Remember Pirates of Silicon Valley? I sure do.

piratesIt’s funny how a career can turn on a dime. Mine certainly did back in the late 90s when Hollywood flirted with me for a moment. My book Accidental Empires, which was the basis of my PBS series Triumph of the Nerds, was optioned for a feature film by Lionsgate Films, a script was written and casting was about to begin. Then along came Pirates of Silicon Valley (ironically you can find both rental and pirated versions of the film at the same time on Youtube). The TV movie for TNT was considered such an overlap of my work that the Lionsgate project died overnight.

I have to give credit to the writer and director of […]

No fracking way! Fukushima is worse than ever

japanbabyRemember the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan? I wrote about it at the time, here, here, here, here, and here, explaining that the accident was far worse than the public was being told and that it would take many decades — if ever — for the site to recover. Well it’s six years later and, if anything, the Fukushima situation is even worse. Far from being over, the nuclear meltdown is continuing, the public health nightmare increasing. Why aren’t we reading about this everywhere? Trump is so much more interesting, I guess.

“The […]

Trump’s anti-H-1B order won’t be what it seems

Immigration policy and trade protectionism play large roles in the new Administration of President Donald Trump. With the goal of Making America Great Again the new President wants to more tightly control the flow of goods and labor into the USA. Over the last week this has taken the form of an Executive Order limiting travel from seven specific Muslim countries. That order wasn’t well done, wasn’t well explained, has caused lots of angst here and abroad and is at this moment suspended pending litigation. That order is supposedly about limiting terrorism. It will be shortly followed, we’re told, by further Presidential actions limiting abusive labor imports using, specifically, H-1B visas. This time, depending again on how the actual order is interpreted, […]

Four more predictions for 2017

2016-17Last week a reader told me that six predictions for 2017 weren’t enough and that I owed him four more, so here they are.

Prediction #7 — Not the demise of Bitcoin, but finally an acceptance of what the crypto currency is (and isn’t). My son Cole, who is 12 (and now taller than me), was for awhile a Bitcoin miner. We bought a used Ant Miner last year on eBay, equipped it with a proper power supply and set it going 24/7 in the Man Cave, where most boyish things happen around here. The rig was incredibly loud and — after the first electric bill arrived — totally uneconomic. We were […]

Bob’s Big Picture technology predictions for 2017

2016-17I couldn’t put it off any longer so here are my technology predictions for 2017. I’ve been reading over my predictions from past years and see a fundamental change in structure over that time, going from an emphasis on products to an emphasis on companies. This goes along, I’d say, with the greater business orientation of this column. That makes sense with a maturing market and mature industries and also with the fact that a fair number of readers are here mainly as investors, something that didn’t used to be so much the case.

Of course we begin with a look at my predictions from a year ago to see how I did. Almost nobody in […]