Technology Is Eating Jobs

WSJ: Is Your Job an Endangered Species?

Tellers, phone operators, stock brokers, stock traders: These jobs are nearly extinct. Since 2007, the New York Stock Exchange has eliminated 1,000 jobs. And when was the last time you spoke to a travel agent? Nearly all of them have been displaced by technology and the Web. Librarians can’t find 36,000 results in 0.14 seconds, as Google can. And a snappily dressed postal worker can’t instantly deliver a 140-character tweet from a plane at 36,000 feet.

So which jobs will be destroyed next? Figure that out and you’ll solve the puzzle of where new jobs will appear.

Forget blue-collar and white- collar. There are two types of workers in our economy: creators and servers. Creators are the ones driving productivity–writing code, designing chips, creating drugs, running search engines. Servers, on the other hand, service these creators (and other servers) by building homes, providing food, offering legal advice, and working at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Many servers will be replaced by machines, by computers and by changes in how business operates. It’s no coincidence that Google announced it plans to hire 6,000 workers in 2011.

The World As He Sees It

How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people — first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving…

A Laptop Tablet Makes Perfect Sense

NYTimes: Acer’s Iconia Is the Craziest Laptop of All Time

Sometimes engineers get excited about things without stopping to ask the question: Why? Why is this better? Why would anyone want this?

Such questions, it would appear, were not asked in the labs of Acer. Its latest offering, the Iconia, is one of the most bizarre products to ever make it to production. The Iconia, when closed, looks like a laptop. When opened, however, all is revealed: the Iconia is actually two 14-inch touchscreens joined at a hinge.

I love engineers, they’re completely brilliant, and most of the time also completely impracticable.

Da Format

A few weeks ago, I got back into gear and continued the process of redesigning this site. The redesign includes both cosmetic and structural changes. While dozens of changes need to be made, I’ve started with the most basic and most important – the individual entry format.
My primary goal is to make Daily Exhaust a great reading experience. Most sites don’t work this way. This applies to amateur blogs to professional blogs to news sites by multi-national corporations.
We’re all familar with layouts similar to this:
You’ve got a entry body area that may or may not be at an optimal size for readability and then over on the righthand side, a bunch of shit having nothing to do with the entry you’re reading. If you’re lucky enough to scroll past these billboards during your reading journey, you inevitably encounter the eternal sidebar deadspace, the U.S. Route 50 of websites.
I need a better driving, excuse me, reading experience on Daily Exhaust. I want people to enjoy coming here, not merely endure a sub-optimal reading layout because they like the content.
So in my world, when you’re reading, it’s the only thing in your view:
Look to the left, look to the right… it’s all related to the entry. In this case, when you look to the right, it’s the meta content related to the entry. Time stamp. Category. Keywords. No ads. No sub navigation. No dead space, just open space.
Yes, I’m not directly monetizing this site (aside from self-promotion) yet, so I have the luxury of creating any format I choose. Regardless, it’s possible to scale the current format in a way that still favors the reader while making me money. Down the road, if I do include ads on the page, I plan to do so either within designated space between posts, or in actual entries themselves. I look forward to having these types of problems.
Moving forward, there’ll be many more changes but won’t change is a focus on readability.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

My father used to say this to me whenever we were working on a project in his workshop. The object was usually made of wood, and the tool was usually his table saw.
Physical projects, as opposed to the virtual ones on the Web, have much different and permanent ramifications when you make decisions. Once you cut a piece of wood, it’s cut. Done. There’s no Command-Z.
Today though, I discovered a place in the virtual world where this mantra makes perfect sense – email messages. While I’m a fast and efficient multi-tasker, I’m also a great maker of typos. It’s most obvious in my messages to clients.
So now I read twice (or three times) and send once.

Imagination At Work

From the NYTimes:

General Electric, the nation’s largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010.

The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States.

Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.

That may be hard to fathom for the millions of American business owners and households now preparing their own returns, but low taxes are nothing new for G.E. The company has been cutting the percentage of its American profits paid to the Internal Revenue Service for years, resulting in a far lower rate than at most multinational companies.