Archive for April 2013

Happy 80th Birthday Willie Nelson!

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Written by messwatx

2013/04/29 at 11:31 pm

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Austin’s traffic fourth-worst in the country…

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and congestion will only increase throughout the year, according to a study by traffic data company Inrix.

The National Traffic Scorecard Report shows that Austin drivers spent an average of 38 hours stuck in traffic last year, a 3 percent increase from 2011 but below the U.S. average of 42 hours stuck in traffic.

Austinites can expect increased congestion in the coming year due, in part, to the positive local economic situation, including a lower unemployment rate and an estimated 10,000 added jobs in February, according to the report, which suggests traffic gridlock has already jumped 8 percent since the beginning of 2013.

Los Angeles has the worst traffic in the U.S., where drivers spent 59 hours stuck in traffic last year. Honolulu and San Francisco rank No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. No other Texas cities made the list.

“In the first three months of this year, traffic congestion is up 4 percent compared to 2012. This suggests that after a tumultuous economic year in 2012, the economy is back on the mend, bringing increased traffic congestion,” Inrix said in a statement.

Study itself highlights traffic as an indicator of economic health

With many economic indicators, such as household wealth and retail sales, trending toward the positive in 2013, INRIX’s comparison of congestion in 2012 versus 2013 year-to-date indicates how the overall economic climate affects national traffic congestion. Key global findings include:

  • Among all 15 countries analyzed worldwide, only three (Luxembourg, Ireland and the U.S.) have experienced increases in 2013. Only one country had increased traffic congestion in 2012 – Luxembourg. In Europe, the countries with the biggest declines in traffic have the highest rates of unemployment as they continue to struggle through the European debt crisis
  • In 2013, traffic congestion in the U.S. increased each month for the first three months of the year – the first such consecutive month increase in two years. This increase is in line with a steady increase in employment in the first three months of 2013 (+1.3%)i.
  • So far this year, 61 of America’s Top 100 Most Populated cities have experienced increased traffic congestion. This is a dramatic shift from 2012, where only six cities experienced increases and 94 saw decreases.
  • Seven of 2012’s Top 10 Worst Cities for Traffic in America have experienced increasing traffic congestion in 2013. The largest increase to date is in Boston (+30%), likely a result of the Boston metropolitan area boasting unemployment figures that were 1.2 percentage points lower than the national average in February 2013ii.
  • In Europe, traffic congestion fell 18 percent in 2012 and continues to spiral downward in 2013 with a further 23 percent decline in the first quarter. Eighty-one of the 94 European cities analysed have experienced decreases in traffic congestion in Q1 2013.

U.S. Traffic Patterns & Worst Traffic Corridors

By analyzing traffic in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas in 2012, INRIX revealed that drivers wasted an average of 42 hours in America’s Top 10 Worst Traffic Cities – the equivalent to one week of vacation. The table below represents the Top 10 Worst Cities for Traffic in America in 2012:









Hours Lost in 2012


% Change 2012 vs. 2011

% Change
Q1 2013 vs.
Q1 2012


Los Angeles










San Francisco





Austin, TX





New York





Bridgeport, CT





San Jose, CA










Washington, D.C.









Los Angeles is back at the top of the list in 2012 after falling to number two in 2011 (behind Honolulu). This is likely due to the fact that Los Angeles County gained approximately 90,000 jobs in February 2013 – a growth rate of 2.3 percent. This is the fastest year-over-year growth in employment across the Los Angeles area since the recession began in 2007iii.

Written by messwatx

2013/04/27 at 2:05 pm

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City Strides in Direction of Making Austin More Pedestrian Friendly

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Written by messwatx

2013/04/24 at 2:03 pm

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TONIGHT (4/20) A Smoker’s Delight Variety Show

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Phranchyze (hip-hop)
The Bandulus (reggae)
Holiday Mountain (dub/psych rock)

5th and Colorado


Written by messwatx

2013/04/20 at 12:44 pm

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Central City Sale April 28th 12-5pm

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Written by messwatx

2013/04/19 at 9:10 pm

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Provo Utah to become 3rd Google Fiber city

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Google to acquire Provo, Utah’s fiber, transform it into Google Fiber

Utah city owes a $39M bond for its iProvo network—that’s chump change to Google.

The third-largest city (population: around 112,000) in Utah began building its own municipal fiber network in 2004, but was looking to sell it by 2011, because like other similar municipal networks, it was simply too expensive to operate.

(For the more conspiracy-minded, Provo is also about 27 miles outside a massive National Security Agency data center that is set to be completed this year.)

Written by messwatx

2013/04/17 at 7:06 pm

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Legacy Cable in Austin “Terrified” of Google Fiber

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Article from

The power dynamic will not shift overnight, but the newly announced launch of Google Fiber in the tech-savvy gulch that is Austin, Texas, has legacy cable operators shaking in their boots. And with good reason.

On paper, literally everything about Google Fiber makes standard digital-cable service look like something that was cobbled together by members of a lesser phylum. Boasting gigabit download/upload speeds (up to 1,000 Megabits per second), Google’s connectivity is roughly 70 times faster than Time Warner Cable’s standard 15 Mbps plan.

Google Fiber TV is just as head spinning, allowing subscribers to record up to eight programs simultaneously while offering two terabytes of storage, on par with the capacity of DISH Network’s Hopper.

When Google Fiber late last year began transforming Kansas City into the nation’s sole “no-buffering zone,” incumbent Time Warner Cable established a hotline for locals to report tips and rumors about the construction effort. To sweeten the pot, TWC rewarded select members of its spy network with $50 gift certificates.

TWC is by far the dominant operator in the Austin DMA, which boasts 705,280 TV households. The MSO serves approximately 50 percent of Austin’s pay-TV subs, followed by DirecTV (18 percent), DISH Net (17 percent) and relative newbie AT&T U-verse (15 percent).

For all of TWC’s justifiable paranoia, it’s worth noting that no cable overbuilder has ever proved to be a financial success. “While residents and area businesses will undoubtedly be delighted, investors will need to be mindful of the costs associated with the company’s strategies,” said Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser. “Google is ‘protecting the moat’ around its paid search business by spending hundreds of millions—and eventually billions?—on Google Fiber. While I don’t doubt that the consumer experience will be a highly desirable one, [this appears to be a] margin-eroding strategy.”

That may prove to be the case, but the Masters of the Universe have sat up and taken notice. At around the same time the K.C. rollout got underway in earnest, Boston-based institutional investor FMR LLC scooped up an eye-popping $11.6 billion in Google Class A shares.

“As Google works out the kinks, it appears set for faster growth” in Kansas City, said BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield, adding that the fact that Austin owns its own electric utility will go a long way toward eliminating third-party interference.

Bottom line is, with $48.1 billion in cash on its balance sheet, Google perhaps can afford to wait as much as 10 years for a return on its initial investment.

As for future deployments, only time will tell. Eighteen months elapsed between the time K.C. was named the first Google Fiber city and installations began.

Written by messwatx

2013/04/17 at 6:59 pm

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