too good for government work

“Of all the millions of people, nine of ten hold no official position: how could all of them be High-minded Men?” So observed Meng Lou, a scholar-recluse, quoted in the mid-seventh-century Chinese text, “Accounts of Reclusion and Disengagement.”  In Chinese history, refusing to take up an official position in the government bureaucracy was celebrated as … Continue reading too good for government work

application-specific communication protocols

The Internet’s communication protocols separate diverse physical communication channels from  a wide variety of communications applications.  That separation encapsulates complexity and fosters incremental innovation.  It has been a hugely productive communicative structure. A variety of communication content, however, remains closely bound to particular communication protocols.  Consider, for example, physical-layer protocols for the transmission of the … Continue reading application-specific communication protocols

Sun Xun's Shock of Time

If the price of an artwork were set according to the hours of labor put into it, Sun Xun’s animations would cost an enormous amount.  He makes animations by hand-drawing each individual frame.  He recently stated that one animation cost him two years to make, working ten hours every day.  All this labor is transformed … Continue reading Sun Xun's Shock of Time

shutting down Little Smart

In her interesting new book, From Iron Fist to Invisible Hand: the Uneven Path of Telecommunications Reform in China, Irene S. Wu describes competition among bureaucracies, consumer demand, and technological innovations as drivers of telecommunications reform in China.   An interesting case study is Little Smart, a low-cost, limited-mobility wireless service that rapidly gained popularity, … Continue reading shutting down Little Smart