Working remotely…


freelancernews.co.uk

In the past three decades, a series of quiet revolutions in design have changed the way offices are used, erasing former hierarchies of walls and cubicles and incorporating workplace methodologies from the technology industry into team-based, open-plan layouts. At the same time, digital tools such as e-mail, Excel, Google Docs, video conferencing, virtual whiteboarding, and chat channels like Slack have made a worker’s presence in those offices less essential. The pandemic has collapsed these divergent trends into an existential question: What’s an office for? Is it a place for newbies to learn from experienced colleagues? A way for bosses to oversee shirkers? A platform for collaboration? A source of friends and social life? A respite from the family? A reason to leave the house? It turns out that work, which is what the office was supposed to be for, is possible to do from somewhere else.

The article presents a case history of one example. Thoroughly, including alternatives. A worthwhile read.

I suggest – reading all articles of this type – you ignore any existential questions about whether or not you are qualified and capable of such a change. The honchos at home base are going to make those decisions with or without your participation. A question of corporate style, I’d say.

Articles like this are useful if you’re looking ahead and working for a firm that’s thoughtful about the future and willing to make the changes to implement a changeover like this. I went through it when I took my first position as a wholesale rep almost 40 years ago. That company was ready to grow from servicing retailers in three adjacent states – to servicing the whole East Coast. Eventually, their success story led to a complete nationwide presence. Top-shelf ranking for performance, service and profitability.

I was hired in that first wave of expansion. Though I wandered astray a time or two – tempted by offers from non-competing firms growing into the same markets – I ended up back with the same folks for a couple of decades. For me, the change to remote digital sales management, communications, was a piece of cake.

BTW, I still have my original Tandy TRS80 Model 100 laptop. The tech that kicked-off consideration of expansion, digital tech beyond/beside a corporate mainframe to build a business. Scary, successful, groundbreaking and very satisfying.

Smartphones have more eyes watching police brutality

This was in 2014

The ability of smartphones to capture and broadcast shocking images in real-time has increasingly focused attention on a longstanding problem of police brutality in America. Here’s a look at why smartphones were needed to bring attention to the problem, along with Apple’s complex role in both supporting police and in drawing attention to underlying problems in conduct among police officers.

Decent quick history of policing. And, then, the development of “camera-phones” as a function of cell-phones…and what that now brings to the public eye.

A Battery to Challenge Lithium-Ion

❝ Elon Musk isn’t the only visionary betting that the world will soon be reliant on batteries. Bill Joy, the Silicon Valley guru and Sun Microsystems co-founder, also envisions such dependence. He just thinks alkaline is a smarter way to go than lithium-ion.

❝ Joy and Ionic Materials unveiled a solid-state alkaline battery at the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Energy Innovation Summit in Basalt, Colorado, that he says is safer and cheaper than the industry leader, lithium-ion. The appeal of alkaline: it could cost a tiny fraction of existing battery technologies and could be safer in delicate settings, such as aboard airplanes.

“What people didn’t really realize is that alkaline batteries could be made rechargable,” Joy said in a phone interview Thursday. “I think people had given up.”

The Ionic Materials investor envisions three ultimate applications for the polymer technology: consumer electronics, automotive and the power grid. But Joy acknowledged that the technology isn’t quite ready for prime-time. It has yet to be commercialized, and factories are needed to manufacture it. It could be ready for wider use within five years, he said.

❝ Ionic expects to talk to potential partners about licenses. Global lithium-ion battery demand from electric vehicles is projected to grow from 21 gigawatt-hours in 2016 to 1,300 gigawatt-hours in 2030, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“Even if we grew 400 percent every year for a decade, we couldn’t meet the need” alone, Joy said. “We’re starting from a zero base. We don’t have a factory. We have a revolutionary material.”

Lithium is expensive and scarce in the qualities useful for current lithium-ion battery technology. Alkaline batteries will not face the same kind of challenges – once production is at commercial scale. And believe me – please – regardless of what creeps like Trump or Tillerson or any other fossil fuel pimps might say, the demand coming down the pike in the next 10-20 years for battery tech will have no problem getting investors.

The trial that will determine our genetic future


US Patent and Trademark OfficeAlan Kotok

❝ Arguments in a trial to determine ownership of CRISPR, a gene editing technology, started Tuesday the 6th in Virginia. The outcome will determine who gets ownership of an incredibly lucrative and incredibly powerful tool that has the potential to “treat” genetic disease.

Two groups are contending for the editing technology patent: on one side is MIT’s Broad Institute and Harvard University, and on the other is the University of California, Berkeley…

❝ Billions of future revenue is at stake in the trial in the US Patent and Trademark Office — essentially a patent court — in Alexandria, Virginia. CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology could be used to genetically modify crops, animals and even fetuses, scientists promise. Previous gene-editing tools have already existed, but none appear to work as quickly or promise such versatility as CRISPR.

And based on the advances so far, CRISPR’s potential is mind-blowing. It could be used to change crop strands to be drought-resistant, or to change disease-carrying parasites to stop the spread of illnesses like malaria. And scientists are hoping it will be able to eliminate genetic disease like cystic fibrosis.

Ethical questions are inevitable – as are the number of scientifically-unqualified “experts and consultants” who will offer their expertise in the years to come. Legitimate science will be represented in the overall discussion by the broad range of researchers from academia to the narrowest of corporate purveyors.

RTFA to get up to speed. The discussion is getting underway.