1:57 PM: Win
I find myself disappointed that this has not yet jelled into something coherent--especially because there are now only 99 hours until I have to take the stage on Friday…
Let us start out with the view from 30,000 feet: What do we people do to add value? Eight things:
UCB Public Affairs: Festival of ‘uncharted’ ideas coming to downtown Berkeley:
Robots, technology, race, food justice and climate change are just some of the diverse and pressing topics up for discussion at “Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas” Oct. 25 and 26. The downtown-Berkeley happening will feature a who’s who of speakers and lots of opportunity for participating “infovores” to interact, converse and imagine new futures.
Felix Salmon: Kill the sticky nav!:
It might have been the Slate redesign which pushed me over the edge, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s just PTSD from Reuters Next. But at this point I will seriously donate a substantial amount of money to anybody who can build a browser plugin which automatically kills all persistent navbars, or “sticky navs”… the single most annoying thing on the news web… overtaking even the much-loathed pagination…. Meanwhile, if you’re reading a story on Slate, then it all looks perfectly normal until you start scrolling down, at which point the persistent nav magically appears….
Tyler Cowen: Time management tips:
John Quiggin offers some time management tips over at CrookedTimber.org. I’ll second his call for a daily "word quota", but express horror at his notion that you should ever devote a morning to "8-10 jobs that ought to take 5 minutes each."
Here are my suggestions:
- There is always time to do more, most people, even the productive, have a day that is at least forty percent slack.
- Do the most important things first in the day and don’t let anybody stop you. Estimate "most important" using a zero discount rate. Don’t make exceptions. The hours from 7 to 12 are your time to build for the future before the world descends on you.
- Some tasks (drawing up outlines?) expand or contract to fill the time you give them. Shove all these into times when you are pressed to do something else very soon.
- Each day stop writing just a bit before you have said everything you want to. Better to approach your next writing day "hungry" than to feel "written out." Your biggest enemy is a day spent not writing, not a day spent writing too little.
- Blogging builds up good work habits; the deadline is always "now."
We are now ready to take the next steps in our successful "digital first" strategy. This is an exciting but also challenging opportunity for all journalists at the Financial Times. It means changes in work practices, a further shift of resources to ft.com and a significant reshaping of the newspaper.
Hal Varian: Hal Varian: the economics of the newspaper business:
Printed newspaper circulation has been declining for 50 years…. The internet is a superior way to distribute and read news…. The basic economic problem facing news is increased competition for attention…. Newspapers never made money from news…. Offline news reading is a leisure time activity, online news reading is a labor time activity…. Ad revenue depends on reader engagement…. Tablets give newspapers a way to reclaim some lost audience…. The fundamental challenge facing newspapers is to increase the time people spend on their content…
At 5 million current page views for her two-minute "I Quit!" video, the world's most famous #Mizzou graduate Marina Shifrin has absorbed 170,000 hours of the world's attention. Valueing attention at $10/hour, that is $1.7 million--two entire decade's worth of value at $85,000/year, generated by spending two hours making one two-minute video and then distributing it over Youtube. That's $850,000/hour--that's a lot of productivity.
John Stachurski and Thomas J. Sargent: Quantitative Economics: http://www.quant-econ.net/
Of course, Googling "Sargent Python" reveals it might be a very bad thing indeed:
Noah Smith has guestwebloggers: Not Quite Noahpinion:
Jeremie Cohen-Setton, Carola Binder, John Aziz, Josiah Neeley, Peter Dorman, Yichuan Wang, Guan Yang
John Gapper @johngapper: Off to Dubai for a few days. Last time I was there was pre-2008. I wonder what it's like now.
John Gapper @johngapper: The Emirates air stewardess just spilled a glass of champagne into my MacBook Air and killed it. Not really helping.
John Gapper @johngapper: I'm afraid I lost my temper.
John Gapper @johngapper: Ah well, it was an accident. Intrigued to see if they get me another one by the time weand in Dubai.
John Gapper @johngapper: PS I wasn't drinking the champagne, she was just walking past with it
Susan Nagy @Susan_Nagy 19m: .@johngapper @TheStalwart Nothing excites me more than the problems of the dull, rich and famous... #bubblywoes
Dina Medland @dinamedland: @Susan_Nagy @johngapper @TheStalwart it's all so very #snoringboring Expand
John Gapper @johngapper: @dinamedland @Susan_Nagy @TheStalwart touche
Dina Medland @dinamedland: @johngapper I'll stop now - hope your MacBook Air gets replaced :-) @Susan_Nagy @TheStalwart
J. Bradford DeLong @delong: 100 years from now .@johngapper will be the person used whenever “First World Problem” needs a definition :-) cc: @Susan_Nagy @TheStalwart
John Gapper @johngapper: @delong @Susan_Nagy @TheStalwart Nice to be remembered for anything. Can't be fussy.
Adam Engst: International Verify Your Backups Day:
I humbly submit that Friday the 13th, whenever it rolls around, should be considered International Verify Your Backups Day…. Take a few minutes to identify some critical files and see if you can restore them successfully from your backups. If a bootable backup is part of your backup strategy, make sure you can actually boot from it…. That’s it. No costumes are necessary, there’s no obligatory greeting, and you aren’t expected to make a special meal. If you feel the need to honor your successful verification, well, a little celebratory imbibing of your favorite beverage is never inappropriate.
One of the wonderful things about the internet is how it plays the Glass Bead Game with one, bringing together disparate trains of thought in unexpected ways. In this case, it was my running across a piece about the church in Texas that discourages vaccinations--and the resulting disease outbreak--immediately before finding, once again, Henry David Thoreau's rant about the uselessness of the telegraph.
But, this time, "whooping cough" had a very different valence. And so I reacted much differently than when I first studied the passage in English class at the Sidwell Friends High School in the late 1970s…
Thanks for contacting us. Below is a transcript of your recent chat with a Google Fiber Team Member:
[2:26 PM] Brad DeLong has joined the room
[2:26 PM] Robert has joined the room
[2:26 PM] Robert: Hi! Thank you for contacting Google Fiber. How can I help?
[2:27 PM] Brad DeLong: I am curious. We got Google Fiber this morning, and I find myself wondering if there is a way to show a Google Chrome browser window on the TV, or to mirror a Chrome browser window on the Nexus 7 on the big TV?
Felix Salmon: Chart of the day, Microsoft edition:
The numbers speak for themselves, really: over the course of Steve Ballmer’s tenure as Microsoft CEO, the company’s stock price has gone nowhere, its market share has plunged — but its headcount has more than trebled. And that’s before adding another 32,000 employees as part of the Nokia acquisition.