Shared posts

04 Jul 09:32

"Patriotism without criticism has no head; criticism without patriotism has no heart."

“Patriotism without criticism has no head; criticism without patriotism has no heart.”

-

Allen Guelzo, What Did Lincoln Really Think of Jefferson?

04 Jul 11:29

So far, 90% want stronger action to stop people from distracted driving in British Columbia

by Ian Hardy

The Government of British Columbia recently launched a survey to understand what it should do about those caught using their mobile device while driving. The province banned the use of handheld devices while driving in 2010 and the fines are $167 and three demerit points, which is one of the lowest in the country.

The survey started on June 16th and will go until July 16th. Now at the halfway point, Justice Minister Suzanne Anton stated thousands of B.C. residents have submitted their thoughts and over 90 per cent want stronger penalties, specifically with the amount of a driver must pay when they have been disobeying the law.

“British Columbians are also telling us they want to see tougher escalating penalties for repeat offenders, because right now some people see the $167 ticket as the cost of doing business,” Anton said Tuesday. “We need to stop that.”

Anton did note that changes will be implemented within a year, but the fines will not be as high as where Ontario is at with a $1,000 fine.

15 May 23:50

Node.js and io.js leaders are building an open, neutral Node.js Foundation to support the future of the platform

by Mike Dolan

Just a couple months ago a variety of members of the Node.js and io.js community announced they would discuss establishing a neutral foundation for the community. The Linux Foundation has since been helping guide discussions with contributors, developers, users and leaders in these communities, increasingly expanding the scope of discussion to more stakeholders. Node.js and io.js have a long, complex history and the facilitated discussions have brought together key leaders to focus on what the future might mean for these technologies.

A lot of progress has been made in just a few short months, and we're entering the final stages of discussions and decisions that will guide the projects forward. Most recently the io.js TC voted to join in the Foundation effort and planning is already underway to begin the process of converging the codebases. The neutral organization, or foundation, will be a key element of that work and has been discussed at length by those involved. When a technology and community reach a level of maturity and adoption that outgrows one company or project, a foundation becomes a critical enabler for ongoing growth.

Foundations can be used to support industrial-scale open source projects that require a legal entity to hold assets or conduct business (hiring, internship programs, compliance, licensing trademarks, marketing and event services, fundraising, etc). Ultimately foundations enable communities to participate in large scale collaboration under agreed upon terms that no one company, person or entity can change or dictate.

It's important to note that while critical, an open governance model does not guarantee success or growth. The io.js project has a strong developer community, for example, but to grow further needs a model to enable funding and investments in the project. If you haven't already, please take a look at Mikeal Rogers blog post. The Node.js community has needed an avenue for other companies to participate as equals in a neutral field. rowing a community and widening the adoption of a technology all takes resources and a governance model that serves everyone involved. A foundation becomes the place where participants can meet, agree on paths forward, ensure a neutral playing field in the community and invest resources to grow the community even more. It can also allow for broad community engagement through liberal contribution policies, community self organization and working groups.

At The Linux Foundation, we've helped set up neutral organizations that support a variety of open source projects and communities through open and neutral governance and believe the future is bright for the Node.js and io.js communities. The technology being created has incredible value and expanding use cases,which is why getting the governance model and defining the role of the Foundation to support the developer community is the number one priority.

While I'm a relative "newbie" to both the Node.js and io.js communities, I've been able to identify with our team at Linux Foundation a number of opportunities, as well as very common challenges in both communities that relate to other projects we've helped before. What we've found is the challenges the Node.js and io.js communities have are not unique; many open source projects struggle with the same challenges and many have been successful. As I've previously written on Linux.com, there are five key features that we see in successful open governance:

  1. open participation
  2. open, transparent technical decision making
  3. open design and architecture
  4. an open source license
  5. an open, level playing field for intellectual property.

I think these same features apply to the case for a foundation in the Node.js and io.js communities. The io.js project has certainly been founded on many of these principles and has taken off in terms of growing its developer community. Many in the io.js community joined because they felt these principles were not present elsewhere. For all of these reasons, we leveraged the governance provisions from io.js to draft proposals for the technical community governance.

Now I'd like to share specific next steps for establishing the Node.js Foundation (all of this is of course subject to change based on input from the communities). We've started with a core group that offered advice on how to address key governance issues. We've expanded the circle to the technical committees of both communities and are now taking the discussion to the entirety of both communities.

  1. Draft technical governance documents are up for review and comment.

  2. The Foundation Bylaws and Membership Agreements based on our LF templates are available for companies to sign up as members. There is no need to sign any agreements as a community developer. If your company is interested in participating, now is the time to sign up.

  3. Hold elections for the foundation's Gold and Silver member Board Directors and the Technical Steering Committee elects a TSC Chair. The process typically entails 1 week of nominations, 3-5 days of voting and then announcing the election winners.

  4. Set up an initial Board meeting, likely mid-June. The first Board meeting will put in place all of the key legal documents, policies, operations, etc that are being discussed (the reason for wrapping up edits on May 8).

  5. Initiate TSC meetings under the new foundation by upon resolution of both technical committees. The TSC will meet regularly on open, recorded calls. Details will be posted on a foundation wiki or page. The combined io.js and Node.js TCs have been meeting roughly every other week to work through the Convergence planning.

  6. May 25 - June 5: Announce the new foundation, members, initial Board Directors (elections may be pending), TSC members and any reconciliation plans agreed to by the TSC (if ready).

And so I ask both communities to review the ideas being proposed, including how best to align goals, align resources and establish a platform for growing adoption of an amazing technology the development community working to build. I would like to thank the people building this future. Some you know; others you do not. It takes a lot of personal strength to voice opinions and stand up for new ideas in large communities. I appreciate the candor of the discussions but also ask you to seek out those putting forth ideas to understand them and to question them in a constructive dialogue. This community has another decade or more ahead of it; now is the time to set the right foundational elements to move forward.

03 Jul 18:38

Twitter Favorites: [benprunty] You'll have plenty of time to be a perfectionist later. Think of your current work as practice. Who cares if it's not perfect?

Ben Prunty @benprunty
You'll have plenty of time to be a perfectionist later. Think of your current work as practice. Who cares if it's not perfect?
04 Jul 13:54

Oxi: a political opening amid economic ruin

by Michal Rozworski

This week has been a taste of what the economy would look like with a real rupture with the Eurozone: uncertainty, elite blackmail, banks teetering on the brink and the start of rationing. That the mobilization of Syriza and the left outside it has overcome this and made Oxi a possibility is impressive. Greece and its economy can expect no miracles either way Sunday’s vote goes and for quite some time afterwards, but they deserve full international solidarity.

And so on the eve of the Greek referendum, with the streets of Athens still buzzing from Friday night’s enormous Oxi!/No! rally in Syntagma Square, I’ve collected and parsed some of my notes on Greece from afar. A text on where things stand is first, then some notes on how things came to be for those not keeping close track the past few months.

Where things stand

Five months of torturous, fruitless negotiations came to a head last week when the more-or-less polite dance around the table in Brussels abruptly broke down. Whether this was a costly demobilization or a calculated strategy to demonstrate the intransigence of the Institutions doesn’t quite matter at this point. When Alexis Tspiras called a referendum on a take-it-or-leave-it offer last Friday, he precipitated a political rupture, which soon started to foreshadow the economic rupture that Greece leaving or being pushed out of the Euro would bring.

This week the field of battle moved out of the stuffy rooms in Brussels into the streets of Athens and other cities in Greece. Sunday will be a test of how far the Greek population has been mobilized by forces of the left. Given a choice between further recessionary measures to fund debt repayments amidst an ever deeper depression seemingly without end, it is no wonder that the No vote stands a fighting chance. This despite a concerted media campaign and transparent blackmail on the part of European political figures.

The Greek media, whose ownership is extremely concentrated among the business elite that has much to lose from renewed radical social mobilization, have been a major part of the Yes campaign. European politicians of all stripes, including nominal social democrats, have called on Greeks to vote Yes, playing up confusion and offering stern warnings. Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament from the German SPD, for instance called on a change of government in case of a Yes vote without seemingly batting an eye. Countering this, has been a left presence in the streets that has by many accounts been revitalized by the sudden opening provided by the referendum.

Alexis Tsipras’ speech at the Oxi! rally on Friday, July 3.

That Greece is holding a referendum, that it has imposed capital controls and that its economy’s slow strangulation has gathered pace are the marks of a fundamentally political rather than economic crisis. This remains the basic lens. It isn’t to say that there is no economic crisis—one has been ongoing across Europe in various guises since the fallout from the 2008 crash—but that this week politics clearly dominates economics. Or put differently, economics is at the service of politics whether in the guise of frozen emergency liquidity to Greek banks on the one hand or the decision to pay pensions rather than the IMF on the other. The broad strokes of this post reflect the big, broad political exigencies.

There is no good outcome for Greece at this point, but it is clear that all Europe can offer is a cycle of endless austerity, economic depression and appeals to let the technocrats take over. The referendum process is unclear, but the political divide it has exposed has exceeding clarity: few understand the question, but most know exactly what the vote is about. The difficult question is what to make of the vote results. Where does the mobilization lead if Oxi carries? Is it to renewed negotiations as Tsipras, Varoufakis and the main current of Syriza contend? Or does it leave Greece moving further towards breaking off economic (and political) ties to the Eurozone and the rest of Europe?

3500

The main economic question that has returned with a vengeance is the debt. A partial default or radical restructuring within the Euro is an economic outcome that would do the most to save Greek capitalism from being further hobbled by austerity in the service of further debt repayments. Varoufakis is right that this gives Greece the best chance of restoring investment and growth along the old, pre-crisis, pre-bubble path. The problem is political: negotiated debt restructuring looks to be off the table for now. A unilateral default within the Eurozone, while technically possible, also appears remote. The rules are being made up as things move along, but they are not being made by Greece or those friendly to it. Is the confidence of Tsipras that Oxi will allow for debt to be included in a potential new deal realistic?

If the crisis has always been political, then the political stakes of the referendum have moved to a new level. The threat from the far right that has been growing across Europe, most violently and visibly in Greece with the fascist Golden Dawn, is now openly being tested by the European elite. The extent of economic destabilization has been immense. The banking sector is on the edge and at the mercy of emergency funds from the ECB. Although people like German Finance Minister Schauble say the risk of default is fully priced in, surely the financial sector across the world is busy this weekend revising its bets. Financial markets are based on confidence and trust, both of which are being sorely tested.

The difficult question for Syriza if a real rupture happens will be how to sustain a war economy for months, not days or weeks. Months are what it would take to implement a new payments system, to reprogram a modern financial infrastructure, to re-establish financial links with Europe and the rest of the world and regain access to international markets. In the meantime, food, fuel and medicine would need to be rationed. These are technical problems to which there exist solutions, but they will take place within a political context of anger, confusion and destabilization far greater than anything this week—and would require popular support far beyond that made plain this week to be sustained.


 

Notes on how we got here

(1) The difference from January has been that there is a political force in the small country most affected by the crisis that wants to ever so cautiously break with the austerity that Europe-wide elites have opportunistically doubled down on since the crisis exploded. This austerity, in the most basic terms, is part of a project of the 1% to continue its upward redistribution by any means. This isn’t the economic stupidity of elites as some would have it, but a strategy—one which can still do better or worse. Greece is being made into an example doubly: first, to show that austerity is the economic policy within Europe today and, second, that austerity cannot be stopped via a popular, democratic will.

(2) That said, this is not a political conflict between nations, as its often presented. One of the most pernicious misrepresentations is that there is a single block of “creditor nations”, that this is Germans versus Greeks. European integration via the Euro has led to huge imbalances. Germany has been outcompeting other European countries by keeping a tight lid on wage growth, keeping exports high and raising productivity above the level of overall growth. This has led huge capital flows from Germany and other core countries out to the periphery where the opposite was true: growth was high but productivity and exports lagged. Yanis Varoufakis himself has been one of the best at chronicling and analyzing this.

The labour share fell in Germany fell by more than anywhere else in Europe; ordinary Germans suffered from the same process that ultimately left Greece with a broken economy. It’s an ideology and a mythology that sees the Greeks as scapegoats to a systemic crisis. A strike wave that has only now slowly started building in Germany, concentrated in the service sector, may yet start to challenge the dominant narrative in Germany, but it is coming late and the possibilities it opens are still uncertain.

While Greece took on unsustainable debt, there were many, many lenders from the core of Europe happy to lend, ignoring risks and the consequences of the growing imbalances. Greece had the bad luck of seeing capital flows pump up a public debt bubble—the most politicized of all. Others suffered in different ways: Spain had a real estate bubble, Ireland and Iceland had financial sector go bust. As should be well-known by now, rather than share the pain with Greece, the private lenders on one end of the public debt transaction were fully bailed out back in 2012 while the public Greek borrower remained on the hook, but now to public rather than private bodies. More than 90% of the bailout funds Greece has received from the Troika have gone to repay lenders rather than restart the Greek economy.

(3) What the negotiating line followed (for better or worse) by Tsipras and the main faction within Syriza has shown is that even a relatively mild Keynesian reform program is not palatable. Remember that Syriza offered to cross some of its red lines, implement 8 billion euros in new austerity measures (even if a left austerity) and still couldn’t get debt restructuring on the table except in some nebulous future, and even then only in the very last-ditch proposals.

This is made even clearer by the fact that any budgetary measures based on breaking with the corruption and clientilism of the Greek state—much more plausible coming from outside all the old power structures—were tossed aside by the Institutions. A more efficient capitalist state may not the mark of a radical left, but it is the hallmark of the best of a fading social democratic tradition (if somewhat utopian): tax the rich, treat them as equal before rather than above the law and rebuild a state for the people rather than elites. At their best such measures could have helped form the basis for breathing room to build popular support for more radical measures. Whatever one makes of this storyline, it’s also primarily political: lenders not only had little trust in anything but actual cuts, but were also attuned to the political implications of a different tack to raise revenues.

(4) Finally, there is the debt itself, which until the last minute and beyond has never been the topic of serious negotiations. After six years of reforms that have gone deeper than anywhere else in Europe—the average retirement age is up, pensions are slashed, labour law inexistent—a full-blown depression and a debt that keeps piling up relative to a crashing GDP.

Much is made of the fact that the IMF itself has admitted not only that austerity isn’t working in Greece (already in 2013), but also, just this week, that the Greek debt is unsustainable. While this is a crack in the determined face of the Institutions, it is still even today much smaller than what it seems Syriza imagined it could exploit in negotiations. Reading more closely, the IMF has come to its conclusion because there is no political force determined enough to implement the austerity measures that would create enough revenues to pay off the debt. Bad economics meets politics meets social reality.

To say nothing of the historical reality that debt forgiveness and restructuring has been common. The most pertinent example is post-war Germany, which had its debt restructured in the 1950s with Greece writing off half of what it was owed.


03 Jul 18:39

Twitter Favorites: [Planta] I watched Chinatown last night for the first time. Christ, the dialogue is sharp; just swell.

Joseph Planta @Planta
I watched Chinatown last night for the first time. Christ, the dialogue is sharp; just swell.
03 Jul 18:44

Twitter Favorites: [TheNextWeb] Why I switched from Google to DuckDuckGo; it's all about the bangs http://t.co/T9yuiik60j http://t.co/jGnLWNcjVJ

The Next Web @TheNextWeb
Why I switched from Google to DuckDuckGo; it's all about the bangs tnw.co/1FYzecB pic.twitter.com/jGnLWNcjVJ
03 Jul 18:51

Twitter Favorites: [ReneeStephen] My startup idea: a badge nerds can qualify for telling all Support people we know what we're doing and to just pls hand us off to Tier 3.

Renée Stephen @ReneeStephen
My startup idea: a badge nerds can qualify for telling all Support people we know what we're doing and to just pls hand us off to Tier 3.
03 Jul 21:40

Twitter Favorites: [ruhee_] This is such a great piece about the children of immigrants and their first experiences with "white people food": http://t.co/43ZNHKQMgz

fleetwood windows @ruhee_
This is such a great piece about the children of immigrants and their first experiences with "white people food": theglobeandmail.com/life/food-and-…
04 Jul 05:44

Twitter Favorites: [ReneeStephen] Hiring for 'culture fit' is lazy and juvenile. Choosing staff based on who you'd like to hang with *after* work is all kinds of ridiculous.

Renée Stephen @ReneeStephen
Hiring for 'culture fit' is lazy and juvenile. Choosing staff based on who you'd like to hang with *after* work is all kinds of ridiculous.
03 Jul 18:56

Hating your transit agency won't make it better

by Jarrett at HumanTransit.org


P1010476The Vancouver metro area has now reached the climax of a frenzy of orchestrated rage directed at its transit agency, TransLink.  Over 60% of voters have rejected a sales tax increase for urgently needed transit growth, largely due to an effective campaign that made the transit agency's alleged incompetence the issue.  

There's just one problem.  TransLink is (or was) one of North America's most effective transit agencies.   Parts of the agency had made mistakes, and the governance is dysfunctional, and of course TransLink was struggling to meet exploding demand in one of the world's most desirable metro areas.  But TransLink is, or was, an effective network, run by a reasonably efficient agency.  For years I cited it all over the world as a model for good planning.  Whether it remains that depends on how much of it is now destroyed in the thrill of recrimination.

Admittedly, I have a personal angle on this, because I worked inside TransLink's planning department for two long stints, for a year in 2005-6 and for six months in 2011.  (I have assisted them as a consultant since, but I have no contracts with TransLink now and no expectation of one.)  It was, I thought, an unusually forward-thinking and principle-driven transit planning department.  I assumed this was an expression of Metro Vancouver's unusual culture of intentional, strategic, controlled urban development. It also reflected an era of leadership that created the space for these thoughts to occur, as opposed to the crisis-by-crisis lifestyle that too often prevails in transit management.

The conversations that were happening at TransLink -- especially about the difficult question of how a regional transit agency can form a reality-based relationship with its constituent cities -- were extremely sophisticated and respectful.  How should a large regional agency interact with city governments when it holds the technical expertise about transit that city governments mostly lack? For example, when a city government demands something that is geometrically impossible, how can the transit agency's response avoid appearing overbearing?  Much of what I now know about this relationship, and the unavoidable forces operating on it, I figured out while helping with policy development there.  

Today, those issues are at the core of my practice, as the relationship between city governments and transit authorities becomes an urgent issue almost everywhere. 

Special-purpose regional governments are vulnerable creatures.  The marquee leaders of an urban region -- usually major mayors and state/province leaders -- influence them but don't control them directly enough to feel responsible for them.  Blame is easily shifted to them by the more powerful governments all around them.  

All this is even more true when the product is transit, for four reasons.

First, transit somehow looks easy, in a way that water and power and regional land use planning do not.  Many reporters have no factual frame for thinking about transit, and treat anyone with a simplistic answer as an expert.  (Tip: my book can help provide that frame.)

Second, transit's success is utterly dependent on municipal actions around land use and street design, so regional transit agencies that are thinking strategically must form an interest in those municipal decisions.  This is easily characterized as interference with municipal sovereignty.  (I always advise transit agencies to respect local right to make decisions but to clearly describe the transit consequences of those decisions, in advance.)

Third, everyone is now screaming at transit agencies to innovate, and yet voters have zero tolerance for risk.  Some of TransLink's failures are arguably innovations that didn't work out.  If you expect everything your agency does to be successful, then quit telling them to innovate, because failure is intrinsic to innovation.  

Fourth, transit, when considered in isolation as in Metro Vancouver's referendum, cannot avoid generating a ferocious difference in opinion across different parts of an urban region.  In any region, maps of votes on transit referenda are mostly maps of residential density (Vancouver, Seattle), and for good reason.  Transit demand rises exponentially with density: doubling density makes it more than twice as urgent.  So of course the average core city dweller views transit as existential while the average outer-suburbanite on a cul-de-sac views it as unimportant.  Giant regional transit agencies will continue to be pulled apart by these forces until we stop having regional transit debates and start having regional transportation debates.  (The other important trend, in response to this basic math, is that core cities must exert more leadership, and funding, on their own transit issues.  More on that below.)

What is amazing, then, is not that regional transit agencies are having political problems, but that so many of them are doing so well, considering.  Many regions are moving forward with strong regional transit strategies, supported by working majorities of voters.  Many are also making tough choices, like the painful shift in priorities that underlies Houston's new network.

Hating your transit agency is easy and fun.  You don't have to understand your regional politics, in which the real power to fix transit is usually not held by the transit agency.  You can also have the thrill of blowing up a big institutional edifice, as Metro Vancouver voters may now have done.

But a lot that's good will also be destroyed.   In Metro Vancouver, amid all the recriminations, TransLink has lost the credibility it needs to lead reality-based conversations about transit.  Maybe some other agency will step into that role.  (Indeed, core cities for whom transit is an existential issue must develop that capability.)  Or maybe there will just be many more years of blame shifting among the elected officials who really control transit in the region.

If you look at transit from the point of view of a state or province leader, you can understand why so many politicians are terrified of the issue.  Everyone is screaming at them about it, pushing simplistic solutions, and the issue is polarizing on urban-suburban lines.  Some huge problems, like equipment failures due to deferred maintenance, are curses laid upon us all by our parents' generation.  What's more, most elite leaders are motorists, and need help finding their feet in the geometric facts of transit where a motorists' assumptions lead them astray.  So they panic, shift blame, and leave transit agencies appearing to have more power to solve problems than they actually have.  If you've never been a political leader, don't be sure you wouldn't do the same in their place.

Be patient.  Breathe.  Resist the desire to see your transit agency in smoldering ruins.  Then, demand leadership.  Demand state/provincial leadership that looks for solutions instead of pointlessly stoking urban-suburban conflict.  (One possible solution is to spend more time on regional transportation debates instead of just transit debates, because regional transportation plans can look more balanced than transit plans can.)  And yes, if your transit agency is being given dysfunctional direction by the region's leaders, demand a better system with more accountability to an elected official who will have to answer for outcomes.

Finally, if you live in a major city that cares about transit, demand that your city leaders look beyond blaming the transit agency, and that they do everything they can themselves to make their transit better.  Remember, your city government, through its powers of land use planning and street design, controls transit at least as much as the transit agency does.  Ask them: What is their transit plan?  Tell them to follow the work of cities that are investing in transit themselves, beyond what their transit agency can afford, like Seattle and Washington DC., or for that matter transit-ambitious secondary cities like Bellevue, Washington, who have their own transit plans to guide the city's work.  No regional or state transit authority -- beholden to state or regionwide government that is dominated by less urban interests -- is going to meet all of the transit needs of a dense, core city that has chosen to make transit a foundation of its livability.  Their staff may well be doing what they can with the direction that they have, but they need your city government's active support, involvement, leadership, and investment.  

Sorry, transit is complicated.  It's fun to blow things up, as Metro Vancouver's voters probably have.  But the solutions are out there, if we all demand leadership, and offer it.

03 Jul 21:35

Blowing up TransLink for fun and recrimination

by pricetags

Jarrett Walker wonders if it’s possible anymore for Vancouver to have a reality-based conversation about transportation.

Here are his post- referendum thoughts. Long – but worth it.

.

Hating your transit agency won’t make it better.

.

Metro Vancouver has now reached the climax of an orchestrated orgy of rage directed at its transit agency, TransLink. Over 60% of voters have rejected a sales tax increase for urgently needed transit growth, largely due to an effective campaign that made the transit agency’s alleged incompetence the issue.

.

There’s just one problem. TransLink is (or was) one of North America’s most effective transit agencies. Parts of the agency had made mistakes, and the governance was dysfunctional, and of course TransLink was struggling to meet exploding demand in one of the world’s most desirable metro areas.

.

But TransLink is, or was, an effective network, run by a reasonably efficient agency. For years I cited it all over the world as a model for good planning. Whether it remains that depends on how much of it is now destroyed in the thrill of recrimination.

.
Admittedly, I have a personal angle on this, because I worked inside TransLink’s planning department for two long stints, for a year in 2005-6 and for six months in 2011. (I have assisted them as a consultant since, but I have no contracts with TransLink now and no expectation of one.) It was, I thought, an unusually forward-thinking and principle-driven transit planning department. I assumed this was an expression of Metro Vancouver’s unusual culture of intentional, strategic, controlled urban development. It also reflected an era of leadership that created the space for these thoughts to occur, as opposed to the crisis-by-crisis lifestyle that too often prevails in transit management.

.

The conversations that were happening at TransLink — especially about the difficult question of how a regional transit agency can form a reality-based relationship with its constituent cities — were extremely sophisticated and respectful. How should a large regional agency interact with city governments when it holds the technical expertise about transit that city governments mostly lack. For example, when a city government demands something that is geometrically impossible, how can the transit agency’s response avoid appearing overbearing? Much of what I now know about this relationship, and the unavoidable forces operating on it, I figured out while helping with policy development there.

.
Today, those issues are at the core of my practice, as the relationship between city governments and transit authorities becomes an urgent issue almost everywhere.

.
Special-purpose regional governments are vulnerable creatures. The marquee leaders of an urban region — usually major mayors and state/province leaders — influence them but don’t control them directly enough to feel responsible for them. Blame is easily shifted to them by the more powerful governments all around them.

.

All this is even more true when the product is transit, for four reasons.

.
First, transit somehow looks easy, in a way that water and power and regional land use planning do not. Many reporters have no factual frame for thinking about transit, and treat anyone with a complaint, or anyone with a simplistic answer, as an expert. (Tip: my book can help provide that frame.)

.
Second, transit’s success is utterly dependent on municipal actions around land use and road design, so regional transit agencies that are thinking strategically must form an interest in those municipal decisions. This is easily characterized as interference with municipal sovereignty. (I always advise transit agencies to respect local right to make decisions but to clearly describe the transit consequences of those decisions, in advance.)

.
Third, everyone is now screaming at transit agencies to innovate, and yet voters have zero tolerance for risk. Some of TransLink’s failures are arguably innovations that didn’t work out. If you expect everything your agency does to be successful, then quit asking them to innovate, because risk is intrinsic to innovation.

.
Fourth, transit, when considered in isolation as in Metro Vancouver’s referendum, cannot avoid generating a ferocious difference in opinion across different parts of an urban region. In any region, maps of votes on transit referenda are mostly maps of residential density (Vancouver, Seattle), and for good reason. Transit demand rises exponentially with density: doubling density makes it more than twice as urgent. So of course the average core city dweller views transit as existential while the average outer-suburbanite on a cul-de-sac views it as unimportant. Giant regional transit agencies will continue to be pulled apart by these forces until we stop having regional transit debates and start having regional transportation debates. (The other important trend, in response to this basic math, is that core cities must exert more leadership, and funding, on their own transit issues. More on that below.)

.
What is amazing, then, is not that regional transit agencies are having political problems, but that so many of them are doing so well, considering. Many regions are moving forward with strong regional transit strategies, supported by working majorities of voters. Many are also making tough choices, like the painful shift in priorities that underlies Houston’s new network.

.
Hating your transit agency is easy and fun. You don’t have to understand your regional politics, in which the big powers to fix transit are usually not at the transit agency. You can also have the thrill of blowing up a big institutional edifice, as Metro Vancouver voters have probably now done in “rejecting” TransLink.

.
But a lot that’s good will also be destroyed. In Metro Vancouver, amid all the recriminations, TransLink has lost the credibility it needs to lead reality-based conversations about transit. Maybe some other agency will step into that role. (Indeed, core cities for whom transit is an existential issue must develop that capability.) Or maybe there will just be many more years of blame shifting among the elected officials who really control transit in the region.

.
If you look at transit from the point of view of a state or province leader, you can understand why so many politicians are terrified of the issue. Everyone is screaming at them about it, pushing simplistic solutions, and the issue is polarizing on urban-suburban lines. Some huge problems, like equipment failures due to deferred maintenance, are curses laid upon us all by our parents’ generation. What’s more, most elite leaders are motorists, and need help finding their feet in the geometric facts of transit where a motorists’ assumptions lead them astray. So they panic, shift blame, and leave transit agencies appearing to have more power to solve problems than they actually have. If you’ve never been a political leader, don’t be sure you wouldn’t do the same in their place.

.
Be patient. Breathe. Resist the desire to just see your transit agency in smoldering ruins. Then, demand leadership. Demand state/provincial leadership that looks for solutions instead of pointlessly stoking urban-suburban conflict. (One possible solution is to spend more time on regional transportation debates instead of just transit debates, because regional transportation plans can look more balanced than transit plans can.) And yes, if your transit agency is being given dysfunctional direction by the region’s leaders, demand a better system with more accountability to an elected official who will have to answer for outcomes.

.
Finally, if you live in a major city that cares about transit, demand that your city leaders look beyond blaming the transit agency, and that they do everything they can themselves to make their transit better. Remember, your city government, through its powers of land use planning and street design, controls transit at least as much as the transit agency does. Ask them: What is their transit plan? Tell them to follow the work of cities that are investing in transit themselves, beyond what their transit agency can afford, like Seattle and Washington DC., or for that matter transit-ambitious secondary cities like Bellevue, Washington, who have their own transit plans to guide the city’s work. No regional or state transit authority — beholden to state or regionwide government that is dominated by less urban interests — is going to meet all of the transit needs of a dense, core city that has chosen to make transit a foundation of its livability. Their staff may well be doing what they can with the direction that they have, but they need your city government’s active support, involvement, leadership, and investment.

.
Sorry, transit is complicated. It’s fun to blow things up, as Metro Vancouver’s voters probably have. But the solutions are out there, if we all demand leadership, and offer it.


03 Jul 21:29

An amazing graph representing the world’s spoken languages.[via...



An amazing graph representing the world’s spoken languages.

[via @ProfKumar]

03 Jul 18:20

Look at this transit star map of Vancouver’s SkyTrain...

by sillygwailo


Look at this transit star map of Vancouver’s SkyTrain system! You can buy this on a shirt at Zazzle and see more cities on Transit Star Maps.

20 Jun 20:19

Queen’s Quay officially reopens

by dandy

A portion of the revitalized Martin Goodman Trail

Queen’s Quay officially reopens 

Story and photos by Claire McFarlane

After two and a half years of construction, the new Queen’s Quay is finally complete.

Waterfront Toronto held an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday to mark the reopening of the boulevard. The event was attended by Mayor John Tory, MPP Glen Murray, Waterfront Toronto CEO John Campbell as well as by Queen’s Quay residents and business owners.

Tory deemed the boulevard a complete street that features a revitalized portion of the Martin Goodmen Trail which is ideal for cyclists. The new Queen’s Quay also has wide pedestrian space and a transit right-of-way.

Volunteers held a 650-metre-long ribbon along the length of the street that was cut, or rather unzipped, by Finance Minister Joe Oliver.

Now, there’s really no excuse not to grab your kids, your grandpa, your pooch or your whole family and ride the waterfront!

Board Chairman of Waterfront Toronto, Mark Wilson shares a laugh with Mayor Tory and City Councillor Joe Cressy.

Wilson, Tory and Cressy send a wave down the ribbon

Oliver unzips the ribbon

Related on the dandyBLOG:

Waterfront Toronto to launch new Queens Quay section of bike trail June 19

Cyclist Detour for Toronto’s Waterfront – Spadina to York

Queens Quay Cycling Detour Update

Construction in the bike lane

29 May 17:00

I Can't Wait to Eat That VR Headset!

by Richard

VR headset with smartphone hold

I'm still in the "rolling my eyes" phase about virtual reality, but what do I know? While visiting Human at their Gastown office, I got to try out some of the gear they had, and the coolest experiences were playing a video game (an emulated version of Super Mario Brothers) and watching a movie, both projected on a 'drive-in' theatre that I walked up to inside the virtual world. There was talk of doing a group-buy for a VR headset, and here we are, mere hours after the Tilt for the very headset you see above ended, and I can almost taste it.

Despite being skeptical about consumer uses of VR (inside-the-organization use, like for training, that I'm not skeptical about), I'll give this a shot. There are evidently quite a few apps for the iPhone that work with this kind of thing. I'm particularly interested in doing virtual tours of far-off places, like in the View-Master demo video (the more mundane the better) and figuring out zany ways to jam the various web APIs out there directly into my eye-sockets.

03 Jul 17:01

things rust shipped without

Well-known things I'm very proud that rust shipped 1.0 without:


  • null pointers
  • array overruns
  • data races
  • wild pointers
  • uninitialized, yet addressable memory
  • unions that allow access to the wrong field


Less-well-known things I'm very proud that rust shipped 1.0 without:


  • a shared root namespace
  • variables with runtime "before main" static initialization (the .ctors section)
  • a compilation model that relies on textual inclusion (#include) or textual elision (</tt>#ifdef</tt>)
  • a compilation model that relies on the order of declarations (possible caveat: macros)
  • accidental identifier capture in macros
  • random-access strings
  • UTF-16 or UCS-2 support anywhere outside windows API compatibility routines
  • signed character types
  • (hah! vertical tab escapes (as recently discussed) along with the escapes for bell and form-feed)
  • "accidental octal" from leading zeroes
  • goto (not even as a reserved word)
  • dangling else (or misgrouped control structure bodies of any sort)
  • case fallthrough
  • a == operator you can easily typo as = and still compile
  • a === operator, or any set of easily-confused equality operators
  • silent coercions between boolean and anything else
  • silent coercions between enums and integers
  • silent arithmetic coercions, promotions
  • implementation-dependent sign for the result of % with negative dividend
  • bitwise operators with lower precedence than comparison operators
  • auto-increment operators
  • a poor-quality default hash function
  • pointer-heavy default containers


Next time you're in a conversation about language design and someone sighs, shakes their head and tells you that sad legacy design choices are just the burden of the past and we're helpless to avoid repeating them, try to remember that this is not so.

This entry was originally posted at http://graydon2.dreamwidth.org/218040.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
03 Jul 15:19

Quick thoughts on Vancouver’s transit referendum “No”

by Michal Rozworski

Here are a few quick, initial thoughts on Vancouver’s transit referendum, where new transit funding paid for by a regional sales tax was rejected roughly 60% to 40%. You might want to read on even if you’re not from Vancouver: after all, it isn’t the only property-value-driven urban “utopia” where public services, public spaces and people themselves are being pushed out by elites.

(1) The result is unhappy, but not unexpected. The process was designed to fail and it has succeeded at that task with flying colours: the provincial government took an area of long-standing funding responsibility, turned its expansion into a vote on new taxation, and then abdicated all responsibility for an effective campaign. (This rather than getting money for transit out of general revenues and sparking debate over how to fund services and which ones.) If and when Christie Clark gets her pink slip, someone should stick a gold star on it for this one.

(2) On one hand, the result confirms the ideological victory of the right on the level of a very concrete, local example. New taxes and expanded public services are easy to pick apart in an age where cutting both is a hard-won default position in political debate. On the other hand, it will be easy to interpret these results in a way that further strains any remaining bonds of social solidarity. There is self-satisfaction from the ideologues of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation; however, alongside it it’s already easy to see complaints about “stupid suburban voters” from those in favour of more transit on social media.

(3) The Yes campaign was part and parcel of a severely-limited, feel-good, paternalistic liberalism that passes for politics in Vancouver. More recent campaigns (or, less charitably, media events) like #DontHaveaMillion or “Give Us the Data” fall into the same broad category. This politics can make peace with the speculative-real-estate-driven model of development, but wants it to be accessible to the lower layers of the professional-managerial class and wants it to produce “livability” for those lucky enough to have had house values explode under their feet. And, of course, it should come with a green smiley face—helps with the property values too! The “stupid suburbanite” is all too easily blamed by this kind of politics, which can do little to tackle the growing inequality within the Vancouver region because it cannot connect with any deeper questioning of economy or state.

vancouver-traffic

(4) It is important to recognize that the right played on legitimate concerns, especially regarding cronyism at Translink. It doesn’t matter that it’s been the Liberals who’ve had a good hand in increasing both the salaries and numbers of managers at the transit authority. In the same way, it was easy to turn this into a “do you want a new tax?” vote. Each way of framing the issue—cronyism and taxes—effectively leverages existing social conflicts to create the conditions for them to keep simmering. It’s possible to dislike crony bureaucrats and want better transit; the space for debate has narrowed so much that these are presented as polar alternatives.

(5) Finally, a small positive note: it was a plebiscite that wasn’t binding and increased investment can in principle be implemented by a new (or even the existing) provincial government, especially given significant local pressure. This is not a technical question but a political one. The solution is to go back and organise in our communities on the one hand (thinking smaller) and to propose bolder alternatives (thinking bigger). Today, the right’s organized forces and utopian demands are winning; neither needs to be the case.


03 Jul 11:05

Filtered for bad things

1.

Mountains that talk about bad things.

It's weird:

two friendly mountains loudly reciting tweets from around the world. ... [a tweet using the word 'bad'] is picked up and converted by a text-to-speech engine, then loudly recited by the mountains in realtime.

You can also visit this world by using a smartphone to have a 360 degree VR experience as one of the villagers living below the mountains.

Bit shonky in that sometimes the voice of the mountains disappears for me, or the tweets doesn't come through. Reload and retry.

2.

Osper is mobile banking - and a credit card - for kids. Jeez, I'd happily use this.

There's a new mobile-only bank coming to the UK, called Atom.

I'm into this. Unbundle the banks. Experiment with different interfaces for consumer banking.

3.

Hey, so what if the dinosaurs were raptured? Like they were all good Christians and they all ascended and the mammals and birds are the Left Behind and it wasn't a meteor after all.

That's what I thought this book was about, but it turns out Rapture of the Raptor is dinosaur erotica instead.

See also: Taken by the T-Rex.

4.

Crystal shows you the best way to communicate with any coworker, prospect, or customer based on their unique personality.

It's an email plug-in that tells you what phrases to change.

Crystal analyzes public data to tell you how you can expect any given person to behave, how he or she wants to be spoken to, and perhaps more importantly, what you can expect your relationship to be like.

03 Jul 15:57

Referendum Reaction: The Vacuum

by pricetags

From Michael Mortensen:

.

Predictable.

The Province’s first failure was to put this to a plebiscite. The $3B+ Highway 1 expansion and investment in carbon intensive transport did not need a plebiscite; why then did transit need one?

The Province’s second great failure here was to set a binary plebiscite question with “do nothing” as the only other option. The proper course should have been to present two or more options, either of which would ensure the articulation and expansion of transit to support a livable growing region demanded by residents. Kind of like asking your kids “what kind of toothpaste do you want to use to brush your teeth?” – not brushing is simply not an option.

The plebiscite cost millions and solved nothing – just leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth doesn’t it. Hope the region does not develop cavities!

A vacuum of leadership indeed.


03 Jul 16:23

The Star Of The Community

by Richard Millington

Imagine the behaviour of your popular community manager becomes intolerable in the office 

After several warnings, you decide to remove him/her. 

How would you do it without upsetting the community? 

If your answer is to explain to 1m+ people why an employee was fired, consider the morality and legality of that. 

Now imagine that employee tells members they don't know why they were fired and their friends in the community should protest against their removal.

 

The solution isn't for the company to publicly reveal why they terminated an employee, nor to force all employees to use a 'brand' account so you don't have any 'named' employees'. 

And the solution is certainly not to overlook other areas of an employee's work because they're popular with the community. 

At this late stage, there aren't any easy solutions.

Far better right now to ensure you have more than one star from your company participating in the community. Far better, if an employee does need to be released, to have someone or something more popular to replace them. 

 

 

03 Jul 08:11

a day in sheriffing

by cbook

Hi,

since i talked with a lot of people about Sheriffing and what we do here is what a typical day for me look:

We care about the Code Trees like Test Failures etc

I usually start the day with checkin the trees we are responsible for  for test failures using treeherder. This gives me first a overview of the current status and as well make sure that everything is ok for the Asian and European Community which is online at that time.

This Tasks is ongoing till the end of my duty shift. From time to time this means we have to do backouts for code/test regressions.
Beside this i do stuff like checkin-neededs, uplifts etc and other tasks and of course always availble for questions etc on irc :)

Also i was thinking about some parts of my day-to-day experience:

Backouts and Tree Closures:

While backouts of code for test failures/bustages etc is one important task of sheriffs (and the managing of tree closures related to this), its always a mixed feeling to backout work from someone (and no one wants to cause a bustage) but its important to ensure quality of our products.

Try Server!!!

Tree Closures due to backouts can have the side effect that others are blocked with checkins. So if in doubt if your patch compile or could cause test regressions, please consider a try run, this helps at lot to keep tree closures for code issues at a minimum.

And last but not least Sheriffing is a Community Task! So if you want to be part of the Sheriff Team as Community Sheriff please sent me a mail at tomcat at mozilla dot com

Thanks!

– Tomcat

03 Jul 08:23

7 Years at Mozilla!

by cbook

Hi,

since last month i’m now 7 years at Mozilla as full-time employee \o/

Of course I’m longer around because i started as Community Member in QA years before. And its a long way from my first steps at QA to my current role as Code Sheriff @ Mozilla.

I never actively planned to join the Mozilla Community it just happened :) I worked back in 2001 at a German Email Provider as 2nd Level Support Engineer and as part of my Job (and also to Support Customers) we used different Email Programm’s to find out how to set-up the Programm and so.

Some Friends already involved into OpenSource (some linux fans) pointed me to this Mozilla Programm (at that time M1 or so) and i liked the Idea with this “Nightly”. Having everyday a brand new Program was something really cool and so started my way into the Community without even knowing that i’m now Part of the Community.

So over the years with Mozilla i finally filed my first bug and and was scared like hell (all this new fields in a non-native language) and not really knowing what i signed up when i clicked up this “submit” button in bugzillla :)  (was not even sure if i’m NOW supposed to fix the bug :)

And now i file dozens of Bugs every day while on Sheriffduty or doing other tasks :)

I learned a lot of stuff over the last years and still love being part of Mozilla  and its the best place to work for me! So on to the next years at Mozilla!

– Tomcat

03 Jul 15:15

The TransLink Dilemma: Punishment for perfection

by pricetags

What do we do with TransLink?

Since so many people justified a No vote on the referendum because they believed TL was too incompetent and wasteful to be trusted with more tax dollars, there must now be some response to their beliefs.  But what?

Presumably the intent is to see TL reformed so that it no longer wastes money and is operated efficiently – and to do that, it needs to be punished.  Staff must be let go, particularly senior management; wages and benefits, particularly for drivers, need to be reduced.  Low performing routes eliminated.  Compass cards either abandoned or implemented – without any further expenditures.   Do more with less: accommodate existing demand plus growth without doing anything that would piss people off.  And do it with less money.

In sort, TransLink needs to be punished in order to get to a sufficient level of perfection to justify a tax increase.

Where did this absurdity come from?

It became clearer to me in a conversation I had on the street with a smart, conversative, long-time Vancouverite who very much agreed on the need to have a well-functioning transit system around which to shape growth in the region.

But whenever we got to a certain point of agreement, out came the anecdotes.  Stories of imcompetence, of staggering waste, overpaid bureaucrats – all familiar stuff, all believed to be true, regardless of an undeniable reality: the transit system we have is pretty good.  Sure it could be better, but somehow we managed to build and run one of the better transit systems on the continent with totally incompetent management and staff.

Yet thanks to confirmation bias – the repetition of self-reinforcing opinion and selected facts among a peer group – he wasn’t able to acknowledge that inconsistency.

Until it came to the salary of Translink’s CEO.  On that point, he departed from group-think consensus: no, at $400,000, that was not excessive compensation for a manager of a $1.5 billion corporation on which the economy of the region depended.  Further, it would indeed be difficult to recruit a first-class manager unless he was paid competitively – say, on the order of Port Metro Vancouver, which pays twice what TransLink does.

And yet that’s now impossible politically.

Instead, we must punish the organization in order to improve performance, reduce its resources in order to increase service, trash its reputation in order to restore confidence.

Left unaddressed was the dilemma we now find ourselves facing: How will we pull out of what will otherwise be a downward spiral in order to get us back to where we once were.


25 Jun 21:42

Week 19 complete: Guess whose cancer levels dropped again?

by tyfn
Rolandt

jj

Week 19 complete: Guess whose cancer levels dropped again?
Cancer levels keep going down!

Last Sunday I completed Cycle 5 Week 3. A week ago Monday, I had my monthly blood test and I’m happy to report that my cancer levels dropped again. As I’ve stated before, in BC, I can use an online service called myehealth, to get free access to my lab results as soon as available (around 24 hours). Recall I began chemo Feb 9th. The igG is my cancer marker.

The igG is my cancer marker. My multiple myeloma resides in the Beta 2 Globulin region. As noted below, my myeloma cells continue to decrease there.

Serum Proteins (Electrophoresis & Immunoglobulins) (g/L)
Date Albumin Beta Globulin 2 Gamma Globulin igG igA igM
Reference Range 34.0-53.0 1.8 – 4.8 5.1 – 15.0 6.7 – 15.2 .70 – 4.00 .40 – 2.30
June 41.2 15.2 3.9 16.5 .49 .40
May 42 17.2 2.5 18.7 .28 .33
Apr 44.4 19.2 1.5 21.4 .29 .41
Mar 39.1 27.1 2.6 27.5 .26 .50
Feb 38.9 33.9 3.0 36.1 .33 .53
Jan 39.3 30.6 3.7 33.4 .29 .22

As I previously stated, my Hematologist (specialist of blood diseases) wants my cancer levels to remain below 18.0, which is half of 36.1. Each day I try to remain positive, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and reduce stress in my life. Doing what I can to maximize treatment effectiveness, while minimizing chemo side effects and cancer symptoms.

My Hematology Profile is the Complete Blood Counts test I have every 2 weeks that measures my overall health.

Hematology Profile
Date WBC Hemoglobin Platelet Count Neutrophils
Reference Range 4.0 – 11.0 135 – 170 150 – 400 2.0 – 8.0
June 10.6 124 281 8.0
June 6.5 122 439 4.7
May 12.4 118 271 8.9
May 10.0 118 320 5.2
Apr 12.5 123 297 9.8
Apr 7.6 113 357 3.9
Mar 7.0 133 247 5.6
Mar 6.8 127 467 5.2
Feb 5.5 133 191 4.6
Jan 4.4 129 206 2.3

Thanks everyone for your ongoing encouragement and positive support!

To recap: I have Multiple Myeloma and anemia, a rare blood cancer. It is incurable, but treatable. From February to November 2013, I received Velcade chemo through weekly in-hospital injections as an outpatient. From February 9th 2015, I am on Pomalyst and dexamethasone chemo treatment (Pom/dex). On June 29th, I start Cycle 6.

Weekly chemo-inspired self-portraits can be viewed in my flickr album.

Steveston - Britannia ShipyardsMay 2014: Steveston – Britannia Shipyards

The post Week 19 complete: Guess whose cancer levels dropped again? appeared first on Fade to Play.

03 Jul 13:09

Too much linear thinking in news

Ken Doctor asks if there is a business model for news lurking in the midst of Apple, Twitter, Facebook et al. As all such pieces that begin this way, he concludes, maybe, but he's not sure how.

The correct answer is no, as long as the tech industry controls news distribution, nothing good is going to happen for journalism.

The linear way to think

Many journalism thinkers approach these questions linearly.

  1. Here's what we do now.

  2. Some new reality has taken hold.

  3. Change what we do to continue to do what we used to do.

I liken it to picking up a box and moving it from one place to another. When you're done it's still a box. But the box must become a sled. Or a merry go round. When it's done it won't seem like a box.

Change makes things different

Look at the components that make up our online lives today.

  1. Wikipedia wasn't a linear change from Britannica, for example because it didn't preserve Britannica's business model.

  2. Tinder is radically different from the singles ads that used to run in local newspapers.

  3. Spotify is fundamentally different from FM radio. So much so that Apple's new music service is re-introducing the idea of FM radio. It'll be interesting to see if we're interested in having our music programmed for us, since we've been able to do the programming for the last 15 years.

I think it's safe to extrapolate that news will work radically differently too.

Note: The title of this section is meant to be funny.

Two cents about Circa

I've wanted to comment on Circa since they suspended operation.

  1. I think they were on to something. Starting topics, and then adding stories to each topic as the news comes in. A story isn't something that's published once and done, it's more of a process. It isn't just a linear re-shaping of what we did in the print era. Maybe now that they've suspended operations, one of their developers could do a YouTube demo of how the editorial tools worked? I'm sure I would find it interesting.

  2. If the editorial tools were good and reasonably easy to use, I wish they would have made them the product, and hired journalists, as needed, to mold an editorial product created by the users of the product. Find the good stuff and surface it. That's how news must scale to meet the Web.

  3. Circa resisted joining the open web. I think that was a fundamental mistake. They needed to find more readers, to do that they had to find the people who distribute links. Linkblogging is a real thing, and there are people who are good at it. But if there's no URL for each story, you can't linkblog it. So they didn't grow fast enough. I think this is almost mathematical. No one, going forward, should try this. Each story must have a way to get to it through a Web address. Even if Facebook et al own the distribution system.

How to

So if linear isn't the right way, what is?

Circa had the right approach. They asked: How can we create an incredibly fantastic new way of doing news that wasn't even remotely possible before the Web? Then, follow your nose. Build a prototype as quickly as possible, and use it. Iterate. Use it some more. Etc.

And that reminds me...

Use it!

Use it. Use it. Use it. Repeat that 10000 times. You need to use it. Or it won't work.

Why is Twitter failing where Facebook is thriving? Zuck was teasing them when he said they needed more stock to keep Wall St from interfering. Imho that's not great advice. Better: Twitter would be a formidable competitor if they had leadership that understood their own product. Zuck uses Facebook confidently and skillfully. There's the difference. Leadership of users, because the top guy is a user.

There's never been a long-term thriving tech company that wasn't run by a user.

If you're not excited by news, get out of the way

If you don't love the product, move aside and make way for someone who does.

Think about it this way, if you wanted to run a brewery, but you didn't love beer, how great would the product be? Not too great. Or if you ran a ski area, but didn't like to ski. How could you judge whether an idea is good or not? Take a poll? Run a focus group? That only works (somewhat) for established businesses, not revolutionaries, disrupters, innovators. If you want to make a big difference you have to have a big ego and a big vision. There's something inside you that has to come out. And you won't take no for an answer.

It's true in tech, but it's also true in news. Maybe that never occurred to anyone that news, at one time, was itself new. It's now so old and set in its ways that even the slightest bit of movement, even if it's just an experiment, is thought of as progress.

But now news is new, again. The question isn't how to remain what we always were, rather it's how to become what we now can be.

02 Jul 17:47

Twitter Favorites: [jm_mcgrath] Here's the thing: if you don't want transit issues to go to a referendum, you need to elect *provincial* govts that don't do that.

John Michael McGrath @jm_mcgrath
Here's the thing: if you don't want transit issues to go to a referendum, you need to elect *provincial* govts that don't do that.
02 Jul 17:48

Twitter Favorites: [jm_mcgrath] It doesn't absolve you of the need to win the argument for more and better transit funding. It just moves the battlefield.

John Michael McGrath @jm_mcgrath
It doesn't absolve you of the need to win the argument for more and better transit funding. It just moves the battlefield.
02 Jul 18:29

Twitter Favorites: [danudey] Second most interesting thing about the plebiscite results is that they they're hosted on Windows Azure blob storage. http://t.co/k0ZTV1RHlx

Wile E. Cyrus @danudey
Second most interesting thing about the plebiscite results is that they they're hosted on Windows Azure blob storage. azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services…
02 Jul 20:35

Twitter Favorites: [plotaroute] We've just upgraded the http://t.co/7QZWS0tlbp route planner, to help you identify roads and paths that are good for cycling #cyclepaths

plotaroute.com @plotaroute
We've just upgraded the plotaroute.com route planner, to help you identify roads and paths that are good for cycling #cyclepaths