If you were to log in, you'd be able to get more information on your fellow community member.
I love commenting on my own material....
Anyway, to respond to my friend Ken: I've no longer any desire to assert superiority over my fellow man via audio equipment. I'm so busy these days developing and maintaining (ugh!) Web services that I don't have time to do much besides listen. So CDs appeal to me more and more because they are so convenient (drop five in a changer and walk away for a whole brunch).
That said, my CD collection on balance doesn't seem as realistic as my LP collection. It is definitely not an unshakeable truth for me, though. I'm perfectly prepared to believe that the new DVD-based hifi audio disks will crush LP sound quality like a bug.
I have to admit that it sucks to come home and find that my Audio Research preamp has toasted itself yet again. Or that the diamond has fallen out of my $500 photo cartridge. My Sony CD changer isn't all that reliable either but at least it is simple to throw out.
I should respond to Bob Givan, if only because we were office mates at MIT and he was kind enough to help me solve many a thorny math problem...
I think Bob's point that a research school like MIT is in danger of becoming completely unresponsive to undergrads is a good one. I'm personally dismayed that, even right now when we're charging undergrads $100,000/pop, I have a better chance of getting run over in Harvard Square by a Boeing 747 than I do of getting MIT to pay for the development of facilities for or a class in databases, Web-supported collaboration, or anything of the other things that I do.
I guess this is all wrapped up in the "no credit for an academic career will be given for anything other than a paper in a journal" philosophy of modern universities. I don't want to fight or argue against that right now, but at least we should stop making the undergrads pay for our little club.
Richard, you're a genius and a good friend (and a thoughtful old-style computer scientist), but you've missed my point. I didn't give the kids back their money because I wanted to subsidize them; I gave them back their money because I can longer accept the idea that they and their families are subsidizing me. I didn't want to personally profit from a system that I've claimed is unjust (and that the federal government claimed was unlawful). Not only do I think it is unjust, but, though at one time it might have been very profitable, I think it is no longer in our institution's best interest.
One thing that I should really add to my article is a stronger argument against using economic reasoning. In my opinion, MIT should not operate by the same rules as, say, Microsoft. Just because the market will bear our prices doesn't mean that we should constantly strive to maximize profit. If we go down that road then we must inevitably face the fa...
Robert mentions $5000/year in his message two slots up. It is funny because that's almost exactly the figure that I calculated as the cost of educating a college student if classroom space and Ph.D. lecturers were purchased at market rates ($30 sq. ft. for downtown office space and $2000/course for a Ph.D.; sorry about the low price for the instructor but that actually is the market rate right now (I know because I have a bunch of friends who are teaching classes for this price)). If you think it sobering that office space costs more than Ph.D. instructors, then you need to read http://photo.net/philg/careers.html :-)
Lee raises a good point in the above message. The opportunity cost of not working is quite high here in the U.S. Perhaps European students linger in school and appear to take it less seriously than Americans not because of the free tuition but because there aren't any jobs for youth in Europe.
Lee's point #2 about the...
Charlie, I don't have a penchant for "thoroughness"! My goal is not to try every possible Web/db tool. My first goal is to keep my million-hits/day personal sites up and running. My second goal is to finish the new rev of my community software package so that a bunch of folks (including me) can use it. My third goal is to complete my consulting projects (i.e., get Web sites built for clients of arsdigita.com).
None of these goals is furthered by spending a few weeks experiment with Cold Fusion. I don't think it can fundamentally do anything that my current Web tools can't so I'd rather spend my time data modelling and writing programs.
If those Allaire guys release an Emacs mode for Cold Fusion, maybe I'll have a look :-)
I'm going to respond to Stephane's thoughtful comments above regarding the French system and a socialized system of education.
Stephane: don't lose sight of the fact that I'm not proposing tuition-free education for all Americans at all schools. I've nothing against this idea but I haven't really thought about it. As an employee and graduate of MIT, I'm merely proposing that we (MIT) would be better off as an institution if didn't demand tuition payments.
As I note in my article, MIT is in a unique position to get corporate funds because very few of our students are studying the "non-productive" topics you mention ("art, philosophy, and history"). So we don't have to try to educate some crass business executive about the long-term value of studying Milton and Donne.
As far as Stephane's comment about universities being places for creative thinking not necessarily turned toward marketable results, let me repeat that it is tough to...
WebTV is OK, I guess, but it doesn't have a 10baseT Ethernet connection. Nor does it have a DVD player. Nor does it run the Web browsers that most people use (e.g., Netscape, MSIE). Nor does it come with a monitor! Nor does WebTV support joysticks and games. So until we live in a world where huge flat-panel monitors are cheap and ubiquitous, I think something like the Gateway has tremendous value (because it maximizes the utility of the space- and money-consuming monitor).
You can use Solid and AOL distributes a driver for it. However, you'll have to go through our code and remove all the Oracle-specific stuff. It is probably cheaper and better to simply get an Oracle license.
webcenters.netscape.com redirects you back to home.netscape.com if you don't present all the cookies that it wants to see (i.e., you have to be a registered user already to see the AOLserver-backed site).
ArsDigitans aren't all THAT amused, Nick. We're not the $%* Tcl company. If you check our public CVS tree you'll find that even now you can download a working 100% Java version of ArsDigita Community System. We got tired of saying "we only use Tcl for the presentation layer; the real engineering is in PL/SQL and Java inside the database". It does show one of the advantages of being open-source, though. Nobody who has downloaded ArsDigita software has ever even threatened to sue to get their money back :-)
To answer Craig's question above... Yes, I've heard the IRS. Once in a shop and once in Harry Pearson's home. In both cases the sound quality was underwhelming and artificial.
Thanks for the good wishes, Dan. My friend Jin joined me for the last leg of the Boston-Alaska-Baja-Boston trip. I picked him up at BWI and we landed at Logan airport (they made a United Airlines 757 wait on a taxiway while we putted down the glideslope for 04L). After we got out of the plane he said that he'd been giving me 3:1 odds on making it back to Boston alive. I do feel lucky not to have ended up like Galen Rowell though of course he was in a much higher performance airplane than my DA40. Sorry but no pictures of Portland: (1) this trip was not about photography, and (2) we didn't stop in Portland because the Winnebago is not the ideal vehicle for city sightseeing, I've been to Portland a few times before, and also we were anxious to get to the California coast.
Jim: I did not mean to imply that every old timer independently predicted every development in computing from 1950 through 2007, only that every significant development was predicted by at least one old timer.
Dave: Thanks for the comments. I just checked over at Amazon. On the very first page they are selling a Blu-ray disk of "2001: A Space Odyssey" for $9.99. I believe that it was an expensive productive for its time, 1968, costing $10.5 million at the time.
Brian: "Standard of care" is not "quality of care". The standard of care says whether or not a patient who complains of mild and occasional headaches gets an MRI. Quality of care is something that patients would determine for themselves in a competitive market, perhaps with the assistance of neighbors, magazines, and online communities. Remember that long before insurance companies or Big Government there were some doctors who had good reputations and were sought-after. The government can help make the market more efficient by collecting and publishing data from all of the clinics/HMOs, but the primary quality control mechanism in my proposal is the market. If people aren't happy with a provider, they will switch for the next year. If a provider kills all of its patients, they won't get their voucher checks for the next year.
Edward: I thought about the storage issue as well. I think what would make the most sense is a massive collection of shelving units on tracks, like they have in some libraries. Open up the cube to get to a particular shelf. Close it up for a party.
Steve (immediately above): Congratulations on your 99 percent dispatch rate, but I don't see how it is possible in a standard GA airplane (not approved for known icing conditions) in a four-seasons climate. Here in Massachusetts, for example, icing conditions prevail for at least four months out of the year at typical IFR altitudes for non-pressurized planes. Even a pressurized plane would have to climb through icing conditions. As I type this comment, there is an airmet for icing covering all of Massachusetts from 2000' to 16,000' MSL. The ceiling at KBED, our home base, is 300' AGL. Unless you think that you can scud-run underneath a 300' layer of clouds (a tough challenge given that we have hills and antennae that are 1500' high), you would not be able to fly legally out of our airport right now (i.e., if you had a business meeting scheduled you would miss it). I'm not sure how you're dodging thunderstorms to achieve your 99 percent dispatch rate, but let me share a few stories o...
Lucas: CRM is well-known and has been taught for decades at foreign carriers as well. As far as the improving safety record of U.S. airlines goes, consider that the period you're describing is also the period when terrain awareness systems were installed (as far as I know, no airliner equipped with a moving-map GPS-based TAWS system has been crashed into a mountain), when engines became much more reliable, when systems in general became simpler and more reliable, and when ground-based systems were substantially enhanced (weather radar feeds to ATC, more ILSes, etc.). The handful of hours of CRM training delivered to airline pilots during those decades may have made a difference, but (1) the effect is hard to separate from safety improvements due to improved technology, and (2) CRM training was delivered more or less equally at foreign carriers.
Major Thomas: I think that you misread the article. I did not say that a beginner pilot could be safer than every retired Air Force fighter jet pilot. Nor did I say that the average beginner pilot could be safer than the average retired Air Force fighter jet pilot. I said that a cautious beginner pilot, realistic about his or her own limitations, could be safer than an overconfident expert pilot. A friend down in Panama bought an ultralight. My friend had about 20 hours of flying experience and operated the ultralight uneventfully. He shared the aircraft with a retired F-16 pilot. The former F-16 pilot justifiably had much more confidence in his abilities than my friend, a raw beginner. He flew it low and fast up a twisty winding river, snagged a wing tip on a tree, and wrecked it. Air Force pilots are not immune from making GA-style mistakes. http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20060614/NEWS/60614001/Air-Force-blames-crew-for-C-5-crash is about the three very experienced USAF p...
Don: I linked to the original paper cited by Lanchester (you can read it for yourself). There are three authors from Harvard. The paper does not appear to have been professionally typeset and from that I would conclude that it was not professionally edited. So the arithmetic or writing error (depending on how you look at it) cannot be blamed on anyone other than these three geniuses from the world's greatest university. Moreover, the paper is published on the authors' own Web site and has been sitting there for five years. At any time during the preceding five years they could have noticed the error and corrected it (if they believed that it was an error).
Alan: The movie "7 Up" about English 7-year-olds circa 1970 has a scene where all of the subjects are running around just such an "adventure playground". So maybe the author got confused about Germany versus England.
Todd: Thanks for the vote of confidence. Why wouldn't I run for Congress? The most important skill for a politician is being able to get votes, which is typically done by promising to spend tax dollars on behalf of an interest group, e.g., public employees. Having a good idea for making the country a better place is not very helpful in getting elected. The successful politicians seem to outsource the generation of ideas when necessary for rare occasions such as debates. I'm not sure that politicians even pretend that the ideas they espouse during debates are their own. They might credit "my team of economic advisors", for example, when talking about what they would do regarding restrictions on imports. Government is now so vast and powerful, spending nearly half of all dollars earned by Americans, that the most sensible course of action is to vote for the politician who promises to spend money on stuff that will benefit the particular voter. For example, if you can't afford health in...
Hans: Thanks for your personal perspective on helicopters. The Nall Report (latest at http://www.aopa.org/asf/publications/09nall.pdf ) says that the "overall accident rate [for non-commercial helicopters] was only 7% higher than that for non-commercial fixed-wing fixed-wing flights; the fatal accident rate was 15% higher." Remember that non-commercial helicopter flights are often from backyards and out to yachts bobbing in a harbor. Or they are students practicing autorotations (i.e., intentionally rolling the throttle to idle, which is a much more challenging situation than in an airplane). A helicopter operated airport to airport and without any simulated failures may well have a lower accident rate than fixed wing.
William: Gusting 26 isn't much fun in a light airplane. One of the luxuries of private/recreational flying is that any of our flights can be rescheduled for maximum enjoyment, comfort, and safety. [Gusting 26 isn't that bad if you're planning on going somewhere because you'll climb up to 7500' or so where the air is typically much smoother than near the ground. Flight training, however, tends to stay close to the ground and therefore the bumps.]
Will: Thanks for the perspective. Is the touch screen good for a 2.5-year-old? I'm glad to hear it. I know a 75-year-old Harvard graduate who was completely unable to use the iPad, even after a 30-minute tutorial session at an Apple Store (from a "Genius"?). She is just about equally helpless with Windows, but is a capable user of a Web browser. Maybe this says something about Harvard...
Joseph: the iPad 2 is definitely not anathema to me; in fact I am thinking of getting one so that I can walk around the house and Skype with relatives. I don't think iMovie on the iPad 2 solves the problem that I set forth at the beginning, i.e., convenient editing of high quality video from a real video camera. A Google search does not indicate that anyone was able to work with AVCHD files on the iPad (in fact it seems that a lot of people with iMacs and other standard Macintosh computers had trouble with AVCHD as well).
Dave: I'm still connected to FiOS but also am using the original apartment in Cambridge that has Comcast service. FiOS is way better. The DNS problems that I noted in my 2009 review seem to have been resolved. The FiOS price is about $130/month I think for a landline, TV, Internet, etc. What speeds does one get on FiOS? Whatever speed you pay for! I think mine is 25/25. It is too bad that the U.S. will never catch up to Korea, Japan, and other countries with modern Internet service to the home.
Angus: Your estimate of 1 fatal accident in 10,000 hours is at variance with the data in http://www.aopa.org/Pilot-Resources/Safety-and-Technique/Accident-Analysis/Joseph-T-Nall-Report (the 2010 report is the last one with rates per flight hour). The fatal accident rate for home-built airplanes, nearly all of which are piston-powered, was about 0.4 per 10,000 flight hours. As noted above, in a comment, this falls to about 0.14 for certified per 10,000 hours. Still bad, but not as bad as your personal experience. And of course there are flight schools that operate 10,000 hours every couple of years for instruction and rental and yet don't have any fatal accidents (anecdotal evidence that 1 in 10,000 hours is an overestimate and the NTSB numbers are more or less right).
The maintenance workers don't have the same power that pilots have. It is legal for a U.S. airline to contract with another airline and/or an independent maintenance shop for maintenance.
Yossi: Great observation. People certainly have been enthusiastic about buying existing U.S. assets, such as real estate in Manhattan. When I wrote the article I was thinking about companies building factories, buying and installing machines for those factories, etc. "Investment Falls Off a Cliff" is a 2012 WSJ article that says "U.S. companies are scaling back investment plans at the fastest pace since the recession, ..." What I would like to see is a chart showing the total spent worldwide on potentially productive investments such as factories and equipment that goes inside a factory and then the percentage of that total spent in the U.S. To me that would best show the competitive position of the U.S.