The Windows turning point, metamaterial lenses, personal organization, imagery, inefficiencies — things I learned about this week

Technology strategy

Steven Sinofsky is writing a great memoir of his Microsoft years, I’m avidly reading.  Chapter 3 links to the story of David Weiss and Murray Sargent figuring out how to get Windows to protect mode, which ended up being one of the pivotal points in the history of the PC industry.  I just love this story and it has informed every project I have ever worked on — innovation and strategy come from the front line of a company, not from some ivory tower staff off moving chess pieces around.  As a manager, you have to foster the environment and culture to allow this innovation to happen.  I have not always succeeded at doing this but it is an aspiration.

Metalenz is building lenses using a metamaterial design and standard silicon fabs.  Another technology falls to the grinding advance of semiconductors.

Software Tools

I am struggling with how to organize my thinking, my documents, sharing, etc.  When I had a real job, I had all kinds of tools for documenting and sharing — not all of them good! Now I am trying to figure out what the right tools are for personal use.  This blog is wholly inadequate — it really only has one view (timeline), it is not good for selective sharing, it doesn’t easily admit other kinds of content besides the written word.  I am not sure what I want.  Notion is nice looking.  Basecamp is probably overkill and too expensive for what I want.  Maybe I just want to use GitHub. I am all over the place, I need to take time to really outline what my needs are. is a nice tool for finding imagery — I tried with a couple images this am and it was dead-on.

Society and Economics

The meme economy is making people rich. Meanwhile, “Society has conspired for decades, through low interest rates, tax policy, and most recently the stimulus, to transfer wealth from the young to the old — the opposite of a healthy society, in which the ballast is a thriving middle class and optimistic youth.”  And we put tremendous hurdles in the way of women, a powerful story here of the experience of a widow. And we make poor use of the human capital in large parts of our country — charities in Appalachia are dramatically underfunded. I’m not really sure what to think about all this, other than to observe that we are not getting the best out of ourselves, and we perhaps too focused on the ephemeral and not enough on fundamentals.

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