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.

Go Play With Your Dog, Kid

From SlashDot:

A 12-year-old boy by the name of Jacob Barnett is a math genius. Mastering many college level astrophysics courses by the age of 8, he now works on his most ambitious project to date: his own ‘expanded version of Einstein’s theory of relativity.


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.

Activate the Future

BMW has a great series of documentary films up on their Activate the Future site.
From their about page:

“Wherever You Want To Go” is the first release under BMW Documentaries–a new franchise dedicated to crafting original, thought-provoking and entertaining content. The film aims to take audiences to a place they’ve truly never been: the future. From the minds of some of the most influential scientists, academics, pioneers, and entrepreneurs of our time, this four-part documentary paints a unique picture of technology, culture, cities, our past, present and how it all relates to the future of mobility.

“Wherever You Want To Go” is not meant to provide definitive answers, but rather, to ask the right questions from the right people in an attempt to generate discussion, provoke thought and stir the imagination. As part of the Activate the Future website, viewers are also encouraged to click and comment on various points throughout the documentary. was created to get users actively involved in the ever-evolving conversation on the future of mobility. Over the coming months, this site will continue to explore new ways to shape the future of mobility and will encourage users’ opinions and participation along the way.

via PSFK

Usage Is Like Oxygen

This article by Matt Mullenwag is a must-read for anyone who creates anything. I’m talking about painters, designers, entrepreneurs, writers, musicians – any creator.

Usage is like oxygen for ideas. You can never fully anticipate how an audience is going to react to something you’ve created until it’s out there. That means every moment you’re working on something without it being in the public it’s actually dying, deprived of the oxygen of the real world. It’s even worse because development doesn’t happen in a vacuum — if you have a halfway decent idea, you can be sure that there are two or three teams somewhere in the world that independently came up with it and are working on the same thing, or something you haven’t even imagined that disrupts the market you’re working in. (Think of all the podcasting companies — including Ev Williams’ Odeo — before iTunes built podcasting functionality in.)

I’ve taken this mentality with Daily Exhaust. The site, as it is right now, is not what I would consider finished. The overall design is still in progress. I’m not even sure I would call it a 1.0 release candidate. I still have a lot of work to do, but having it up and live puts pressure on me to work on it, improve it.
It’s a cliché, but seriously, if you have an idea, just do it.

Happy Cities

PSFK: Why Some Cities Make You Happier

Florida narrowed down the sources of this relative happiness to income, the type of work we do, and our level of education. He explained that cities with more knowledge, and more professional and creative jobs have a lower unemployment rate and higher level of income. Cities with more blue collar jobs, that were hit hardest by the economic crisis, are experiencing increasing unemployment rates and lowering incomes and residents don’t have the means to relocate. This puts a serious damper on the ability of those cities’ populations to be happy under Florida’s criteria.

What he found was that, over time, America has increasingly become unequal and divided in terms of income, jobs, education, politics and culture. The difference between being happy and unhappy has come to revolve around geographical location and urban environment.

Good Morning

Good Morning, people.
This message is the first in what will be a series I’ll be posting here as well as on Facebook. I want color in my Facebook news feed. I’m tired of seeing the same bullshit, mundane status updates and poorly shot family photos. Maybe it has something to do with the new Color app for iPhone I just read about.