America’s Competitors Angle for Silicon Valley’s Business

NY Times

Americans continue to not notice how their money is going everywhere else.

Americans, such as myself – made the move from the Midwest – that had no future – to the East Coast and the West Coast – that did have a future.

Eventually, I ended up in Silicon Valley – that seemed to hold the future – for almost everywhere!

Now, this future is not so certain – everyplace else (even in Mexico!) is grabbing parts of it.

Living in Many Cultures

I am reading a programming book, by Sudipta Mukherjee, who lives in Bangalore – he never found it necessary to move to Silicon Valley, as many Indians have.

He probably comes from an upper-class Indian family, where the first language was English – and got an excellent education, from what amounted to British schools. Where the students were expected to learn, and learn a lot.

American students, by contrast, learn little – and go to school to socialize. I studied Engineering, in college – and that was considered strange, and not very social. But I did get a good job. Girls who were not interested in us in college – took a strong interest in us, after graduation, when they realized how much money we made.

When I was working in Silicon Valley in the Nineties, I mixed with Indians frequently at work – and was exposed to their religious activities on weekends. That area is one of America’s melting pots – with immigrants from nearly everywhere – including Central America.

I am presently living in Costa Rica, where tomorrow is Our Lady of Los Angeles day. She is the patron saint of Costa Rica, and thousands will be walking to her shrine, that is not far away.

I enjoy living here, because the people are so friendly, but technically advanced they are not. Culturally, it’s like living in Spain, in the 16th Century.

People are Not Smart Enough for Today’s World

But they do not realize this.

I am not so smart myself – but I am stubborn. When I hit a brick wall, as I often do – I keep hitting it – until it dawns on me – that this is giving me nothing but a sore head. Then I step back and take a good look at the situation.

I notice other people who are not just giving themselves a sore head – they are self-destructing! Without noticing this either.

I can only come to one conclusion – things have changed so much – they can no longer cope.

They are stone-age people who have survived for millions of years, because they were so adaptable. But today’s world – has tripped them up.

No problem, you may say – there a still a few around who can cope, and they will take over.

Millions will die – but they do not matter.

Audible Only Works for Amazon

They will never admit this – but they lie!

My precious Sansa Clip Zips are now useless – they will not play Audible books at all. I might as well through them in the trash.

By contrast, I can play them on my Amazon Fire tablet very well – in fact, I am pleased by how well I can play them, and navigate between the chapters of any book. Playing them there is easier than on my Clip Zip!

Audible is part of Amazon – and it has moved to protect its interests – by making sure no one else gets to use its property (Audible, that is).

It has also make Audible Manager obsolete – a defective product,  I will not miss at all!

The Building of a Artificial Reality

One that was more interesting than the real one.

I am referring to the Movies, that were made possible by two inventions – Electricity and Photography.

Only one other invention had as much of an impact – the automobile, and their development occurred during the same period – the early 20th Century. That also witnessed WWI, the Depression,  and WWII – a very violent period!

Through all this – people went to the movies, that showed them a better world – than the terrible one they were really in.

This lesson was not lost on them – they still live in an artificial reality – and have little interest in the real one – that continues to be someplace so terrible, no one wants to know about it.

The Movies were replaced by Television – that had an even greater impact on its viewers. The Magic Screen, not only entertained them – but showed them how to live, and what to buy. And they were watching it, many hours a day – instead of once a week at the Movies.

TV did have its critics, who noticed its overwhelming influence. But no one paid much attention to them – they were much more interested in the world they now identified with – a new artificial reality – that gave them everything they wanted – and more!

This more was provided by the Computer and its networks (especially the smartphone) that kept them entertained – as it completely reorganized their Economy.

Entertainment was the distraction that made all this possible. People were not noticing what was going on – they were noticing what their media (Facebook in particular) was showing them.

For me, this is a shocking situation – people were successful because they noticed what was going on around them – and thought about it.

Now they do neither.

Integrating Video and Text

User Testing on edX

Take a quick look at this lesson – which has two screens, a video of the lecturer on the left – and the words he is speaking, on the right. This provides a double whammy,  that makes the total experience more effective.

This not hard to do – and a simplified version, using only audio and video can be used. Where the instructor is speaking in the background – while the actions he is performing on his computer, is shown in a video in the foreground. Only one window is used.

The basic idea is simple – different technologies can be used simultaneously to provide different approaches to the subject.

To give a better learning experience.

I Have an Intimate Relationship with my Laptop

It is not just another machine – it is part of me. And it is connected to the rest of the world – that is also part of me. An intimate part of me.

Living this way – exposed to the rest of the world is not easy, but it is not so hard either. The only alternative is not being at all – committing social suicide. A decision most people have made, without knowing it at all.

When I was back in Silicon Valley, in the Nineties – people were obsessed with Intimacy – something they wanted very much – but were also afraid of, very much.

The reason for this was obvious – their world was not a safe place to be in.

And no one was willing to admit this.

For two hundred years, during the 19th and 20 Centuries – people became more technical, but less human. And in fact became antihuman – thinking they had become superhuman, instead.

One of the serious deficiencies of the human mind – is to consider opposites to be equal. Our language makes this easy – both good and bad are treated much the same way – as modifiers. They do the same thing in a sentence – so they must be the same thing.

Let me clarify this logic, which states that – what something does, is what it is.

This is a subtle point – with huge consequences. And should not be ignored – as it usually is.