Thursday, October 17, 2013

Robison Predicts!

When the auto companies began competing with each other to sell cars by offering the best computer user interface, I predicted that within ten years, they would give up and offer a standard connection that car buyers could use with their own IOS and Android (etc.) devices. Some of the auto companies have made a great step in that direction already. They are trying to standardize a programming interface for a version of Linux to be used in all cars.

The software that automakers write for cars must be hugely expensive. Among other things, every version of their software has to be tested and tested, to avoid bugs that will crash a car or cause major, public, black eyes. You can divide the cost of development by the large number of vehicles sold, but you will still have a painfully large number that drives up the retail price.

Now here’s a new prediction, unless GPS manufacturers have already gotten on top of this one: When I check the distance to a “favorite” location that I have stored in my GPS, the device shows me the distance to that location as the crow flies. (Let us assume straight-aiming crows.)

I travel often from my home to some of my “favorite” locations. The GPS could easily remember my ACTUAL driving mileage, and show it to me as my “last time” mileage when I select a favorite. I’m sure that GPS devices will add this feature; it’s too useful, and pretty easy to add.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Another of Parkinson's Laws, and Apple:

We are fond of quoting Parkinson's best known law, but he proposed other laws as well.

My personal favorite from his book, Parkinson's Law, seems unlikely at first. He argues that when a corporation, or any large organization, builds its ideal building, that the organization is in the throes of death. Here's why: a vivid, active organization has no time to plan its ideal building. It is expanding, fighting fires, scoring exciting victories, changing direction, etc. When at last, the organization has a clear sense of itself and and time to plan exactly how it should be housed, it has left all that useful excitement behind; it is dying.

Here is a sneak peak at Apple's plan for its ideal corporate headquarters. Enough said.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Here's an excellent short video by Bruce Schneier at TEDx:

Bruce Schneier gives a 12.5 minute lecture on the past and future of powers - great and small - controlling the Internet. His talk is nontechnical and informative. A lot of people are viewing it, so it may take a while to start playing on your computer. Here it is.

You might also wish to know that the quills of the African Porcupine are a lot nastier than the quills of our American one.