Tech: Links for 1st October, 2019

  1. On how Uber got lost.
    ..
    ..
  2. Speaking of which, the excellent Ben Thompson: Neither, and New.
    ..
    ..
  3. On a related note: the 30 minute principle.
    ..
    ..
  4. I am really, really bad at ignoring email.
    ..
    ..
  5. Via Alex Tabarrok (I think on Twitter), a Q&A on quantum computing.

Tech: Links for 6th August, 2019

Smart Cities is a phrase that has been bandied about in India for a while now, but nobody who actually lives in any city in India can claim in good conscience to actually live in one.

What exactly is a smart city? What does it entail? What are the minimum qualifications to be thought of as one, what are the costs involved? Are all costs economic – as in, might it be rather lonely to be a part of a smart city? Rather than spend time defining each of these things, today’s links are about a city in South Korea that very few of you have likely heard of: Songdo.

  1. “Built on 600 hectares (1,500 acres) of land reclaimed from the Yellow Sea off Incheon, about 56 kilometres (35 mi) from the South’s capital Seoul, Songdo district is the largest private real estate development in history. By its completion date in 2015, the district was planned to contain 80,000 apartments, 5,000,000 square metres (50,000,000 sq ft) of office space and 900,000 square metres (10,000,000 sq ft) of retail space. The 65-floor Northeast Asia Trade Tower became South Korea’s tallest building. Computers have been built into the houses, streets, and offices as part of a wide area network.”
    ..
    ..
    From Wikipedia. Reading this article also informs us that while a lot of us may not have heard of Songdo, we certainly have seen it.
    ..
    ..
  2. A link (Business Insider) that has lots of pcitures, and information about Songdo’s urban density, transport, remoteness, trash collection and much more.
    ..
    ..
  3. “This was all pretty slick, but where were the levitating buildings and flying cars we had envisioned? The city’s futurism was incremental, as it turned out, coexisting with the familiar and mundane. We had expected a city 25 or even 50 years ahead of the rest of the world; instead, Songdo felt like 2017—still the future, perhaps, but not the promised land of science fiction. There were mostly just subtle, somewhat odd differences from the cities of the present—for example, in Central Park, a small island filled with rabbits, a cordoned-off section with captive deer, and the occasional hidden speaker playing relaxing classical music.”
    ..
    ..
    From a while ago… an article from the Atlantic talking about how Songdo was in 2014, and how it might turn out.
    ..
    ..
  4. “The streets, footpaths and cycle lanes and racks are strangely empty for such a large city, there’s no presence of culture – no museums, theatres and just one cinema. On weekends, the cycle racks are empty and the area is desolate. One critic said it had a “Chernobyl-like emptiness” to it.
    Now it’s trying to entice US citizens to save the US$40 billion project from failure with the construction of a colossal “American Town”.”
    ..
    ..
    People, it would seem, make cities what they are. Doing it the other way around seems to have not worked. Exercise: would you say this is good news for India?
    ..
    ..
  5. And another article from CityLab that says more or less the same thing.