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How Apple took over the only segment of the PC market that still matters
Everyone knows the PC market has been in decline for the past few years. But one segment of that market is doing spectacularly well, and one company has managed to carve out enviable sales and profits by dominating that niche. Guess who?
article  via:daringfireball  apple  editorial  technology  economics  business 
1 hour ago by dwight
Michael Daniel's Path to the White House - GovInfoSecurity
<<CyberSec Coordinator Tells Why Lack of Tech Know-How Helps ...
Daniel discusses ... adeptness at martial arts - he holds a black belt - and how he applies that to cybersecurity.>>

Awesome. In similar news, I nominate myself as head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, since I know next to nothing about military matters, but I am a gold league Starcraft player and thus I am supremely qualified.
united-states  government  security  technology  via:ed-felten 
1 hour ago by absfac
Free art and Technology, "an organization dedicated to enriching the public domain through the research and development of creative technologies and media. Release early, often and with rap music. This is Notorious R&D."
opensource  technology  art  blog 
4 hours ago by techpeace
Most people don't use phonebooks. So why do we still get them?
Still, automatically printing phonebooks for millions of households across the country is a huge waste. All that wasteful printing produces roughly 3.57 million tons of greenhouse gases and consumes billions of gallons of water, despite the fact that recycled paper is generally used. Furthermore, municipalities pay millions of dollars to trash or recycle stacks of books that haven’t even been removed from their shrink-wrapping. There must be a better way.

And it’s not particularly hard to think of some possible fixes to ensure opt-in programs are more equitable. Companies could distribute phonebooks with a letter explaining the new system, and a slip to be sent in if someone wanted to keep getting the books next year. They could send follow-up letters to people or areas they calculate to be most likely to actually use the books, or merely establish opt-in systems for urban areas — which are most likely to have good internet access — and preserve the current opt-out scheme in rural areas, as Missouri has.

Whatever the means, what’s clear is that it’s time to end the blanket delivery of phonebooks to every household in the country. This system only benefits one group: the people who sell ads in them.
technology  advertising  business  publishing  phonebook  whitepages  yellowpages  legal  communication  internet 
4 hours ago by jtyost2
Print Less but Transfer More: Why Central Banks Should Give Money Directly to the People - Blyth & Lonergan
Distinctions between monetary and fiscal policies are a function of what governments ask their central banks to do. In other words, cash transfers would become a tool of monetary policy as soon as the banks began using them.

[Cash] transfers, however, would be a flexible tool. Central bankers could ramp them up whenever they saw fit and raise interest rates to offset any inflationary effects, although they probably wouldn’t have to do the latter: in recent years, low inflation rates have proved remarkably resilient, even following round after round of quantitative easing.

Three trends explain why. First, technological innovation has driven down consumer prices and globalization has kept wages from rising. Second, the recurring financial panics of the past few decades have encouraged many lower-income economies to increase savings—in the form of currency reserves—as a form of insurance. That means they have been spending far less than they could, starving their economies of investments in such areas as infrastructure and defense, which would provide employment and drive up prices. Finally, throughout the developed world, increased life expectancies have led some private citizens to focus on saving for the longer term (think Japan). As a result, middle-aged adults and the elderly have started spending less on goods and services. These structural roots of today’s low inflation will only strengthen in the coming years [...]

instead of trying to drag down the top, governments could boost the bottom. Central banks could issue debt and use the proceeds to invest in a global equity index, a bundle of diverse investments with a value that rises and falls with the market, which they could hold in sovereign wealth funds [...] After around 15 years, the funds could distribute their equity holdings to the lowest-earning 80 percent of taxpayers. The payments could be made to tax-exempt individual savings accounts, and governments could place simple constraints on how the capital could be used [...] restrictions would encourage the recipients to think of the transfers as investments in the future
economy  finance  inequality  taxes  technology  currencies  politics 
5 hours ago by Taryn
Innovation as Growth Policy: the challenge for Europe - Mazzucato & Perez
traditional banks and even the venture capitalists have become increasingly risk averse. Venture capital is focused on the exit, within three years, usually via an initial public offering. However, major innovations can take 15–20 years to fully develop, which means that this particular financing model only works for gadgets that ride on existing technology, rather than the big waves of the future. Thus, secular stagnation is a result of this financialisation, not an excuse for it [...]

The question, then, is not how to provide easy money, but how to bring forth the opportunities, how to mobilise the supply of innovation, how to activate entrepreneurship both public and private. The opportunities will bring forth the money. The emphasis on commercialisation assumes that all that is
needed is intermediary institutions [...]

The differences in how we understand innovation (path-dependent and cumulative vs. a random variable), uncertainty, and the characteristics of investment (driven by the perception of future technological opportunities vs. driven by easy and cheap money) will determine the details of innovation policies and, most importantly, our growth policies [...]

Technological revolutions [...] are based on an interrelated set of new technologies, industries and infrastructural networks that develop in intense feedback, providing markets and suppliers for each other (in the way that computers generated markets for micro-chips and the Internet generated markets for computers, and so on). In the process, these revolutions also provide a new potential to transform and enable innovations in all other industries [...] However, that potential does not have the same self-propelled nature as ICT itself. Its possibilities are disparate and often unconnected; it can be used and shaped in different ways and profitability depends on relative costs and especially dynamic demand. Only a common direction can contribute such synergies. Thus, in contrast with the revolutionary industries, the direction/chosen for using the new potential across the economy becomes a socio-political choice [...]

Products are not developed in isolation but in technology systems where each innovation creates problems that call forth solutions from suppliers, which spur investments and can lead to entire new industries [...] clustering of interdependent users and producers and of self-reinforcing capabilities results in synergies and support networks that make further innovations easier and profitable (that is, they involve less uncertainty). [W]ithout the Welfare State and official labour unions [...] mass demand [will not be around] to generate the scale and the synergies that [make] it all possible.
government  economy  finance  technology  remake 
6 hours ago by Taryn
Soak the Rich: An exchange on capital, debt & the future - Graeber & Piketty
Moderators: But you still say the level of inequality has become intolerable?

Piketty: Yes. But there again, the apparatus of persuasion—or of repression, or a combination of the two, depending on what country you are considering—may allow the present situation to persist

Graeber: all systems must end, but it is very hard to predict when the end might come. Signs of a slowing down of the capitalist system are visible. SO FAR AS TECHNOLOGY is concerned, WE NO LONGER HAVE THE SENSE, as we did in the 1960s and 1970s, THAT WE ARE ABOUT TO SEE GREAT INNOVATIONS. In terms of political visions, we seem to be very far from the grand projects of the postwar period, such as the United Nations or the initiation of a space program. U.S. elites can’t act on climate change, even though it puts our ecosystem and human life itself in jeopardy. Our feelings of helplessness stem from the fact that for thirty years the tools of persuasion and coercion have been mobilized to wage an ideological war for capitalism, rather than to create conditions for capitalism to remain viable. Neoliberalism places political and ideological considerations above economic ones. The result has been a campaign of fantasy manipulation, a campaign so effective that people with dead-end jobs now believe that there is no alternative.

It is quite clear that this ideological hegemony has now reached its limit. Does this mean that the system is on the point of collapse? It’s hard to say. But capitalism is not old. It hasn’t been around forever, and it seems just as reasonable to imagine it can be transformed into something completely different as to imagine it will necessarily continue existing until the sun blows up, or until it annihilates us through some ecological catastrophe [...]

Graeber: Progressive taxation seems to me to epitomize the Keynesian era and redistributive mechanisms based on expectations of growth rates that no longer seem valid. This sort of redistributive mechanism relies on projections of the increased productivity, linked to rising wages, which historically accompanied the application of redistributive tax policies. But are such policies workable in the context of weak growth? And with what social impact?

Piketty: Well, weak growth actually makes those fiscal tools even more desirable. I am thinking not only of traditional income taxes, but also of a progressive tax on wealth and capital. People possess a certain quantity of capital, net of debt. If you impose a progressive tax rate on this, for those who possess very little that rate may be negative, which amounts to forgiving some of their debts. So this is a far cry from Keynesian income-tax policies.

Moreover, a weak growth rate makes both income taxes and wealth taxes even more desirable because it widens the gap between the rate of return on capital and the growth rate. For most of history, the growth rate was almost zero, whereas the return on capital was around 5 percent. So when the growth rate is around 5 percent, as it was in Europe after World War II, the gap between the two rates is minimal. But when the growth rate is 1 percent, or even negative, as in some European countries today, that gap is enormous. This is not a problem from a strictly economic point of view, but it certainly is in social terms, because it brings about great concentrations of wealth.
inequality  capitalism  debt  economy  technology  doom!  politics 
6 hours ago by Taryn

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