EVs – For the Few.

For several decades, automobiles have been synonymous with the democratization of mobility both within and beyond the city, for billions of people across the globe. You would think that by switching to Electric Vehicles (EVs) en masse, we’d be replacing ‘traditional’ cars with something better, cleaner, faster and cheaper to run, but also easier to operate and maintain. But, as countries, manufacturers, universities, associations of all kinds and the press alike, tout, support, subsidize and extol the virtues of Electric Vehicles, I struggle to see how exactly EVs, by themselves, will help anyone, but the top single percentiles of the society,…

Re-clamping the 52/10

Thirty years ago my mother bought me a (now vintage) Faber Castell 52/10 ‘Sharpening Machine’. To the 10 year old me this was a very welcome gift, that has adorned all of my desks ever since and helped sharpen hundreds of pencils throughout my life.

On Remote Working

My interest in remote working dates from the early 2000s, when I got my first broadband connection at home, or rather at what was my “home“ at the time, Imperial College London’s postgraduate accommodation at Clayponds Village located next to Gunnersbury Park in west London. Clayponds was a very interesting place, with a great atmosphere and facilities. The tenants there were mostly Masters and Ph.D students. Before my time there, people used to get open-ended leases, that is they could stay for as long as they needed to. This wasn’t the case with most other Imperial halls of residence at…

Why despite the EU's €4.3bn Google Fine, things won't be fine.

A few days ago, the European Union decided to hit Google with a €4.3bn fine. The reasons put forward by the European Commission focus on the company’s MADA or Mobile Application Distribution Agreement, that all device manufacturers that want to license Google’s apps and include the Google Play Store with their devices are forced to sign. MADA has been sporadically discussed by the tech community for a few years now, since the 2014 leaks of several MADA agreements from years past. Here is an article at re/code from 2014. Another article from 2014, by The Information, outlines how Google has…

Bulldoze the Business School.

If we want to be able to respond to the challenges that face human life on this planet, then we need to research and teach about as many different forms of organising as we are able to collectively imagine. For us to assume that global capitalism can continue as it is means to assume a path to destruction. So if we are going to move away from business as usual, then we also need to radically reimagine the business school as usual. And this means more than pious murmurings about corporate social responsibility. It means doing away with what we have, and starting again.

The jing-jang of hardware and software support

Ever since the 1980s, a vicious cycle of software and hardware requirements and updates has ‘plagued’ users and maintained high and constant rents to the vendors who systematically collude to render their previous offerings obsolete, while forcing (not enticing) their customers to upgrade to the latest incarnation of their products. The justification for this form of planned obsolescence has — invariably — involved mention of changing standards, APIs, market and technical requirements, certifications and so on. Perfectly good products have time and again been condemned to retirement only because their manufacturer deemed it uneconomical to maintain support for them. During…