I am also becoming convinced that the Apple Watch changes things

Apple Watch 

The Watch
[Via asymco]

Before its launch, I said that the Apple Watch would be as much a watch as the iPhone is a phone. Recall that when the iPhone was launched it was anchored on three tentpoles, one of which was being a phone and that when the Apple Watch was launched it was also anchored on three tentpoles, one of which was being a watch.

Realizing that on the iPhone the “phone” is but an app — one which I find populated with FaceTime calls rather than cellular calls and whose messaging history is filled with iMessage threads rather than SMS — I consider it safe to say what the iPhone is today not as much a phone as a very personal computer. And so the question is whether the Watch will quickly leave behind its timekeeping anchor and move into being something completely different.

I had the chance to use the Watch for a few days and can say that timekeeping is probably as insignificant to its essence as it’s possible to be. It feels like a watch in the physical sense, looking good in the process (as the iPhone physically felt like a phone, also without being hard on the eyes)

However it does not feel like a watch conceptually. I find myself drawn into a conversation by its vocabulary of vibrations. I find myself talking to it. I find myself listening to it. I find myself glancing at information about faraway places. I find myself paying for things with it. I find myself checking into flights with it. I order transportation, listen to news, check live data streams and get myself nagged to exercise. It tells me where I am. It tells me where to go. It tells me when to leave.

Nothing ever worn on a wrist, or anywhere else for that matter, has done any of these things before. Not only are these things mesmerizing but they are done in a productive way on a wristwatch. In other words they are done in a mindful way.


I’ve written a few times about this – the iPhone is not a phone but a supercomputer in our pocket; the Apple Watch will be the device that interacts with the supercomputer in our pocket.

We can now use other devices to allow us to gain access to huge amounts of information while leaving the supercomputer in our pocket. And these devices can let that supercomputer service its computational needs while doing things that are easier for us.

I expect this to again change things.

How the next technological revolution starts


[Crossposted at the Space Trade Association]

There has been, and continues to be, a lot of discussion about what sort of technology will change everything – 3d printers, AI, space.

That is the wrong way to look at it. It is not technology that does the changing. Deep change comes from reorganizing ourselves around new principles in order to take the best advantage of the new technology.

Like Darwin’s finches on a new, uninhabited island of the Galapagos, we must change ourselves and our society in order to be successful in the new cultural environment.

Carlota Perez has written a lot about technological revolutions (the really impactful ones). For them to happen, there needs to be new, cheap access to resources, new infrastructure to move the resources around and then the organizations to take advantage of the first two.

The last one always requires social re-organization and discovery of operating principles needed to be successful in the cultural environment that is created.

The technology may be in use for a generation before someone figures out how to actually use it in ways to transform society.

Large construction projects had been around for 20 years until Carnegie opened up the first steel mill in Pittsburg to usher in an age of massive projects. Cheap steel available to a large market changed society, bringing us robber barons, unions, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Gilded Age.

The internal combustion engine using fossil fuels had been around for about 20 years until Ford produced the Model T and ushered in the age of mass production. Cheap transportation and mass markets changed society, bringing us international corporations, broadcast TV, pollution and men on the Moon.

Semiconductor technology had been around for over 20 years until Intel released the first microprocessor and ushered in the age of mass information. Cheap production of digital information and mass access changed society, bringing us supercomputers in our pockets, the Internet, streaming music and Facebook.

In each, it was more the organizing principles that were developed that made the new technology more productive. Not the technology itself.

So it won’t be the tech or resources  as much as the structure the human societies adopt to most take advantage of the new resources/infrastructure.

That is how everything changes.

The Hugos have often been a den of vipers

Hugo pre-show featuring Ultraman and many rubber monsters, WorldCon, Yokohama, Japan 37.JPG 

The Hugo Awards Were Always Political. But Now They’re Only Political.
[Via io9]

Last August, the Hugo Awards were swept by a younger group of women and people of color. At the time, we said “This was really a year that underscored that a younger generation of diverse writers are becoming central to the genre.” So maybe it’s not surprising that there was an organized backlash.

The new slate of Hugo Awards nominees were just announced, and you can read the list at the link. Suffice to say, the nominees in pretty much every category (other than Best Novel) come pretty much exclusively from a fan campaign called Sad Puppies, organized by Brad R. Torgersen and Larry Correia. Last year, Correia organized a campaign which successfully placed one item in each category on the Hugo slate — so this year, they decided to go further. As John Scalzi has pointed out, this was not against the spirit or the letter of the Hugo Awards rules.


This has happened before and it will happen again. The Hugo Awards have always had a strong political aspect. Just as the Worldcons that sustain them have often been scenes of intense bickering if not outright physical intimidation between opposite groups of fans.

Just read histories of the first WorldCon in 1939 – when the establishment New Fandom fought the elitist Futurians*. Lots of apparent abuse of the system to make sure that only the right people were on the committees. Several Futurians were even prevented from even attending

Nothing is as heated as fans on opposite sides. Remember what fan is short for.

*One need only look at who the Futurians were to get the idea that historically, they won. Asimov, Blish, Kidd, Knight, Kornbluth, Lowndes, Merrill, Pohl and Wollheim.

Nasty phishing exploit uses social engineering to get vital info


Dyre Wolf attack swipes $1 million in wire transfers
[Via Engadget]

Hackers continue their brazen attacks on organizations and are even having their victims call them on the phone to hustle them out of their company’s money. That’s what IBM’s Security Intelligence division has discovered while researching a malware-based attack they have dubbed The Dyre Wolf that’s responsible for stealing more than $1 million. The coordinated campaign uses targeted spear phishing emails, malware and good ol’ chatting-on-the-phone social engineering to go after organizations that use wire transfers.


Pretty sophisticated. And very likely to work if people are not warned what to look for.

Brilliant April Fool’s by math instructor

A lot of work went into this one.

Adam Smith knew the difference between untilitarianism and psychopathy

 07.01.2012 - His Hand

Utilitarianism versus psychopathy
[Via Boing Boing]

A classic thought experiment asks you to choose between doing nothing and letting an out-of-control trolley crash into a schoolbus, or pushing a fat man into the trolley’s path, saving the kids but killing the bystander.


I’ve discussed this before. Adam Smith wrote a book on a theory of ethics and morality before Wealth of Nations. He believed that what we know as capitalism would be done by moral and ethical people. 

So he proposed a much better query than pushing a fat man in front of a train. He asked would you save a hundred million living in China if you only had to lose your little finger?

And he answered it by suggesting that “the world, in its greatest depravity and corruption, never produced such a villain as could be capable of entertaining” the idea of not doing it.

Any moral person woud easily give up their little finger to save 100 million. At least in his world.

He wrote (my bold):

When the happiness or misery of others depends in any respect upon our conduct, we dare not, as self-love might suggest to us, prefer the interest of one to that of many. The man within immediately calls to us, that we value ourselves too much and other people too little, and that, by doing so, we render ourselves the proper object of the contempt and indignation of our brethren.

There we have the difference between real utilitarianism of Adam Smith’s capitalism and the psychopathy of today’s free market capitalism.

What a different worl he lived in.


Open Carry T-shirts are not a good idea

Open Carry T-shirts are an invitation to be shot by cops
[Via Boing Boing]

The only difference between Open Carry T-Shirts and the Please Kill Me T-shirt that Richard Hell wore is that the Open Carry T-Shirts will really get you killed. Junior sizes available!


Only if someone has a deathwish. This is crazy. Cops kill unarmed people all the time because they think a bottle is a gun.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 518 other followers

%d bloggers like this: