Monday, 3 December 2012

Skeleton Responsive on Google App Engine

I have put a standard Skeleton template responsive design - suitable for desktops to smart phones on the Google App Engine with code behind and connection to google's high replication datastore:

The website looks like this in a smart phone (3 columns are displayed as one column):

There is code behind written in python 2.7 and ready to run in the app engine tool locally or in the cloud. It is connected already to the high replication datastore.

For developers its an ideal template to get you going fast. Then adapt it how you like.

Try it here:

Let me know how you get on with it. :)

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Talking Location for DevFest Hackathon

Some people need to listen to their location rather than look at it. This app does just that.
It speaks your location as soon as it is opened.

I developed it at Google DevFest Hackathon 15th Sept 2012.

Here it is in Eclipse, but get the source code below or get the App in the Google App Store - Play


As a first approximate location it uses WiFi or 3G. If the user wants better accuracy and is in view of satellites they can get a GPS fix by clicking on 'to GPS'.

It uses fairly standard code that I have tweaked so that it 'speaks'.

Source code is here:

Its also in Google Play as an Android App:

Email me for joint work on this project (rodsit _at_ gmail dot com)

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Economics in a High Tech Automated World

Austrian Economics in the 1850s
A baker produces 10 loaves of bread. He needs one loaf himself and the remaining nine
loaves are real savings - tangible assets. He can use them to trade other products such as
shoes made by a shoemaker. The baker's nine extra breads have increased the money supply
assuming that money is allocated to each bread in a real and non-fractional way. The same with the shoemaker. Assets are REAL so money is allocated against real collateral.

This is a sensible, reasonable supply and demand economics that we attempt today. There is of course a vigorous debate around the amount of leverage, creation of FIAT money that is giving us bubble issues and banking issues. Lets leave those aside for a moment and talk about a futuristic economy where goods and services are largely automated and people are hardly needed in the production process.

How Can a Futuristic Fully Automated Production System Work Economically For People?

Assume that digital technology - driverless cars, robot manufacturing, 3D product printing - is so well advanced that a large factory can automatically produce the world's needs of T shirts. In this scenario machines, computers and robots can run the whole process of T Shirt design, manufacture, delivery even sales.
We only have or need one owner to switch the factory on in the morning and collect the
streams of income from entire total global T Shirt sales each month. Can we make this work economically and can Adam Smith individualism still work - YES. Read on please.

Lets assume for the sake of this economic argument that automation in this future world is so
far advanced that the cost of production of a single T Shirt in near zero or zero. (Even the cotton
used to make T Shirts is automatically farmed by robot farm workers and driverless tractors). This fictitious scenario is a long way off from the situation today but we are certainly moving in this direction. So lets take the extreme example and then modify it for practical, realistic world.

Consumers need to buy T Shirts but because the whole sytsem is automated there are no jobs for
them to earn an income with which to buy their T shirts. They have no money at all - no jobs. \

High tech factories can do everything at the push of the start button in our futuristic scenario.
From Adam Smith's work we know that an 'Invisible Hand' is needed to supply goods that people actually want. Without the self-interest of buyers products would not be changed or improved.
In today's world the entire chain of employees that bring us goods we love to buy do so,
not out of benevolence, rather out of self-interest.

Employees get paid, promoted, fired etc and that is their motivation - not kindness or charity towards the consumer. If consumers do not like products they will not buy them and the whole chain of production, magically, re-jigs itself to make products that the beloved consumer will spend their money to buy. That money gets fed back to the employees and owners. Its Adam Smith's invisible hand - a well known mechanism.

Human beings appear to operate best out of self interest - sad but true. (they operate out of
coercion as well but as history shows not so well)

In our (hypothetical) society of fully automated production units (factories) there are no employees BUT each factory has a human owner.

How can this be made to work economically? Consumers with no money? Yet we need there ability to choose the goods they want in order for the production system to make and change products in the best way. They have no jobs, no income and thus cannot feedback their desires into the production chain.

A workable system would be to have a bank allocate a yearly fixed amount of printed money to each consumer such that they need to carefully choose the best product with their limited supply of money. If they had limitless money there would be no reason to carefully choose best products. Note,  most products are non-durable so consumers need to buy more or replace their goods after a period of time. This is the time factor in economics - its not just about price.

The factory owner gets the entire income of the consumer spend. (Remember that one high-tech factory produces everything in our scenario) This means that the one owner gets the entire consumer aggregate income - and all he/she does is switch on the power to the factories in the morning. Everything else is automated.

Now lets tweak the economics of this scenario to make a workable Adam Smith type of economy.
First we need (unfortunately) to regulate that the owner can only receive, say, 4% of the income
streams from consumers. Otherwise one or two owners would get all the money from millions of consumers.

Secondly, we need to ensure that the invisible hand of self interest operates to make desirable goods at
at best price - according to supply/demand. That is fine if the consumer gets to carefully choose which products to buy with his/her limited supply of cash.
Thirdly, there needs to be more than one factory in competition with each other such that they strive
to produce best products at the best price. One factory would not need to alter its products at all because they are sole suppliers.

So the producers are in competition with each other to get the consumers money - fine.
The consumers are carefully spending their limited supply of printed money to get the best product
at the best price - fine.

Fourthly we need a banking system to print money that acts as a means of exchange.

As goods are used up the total money supply flowing between consumer and producer needs to be
tweaked by central banks to stay in balance otherwise inflation or deflation would occur - much
like we already do today.

A fully automated high tech production system can work if:
1) Consumers (unemployed) are allocated FIXED AMOUNTS OF MONEY IN YEARLY HAND-OUTS and are allowed to freely choose which products to purchase.
2) Production units are humanly-owned and in competition with each other to try to maximise their income streams gained from consumers buying habits.
3) The profits of the producers are limited to a percentage of income (remember they have no production cost due to automation)
4) A banking system to keep the monetary supply in balance.