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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

End of line: Steve Jobs dies at 56

Posted by Eliot Weinstein on October 5, 2011

Major media outlets are reporting that Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO of Apple, has died at age 56.

There is very little that I can add to the tributes and obituaries that have already been published. Although Jobs himself denied that technology has the power to substantively change the world, this claim, coming from Jobs, is self-refuting. We are living today in a world fundamentally shaped by the innovations Steve Jobs pioneered in the fields of computing, animation, consumer electronics, and personal media consumption.

Here is a video of Jobs giving a moving and inspirational commencement speech at Stanford University.

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Festival of Links: The Best of March

Posted by Eliot Weinstein on March 31, 2011

The top stories from this past month that you probably didn’t hear about from your other blogs:

1. The King James Version of the Bible turns 400.

2. Will Wilkinson gives “A Scornful Review” to the new David Brooks novel The Social Animal.

3. “Illinois has 11 working nuclear reactors at six sites, more than any other state [in the USA]…”

4. Soon there will be no hiding place for Jacques Chirac.

5. Megan McArdle argues that “We Don’t Need More Stigma for Overweight Kids“. Excerpt:

But it seems to me that we frequently mix “healthy” up with “thin”.  Most people who switch to eating an actual healthy diet–little processed food, a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, less salt and sugar–won’t end up thin.  Most people who exercise won’t lose much, if any weight without calorie restriction.  And most people who try to restrict their calories below what their body wants fail over the long term–eventually, their appetite wins.

6. A study released by a think-tank affiliated with the German Social Democratic Party (Germany’s large center-left party) reveals that nearly half of Germans believe that Israel is attempting to exterminate the Palestinians, and a slightly larger proportion of Germans agree with the statement “Jews try to take advantage of having been victims during the Nazi era”. As Tyler Cowen would say, “Yikes!”

7. Scott Adams gives his assessment of Charlie Sheen. That’s all the Charlie Sheen blogging you will get from me.

8. Rabbi Richard Jacobs is elected as the next president of the Union for Reform Judaism.

9. Economist Steven Horwitz, whose writings on cell phones I have previous blogged, cites telephone service as an example of an industry where cost has fallen and quality has risen (both dramatically). In other words, there is no great stagnation.

10. Vanity Fair’s offbeat interview with Paul Simon.

11. Very short Newsweek interview with Larry Summers. As some other bloggers have noted, the best line from Summers is, “I’m one of the few people who went to Washington to get out of politics.”

Posted in Arts and literature, Economics, Festival of Links, Music, Politics, Religion, Technology | Comments Off on Festival of Links: The Best of March

The “$900 Dutch urban street bike”

Posted by Eliot Weinstein on July 9, 2008

The Executive Director of the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation bought one–manufactured by Jorg & Olif–and is now using it as his primary means of transportation. Listen to the news story here.

Posted in Random Thoughts, Technology | Comments Off on The “$900 Dutch urban street bike”

A well-designed auction can benefit everyone

Posted by Eliot Weinstein on January 23, 2008

A very important auction will be held tomorrow.

Unlike some who doubt the utility of highly mathematical theoretical microeconomics such as auction theory and mechanism design (for which the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics was recently awarded to Hurwicz, Maskin, and Myerson), consider the case of the 700 MHz wireless spectrum auction, which begins tomorrow. Don Dodge, a Microsoft employee (formerly of AltaVista and the original Napster) and technoblogger, explains why competition for the spectrum between Google and the existing cellphone companies combined with the US government’s apparently clever policies will lead to higher quality wireless service, and possibly open access to cell phone networks.

Posted in Economics, Technology | Comments Off on A well-designed auction can benefit everyone

“It doesn’t depend on the refrigerator…”

Posted by Eliot Weinstein on January 9, 2008

Walt Mossberg reports from the Consumer Electronics Show, videos here and here.

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Simple Website Design Tip

Posted by Eliot Weinstein on September 30, 2007

A website is poorly designed if I have to use the “Find on This Page” browser feature in order to locate the website’s search bar. (Not naming names…)

UPDATE:  Math professor Robert Talbert at Casting Out Nines provides more sorely-needed website design tips.

Posted in Random Thoughts, Technology | Comments Off on Simple Website Design Tip

Lasers in the Jungle Watch

Posted by Eliot Weinstein on August 3, 2007

The so-called “$100 PC”, designed for citizens of developing nations, has been the object of a several-year product design struggle by technology firms and economic development specialists. The One Laptop Per Child campaign, which aims to accomplish this goal using a cheap, 2 Watt AMD subnotebook, now has some competiton. Lenovo announced today that they will sell a new PC aimed at rural Chinese customers, for as low as $199. Dell had earlier announced a low-cost PC for around $223.

(This post will hopefully be the first in a continuing series about the arrival of technology in the developing world, particularly in clever or unique ways. “Lasers in the Jungle” is a line from Paul Simon’s song “The Boy in the Bubble” on the album Graceland–the 1986 Grammy Album of the Year. The song juxtaposes the the arrival of Western technologies with the banality of daily life in an unnamed, poverty-stricken African dictatorship.)

Posted in Economics, Technology | 1 Comment »

Is DRM on its way out?

Posted by Eliot Weinstein on January 22, 2007

Record labels rethink digital rights management at Midem – International Herald Tribune

We may be witnessing the start of a new era in the music business. More comments will follow if anything actually comes of this.

 

UPDATE: Steve Jobs endorses ending DRM. Don Dodge, one of the founders of Napster, explains Jobs’ reasoning and points out that Bill Gates agrees.

Posted in Music, Technology | 1 Comment »