The Adam Smith & Paul Krugman Show

We’ll get back to health care tomorrow, but first I have several video clips to share.

Adam Smith is a best-selling author and for 14 years had a weekly show on PBS called Adam Smith’s Money World that won four Emmys and a Peabody Award.  He’s a very smart guy.  Smith was Tom Wolfe’s editor at Esquire, founded Institutional Investor and New York magazines, and somewhere in there about 25 years ago became a friend of mine.  I try to collect heroes and this guy is definitely one of mine.

Smith lives in Princeton, NJ, next-door to Paul Krugman, Princeton professor, New York Times Op-Ed columnist and oh, by-the-way, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics.

I wonder how he invested that money?

On July 8th Smith […]

Medical Records R Us

medical-recordsThis is the first of probably three columns on health care.  The Obama Administration right now has in Congress legislation for reforming the U.S. health system so that sets my agenda. But the point of these columns isn’t to comment, per se, on the current proposals, but instead to look at what I believe to be my two areas of some strength — Information Technology and understanding complex systems — and see how they can be applied to this problem.

And it IS a problem.  That’s the only part of this debate that all sides agree on.  The doctors feel beleaguered and Lord knows that sick and uninsured people sure do, too.  Even corporate fat cats […]

Falling Out of Orbitz

orbitz-logoA lot of online behavior is habitual.  My e-mail client is Eudora, for example — an orphaned program that hasn’t been updated since 2006.  People keep telling me to switch to this or that but I like Eudora and have 17 years of mail stored in it, though I sense an end coming there.  I also use Orbitz, primarily, for my travel planning.  And it isn’t that Orbitz is particularly better (though not particularly worse since I use Kayak from time to time to compare) but that it holds already in its digital innards a whole succession of my credit cards as well as my five frequent flier numbers.  Or it did.

You see Orbitz […]

The Waitress Who Ignored Cronkite

cronkite2Thirty years ago I wrote a book about the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island.  One of the central characters in that book was Jon Ward, a producer for CBS News who ran the network’s coverage of the accident. Ward had actually anticipated such an event, gathering information on all U.S. nuclear plants in case one ever melted-down. My book made Ward a minor celebrity for a millisecond and may have helped his promotion to producer of the CBS Evening News.  But the story Ward still likes to tell about that experience was of the waitress at a New York restaurant who asked for his autograph, ignoring completely Ward’s lunch partner, Walter Cronkite, who found […]

Who Ya Gonna Call? App Busters!

Rohit KhareAfter this week’s Google/Microsoft column appeared in the New York Times, I got a message from an old friend, Rohit Khare, that sparked some thinking about our vulnerability as individuals when our data is held in the cloud — somebody else’s cloud.  How do we save it, get it back, destroy it? Given the recent case of Facebook hanging-on to old user data essentially forever, this is not just a theoretical concern.

“’Cancellation on a whim’ is a key insight,” wrote Rohit.  “After all, with desktop software you at least had the right to keep using what you wanted, as long as you kept the old hardware/software/OS running — I know of […]