Friday, October 23, 2020

What I would add to the standard blog model

The combination of RSS and the basic blog post is almost perfect. There are, however, a few things that would make them even better as a way to share information in most organizations.

  1. Provide an email summary option that is generated on post, daily, or weekly. (SharePoint does this for some list types.)
  2. Add a Publication Date in addition to the Last Modified date and make the Publication Date both the primary sort field and make it user editable without changing the URL. That way a publisher can choose to easily replace a topical post with a newer version and optionally republish it as new. (For organizational use the historical record is unimportant.)
  3. Author control of notification generation. There's no need to generate a fresh RSS entry or email update for the correction of a few typos or other minor changes.
  4. Easy sharing of articles by email and other 'send' modalities.
  5. Tags with tag specific rss and views (many blogs do this).
  6. Editing tags should not generate notifications.
That's all. No comments -- in practice I think these can occur elsewhere.

PS. It looks like Blogger has broken tags/labels as of today! So this post has none.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Electric vehicles will end another non-college job - the auto mechanic

 My Great-Aunt was born in the 19th century. She spent most of her life working in data processing. She, and thousands like her, did read, delete, update operations on paper cards that were passed between thousands of small rectangular desks in a large rectangular building in Montreal. None of her coworkers had a college degree -- I suspect many could not read very well. The work seems impossibly dull, but she enjoyed it and the pension it brought her.

I have one of those desks, I'm typing on it now. It fits nicely in a corner of my living room, and I'm slender enough to fit comfortably in it.

By the 1960s the first business computers wiped out her industry as definitively as the automobile eliminated millions of horses. There would never again be a large scale job that required no particular social, physical, or cognitive skills.

Since that time IT has generated vast numbers of knowledge worker jobs that pay relatively well while eliminating jobs that do not require cognitive skills.

Now electric vehicles are going to do the same thing. Compared to internal combustion engines they are much easier to maintain; their complexity is in batteries and software. Never-college auto mechanics are going to lose their jobs.

There's a lot we can do about this problem. It's not only the right thing to do, it's also essential to our survival. Even if Biden wins in 2020, if his administration doesn't act quickly there will be another Trump in 2024.