31 July 2004

All brainstorming meetings are not created equal. Scott Berkun offers suggestions on how to run one of the good ones and avoid the bad ones.

Posted 10:53 AM

30 July 2004

The George Bush campaign site has more pictures of John Kerry than the John Kerry campaign site does. We aren't running a negative campaign, are we?

Posted 11:45 AM

Politics is about, fundamentally, attempting to persuade voters that your goals match theirs, and that your means for achieving those goals are appropriate. Persuasive skills are important, but the actual content of the message is more important, or should be.

You couldn't tell that from most political journalism, though. I've seen lots of articles about whether this or that speaker was able to "connect" with the electorate, about how the Democratic Party is attempting to "position" itself to appeal to voters in swing states, about how George Bush plans to have a different "focus" in each week of August. None of which has anything to do with the very real policy differences between the two candidates.

There are two reasons for that, neither of them good. The first is that meta-journalism is easy. You find a political consultant, ask him a few questions, and you're done. It's easy for the audience, too. Just as sports commentary lets someone who's never thrown a baseball be an armchair manager, political commentary lets people who don't even vote feel like "insiders." Policy analysis requires actually reading the candidate's proposals and finding independent sources to analyse them for you. Worse, it asks the audience to think critically.

The second reason is that policy analysis is inherently partisan. Almost any government policy will favor some groups at the expense of others. Pointing out that a certain tax cut overwhelmingly benefits multimillionaires is unlikely to win points with a candidate positioning himself as a man of the people. Discussing the questionable economics of policies to prevent outsourcing is likely to annoy a candidate who has made such policies a centerpiece of his platform. Even if the analysis is factually correct and accurate in every respect, it will be attacked as a partisan hatchet job. Advertisers and viewers might be annoyed. Reporters might lose access to sources.

Meta-journalism is much safer, precisely because it is completely irrelevant to the actual issues.

Posted 11:41 AM

An interesting study of file-sharing and digital rights management has found that offering a downloadable version of music decreases piracy. At the same time, under most conditions digital rights management reduces profits because it makes the music less valuable to legal purchasers. Neither conclusion is especially surprising, but both tend to conflict with the recording industry's current approach.

Posted 08:51 AM

29 July 2004

Nanometer-scale designs force designers and manufacturers to work together, even as complexity forces designers to seek more abstraction. Cadence has several white papers on their approach to the problem.

Posted 10:14 AM

Those of you who come in through the site home page will notice that I've radically slimmed it down. The weblog (this page) and the wiki have been the core of the site for several months now, but the home page was still sending people elsewhere. This change should fix that problem.

Posted 10:08 AM

28 July 2004

Doctors Without Borders is known for going where other aid organizations won't. But even they've decided Afghanistan is too dangerous.

Posted 05:33 PM

Yes, I am finally working through my notes from Semicon West.... Mask writing time is the largest contributor to the cost of resolution-enhanced masks. Worse, writing time depends on the complexity of the mask and is extremely difficult to predict. Micronic claims that the company's spatial light modulator (SLM) technology both cuts write time to only three hours or so, and allows a consistent write time regardless of the mask design.

Posted 11:40 AM

What does ubiquitous Internet look like? Ask South Korea.

Posted 09:54 AM is one of many weblogs covering the Democratic National Convention here in Boston. Photos, speeches, and lots of local color that you probably won't see on TV.

Posted 09:46 AM

26 July 2004

Isolating copper tools is relatively easy in a new fab, much more difficult in an existing fab. But, LSI Logic reports, copper integration into an existing fab is possible.

Posted 06:41 PM

The Chinese-speaking world is wholeheartedly embracing industrial policy, from fabs in mainland China to biotechnology incubators in Taiwan. India's Business Standard asks, if the supported industries are so important, why can't they find private funding?

Posted 01:45 PM

Media mogul Ted Turner on media consolidation. He started out as an independent, and thinks the playing field has dangerously tilted toward conglomerates since then.

Posted 11:27 AM


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