The computing pendulum has swung back to dumb terminals and service bureaus – will it swing back?

Those of us who’ve used computers for a while remember when we did our work at ‘dumb terminals’, which did nothing other than connect us to the mainframe. Often work was submitted in batch to a service bureau which processed all the transactions at night so we could get updated reports in the morning.

The pendulum then swung to having all the software and data in the workstation at your desk.  That requires a far more powerful machine and eliminates reliance on the service bureau.  The mainframe was less important in the era of distributed computing.

My friend John Bredehoft has a thoughtful post on the swinging pendulum in computing, What if you don’t know that you’re living in the cloud?

Continue reading “The computing pendulum has swung back to dumb terminals and service bureaus – will it swing back?”

It is a blast being alive today, or isn’t technology cool?

I am chuckling and getting a kick out of being alive in 2011.

Just downloaded two books, one is 1,100 pages long and the other 1,400 pages.  I’m doing a technical review of a book and before lunch asked the editor for a copy of the prior year resource, which was in 2 volumes.  The editor spent a few seconds uploading files to yousendit.com and an automatic e-mail went out saying it was available.   After lunch Continue reading “It is a blast being alive today, or isn’t technology cool?”

Opportunities and challenges in China

Walter Russell Mead is travelling in China. As all travelers know, this produces lots of insight. I still cherish the learning time I experienced during a number of overseas field audits for a client. But I digress.

In Chasing China Up The Food Chain, Mr Mead says:

The other day I was looking for a pair of gym shorts in Guangzhou and stopped at a sporting goods store. I found some — with a label proudly advertising “Made in Thailand.”

I’ve long read that manufacturers looking for the lowest cost are now building in Vietnam and Cambodia. That is a very serious problem for China.

The solution? Continue reading “Opportunities and challenges in China”

Another revolutionary step in the publishing industry – Amazon.com becomes a publisher

Amazon is moving into the publishing arena.  Not just e-publishing books in Kindle format, but the full-blown publishing gig.

I’ve only started to understand what they are doing, but it will be one more radical change in the publishing world.

Continue reading “Another revolutionary step in the publishing industry – Amazon.com becomes a publisher”

Downside to the radical change around us

Previously discussed Seth Godin’s idea that we are in two overlapping recessions. One is cyclical and will end. The other is systemic and permanent.

I don’t know what we are going to call the new work world.  Doesn’t seem to be a description in use that has caught on.

Whatever it’s called, the transition to this new set of rules is going to be horribly painful.

Continue reading “Downside to the radical change around us”

Two overlapping recessions? One cyclical and temporary. The other systemic and permanent.

Seth Godin has generated discussion from his post, The forever recession (and the coming revolution).

He suggests that we are currently in two recessions:

The first is the cyclical one, the one that inevitably comes and then inevitably goes.  There’s plenty of evidence that intervention can shorten it, and also indications that overdoing a response to it is a waste or even harmful.

The other recession, though, the one with the loss of “good factory jobs” and systemic unemployment–I fear that this recession is here forever.

The first one will end.  Continue reading “Two overlapping recessions? One cyclical and temporary. The other systemic and permanent.”

What is reshoring?

Reshoring = Unwinding offshoring.

Or, bringing jobs back to the US that previously had been moved overseas.

There isn’t much reshoring taking place, yet it is happening.  It goes against conventional wisdom of what is happening in the U.S. economy so it is something we ought to ponder.

I’ve been reading for some time that China has lost its place as the low-cost producer.  Manufacturers seeking the lowest cost are going to Vietnam and other places in Asia.

This has changed the economics of offshoring.

Continue reading “What is reshoring?”

Radical changes in the work world are painful. Don’t laugh too hard at people who don’t understand what is happening.

Transitions from changes in the new world of work are going to hurt.  A lot.

Some people are in serious denial.  That does not prevent the changes or reduce the pain.

Continue reading “Radical changes in the work world are painful. Don’t laugh too hard at people who don’t understand what is happening.”

Simple illustration of how work is changing

Previous post gave a big-word description of how work is changing.  Megan McArdle extends Mr Kling’s concepts in her post, The New New New Economy.

She paints two alternative paths as a choice between risk and being an assembly line drone when she says: Continue reading “Simple illustration of how work is changing”

A big-word description of how work is changing

The nature of work is changing. Radically.

Here are two fancy ways of describing the change that is taking place all around us along with my simple explanation.

Arnold Kling says this in his post, The Job-Seeker’s Paradox: Continue reading “A big-word description of how work is changing”

Locked in time or Continuous learning? Your choice.

If we are going to adapt to this rapidly changing world, we are going to have to be constantly learning.  Always picking up new ideas.  Continuously gaining new skills and knowledge.

The alternative is to get locked in time.

Continue reading “Locked in time or Continuous learning? Your choice.”

Space shuttle as illustration of opportunity cost and cul-de-sac

How to combine the idea of opportunity cost, cul-de-sac, and government overruns in one post?

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal editorial (behind paywall) says:

When it was first conceived, the shuttle was supposed to be a kind of space truck, going into orbit 50 to 75 times a year and carrying large payloads at a cost of $54 million a launch in 2011 dollars. It didn’t work out that way. The shuttle went aloft an average of five times a year. The cost-per-launch averaged some $1.5 billion. Its heaviest payloads barely exceeded what an unmanned Delta IV rocket can carry.

Let’s do some math, shall we?

Continue reading “Space shuttle as illustration of opportunity cost and cul-de-sac”