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Various analog jacks (to use the American slang term)

Headphones, Public Speaking, and Supply Chain Management

A popular circulating story on the demise of the headphone jack (that analog plug for your ear buds) makes a good point — the future listening devices increasingly are capable of producing metadata and utilizing DRM. For those not familiar: digital rights management refers to software packages intended to control how and when certain media or software are used. DRM on a DVD player might keep you from watching a film in Australia before it is officially released. Yeah, moving away from simple plug and play headphones is a bad idea. Unfortunately, it is likely inevitable. Apple is not alone in dropping the classic mini-plug, a few Android phones already have. Even if you choose to file this with your anti-Apple stuff, you should be cautious about seeing Google as something other than a large corporation that needs to appease investors. Oracle’s lawyers were on point — “free stuff from Google” isn’t altruistic. I hope that the classic jacks remain, I really do.

Bad Frosh Public Speaking

I have been in the college teacher business for nearly a decade now. My first assignment was a combined college comp/speaking class. Like most instructors I wasn’t interested in hearing the classic canned high school speeches or reading the associated papers, thus no work on: abortion, gun control, drug legalization, drinking age, or death penalty. Typically, after I announced that rule the students got somber: they would be writing a new paper this quarter. Sometimes they would actually plead that they had done a great paper on one of these topics in high school and wanted to “do it again.” The topics that students would flock to after losing their high school sweethearts were: college football playoffs and the desirability of file sharing. At least they were writing a new paper.

The Information Supply Chain

More American than mom, apple, supply, and uniqueness arguments is the retail supply chain. Walmart does this beautifully. Replace a meaningful local supply chain with a ton of mail service and you have Amazon. Supply chain management is a robust field and an interesting one two. For basically every consumer good, there are offices of folks analyzing their flows from factory/farm through retail end point. Until it walks out of the store, it is well tracked: from firearms to cottage cheese. And when something goes wrong, like say Listeria in a batch of Costco berries: they call you. This is the modern American economy. Stuff flowing from place to place with precision.

Associate Professor of Social Media. Oregon State University. Read my book: Selling Social Media (Bloomsbury Academic), 2018.

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