Quoting from Cringley’s most recent column –

The U.S. CTO – at least this FIRST U.S. CTO – will be the buyer-of-cool-stuff-in-chief for the entire nation.

I would make a better buyer-in-chief than almost anyone else because of two important characteristics in my warped personality: 1) I would be immune to special interest groups so this wouldn’t turn into another National Information Infrastructure boondoggle, and; 2) yet as a true enthusiast I would buy with such reckless abandon that I’d easily fulfill the economic stimulus needs while spewing money widely enough to guarantee at least a few good technical investments for the nation. . . .

We need someone with just enough savvy to know good technology, enough independence to make the right decisions, and crazy enough to do it all 24/7 right out in public so that vaunted “transparency” we keep talking about yet never see can be proved to be more than just a modern myth.

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Larry Lessig REALLY Can Do Powerpoint

by Lee Gesmer on November 11, 2008

I’ve never been captured by Larry Lessig’s books, but once I stumbled on some of his online speeches and Powerpoint presentations (he doesn’t use Powerpoint, so I’m using that term generically), and I realized that he was a zen master of this art form (and it can truly be an art form). Here’s a recent example – Lessig on McCain on Tech. (And another great (and earlier) example here).  Lessig’s presentation style is sometimes called the Lessig Method.

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George Gilder on "The Coming Creativity Boom"

by Lee Gesmer on November 5, 2008

OK, I know that George Gilder is a very controversial guy, and that he lost a lot of money for his investors (and himself) in the late ’90s and early 2000s. So, he’s a lousy investor. But, that doesn’t detract from the fact that he can speak and write about the future of technology in ways that can make your head spin and leave you gasping for breath (and, if you’re not very careful, calling your stockbroker to increase your margin account).

His article in the November 10, 2008 issue of Forbes is typical Gilder – thought provoking, inspirational, optimistic and (I hope) right:

The real source of all growth is human ingenuity and entrepreneurship, which often thrive in the worst of times–and are always surprising.

Knowledge is about the past; entrepreneurship is about the future. In a crisis the world of expertise pulls the global economy ever deeper into the past, where accountant-economists ruminate on the labyrinthine statistics of leviathan trade gaps, tides of debt and deficits, political bailouts and rebates, regulatory clamps and controls, all propping up the past in the name of progress.

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Welcome to the Metaverse

by Lee Gesmer on October 31, 2008

Wade Roush (technology journalist and chief correspondent at Xconomy) wrote an extraordinary article in the MIT Technology Review in 2007 which I’ve had in my “must re-read” pile for a while. Recently I picked it up and noticed that the article is accessible in full on the Technology Review web site (free registration required).

Here is a brief excerpt from the article, modestly entitled Second Earth:

[w]ithin 10 to 20 years–roughly the same time it took for the Web to become what it is now–something much bigger than either of these alternatives [Second Earth or Google Earth] may emerge: a true Metaverse. In Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash, a classic of the dystopian “cyberpunk” genre, the Metaverse was a planet-size virtual city that could hold up to 120 million avatars, each representing someone in search of entertainment, trade, or social contact. The Metaverse that’s really on the way, some experts believe, will resemble Stephenson’s vision, but with many alterations.

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