Audio quality peculiarities on mobile YouTube app

I noticed a weird thing today, watching Harvard i-lab | Startup Secrets Part 1: Value Proposition – Michael Skok, and that weird thing was that the audio for this video sounded really bad when played through my iPhone 6S speaker but sounds totally fine when I plug my headphones in. There is definitely audible compression-related distortion even through the headphones but it’s not at all a problem for listening comprehension. In contrast, the audio is extremely difficult to understand when played through the iPhone speaker. I wonder if this is app shenanigans or if it is an interesting hardware (i.e. speaker + drive electronics) interaction with the raw audio signal from the YouTube stream. I am kind of hoping for a weird corner case where the speaker’s frequency response is emphasizing the distortion in the audio signal.

To be continued… hopefully…


How to Uberize an industry

Actually, not so much a how-to, just a concisely formulated insight about one of the key ingredients to Uber’s success. Arnold Kling writes:

I think that is the real key to Uberizing an industry. Take a business where the public has come to fear unregulated service providers, and find a way to overcome that fear before the incumbents find a way to use the political system to stifle the business.

Commenter Handle comments:

That’s probably the trick for future enterprises like Uber which are trying to arbitrage the rents created by some legal licensing regime. Find things to do that the prosecutors won’t prosecute, because they really dislike the status quo and really need and love your service.

Indeed, if there is any hope long-term for our system of government not going completely off the rails with accelerating ideological insanity, it is the fact that bureaucrats will tend to naturally – and even in the absence of any communication and coordination – do their part to resist reforms that will harm their own welfare, by making them too costly and time-consuming to enforce, whatever the black letter law may say about it.

Emphasis mine. The first sentence I am having trouble processing. I don’t see immediately how it can be described as arbitrage. Or perhaps it is the phrase “arbitrage the rents” that does not compute at the moment. The second sentence nicely captures a truth about a formal/informal duality of law, or law’s administration.

Installing IPython on Windows 7

This the way I have done it, which was pretty simple. First, I have already installed Python 3.5.1 via the installer which is downloadable from This installs the core Python 3.5.1 at the following location:


There is an option to add Python to the Windows PATH and a second option to install the launcher tools for all users, both of which I have selected.

Installing Python this way has installed the pip tool, which is used for managing and installing Python packages. The first thing I did was update pip to the latest version using the following command. (There appears to be some discussion about issues related to this action. See this.)

python -m pip install --upgrade pip

Then, I used the following pip commands to install ipython (version 4.1.2) and pyreadline (version 2.1). pyreadline is needed for colored output in the windows terminal cmd.exe.

pip install ipython

pip install pyreadline

And that’s it.