Archive for October 2009
In the US, by the nature of their history and ‘culture’, people are naturally industrious – working and innovating themselves out of difficulty – with little government involvement. Here in the UK, we can achieve great things once in a while (London Eye, Pret A Manger, Waitrose, non-reality TV seeded musical acts etc), but on the whole, Brits tend to be content with their lot. Therefore, when things fall apart, we don’t do anything about it. (Recent journeys on the railways where hundreds of commuters travels were thrust into chaos by ongoing ‘signal’ problems resulted in little if any fury by the late for appointments/work/shopping trip passengers at Reading Station.) Anyway, a few posts ago, this blog suggested that the government invested in apprenticeships with the proven benefit that not only are the unemployed given a robust hope, but it is a perfect opportunity to motivate the young and energetic to create radical new industries that may solve some of the world’s problems. Most importantly, such a strategy will provide the government properly sourced revenue through income taxes. An ethical and faught for alternative to the unacceptable infringements on the dignity, privacy and decenty of the majority of the populace by yet more rediculous dystopian for profit laws that are rapidly stressing and destroying the lives of increasing numbers of honorable people.
Fight back club: Invest in people and ideas.
Update: Apparently, the US gov did invest in some businesses and that may well have kick started their economy. (I don’t recall that happening – I understood that they allowed some companies to fall into Chapter 11.) Is government investment cheating? Depends. If they were simply bailing out failed industries of the past (such as automakers without a sustainable energy strategy) then of course, that is just popularist smoke and mirrors, and things will fall apart again when reality sets in. Either way, business history (in particular in Asia) has proven that when government invests in sound business (even early state cartel / keiretsu arrangements) it provides a robust foundation for opportunity and growth – and therefore mass employment, social stability and tax revenue. And the latter is what this post is all about! Tiddly pom.
Holger Bech Nielsen & Masao Ninomiya have theorised that a higher order may be sending something from the future to the here and now to disrupt the goals of the LHC. Some have speculated that this could be to prevent a future catastrophe caused by the LHC from ever occurring.
Contradictions of disrupting the space time continuum aside, here’s a take:
If the catastrophe was that bad, (for example: TLP – Total Loss of Planet) then there will be no future entity to send said particle back in time.
If an entity is trying to put an end to the hard work of thousands of scientists, perhaps it is the ‘creator’ who does not wish the magical mystery of, uhm, ‘his’ Universe to be revealed – spoiling that element of “Wow!” and “Huh?!” we feel when confronted by something we do not understand.
Using a magician as an analogy, seeing one live on stage or in the street performing an enthralling trick can be a mind boggling experience until you fathom it out yourself or someone explains how the illusion was achieved. At that point, there is a collective “Of course!, silly me!” and slight disappointment that it wasn’t really that clever or amazing after all, just some nifty smoke and mirrors, with a sprinkling of deception. Likewise, it may be that if and when we do find out what makes the Universe tick, we will be somewhat disappointed and/or may offend the Maker-in-Chief just as a magician will feel a loss of ego and power the second their trickery is exposed.
!!Picture of the grand magician to come soon, with witty caption!!
Quantum theology aside, the LHC is a sophisticated piece of kit and is not going to work first time.
Fight Back To The Future Club: Lay awake at night thinking about all this. So what was here before here anyway?
Link © The New York Times Company.
Seconds after having an Apple rave, am forced to draw your attention to this – no surprise considering the values of the current administration here in the rapidly disintegrating UK. From what I recall, history has proven on countless occasions that getting away with petty crime leads to more serious offenses. So if you strictly deter or punish the lesser crime, you may prevent the more serious (such as auto theft or murder) from ever happening in the first place!
Common sense really – but we’re almost running on empty with regards to that.
Fight back club: Keep calm, but do not carry on. Vote the right way at the next election.
I know, it’s just as mad in the USA – where celeb crims are distracting the media and authorities from more pertinent matters.
Am very very busy with work, and regret ‘wasting’ time on this blog, but I do believe the non technical issues covered herein to be exceptionally worrying, else I would not take time out. I do believe things are falling apart globally to such an extent that there will be a form of street level revolution soon. Not sure where, not sure when, but it is almost inevitable. A ‘for profit’ evil is permeating it’s way up the food chain of leadership around the world – and with technology and weaponry becoming more flexible and available – our very freedom to live a relaxed common sense based lifestyle could be threatened – possibly for a great deal of time. This is no science fiction novel or a depressed ramble. History books tell how there were periods in the lives of prior civilizations where people were born into, lived and died within a way of life that was almost permanently repressive – and this went on for hundreds of years. It could happen again – with technology the great overlord.
Most ‘concerning’, to quote a foreign colleague.
Record profits today from the maker of all things shiny and desirable has vindicated yet again that people will opt for a better designed and thought out product or service if the value proposition is that compelling – even during a recession.
Over the last few days (for various reasons) I have had time to play with several competitors to the iPhone. With the exception of the HTC Tattoo that I was immediately taken with, it was very obvious that several years after the launch of the iPhone, Apple still don’t have much to worry about. As is already known, they put much thought into many aspects of the iPhone – including those that are controversial, such as the (current) lack of multi-tasking. Today I got to play with one of the devices that was supposed to be a serious ‘iPhone killer’. After all the hype, this device proved to be a major let down. It was so slow, it was unusable and the interface was actually somewhat counter intuitive to all other phones – missing any obvious mechanical or virtual call and end call buttons too. The reason it was slow is because while it can multi-task, the processor is underpowered. I have way too much respect for the company behind this competing phone to mention them. Their prior devices have been revolutionary and practical, and if they survive (unlikely sadly), I am sure the next version of their otherwise innovative device will offer a more practical and immediately intuitive proposition.
The other major future competitor to Apple is Android. Although my employer (lead by me) is exploring developing for Android, the lack of consistency between devices is a major flaw that Apple’s offering does not suffer from. This lack of consistency is a nuisance for end users (who may like to share another person’s device) and developers who prefer a “write once – run anywhere” platform. (Consider the 100% consistency between each X-Box 360 or PS3.) All said, I think (and know!) that this issue is solvable – through good design! 😉
Back to Apple, and related to my prior post re the new iPod Nano (with video recording ability), Apple are being very clever and aggressive in oblitterating their competitors through strategically timed gradual feature improvements. In one swoop they will launch an upgraded OS or a new version of a product and render a competitors offering of lesser relevance. In this case, the iPod Nano video recording capability while not HD quality, is good enough to make the young and colourful choose it over other dedicated pocket video camcorders because the Nano is also a very capable music player – with a radio and a few other goodies thrown in too.
I have often wondered if we would reach a point when only one or two corporations ended up building all the world’s products. Not due to some ‘evil’ Bond like conspiracy or mega cartel, but simply because one or more of these corporations became – like a super triathlete – all powerful based on their own hard work and a consistent focus on key attributes. In the case of Apple, their key attribute is thoughtful design backed with outstanding marketing. Go play with iWorks and compare to it’s nearest competitor from you know who. From a usability angle, Apple iWorks is light years ahead, even if not in the spotlight at present.
Fight back club: Invent several paradigm shifting technologies that leapfrog the status quo, patent them and built a company around the patents. Sony, Toshiba, Hitachi, Qualcomm, Apple and others did – so can you!
Footnote: I predict Apple will launch a ground breaking upgrade to iPhone OS in the not too distant future that will introduce three missing features: a) Multi-tasking – the iPhone 3GS and latest iPod Touch have the power to handle this. b) An active ‘home’ screen. (If Apple ever introduce widgets, that will be terrible. Horrible horrible idea in all current implementations by Samsung and others.) c) Device to device file sharing of some sort – probably via the cloud too.
…the aim of this blog. However, more and more people and publications are now expressing opinions that have been discussed here for a while now. So there is cause for hope. As has been said before here and elsewhere, blogging really has created a liberating and fairly non destructive form of democracy – see reference to the Unabomber in the Influences section for more on that.
It would be helpful if there is a way to trigger Tweets each time a new post is added so readers don’t have to periodically visit VA to check if I have added any more middle class pontifications. Time to research the latest developments from WordPress!