Elsewhere (Blog Edition) – 26. 4. 2014

An online Risorgimento ()

“IF WE want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.” The words, uttered by a Sicilian aristocrat on the eve of Italian unification in Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s classic “The Leopard”, neatly sum up the sentiment at NETmundial.

A few months ago fragmentation seemed a real threat. Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s president (pictured), talked of bypassing internet services based in America. Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, came out in favour of a separate European internet. Both were peeved at America’s National Security Agency, which had spied on their e-mail, among other things. Ms Rousseff convened NETmundial last September in response to these revelations.
Economist Babbage: An online Risorgimento


Flat Files And Server Denials: Covering Elections At Three News Orgs ()

Covering elections is a staple in American journalism. I’ve covered elections as a reporter and I’ve helped display election data in drastically different ways at three news organizations.

So first, a little primer on elections data. Generally speaking, on election night, the data for vote totals is tabulated by county boards of election and then sent to a state-level board. Next, the data is harvested by vendors such as Ipsos and the Associated Press. Until recently, the only nationwide election data vendor for news organizations was the AP. While other data vendors exist, they usually focus on more niche markets, such as campaigns and political parties.

The AP has a physical person in every U.S. county to report back to them what the current vote totals are for different races. It’s incredibly costly, but means you can dive deep into trends in data. The AP has a system that lets you FTP in and download the data in XML or CSV format, which your publication can then display.

Fast forward to a month ago. The Chicago Tribune no longer subscribes to the Associated Press, but Reuters has entered the election data game. Instead of having to FTP and download XML files, we hit an API and receive JSON. It’s pretty nifty and much more conducive to building web-facing applications.

We wrote a Python wrapper to hit the Reuters API and reformat the data for our purposes, and then we again built flat pages based on that data, using Django Medusa. And for local elections and referenda that Reuters wasn’t covering, we again had Tribune staffers entering data into Google spreadsheets.
Andy Boyle, News Apps Blog: Flat Files And Server Denials: Covering Elections At Three News Orgs


The Week in Daily Updates (Week 1) ()

Twitter Launches Ad Network

(Posted on Monday, April 21)

While Facebook’s ad network is, I’m guessing, broader than just app installs, the reality is that app installs dominate Facebook’s mobile revenue as well. And, the primary types of apps that advertise for installs are free-to-play games, looking for the specific customer type who will potentially spend hundreds of dollars on in-app purchases.

This, then, raises a frightening specter for both Twitter and Facebook: they are indirectly exposed to any changes Apple or Google may make in their policy with regards to in-app purchases


Qualcomm Disappoints

(Posted on Friday, April 25)

Qualcomm also reported results yesterday, but came in low

Qualcomm’s story is the same as Samsung’s: the high end, price-insensitive part of the market is owned by Apple, leaving everyone else to compete on price. And, in that competition, one of the best ways to save money is to use MediaTek SoC’s instead of the much higher-priced (albeit better performing) Qualcomm SoC’s.

Stratechery: The Week in Daily Updates (Week 1)

Elsewhere (Blog Edition) – 27. 4. 2014

Rekord für organische Photovoltaik (heise.de)

Eine Verzwanzigfachung der Produktion bietet bestimmt jede Menge neue Herausforderungen.

Mit einem den organischen Leuchtdioden entlehnten Verfahren produziert ein Dresdner Start-up Solarfolien, die flexibel und haltbar sein sollen.

Die Zelle lässt sich transparent und mit verschiedenen Farbtönen – Grün, Blau, Grau – produzieren. Undurchsichtig hat sie einen Wirkungsgrad von zwölf Prozent. Wird sie mit einer Lichtdurchlässigkeit von 40 Prozent hergestellt, sinkt er entsprechend auf 7,2 Prozent.

In den letzten zwei Jahren hat Heliatek eine Pilotanlage für 50.000 Quadratmeter pro Jahr aufgebaut. Jetzt sucht die Firma nach Geldgebern für eine Fabrik, die eine Million Quadratmeter herstellen kann. Das entspricht 100 Megawatt.
Heise: Rekord für organische Photovoltaik


Why the Indie Web movement is so important (dangillmor.com)

While i agree with Gillmor in general, unfortunately WordPress Jetpack (mentioned by Gillmor), requires a WordPress.com account to work and hence is IMHO a bad example for the indie web.

We’re in danger of losing what’s made the Internet the most important medium in history – a decentralized platform where the people at the edges of the networks – that would be you and me – don’t need permission to communicate, create and innovate.
Dan Gillmor: Why the Indie Web movement is so important:

Via: Inessential


@davidu (@davidu)

Not sure if there are a lot of domains where a 1000-fold increase in a timespan of 9 years is even possible. Especially when the price remains basically the same.

Via: parislemon


The secrets of the world’s happiest cities (theguardian.com)

From November 2013, but quite a coincidence: I repaired my bike yesterday and am starting to bike to work today.

In the third year of his term, Peñalosa challenged Bogotáns to participate in an experiment. As of dawn on 24 February 2000, cars were banned from streets for the day. It was the first day in four years that nobody was killed in traffic. Hospital admissions fell by almost a third. The toxic haze over the city thinned. People told pollsters that they were more optimistic about city life than they had been in years.

Charles Montgomery: The secrets of the world’s happiest cities

Via: parislemon


Green Rocks from Space (inessential.com)

Spiegelt ziemlich genau unsere Erfahrungen wieder. Keine Ahnung ob es am darunter liegenden Constraint-System liegt, das global statt lokal optimiert und plötzlich zu einer ganz anderen Lösung springt.

The thing about auto layout, though, is that when things go wrong they go wildly wrong. I think that’s the issue for me. With old-fashioned layout code, things go wrong by just a little bit — and I can figure out, and fix, the problem pretty quickly.

But with auto layout, when things go wrong, it looks like a bomb went off.
Brent Simmons: Green Rocks from Space


Uber, Airbnb vs Cartels and Regulators (mondaynote.com)

On a side note, i was surprised, that Neelie Kroes, in the discussion that followed her tweet (see below) revealed that she didn’t know about MyTaxi.

In Brussels, on April 15th, a court order issued a straightforward ban of application-powered car services such as Uber, triggering the anger of the European commissioner for digital policies Neelie Kroes (see also her adamant blog post):

I’m absolutely outraged at decision of a court in #Brussels to ban @Uber + issue drivers €10,000 fines for each pick-up. Cartel! More coming

— Neelie Kroes (@NeelieKroesEU) April 15, 2014

As for the socialist French MP, while his report leans only softly in favor of the old-fashion cab system that no French government wants to upset, its own website clearly expresses his personal bias again what he calls “Uber’s Cow-boy behavior” (always the long-standing cliché) and the fact that Google is behind the service.
Frederic Filloux: Uber, Airbnb vs Cartels and Regulators


Marvel Comics Developer API (substraction.com)

Yes, that’s what I said: a developer API for seventy years’ worth of Marvel Comics content. You can now write your own application and make use of Marvel’s countless characters, creators, series, even story arcs. What a remarkable gift this is to kids (of all ages) with plenty of time on their hands and the…
Khoi Vinh: Marvel Comics Developer API


Reuters: Apple, Google Agree to Pay Over $300 Million to Settle No-Poaching Conspiracy Lawsuit (reuters.com)

Four major tech companies including Apple and Google have agreed to pay a total of $324 million to settle a lawsuit accusing them
of conspiring to hold down salaries in Silicon Valley, sources familiar with the deal said, just weeks before a high profile trial had been scheduled to begin.

Dan Levine: Reuters: Apple, Google Agree to Pay Over $300 Million to Settle No-Poaching Conspiracy Lawsuit

Via: daringfireball


Google+ Is Walking Dead (techcrunch.com)

According to two sources, Google has apparently been reshuffling the teams that used to form the core of Google+, a group numbering between 1,000 and 1,200 employees. … Basically, talent will be shifting away from the Google+ kingdom and towards Android as a platform, we’re hearing.

Alexia Tsotsis and Matthew Panzarino: Google+ Is Walking Dead

Via marco.org