The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation by Jon Gertner. Workmanlike history of Bell Labs in its glory days, with a focus on the invention of the transistor. Spends a lot of time on the characters, who unfortunately weren't actually that interesting.
Doesn't try to draw too many conclusions about innovation in general: does point that a huge near-monopoly being so productive shows that "start-up culture" and competition aren't necessarily as important as people think. But he also points out that other large telcos didn't really do anything with their big profits but extract them.
In general it seems a couple of CEOs were smart enough to encourage a culture of innovation and think long-term: their products were designed to last 30 years or more. Also points out that the buildings were designed to encourage contact between people, and the rule was that if approached by anyone else you were supposed to help them, however junior.
Overall, an interesting subject reasonably well told.
Work going badly. I was diverted from my normal core development onto another product developed by a company we acquired years ago. The code's a mess (plaintext passwords in database table for instance): I got one app working pretty easily, but turned out to rely on another app for which the source code had been misplaced. Got the code eventually but have totally failed to get it working.
Meanwhile someone else going off sick means I've had to take on the work for their project. And several bugs have been raised in the actual core development.
The expectation is that in a crisis people put in work from home, but I'm so tied up with childcare and chores I don't really have time.
My main hope these days is that I will be suddenly killed by falling plane debris and be freed from endless demands without it actually being my fault.
Socioeconomics. Idle men living with parents: Is it a real, new thing? Low to middle income households are no better off than in 2001 Deutsche Bank is not Lehman. Vancouver levies property tax on foreigners. The presentation of selfies in high school.
1945 Transcript of Surreptitiously Taped Conversations among German Nuclear Physicists at Farm Hall, via. The idea of a 'post-truth society' is elitist and obnoxious . Neo-Nazis Are Using a White-Only Homeless Charity to Spread Race Hate.
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