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Why the consumer is still held hostage in peering disputes

Steve Banfield:

I love Netflix and I’ve long since abandoned using cable broadband.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Angry customers. Dueling blog posts. An FCC investigation. The most recent fight over peering practices between large ISPs and Netflix has raged for almost 10 months, and we are still at the point where each side is defending its point of view and the end consumer is still getting screwed when they try to watch streaming video.

We’ve talked a lot about why this is happening and each side’s arguments. Others have laid out how to get around the problem using virtual private networks that can hide the Netflix traffic. Verizon has been the latest ISP to face the wrath of customers. On Wednesday it tried to explain its position. On Thursday Level 3 explained why Verizon was full of crap and a customer tested his connection using the aforementioned VPN and discovered he could get 10x the speed.

But the core of the problem here isn’t…

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Motor City Revival: See Detroit’s Stunning Evolution in 19 GIFs

Steve Banfield:

Still a long way to go, but so much progress happening.

Originally posted on TIME:

The Motor City, the former automotive capital of the nation, has seen a steady and precipitous decline in population and economic growth over the last half-century. The automotive industry’s move out of Detroit, poor political decision-making, and the collapse of the housing industry can all be viewed as causes for the city’s decline, among other reasons. On July 18, 2013, unable to pay its looming debts, Detroit became the largest city in U.S. history to enter bankruptcy.

However, this momentous step did not happen overnight. Detroit was hit with a housing crisis in 2008, a sign of economic trouble that foreshadowed the city’s bankruptcy. A major outcome of that crisis is the city’s ongoing blight epidemic. Vast stretches of abandoned residential property lay on the outskirts of the once sprawling 139-square-mile city.

As Steven Grey wrote in 2009, “If there’s any city that symbolizes the most extreme effects of…

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Google Previews A ‘Material Design’ Inspired Look For Chrome OS

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

All of Google’s properties will eventually bear a look inspired by ‘Material Design‘ and Android L, and Chrome OS is part of that sweeping visual overhaul, too. A new preview posted by Google “Happiness Evangelist” François Beaufort today (via 9to5Google) shows a very early design inspired by the card-style multitasking view that made an appearance in Android L, the new Material Design-based update for Google’s mobile OS.

The new look, which clearly lacks polish and yet bears some hallmark resemblance to Google’s other Material Design reimaginings, is actually available already on the prerelease Chromium OS builds, and those keen on getting an early look and not afraid to get their hands a little dirty can follow along with fresh updates to the new look as they happen.

What’s interesting about this new look is that it resembles not only Google’s other efforts around Material Design, but also Apple’s…

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It is time to stop rewarding failure

Steve Banfield:

While I don’t know if SV has embraced failing upwards, Microsoft, Sony, HP and too many of the tech giants have. The question is how long before the disease reaches Google, Yahoo and Facebook?

Originally posted on Om Malik:

Silicon Valley (the notion) has become very much like rest of corporate America — it has embraced the philosophy of failing upwards. I have seen many executives get bumped up the ranks, get fancier titles and bigger paychecks, even though they were disastrous at their job. Many have left destruction and dismay in their wake. And yet, there they are getting bumped up — again and again. I was reminded of this disease this morning when I read about Microsoft cutting 18,000 jobs of which 12,500 odd will be at the Nokia division. Microsoft’s board might have eased out Steve Ballmer, but man, why aren’t they thinking about Stephen Elop.

When I met him in his prior gig at Microsoft, Elop seemed to be a nice enough guy, not quite a visionary, but good enough for what was then essentially a monopoly.  The very fact that a middling executive could…

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The 40 over 40: Puncturing the myth of older founders

Steve Banfield:

brilliant piece taking down the age bias against older founders in Silicon Valley

Originally posted on @frankba blogging:

The TechCrunch 40 over 40.

I was slack jawed. Sitting across the table from a very successful thirty-something founder I was listening to him lament the hiring of a fifty+ year old CEO for one of his companies. There is no shame in making a bad hire, but he found only one proximal cause for the poor performance: the guy’s age. Listening to his description of that CEO’s failings, I was thinking what a horrible overall fit for the job this person was. Yet the founder’s conclusion was, “I’m never going to hire anyone over 35 again.” My conclusion was: you made a bad hire.

So it goes in The Valley sometimes. Age is strangely a proxy for performance, reflexively, maddeningly inversely proportional. It is irrelevant that the data says otherwise. I think later that week I saw yet another one of Forbes’s lists. I think this one was…

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Apple bolsters iOS 8 Health app with on-device steps counting & caffeine tracking

Steve Banfield:

Caffeine tracking? Dear Lord I wouldn’t even want to know how much of that I consume each day.

Originally posted on 9to5Mac:

Apple has made significant enhancements to its upcoming Health application for iOS 8 in the latest beta of the new iPhone operating system. Most notably, the Health application can now utilize the iPhone’s own M7 motion tracking hardware for data sourcing.

The Health app’s Steps counter tab can now report steps without connecting to any third party applications or hardware devices. Because this feature likely uses the M7 processor, an iPhone 5s is required to get the steps data directly from the device…

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The next thing Silicon Valley needs to disrupt big time: its own culture

Steve Banfield:

shining a light on the “Mirrortocracy”

Originally posted on Quartz:

There’s a problem with Silicon Valley and the subcultures that imitate it. It’s a design bug woven into people’s identities and sense of self-worth. Influential and otherwise very smart people will deny till their last breath that it even exists. But I believe it does and should be fixed before it gets any worse.

Since credentials are so important these days, here are mine. I’m a programmer, and a good one. I’ve worked at several companies that went on to be acquired and one that IPO-ed. I’ve founded companies and conducted hundreds of interviews. I’ve written well-respected books, am regularly invited to speak, and have been honored by the White House. I’ve devised novel ways to optimize billion-dollar computer clusters. You’ve almost certainly run code that I wrote.

My résumé wouldn’t get past an initial screen if I were starting my career today.

About 20 years ago I enrolled in a dropout-prevention program…

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Congress Destroys A Hobby, FAA Gets The Blame

Steve Banfield:

your tax dollars at work… while I understand the need to evaluate and regulate first person view remote control aircraft, outright banning them just seems over the top especially when they are still working out the details of those regulations. This is where an abundance of caution (or simple bureaucratic slowness) is getting in the way of both exciting, innovative uses for these new products.

Originally posted on Hackaday:

As ordered by the US Congress, the FAA is gearing up to set forth a standard for commercial UAVs, Unmanned Aerial Systems, and commercial drones operating in America’s airspace. While they’ve been dragging their feet, and the laws and rules for these commercial drones probably won’t be ready by 2015, that doesn’t mean the FAA can’t figure out what the rules are for model aircraft in the meantime.

This week, the FAA released its interpretation (PDF) of what model aircraft operators can and can’t do, and the news isn’t good: FPV flights with quadcopters and model airplanes are now effectively banned, an entire industry centered around manufacturing and selling FPV equipment and autopilots will be highly regulated, and a great YouTube channel could soon be breaking the law.

The FAA’s interpretation of what model aircraft can and cannot do, and to a larger extent, what model aircraft are comes from the

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Things you can expect to see at Google I/O 2014

Originally posted on 9to5Google:

Google I:O

Google’s annual I/O conference is only two days away but leaks and rumors leading up to this year’s show have been going strong for quite a while. In an effort to brace ourselves for Mountain View’s latest contributions to the tech world, we’ve decided to discuss what we might be seeing in the next couple of days. While some of these items are a given, others are a mix of rumors and speculation. There’s no guarantee that everything listed here will be announced during I/O, but we eventually expect to see these projects from Google at some point in time. That being said, here are some things that we might see this year in San Francisco.

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Google’s Tepid Plan To Boost Diversity At Tech Conferences

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Less than a month after admitting it hires too many white dudes, Google is committing to increasing the number of women and minorities in tech to better reflect society at large.

This week Google promised $50 million to “Made With Code,” an initiative designed to get more women into coding. It will also be sending 100 women to Google I/O this week who scored well in its “CodeJam to I/O for Women” online competition, and it has established a scholarship for women and minorities covering the cost of attendance and travel for events in North America. Through the efforts, the company hopes to take on the short- and long-term diversity issues at Google and in the tech industry in general.

The tech industry is often criticized for not being open enough for those outside of the white male techie demographic. Women and minorities often feel out of place at big events where dude-bro culture…

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