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How Smartphone Apps Deliver an Economic Boost

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

The place: San Francisco. The time: a Saturday afternoon.

The scenario: after lunch, two out-of-town couples find themselves in a neighborhood where taxi cabs are scarce. One of the women remembers a new iPhone app called Uber that allows you to wirelessly order a Lincoln Towncar and bill the trip to a credit card.

Elapsed time between signing up with Uber and the car arriving: 10 minutes. Estimated incremental cost above a traditional cab: $7.

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How Smart Grid and Broadband Work Together

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Energy policy is a topic that is on the minds of government and business leaders the world over. According to The Climate Group, an independent not-for-profit organization, our global economy is still driven by energy needs, and the vast majority of that energy comes from a finite supply of fossil fuels. According to their assessment, unless we rethink the way we produce and consume energy, eventually there won’t be enough to go around.

They believe that we need to cut our emissions by two thirds by 2050. But we need to do it in a way that protects our livelihoods, creates jobs and supports economic growth around the globe.

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Is The Second Economy The End Of Human Labor?

Recently, there have appeared some analyses that point to a shift from traditional human production to machine production.

In a McKinsey Quarterly article (https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Strategy/Growth/The_second_economy_2853

), W. Brian Arthur, a visiting researcher at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute, focused on the “second economy”.  The subtitle of his article sums up the message:

“Digitization is creating a second economy that’s vast, automatic, and invisible—thereby bringing the biggest change since the Industrial Revolution.”  He continues, “we can say that another economy—a second economy—of all of these digitized business processes conversing, executing, and triggering further actions is silently forming alongside the physical economy… human beings may design it but are not directly involved in running it. It is remotely executing and global, always on, and endlessly configurable.” Read More »

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Steve Jobs Legacy for me – what’s important to you?

October 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm PST

This is a tough blog post for me. Like many folks in the US and around the world I too believe we have lost a genius. From a consumer products perspective Jobs disrupted the animation industry, disrupted the music industry, disrupted the phone industry and disrupted the laptop industry. Disruption for the last  three meant big wins for Apple -- big profits and big market share numbers.

We’re all wondering what was planned next and, despite assurances that Apple will continue to produce innovation and that innovation is in safe hands with the existing management, I have a feeling that the ‘Jobs spark’ will be hard to replicate in the future. I do have confidence that someone or ‘ones’ will appear in the future to continue the innovation the US has been famous for.

Steve Jobs  ‘Righting the Ship’ after he takes the Helm. He’s talking about his predecessor’s approach, not his! That’s why Gates etc. are laughing.

As Managing Editor of the Manufacturing Industry Blog I am allowed the occasional ‘Editorial’ only slightly related to the industry (well, that’s what I’ve decided, anyway!). So this blog is tough because I’m not going to address the innovation issue. I’m not going to address the need for improved education or more engineers or more math students (though they are sadly needed).

No, this blog is about priorities in life. I’ve learned, as many of us have, that Jobs allegedly  delayed getting surgery for his pancreatic cancer by three-quarters of a year, or thereabouts. It is reported that the new biography that’s due out on Monday has some of the details. Now I make no judgment on his choices, I’ll leave that to you as reader, but a “60 minutes” interview that airs on Sunday with biographer Walter Isaacson apparently confirms details that had been speculated upon or widely reported, including that Jobs might have been cured of his “slow-growing” cancer had he sought professional treatment sooner, rather than resorting to unconventional means.

Please don’t judge Steve Jobs, or me. But here’s a similar learning from both of us. I passed a certain age a while ago where I should have had my first colonoscopy. I delayed it. Too busy; not high enough priority; low risk factors; you name the excuses. Four years after that time, in 2010, my wife Julie forced me to have it done. We had a 6 year old and she had just given birth to our second child – a beautiful baby girl.

Unfortunately for me, It was bad news…

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Can Broadband Access Fuel Job Creation?

The message from leaders across rural America is clear — they want broadband access to the internet, and they’re hoping that by raising the awareness of their common cause they’ll see some near-term progress towards that goal (helping to fuel new job creation).

Howard’s prior editorial entitled “Can Broadband Reshape Rural Development” seemed to trigger some spirited commentary. But that’s not surprising, when you consider how well organized and vocal the rural stakeholder groups have been in the past.

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