As the reality of self-driving cars on our roads becomes imminent, the U.S. Department of Transportation is making noises about trying to slow up or stall their entry into the market, calling them “frightening.” The Wall Street Journal looks at why this is misguided.
This is a technology that is not only an inevitability, but will save money, reduce pollution, reduce energy consumption, and save countless lives, so of course Washington wants to slow it down.
The Pace of Modern Life via xkcd
And yes, putting it forth like this is just a trifle ironic.
Tom Tomorrow puts it in perspective.
Via Ann Althouse
Interesting post by Richard Fernandez (aka Wretchard the Cat) regarding the problem increasingly sophisticated information technologies present to repressive regimes and existing media empires. Nothing particularly new for anyone who has taken the time to think about it, but interesting nonetheless.
Yes, Aziz, that Richard Fernandez.
Via PowerLine Blog comes a link to an Edison photographic archive depicting the electrification of California from about 1915 to the mid 70’s. I was surprised at how interesting and evocative the pictures were so I decided to share. It is lots of commercial pap with a great deal of slice-of-life intermixed. Fascinating stuff.
Dean has always maintained that the Personal Computer is on the way out, destined to return to its niche as a hobbyist’s and hacker’s toy (No, he’s never actually said the PC is ‘dead’). An article I came across via Slashdot offers another possibility: the PC is not dying, it is just too good. I have to agree. I built my most recent PC a year ago, but only because I had the money and wanted to do it. For the record, this is what I built:
AMD FX-8120 8-Core 3.1GHz
ASUS Sabertooth 990FX Motherboard
16GB DDR3 PC3 12800
SanDisk Extreme SSDSDX- SATA III 120GB Solid State Drive
7200 RPM SATA III HDD with 128MB Cache
GeForce GTX 550 TI 1GB 192-Bit GDDR5 Video
Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (Performance Score: 7.4)
This is not about bragging. In fact, the CPU and the Video card very middle-of-the-road and the big speed boost comes from the Solid State Hard Drive. THAT is what this about: this machine can do anything I need it to do, play any game I want to play, run any database, support any Virtual Machine… in short, barring a hardware failure I won’t need to replace this thing for a decade or more. My upgrades are spent on larger monitors (I’m going blind as I get older). I won’t buy or build a new PC because I just don’t NEED too. Add the fact that Microsoft deliberately designed Windows 8 to run on existing hardware (and also made it somewhat unappealing), and people just don’t need to upgrade.
Tablets and Smart Phones are rapidly taking over the consumption market- this is undeniable. Still, you need to upgrade every couple of years to have the power to do the latest and greatest, just like the PC in its heyday. When that tech plateaus something else should arise and then, maybe, the PC paradigm will be overwhelmed and put to rest. But not for some time.
…and its creator doesn’t much care, and has some thoughts on how the world’s distribution networks are part of the problem.
Which of course they are. The harder you make it for people to get your content, the more incentive you give them to pirate. Despite all the futile condemning and attempts at shaming, the fact is that this Cartoon by The Oatmeal still illustrates why making it harder to get content hurts businesses. Scream all you want about how piracy is theft, or people who indulge in it are just entitled whiny losers/scum/whatever: most people will never listen to you because they know damn well it’s not the same thing, and never will view it as the same thing no matter how much you browbeat them and insist that they see it your way. Content distributors should be finding more ways to work with things like the Torrent universe to make a profit off of people who just want to see stuff, rather than futilely setting up barriers that merely frustrate but do not stop people.
Or, you know, you can keep screaming that copying intellectual property is exactly the same thing as stealing money out of someone’s wallet, and most people will continue to think you’re batty. That’s up to you I guess. As someone who owns intellectual property himself and thinks it’s an important concept, I can still see how futile screaming about it is, always has been, and always will be.
Technology considered “obsolete” can be quite profitable. For example, mechanical wristwatches are by far the most profitable type of wristwatch to make and sell, according to the Wall Street Journal.
I am often amused, after about 40 years of watching the tech industry, that anyone still thinks being most popular is the same thing as being most profitable, secure, or sustainable.