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Current Topic: Technology

RE: Old Growth And The Future
Topic: Technology 9:52 am EDT, Mar 16, 2009

Decius, in a prescient post from 2004:

Ever wanted to know what life was like in the 30s? You will.

I still think this is at the heart of what is happening.

A massive stock market bubble blew up in the late 1990's - which were as roaring as the parties felt.
Al Queda stepped in at exactly the right time - at the cusp of a major market collapse which they would have been able to take credit for.
In order to avoid that collapse for both political and war related reasons, the government blew up a credit bubble.
That bubble has burst - but the question is - where will real growth come from?
There is no basis for real growth because, as Obama has been repeating, the American middle class has been thrown under the bus.
A solution to this is coming:
In some respects the credit bubble made this possible - when people's purchasing power is rising they aren't going to be clamoring for a raise.
The rush to offshore was fueled by greed - it doesn't work as well in practice as its proponents claimed and like anything has to be approached thoughtfully.
The political system is rebalancing, much to the horror of the press corps who find themselves among the elite who are facing a higher tax load.
But there are problems:
The symbiotic relationship between the US and China upon which much depends is rooted in America's ability to spend in spite of not producing - which is ultimately unsustainable and must eventually end.
Home prices are only about half way down. There are various policy responses designed to "stop" this. There are two ways to do it, a 20's style crash or a Japan style long, slow crush. I think policy makers are basically hoping for the later - that they can deflate these bubbles the rest of the way slowly - and possibly without much nominal price deflation - while the real economy starts to grow again.

What went down in September was some sort of mistake. "We have lost control." The question is whether or not the situation is back under control again. Regardless, attention must turn to the fundamental problems, which will take a long time to resolve.

We've been sitting on a powder keg since the late 1990's, and although we reduced the size considerably between the last decade and the load that went off last fall, a great deal remains below us. Its possible that it will go off again.

Its also possible that they intentionally set the keg off in September, knowing that an inflection point between administrations would allow us to work off a large amount of the imbalance with minimal political consequences, but they'd never admit to that - it would require acknowledging that a change in the Whitehouse was inevitable.

RE: Old Growth And The Future

Topic: Technology 4:43 pm EST, Mar  5, 2009

Today, we’re taking Twitpay out of beta and putting it out there for everyone to use. (If you don’t like to read long blog posts: we’re turning on “real money” powered by Amazon Payments. We’re excited. Twitpay is awesome.)

Congrats to twitpay for going live with real money!


Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251 Satellite Collision
Topic: Technology 12:04 pm EST, Feb 28, 2009

On February 10 at approximately 1656 GMT, the Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251 communications satellites collided over northern Siberia. The impact between the Iridium Satellite LLC-owned satellite and the 16-year-old satellite launched by the Russian government occurred at a closing speed of well over 15,000 mph at approximately 490 miles above the face of the Earth. The low-earth orbit (LEO) location of the collision contains many other active satellites that could be at risk from the resulting orbital debris.

The following videos, interactive 3D Viewer files, 3D models, and high-resolution images are available to better understand this event.

See also:


Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251 Satellite Collision

RE: Technology is Heroin - What To Fix
Topic: Technology 8:06 am EST, Feb  8, 2009

Jello wrote:
Intelligence is going down as fewer and fewer books are being read (news flash: the printed book industry is on the way out unless this trend stops),

This sort of hand wringing about books is the clarion call of the luddite. Books are a media. There are other media. The idea that books are a media that is intellectually superior to other media is something that children were told in the 70's when their choices were reading or watching television. The idea here was that if you taught children to read novels that they would be better equiped to read news papers, research papers, reference books, and technical books when they grew up.

People who are still clinging to the superiority of novels, particularly in the context of adults and not children, don't know what they are talking about. In the wake of online communications this belief is totally bunk. The value of novels isn't inherent. The value of reading is what is important. The internet offers lots of things to read and a lot people who spend time reading the internet are reading. Its literacy that is important and not books. The one does not require the other.

Fortunately, this particular luddic screed dropped the typical waxing on about the smell of books or the way that paper feels, but its no different. The problem is the presumption that you can't learn anything useful from other media. Thats just wrong.

RE: Technology is Heroin - What To Fix

GT VentureLab: It's the Execution, not the Idea that Matters
Topic: Technology 8:37 am EST, Jan  9, 2009

Frank Herbert, author of Dune, told ... how he had once been approached by a friend who claimed he (the friend) had a killer idea for a SF story, and offered to tell it to Herbert. In return, Herbert had to agree that if he used the idea in a story, he'd split the money from the story with this fellow. Herbert's response was that ideas were a dime a dozen; he had more story ideas than he could ever write in a lifetime. The hard part was the writing, not the ideas.

Herbert might as well have been talking about technology. Don't get me wrong. Ideas are important. Research is critical to advancing our society. But when it comes to commercialization, it is only a small part of the puzzle.

GT VentureLab: It's the Execution, not the Idea that Matters

RE: The Innovation Problem
Topic: Technology 12:49 am EST, Dec 29, 2008

dc0de wrote:
I hate to say it, but if you want to work for Large Corp, you get the stable job, with the stable pay, and the stable benefits.

Stable Job? Stable Benefits? Frankly, big companies have been slashing healthcare benefits systemically for years and various big company management fads such as reorganization, outsourcing, and offshoring have completely killed the notion that corporate jobs are stable. My friends who aren't allowed to wear jeans to work still fear layoffs.

I honestly think the big difference between working in small versus large organizations is that the former offers freedom but demands flexibility... to be effective at a startup you have to be a generalist... whereas the later provides a more conformist environment but allows people the space and time to dig deeply into single, highly specialized areas that small companies can't afford to devote entire headcounts to.

I don't think the one should really look down its nose at the other. They are doing different things. Big companies tend to gravitate toward academic research because it suits them - they have money to allow people to devote their lives to developing a deep understanding of narrow technical subjects - the value of which is applied by other people - by teams of people. There is something to be said for digging that deep into a technical matter without having to be concerned with its short term contribution to revenue. But big companies are not good at going after new opportunities, because they have all these specialized people who are organized in a system to mine the old opportunity. It is easier sometimes to build a new system to pursue the new opportunity than it is to try to change the way an entrenched system works.

One of the problems that we have in our economy is that opportunities that are developed by these people who have devoted their lives to the deep exploration of a technical matter are often prevented from being realized by intellectual property laws that tie them to the interests of large companies who are ill suited to pursue them. A legal system that is more devoted to the vigorous defence of property rights than to the promotion of innovation is going to produce more centralized wealth at the expense of technological progress and overall standard of living/overall wealth. The fundamental idealogical fallacy in our society is the idea that maximizing property rights makes people in general more wealthy. In fact, a society can achieve its greatest wealth potential by maximizing innovation, which is a different value than property rights and the two are not always aligned.

RE: The Innovation Problem

After Credentials
Topic: Technology 10:54 am EST, Dec 23, 2008

History suggests that, all other things being equal, a society prospers in proportion to its ability to prevent parents from influencing their children's success directly.

I couldn't help but think of copyright extensions when I read this passage.

After Credentials

Things I wish Microsoft and Apple would do differently #7432
Topic: Technology 12:41 pm EST, Dec 15, 2008

When pasting text default to plain text.

When I am pasting text from one window into another window, I almost never want to preserve the font and formatting from the previous window. I'm moving information into a different context. The first context has a particular look and feel. The new context invariably has a different look and feel. I want the information that I'm adding into the new context to fit the overall look and feel for the new context, not the old one. Therefore, text should default to pasting as plain text (or "paste and match style" as Apple calls it). I should not have to click on "Paste Special..." and then choose "unformatted text" from a menu and then click OK, every time I want to paste something. That's too much clicking. The extra clicking should be preserved for the rare case where I do want the formatting preserved. If most users feel differently about this, at least make the default behavior configurable! - Making the Internet a more interesting place since 2008
Topic: Technology 11:46 am EST, Dec 15, 2008

Not only a network that lets you browse the Internet anonymously, Tor contains anonymously published webpages identified by a '.onion' URL. Tor2web enables regular Internet users to access pages anonymously published within Tor.

What tor2web does for you

1. Tells the world that you can put all of your unruly, spicy content online with impunity by hosting on a Tor hidden service. It's free too!
2. Allows the world to read and spread your disruptive content as easily as browsing the web. No installation required.

(It also lets you surf-around for interesting stuff in .onion)

WARNING: tor2web does NOT protect readers, only publishers. Readers using tor2web do not have the level of anonymity, confidentiality, and authentication that they have when using a Tor client. Tor2web trades security for convenience. If you're a reader and want the extra security, install Tor.

Thanks Virgil!

I've always wanted to check out what was hosted behind Tor but I never cared enough to bother setting it up. The Toogle keyword list gives you an overview. Most of it is probably junk but there might be some gems...

U:Yeesh... Looks like 4chan crossed with indymedia. Its not very interesting. Tor2web might make it interesting, in some respects, as it can now host information that is accessible to a wider audience. There are few things that are both interesting and impossible to host openly. I imagine that there will arise a corner case involving the intersection between intellectual property laws and the first amendment where this service will be useful. It awaits that moment. - Making the Internet a more interesting place since 2008

RE: Native Client
Topic: Technology 8:27 am EST, Dec 11, 2008

possibly noteworthy wrote:

Native Client is an open-source research technology for running x86 native code in web applications, with the goal of maintaining the browser neutrality, OS portability, and safety that people expect from web apps

Was that supposed to be ironic? In fact their security approach sounds interesting:

The inner-sandbox uses static analysis to detect security defects in untrusted x86 code. Previously, such analysis has been challenging due to such practices as self-modifying code and overlapping instructions. In our work, we disallow such practices through a set of alignment and structural rules that, when observed, enable the native code module to be disassembled reliably and all reachable instructions to be identified during disassembly. With reliable disassembly as a tool, it's then feasible for the validator to determine whether the executable includes unsafe x86 instructions.

RE: Native Client

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