Michael Long’s Techdirt Profile

isights

About Michael Long

Currently I manage the development for ThinkTQ.com, but I also freelance as a consultant for corporations and non-profits specializing in e-commerce, CMS, and scalability/infrastructure.

I'm also a web developer, have been active in applications and systems software development, and have 30 years experience developing for Apple computers (Apple, Lisa, Mac). My long-time familiarity with Apple and their technologies lead me to start iSights.org.



Michael Long’s Comments comment rss

  • Oct 4th, 2013 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I have to disagree with you on this one

    "If 80% of their workload went away, they would be freed up to give their full attention to the patients who have really difficult problems, leading to a better outcome for everybody, both patients and doctors."

    You presume that hospitals wouldn't simply reduce the number of doctors, nurses, and other caregivers to the point were 20% are now supporting the same workload.

  • Oct 4th, 2013 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I have to disagree with you on this one

    I really don't want to start off a counter-argument by saying you're an idiot... but, you're an idiot.

    Should society collapse to the point where your "skills" are needed, you're as screwed as everyone else. Live off the land? Right. We're long past the point of society "living off the land", and you're not going to find anything to hunt or fish when millions of others are trying to do the same.

    Armed? Yep. So are millions of other people, and if a gang of them wants whatever meager food you've managed to grow in your window box , you're also screwed.

  • Oct 4th, 2013 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It's not that simple

    Which part of "as more and more sectors automate" isn't clear? It's not just one type of job. It's jobs in sector A and sector B and sector C and D and E and F and J and K...

    Computerization, software, automation, telepresence, and other technologies are going to have a profound impact on jobs and employment, displacing millions upon millions of jobs and workers. What we've seen thus far is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Oct 4th, 2013 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It's not that simple

    "Tellers still provide valuable services, but since they're not the only option for most like they used to be, you don't need so many of them per branch.'

    Precisely. Those jobs are replaced by computers and automation.

    "TMs, data centres, call centres, etc. still need to employ people as well to build, maintain and operate them."

    A single data center NOC of 12 people can support thousands, if not millions of online "businesses" and services. ATMs are built in automated factories, and a couple of guys in a couple of trucks can support all of that banks ATMs in your average city. (ATMs report their own status, signal when cash is low, etc.)

    What's so hard to understand here? Automation means you can do more with fewer people. More jobs, at all levels of the economy, are becoming automated, even at the companies producing the machines that do the automation.

    Follow that trend, and you end up with not enough jobs.

  • Oct 4th, 2013 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "And if technology is also driving the cost of essential goods down, why are the larger salaries even required?"

    Weel, there's this thin called "inflation". And another thing called "scarcity". Tried to buy or rent an apartment in NYC or San Francisco recently? Buy a house? Even pay the rising property taxes on land? Paid for health insurance or health care?

  • Oct 4th, 2013 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As I pointed out, automation allows locally located mills to be competitive in the global marketplace. Barely. Mills overseas can use the same exact machines, and have lower costs with cheaper labor. Basically, one saves on shipping and time-to-market.

    Open another mill? Wow. Another 150 jobs. You'd need 13 mills to replace the 2,000 jobs lost in just the first mill alone, much less the 26,000 people 13 old-style mills would have employed. Assuming. of course, that the demand is there to support them.

    Next point: more people can buy "nice" mass-produced stuff only if they have the jobs to support doing so.

    Unfortunately, the economy is contracting in that regard. And this is the point you seem to miss. People displaced are often thrown out of work and/or forced into lower paying jobs, which in turn contract the economy even further. Job "creation" is largely failing to keep pace with population growth.

    And your claim, "We haven't even touched on how automation can support service industries..." simply underscores the point. Automation is moving into those areas as well, with fewer jobs needed as a direct result.

  • Oct 4th, 2013 @ 8:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As I pointed out, no one says time to stand still. But adjusted for population, there are fewer tellers. And again, why? We have more people, In a "growing" economy we'd have more money to handle.

    But technology has eliminated the need for tellers to keep up with the corresponding rise in population growth. ATMs, online banking, more credit card readers, etc., mean fewer jobs in that sector.

    And that would be fine, unless we start to see fewer jobs in other sectors, as well. Which we are, and even in service jobs. Scan it yourself checkouts reduce the need for checkers. Tablets being introduced in some restaurants reduce the need for waitstaff. I can renew my plates and drivers license online now, so fewer branches and employees.

    Online services like RocketLaywer are even reducing the need for lawyers and clerks for many routine tasks (poser of attorney).

    And Mike has another point wrong. People who point out these things aren't Luddites. I've been using computers for decades now, and I have no wish nor desire to turn back the clock.

    But we are rapidly reaching an inflection point, and the sooner we recognize that fact, the sooner we can try to do something about it.

  • Oct 3rd, 2013 @ 8:33pm

    Re: Re:

    And as I pointed out below, there are more bank tellers than ever before because there are more PEOPLE than ever before.

    In 1985 the US pop was 237M. In 2002, it was 287M, or a 18% increase. There were 485K tellers in 1985, and 527K in 2002. That's mere 8% increase.

    So, adjusted for population, there were FEWER tellers in 2002 than there were in 1985. Why? We had 50 million more people. Why not more tellers to maintain the same level of service?

    Or did computers, ATMs, online banking, and other services reduce the need to have extra employees standing around in every bank branch in the US?

    Come on, Mike. It's not like you to make such an elementary mistake.

  • Oct 3rd, 2013 @ 8:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It's not that simple

    Sigh. There are more bank tellers than ever before because there are more PEOPLE than ever before.

    In 1985 the US pop was 237M. In 2002, 287M, or a 18% increase. There were 485K tellers in 1985, and 527K in 2002. That's mere 8% increase.

    So, adjusted for population, there were FEWER tellers in 2002 than there were in 1985. Why? We had more people. Why not more tellers to maintain the same level of service?

    Or did computers, ATMs, online banking, and other services reduce the need to have an extra employee standing in every bank branch in the US?

  • Oct 3rd, 2013 @ 8:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It's not that simple

    "When automation throws people out of work, people find new work to do."

    I can go in my backyard and "work", but that doesn't mean that I'm going to get paid for it. People only get paid for work when that work provides goods or services to someone else. And that someone else has to be able to afford to pay for those goods and services.

    And if that someone else is also unemployed, then you have a problem.

    That's the US problem in a nutshell. Companies automated or off shored high paying jobs. The people laid off then had to compete for low-paying jobs, driving some out of work, but most importantly giving them less money to spend themselves. When means less demand for goods and services, which means you need fewer people to meet that demand, so more people are laid off and have less money to spend, which reduces demand...

    And around and around it goes.

  • Oct 3rd, 2013 @ 7:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Truck drivers: instead of having to drive the truck themselves they now buy one truck and send it to the place they need to be..."

    Much more likely that a corporation buys a fleet of the aforementioned trucks, giving them 200 cross country trucks that no longer need drivers. With further negative downstream impacts at restaurants, truck stops, motels, and so on.

  • Oct 3rd, 2013 @ 7:20pm

    Re: Re:

    Better to say that SOME people are always needed. A case in point, and related to the article, regards new textile mills and jobs returning to the US. Of course, the reason they can afford to return is because the mills are now highly automated.

    One new mill currently employs 150 people. Years ago, it needed 2,000 people to produce the same amount of cloth, for a net 92% reduction in jobs.

    The jobs needed to produce the looms, maintain them, etc., are a wash, as older looms had to be produced and maintained as well. (Actually, the newer looms are probably produced using robots as well.)

    The same plant, back in the day, probably also had tons of middle management, secretaries, and other positions also eliminated or no longer needed, again due to technological advances.

    The call centers mentioned above are also a nice bit of misdirection. Yep. Lots of people work in call centers. But technology also lets those centers be located where labor is cheapest, and technology also lets one call center support dozens upon dozens of individual companies, eliminating in-house positions from each.

    And even assuming the increase in numbers across new fields (phone operator to telemarketers) directly corresponds, once you factor in population growth (1940s?), I highly suspect that any major gains are largely illusionary.

    Technology is reducing the job count relative to population, and further, is driving salaries down at the same time.

  • Jul 11th, 2013 @ 1:29pm

    Re:

    "...is like suing Microsoft for what people do using Word."

    Light. Bulb.

  • Jun 6th, 2013 @ 4:26pm

    Re: Re:

    That's the mission, yes. And they're true patriots, staffed and managed by human beings who would never, ever even consider abusing the systems under their control.

    All for the greater good, of course.

  • May 13th, 2013 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: OMG, "disintermediated"!!! Sounds BAD!

    Do you deal with Ford directly, or do you deal with a dealership not owned by Ford, but who's simply entered into a contract to sell their cars?

    Since it's that later, the dealer is in fact an intermediary between Ford, the manufacturer and you, the buyer.

  • Apr 27th, 2013 @ 7:20am

    Re:

    Where I've lived I only seen Amber Alerts maybe once or twice a year. And you're right in that most people will be able to do nothing about it.

    Then again, it's amazing how often someone does manage to see that yellow Ford pickup truck.

    Which tends, in my mind, to prove his point. The fact that they're relatively rare means that when they occur we're more likely to make a mental "note" regarding that yellow truck.

  • Mar 27th, 2013 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re: WTF

    I mentioned price matching above, but a loyalty / punch card approach has merit too.

    And both promotional ideas make more sense than Mike's one-size-fits-all value mantra.

  • Mar 27th, 2013 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Ditto. Same for the other "value" adds. Advice. Take it and leave. Classes? Attend and buy elsewhere.

    Sounds to me her primary answer should simply be to add value AND advertise that they will price match any other store. Shouldn't be hard to do if their prices are "almost the same."

  • Mar 17th, 2013 @ 9:32pm

    Re: Free Google Stuff

    Given the response from across the web, I bet tons of people were using Googleís back-end systems as a way to manage and synchronize their RSS news feeds, and then feeding that information into dedicated desktop clients and apps like Reeder, NetNewsWire, and Feedly.

    As such, itís not that Google Reader had no users. Itís that Google got stuck running a warehouse full of servers that delivered information and not web pages. Since they werenít web pages, there were no eyeballs looking at them, and as such Google had no way to serve up ads and monetize the service.

    http://www.isights.org/2013/03/thoughts-on-google-readers-demise.html

  • Dec 27th, 2012 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I just did a block check, and the 192.58 prefix doesn't appear to be used by the US. http://www.nirsoft.net/countryip/us.html

    It's not a spoof, it's a fabrication.

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