The problem with moving phones from copper to fiber: power

“If you can’t contact your loved ones, or government agencies and relief organizations can’t coordinate, you can’t get anything done. […] A communications system is only useful if you can connect to every other endpoint on the network. If you have power but no one else does, you have a well powered and expensive paperweight (assuming you still have paper). To that point, if your phone has power but the switching station does not, or the cell towers in half the city are down, you still aren’t able to communicate with anyone else.” —emtcharlie on ArsTechnica

The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist

A secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” …

“Instead of a watchlist limited to actual, known terrorists, the government has built a vast system based on the unproven and flawed premise that it can predict if a person will commit a terrorist act in the future,” says Hina Shamsi, the head of the ACLU’s National Security Project. “On that dangerous theory, the government is secretly blacklisting people as suspected terrorists and giving them the impossible task of proving themselves innocent of a threat they haven’t carried out.”

Stewart Brand on Gavin Newsom’s sustainable cities talk

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom gave a seminar for The Long Now Foundation entitled “Cities and Time”. If you live in San Francisco or are interested in Cities going “Green”, check out Stewart Brand‘s summary of the talk: Mayor Gavin Newsom, “Cities and Time”.

It’s interesting to read about some of the things the mayor would like to see happen in San Francisco. Of course, he won’t be in office to make good on his desires, but these kinds of comments are probably smart if you want to run for Governor of California. 😉

What real revolutions are like

Clay Shirky has an incredible article about the Newspaper industry failing to come to terms with its own demise. Gems of wisdom abound throughout, but I found this particularly striking:

That is what real revolutions are like. The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place. The importance of any given experiment isn’t apparent at the moment it appears; big changes stall, small changes spread. Even the revolutionaries can’t predict what will happen.

The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place; what a fantastic way of thinking about it!

Off-hours innovation

Zed Shaw’s NYC VCs Can’t Do Math poses a theory on why California has so many tech startups:

There are several reasons why technology just doesn’t take off [in NYC] the way it does in Silicon Valley. The primary reason in my mind is that California has laws that protect employees from their employers stealing off-hours work. In California, tech workers have no problem working on the next hot start-up in their spare time because they know Megalo Corp won’t own it when they’re done. I believe California is the only state in the US that has this law, and wow look, it’s the only state with a rampant churn of startups and innovation that now rivals the banking industry in capital.

I had no idea California’s law was so unique. How the heck do you start a tech company these days1 if not in your off-hours from work!?

  1. When the .com bust happened, there were a lot of startups funded by severance pay and savings, but those heydays are gone. []

Techcrunch quality

Perhaps Last.fm‘s recent revelation will elighten more people to a longstanding reality about the tabloid Techcrunch:

“Techcrunch are full of shit”

On a whim, I decided to look up shitcrunch.com and found a blog that was created (but never used) in November 2007. It’s been crap for longer than that.

Last.fm, however, is a fantastic service. I’ve been using it since February 2006 and visit it on an almost daily basis. They are also one of the few big sites that get privacy, open source, and community.