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Ilya Yakubovich
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Kensington Market photo and Chinatown photo walk
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Kensington Market / Chinatown Photo Walk 2015
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Kensington Market photo and Chinatown photo walk
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Kensington Market / Chinatown Photo Walk 2015
62 Photos - View album
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Many of you are reading this post while living in a city. And you can probably think of a ton of ways you’d like your city to be better—more affordable housing, better public transport, less pollution, more parks and green spaces, safer biking paths, a shorter commute... the list goes on!

Many cities around the world have already made a lot of progress in some of these areas—for instance, developing dashboards to measure and visualize traffic patterns, and building tools that let residents instantly evaluate and provide feedback on city services. But a lot of urban challenges are interrelated—for example, availability of transportation affects where people choose to live, which affects housing prices, which affects quality of life. So it helps to start from first principles and get a big-picture view of the many factors that affect city life. Then, you can develop the technologies and partnerships you need to make a difference.

So I’m very excited about +Sidewalk Labs​, a new company we’ve announced today. (The press release is at www.sidewalkinc.com if you want to read more).  Sidewalk will focus on improving city life for everyone by developing and incubating urban technologies to address issues like cost of living, efficient transportation and energy usage. The company will be led by Dan Doctoroff, former CEO of Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor of Economic Development and Rebuilding for the City of New York. Every time I talk with Dan I feel an amazing sense of opportunity because of all the ways technology can help transform cities to be more livable, flexible and vibrant.  I want to thank +Adrian who helped to bring Dan on board.

While this is a relatively modest investment and very different from Google's core business, it’s an area where I hope we can really improve people’s lives, similar to Google[x] and Calico. Making long-term, 10X bets like this is hard for most companies to do, but Sergey and I have always believed that it’s important. And as more and more people around the world live, work and settle in cities, the opportunities for improving our urban environments are endless. Now it’s time to hit the streets and get to work!
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Edwards Gardens, Toronto
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2014-11-01
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My GDCNext talk “Playing with ‘Game’” has been posted up here as video with slides: Gamasutra – Video: Playing with ‘game’ – What games can be, and what they can mean. I described the talk thus a while back: The … Continue reading →
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Happy Winter!
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Today's high school history classrooms desperately need this type of geographical visualization.

We are fairly good at teaching young people the personal side of war, but that's not all that there is to history. The data — dates, maps, and counts — are crucial to understanding the experience of the people who lived through it.

Modern textbooks and teachers do attempt to pass this on to students, but their presentation style is inadequate for the current generation. This is because these students are cyborgs. "Digital Natives", to use a buzzword. Their brains have adapted to view computers as parts of themselves rather than something other.

These types of cognitive revolutions used to be rare. More precisely, they seem to occur at an exponential rate, becoming increasingly common as history progresses. With every cognitive revolution, we discover a foreign, alien technology — speech, writing, mathematics, the scientific method, and now computers — and turn it into parts of ourselves.

Back to the visualization, there are a couple of things that I find lacking in it:

One is that It's missing the number of military and civilian casualties. A series of dots would be even better than a number, since it clearly conveys the deaths of individuals.

The other is that it's a finished presentation, complete with music and radio recordings. This is nice, but there should also be a way to provide the raw data, and tools to manipulate it, so that any person would be able to "mix" them in any way imaginable, picking their own soundtrack, commentary, and colours.

In other words, there needs to be more fluidity between data, the tools to turn data into visualizations, and the finished presentation.

What I want is actually pretty simple: instead of viewing this on YouTube, I want to view it on a super-powered Google Maps. And I don't want to see just this one (excellent) presentation, but a thousand variations of it. And then I want to create my own. 
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Media for Thinking the Unthinkable - a UI lecture by Bret Victor
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End of Summer in Canada
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