Showing posts from October, 2010

The Future of the Wallet

Originally @ Stanford Review Stanford University is home to many of the technological innovations that drastically reshape how we relate to each other, how we live our lives, and how we interact with the world. And a newly emerging tech trend seeks to drastically reshape a component of life that has been with us as a society for centuries: the wallet. Traditionally, the wallet has had many uses. It has reshaped itself over time from merely a means of conveyance for currency into a mobile hub for any routine personal needs. Modern wallets are normally outfitted not only with cash and credit cards, but also with various forms of identification, cards relating to different vendors (Safeway, Zipcar, sandwich cards) utilities (Swiss Army cards, bottle openers), notes, coupons, receipts, keys, etc. Wallets can be used for pretty much anything related to daily minutiae. Yet many Silicon Valley companies seek to change the integral role that wallets play in our lives, and some of the ef

The Prince and the Pauper: Slowly Growing Closer

Originally @ Stanford Progressive Just as people lined up around street corners to wait for their $500+ touchscreen iPads in April, in India they will be lining up in anticipation of a similar soon-to-be-released laptop. The difference? The laptop will cost $35 instead of $500. How much can you fit in a $35 laptop? According to the Indian government, the device features a built-in word processor, video conferencing, a multimedia player, a searchable PDF reader, and best of all, a web browser with Wi-Fi connectivity. Oh, and it is a touchscreen device, just like the iPad. And it can be charged and run on solar power. It seems that the Indian government has developed a sort of golden bullet to the market barriers for poor entrepreneurs and students. <!--more--> Much information regarding the laptop still remains a mystery, such as its RAM, the display resolution, the screen size, and the kind of processor it employs. It requires an external storage device, such as a key dr

Big Trouble in the Big Apple: Fear Meets Faith

Originally @ Stanford Progressive In tough economic times, people reach for two things: their wallets and their guns. In the case of the Tea Party and the GOP this season, the wallet-reflex has manifested itself in the form of cries for reduced taxes and shrieks of indignation at government spending. The gun-reflex has much more prominently reared its head in the form of unabashed xenophobia. Any American with a minimal attention span for domestic news has by now heard of the Arizona immigration law. He or she has been subjected to campaigns from Wisconsin to Georgia deriding immigrants, legal and illegal, for their “parasitic leeching” of America’s resources. But any sensible rationale for intolerant legislation has been thrown clear out the window in the latest incidence of racist fanaticism regarding the construction of a recreation center in New York. The center, called Park 51 and based on the 92<sup>nd</sup> St. Y (a Jewish community center – the Y was short fo