Thursday, January 18, 2007

Tech Files Friday

== iPhone's brother? ==

The phone above isn't the iPhone, it's the KE850 from LG. Full touch screen interface like the iPhone (although without dual-touch technology) as well as a music player and other widgets. It won't run OS X like the iPhone manages to, and it probably won't be as slick or quite as cool but it will probably get some additional attention due to the iPhone and it should be cheaper. Word is it will also be able to accept a spare battery, unlike the current draft iPhone.

== Housing without workers ==

Much thanks to the Times Online (who also supply some of the live news feeds you see on this site) for this article on two teams vying to build automated systems that would drive to a worksite and build homes with few workers. One British team and one American team are both aiming for a system costing under $2 million that would be able to build homes quickly and cheaply.

The American approach is pictured above and they have a much more readable web site (Linkage). The system would be a version of automated fabrication that would build custom homes out of a concrete-like material complete with curves and customization.

Immediately after this hit the news people began bemoaning the loss of jobs it would cause. People aren't thinking ahead. As the baby boomers retire the American workforce will actually shrink for the first time in history (as far as I can tell, I don't actually have those numbers). We need a way to backfill some of the more menial jobs and move people into jobs with more impact. If you don't believe me about the effects of retiring boomers, believe Ben Bernanke. Soon we'll only have 2 workers supporting each retiree... very scary.

Even if the workforce weren't shrinking there would be nothing to be afraid of. Jobs types are constantly being replaced and altered and we adapt. Thirty years ago a "computer" was a person with an abacus or calculator and a sheet of paper to table sums on. And thirty years ago nobody would have any notion what a "search engine optimization consultant" would do for a living in the future. We adapt!

This whole thing is kind of assuming anybody wants a concrete house. Thomas Edison spent much of his life and fortune trying to encourage people to accept his concept for the concrete house, and it turns out he couldn't give them away. This article has lots of pictures, this one has more details but no pictures. It's an amazing story.

Don't invest in any concrete house builders until you see if they will sell. :)

Have a nice weekend,


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