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NullVoid » 2005 » July NullVoid » 2005 » July

Archive for July, 2005

fool your eyes

Saturday, July 23rd, 2005 -- By ET

This laptop is not a real one, it was drawn on the ground. But how come it is so 3-d looking?

The artist’s name is Julian Beever, and he is a pavement painter who can create these effects. Very neat ideas, more on his homepage.

Transmitting my blog to Space

Saturday, July 23rd, 2005 -- By ET

Starting from today, my blog entries will be transmitted to the space.


Some 60 years ago humans first began transmitting television signals powerful enough to reach beyond our earth’s atmosphere. Since then the media has continued to broadcast messages from I Love Lucy to the five o’clock news into space, potentially reaching intelligent alien life forms beyond our solar system.

Blogs In Space takes my feed and transmit it out on a powerful deep space transmission dish.

Managing for Creativity

Monday, July 18th, 2005 -- By ET

Harvard Business Review has a new article talking about a company’s most valuable asset. This is a very pleasant article to read, one of the authors Jim Goodnight is the CEO of SAS. I did not know he had a Ph.D. degree in statistics, reading his bio reminds me another big name in scientific computing: Stephen Wolfram who founded Mathematica. I’ll write about Wolfram and his book “A New Kind of Science” later.

In the HBR article, the ways to encourage creative thoughts and to nurture innovative thinkings are discussed. In the article: “While most students of the creative process have focused on what makes individuals creative, a growing number of thinkers such as Andrew Hargadon at the University of California, Davis, and John Seely Brown, former chief scientist of Xerox, are unlocking the social and management contexts in which creativity is most effectively nurtured, harnessed, and mobilized. Eric von Hippel of MIT and Henry Chesbrough of the University of California, Berkeley, have called attention to the critical role played by users and customers in the creative process and to a new model of

Make more with fewer

Wednesday, July 6th, 2005 -- By ET

There is an interesting article in New York Times. Profits are soaring but employment figures are not. This dynamic points to significant future shifts down the road for Silicon Valley companies like Electronic Arts and Cisco. Interestingly, the culprit isn’t just outsourcing. Huge leaps in worker productivity and automated processes are also responsible for the decreased need for new labor.
Professor David Autor at MIT Econ department and Professor Erik Brynjolfsson at MIT Sloan have written extensively on the shifting of worker roles and IT’s contribution to productivity.
In my opinion, this shift will continue to be a big thing in the future, the sloppy employment figures should just be a short term phenomenon.
Outsourcing indeed moved a lot of job opportunities overseas, but this is simply because it is more cost effective for firms to do so. In a free market, the invisible hand is making the connections between resources and firms, although it reduces the domestic employment, firms would still want to embrace outsourcing simply because it is more efficient for them to do so. In a famous paper by Hayek written in 1945, he wrote: ” If we possess all the relevant information, if we can start out from a given system of preferences, and if we command complete knowledge of available means, the problem which remains is purely one of logic. … This, however, is emphatically not the economic problem which society faces. ” His main argument is that instead of centrally planned, the society works in a much more decentralized way that the optimal decisions are made through information obtained vertically or horizontally through the price system across firms. Isn’t this a good way of thinking about the outsourcing debate we are experiencing nowadays?
One more word for the productivity: for both leaps in worker productivity and automated processes , I see great opportunities for information technology and workers related to it. The solution to the ugly employment figure above is to educate and train people to better utilize IT and design new IT applications. How? Professor Autor has a paper Wiring the Labor Market that discusses this in detail.

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