29 June 2007

Where does your iPod come from? (The economic perspective)

A study from UC Irvine on capturing and attributing (economic) value of a 30G iPod across its creators and manufacturers. In this reckoning, even though each 30G iPod contributes $150 of trade deficit between US and China, the actual value added to the product via the assembly etc is only about a few dollars, meaning that the trade deficit actually winds up in other places. Here's a nice summary from economist Hal Varian.

A torchlight into global assembly and logistics lines as well as a commentary on the true value of innovation.

20 June 2007

Powerpoint turns 20

Originally developed for the Mac in 1987 as a result of identifying the need for graphic presentations in a world made possible by Mac's GUI , Powerpoint was subsequently bought over by Microsoft. The window's version came out in 1990 and the world never looked back. If there is a competition for software that can be considered 'omnipresent', Powerpoint would surely come up among the top few contenders. A nice article from WSJ on an interview with the programme's creators.

Surely a blog on Powerpoint cannot be complete without a discussion on its users merits and flaws, but since I'm feeling rather lazy today, I'll refer you to the worst powerpoint slide ever? and the effects of powerpoint on pedagogy.

I do like Powerpoint as a canvass upon which art can be created. I also like the use of Powerpoint as a (with apologies to the WSJ article) as a printing press to write detailed business plans: data-rich landscape documents that are meant to be read, not presented. Presentation slides in my view are best kept sparse!

For historians of Powerpoint, the website of one of the creators Robert Gaskins is full of interesting stuff (including Dilbert) for you to mull over.

09 June 2007

Look, I read the Economist too!

From the Onion, the commentary to the main article. The Commentary is quite funny... so does reading the Economist make you something of a intellectual snob? Heh.

Not to say that the main article doesn't make some point too, but it's the inspiration that NASA's science and exploration that makes it, still, even today, as something of a symbol and inspiration for apolitical science and exploration.