Doonesbury on Malibu Beach Access

Gary Trudeau is in the middle of a great series on David “Lord” Geffen’s attempt to keep the public off of the “public” beach in front of his Malibu estate. This time, he points out the beachfront homeowner’s use of public sand to build a berm:

“One day a tsunami will come and there will be a great reckoning! Mansions will crumble! Only the surfer will prosper”….

Tax Policy to Help Working People in Cities

Paul Caron:

This paper (pdf) examines ways that federal tax policy could improve the economic prospects of low- and middle-income working families in cities. We show how existing federal tax rules affect these families, and that a variety of public policies are available to provide better economic opportunities and incentives for these households. In particular, policies that expand and modify the child care and dependent care tax credit, the saver’s credit, and subsidies for health insurance, or that alter the structure of homeownership subsidies away from deductions and toward capped credits for homeownership, have the potential to improve economic prospects for millions of working families who live in urban areas. The significant link between federal tax policies and the welfare of households in cities is an area of growing awareness and increasing importance and should receive the attention of both urban leaders and federal policy makers in the future.

Seagate’s Full Disc Encryption

Bruce Schneier:

“Seagate has introduced a hard drive with full-disk encryption.

The 2.5-inch drive offers full encryption of all data directly on the drive through a software key that resides on a portion of the disk nobody but the user can access. Every piece of data that crosses the interface encrypted without any intervention by the user, said Brian Dexheimer, executive vice president for global sales and marketing at the Scotts Valley, Calif.-based company.

Milwaukee’s Mason Wells Venture Capital Activity

Kathleen Gallagher writes a positive article on Trevor D’Souza and Dan Broderick, Managing Directors of Mason Wells’ first venture capital fund, Biomedical Fund 1. MW has invested in two Madison firms: NameProtect and Opgen among other midwest startups.
VC’s certainly play a useful role in the business growth process. That role is not always decisive. Interestingly, many of them do NOT fund startups. They’d rather let someone else (angel investors) take that risk. Anyone interested in this area should read another perspective: internet entrepreneur Paul Graham’s essay: The Unified Theory of VC Suckage.

Orlando Drops Municipal WiFi – What’s the Story?

802.11b news:

Orlando shut down its expensively operated free Wi-Fi service, and Esme Vos asked why: A number of commenters had responses. I noted that for the area in question, $1,800 per month seems incredibly high. One commenter who lives there says that they couldn’t get on the network across a dozen attempts. Others point out the compromises in location and signal. Another suggests that Orlando is about to launch a larger-scale network….

Broadband Nation?

Thomas Bleha on our lagging broadband capabilities. In essence, we’re falling further behind. Our “broadband” – DSL or cable modems are much slow than those available in Japan and Korea. Their services are priced similarily, yet 20X+ faster.

In the first three years of the Bush administration, the United States dropped from 4th to 13th place in global rankings of broadband Internet usage. Today, most U.S. homes can access only “basic” broadband, among the slowest, most expensive, and least reliable in the developed world, and the United States has fallen even further behind in mobile-phone-based Internet access. The lag is arguably the result of the Bush administration’s failure to make a priority of developing these networks. In fact, the United States is the only industrialized state without an explicit national policy for promoting broadband.

We Madisonians lag the rest of the country as well. We have very little public wifi. Our airport remains without wifi, years after others have implemented these inexpensive services.