Tablet computers (and smart phones) are bad. They are bad for consumers and kill innovation. They move power from the owner of the device to its manufacturer, and denying the use of a cheap base for research and development, the very base that made the tablets possible in the first place, and, if PCs follow suit, innovation will become much harder. They deny consumers choice, are sometimes impossible to update (a security nightmare) and are inflexible. (more…)
Ian Hickson, maintainer of the HTML5 specification, argues that the real purpose of DRM is to give content providers leverage over device manufacturers. Although this is true for some applications of DRM, in many cases the purpose is to lock customers to particular devices and services, and to raise barriers to entry against new devices and services. (more…)
My idea, intended for the UK, but possibly applicable elsewhere, will generate a huge amount of government revenue, complete change immigration, and stimulate economic growth. The idea is a very simple: auction residence visas. (more…)
Future returns on investments in shares will come less from growth in the underlying businesses and more from income. This means that ratings should be lower, and, in particular, we should expect higher yields. (more…)
The usual argument in favour of legalising insider trading is that it is not actually harmful (or even beneficial) to investors. I think that insider trading is extremely harmful and in-ethical, but it should be legalised anyway. My reasons are the difficulties in enforcing the law, and the probable effects on markets of legalisation. (more…)
Rick’s latest post on the creativity crisis raises the possibility that the current slowdown in technological advance is merely a period of adjustment rather than a permanent slowdown. I have three reasons for remaining pessimistic.
- The slowdown is historically unprecedented, not just part of a cycle.
- The reasons for the slowdown are built into our economy and politics, so it cannot easily be reversed.
- Even if this is just a temporary phenomenon, the results could still be catastrophic.
I have thought about this before, but a question my nine year old daughter asked me crystallised the idea. The (already existing) regulatory process can be tweaked to provide an alternative to patents that would make the market more competitive, reduce over-head costs of research, and reduce litigation costs and uncertainties. (more…)
I am entirely unable to understand Boston Consulting Group’s much publicised claim that the “internet economy” contributes 8.3% of UK GDP. They do not define what they mean and I cannot reconcile it with the numbers. Most of the discussion in their document is of online retail so that is clearly important, but lets start with a key question. (more…)
Investors, and others who try to predict the future, are often fond of thinking in terms of megatrends. Changes in demographics, climate, technology and culture are often discussed. One that I believe to be the most significant of all is rarely mentioned, and I have never seen the implications discussed. It is also hard to accept, because it appears to be disproved by experience. (more…)
Another uneventful days as far as the books go, but music is going better than I expected. (more…)