Daily Archives: March 30, 2008

The great Stafford Beer puts his ideas on Designing Freedom into practice in Allende’s Chile

There is a fascinating article on how Chile Tried to Find the Right Software for Socialism in the New York Times. Quote:

“When military forces loyal to Gen. Augusto Pinochet staged a coup here in September 1973, they made a surprising discovery. Salvador Allende’s Socialist government had quietly embarked on a novel experiment to manage Chile’s economy using a clunky mainframe computer and a network of telex machines.  The project, called Cybersyn, was the brainchild of A. Stafford Beer, a visionary Briton who employed his “cybernetic” concepts to help Mr. Allende find an alternative to the planned economies of Cuba and the Soviet Union. After the coup it became the subject of intense military scrutiny.”

I have always been a big fan of Beer since I read his great book Designing Freedom: Stafford Beer (chapters.indigo.ca)
which was part of the Massey Lectures. It’s a very small book, based on the lectures he gave, but it is packed with thought provoking ideas that may just be coming into play with Web 2.0 and social networking technology. Perhaps we need to go back and look at his work again.

See the article at the nytimes.com. Then get his book from Indigo…for under $5, no less! (And try the other books in the Massey Lectures series…there is alot of brilliance in a number of small books.)

(Photo: Joao Pina for The New York Times)

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Why I love my iPod touch: wireless!

I am a big fan of iPods. I have four: the original Shuffle, the new Shuffle, a Nano, and the Touch. I love them all, but I especially love the new Touch. While it has alot of great features, what has surprised me is how useful the wireless feature is. I expected only to be able to use this at home, but I have found that there is free wireless almost everywhere, if you go looking for it. And the Touch makes it easy to find. As a result, I am able to surf the web via Safari, watch YouTube videos, and check my email from many places. It’s great, especially since in Canada, you cannot officially get an iPhone. I am wondering if I need it! 🙂

Find out more about this here: Apple – iPod touch – Features – Wireless