HN Gopher Feed (2017-10-17) - page 1 of 10
Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs to turn 800 acres of Toronto into an
132 points by jonas21https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/17/16488942/alphabet-sidewalk-l...idewalk-labs-toronto-quayside
rglover - 1 hours ago
goatforce5 - 1 hours ago
Waterfront Toronto, the agency that Alphabet is partnering with, is
also responsible for the redevelopment of the Canary District
(which is immediately to the north of the area that Google has just
got involved with).When they launched they put out some press
releases about how the Canary District was going to have free
neighbourhood wifi and other fancy things. As far as I can tell,
that never happened, yet they won an award for it being an
"intelligent community".> Even as the network is being built out,
it?s already winning accolades. Last year it helped the City of
Toronto earn the title of the world?s No. 1 Intelligent Community
of the Year as chosen by the Intelligent Community Forum in New
York.Anyone have details?http://nationalpost.com/life/homes/full-
WrkInProgress - 27 minutes ago
Well they did bring fibre to the two existing developments in the
Canary District. And for a far better price than than Canadians
are used to with the big 3. I don't really see a lot of
innovation, they were just able to sign a 10 year contract with
Beanfield.The Canary District is far from finished, so perhaps
some of that infrastructure will be built out when it is
completed.Also, a lot of the developments they mentioned have yet
to be completed (Monde, Waterfront Innovation Centre, Tridel's
Aqualina/Aquavista) and aren't even in the "Canary District". One
of these just started occupancy.
bogomipz - 3 hours ago
>"So what would a city designed by Google look like? It would
likely include features such as LinkNYC, the public Wi-Fi hubs
installed around New York City."Make not mistake about it the
LinkNYC "kiosks" are digital billboards that give allow Google to
flash ads at residents on every block. I haven't seen anyone
engaging with these "kisoks" for any kind of informational
purposes. On rare occasions I have seen someone using them to
charge their USB device.
jasoncartwright - 1 hours ago
The free wifi is useful as a tourist. The surprising amount of
them in Manhattan means you don't need to use relatively
expensive roaming data as often. Once you've pressed the required
buttons on the captive portal your phone just connects and sorts
out your email & notifications as you stroll near one.
bogomipz - 40 minutes ago
I'm not disputing the utility of free WIFI and while that might
be great for the tourist who visits NYC the residents have to
live with advertising blight.
illamint - 1 hours ago
You can use the WiFi on these things from a surprising distance
(hundreds of feet) with a proper antenna. Even with an IPSEC
tunnel in place, one can achieve a connection with over 100Mbps
upload and download with 5ms latency. That's much better than
what most ISPs in NYC provide. And it's free. So, there's that.
dragonwriter - 1 hours ago
> I haven't seen anyone engaging with these "kisoks" for any kind
of informational purposes.How do you see how people are using a
public WiFi hub at all? Are you intercepting and inspection
bogomipz - 48 minutes ago
Engaging physically with the Kiosk which is ostensibly what you
are supposed to do as there is a screen, camera and keypad on
the front of each one.If the main purpose is/was just to
provide WIFI there would be need to up multiple kiosks on the
dragonwriter - 44 minutes ago
Since there is also a WiFi hub, engaging wirelessly is
evidently also something ?you are supposed to do?, and
presumably moreso than physical interaction as the number of
supported simultaneous physical interactors is much lower
than the supported simultaneous wireless connections.
bogomipz - 36 minutes ago
Then there is no need for a 10 feet high dual sided digital
billboard controlled by Google to accomplish that.Have you
actually seen one of these in person? I can assure you they
are not unobtrusive. This pic gives some idea of the scale
ng12 - 1 hours ago
> I haven't seen anyone engaging with these "kisoks" for any kind
of informational purposes. On rare occasions I have seen someone
using them to charge their USB device.I think they have the
opposite problem -- people who camp out at the kiosk literally
all day for the free charging/internet.
ihodes - 2 hours ago
Also seems like a useful captive waypoint to monitor MAC
addresses & movement across a city.
IshKebab - 2 hours ago
Modern smartphones randomised their Bluetooth MACs. I'm not
sure about WiFi. But anyway if you wanted to track people's
movement it's easier to do it via the cell network, or...
Gaelan - 1 hours ago
iPhones randomize wifi mac.
milcron - 2 hours ago
Nexus 5X used to be able to randomize its MAC; not sure if it
still can. MAC randomization does not seem to be present on
reggieband - 2 hours ago
I appreciate my own experience is only anecdotal evidence but I
see people using them all the time. It is mostly homeless people
who use it to make phone calls but I've often seen people
charging devices.They used to be used a lot more but I heard they
started blocking video so the homeless couldn't use it to watch
arkades - 1 hours ago
> mostly homeless people who use it to make phone calls>
blocking video so the homeless couldn't [watch porn]The latter
is what I used to see them used for. I've rarely seen them used
since the video block went in.
jessriedel - 1 hours ago
> I appreciate my own experience is only anecdotal evidence but
I see people using them all the time. It is mostly homeless
people who use it to make phone calls but I've often seen
people charging devices.So a free VOIP phone and a USB charger?
This strikes me as a failure to live up to their stated
reggieband - 1 hours ago
I believe they also provide free wifi. That is harder to
quantify since you don't have to be directly adjacent to the
kiosk to use it.I'm just countering the initial claim that
one person never sees anyone using it. At least in my
neighborhood, especially along my walk to work, I see people
physically interacting with the devices very frequently.
bogomipz - 57 minutes ago
Sure but this isn't really additive since New York City
already has WIFI around all subway stations. See:https://t
08/nyc-mta-subway-wi...And that Transit Wireless WIFI is
not paid for with advertising blight. So really the net
utility added for all of this advertising is is a USB
charging station. You could always make 911 calls at the
phone kiosks these replaced.
rememberlenny - 2 hours ago
The more interesting aspect are the always on cameras that are
built into each billboard. The data being collected and analyzed
across a city over time must be generating very valuable data.
dublinben - 2 hours ago
For more information, please see here:
vm - 2 hours ago
Reminds me of eye-scan advertising in Minority Report:
btown - 2 hours ago
KGIII - 2 hours ago
Good. I'm not the only one. My first thought wasn't about how
interesting or cool this could be. My first thought was that
this was a blow to privacy.
Gaelan - 1 hours ago
Has LinkNYC responded to this? It seems at least plausible that
some feature of the devices (video chat?) requires a camera. Do
we know that the cameras are always-on?Edit:
https://www.link.nyc/faq.html#camerasLooks like it?s not
completely unreasonable?they?re not doing straight-up tracking,
and wanting to figure out who damaged your expensive machine is
a reasonable goal. However, this still (I think) allows
tracking anybody they claim is dangerous or a criminal. Better,
but far from good.
salqadri - 13 minutes ago
This reminds me of Google's efforts to reduce harmful mosquitos in
Fresno, CA by introducing millions of sterile mosquitos
I visited Fresno last month, and Fresnonians seem generally very
annoyed at the insane amount of Google mosquitos in the city now
but remain hopeful that this will be better for them in the long-
chollida1 - 3 hours ago
To be followed shortly by amazon's second head quarters:)I didn't
see the link posted but this is probably a better link....
https://sidewalktoronto.ca/Toronto is a funny city. Most cities
play up their coast line, Toronto gets scummier as you move towards
the water, though they are addressing it and its improved a lot
over the past 10 years with the condo boom.I really hope they can
do something productive with the land because right now its a big
eye sore and its a prime location right in the heart of the city.
sebtoast - 1 hours ago
> To be followed shortly by amazon's second head quarters:)No
way, Montr?al will have that second HQ!
oneplusone - 2 hours ago
The Port Lands have already been extensively studied and a lot of
planning has gone into it. There is a pretty extensive report
that is a pretty fun read/scan. This would be the plan that
Google would have to integrate into.http://www.waterfrontoronto.c
algaexe - 2 hours ago
I've lived in Toronto for a while and Queen's Quay is lined with
expensive condos and corporate skyscrapers. I don't really
understand what you mean by scummy.Do you mean the port lands?
There's nothing wrong with that area. It was built for industrial
shipping. The only eyesore in that area (Rebel) opened up no more
than 3 years ago. If you mean Lakeshore, those tent cities under
the Gardiner are recently established as well.Take a water taxi
over to Hanlan's before Winter rolls around. It'll change your
perspective. We have a beautiful city.
mikepurvis - 2 hours ago
It's nothing compared to the Vancouver waterfront, though, with
the park, seawall, convention centre, floatplanes, and
microcolonel - 2 hours ago
The Waterfront is a lot like Yaletown, minus the yuppie
businesses (e.g. Gelato shops, specialist stores which use
words like "bespoke" or "artisanal" to describe their wares)
alexasmyths - 1 hours ago
Toronto does not get 'scummier' towards the water, unless you
mean in the absolute most general sense - i.e. from way out in
the burbs, yes, the 'downtown' is 'scummier' and is 'closer to
the water'.But Toronto is mostly just a giant cold suburb, that
is reasonably well run, but doesn't standout for any reason in
particular.It's the ultimate 'B' city.It's consistently better
than almost anywhere, and yet, not one aspect is really world
class. I mean - San Francisco is 'missing' so many things that
make it a truly all-round city, yet is so exceptional in many
ways. Toronto 'has everything' but it really lacks a 'raison
d'etre'.And FYI I grew up there I can say what I want about it :)
brianwawok - 2 hours ago
> Most cities play up their coast lineIn the broader sense, sure.
At the micro level, no. i.e. see Chicago and Uptown.
mcrider - 1 hours ago
I'll be the one to agree with you, but scummy isn't necessarily
the right adjective -- Soulless would be better. I rarely have
any reason to go south of Queen Street unless I'm going to
Toronto Islands (which I love dearly). A project like this, plus
the rail deck park they want to build over the train tracks might
help sway me, but what they really need is to tear down/bury the
expressway so that everything south of it doesn't feel so divided
from the rest of the city.
rpeden - 2 hours ago
The port lands are a bit of a mess.The waterfront area is pretty
nice right around Harbourfront Centre, though. The Beaches to the
east and Sunnyside/Humber Bay Park to the west are pleasant as
microcolonel - 2 hours ago
You can walk all the way to Pickering along the shore from
secret beach (the difficult-to-access beach beside the water
pumping station at the East end of the Beaches), it's something
I enjoyed a lot in my tween years.
microcolonel - 2 hours ago
As someone who currently lives on said coastline, I'm really not
sure what you mean by "scummier". In my humble opinion, it is the
most pleasant part of the city, more than half of it is
accessible parkland of some sort.This is what I saw from my roof
a couple days ago:
only sorta crummy building on the waterfront from this vantage is
the Canada Malting Silos, but even that has its charm.To me, a
lot of the rest of the city is an eyesore. Unfortunately a lot of
the large buildings in Toronto are brutal postmodern slabs of
concrete spiritual oppression, including many around New City
Hall.The Port Lands are not actually so bad at the shore, some of
the industrial stuff like the Hearn coal reactor and the
recycling plant that went up in flames a month or so ago is a bit
rough, but it's convenient to the city that these things are
within city limits. It is exceptionally unusual to have
facilities like those on the Port Lands and the island airport
this close to the city center.
wjn0 - 2 hours ago
The area between Jarvis and University/York is pretty
unpleasant to walk around once you're south of Front, in my
opinion. Walking in the rest of the city is quite nice.I
suppose it can be attributed to the expressway being there, but
shit - I dread visiting the area on foot.
havetocharge - 1 hours ago
The distance you mentioned is about 3000 feet. Toronto's
waterfront spans over 25 miles. And for the most part it is
beautiful, in my opinion.
dnbsbsva - 2 hours ago
The Hearn is one of the most beautiful and unique buildings in
the city. Luminato Festival has used the space for the past two
years, and I hope to see more diverse programming there in the
future. I would extend similar praise to the malting silos -
both are historic structures that, while certainly
deteriorating and in need of repair and upgrades, are some of
the few buildings that give the waterfront and Port Lands an
identity different to that of the rest of the city. When
developers have their way and structures like these disappear
to make way for thoughtless, cheaply constructed condo
buildings, the city will lose some of the few facets of
identity that remain.Developers have already ransacked almost
everything south of the Gardiner at this point, so I suppose
it's only a matter of time until they turn the rest of the city
into a quick buck as well.
microcolonel - 1 hours ago
Yeah, the lack of character and thoughtfulness in the new
buildings going up is among my reasons for looking to move
out (right beside the decline of the government's respect for
civil liberties, and the increase in outright corruption with
the majority party under the leadership of a snowboard
52-6F-62 - 22 minutes ago
Were you just looking for an opportunity to slag Trudeau?
Last time I checked he isn't mayor of Toronto -- unless
there's just something I don't know about John Tory. Maybe
you can root for Doug Ford in the next mayoral round. I
mean, we're talking about Toronto, right?
microcolonel - 18 minutes ago
Moving to the United States of America, I mean. Toronto
is in Ontario, which is in Canada. The Mayor of Toronto
largely fine, the Premier of Ontario is questionable, the
Prime Minister of Canada is concerning.You sure have made
a lot of assumptions about me: I'd advise you to keep
them to yourself, Rob.
52-6F-62 - 26 minutes ago
A lot of people are denying it, but I worked down in the Port
Lands (where they plan to develop for Sidewalk Labs). I can
confirm. It is a dead-zone.There are some shops centered around
the film industry, deeper in is the Hearn (grandfather worked
there in the 50's -- it's a nice building on the outside but
requires massive amounts of maintenance to see life in the
future. It's still well-used by the film industry.), Pinewood
Studios Toronto, there's a garbage/recycling centre, and truck
yards, empty lots, overgrowth, and an old fireman's club... and
the Keating Channel pub. If you've ever worked the film industry
in Toronto, you probably know the place.When you compare
Toronto's waterfront to other cities -- I get it completely. It's
nowhere near as done up as say, Seattle or Boston. It's because
it has an industrial past.--That said -- much of the city does
have a nice waterfront. The Port Lands area in question is the
exception here. The east end was the boardwalk and beaches and
even Ontario Place on the west end is getting an overhaul,
starting with the new Trillium Park: http://ontarioplace.com/en
komali2 - 8 minutes ago
>Most cities play up their coast lineEh, I disagree. You don't
see Houston or Tokyo trying to upsell on their coast-line. I
think tourist cities play it up, but major cities that exist
where they are because of their ports don't push tourists towards
it because bustling ports are almost by definition disgusting.The
only exception I can think of is San Francisco, but that's by
nature of its unique peninsula geography. You can just go to the
west side to find decent beaches. The Port of San Francisco (east
side) is still gross. (to me... there is a lot of tourists piers
there I guess)
Animats - 3 hours ago
Don't forget that Google made similar claims for Google Fiber back
in 2012. And Google WiFi in 2006.
icebraining - 2 hours ago
I don't see any claims made by Google in that first piece, every
interviewee seem to be unrelated to them.
Animats - 2 hours ago
"Unite this region with a common thread", "Next big thing".
Google ad for Kansas City fiber installation, 2011.
wmccullough - 21 minutes ago
This is loose at best. Right up there with ?creates full
voluminous hair, whitens teeth and strengthens enamel, and
corn syrup is the same as sugar?
AceJohnny2 - 2 hours ago
Oh man, Mountain View. I remember how the quality was already a
joke in 2011. The network's completely gone today.In fact, I
think XKCD's "Wifi vs. Cellular"  strip summarizes the
situation perfectly. Nowadays I frequently disable wifi on my
phone in problematic areas of my house or work, because LTE works
better. Makes me wish for a femtocell...
https://xkcd.com/1865/That said, I assume Google is bringing
lessons learned with their Access infrastructure work along with
WiFi optimization as showcased in their Home hub, and things will
work better this time around.
nkristoffersen - 1 hours ago
I'm annoyed Chrome closed the alt-text before I finished
shagie - 5 minutes ago
Try the mobile version (alternative way for alt text
tziki - 2 hours ago
This seems not similar at all.
zitterbewegung - 3 hours ago
And then in a year or two they will close down Sidewalk Labs and
their services will be in maintenance mode.
stuffedBelly - 2 hours ago
aha, what's Google's robotics division called again?
bogomipz - 2 hours ago
>"Sidewalk Labs, the smart city subsidiary of Alphabet with the
stated goal of ?reimagining cities from the Internet up,? now has a
very big sandbox in which to conduct its high-tech
experiments."This is some of the "reimagining" and type of
"experiments" Toronto residents can look forward