Monday, October 13, 2014

Future Shock: No more gas stations.

"Society is undergoing an enormous change," said Alvin Toffler in Future Shock, written in 1970. This was three years before the Oil Crisis of 1973, when OPEC quadrupled the price of a barrel of oil.

Toffler defined "future shock" as a psychological state of individuals and entire societies brought on by sudden change in too short a time. Get ready for a society disconnected from reality, suffering "shattering stress and disorientation." A short definition, too much to deal with in too little time.

Well if we aren't there already as a result of the world wide web, then we certainly will be when the world's automobiles run on electricity and not gasoline. 

The Toyota built Prius, a hybrid, first went on sale in 1997, and by 2011 has sold more than a million cars in both the United States and Japan. Today, there are almost 20 models offered by more than a dozen different brands.

Tesla Model S, image

And in the first quarter of 2013, the all electric Tesla posted profits for the first time in its history. The future is now driving down the highway.

Imagine the Middle East without a dominant source of wealth. Imagine Texas and Norway without oil money. Okay, that is a little easier to imagine. Imagine a planet free of petrol-carbons. Okay, I like that.

The energy of the future will be free, or close to it as scientists and governments develop alternate sources of energy. Will this be a good or bad case of unintended consequences?

Any more predictions?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Life is short

Life is short

So little time,
So much to do
So little time to do it.
So much to do

That I find
Before I finish anything
It’s time to start anew.

Each day I rise
To race from dawn to dusk
Oh, a mother’s work is never done
Nor anything her old man does

It’s better said
Stay in bed
Do what's best
And get some rest.

The life so short, the poet said,
The craft so long to learn
This poem now begun is not complete
Before its time to walk the dog.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Facebook is not all it is cracked up to be

Facebook pages are not all they are cracked up to be. This idea fits in with The former Facebook mantra, "Move Fast and Break Things". Facebook certainly moved fast to get everyone on board, but now the everything is free model is gone. For business pages, it is pay to play.

The kids figured all this out before the old man. 

Facebook is a marketing behemoth generating billions of dollars. The numbers tell the story. Facebook's 2014 second-quarter revenues are just shy of 3 billion dollars, way up from $1.8 billion just a year ago. 

Gone is the user friendly, "whassup" approach. That is why the kids are leaving Facebook in droves for friendlier pastures. 

The old man works his Facebook Pages, but posts that once generated hundreds of views, now struggle to get dozens, even posts with many likes and shares.

Facebook kindly suggests Page owners use:

…a combination of engaging Page posts and advertising to promote your message more broadly. Advertising lets Pages reach the fans they already have and find new customers as well. The fans you have matter." Facebook, December 5, 2013

At this point in the conversation, the old man coughs and the sound comes out, "Bullsh#t." 

Have you ever wondered where the phrase "not all it is cracked up to be" came from? One line of thought says the word "craic" or "crack" is from the Middle English word crak, which means "bragging talk." Another says that the word is Gaelic and though its definition is imprecise, the best notion is that it means fun. 

Either way, you know you are not getting what you bargained for, which is why Daniel Boone made the observation about Martin Van Buren that he was "not all he was cracked up to be."

Since we are speaking of crack, I can't let the topic slide by without talking about crack cocaine. It is once a thrill and highly addictive. Drug dealers get their clients hooked with "free" samples, and then have paying customers for life. That is cracked!

Is this a little harsh?

If so, then go back to World War II when tobacco companies gave out "free" cigarettes to soldiers fighting overseas. 

Did anyone see this coming? Rod Serling surely.

The post could have been called "To Serve Man" after the 1962 The Twilight Zone episode written by Damon Knight. It's a classic TV and the line "it's a cookbook" is memorable. Go look it up.