Innovation

Automation!

Go Read This | Automation Anxiety | Wilson Quarterly

So much in this I just don’t know where to start, but it has much to recommend it (also, a Joyce reference!):

More than a century has passed since that now-celebrated day in 1904 when Joyce’s creation crisscrossed Dublin, and for most of that time technology and jobs have galloped ahead together. Just as Bloom observed, technological advances have not reduced overall employment, though they have certainly cost many people their jobs. But now, with the advent of machines that are infinitely more intelligent and powerful than most people could have imagined a century ago, has the day finally come when technology will leave millions of us permanently displaced?

Judging by the popular press, the answer is yes, and there is plenty of alarming data leading some people to support that view. Between January 1990 and January 2010, the United States shed 6.3 million manufacturing jobs, a staggering decrease of 36 percent. Since then, it has regained only about 500,000. Four years after the official end of the Great Recession, unemployment is still running at a recession-like rate of around 7.5 percent, and millions of Americans have given up even looking for work.

via Automation Anxiety | Wilson Quarterly.

Go Read This | Like Dropbox For TV, Chromecast Changes The Game | LinkedIn

Interesting and smart stuff:

In the same way that making automobiles smartphone-compatible has proven to be vastly superior (and more cost-effective) than reinventing smartphone functionality and building it into every car’s dashboard, the television set paradigm has just shifted. Why pay extra for expensive technology built into your screen when you can bring your own bell and whistle to any screen you want?

That’s exactly what Google is saying with Chromecast.

While an arms race among television makers has been mustering over the development of “smart TV” that lets people use the Internet on the biggest screen in the house, Chromecast is like Dropbox for TV. Everywhere you go, you can have your stuff, on any screen, doesn’t matter if it’s “smart”, dumb, big, or small. And you can use your frigging phone or mouse instead of a remote. I think it’s one of the smartest moves the company has made in some time.

via Like Dropbox For TV, Chromecast Changes The Game | LinkedIn.

Some App Love: Osprey’s Military History Quiz

I downloaded the free version of Osprey’s The Military History Quiz App last week and I just wanted to give it a quick word of praise*.

Simply put, it’s excellent. It combines some excellent design with great questions and a very clever in-App purchase set of options.

First the design which is smooth and consistent and looks good throughout the app. It has a sufficiently martial theme to keep the military-history nerd in me happy.

The questions are tough enough, even in the free section, to challenge both the novice and the knowledgeable history buff. As they progress though they sure do get harder!

And it’s that progression that makes the in-App buying options so smart. For only €0.79 you can upgrade the levels to reach 1 Star General status. After that it’s €2.39 a level OR you can choose to pay €5.99 for every level in one go (the levels go to 4 Star General) including the first one.

I have to admit, the App punctured many of my illusions about my knowledge base when it comes to military history, but I guess that’s a small downside when you learn so much along the way!

It’s a fine piece of work, it works smoothly and I hope it generates huge sales for Osprey who have a real can-do, will-do, try-anything spirit that’s hard not to admire in the modern publishing environment.

I’m sure they are working on the Sci-Fi & Fantasy version of the quiz too (Osprey also owns Angry Robot, a relatively new Sci-Fi & Fantasy imprint).

Eoin

*It’s probably fair to note that I know one or two of the folks that work at Osprey well enough to have a chat at the odd Book Fair or over Twitter, but I’ve never worked for the company. I’ve written about them before a few times though.

Wisden Logo

Wisden: Another Clever Bloomsbury Brand

Wisden Logo
Bloomsbury has featured on these pages a number of times. To my mind, too much of the focus on Bloomsbury is about Potter and Rowling. When I’ve been interested in Bloomsbury it is generally for their clever acquisitions and what I perceive as a well developed but poorly reported strategy for acquiring valuable and sustainable brands that have digital potential.

The announcement yesterday that Wisden their cricket imprint (which is part of the A&C Black group of imprints) will expand its offering (relatively slowly) into other sports seems like a great example of just that strategy.

So long as the extension is done with some common sense, the very string image of Wisden should be able to sustain this move. I’m looking forward to seeing how this goes for them,
Eoin