Want. NYC to bring fast public WiFi

Finally, a use for those strange kiosks with payphones in. They’re going to be converted to be wifi stations – and not just any old slow wifi, but gigabit wifi. For gigabit read fast and for fast read when will it be done here too?

New York City today unveiled an ambitious plan to roll out a free city-wide municipal Wi-Fi network that officials say will be the fastest and most wide-reaching network of its kind in the world.

At a press conference at City Hall, the city unveiled LinkNYC, which will rely on thousands of kiosks that will be deployed at locations currently occupied by pay phones. The kiosks will be installed in as many as 10,000 locations throughout the five boroughs and will offer Wi-Fi service of one gigabit per second within a radius of 150 feet. They’ll also offer free domestic voice calls to all 50 states. The first of the kiosks is expected to begin service in late 2015.

New York City to Offer Free Gigabit Wi-Fi in 2015 – Arik Hesseldahl, Re/code (17 November 2014)

Read the full piece.

Productivity detective work – solving mysterious delays

I love this as just a riveting little story but it is also terribly absorbing about productivity and our perception of that too. A New York restaurant has been getting bad reviews that centre on how service there is slow. The owners can’t see what could be causing these – so they looked into it.

We decided to hire a firm to help us solve this mystery, and naturally the first thing they blamed it on was that the employees need more training and that maybe the kitchen staff is just not up to the task of serving that many customers.

Like most restaurants in NYC we have a surveillance system, and unlike today where it’s a digital system, 10 years ago we still used special high capacity tapes to record all activity. At any given time we had 4 special Sony systems recording multiple cameras. We would store the footage for 90 days just in case we need it for something.

The firm we hired suggested we locate some of the older tapes and analyze how the staff behaved 10 years ago versus how they behave now. We went down to our storage room but we couldn’t find any tapes at all.

We did find the recording devices, and luckily for us, each device has 1 tape in it that we simply never removed when we upgraded to the new digital system.

The date stamp on the old footage was Thursday July 1 2004, the restaurant was real busy that day. We loaded up the footage on a large size monitor, and next to it on a separate monitor loaded up the footage of Thursday July 3 2014, the amount of customers where only a bit more than 10 years prior.

Busy NYC Restaurant Solves Major Mystery by Reviewing Old Surveillance – Dineability (undated, probably 12 July 2014)

You will love what they found and what it means. Now, I’d like to direct you to the original post, an entry on Craigslist, but that’s vanished. This article on Dineability includes the full text plus a little stream of comments afterwards, some of which make you hope aliens never learn how thick we really are.

Mesmerising New York City app

If I haven’t mentioned this before, I am an NYC fan. There, I’ve said it. I will doubtlessly say it again. For whatever reason, I promise I am taller when I’m in Manhattan. As ever when you’re into something, you are attuned to every mention and so that’s how I heard of an app that has mesmerised me today.

Tunnel Vision.

If you’re in New York City and waiting for a train on the MTA, find a map, point this app at it and you will apparently unlock gorgeously fascinating information. I’m in the UK and I’ve tried pointing it at a Google-found image of the MTA transit maps and not got anything.

But there is a button marked “Or use without a map”. And, grief, you have to see it. You get Manhattan covered in different coloured blobs that pulsate at you so fast.  It’s showing, in real time, how many people are entering New York underground stations. Now.

It’s a gorgeous example of what can be done when a city allows access to its databases but, still, I do not need this information.

But, still, I love it.

Get Tunnel Vision for free on the iPhone App Store.