Where is the Internet?

Image © 2010 j.r.mchale; all rights reserved

An interesting short piece (five paragraphs and an eleven photo slide show) entitled Internet I.R.L. in today’s New York Times magazine about photographer Dave Greer‘s current project photographing where pieces of the internet backbone and related data centers are housed. Tidbit from the article about the One Wilshire building in the above photograph (taken by me from my former loft in downtown Los Angeles): “In 2013, One Wilshire sold for $437.5 million, the highest price per square foot (about $660) ever paid for a downtown Los Angeles office building. Why? Because the Internet. The building is one of the world’s largest data-transfer centers — tenants include network, cloud and information-technology providers — and serves as a major West Coast terminus for trans-Pacific fiber-optic cables.” An excellent reminder that the internet is not some amorphous thing ‘in the cloud’, but based on tangible, physical things, including circuits, switches, servers, cables and other equipment – in many cases, housed in buildings or buried under ground or sea.


Algorithms: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

From Smoke-Filled Rooms to Computer Algorithms – The Evolution of Collusion – Ariel Ezrachi and Maurice Stucke at The CLS Blue Sky Blog

When Bots Collude – The New Yorker

The FTC is Worried about Algorithmic Transparency, and You Should be Too – PCWorld

Academic Papers:

Artificial Intelligence & Collusion: When Computers Inhibit Competition – Ariel Ezrachi and Maurice Stucke (pdf available at the link; 38 pages)

Antitrust and the Robo-Seller: Competition in the Time of Algorithms – Salil K. Mehra (pdf available at the link; 60 pages)

Recent DOJ Action:

Former E-Commerce Executive Charged with Price Fixing in the Antitrust Division’s First Online Marketplace Prosecution – Department of Justice Press Release. The Topkins DOJ charges: – pdf (5 pages)


We Were Promised Jetpacks . . .


Android, iOS and ?

“We already know that there are two dominant mobile operating systems out there. But the current situation doesn’t really allow anyone to experiment, not without going through the interests and lenses of the two dominant players — Apple and Google. That’s why we need a third mobile OS to break this duopoly and move us towards a more open environment for anyone to innovate, without permission. Especially as mobile phones have begun to democratize and broaden the reach of technology around the world . . . why shouldn’t we then also democratize the mobile operating system?”

We Need to Break the Mobile Duopoly – We Need a 3rd Mobile OS – Peter Levine at Andreessen Horowitz


More on the Comcast-Netflix Deal


The Sad State of American Broadband

  • The Internet is F*cked (but we can fix it)Nilay Patel at The Verge:

    “[T]he entire problem, expressed in four simple ideas: the internet is a utility, there is zero meaningful competition to provide that utility to Americans, all internet providers should be treated equally, and the FCC is doing a miserably ineffective job. The United States should lead the world in broadband deployment and speeds: we should have the lowest prices, the best service, and the most competition. We should have the freest speech and the loudest voices, the best debate and the soundest policy. We are home to the most innovative technology companies in the world, and we should have the broadband networks to match.”

  • You Won’t Have Broadband Competition Without RegulationFelix Salmon at Reuters:

    “[W]e already have perfectly adequate pipes running into our homes, capable of delivering enough broadband for nearly everybody’s purposes. Creating a massive parallel national network of new pipes (or pCells, or whatever) is, frankly, a waste of money. The economics of wholesale bandwidth are little-understood, but they’re also incredibly effective, and have created a system whereby the amount of bandwidth in the US is more than enough to meet the needs of all its inhabitants. What’s more, as demand increases, the supply of bandwidth quite naturally increases to meet it. What we don’t need is anybody spending hundreds of billions of dollars to build out a brand-new nationwide broadband network. What we do need, on the other hand, is the ability of different companies to provide broadband services to America’s households. And here’s where the real problem lies: the cable companies own the cable pipes, and the regulators refuse to force them to allow anybody else to provide services over those pipes. This is called local loop unbundling, it’s the main reason for low broadband prices in Europe, and of course it’s vehemently opposed by the cable companies.”

  • America’s 10-Year Experiment in Broadband Investment Has FailedBrendan Greeley at Bloomberg:

  • Why Super-Fast Internet Is Coming Super Slowly; The FCC Could Change this Overnight by Focusing on What’s Best for the Economy, Not Just for Those it Regulates.Andy Kessler at The Wall Street Journal


Twitter’s IPO Filing

  1. Watch for updated and additional SEC filings by Twitter on the SEC’s EDGAR system


[I]f Google couldn’t make RSS work, why are so many others interested … . The answer is simple. RSS is the way news is distributed on the Internet. That’s why so many people want to be #1 in this area. News is big business.

—  Dave Winer at Scripting News

After sampling most of the Google Reader replacements (e.g., Digg, NetNewsWire, NewsBlur, Old Reader, Curata, Sismics and a few others), I’m settling on Feedly (Firefox, Android and iOS) and Mr. Reader (iPad). Provided you take the time to spend a few minutes in Feedly’s settings configuring your preferences (e.g., vertical rather than horizontal scrolling), Feedly is already superior than Google Reader in many respects. With a few tweaks (filtering of feeds by keyword; option to eliminate folder splash screens; better integration with 3rd party services; faster responsiveness) that hopefully Feedly’s developers will soon address, Feedly would be close to perfect (though not everyone agrees).


Facebook “Home” Initial Reaction

The consensus early reaction, the day after the Facebook Home announcement, appears to be:

  • Facebook Home is well-designed, with some clever elements such as the messaging bubbles;
  • Google and Android app developers will dislike Facebook’s lock/home-screen and launcher approach which makes Google services and 3rd party apps less visible;
  • Facebook home might appeal to certain Android users in the United States (i.e., Facebook power users and mobile phone newbies), but Facebook Home might be more of a play for new users internationally, particularly in emerging markets;
  • So what’s new: Facebook Home poses additional privacy concerns through enhanced data collection.

Facebook Home Link Round-up:

What the Analysts are Saying: A dozen analyst reactions at CNN.Money.
How Facebook Home Is (and Isn’t) an OS: Fast Company.
App Developers Are Scared Facebook Home Will Bury Their Stuff: Business Insider.
Facebook Home’s uneasy relationship with Google: Tim Carmody at The Verge.
I Like It, but I Don’t Like It Like It: Farhad Manjoo at Slate.com.
Facebook Home at First Glance: Web/App designer, Khoi Vinh.
The Soul of a New (Facebook) Machine: The Atlantic.
Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook Home, Money, and the Future of Communication: Steven Levy.


My PGP Public Key

Version: SKS 1.1.5


The following is my revoked, obsolete key, which should not be used: KeyID – BD251915; Fingerprint – 99F5 70EB F31A DDCC 209F F56C B224 7A2A BD25 1915