Accidental Empires, Part 1 — Looking back at a golden era

accidental-195x300February, 2013 –

We stand today near the beginning of the post-PC era. Tablets and smart phones are replacing desktops and notebooks. Clouds are replacing clusters. We’re more dependent than ever on big computer rooms only this time we not only don’t own them, we don’t even know where they are.  Three years from now we’ll barely recognize the computing landscape that was built on personal computers. So if we’re going to keep an accurate chronicle of that era, we’d better get to work right now, before we forget how it really happened.

Oddly enough, I predicted all of this almost 25 years ago as you’ll see if you choose to share this journey and read on. […]

Hello, Mr. Chips

I received an e-mail last week from someone who is sure to become one of my heroes — an electrical engineer turned high school math teacher. He was concerned about the proper use of technology, especially iPads, in the classroom, and had quite specific suggestions for what to do. We’ll probably get to that in my next column but here I’d like to consider his more fundamental idea, which is that technology in schools can be, in many ways, more a distraction than a solution.

“The problem is that I’ve found that all these things that are purported to improve student learning ignore the number one factor in student success, which is the student’s […]

By |January 24th, 2012|2012|138 Comments

Is Technology Evil?

evil_technologyThis column started out being titled “Is Goldman Sachs Evil?” until I realized the issue is far more broad.  It began with a blog post by my old boss Jim Casella, who now runs Asset International, a financial publisher.  Jim concludes after a review of some recent and very negative press that Goldman isn’t evil, per se, just cocky.  But by comparing the investment bank to sports teams and players I think Jim makes a grave error.  Goldman Sachs isn’t evil, just stupid.  And that stupidity comes in the form of their witless abuse of technology.

Jim’s sports analogies are misplaced because while sporting events must inevitably have winners and losers economies don’t. TRADING […]

Three Mile Island Memories

tmi2This past weekend marked the 30th anniversary of the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island.  If you are old enough you may remember where you were at that time and what it was like.  I remember VERY well because I was on my way to the crippled plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Our President at the time, Jimmy Carter, was also a micro-manager and a former nuclear engineer: he wanted his own eyes and ears on the scene.  Our little group eventually coalesced into the Presidental Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island, led by Dartmouth College president John Kemeny, who was also the co-author of BASIC.

The lessons of Three Mile Island have been, for […]