Friday, September 07, 2007

iPhones and Picket Lines

Yesterday's business news regarding Apple Inc.'s new iPhone pricing was interesting but not really surprising given how Moore's Law affects technology. Apple's announcement that it will now sell an 8-gigabyte version of its iPhone, which originally sold for $599, for $399 and that its 4-gigabyte, which sold for $499 originally will be phased out.

So overall consumers who did not wait in line (like me!) with the "early adapters" can now get double the memory capacity for $100 LESS than what the first consumers paid. Now that is the free market and Moore's law at work!!!

As this news from Apple was breaking we tax slaves of Minnesota were/still are dealing with a labor strike at our University of Minnesota -- a "land grant" university originally created to "educate the common man..........." -- by the clerical, administrative, and technical workers who are members of the AFSCME ( labor union. Now shouldn't these workers be concerned with "putting students first.........." like we always hear in labor union money grab campaigns especially since classes at the university started this week?

Then again -- perhaps we don't need all of these workers at the university? Why? While driving today I heard a news report quoting the university administration that work is getting completed by those workers who are not walking the picket lines so apparently 1/3 of this work force is NOT showing up for work. So a 33% reduction in staff but some how the work gets done? How about instead of giving these strikers a pay raise we direct the university management to purchase PDAs ("personal digital assistants" such as the iPhone and Blackberries) for the entire university management and professors if they don't have them already?

But getting all the key academic staff "wired" via PDAs we can reduce the need for substantial numbers of clerical personnel while also making productivity gains similar to those seen with the changes in the Apple iPhone. This is the opportunity for the university/tax payers to break the AFSCME union on campus via modern technology.


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