Don Melton, former Engineering Director of Internet Technologies at Apple, talks to Guy and Rene about assembler on the Apple II, open-sourcing Mozilla, building Nautilus, creating WebKit and the Safari browser, teaching bears to dance, and cleaning cusses from code bases.
Special guest Saleh Esmaeili joins Kevin and Gina from Dubai to discuss his newly-released Android app Carbon, what it’s like to build a Twitter client around API limitations, his take on Holo, and what Google has to do to attract more great design talent to Android.
Kowloon Walled City was the densest place in the world, ever.
By its peak in the 1990s, the 6.5 acre Kowloon Walled City was home to at least 33,000 people (with estimates of up to 50,000). That’s a population density of at least 3.2 million per square mile. For New York City to get that dense, every man, woman, and child living in Texas would have to move to Manhattan.
To put it another way, think about living in a 1,200 square foot home. Then imagine yourself living with 9 other people. Then imagine that your building is only one unit of a twelve-story building, and every other unit is as full as yours. Then imagine hundreds those buildings crammed together in a space the size of four football fields.
We can’t really imagine it, either.
Kowloon Walled City began as a military fort in Kowloon, a region in mainland China. In 1898, China signed a land lease with Great Britain, giving the British control of Hong Kong, Kowloon, and other nearby territories. But the lease stipulated that the fort in Kowloon would remain under Chinese jurisdiction.
Over time, the fort became abandoned, leaving the area subject to neither Chinese nor British authority. This legal gray zone was attractive to displaced and marginalized people. Thousands of people moved there after the war with Japan broke out. Even more people moved there after the Communist Revolution. It attracted gangsters, drug addicts, sex workers, and refugees. And it also drew a lot of normal people from all over China who saw opportunity there.
They built the city building by building, first blanketing the area of the fort, then building vertically. Buildings were packed together so tightly in the Walled City that the alleys were nearly pitch-black in the day time. Electricity and water were brought in by illegal or informal means.
The Walled City gained a reputation as a sort of den of iniquity–there were high levels of prostitution, gambling, mafia activity, and, for some reason, rampant unlicensed dentistry.
But an order did emerge. The Walled City had no schools, but there was an informal kindergarten. A resident’s organization settled disputes. And there was lots of industry: a fishball factory, a noodle factory, metalworking shops, a textile mill. There were stores, restaurants. You could even receive mail in the Walled City.
Kowloon Walled City was torn down in 1993. Today, it’s a park, and most traces of the city are gone. But the memory of the city lives on. It was featured in the non-verbal film Baraka, plays a cameo role in Bloodsport. It’s also served as the setting in a number of video games, including most recently Call of Duty: Black Ops
This week’s episode was produced by Nick van der Kolk. He spoke with photographer Greg Girard and architect Aaron Tan, who both spent time in the Walled City. Nick also talked to as Brian Douglas, who helped design Call of Duty: Black Ops.
Nick is the director of the award-winning podcast, Love + Radio. You can also hear him over at Snap Judgment.
Know thy neighbor — it’s not just a creed to live by, turns out it can save your life. Steve Inskeep talks to sociologist Eric Klinenberg about how vibrant, tight-knit neighborhoods could fare better in a disaster. Klinenberg is a professor of sociology at New York University. His article "Adaptation" appears in the current issue of The New Yorker.
Check out some of our favorite performances from some of LQ’s best 2012 parties, with songs and readings from Anne Hathaway, Oliver Platt, Colin Donnell, Ari Graynor, and more.
Tom Coates and Anna Rascouët-Paz join Mike and Leah to discuss diversity in the tech industry. It’s a fucking good episode, people!
Daniel and Manton talk Android on the desktop, consistency of programming languages, and various approaches to to-do list management.
Download (MP3, 43 minutes, 21 MB)
Sponsored by Crashlytics: The most powerful and lightweight crash reporting service.
One of the aspects of software development that has grown in importance is the need for quality testing of new products as part of the overall process. James Whittaker, co-author of How Google Tests Software, discusses how his former company built a successful model based on the vital testing of its new services. He reviews how testing has grown as part of development and the different testing roles that Google used. His points clearly show how developers need to consider the importance of testing as a role for the developer.
Technometria co-host Scott Lemon discusses his new experiences with Wovyn, a company that is deeply involved in the Internet of Things. IoT allows users to control all aspects of their digital lives, including their personal devices, appliances, and utilities. He reviews a number of the technical aspects of IoT, beginning with the clear belief of its future importance to the consumer. He also talks about how Wovyn used Kickstarter as a way to help fund the company’s projects.
Hook.io has been an important project for Marak Squires since 2006. Charlie Robbins describes it as "a full-featured I/O framework for node.js that enables a simple way to distribute your application across multiple node.js processes using the new EventEmitter2 API and leveraging the power of Crash-only software." In this technical discussion, Marak reviews both the history of hook.io, as well as both how it works and its specifications. Node.js experts and novices will find his discussion most illuminating.
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