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Comment All technology is a refinement of previous tech (Score 2) 114

This speaks to the /. crowd not really understanding what "technology" is.

Do you think Thomas Edison really "invented" the light bulb out of thin air?

New technology is pretty much always a slight improvement from some previous tech. Marketable consumer technology makes its improvements in things that consumers care about (i.e., getting rid of those bugs and kinks--and this isn't easy, btw, try it someday). Apple wins in the market because they are (a) trying to solve the technology problems that matter most to consumers, and (b) they're better at solving those tech problems than their competitors.

If it was easy (or just a matter of "marketing") then every other company would do it.

Comment U6: 7.2% vs. 9.2% unemployment (Score 1) 723

I'm not sure where you are getting "half again more people unemployed"--unless you are doing something really silly like comparing absolute numbers of people instead of rates.

> It fell a bit under Bush, and even more under Obama.

If you're talking about labor participation as measured by (1 - U6), then this is where you parted from reality. That number went from 92.8% when Clinton left office to the [much worse] 83.5% when George W Bush left office, and then *recovered* under Obama to the current 90.8%. It did not "fall *a bit*" under W and then "a bit more" under Obama.

The U6 data reflects macro-economic trends, the difference between good & bad Presidents, and boom/bust cycles (also emblematic of poor economic policy)--but there's very little trend here to extract any signal at all about the effect of automation on employment.

Comment People said the same thing about looms & tract (Score 1) 723

The automation of farming was a much bigger impact to the labor market than everything else you listed. I know it's hard for you to believe because nobody has been tweeting about.

At some point, somebody very much like you said, "pretty soon warm bodies won't be needed to produce food". And they were right, but we still found plenty of jobs in manufacturing and the service industry--leading to people working fewer hours at a higher quality of life. Now you are saying "pretty soon warm bodies won't be needed to produce things"--and you're right, but warm bodies will get redistributed into other jobs, where they will work fewer hours at a higher quality of life. Many of those jobs probably sound ridiculous right now (like "life coach"), just like many of today's jobs would sound ridiculous to somebody from the agricultural economy of 1890.

There is a pretty serious problem of finding unskilled labor jobs, and managing the transition for those displaced by automation. The answer for the former almost certainly involves subsidized training/education. We don't have an answer for the latter (at least not for the bulk of people who are unwilling or unable to retrain for a different career).

Comment The problem with your argument... (Score 2) 723

is that it conflicts with all of human history.

There is ample evidence of social & economic collapse under communal economic systems (and you're kidding yourself if you don't think that's what UBI is, because the only way to pay for it is to tax wealth so much that it becomes de-facto communism)--and there is basically no evidence to support the theory that society cannot replace the jobs lost to technological automation. People have been predicting the latter ever since the loom and they've been wrong every time (including *right now* BTW, where the unemployment rate in the US is quite low). I'm going to predict it will never happen, and at most I'll only be wrong once.

Comment Sigh...that's due to baby boomers retiring. (Score 1) 723

It's not Barack Obama's fault that a lot of people were born about 65 years ago. That's why retirees (and children, btw) are excluded from the labor statistics that functional adults use (U4, U5, U6--all of which look pretty good by historical standards)--and why the Breitbart set has to manufacture some misleading metric to placate their mouthbreathing outrage junkies.

Comment Ummmm, what? (Score 1) 212

The title of TFS was "electric batteries decreased by 80% in 7 years". That's a 20% reduction per year, or ~10x every 10 years. So, if we stay on that trend then we'll see 20$/kWh in 2027 (probably a little optimistic).

> $1000 in 2050? (all using 2017 dollars) That suggests to me that electric vehicles really might be cost competetive with pure ICE in 20 or 30 or 40 years.

Why would the battery cost have to get down to $1K to be cost-competitive with gas cars? $5K would be fine for most cars, since the electric motors and whatnot really don't cost that much.

Comment Because Windows & Linux are terrible? (Score 5, Insightful) 267

Windows is terrible because it's Windows.

Linux is a great server/workstation OS--but it's a pain on a consumer device. I'm long past the point in my life when I'm okay with recompiling a kernel to fix my sound. My intra-family IT work has gone down by about 95% since I've moved family members over to Macs.

So, yeah, if you want to use an un-terrible OS where everything basically works--then OSX is a pretty good choice. If you'd rather spend your life reading stackoverflow to figure out how to print to a wireless printer--then please feel free to use Linux. And if what makes you happiest is installing anti-virus software while Microsoft logs your every keystroke--then please, by all means, install Windows 10. Actually--just leave your Windows 8 computer plugged in and Microsoft will install it for you.

Comment I'll add some... (Score 3, Informative) 406

Turn-by-turn directions while driving are really pleasant--just a tap on your wrist before each turn and the prompt on your watch.

Quick checking of text messages or emails while in a meeting or walking (and thus not wanting to pull the phone out of my pocket). Also includes quick (one word or emoticon) responses to text messages from the wife.

Music: viewing current song, previous/next song, controlling volume

Apple Pay: quick & convenient from the watch

Quick glance at my work calendar, prompts before meetings.


Agreed, there's no one thing, just lots of little things you get used to.

Comment is the iPhone a failure? there are more cars... (Score 1) 406

Success and failure is hard to measure in some things (like, say, love)--but it's not at all hard to measure in business. A product is successful if it is profitable. The Apple watch is profitable, therefore it is successful. The Apple watch is more profitable than any other smartwatch, therefore it is the most successful smartwatch.

Sure, it's less profitable than the iPhone--but so is pretty much every other product in the world.

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"It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." -- Artemus Ward aka Charles Farrar Brown