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February 27 2014

07:24

Dave Winer: The future of news | Scripting.com

The power of a news organization is limited by the capacity of the wires. An organization like the NYT has more than a small interest in making the infrastructure of Manhattan world class. Right now it's far from it. http://scripting.com/2014/02/26/theFutureOfNews.html
02:22

5by5 | The Prompt #37: The World’s Greatest Podcast Title

This week, Myke returns to talk to Federico and Stephen about challenges developers face in the Mac and iOS App Stores with special guest David Barnard. http://5by5.tv/prompt/37

February 25 2014

19:06

5by5 | The Conversation #27: Missionless Statements

In this special episode, Dan Benjamin talks with two of his heroes, Merlin Mann and Jeff Veen about independence, free thinking, email, productivity, and changing your game. http://5by5.tv/conversation/27

February 24 2014

21:44

5by5 | CMD+Space #85: Being a Geek, with John Siracusa

This week Myke is joined by John Siracusa. http://5by5.tv/cmdspace/85
07:10

WhatsApp And The Jobless Economy

Facebook pays $19 billion for WhatsApp, a company with 55 employees. Are we building a jobless economy?

This Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 photo shows the WhatsApp and Facebook app icons on an iPhone in New York. On Wednesday, the world's biggest social networking company announced it is buying mobile messaging service WhatsApp for up to $19 billion in cash and stock. WhatsApp has only 55 employees. (AP)

This Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 photo shows the WhatsApp and Facebook app icons on an iPhone in New York. On Wednesday, the world’s biggest social networking company announced it is buying mobile messaging service WhatsApp for up to $19 billion in cash and stock. WhatsApp has only 55 employees. (AP)

Guests

Andrew McAfee, associate director of the Center for Digital Business at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management. Co-author of “The Second Machine Age” and “Race Against the Machine.” Author of “Enterprise 2.0.” (@amcafee)

Erik Brynjolfsson, professor at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, director of the Center for Digital Business. Co-author of “The Second Machine Age” and “Race Against the Machine.” Author of “Wired for Innovation.” (@erikbryn)

Joel Kotkin, fellow in urban futures at Chapman University. Author of “The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050.” (@joelkotkin)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Atlantic: The Dawn of the Age of Artificial Intelligence — “The advances we’ve seen in the past few years—cars that drive themselves, useful humanoid robots, speech recognition and synthesis systems, 3D printers,Jeopardy!-champion computers—are not the crowning achievements of the computer era. They’re the warm-up acts. As we move deeper into the second machine age we’ll see more and more such wonders, and they’ll become more and more impressive.”

Slate: Will Technology Make Work Better for Everyone? — “Predicting the future of technology will always be tough, let alone predicting how social and technological factors will interact over time. Both ‘The Second Machine Age’ and the Economist are generally optimistic: McAfee and Brynjolfsson envision a world with “less need to work doing boring, repetitive tasks and more opportunity for creative and interactive work.” Similarly, the Economist takes the viewpoint that although ‘innovation kills some jobs, it creates new and better ones.’”

Huffington Post: Inequality, Productivity, and WhatsApp — “Whatsapp’s value doesn’t come from making anything. It doesn’t need a large organization to distribute its services or implement its strategy.It value comes instead from two other things that require only a handful of people. First is its technology — a simple but powerful app that allows users to send and receive text, image, audio and video messages through the Internet. The second is its network effect: The more people use it, the more other people want and need to use it in order to be connected. To that extent, it’s like Facebook — driven by connectivity.”

February 21 2014

19:42

Our Week In The Web: Feb. 21, 2014

This cat is auditioning for an On Point guest host slot. He is not faring so well. (Tumblr)

This cat is auditioning for an On Point guest host slot. He is not faring so well. (Tumblr)

With Olympic spoilers (Canada: we’re watching you) and Ukrainian medics occupying our Twitter feeds this week, it’s hard to know just what to highlight. Fortunately for us, we’ve covered a lot of ground online since last we typed, making this roundup far easier than our week in the news conversation on-air today.

A few notes worth pointing out this week from some interactions on Facebook, Twitter and in our comment sections. First, we’re as sad as you are that Elaine Stritch wasn’t able to join us for our Thursday broadcast. We were eager to have the comic Broadway legend for a freewheeling conversation on her life in the spotlight, but a last-minute personal issue forced Ms. Stritch to pull out. With a firm, live broadcast time of 10 am EST every weekday, sometimes we can’t afford to wait.

Another thing we thought worth pulling out this week — our editorial choice to split the second hour of Tuesday’s broadcast between an interview  with New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert and a brief discussion of the death of Kentucky-based preacher Jamie Coots had everything to do with the immediacy of Mr. Coots’ death and nothing to do with an editorial decision on Ms. Kolbert’s very excellent book, “The Sixth Extinction.” After the broadcast went off air, our production staff all voiced a strong desire to give each subject a full hour’s worth of discussion — both Ms. Kolbert and religious expert W. Paul Williamson were fantastic guests who covered their respective topic areas with insight and grace. Some commenters complained about the truncated interview and “lack of purpose” in the split, but we think some of our engaged callers might disagree with that point. The nature of breaking news means we don’t always get to pick the pairings when we have to split up broadcasts, and we’re grateful to Ms. Kolbert for sharing her fantastic and important book with our staff and our audience.

The Most Listened-To Shows Online (2/14 – 2/21)

1. Ross Douthat’s Conservative Vision (Feb. 18, 2014)

2. Recognizing And Dealing With A Parent’s Dementia (Feb. 19, 2014)

3. Making ‘Big Food’ Pay For Obesity (Feb. 17, 2014)

4. Big Solar And Renewable Energy In The Age Of Fracking (Feb. 19, 2014)

5. Stress And Consequences For American Teens (Feb. 13, 2014)

Our Favorite Quotes From This Week

No fair-minded or informed consumer would believe that the food industry doesn’t bear some responsibility for obesity.” Kelly Brownell

“My wife is no longer my wife. I began to let go.” – Gurney Williams

“We’ve already eliminated most competition. How is the solution to that to make even less?” — Aaron Craig

“The White House has to keep up this stiff line, but I’m not even sure they believe it.” — Ben White

“I’m 21, and it’s so weird to hear my mom say, ‘Did you see Jimmy Fallon last night? He’s so great’.” — Caller Cole from Rock Hill, S.C.

“There are birds that perceive this field of mirrors as a lake…that’s a fatal error.” — Julie Cart

Our Favorite Comments From This Week

“My experiences with both providers have left me with a sort of rage I normally reserve for the DMV, I fear no good can come from this unholy merger.” (Patrick Crooks)

“Do we need a ‘boom’? I’d settle for modest and reliable. Surplus energy brings all kind of bad things – exponential population growth, sprawling suburbs, destroyed ecosystems, and delusions of grandeur.” (Liz Smith)

“I make it a point to watch Jimmy Fallon. He reminds me that there are still wonderful people out there.” (Jan Wopperer)

“My father loved Reece Cups and used to call them “cookies”. He would ask me, “Any more cookies?” I still chuckle to think of it.” (Charles Bowsher)

Our Favorite Bit Of Internet This Week

The 24-hour music video for Pharrell Williams’ “Happy.” (Iconoclast Interactive)

13:08

Episode 23: "State of the iTunes" — The Committed: A Weekly Tech Podcast

This week, we talk about Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp, the rise of iTunes sales over the past 11 years, Apple's inconsistent content policies in the iTunes Store, mono recordings, and Rob's fascination with comedies with slasher film titles.Links:Facebook buys WhatsApp for $16BThe Verge: Why Facebook Needed WhatsAppKirk’s article about mono recordings for The Loop MagazineKirk’s article about the iTunes Store’s revenueApple’s strict (kinda) stance on adult contentVersionTracker (Wikipedia)Picks of the Week:Rob: So I Married an Axe MurdererKirk: Orfeo, by Richard Powers (Kirk’s Review)Ian: Saga http://thecommitted.tv/home/2014/2/20/episode-23-state-of-the-itunes
09:00

Week In The News: Ukraine In Flames, WhatsApp, Minimum Wage Debate

Cold War echoes. Kiev, Caracas on fire. Facebook buys a $16 billion dollar app. The minimum wage and jobs.  Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

An anti-government protester holds a firearm as he mans a barricade on the outskirts of Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. Fierce clashes between police and protesters, some including gunfire, shattered a brief truce in Ukraine's besieged capital Thursday, killing numerous people. (AP)

An anti-government protester holds a firearm as he mans a barricade on the outskirts of Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. Fierce clashes between police and protesters, some including gunfire, shattered a brief truce in Ukraine’s besieged capital Thursday, killing numerous people. (AP)

Guests

Michael Hirsh, chief correspondent at the National Journal. (@michaelphirsh)

Ben White, Chief Economic Correspondent for POLITICO and author of the “Morning Money” column. (@morningmoneyben)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal: Ukraine Gets Ugly — “The protests in Ukraine took an ugly turn Tuesday as thousands of demonstrators rioted in Kiev, torching cars and buildings and hurling bricks and Molotov cocktails at police, who responded with rubber bullets and stun grenades. At least 18 people were confirmed dead as we went to press, and scores were injured in the latest clashes over the Yanukovych government’s Russian rapprochement.”

New York Times: Study Finds Greater Income Inequality in Nation’s Thriving Cities — “If you want to live in a more equal community, it might mean living in a more moribund economy. That is one of the implications of a new study of local income trends by the Brookings Institution, the Washington research group. It found that inequality is sharply higher in economically vibrant cities like New York and San Francisco than in less dynamic ones like Columbus, Ohio, and Wichita, Kan.”

Bloomberg: Facebook to Buy Messaging App WhatsApp for $19 Billion – Facebook Inc. (FB), the world’s largest social network, agreed to purchase mobile-messaging startup WhatsApp Inc. for as much as $19 billion in cash and stock, the biggest Internet acquisition in more than a decade. The accord includes $12 billion in stock, $4 billion in cash and $3 billion in restricted shares, Facebook said in a statement yesterday. It’s the largest Internet deal since Time Warner’s $124 billion merger with AOL in 2001, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. WhatsApp has more than 450 million members, with 1 million users being added daily.

February 20 2014

15:44

5by5 | The Prompt #36: An Isolated Experiment

After recovering from the news about Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp, Stephen and Federico discuss the problems users face while using Apple’s App Stores. http://5by5.tv/prompt/36

February 19 2014

21:58

Why The Ivanpah Solar Power Facility Only Kind Of Burns Birds, And Other Thoughts

RG celebrates the future of solar energy at the grand opening of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, on Thursday, February, 13, 2014 in Nipton, CA (AP)

RG celebrates the future of solar energy at the grand opening of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, on Thursday, February, 13, 2014 in Nipton, CA (AP)

The world’s largest solar farm, Ivanpah, recently opened to fanfare and criticism in the dusty California desert. It could signal the beginning of a new type of energy production — or remain fated to be the last plant of its kind.

We covered the changing landscape of alternative energy in a Feb. 19 hour, and our guest Julie Cart of the Los Angeles Times explained just how huge the Ivanpah plant really is and why birds are only kind of burning up in the Mojave Desert.

Tom Ashbrook: Joining me first today from Los Angeles is Julie Cart, environment reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She’s been watching the huge solar Ivanpah Plant go up for years now. She was at the big solar array when they flipped the switch last week. Julie Cart, thank you very much for being with us today.

Julie Cart: Good to be with you, Tom.

TA: Hey, if we were standing there – I don’t know where you stand when this thing turns on, watch out, you don’t get your feathers singed – but if were standing somewhere near looking at this, what’s the setting, and what does it look like, Julie?

JC: It’s set in a valley, right up against a low string of hills, and right next to the freeway that takes holidaymakers from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. So, it’s a bit of a distraction but not for people who are going to the slots. It’s sitting in a valley, as your listeners heard,  it’s five square miles of mirrors. Three hundred sixty thousand garage-door sized mirrors that are in three different fields, these concentric rings around a tall tower. A critic of it described them to me as the Eye of Mordor. They reflect the sun’s power and energy to a 459-foot tower on top that has a boiler filled with water and creates steam and turns turbines.

TA: That’s been described as a 40-story tower, that’s a huge array, that’s a big tower. And enough to light up 140,000 homes as you say. Who owns it?

JC: It’s owned by a consortium of companies. Brightsource Energy, which is the company that designed the propriety type of plant;  Bechtel, which built it;  NRG, which put in the $300, a big fossil fuel company; and Google, which put in $168 million in it. And you might argue that the American people own a part of it, because it was a $2.2 billion project that was funded with $1.6 billion in Federal loan guarantees.

TA: So it was a big Federal input here, to help get this thing off the ground. Would it have been built without the Federal loan? Was that critical to this whole deal?

JC: It was absolutely critical, and that was something that all of the executives made note of last week at the opening, looking, tipping their hat to the Secretary of Energy saying, ‘Thank you very much!’ It was absolutely critical. The ground is changing underneath the feet of all these renewable energy technologies, global downturn in the economy in this country. There’s a lot of uncertainty about the financing, and without that money, it never would have happened.

TA: The Energy Secretary was there last week when this huge array, Ivanpah, was lit up for the first time. Is the Federal Government still funding big solar thermal projects like this? There’s been talk that this may be the last built in the United States.

JC: The big days of doling out big money are pretty much over. There’s still some funding, but nothing on the order of what we’ve seen in the last four, five years. There’s very little appetite on Capitol Hill to extend these programs. And the thing that’s really gonna kill them is an investment tax credit that expires in 2016. The thinking is —  I did a story on this a couple of weeks ago – that these large scale, these utility scale solar plants, these ginormous ones, 360 million kilowatts,  are not likely to continue to be built on the landscape. For example, in California, where we have very rigorous requirements for renewables, as many states do, we’re on line to meet those. So, why would publicly-owned utilities pay more money for expensive renewable energy power when as you might discuss later in your program, natural gas is really filling the void? So these large scale plants are not likely to be built with the expectations that had been, and it’s not over for renewables, but I think that it’s gonna be filled in a lot by distributive generation, rooftop, smaller-scale projects in wind and everything else. As they like to say in the administration, ‘All of the Above.’ And I think that’s really how the grid will get this power from lots of different sources. It’s not one thing.

TA: Speaking of all of the above: birds, and the fate of birds in the way of all this heat coming up from all those hundreds of thousands of mirrors have received some attention. What’s going on there?

JC: Well, you asked what the field looks like. You could walk through the field, and there’s no heat at all, other than the tremendous heat you have for the Mojave Desert. Unlike PV, which absorbs heat, these things reflect it. And each one is controlled by individual GPS and computers, it’s highly technical, super sophisticated. So all of these mirrors are focused in a place, which is this boiler. Some, however, are in a kind of holding pattern, they don’t need all of that reflective energy all the time. So they focus at a point in space, a safe point, a little reflective halo, that’s what the birds fly through. There’s a vapor steam plume that comes off of these boilers, it’s a thousand degrees and more that this steam is, so they fly through that. There are birds that perceive this field of mirrors as a lake and they try to land on it. That’s a fatal error. Most of these birds are protected by a number of environmental laws, and that’s being investigated. It happens to be a plant that people say, ‘Oh it’s in the middle in the desert!’ Well, there’s a number of protected, endangered and threatened species, plants and animals out there, and this company had to build a $50 million fence to protect the desert tortoise that lives out there. So they put themselves in a pretty environmentally sensitive spot. It’s also the best spot, these companies believe, to generate that energy.

TA: They found dozens of dead birds, we’ll see how that angle plays out, but the power is online. Julie Cart, thank you very much for taking us there, we see it in our mind’s eye.

JC: Wear your sunglasses when you see it in your mind’s eye.

What do you think of the future of solar energy? Is it bright? Fading? Something else?

Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook, Tumblr and @OnPointRadio.

February 18 2014

23:44

5by5 | CMD+Space #84: Doing What You Want To Do, with Brett Terpstra

This week Myke is joined by Brett Terpstra. http://5by5.tv/cmdspace/84

February 17 2014

23:12

5by5 | CMD Space #84: Doing What You Want To Do, with Brett Terpstra

This week Myke is joined by Brett Terpstra. http://5by5.tv/cmdspace/84
23:03

5by5 | CMD+Space #84: Doing What You Want To Do, with Brett Terpstra

This week Myke is joined by Brett Terpstra. http://5by5.tv/cmdspace/84
23:02

5by5 | CMD+Space #84: Doing What You Want To Do, with Brett Terpstra

This week Myke is joined by Brett Terpstra. http://5by5.tv/cmdspace/84
23:01

5by5 | DLC #7: Blah, Blah, Blah, Titanfall

Jeff and Christian welcome Garnett Lee from Weekend Confirmed and 1up Yours to DLC. For his Story of the Week pick, Garnett has NPD numbers and more that lead him to believe that Microsoft might be in danger of falling far behind Sony in the console race http://5by5.tv/dlc/7
22:53

5by5 | CMD+Space #84: Doing What You Want To Do, with Brett Terpstra

This week Myke is joined by Brett Terpstra. http://5by5.tv/cmdspace/84
21:51

5by5 | CMD+Space #84: Doing What You Want To Do, with Brett Terpstra

This week Myke is joined by Brett Terpstra. http://5by5.tv/cmdspace/84
21:33

5by5 | CMD+Space #84: Doing What You Want To Do, with Brett Terpstra

This week Myke is joined by Brett Terpstra. http://5by5.tv/cmdspace/84
21:30

5by5 | CMD+Space #84: Doing What You Want To Do, with Brett Terpstra

This week Myke is joined by Brett Terpstra. http://5by5.tv/cmdspace/84
15:00

Big Questions In Comcast’s Time Warner Takeover Bid

Giant Comcast moves to buy giant Time Warner Cable. Good for you? Or not? We’re on it.

In this combination of Associated Press photos, the a coaxial cable is displayed in front of the Comcast Corp. logo in Philadelphia, on Wednesday, July 30, 2008, and a Time Warner Cable truck is parked in New York on Feb. 2, 2009. Comcast Corp. announced Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, that it is buying Time Warner Cable Inc. for $45.2 billion in stock. The deal combines two of the nation's top pay TV and Internet service companies and makes Comcast, which also owns NBCUniversal, a dominant force in both creating and delivering entertainment to U.S. homes. (AP)

In this combination of Associated Press photos, the a coaxial cable is displayed in front of the Comcast Corp. logo in Philadelphia, on Wednesday, July 30, 2008, and a Time Warner Cable truck is parked in New York on Feb. 2, 2009. Comcast Corp. announced Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, that it is buying Time Warner Cable Inc. for $45.2 billion in stock. The deal combines two of the nation’s top pay TV and Internet service companies and makes Comcast, which also owns NBCUniversal, a dominant force in both creating and delivering entertainment to U.S. homes. (AP)

When the two biggest cable companies in the country get the urge to merge, everybody pays attention.  Cable is, for many, how we connect now.  To television, yes, but also through broadband connections to everything on the Internet.  Last week, giant Comcast announced a $45 billion deal to acquire giant Time Warner Cable.  There is protest all over that the deal would cost consumers, cut competition, concentrate power and slow innovation at the heart of the economy.  But Comcast argues just the opposite, and Comcast has clout.  This hour On Point:  should the federal government greenlight this mega-merger in cable?

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Shalini Ramachandran, pay TV and broadband industry reporter for The Wall Street Journal. (@ShaliniWSJ)

Porter Bibb, managing partner at the merchant bank Meiatech Capital Partners. Author of “Ted Turner: It Ain’t As Easy As It Looks.”

Craig Aaron, president and CEO of Free Press and the Free Press Action Fund. Editor of “Changing Media: Public Interest Policies for the Digital Age.” (@notaaroncraig)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: In Comcast-Time Warner Cable Deal, How Brian Roberts Bested Mentor John Malone — “Late Wednesday, Liberty executives were caught off guard to hear that Comcast had sealed a deal to buy TWC for $45.2 billion in stock, according to people involved in the talks. The deal will snatch TWC from Mr. Malone’s grasp and set Mr. Roberts up as the clear leader of an industry his mentor once dominated.”

Washington Post: Comcast, Time Warner could merge: What would happen to my service? – “It’s worth remembering that Comcast limits how much data its customers are able to stream from the Internet, while Time Warner offers unlimited Internet plans. It’s not clear what would happen to those plans, or Time Warner’s pricing structure, under the terms of the deal, but it’s possible that regulators might ask Comcast to keep that consumer-friendly unlimited option — consumer advocates are likely to bring it up in comments on the proposal.”

Chicago Tribune: Why Comcast-Time Warner deal makes sense — “In sum, the initial worries about a Comcast-Time Warner deal seem overblown. We doubt that consumers would be stuck paying more for cable and broadband service, as some critics fear. We also doubt that content providers such as ESPN or The Weather Channel (now in a standoff with satellite provider DirecTV) would lose bargaining power in their future negotiations with a combined cable behemoth.”

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