Links - June 15, 2017
Ha. And here I was thinking I’d post links more often… My stats say that while I used to read roughly 10-12 articles a day, these days I am barely hitting 5. My yearly rolling average peaked in mid-2016.
To be honest, I am not sure what to make of it.
This round-up is full of Apple stuff, so not too many comments on my end, but sharing some interesting perspectives. There’s also a ton on cryptocurrencies, because that’s the latest craze in tech, and I have also been following along.
- A Brief History of the UUID Rick Branson - Segment Blog
Identity online is hard - and I don’t mean tying your persona to social media, but actually tagging bits and bytes with other bits and bytes to identify them across machines. The self-incrementing column of integers is a mainstay of traditional databases, but what happens when scaling across machines becomes necessary? Here’s some history of how that’s been solved across the years.
- Apple Isn't a Tech Company Neil Cybart - Above Avalon
- A Year of Google Maps & Apple Maps Justin O'Beirne
- Actually good Silicon Valley critiques? Noah Smith - Noahpinion
While Noah lives in San Francisco, he’s not really a Silicon Valley insider, so seeing his reaction to Scott Alexander’s Reality Check was interesting. His take? “All in all, Silicon Valley represents one of the least objectionable, most rightfully respected institutions in America today.”
- Tulips, Myths, and Cryptocurrencies Ben Thompson - Stratechery
In a strange melding of worlds, Ben moves away from the usual tech talk and goes deep into the history of financial manias. Using Yuval Harari’s notion of shared myths, this post makes a clear difference between bubbles of irrationality, and bubbles of timing. I firmly believe that crypto is one of the latter.
- Bringing back the Somali shilling JP Koning - Moneyness
And if you really thought fiat is valuable, think again.
- Blockchains are the new Linux, not the new internet Jon Evans - TechCrunch
Evans with the counter-narrative: “It’s easy to envision how and why an interwoven mesh of dozens of decentralized blockchains could slowly, over a period of years and years, become a similar category of crucial infrastructure […] while ordinary people remain essentially blissfully unaware of their existence.” Ah, and nice Fred Wilson burn. I also thought the Rare Pepe story was nuts.
- The consequences of allowing a cryptocurrency takeover, or trying to head one off Tony Yates - FT Alphaville (Paywall)
What are the implications of crypto for central banking? The written-in-stone aspect of the blockchain makes monetary policy way more credible, which is a good thing, but at the same time crypto knows no borders, making adjustments by one group of users spill over to others quite easily. A more in depth look here.
- Chicago taxi industry sliding towards collapse Aamer Madhani - USA Today
The writing has been on the wall for a while - is not a surprise - but the numbers are staggering: “42% of Chicago’s taxi fleet was not operating in the month of March […] The average monthly income per active medallion has dipped from $5,276 in January 2014 to $3,206 […] medallions hit a median sales peak of $357,000 in late 2013, just before Uber arrived on the scene in Chicago. In April, one medallion sold for just $35,000.”
- Buyer Beware Fred Wilson - AVC
Initial coin offerings (ICOs) are all the rage these days. Some people will get screwed in this process, and I am staying away from buying any ERC20 tokens for a good chunk of time.
- Options vs. cash Dan Luu
A couple of years ago, right after my college graduation, I was very close to going the startup route, but ended up joining Apple instead. With hindsight, I can tell that financially the decision is a no-brainer: Cash is cash.
- Is the United States Becoming Less of an Optimal Currency Area? David Beckworth - Macro Musings
Currency areas, and defining regional economies is one of my long-time favorite topics. There is a trend in the US towards lower labor mobility, which has deep implications for the economy. Historically, if an economic shock hit a state like Oklahoma, its citizens would respond by migrating to California, where things were better. This is no longer the case. As this trend continues, the business cycles of different zones in the country may start to diverge, and at that point the monetary policy set by the Fed might stop making sense.
- Stop Pretending You’re Not Rich Richard V. Reeves - The New York Times
A note on inequality, since that’s another recurring theme here.
- When Pixels Collide sudoscript
If you haven’t heard about Reddit’s April’s Fools experiment from earlier this year, you need to read this. Emergent behavior is awesome.
- Alpha (A translation of Genesis 1) Douglas Summer Stay - Llamas And My Stegosaurus
We’re training our computers to do some really strange things. This one translated Genesis 1 to only use words that start with the letter “A.”
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