On MNN: Airplane! Pi! Hello Computer!
A roundup of posts Lloyd Alter has written for sister site MNN.com about technology, boomers, and whatever.
For my entire life I have complained that I have to pay the same for things like airplane rides as people who are tall and take up more space and weigh so much more, when the economics of the airline industry are based on the number of people you can squeeze in and the weight you can carry. That's why airlines should charge by the pound, not the person. It's just not fair; being small means that you have a far smaller environmental impact. And now a tall politician wants to favor his particular constituency, big tall American men, by regulating the seating on airplanes. More on MNN: Senator Schumer wants to regulate airplane seats. Is this a good idea?
A hundred years ago, just about everybody did much of their shopping at the local corner store. Then the family car made the big supermarket cheaper and more convenient for one-stop shopping, and the mom-and-pop store disappeared. In many small towns the change was even more dramatic; if the Walmart opened in the next town, that’s where people went to shop for anything. Now a new app makes it possible to have a corner store again with no staff at all. But is this really necessary? More in MNN: Who needs grocery clerks in the age of the smartphone?
For some time, I've been writing about my search for the perfect keyboard, one that is portable and good enough to allow me to ditch the laptop. That search may be over because Google has built new dictation software into Google Documents. Speech to text isn’t exactly new; it has been part of Google Docs for a while and Apple has offered it in IOS. However Google is taking the concept to a new level, and it's really quite spectacular. More on MNN: Look ma, no hands: You can now speak to type in Google Docs
Pi founder Eben Upton says this is a different pi.
“There is a weird thing,” Upton says, where people view the Pi 2 as slightly too slow to be a real PC. “I’m really quite hopeful that this time we might come across that line that we’ve been trying to cross for a long time,” he says. “That we’ve made a thing where you can really say, ‘Yes, this is a PC.’”
More on MNN: Raspberry Pi 3 has enough oomph to work as a real computer
If you're a techno-utopian, then all of this technology will be so productive and spit out so much money that if it was distributed fairly, it could happily support everyone. If you're a dystopian, then the 1 percent just take it all and live like kings while everyone else starves. I tend to be in the former camp, that we live in the best of all possible worlds and that it will all work out, but that's not how it seems to be what's happening in America right now.
More on MNN:What will we all do in a post-work society?